Boston High School: Nolan Rogers
September, 7, 2013
By Scott Barboza | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It was an unfortunate set of circumstances for Foxborough on opening night. Practically from the get-go, it just didn’t seem like the Warriors’ night.
And, of course, with No. 14 Walpole visiting, the margin for error was thin. The Warriors first play from scrimmage was a botched snap that quarterback Nolan Rogers was forced to boot through the back of the end zone for a safety. On the Rebels first touch of the game, senior running back Conor Moriarty broke off a 49-yard touchdown run – his first of four.
It didn’t get much easier from there for Foxborough as the Rebels run away with a 37-15 win.
“I thought it would be a barn-burner, right down to the last minute of the game,” said a surprised Walpole head coach Barry Greener.
Moriarty paced the Rebels (1-0) with four rushing touchdowns, while running for 72 yards on 10 carries, coming primarily in the first half. Walpole built a 30-8 lead by the half.
While Moriarty was tough to stop in the red zone, Walpole senior quarterback Will Bolster was responsible for setting up several first-half scores. Bolster completed 9 of 15 pass attempts for 147 yards.
He showed a good rapport with rangy sophomore wide receiver Amire Loftis, who hauled in receptions of 21 and 49 yards – both of which directly preceded Moriarty touchdown runs.
Difference-makers: Greener gushed throughout the preseason about the deep and talented group of sophomores he has. They were on display during the season opener.
In addition to Loftis, running back Steve Cuqua showed great speed to the outside on jet sweeps and counters, running for a team-high 97 yards and a touchdown. Greener also praised the efforts of tight end/ linebacker Nate Porack, who was making his first career start.
The youngsters, along with some of the Rebels’ other first-year starters, such as 7-technique defensive end Munachiso Egbuchulam (1 sack), it was evident Walpole makes up for talent in what it might have lacked in game experience.
An evolution: Bolster reflected on the changes the Rebels offense has undergone during his high school career. It’s been a steady progression for the third-year starter under coordinator Bill O’Connell and new offensive assistant Todd Collins.
“When I was a sophomore, I did a lot of pro-style, under-the-center stuff,” Bolster said. “It was a lot of simple two-receiver, tight end and two running backs. Then, we’ve moved to more a spread style.”
With Collins – in his day, a Super Bowl winning quarterback at Walpole and veteran of 16 NFL season – assuming a role on Greener’s coaching staff, Bolster hinted at greater variations to come.
Even still, the Rebels attacked Foxborough with a wide variation of formations, which at times included bunch trips looks.
“When they’re playing Cover 1, Cover 3 like that, we can run all day against that,” Bolster said.
Next up: The main question surrounding Foxborough entering this season is how the Warriors could replace graduated running back Kiivone Howard.
Enter junior Keeyon Neal. The 6-foot, 175-pound back led all rushers with 121 yards on 16 carries.
And, while Neal’s performance was a bright spot on an otherwise tough evening for the Foxborough faithful, there’s other reason for optimism with the Warriors as they look ahead to Davenport division play. Rogers, a junior and first-time starter, completed 13 of 25 pass attempts for 106 yards and touchdown.
A new beginning: Greener remarked to the bus driver on the way to the Ahern Middle School that it would be his team’s shortest trip of the season – save that to archrival Norwood. But it’s surprising that the Rebels and Warriors had never met till Friday night – mostly due to the fact that Walpole, only under the provisions of the MIAA’s new playoff scheduling plan, is able to schedule outside of the Bay State League.
October, 5, 2012
By Ryan Lanigan | ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comStoughton endured a trying week and the death of teammate David Wade to earn a critical 20-0 victory over Foxborough Friday night at Anthony L. Sarno field.STOUGHTON, Mass. -– Stoughton head coach Greg Burke has been saying it for a long time, and this year, his team is following through.
Play better than last week.
The Black Knights (5-0) remained unbeaten and again dominated on defense to knock down Foxborough, 20-0, in their first game since losing teammate David Wade less than a week ago.
Only one of the two teams on Anthony L. Sarno Field had a repeat performance from last week. Stoughton, who beat up on Mansfield in the rain last Friday 25-6, put on an encore performance with a relentless running attack and a bend-but-don’t-break defense.
Fresh off a shocking 21-0 upset of North Attleborough, Foxborough (3-2) failed to put any points on the board, despite the majority of its drives entering Stoughton territory.
Minutes after a moment of silence to honor Wade, who wore No. 56, the Black Knights took their opening drive 53 yards on just four plays, as senior Marcus Middleton took a sweep to the left for a 40-yard score.
Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comBlack-and-orange T-shirts with Wade's No. 56 were made up for Friday night's game.
“We don’t look like much,” Burke said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we have some tough kids. They’re unbelievable.”
The Black Knight defense, which now only averages 5.2 points against a game with two shutouts, set the tone early with a big third down stop on Foxborough star running back Kiivone Howard.
As both teams traded possessions through the first half, it looked as though the Warriors caught a big break with less than two minutes to go.
On a first and goal from seven yards out, Stoughton’s Aaron Mack carried to the right before being hit hard, forcing a fumble at the one-yard line, which Foxborough recovered.
As the Warriors tried to run the ball out of the end zone, they kept hitting a wall and were faced with 3rd down from their own 1. As quarterback Mike Slaby rolled out to the left, Stoughton senior Imani Pina punched the ball out. The ball fumbled around the goal line and then finally someone came jumping out of the pile with possession.
The senior scored with just 13 ticks left in the first half and gave Stoughton another boost before halftime.
“Pretty much all week we worked on [that play],” Pina said. “I saw the [quarterback] pull the ball so I stepped out of the box and just made a play. I tried to punch it out and it came out. I saw it on the ground and I picked it up.”
In the second half, the Warriors were able to reach the Stoughton 10-yard line on two occasions, only for their offense to be thwarted on both occasions.
On their first try, a trick play gone wrong cost them 15 yards and their fourth down play went incomplete.
Two Stoughton drives and one play later, Stoughton quarterback Dan Eckler caught the Foxboro defense napping and found a wide open Middleton for a 67-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no-good, but Stoughton went up 20-0 in the final frame.
On Foxborough’s second attempt from Stoughton’s 10, a drive that had gone 52 yards on eight plays, back up quarterback Nolan Rogers’ (in for the injured Slaby) pass was picked off by Pina and Stoughton sealed the game.
Foxborough’s running back came into the game with a league-leading 12 rushing touchdowns, having scored 3 in each game thus far.
Stoughton consistently loaded the box with 8 or 9 guys and dared Foxborough to throw. Howard still found success, carrying the ball 24 times for 109 yards. He had could have had more, but the tough Stoughton defense was able to exploit some plays for big losses.
“It’s [frustrating],” Foxborough head coach Jack Martinelli said. “We were on the field defensively too long. You have to answer, and we didn’t. Simple as that.”