AP NEWS

Nashoba Regional is Headed Back to the Super Bowl

November 18, 2018

WOBURN -- Quarterback Sam Bolinsky threw four touchdown passes and fellow senior Alex Childs played a tremendous all-around game as Nashoba Regional pulled away in the second half for a 32-14 win over Gloucester High in Saturday’s Division 4 state semifinal at Woburn High School.

The win earns the Chieftains (10-1) a return trip to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro -- home of the New England Patriots -- where they will take on Dighton-Rehoboth for the Division 4 state title on Dec. 1. Last year, Nashoba fell in the state final to Melrose.

“It’s awesome. We have the same goal every year, to make it back (to Gillette). That’s our big-picture goal,” said Bolinsky, who finished 13 of 22 for 151 yards. “It’s our second year in a row, but I feel like it’s a different group of guys. But no matter what happens, with our coaches, we can fit anyone into those spots and we can get the job done.”

Nashoba turned the game around with a classic “Patriots pivot,” scoring in the final 30 seconds of the first half and then again on the opening possession of the second half to turn a 14-8 deficit into a 22-14 lead. From there, the Chieftains’ defense limited the Fishermen to just 55 total yards of offense in the second half. The much-vaunted Gloucester running attack was shut down completely.

″(Gloucester) is definitely a very physical team. I knew that we were going to have to bring that same physicality, and our guys did a good job,” said Nashoba head coach Jaime Tucker. “Hats off to Gloucester, they have some very physical kids. It was back and forth, and our kids responded.”

The Nashoba defense got outstanding play from linebackers Brendan Lee and Childs, but it seemed there were four or five Chieftains swarming on nearly every tackle.

Gloucester (9-2) got out of the gates quickly, showing off the ground game that had the Fishermen averaging 42.3 points per contest in the postseason headed into Saturday. Fullback Daylon Lark capped the opening drive with a 46-yard touchdown run. Marc Smith ran in the two-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead.

But Nashoba didn’t flinch, answering with its own 14-play, 81-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 3-yard scoring pass from Bolinsky to John Foney. Childs (14 carries, 113 yards) bulled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion to tie the game.

Gloucester was able to regain the lead in the second quarter when Lark scored on a 10-yard run. But this time, the Chieftains were able to snuff the conversion attempt. Lark finished the first half with 127 yards and two TDs on just 11 carries, then almost disappeared completely after intermission, carrying the ball just twice.

Nashoba got its first lead of the game in the final moments of the half. A 34-yard punt return by Troy Barksdale set up the Chieftains at the Gloucester 43 with less than 1:30 to play before halftime. A short completion to Foney and a 23-yard strike to Barksdale set up the Chieftains at the 14. Two plays later, Bolinsky hit Danny McNulty on a swing pass out of the backfield and the senior eluded one tackler and waltzed into the end zone, untouched. Childs drilled the PAT and Nashoba took a 15-14 lead into the locker room.

The Chieftains seized firm control of the game, taking the opening kick of the second half and needing just two plays to hit paydirt. Childs took the ball on the first play from scrimmage and rumbled over tacklers for 26 yards, down to the Gloucester 33. Bolisnky then hit Will Danby on a quick slant. The senior wideout snagged the catch, stopped on a dime and reversed field, leaving two Gloucester defenders in his wake and racing to the end zone for the touchdown. Childs’ PAT pushed the Nashoba lead to 22-14.

Bolinsky struck again later in the quarter with his 21st touchdown pass of the season. This time it was Childs slipped out of the backfield for an 11-yard touchdown catch and suddenly it was 29-14.

Childs closed the scoring with a 19-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter.

While Nashoba has a date with Clinton on Thanskgiving, it will be hard for the Chieftains not to look ahead toward Dec. 1 and some unfinished business in Foxboro.

“Oh this is a dream come true,” said Childs. “Most of us have been together (playing) since fourth grade. This is something we’ve been looking forward to for almost eight years now. It’s a dream come true.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly