SUDBURY, Mass. – The difference in the final score was seven points in favor of Lincoln-Sudbury on Friday night, but the game really was decided by six inches.
On a critical fourth down, with one minute and 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter, L-S needed six inches to get a first down and lock up a victory over Marshfield. The Warriors lined up in a tight Wing-T set, and Marc Pace ran the ball off the right side for less than a yard.
The referees brought the chains over for a measurement and awarded L-S with a fresh set of downs to burn off the remaining time on the clock and take a 14-7 win.
“You have to give Lincoln-Sudbury their due,” Marshfield head coach Lou Silva said. “They played a lot better than we did and they deserved to win.”
The game was a prototypical defensive struggle, but L-S broke through in the fourth quarter.
With 2:13 remaining, the Warriors had the ball on the Marshfield 12-yard line and, surprisingly, went with a fade to the corner of the end zone into double coverage. Quarterback Matt Cahill lofted the ball up and fellow-junior John Harris brought it down one-handed against his chest for the touchdown catch.
The Warrior sideline erupted as the team took the lead for the first time in the game.
“It’s indescribable when you catch it like that,” Harris said of the play. “It was late in the game and the team really needed it. As an offense, we marched and marched but were stopped, and our defense was stopping them. Our offense made some mistakes, but we stepped up in the end.”
Harris finished the night with three catches for 78 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown catch. Cahill passed for 96 yards, completing 6 of 11 attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
For L-S, the offense wasn’t pretty. But in the end, got the job done.
“We have an inconsistent offense,” said L-S coach Tom Lopez. “We really haven’t found ourselves as a team. Part of it’s my fault bouncing between two offenses…but we just haven’t gelled yet.”
Marshfield’s offensive unit was just as inconsistent.
The visiting team scored its only touchdown of the night on Michael Williams’ 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Williams finished the night with five carries for 58 yards and did not touch the ball in the second half.
Most of Marshfield’s offense was piled up by senior running back Tom Pomella. The fullback gained 78 yards on 11 carries for the Rams.
However, the Warriors defense was outstanding. The group was led by junior Tyler Daway at linebacker, and seniors Zach Smerlas and Lawrence Stevenson on the defensive line.
Daway sacked Marshfield’s Mark Pomella once in the second quarter on a key fourth down, and then on a third down in the third quarter, as the Rams offense seemed to be putting things together.
“There is no way to describe how it feels as a quarterback to know that if your offense stalls out, as a team, the defense is going to go out there and get the ball back,” Cahill said about the defense.