Stoughton defeats Pembroke with strong second half
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STOUGHTON — Stoughton and Pembroke looked evenly matched after the first half. The second half was a different story.
The Black Knights (3-0) dominated the final 22 minutes en route to a 27-7 win Friday night.
Pembroke (1-1) got the ball, trailing 13-7, to start the second half and the Black Knights’ defense quickly forced a three and out.
“I didn’t love the first half defense,’’ said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “But we come back and sort of make a big play when we had to.”
Stoughton then got the ball at its 46-yard line and on the third play of the drive, Malachi Baugh ran 40 yards untouched up the middle for a score. The 2-point conversion pass from Dan Eckler to Aaron Mack made it 21-7.
Baugh finished with 100 yards on nine carries.
“You will never find a tougher kid than him. He is the strongest kid on the team pound for pound, and when he gets going you ain’t getting him,” said Burke.
On the second play of Pembroke’s next possession, Lennox Green intercepted a Pembroke pass Titan quarterback Cory Brandon and took it back 55 yards to the 2-yard line. A horse collar penalty placed the ball at the 1 and Frankie Morris punched it in two plays later to give the Black Knights a 20-point cushion.
The Titans didn’t go down without a fight, driving to the 5 on their next possession, but on fourth and 2, Mack tackled Colin Claflin for a loss.
“Who knows what happens [if they get the first down]. That was huge,” said Burke.
The Black Knights took the lead on their second drive of the game. On first and 10 from the Pembroke 44, Eckler found tight end Andrew Kelly streaking across the middle. Kelly ran diagonally to the left sideline and broke a tackle at the 10-yard line to get in for the score.
Six plays and 2½ minutes later, Pembroke tied the score as Claflin rushed for an 8-yard TD.
Mistakes haunted the Titans, who committed three turnovers in the game. The first was a fumble by wide receiver Nicholas Burns at the Stoughton 32-yard line, which led to an 8-yard TD run up the middle by Frankie Morris with 5:30 left in the half.
Marcus Middleton also had a huge interception , picking off Brandon in the end zone with less than a minute left in the first half.
Middleton, who was playing his first game of the season, also starred on offense, rushed for 65 yards on four carries and caught two passes for 35 yards.
“He is a great athlete,’’ said Burke. “”We haven’t had him in two weeks. He just helps us. He can cover guys, he can catch the ball, he can run a little bit. It is a major difference [having Middleton],” said Burke.
Morris (53 yards, 13 carries, 2 TDs) and Mack (42 yards, 7 carries) led Stoughton’s rushing attack.