Boston High School: Tommy Burns

Recap: Attleboro 34, North Attleborough 19

November, 28, 2013
11/28/13
9:54
PM ET
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – Hilda has left the building.

For all the accolades heaped upon Attleboro football this season, pulling itself from the depths of more than a few sub-.500 seasons in recent years, the truest bellwether to a successful season by the Blue Bombardiers is how they fared against border rival North Attleborough.

The Thanksgiving Day rivals, and Hockomock League foes, already had met in the regular season –the result of the MIAA’s new playoff scheduling plan. Attleboro won Round 1, but still, the Division 1 South tournament finalists wouldn’t have found true redemption without a Thanksgiving win over the Red Rocketeers.

Attleboro capped its statement season with a 34-19 win over Big Red in the 93rd edition of the holiday classic. The victory marked the second straight season the Blue Bombardiers took the “Hilda” trophy home to Attleboro and ends the season at 9-2, having made a playoff run which ended just one win shy of a Gillette Stadium appearance.

“It’s a new era in Attleboro,” senior defensive and tight end Luke Morrison said. “It’s going to be strong.”

Morrison helped the Blue Bombardiers to a fast start. Attleboro claimed a 13-0 lead before North (6-5) even touched the ball.

Following a 69-yard opening drive with quarterback Tim Walsh running for a 34-yard touchdown, the Blue Bombardiers recovered the ensuing kickoff. Set up on the plus-side of the 50-yard line, Attleboro again moved methodically down the field in 11 plays. Walsh (13 carries, 74 yards) had his second score in as many drives with a 1-yard plunge over center.

Nearly eight minutes had elapsed before the Red Rocketeers set up shop on their first drive. It was a brief one, however, as Morrison set up shop in the backfield, registering three straight tackles for loss, including two sacks of quarterback James Kummer (10 of 19 passing, 124 yards, TD).

“As a defense, we’re a whole team, not an individual,” Morrison said. “We all contributed.”

Morrison finished with four sacks and five tackles for loss. Attleboro’s Ryan Bowen was named Defensive Player of the Game while junior running back Damon Belin (96 yards, 2 TD) was awarded the honor on offense.

Despite threatening to run away with the game early, North clawed its way back to tie the game at 13-all behind two rushing touchdowns from Chris Hunter.

Yet, Attleboro was still able to regain the lead before the first half was out, with Belin running for his first score of the game (from 5 yards out) with 23 seconds remaining.

“I think everybody now sees that he can play,” said Walsh of Belin, who shockingly started the season on Attleboro’s J.V. squad.

The Blue Bombardiers parlayed the momentum into the second half, with Tommy Burns providing the capstone to a 9-play scoring drive with a 1-yard run with 5:16 to go in the third.

North had one last rebuttal, as Kummer hit Jake Lang on a slant for a 31-yard touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, before Attleboro put it out of reach on an 8-yard run from Belin.

“We went down with a seven-game losing streak last year and we just wanted to up our work ethic,” Walsh said. “We hadn’t had a great season in a long time. And somehow beating North twice? That’s just amazing.

“I just feel like pride in the town is back.”

D1 South: Attleboro 40, B-R 14

November, 9, 2013
11/09/13
1:54
AM ET


ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Sometimes Attleboro quarterback Tim Walsh sits back and watches the show.

“We expect him to bust one every time,” Walsh said of Blue Bombardiers junior running back Damon Belin. “He has that kind of explosiveness where it’s just like, ‘Wow.’”

Of course, Walsh — himself — is as deft making plays with his feet as he is throwing from the pocket. And, in Friday night’s Division 1 South semi-final matchup with Bridgewater-Raynham, Belin and Walsh combined to create a force to which the Trojans had no answer in the second half.

After keeping it a one-possession game through the first half (21-14, Attleboro), the Trojans were unable to slow the Blue Bombardiers’ rushing attack in the second half, as Attleboro posted 19 unanswered points while running for 318 yards on the evening in a 40-14 rout.

“Our running game seems to be underrated, but I think it’s very strong,” Walsh added. “That just allows me to have more opportunities.”

Belin ran for 94 yards on 24 carries and scoring three touchdowns — two rushing, one receiving.

But it was actually Walsh who led the Blue Bombardiers (8-1) with 122 rushing yards on 11 carries. He also completed 7 of 11 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

However, for all of Attleboro’s success on the ground, it appeared as though B-R (5-3) would impose its will in the duel between former Old Colony League rivals. Without the services of starting quarterback Matt Clement (concussion), the Trojans started the game nearly exclusively in a series of heavy goal-line formations, running Brandon Gallagher out of the “I.”

After pushing the opening drive downfield on brute strength, the Trojans found the end zone first with Steve D’Emilia’s 16-yard touchdown to tight end Connor Reagan.

But Attleboro would score on each of its first three offensive possessions, taking a 21-14 lead into the half, after fullback David Duquette’s 12-yard draw run up the middle with 3:01 remaining.

The Blue Bombardiers continued the onslaught with the opening possession of the second half. An 8-play, 65-yard drive, culminating in Walsh’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Burns with 8:05 remaining in the third, gave Attleboro its first of three unanswered scores in the second half, closing out the victory.

Attleboro advances to face the winner of Saturday's Catholic Conference clash between BC High and Xaverian in next week's sectional final.

Trench warfare: While Attleboro’s offensive line won the point of attack, so too did the Blue Bombardiers’ defensive line. Attleboro held the Trojans to 117 rushing yards on the game.

Of those yards, Gallagher owned 102. But of his team-high total, nearly half of Gallagher’s yards came on one play in the second quarter. Faced with a fourth-and-5 from its 47-yard line, B-R claimed a 14-13 lead with 6:29 to play in the half, with Gallagher running 53 yards on a direct-snap, punt-fake play for a touchdown.

However, Attleboro clamped down in the second half, forcing the Trojans into a negative yardage figure (-3) on rushing attempts coming in the second half.

“I’m upset about the fake punt because we worked on that all week,” Attleboro head coach Mike Strachan said. “But we bounced back, I think our defense, after the first drive, they ate a lot of clock in the first quarter. They did a really good job. But I thought we settled down.”

Meanwhile, on the flip side of the ball, the Blue Bombardiers’ O-line consistently opened up huge holes. They also provided support in the passing game, with left tackle Shawn Reardon’s seal block springing Burns on his 14-yard score off a slip screen to start the second half.

“We have such big linemen and because of their strength, it gets me through those holes every time,” Belin said.

Burn-s notice: Tommy Burns has proven to be jack-of-all-trades for the Blue Bombardiers. And, at 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Burns’ impact on the Blue Bombardiers’ success has far exceeded his stature.

Take Friday night’s game for instance. Burns finished with a game-high 105 yards on five catches with a touchdown. Working across formations, he also added 46 rushing yards on five carries.

On defense, Burns again made his presence felt, recovering a fumble at the tail end of the first quarter, which set up a 6-play touchdown drive capped by Belin’s 14-yard touchdown catch for a 13-7 lead at 9:17 of the second.

No. 23 Peabody opens title defense with win

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
12:22
AM ET


PEABODY, Mass. -- After raising their 2009-10 Northeastern Conference championship banner to the rafters, it took a while for Peabody High hockey’s title defense to swing into full gear Tuesday night.

The No. 23 Tanners were out-shot (14-5) and out-played through the first period by league rival Winthrop. However, Peabody goaltender Derek Savage rode out the storm and his team went to the break in a scoreless tie.

Although the Vikings got on the board first during the second period, the Tanners stepped up their forecheck and asserted their physical brand of play while scoring the next three goals and taking a 3-1 win in a chippy season-opener.

“They definitely had us back on our heels to start there,” Peabody head coach Mark Leonard said. “But as the game wore on, our forecheck picked up and I thought we had the better of the play in the third.

“I challenged them after the first period. I wasn’t happy and neither were they.”

Winthrop (0-1-1, 0-1-0) broke the stalemate midway through the second period when Chris Leblanc fired a one-timer that trickled through Savage’s pads and barely snuck past the goal line. Joseph Scarfo had the assist.

The Tanners (1-0-0) responded little more than a minute later on Ryan Noftle’s goal set up by Tom Marmiani and Tommy Burns.

“That’s been our problem, we’re not capitalizing on our chances, especially early in the game,” Vikings head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We’re letting teams hang around. I thought they did a nice job with their physical presence, taking us off pucks and changing the momentum of the game.”

Marmiani got on the score sheet again, netting what would prove the game-winning goal 2:36 into the third period. He banged home the rebound off a shot from the point by defenseman Eric Muise.

“He told us to keep working hard, get everything to the net, play the body and play physical,” Marmiani said of Leonard’s message to the team at the first intermission.

Peabody added an insurance marker later in the third on the power play. Connor Purcell knocked home a rebound with assists going to Nico Manganiello and Muise, who picked up his second point of the night while contributing steady play on the Tanners’ specialty units.

Meanwhile, the defense tightened in front of Savage, limiting chances. The senior netminder finished with 25 saves while earning the win.

“It was a great game, as it always is against those guys,” Leonard said. “We’re very evenly matched and we knew that one play here or there could make the difference in the game. There weren’t many mistakes, it was just a hard-fought game both ways.”

CLEARING OUT THE CREASE
  • Winthrop caused fits for Peabody in its own end early on with an aggressive and effective forecheck. The Vikings swarmed to Tanners puckcarriers, flooding one side of the ice. “When we swung the puck around, they almost had three guys there,” Leonard explained. “So we made an adjustment to bring our winger down lower and that really got them chasing us deep. That helped us a little bit. We really just picked up our intensity and we got some momentum.”
  • The Tanners ventured onto the ice for the first time in 2010-11, a new look team without last year’s potent top line of Andrew Bucci, Matt Rodgers and Derrik Pereira, who scored more than two-thirds of their goals last year. While Leonard realizes his team might not have a plethora of pretty goals like last year, he’s been preaching for his players to take care of business in front of the net to pick up the slack. “There aren’t a lot of goals left in that locker room,” Leonard quipped. “We work a lot on rebounds and crashing the net. That’s how we got a couple of our goals today.” Through one game, mission accomplished.
  • Winthrop, which opened with a 3-3 tie against No. 16 Wilmington on Monday, saw much of the same in game No. 2. Had the Vikings cashed in on some of their opportunities, they might be sitting pretty with two wins right now. It’s clear the Vikings are a talented team with Leblanc and defenseman Jake Rand exhibiting some eye-popping talent against Peabody. It just comes down to execution. “I don’t want to keep saying it’s early in the year,” Dunbar said. “These are huge games, in my eyes, they’re four-point games, especially early in the season.” Odds are they’ll be right there with Peabody in the thick of the Northeastern race.

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