North Attleboro High put in a commanding offensive performance Friday night at Community Field and, despite a few nervous moments late in the 4th quarter, ran away with a 47-27 victory of La Salle of Providence.
Alex Jette, the star senior running back, had a breakout season in 2011 and put in a Player of the Year-caliber first half. Jette ran for 235 yards on just 4 carries and had another 88 yards receiving on 2 catches while scoring three touchdowns in the opening two quarters as North built a 28-7 halftime lead.
The game was filled with big plays starting with the first play from scrimmage for the Rocketeers. Senior quarterback Ryan Perron, making his first varsity start, hit Jette on a quick wide receiver screen and he broke it for a 62-yard score. With the score 14-7, Jette broke free again, this time on a 79-yard touchdown run. After a big defensive stand, North got the ball back at their own 1-yard line. Two plays later Jette raced 90 yards for his third score.
North coach Don Johnson was just as stunned as the fans by Jette’s first half outburst, “You never expect any kid to have that kind of first half. I know he’s capable of those kind of plays just who would dream that he would have that kind of a first half.”
Jette was not the only one breaking big plays for North on offense. Junior running back Mike Lambert had touchdown runs of 32 yards and 84 yards, the latter capping the game with under a minute to play.
Johnson praised his offensive linemen for creating the holes that led to the touchdowns, “The execution up front to get him the ball was good. We’ve got some pretty good guys up front this year."
Johnson admitted he was looking ahead to North’s showdown with Division 1 powerhouse and defending Super Bowl champions BC High next week when he began making substitutions at the end of the 3rd quarter. The powerful LaSalle offense, which until that point had piled up yards, but not scores, started to get them back into the game.
Star quarterback Anthony Francis and tailback Josh Morris caught fire in the second half and brought the Rams back within two scores at 40-27. North looked to ice the game, but with 3:30 left Perron was intercepted in the end zone by Tyneil Cooper, who returned it to midfield. LaSalle drove the ball into the red zone and with just over a minute left Francis threw incomplete on fourth down at the Rocketeers 10. Lambert then tacked on his second long touchdown and the game finished as a big win for North.
Following the game, Jette received his deserved recognition for an amazing first half, but another Rocketeer whose development may be the key to whether or not North gets back to the playoffs, had a quiet moment to shake hands with his father and brother. Perron was proud of the way the team played in his first start for Big Red.
“I got a lot of experience behind me so it’s a good help," Perron said. "I’m not a captain, but I’m sure ready to be a leader out there and take advantage of the offense. I’ve got weapons around me so I got to use them.”
One of the few flaws in the North Attleboro offense were several fumbled snaps, but Perron is working with his new center to ensure that will not be a problem going forward. Now Perron and the Rocketeers can look ahead to a trip to the defending Division 1 champs.
“They’re a great football team. They’re bringing a lot of guys and they have a lot of athletes, but I think we’re going to bring a lot of athletes there too and play a good football game. I’m ready for it.”