With the Stoughton High football team's 26-8 win against Attleboro last Friday at home, Stoughton Patch will look at some key factors contributing to the win and look ahead to this Friday's road contest against Bridgewater-Raynham (5-4) at 7 p.m. Stoughton is 8-1 heading into the game.
1. Dan Eckler, Touchdown Machine - Quarterback Dan Eckler has come up huge for Stoughton the last two games, as the Knights have started to pull away from a run-heavy offense into a more balanced attack. The team has been counting on Eckler to pass a lot more and he is delivering for the team. Last Friday against Attleboro, Eckler went 8 for 12 logging 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of which were to different receivers. He has six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) in the last two weeks.
Eckler gave his offensive line credit for his recent passing success, "The line does a great job. The kids just get wide open and all I have to do is just throw it up and they catch it," Eckler said. "I think the first half of the season since we were running the ball so well teams had to adjust to that. Now we can just run play-action and throw it over their heads."
2. Stoughton Defense - So far in 9 games Stoughton has allowed a measly 78 points (8.6 points per game). If Stoughton has strong defensive performances the last two games they have a chance to allow less than 100 total points this season. Currently, Stoughton is the only team in the Hockomock League to allow less than 100 total points and less than 10 points per game. Against Attleboro the Knights did not allow Attleboro to gain any momentum early. The first nine Attleboro drives resulted in 4 turnover on downs, 2 interceptions, a fumble and 2 punts (one of which was blocked).
3. Bridgewater-Raynham - Despite the 5-4 record the Trojans are considered one of the top teams in the state. The four losses have come to La Salle (a strong Rhode Island team) and Massachusetts teams Barnstable, St. John's Prep and Duxbury, who have all been ranked in the top 10 at some point this season by ESPN Boston in its top 25 poll, and are 1, 2 and, respectively, in the most recent Boston Herald rankings. Key players to watch for Bridgewater-Raynham are quarterback Jordan Cohen and receiver Ryan Scripter. Players to watch on the defensive side of the ball are linebacker Devin Morris and lineman Mike Clifford.
4. Staying Healthy - The most important objective in this Friday's game is to stay healthy. This non-league game against a tough Bridgewater-Raynham team does not count (it has no impact on Stoughton's playoff hopes) but it will be a good test for the Knights if they are able to find themselves in the postseason. Most important though if the Knights win or lose this game is to stay healthy going into potentially one of the biggest games in Stoughton history on Thanksgiving vs. rival Canton, which could decide the Davenport Division.
5. Foxborough at Sharon - More important than Stoughton's non league game is the Hockomock League, Davenport Division game between Foxborough and Sharon Saturday at 1 p.m. in Sharon. If Sharon wins, the Eagles win the Davenport Division spoiling Stoughton's incredible season up to date. If Foxborough wins, all three teams (Stoughton, Sharon, Foxborough) have a chance for the Division title on Thanksgiving.
After the Attleboro game, Stoughton head coach Greg Burke did not seem to concerned about the game that could potentially end Stoughton's season, "Whatever happens there that happens. We're just more concerned with our team. I can't be worried about Sharon-Foxborough to be honest with you," he said. But, you can bet coach Burke and the team will be paying close attention to Sharon/Foxborough come Saturday afternoon.
Click here for a full recap from the Stoughton/Attleboro game
Click here for a full recap from Bridgewater-Raynham's last game
Can't make it to Friday's game at Bridgewater-Raynham? You can follow all the action right on Stoughton Patch with our live blog.
The Stoughton High football program will be holding its 3rd annual alumni flag football game Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. The game will also involve parents of current seniors and juniors. Cost is $35 per person, which goes to fund scholarships for graduating Black Knight seniors. Anyone interested in participating, contact Coach Greg Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stoughton Patch editor Jeffrey Pickette contributed reporting.