|Dracut quarterback Matt Grimard (3) carries two Brockton defenders with him during first-half action. (ROB KLEIN/FOR THE GLOBE)|
BROCKTON - The Boxers were knocked out last night, suffering an anguishing 34-32 season-opening loss to Division 1A heavyweight Dracut, whose senior quarterback Matt Grimard delivered play after play, on the ground and through the air.
It came down to the last two minutes, after Brockton rallied to within 2 points, but the Boxers couldn't regain possession as Dracut ran out the clock.
Brockton went up, 25-21, in the second half on senior Jamal Johnson's 22-yard run, but Grimard scored back-to-back touchdowns to to send his team soaring past the Boxers for good.
"I felt good when we got the lead," Brockton coach Peter Colombo said. "We just couldn't put the stop on them on defense."
Dracut staggered the Boxers early, when Rakeem Shepherd ran 65 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.
The home team took the play in stride, and scored a touchdown of its own to tie the game at 6-6 nearly two minutes later, with Khalil James-Offley getting his first of many opportunities to shine. James-Offley bounded into the end zone after right tackle Ryan Eastman provided a key block.
Dracut answered before the quarter ended, Grimard rushed it in from the 2 for his first of four touchdowns. A 2-point conversion gave Dracut a 14-6 lead after one quarter.
Brockton stopped the Middies' attack in the second quarter, and got a 61-yard jaunt by James-Offley to trail, 14-12, at halftime.
But Grimard wasn't done. He ran for three more TDs in the second half, giving his team what they needed to hold off Brockton.
Dracut coach Jeff Moore was elated after the game, praising Grimard.
"As you can see [Grimard's] a tough [kid to] kind of tackle," Moore said. "He's 235 pounds, he's a big guy and he's very hard to tackle."