Mansfield goes out a winner
Gilmore gets the call; his play is the difference
FOXBOROUGH - That Danny Gilmore played at running back as well as defensive back in Mansfield’s 14-7 Thanksgiving Day victory yesterday over Foxboro was notable for two reasons:
One, Mansfield’s leading rusher, Greg Donahue, injured an ankle in the first quarter that sidelined him the rest of the way and forced coach Mike Redding to insert Gilmore at that position.
And two, Gilmore suggested a play at halftime to Redding that proved to be the difference in the outcome.
Ninth-ranked Mansfield (9-2) had a first down at Foxboro’s 14 when quarterback George Busharis threw a pass to Gilmore, who crossed the goal line with 3.7 seconds left to break a 7-7 tie.
“It’s called waggle throw back and Danny suggested the play,’’ Redding said. “He said on the back side it didn’t look like anybody was over there. I said ‘OK, Danny.’ Down at the end, I said let’s give it a shot. We may get 6 points.
“We run Blaine [Taylor, who gained 73 yards on 15 carries] as a decoy and they were all over him. It was a great suggestion and a great throw by George.’’
Gilmore also scored the Hornets’ first touchdown, on a 14-yard run that capped a 60-yard drive and tied the game at 7 with five minutes left.
“You lose a thousand-yard rusher in the first quarter and it changed the whole game,’’ Redding said. “But Danny stepped in and did great.
“Offensively, we couldn’t maintain any drives. In the second half, you’re looking at the clock and you’re worrying that you’re going to run out of time. It’s been the story of our year. We’ve had six or seven of these games where we fight to hang around and then find a way in the fourth quarter. Obviously, Danny Gilmore stepped up.’’
Even though Mansfield prevailed and gained a share of the Hockomock League’s Rex-Kelley title with King Philip and North Attleborough, King Philip won the tiebreaker to earn the Division 2 playoff spot against Duxbury.
That Mansfield must stow its equipment now didn’t take the edge off the victory for Gilmore.
“We went out on top, which is the best way to go out,’’ he said. “We played with pride for 40 minutes. We came out in the second half as a new team. It’s the best way to go out on top for the seniors.’’
That Foxboro (4-7) might go out on top appeared likely for three quarters. The Warriors capped a 68-yard drive on the third play of the second quarter when Kiivone Howard plunged over from the 1. Foxboro’s 7-0 lead stood up until Gilmore went to work, especially in the final seconds.
“In the first half we kept running the waggle and I faked the power left,’’ Gilmore said. “I noticed the corner was sinking toward the middle of the field. I suggested to coach if [Busharis] could hit me on a wheel route or a pass in the flat . . . he ended up saving it for the last play of the game.’’