Sharon did something that no other team has been able to do against the so far this season—score first.
The Eagles took a 7-0 lead a little more than three minutes into the second quarter on a 3-yard run by junior Sean Asnes on 4th and goal, but the Black Knights answered on their next drive, and ended up scoring 28 unanswered points, at home Saturday afternoon.
With the win improves to 3-1, while Sharon falls to 2-2. This was the first contest for both teams.
Sharon kept Stoughton’s ground game in check, so the Black Knights turned to the passing game in the second quarter, trailing 7-0.
On the drive following Sharon’s touchdown, junior Dan Eckler completed four passes to four different receivers before firing a 27-yard touchdown to junior Aaron Mack.
With two defenders in his face, Mack came down with the catch, falling on his backside into the end zone with 1:48 left before halftime.
“They were really trying to take away the run from us, and they should, and we caught them a little bit on a couple of passes,” Stoughton coach Greg Burke said.
Sharon went three-and-out on their next drive, with Stoughton senior Alex Kimball rushing Caleb Piltch-Loeb’s throw on third down, to help get the Eagles off the field. Kimball provided defensive pressure all afternoon for the Black Knights.
Stoughton got the ball back with 43 seconds left at its own 37-yard line after the Sharon punt. A half-minute later, Stoughton scored again when another Stoughton quarterback victimized the Eagles’ secondary.
Senior Alex Fernandes connected with junior Marcus Middleton for a 42-yard touchdown strike, just 11 seconds before the half. Sharon’s Asnes had his hand on the ball, but tipped it to Middleton who caught it and went in for the score, putting Stoughton up 14-7, following the extra point.
Sharon coach Dave Morse thought that touchdown was the turning point in the game.
“That gave them some momentum,” Morse said. “They came out in the second half and they kept that momentum up with big plays.”
Stoughton scored twice in a 4:35 span between the third and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach. With 2:28 left in the third, Fernandes threw an 85-yard touchdown to Mack. On the route, Mack separated from his defender, caught the ball and ran up the right sideline for the score.
And then with 8:53 left in the fourth, Mack scored his third touchdown of the game, this time on a 1-yard run. Runs from junior Aaron Calixte and Middleton helped to set up the scoring play.
The Black Knights’ defense kept the Sharon offense quiet in the third and fourth quarters, coming up with three interceptions in the second half. Calixte, junior Matthew Mack, and Middleton recorded the picks, as Sharon struggled to throw the ball.
“I thought we played well in the second half,” Burke said. “They couldn’t get much yards in the second half.”
As for Sharon taking the early lead, Burke gave the Eagles credit, and said it was “easy” just to say his team started off slowly.
“Sharon played well, they’re a tough group,” he said.
Burke also said he was pleased with the way his quarterbacks played. All three quarterbacks for the Black Knights—Fernandes, Eckler and Calixte—saw significant playing time.
“They all have plusses, they all have minuses,” he said. “In the past we’ve had like one, two [quarterbacks], if that, now we have three guys and some young sophomores—[all] who can throw the ball.”
Still, Burke wants to see more from his normally reliable ground game.
“We want to be able to run the ball, so I’m a little disappointed in that and we’ll find out what happened, but otherwise the kids played hard,” Burke said. “I’ll take it, that’s for sure.”
Stoughton travels to North Attleboro this Thursday for a 7 p.m. game.