BROCKTON - Coming off a 34-6 thrashing at the hands of Xaverian Sept. 28, Brockton coach Peter Colombo was unsure how his team would be playing at this point in the season.
After a decisive 34-14 victory over New Bedford yesterday that gave the Boxers their sixth consecutive Big Three title, Colombo has his answer.
Since the loss to Xaverian, the Boxers have rolled off six straight wins and averaged 33 points per game. The trends continued yesterday as Brockton (7-3, 2-0) scored 46 seconds into the game when junior Sam Previte took a quarterback keeper 28 yards for a touchdown.
Soon after the touchdown, linebacker Alex White intercepted Whaler quarterback Nate Lewis and returned it to the New Bedford 8. Running back Khalil James-Offley's 8-yard run put Brockton ahead, 14-0.
A 59-yard run through the middle by Earnest Jones led to Jones's 3-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 lead with 5:27 remaining in the first quarter. It was the type of start Colombo wanted.
"We came out fired up and really executed well in that first quarter," he said.
New Bedford (2-8, 0-1) responded with a 27-yard strike from Lewis to Jon Gomes to get within 21-7 but James-Offley refused to let the Whalers come any closer.
On fourth and 4, James-Offley patiently followed his blockers and streaked down the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown with 2:02 left in the half.
"That felt good; we're really coming together," James-Offley said.
James-Offley continued to torture the Whaler defense during the Boxers' first possession of the second half. He took a third-and-10 59 yards for a 34-7 lead. James-Offley finished with 192 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
"He is becoming one of the classic Brockton running backs," Colombo said. "When you think of all the great backs that have come through here, he's writing his own chapter in the history books."
The Brockton offensive line has only one returning starter (Henry Thevenin) from last year's standout group, but this year's line is making a name for itself.
The New Bedford defensive line had trouble penetrating and the Boxers offensive line often created huge gaps for their running backs.
"I'm really proud of that group, they've performed well all year," Colombo said.
As the Boxers head toward their Thanksgiving Day matchup against Waltham and a postseason rematch with undefeated Dartmouth (the Boxers lost, 40-7, in last year's Division 1 semifinal), they will not be lacking confidence.
"Another conference title is great," Colombo said. "We feel as though we can compete with anyone and we look forward to getting another shot at Dartmouth."