Under Friday night lights, Middleboro beats Apponequet to kick off football season
MIDDLEBORO —The Middleboro High School Sachems beat the Apponequet Regional High School Lakers 35-14 Friday, Sept. 9 as the teams kicked off their varsity football seasons under the lights at Middleboro High School Stadium.
Middleboro’s offense ignited in the first half. The hosts went into the locker room leading 26-6 after two quarters thanks to solid quarterback play from senior Jacob Briggs.
“When you have guys who played a lot of snaps last year, you find yourself able to score points or at least matriculate the ball down the field,” said Middleboro Head Coach Patrick Kingman. “You’ll never be in a situation where you’re totally out of it.”
The Middleboro defense made plays, too: it caused three turnovers in the first half including two interceptions by sophomore defensive back Andrew Falk.
“Anytime you put a sophomore in the lineup as a starter, you’re maybe not expecting him to make two interceptions, but you’re expecting him to hold his own and have a good day,” Kingman said. “I think he did that.”
Falk and the defense intercepted an Apponequet pass on the first possession of the game. Briggs and the offense followed it up with a time-consuming drive that saw wide receiver Justin Mather, running back Nate Tullish, running back Robert Henry, and wide receiver Caiden Carriuolo touch the ball.
Tullish opened the scoring with a run into the end zone, and Henry—who kicks Middleboro’s field goals—kicked the extra point for a 7-0 score.
Apponequet tried to fight back as sophomore starting quarterback Harrison Lemieux returned the kickoff to Middleboro’s 20-yard line. A fumble two plays later ended the Lakers’ hopes of tying the game on that possession.
Middleboro picked up the fumble on its own five-yard line, and Briggs led the team 95 yards downfield. The Sachems scored on a short run from Tullish for a 14-0 lead.
The Lakers responded with a quarterback platoon of Lemieux and junior Caidan Cyr. Cyr started the drive with a 15-yard pass to Jacob Flounders. Lemieux passed to Flounders for a first down on the drive, and senior running back Jackson Gagnier picked up nine yards to put Apponequet inside Middleboro’s 20-yard line. Senior running back Quinn Bennett ran the ball into the endzone to put the score at 14-6 due to an unsuccessful two-point conversion.
“I thought our guys came to play,” said Apponequet Head Coach Zane Fyfe. “They were resilient and fought hard all the way until the end.”
Carriuolo started the next drive with a 31-yard kick return, then Briggs found him twice for big yardage gains on passing plays. Briggs suffered his only sack of the game before taking off on a 52-yard run on the next play to put Middleboro on the Lakers’ six-yard line. Tullish ran the ball for his and the team’s third touchdown of the game. A missed extra point made the score 20-6.
Falk intercepted his second pass of the game with less than a minute left in the half. On the first play of the resulting Middleboro possession, Briggs found junior wide receiver Nate Goodine over the middle of the field for a touchdown, making the score 26-6 at halftime.
A quiet second half followed, as the teams scored just two points in the third quarter due to a Middleboro safety. The fourth quarter began with a Briggs run for a touchdown, and senior kicker Matt Cohen scored the extra point for a 35-6 score.
Big runs from Gagnier in the middle of the fourth quarter put Apponequet inside the 20-yard line. Another run from Gagnier put the score at 35-14 with a successful two-point conversion.
“He ran well,” Fyfe said of Gagnier. “We’ve got to work on a few things like handling the ball and hitting the seam just right, but once he got going, he was good. That’s why he’s in that position.”
An Apponequet onside kick was unsuccessful with five minutes remaining in the game, allowing the Sachems to run the ball and take nearly three minutes off the clock to end the game.