N. ATTLEBORO — There was something different about the way Stoughton junior Malachi Baugh was moving around the field during the Black Knights’ 12-7 win over North Attleboro Friday night.
The Black Knights have their senior power back in Frankie Morris (6 feet, 200 pounds). They have seniors Aaron Mack (6 feet, 200) and Marcus Middleton (5-10, 180), who can sprinkle in some solid rushing attempts. But none were as flavorful as Baugh on Friday.
On the kickoff after North Attleboro had taken a 7-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, Baugh picked up a bouncing football at his 5-yard line. Like a pinball that had been waiting to launch for 36 minutes, he shot up field and carved an unthinkable path through and around diving would-be tacklers.
Baugh doesn’t remember the details of his electric run, but he was finally brought down at the North Attleboro 46.
Offensive coordinator Brian Carew called Baugh’s number on back-to-back plays and the 5-9, 170-pound tailback picked up 30 more yards, getting Stoughton into the red zone.
From there, Morris delivered a 14-yard TD run and the Black Knights saved their perfect season (6-0).
“I could see it in his eyes,” said Carew. “We had the huddle after a timeout and I looked at him and said, ‘You’re going to get it.’ ”
North Attleboro coach Don Johnson could only shrug his shoulders after the game.
“It’s something I was worried about all night long,” Johnson said of Stoughton’s two-minute scoring drive that wrapped it up. “They have that capability. Every play you’re on the edge of your seat knowing they can break any one, and they did it in that series.”
Stoughton had been forcing Morris straight up the middle for most of the first half, and the big back eventually found pay dirt late in the second quarter on a 5-yard run. The score was set up by a botched punt by North Attleboro.
North Attleboro finally scored when senior quarterback Ryan Perron ran in from 4 yards to cap a 16-play drive in the fourth quarter to give the hosts a 7-6 lead.
But Baugh kept waiting, and Carew knew something special was going to happen. Baugh is a young man who can often be seen doing backflips on the sideline. There is magic in his feet, it just took three quarters for it to appear.
“He’s the best athlete we have, no question,” Carew said. “He just has the heart. He didn’t want to go down.
“We have four backs capable of getting yardage. Three are seniors. Next year, this will be [Baugh’s] team.”
Morris (13 carries, 43 yards) scored both TDs and Baugh was the catalyst (eight carries for 60 yards, two catches for 30 yards).
“I’m just thankful God gave me my chance,” said Baugh, who has also been a stalwart on defense this season. “[Other teams] know who I am, but I guess they know more of me now.”