End-of-Game TD for 6th Grade Victory
By Jess Thomas
The Nashoba Youth Football sixth-grade team won a 21-20 thriller over Milford on Saturday night to improve their overall record to 3-1.
Head coach Joe McLaughlin said, “Up to this point, [the season has] been awesome. In years past, we’ve had some tough seasons and the way these guys have come out and responded has been unbelievable.”
Each team scored three touchdowns on the evening, but Milford missed their 1-point conversion on their third score.
With enthusiastic support from the home crowd, the Nashoba youngsters scored the game-winning touchdown on a 9-yard pass to Joey Sabourin with less than 30 seconds left in the game. They took the lead with a rush by quarterback Joe Belsanti.
The contest got off to a quick start with Milford scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The conversion was good to give them a 7-0 advantage.
Nashoba fought right back on their initial drive as they drove down the field and punched in a score with the rush coming from Belsanti into the end zone. They tied it up with a completed pass on the conversion.
The second quarter was scoreless as Milford turned the ball over on downs twice and Nashoba also couldn’t convert on fourth down on their second drive.
Each team completed their strong defense halves with interceptions on the two final drives of the half.
Nashoba got off to a hot start in the second half with a kickoff return from Jacob Silvester on the opening play of the third quarter. With a 14-7 lead, the team was looking to be in business with momentum on their side.
Neither team could put any more points on the board in the third quarter, but Milford gave Nashoba a taste of their own medicine in the fourth.
On the first play of the quarter, Milford’s running back took it 44 yards to the house and they tied it up at 14 with the conversion.
Nashoba had trouble stopping Milford’s running attack all night long, which is something their coach is looking to improve.
“We’ve got to button up the edges when it comes to tackling, staying low in what we do, staying focused and not getting beat outside,” McLaughlin said. “In this league here with these little guys, they just love running in the middle and kicking it outside on you, so if we can be more disciplined outside, I think we can do some great things.”
The game swung right into Milford’s hands as Nashoba fumbled the kickoff following the touchdown. Milford drove down the field and scored a 12-yard touchdown to secure their first lead of the battle. They were unsuccessful on their conversion, which was crucial in their 1-point loss that came after the last-minute touchdown by Nashoba.
When asked about the most improved aspect of the team, McLaughlin did not hesitate before saying “team building.”
“When you come together as a team, you can make some unbelievable things happen, even when it’s bringing your heart rate up,” McLaughlin said.
There are no other words to describe this team win as a thriller, as it came down to the last precious seconds. It is propelling Nashoba to their ultimate goal: the championship.
“They understand if they come out and put efforts like this out there every night, they can be championships, plain and simple,” McLaughlin said.
He stressed that the reason the team has had success is that the players all want to be better and they all work together.
McLaughlin said, “At the end of the year, they ask us to send two players to the All-Star Game. I don’t send anyone if I can’t send the whole team.”