Brockton outslugs Xaverian in school football
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BROCKTON — In the shadows of the new Rocky Marciano statue, fourth-ranked Xaverian and 12th-ranked Brockton met at the gridiron named after the boxing legend.
True to their name, the Boxers outslugged the Hawks in a hard-hitting game, 22-14, beating Xaverian for the first time since 2007.
“It means a whole heck of a lot,” said senior Micah Morel. “Especially to do it here on our own turf. You never want to graduate saying you never beat Xaverian and I’m happy I don’t have to.”
Brockton coach Peter Colombo echoed the sentiment.
“We’re happy for these seniors,” he said. “They’ve never beaten these guys but now they can say they did.”
In a defensive-minded first half, special teams played a big role for Brockton as an Austin Roberts punt pinned the Hawks inside the 5-yard line. With their backs against the end zone, the Hawks were forced to punt.
The punt was returned 12 yards by junior Aaron LeClair to the Xaverian 32-yard line.
A drive that included a third-and-short and a fourth-and-inches took eight plays before the Boxers broke the scoreless tie. Roberts, who had 26 of his 64 first-half yards on the drive, dove into end zone.
The PAT was blocked but scooped up by Brockton’s Justin Ahanon, who scored for 2 points, and Brockton took the 8-0 lead into halftime.
After rushing for more than 100 yards in the first half and handing the ball off another three times to open the Boxers’ first drive of the second half, the fourth play of the drive called for play-action.
Roberts was able to roll toward the left sideline and find a wide-open Morel for Brockton’s longest pass play of the season, 37 yards.
“The game called for it,” said Roberts, who finished with 80 yards on 16 carries and three completions for 78 yards. “We were running the ball effectively and decided to give it a shot.”
The Hawks fought back and were able to cut the lead down to one possession. On fourth and 4, Austin DeCarr was able to connect with DJ Pagliuca for a 27-yard touchdown.
As it was able to do all game, Brockton leaned on its running game to control the pace as it methodically moved the ball on the next possession.
An 81-yard drive saw all but 17 come from the ground, but it was that 17 in the air that got them in the end zone once again when Roberts and Morel made their second connection of the game.
“The passing game was something we practiced all week,” said Morel. “We took it into the game and were able to execute for a pair of big plays.”
The Brockton defense was able to hold to make the lead stand up, though the Hawks scored a last-minute touchdown on a drive aided by a pair of personal fouls on Brockton.
Xaverian’s ensuing onside kick attempt was no good.