NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Stoughton continue to turn Hockomock League history on its head with a hard fought 12-7 win over North Attleboro on Friday night at Community Field. Running back Frankie Morris was the star for Stoughton with two touchdown runs.
North Attleboro, playing without star tailback Alex Jette and lineman Sean Peters, took a 7-6 lead with only seven minutes remaining in the game following an impressive 17-play, 89-yard drive. Senior quarterback Ryan Perron (11 carries, 63 yards) finished it with a 3-yard run. Momentum seemed to be with the home side.
It did not last long.
Malachi Baugh returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards into North Attleboro territory. Baugh then took the next two carries for another 30 yards down to the North 15. Two plays later, Morris rumbled 14 yards behind a wall of blockers to put Stoughton back out in front.
In a sign of how far things have turned in the Hockomock this season, Stoughton coach Greg Burke was not celebrating his team’s first win over the Rocketeers since 2006, but lamenting the poor coverage on a fourth down play that allowed North to score.
“You want to be able to secure a victory and we didn’t get that done on fourth down. That will certainly be discussed at length on Monday,” said Burke. “We had a broken coverage and that shouldn’t have happened.”
North Attleboro’s final chance to try and win the game ended when Perron was sacked for the fourth time on the night. Stoughton’s defense was once again outstanding led by Marcus Middleton and leading tackler Shawn Connolly.
Following the game, Rocketeers coach Don Johnson admitted that not having Jette was a major factor, but also noted his team’s struggles to execute offensively, “Kind of the story of our season, the last few games here, just a few too many mistakes to win a football game against a good football team. Would we have probably won if we had those guys, yeah I think so, but the reason we’re losing is cause we’re making unforced errors.”
North Attleboro marched down the field on its opening possession only to see the drive stall in the red zone. A 15-yard chop block penalty negated a big play that would have given the Rocketeers a first and goal situation.
According to Johnson this has become a trend in recent weeks, “I can’t tell you how many times that has happened the last few weeks where we are going in on a scoring drive and we have a bad penalty or fumble or something.”
The Black Knights first drive ended inside the North Attleboro 10-yard line. Stoughton opened the scoring after a bad punt handed them back possession at the North Attleboro 25. Buagh, Aaron Mack, and Middleton got the ball to the six where Morris finished off the drive on a power sweep to the left side behind several blockers.
The major concern for Burke after the game was a leg injury suffered by Adam Leonard, who is a force on the Stoughton defense and was called “one of the best players in the state” by his head coach. No initial diagnosis was available.
This was Stoughton’s first win over North Attleboro since a 12-8 win at Community Field in 2006. Last season, Stoughton and North played an overtime thriller that the Rocketeers edged on a two-point conversion in overtime.
Stoughton (6-0) will put its perfect record on the line next Saturday against divisional rival Sharon. North Attleboro (3-3) will try to turn things around on Friday at struggling Taunton.