FOXBORO — A game-ending interception with Foxboro High backed well into its own territory sealed its fate on Friday night, with the Warriors falling at home to North Attleboro High, 19-14.
The Warriors took over possession with 1:01 left in the game, and had the ball spotted on their own 32-yard line, but a penalty backed them well within their own territory on the 13-yard line.
After a string of incomplete passes, a Mike Marcucella pass was intercepted by North’s Ryan Bannon to seal the game with three seconds left on the clock.
North Attleboro head coach Mike Strachan said work done in practice prepped the Rocketeers to be ready when they found themselves on the other side of the ball in a “one-minute drill.”
“Just get back to what we do in practice, we practice these situations and they did it excellently,” Strachan said. “Bannon coming up with the interception at the end of the game, it’s really good for us.”
Longtime Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli, who is in his 41st year and has his home field named after him, said there was a life lesson to take out of Friday’s game.
“We came out on the short end but I couldn’t ask any more out of a young football team,” Martinelli said. “We did what we thought we could do. We knew they’d be tough to run against and they played tough. It’s a good life lesson, at halftime we just spoke about how everything’s not going to be 28-0 at half in life. This is only a football game, but there’s a lesson behind it. I think they proved to themselves, most importantly, it’s never over until it’s over and they gave it a good shot.”
Early on, it looked like North Attleboro would be playing catch-up, allowing a game-opening touchdown drive to Foxboro that ended in a 23-yard connection from Marcucella to Lincoln Moore. The score put Foxboro up 7-0 with 5:04 left in the first.
On the next drive, North returned in kind. A methodical drive that started on the 20 went the distance, with the Rocketeers finding paydirt at 7:08 of the second quarter on a 5-yard pitch and catch from quarterback Chase Frisoli to Jack Munley.
The Rocketeers weren’t done though. Following their touchdown they successfully recovered a surprise onside kick, which gave them half a field to work with and still plenty of time left in the half.
The gamble paid off for North as a 40-yard drive ended with Greg Berthiuame bouncing outside off a tackler, scampering across the goal line for a score from 18 yards out. The extra point was blocked, allowing Foxboro a chance to take a lead with 6:48 left in the first half and the score 13-7.
From there, the score remained unchanged as neither side could get anything going on offense. Right before halftime, the Warriors were sacked twice by North Attleboro’s Ayden Delaney to make it fourth and long.
With the sure-footed Sam Carpenter on the bench, Foxboro elected to draw up a play on fourth down that went unsuccessful. The call to go for it instead of attempt what would have been a 57-yard field goal was made following discussions between both Martinelli and Carpenter. Had a field goal been successful, it would have sent the game to halftime with Foxboro still trailing 13-10.
“I asked him what he needs, and I know what he needs, but it would have been a little too long,” Martinelli said. “I had to make a decision, and he wasn’t comfortable with it.”
In the second half, two punts and two interceptions, both from North Attleboro’s Chris Hanewich, came before the next and final score of the game. The Rocketeers were given the ball on their own 44-yard line, and marched down the field with the end result being a Frisoli-to-Berthiaume connection from 5 yards out.
After the touchdown drive in the first series Strachan said defense stepped up and held the Warriors at bay, despite their ability to connect passes at times. In Strachan’s eyes, the winning formula was playing good up front and stopping the run while also applying pressure.
“That first series, we didn’t look very good,” Strachan said. “I think we settled in and Hanewich played really good in the secondary and we played really good up front. From my perspective, that’s where it was won or lost — up front. I’m really proud of our kids.”
The score, along with a failed two-point conversion attempt, made it 19-7 at 8:41 in the fourth quarter. Foxboro ended up scoring late in the fourth, with 2:47 to go on a Marcucella to Tony Sulham score, but weren’t able to add on any more.
The win for North Attleboro moves it to 3-2 on the season. Foxboro falls to 2-4.
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