Varsity football runs undefeated season to division championship

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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

North Attleborough’s varsity football team has a lot to be proud of, finishing their season undefeated and Davenport Division champions of the Hockomock League.

The Red Rocketeers bested the Foxboro Warriors 14-10 on Friday, April 9, closing out the season with five wins and zero losses. Varsity Coach Donald Johnson said that Foxboro and North have had a fierce rivalry that goes back to the 1980s. That competitive history resurfaced this year with the Warriors being the team to beat.

They have a very aggressive defense, they’re very physical,” said Johnson. “They’re a talented offense that could both run and throw the ball.”

The game itself was close, and Johnson said the big concern was the condition of the Rocketeers following their win over Stoughton the previous week. Johnson said the players were in rough shape after the game. With the win over Stoughton, North qualified for a share of the Davenport Division Championship, and some were satisfied with having come that far. Both Stoughton and Foxboro had one loss, and had North been defeated by Foxboro, the three teams would have finished the season as co-champions.

At the game, the first half saw some penalties against North, along with a few fumbles and an intercepted pass. Johnson said that North controlled the fourth quarter with a strong offensive drive that took up 20 plays. With two minutes to go, Quarterback Tyler DeMattio scored a touchdown. All told, DeMattio scored both touchdowns and made the field goal kicks, completing 19 carries for 126 yards.

Johnson said that Foxboro fought hard after the second touchdown, making it to midfield by the end of the game.

It came down to the last moment,” he said. “They (the team) were jubilant at that point. They had to endure an awful lot. To see them rush the field and celebrate, that’s the best part.”

North’s football teams had to endure some radical changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the entire season moved from the fall to early spring. In addition, Johnson said the players had to move all their weightlifting equipment to a shed near Beaupre Field, as they couldn’t use the indoor facility. The delay worked in their favor, however, as the players were able to spend a lot of time on weight training, improving their strength on the field.

They dedicated themselves to the weight racks, becoming bigger, stronger, and tougher in the process,” said Johnson. “I’m not sure the others (teams) took advantage of it (the extra time).”

With this win, North Attleborough has earned itself a bye week, giving them time to prepare for the big game on April 24 against the Attleboro Blue Bombardiers, the 100th anniversary of this storied rivalry. The game, which normally takes place on Thanksgiving Day, had to be postponed due to the pandemic. In 2019, North was defeated by Attleboro after an intense game.

The kids were great,” said Johnson. “They hung tough. There were lot of challenges and they just kept fighting.”