ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Disrespect is one of the most powerful motivators in sports. On Friday night, the Bishop Feehan football team ran onto the McGrath Stadium field fueled by anger and a belief that no one was giving them a chance of beating their huge rivals from North Attleboro. In front of a loud, packed house the Shamrocks sent a message that they are an opponent that should not be taken for granted.
Unfortunately for Feehan, the message was not backed up by a victory.
Both teams left the field angry after North hung on to a 21-14 win. The Rocketeers (3-0) were disappointed with their execution and the turnovers that kept Feehan in the game, while the Shamrocks were left with a feeling of a job left incomplete.
Shamrocks head coach Curt Smith was proud of his team and shared his players’ anger on the limited expectations that most observers had coming into the game, “I’ve never been more proud of a team in defeat as I am of our guys today. The kids play with purpose tonight. Our kids were a little ticked off that everyone was anointing them and nobody believed we could do this but us…we’re a good football team guys.”
The Rocketeers assisted Feehan’s cause with two big fumbles. First Ryan Perron fumbled at his own 3-yard line handing the Shamrocks the ball on the edge of the end zone. Feehan’s Matthew Pisano punched it in 2 plays later. On the next possession, Perron fumbled the snap on the Shamrocks’ 1-yard line when North was on the verge of taking back the lead.
In the fourth quarter, the North special teams failed to execute. First Jette, the North punter, had a punt blocked that Feehan recovered at the North 2-yard line. Pisano again was able to get the score and bring Feehan back within 7 points. On the next possession, Jette fielded a low snap with his knee on the ground for a 12-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
“We made enough mistakes in that game to last a lifetime,” said North head coach Don Johnson. “We had a big win last week and turned the ball over four times so it has been a bit of a concern and something we need to work on.”
While Jette was contained well by the Feehan defense, junior running back Mike Lambert demonstrated that the Rocketeers have multiple weapons. Lambert caught two touchdown passes from Perron, one of 27 yards to open the scoring and another of 43 yards that turned out to be the game-winner. He also put North into the lead at halftime with a 3-yard run.
“He’s done that for us all year, you know. He played tough tonight,” said Johnson who reluctantly admitted that a tough win might be a blessing in disguise for his team heading into conference play. “You just hope you can survive it, which we did, and come out with a win, but then you’ve got to build off it and learn from it.”
North Attleboro will be on the road again next week as they travel to take on another longtime rival, the Foxboro Warriors. Foxboro are coming off a 21-20 loss to Whitman-Hanson.