By: Cameron Merritt
For the first time since 2008, the Hilda trophy will return to AHS, as the Blue Bombardiers defeated the North Attleboro Red Rocketeers 34-19 at North’s Community Field.
“It’s honestly a great feeling [to win],” said Damon Belin (11), the running back who took the offensive MVP honors for the game. “It’s a good accomplishment for the whole team. It wasn’t just a one person effort, it was on everybody.”
North Attleboro won the coin toss and elected to defer and from there, the Bombardiers would go on to score on two consecutive drives. Quarterback Tim Walsh (12) took the ball himself in from 34 yards out to give AHS an early lead, which was made 7-0 by Mike Cannata’s (12) successful PAT.
On the resulting kickoff, the Bombardiers forced a Rocketeer fumble that was recovered by AHS’s Joe Deiratani (12) on their own 42 yard line. After a series of runs by Walsh and Belin, Walsh took it in again on a goal line sneak to make it 13-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter. The score would stay that way as Cannata’s PAT came up short, pushed back by the wind.
The Rocketeers would respond in the second quarter, quickly shifting the game’s momentum. A long drive was capped off by a five yard touchdown run from Chris Hunter (12), making it 13-7 after the successful PAT attempt.
Then, Jack Blasé (12) picked off Walsh on the first play of the resulting AHS drive, setting them up in a very good field position at the Bombardiers 25 yard line, and a few plays later, Hunter ran in another touchdown, this one from two yards out, to tie it all up at 13-13.
But the Bombardiers would respond right back on the next drive, capped off by a four yard touchdown run by Belin just before the half to increase their lead to 20-13, following the successful Cannata PAT.
After the half, North received the ball and were eventually forced to punt, and the Bombardiers drove down field from their own 25, finally adding six more points via a two yard run by Tom Burns (12) about midway through the third quarter. Cannata’s PAT increased the AHS lead to 27-13.
In the fourth quarter, the Bombardiers faced a 4th & 13 at midfield and decided on a fake punt run by Walsh, who was stopped before he could reach the first down. The turnover turned into points for the Rocketeers when quarterback James Kummer (12) found Jake Lang (12) wide open for a 31 yard touchdown to bring the score within 10. However, a fumbled snap on the PAT followed by a failed attempt to run it into the end zone meant the Bombardiers would still hold an eight point lead.
That lead would increase to 15 when Belin ran in his second touchdown of the day from eight yards out with 2:53 left to play. Cannata’s PAT would bring it to 34-19, and after a couple more drives, the Bombardiers forced a North turnover on downs when Luke Morrison (12) and Andrew Carrello (12) sacked Kummer for a loss of 18. Taking the ball, they kneeled twice and allowed the clock to run out, sealing their second victory over their arch-rival this year.
“[This win] feels amazing. It’s unforgettable. It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said AHS’s defensive MVP of the game, Ryan Bowen (12), an award that made the win even better, though he added he said he couldn’t have done it without his teammates.
Looking back at how much progress AHS had made since their 7-7 performance last year, Walsh said, “We went down with a seven game losing streak last year, so we just had [a strong] work ethic going into this season… I feel like the ‘Blue Pride’ in this town is back.”
This article originally appeared on http://www.hockomocksports.com