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Strong Fourth Quarter Propels Stoughton High Football Past Taunton

The Stoughton High football team improves to 2-0 on the young season following a 22-0 win Friday on the road. Fourteen of the team's 22 points were scored in the fourth quarter. Take a look at photos from the game in the media gallery.

While the had outplayed Taunton for the first three quarters of Friday's contest, the Black Knights only carried a 6-0 lead into the final 11 minutes of play, unable to break the game open.

Two Taunton turnovers in the fourth quarter changed that however, as the Black Knights capitalized on the Tiger miscues, pulling away for a 22-0 road win . Meanwhile Taunton, the Hockomock league's newest member, falls to 0-2.

Down by six, Taunton had possession to start the fourth and was driving, looking for a potential game-tying score. But about three minutes into the fourth, Stoughton's Aaron Mack recovered a fumble at the Stoughton 34-yard line, one of six turnovers the Stoughton defense forced on the afternoon.

"Our defense came up big," Stoughton coach Greg Burke said.

The Stoughton offense took the field and on the very next play quarterback Dan Eckler found Mack, who caught the ball and spun past a number of Taunton defenders for a 66-yard touchdown catch and run. A two-point conversion pass from Eckler to Malachi Baugh put the Black Knights up 14-0 with 8 minutes left in the game.

"[Eckler] can throw the ball, he can run the ball, he's a good leader," Burke said of his quarterback. "Our pass blocking was great."

Three minutes later, with the Taunton offense driving again, Stoughton's Tim Porter came up with an interception, which set up Stoughton's next score.

The Stoughton offense took over at its own 23 following the Porter pick and five plays later found the end zone, with Baugh breaking free for a 56-yard touchdown run with 2:30 left in the game.

A two-point conversion pass from Eckler to tight end Andrew Kelly in the back of the end zone put the Black Knights up 22-0, effectively dashing any hopes of a Taunton comeback.

Baugh ended Taunton's ensuing offensive drive early, recording his second interception of the season with 1:53 left in the fourth, allowing the Stoughton offense to take a knee and run out the clock.

With both teams struggling to find a rhythm in the first half - at one point Stoughton and Taunton traded fumbles on consecutive plays in the first quarter - it was a Taunton turnover which set up Stoughton's first score.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Andrew Valle intercepted a pass from Taunton quarterback Adam Leonard inside Stoughton's 20-yard line. The Black Knights preceded to go on a near-eight minute drive highlighted by Eckler finding Valle down the field for a 35-yard pass on third down, and capped by Frankie Morris, who scored on a run from five yards out with 2:28 left in the half.

Stoughton missed the extra point, but took a 6-0 lead.

, Burke felt his team played its best football in the second half.

"We made a lot of mistakes [in the] first half. Thank goodness they weren't winning. We didn't play well the first half [and] that's our fault...we seemed to hang in [there] and make some plays," Burke said.

"I think the second half we controlled the ball a little more," he continued. "Each week we played better in the second half."

Stoughton's three-man backfield of Mack, Morris and Baugh once again led the charge on offense picking up almost 200 yards combined on the ground, paced by a 101-yard effort by Baugh.

Stoughton mixed in more passing against Taunton than in . After throwing just four times against Holliston, Eckler completed five of eight passes for 134 yards and a touchdown against Taunton. He also added a pair of successful two-point conversion passes through the air.

While the Black Knights missed injured defensive starters Mike Connelly and Rob Allen on the defensive line, Stoughton perfectly executed the bend-but-don't-break defense to preserve the shutout.

Taunton was able to move the ball but all eight drives came up empty, often because Stoughton forced a turnover. The Tigers fumbled three times, threw three interceptions, turned the ball over on downs once and punted once. Meanwhile, Stoughton took much better care of the ball, only fumbling once.

On defense, Kelly and Dominic Evangelista both came up with sacks. Stoughton's Adam Leonard and Joey Wilder combined for a sack, while Leonard also recorded two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. And, Valle, Porter and Baugh came up with the aforementioned interceptions. Mack and Wilder also had fumble recoveries.

Stoughton scored all three of its touchdowns off Taunton turnovers.

2-0 Stoughton has its home-opener next Friday, hosting Pembroke, a team Davenport Division rival Oliver Ames beat in the playoffs en route to the Division 3 Super Bowl a year ago. Meanwhile, Taunton looks for its first win of the season against Durfee.

Josh Brown contributed reporting.

Fiscal Conservative September 15, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Great job guys. 2 - 0 start. 9 to go. enjoy the win, Continue to work hard. Tough part of season will be coming up. Take each game, one at a time, don't look forward. Remember, your next game is the biggest one of the year. Congrats, you earned it.
Raquel September 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM
The fact you guys star seasson whit out 2 senior player important for team....you guys are good keep hard work we so proud of you God Bless you
Stephen Mack September 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Great Win for the black and orange…ooooppps, the Black and Orange from toughtown… Gotta be careful as to what I say…..don’t want to appear to be too emotional you know…after all, it’s just a football game…. You certainly don’t want to get too excited over a sporting event….never could understand why all the “high-fives” and the shouting. (TONGUE SQUARELY IN CHEEK) Great Start to what will be a very tough season….. 2-0 nice job guys….When was the last time the home town team started 2-0? Something that hasn’t been done in awhile….great job coaches… !!!
Stephen Mack September 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Another gutsy TEAM WIN. Defense did a great job keep Taunton out of the end zone… got nervous a few times, but the “D” tightened up at the right time. Kudos all around for this win. We so missed the toughness and strength of Mike C., and Robert A. Hope these two make a speedy recovery….These two seniors are needed as we make a push this year..it’ll be so much tougher without them… Coaching staff, making the offensive adjustments in the 2nd half….uuhhmm, please pardon the excitement here, but again… Mack, Morris, Malachi……BEST BACKFIELD AROUND…good argument can be made…how many offsides have been called on the opposition when one of these three start in motion…D-lines are concerned about this backfield, as well they should be… Speaking of Offsides… I am thrilled to have the Eckler, Leonard combination starting together. I think it’s a wonderful thing to have this particular Center/QB combination (things really do work out for the best) going into their senior year together…this tandem which has been together for so many years in Pop Warner…getting to finish their careers in highschool…and they have mastered the art of pulling folks offsides…great job guys.
Stephen Mack September 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Danny has raised the bar when it comes to Quarterback Intelligence…he has always played this position with poise and intelligence…. I am amazed, as I watch passing plays develop he scouts the field, and typically will get the ball to the open receiver…very rarely does he force a ball into tight coverage…great decisions!!! Does a great job delivering the ball as well….typically, out in front…on the hands…right where it should be…. Adam is the anchor of a very solid o-line…I think he’s the only senior in the group…what a smart and tough kid to have right in the middle of this group…. Gotta say…. I love watching Andrew Kelly play defense….whether at D-end, or linebacker…kid sets a great edge …I remember him working so hard when he was much younger… always working and trying to get better… I thought about that a few times on Friday night…each time Taunton tried to get to his outside…he’d force traffic back inside….Great job AK…..!! Lot of kudos, for both lines….the success of any team starts primarily with the O-line, and then secondarily the D-line, then Quarterback….for this particular team to be 2-0…most of the credit certainly starts with these three areas….great job lines….this is a brutal schedule we have this year…so much of our success will be dependent on these two lines…..
Stephen Mack September 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I know the LB’s and DB’s put in extra work this summer….. great to see….more of course will be needed… but the two plays of the game on the defensive side of ball were both picks by the LB’s, Great job Porter…..!!! last year there was a stretch where we were thrown on continuously….huge difference so far….how many picks is this in two games…? So good to see the change. Malachi has a great nose for the ball….great having him back there…. Well, wise ole coach once said….we’re climbing the ladder, and we gotta take it one rung at a time, huh? (never knew if he were making a declarative statement, or asking a question…love ya Jack), but yep….rung # 2 is done…..great to see seat full this weekend for home opener…..
Stephen Mack September 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Favorite memory of game...? Seeing Mr. Hoffman strap on his helmet and taking the field....good to see ya back Brett.... Go Knights....!!!!!!!
Fiscal Conservative September 17, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Stephen----Great job ragging on me. I appreciate it, not offended in any way. I, too, feel good about this team and want continued successs (for all teams SHS fields). We're about to enter a tough stretch of games, one at a time, no looking down the road. I hope you agree with me on this point. Each week is the most important game of the season. Enjoy the win, they deserve it. Still have to work hard to maintain the momentum, can't rest on past games. That's why the games are played, never know what can happen. I think you and I are on the same page for the team, we just go about it differently. Our ultimate goal is the same.
Stephen Mack September 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
FC, so true....brutal schedule they have this year.....Mansfield, No. Attleboro (they just beat BC High), these teams, and others are not going to lay down for SHS, because we beat Taunton....Our kids are going to have to do more.... i thing we agree....Practice Hard, Game Easy..... Practice Easy, Game Hard...... our boys are needing to work their butts off each day....to have a winning season, and make it to the playoffs, which i know is a goal of theirs....let's celebrate the wins, but focus in on the Playoffs...we often hear folks talk about "memorable" seasons....for these kids, this season has the potential to be just one of those seasons....but it will only occur if they "win"....winning doesn't happen of Friday Night....Winning occurs only Monday-Thursday.....on the practice field at the middleschool, when nobody is watching....if these kids can realize this and have ...Winning practices it will translate into successful Friday Nights....and enough successful Friday Nights will translate into special seasons...let's continue to hope that these fine young men continue to work Extremely Hard, Monday-Thursday....much love my friend...Go Knights...!!!!!!
Lauren Morris September 26, 2012 at 08:24 PM
so true
Fiscal Conservative September 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Darn it, I hear NFL "replacement" referees will be working the game!!!

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