Stoughton High Football Pulls Out 2OT Thriller Against West Springfield
For the second straight week Stoughton played an overtime game. This time the Black Knights pulled out the win, 13-7, in double overtime over West Springfield, bouncing back from last Thursday’s overtime loss at North Attleboro.
Just like last Thursday’s game at North Attleboro, on the final play of Friday’s home game against West Springfield, Stoughton pressured the opposing quarterback forcing him to rush his throw.
Last Thursday, NA quarterback Spyro Varetimos found his tight end for the game-winning two-point conversion. But on Friday night, West Springfield quarterback Ty Mann’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth down, giving Stoughton a 13-7 win in double overtime.
“The last plays were both the same; [we] had the same intensity. Both times I thought we would come out winning, and this time we did.” junior Adam Leonard said.
Field conditions were sloppy at best, and neither team scored in regulation, but after four quarters, a 40-minute delay for lightning in the middle of the third quarter, two overtime periods, and multiple bouts of heavy rain, the Stoughton High football team came away with the non-league victory, improving to 4-2 on the season. Meanwhile, West Springfield falls to 3-3.
Junior running back Aaron Mack scored both touchdowns in overtime for the Black Knights and senior John Olsen and Leonard came up with key plays on what turned out to be West Springfield’s final drive, to preserve the victory. When Mann’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down, Stoughton’s fans rushed the field.
“I was walking off the field last week [at North Attleboro] and everyone was just rushing right by me. It was awful,” Olsen said. “And then this week to see everyone charge out there—it was a great feeling.”
After playing in their first overtime game against North Attleboro since the Hockomock League adopted overtime rules, Stoughton has now played two overtime contests in a row.
“I don’t want to get too good at going to overtime,” Stoughton coach Greg Burke joked. “But I’ll take this one; the kids played hard.”
Tied at zero, West Springfield had the ball first in overtime, starting at the Stoughton 10-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Mann found Chris Lipscomb in the end zone for the first points of the game. The extra point put West Springfield ahead 7-0.
Stoughton answered on the second play of their drive, with Mack scoring on a 4-yard run. Senior Alex Fernandes converted the extra point to send the game into the second overtime.
The Black Knights had the ball first in the second overtime, and Mack scored on the second play of the drive, this time on a 6-yard run, to put Stoughton up 13-7.
“Everybody did their job; everybody did what they were supposed to do and it resulted in touchdowns,” Mack said.
With the extra point no longer in play, Stoughton had to go for a two-point conversion. Fernandes’ pass sailed over the head of junior Aaron Calixte.
West Springfield lost yards on the first two plays of the ensuing drive, but drew a pass interference penalty on third down to put the ball at the Stoughton 1-yard line.
“If it looks like you’re beat, you take a penalty,” Burke said.
But Stoughton was bailed out on the next play. West Springfield was called for a false start, pushing them back five yards.
After two short runs, Olsen came up with a bone-crushing hit to break up an attempted screen pass on third down. Then on fourth down, Leonard burst through the West Springfield offensive line, got in Mann’s face, and forced a hurried throw, ending the game.
Both teams had trouble moving the ball on offense in regulation. Stoughton’s grass field was muddy and the periods of heavy rain didn’t help. Stoughton fumbled six times, but lost only one. West Springfield fumbled five times, losing three.
“The field conditions were obviously bad,” Mack said, “But we both stuck to an offense that we thought would work. Nature just took its toll on us. We couldn’t do anything about that.”
Stoughton turned the ball over on downs three times in West Springfield territory. Their best chance to score in regulation came early in the fourth quarter.
The Black Knights punted from their own 23-yard line towards the end of the third quarter, but West Springfield fumbled the return, giving Stoughton the ball back at the West Springfield 37-yard line.
Both teams traded personal fouls, and then runs by Mack and junior Frankie Morris got Stoughton to the West Springfield 8-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter.
After Fernandes’ pass to junior Marcus Middleton fell incomplete on third down, Stoughton opted to go for it on 4th and 7 with 10:50 left in the fourth, rather than kick a field goal. Fernandes tired to connect with Middleton again, but this pass was also incomplete.
“We were thinking of [kicking a field goal], but we’re also thinking score. I think [if we score] a touchdown, the game’s over to be honest with you,” Burke said. “If it’s later in the game, percentage wise you probably should kick a field goal.”
Stoughton also had the ball inside the West Springfield 10-yard line early in the second quarter, after Fernandes connected with Calixte for 48 yards, but the Black Knights lost a fumble on the next play at the West Springfield 5-yard line.
West Springfield’s best chance to score came on their final drive of regulation late in the fourth quarter.
A 27-yard pass from Mann to Dan Jonah (who had several big plays on the night) gave West Springfield the ball on the Stoughton 37-yard line with 2:25 left.
But, Stoughton senior Andrew Paredes came up with a tackle for a 3-yard loss on the next play. Mann’s next three passes were incomplete, giving Stoughton the ball back with a minute left, putting the two teams in position to play overtime.
Stoughton travels to Attleboro next Friday at 7 p.m.