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N. Attleboro 18, Mansfield 15

Light for Rocketeers

By Lorenzo Recupero
Globe Correspondent / November 12, 2011

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MANSFIELD - The Red Rocketeers are not done yet.

North Attleboro won a much-needed game over defending league champion Mansfied last night, 18-15, to stay in contention for the Hockomock Kelly-Rex championship.

The win by North Attleboro (8-1, 2-1) creates a potential three-way tie with King Philip and Mansfield.

North Attleboro needs a win over Attleboro and some help from Franklin on Thanksgiving, while Manfield (8-2, 3-1) faces Foxboro in a nonleague game Thanksgiving and King Philip plays Franklin.

“This was a great victory for us, hard fought obviously,’’ said North Attleboro coach John Johnson, whose team hasn’t been to the postseason since 2002.

“Every time you play Mansfield, it’s a fight to gain every yard you get, so I’m very happy for our kids that they were able to pull this one out.’’

Mansfield’s very first offensive play, a fumble, was an ominous start. The Red Rocketeers took over at the 10, which led to a 6-yard touchdown rush by senior quarterback Spyro Varetimos 9:20 into the game.

The Red Rocketeers increased their lead to 12 points early in the second quarter after Varetimos linked up with Alex Jette, who made a tremendous effort with a one-handed grab from 5 yards out.

Mansfield’s ensuing drive ended with a punt after a quick three-and-out, but it sailed 54 yards, pinning North Attleboro inside the 1-yard line.

Five plays later, a fumble on the 25 was picked up by Mansfield’s James Comer.

The turnover led to the team’s first points, a 4-yard pass from George Busharis to George Donahue.

After a scoreless third quarter, Varetimos struck again in the fourth for his third and final touchdown on a 5-yard strike to 6-foot-2-inch tight end Paul Norris in the corner of the end zone.

Varetimos finished the game 6-of-9 passing with two touchdowns, and 18 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

“If I had to pick one individual who made the difference for us tonight, it would be Spyro,’’ said Johnson.

Varetimos echoed the coach’s applause.

“I went out and gave it my best and that’s all we can ask for,’’ he said.

“Now we need to win on Thanksgiving.’’