Football Opens with a 35-7 Bang
By Michael James LeClair
It was just the way the Nashoba Regional football team wanted to open its season.
The Chieftains hit the road on Saturday afternoon and visited Westborough High School’s Joseph Mewhiney Memorial Field. Nashoba turned in a dominating performance as it ran all over the host Rangers 35-7.
Second-year Nashoba head coach Jamie Tucker was thrilled with the performance he received from his troops, complimenting both sides of the football following Saturday’s victory.
“We had a month to prepare and I thought our kids did very well. When you can move the ball like that, you can run different stuff, like play actions,” said Tucker. “The defense was great, and I think we adjusted to a new defense well. They were storming to the ball.”
The Chieftains offense compiled over 400 yards of total offense on the afternoon, finishing with 408 yards gained.
Nashoba used a strong second quarter, finding the end zone three times after a single touchdown in the opening frame, to claim a 28-0 halftime lead and it never looked back.
he Chieftains only flaw was a breakdown in special teams coverage on the opening kickoff of the second half as Westborough ran the kick back 85 yards for a touchdown and the only points of the afternoon for the home team.
Nashoba answered with another touchdown run, its fourth of the game, in the closing minutes of the third quarter.
“We wanted to show them different formations,” Tucker said. “The thing I talked about was execution and we were able to do that on both sides of the ball. I thought we really came out ready to play.”
Offensively Nashoba had several players step up and play big games. Senior running back Kraig Arsenault ran for 95 yards on five carries, including a 61-yard touchdown run and Sean Pokorney added 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries.
The Chieftains opened the scoring with the lone points of the first quarter. On their second possession of the contest,
Nashoba put together a six-play, 67-yard drive that ended when senior running back and captain Greg Gothie pounded his way across the goal line from a yard out with 4:03 left. Senior Casey Elkins added the extra points for a 7-0 Nashoba lead.
Nashoba doubled its lead in the opening minute of the second quarter when Elkins hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback and captain Drew Schartner to make it 13-0 only 40 seconds in. Elkins tacked on the extra point to expand the advantage to 14 points.
Meanwhile the Nashoba defense was stellar, limiting the Rangers to just 45 yards of total offense on five possessions in the first half.
The Chieftains would strike twice more before the halftime whistle. Pokorney had a 14-yard touchdown run with 5:56 showing on the clock and Arsenault with his 61-yard touchdown run with 1:59 to play before halftime. Elkins added two more successful points after kicks to make it 28-0 entering intermission.
About the lone bright spot for the Rangers was the great run by Michael Heffernan, who got his team on the board when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards to make it 28-6. Jake Srebnik added the extra point to make it 28-7.
The two teams traded punts on the next two touches of the football but the next time the Chieftains touched the football the Rangers wouldn’t be so lucky. Setting up shop at the Westborough 49, Nashoba needed seven plays to march down the field. Pokorney slammed his way into the end zone from two-yards out with 1:59 left. Elkins made it five successful extra points on five attempts when he drilled another one to make it 35-7 with 1:59 left.
Neither team could put any points on the board in the fourth quarter. The Rangers two drives ended by way of a punt while the Chieftains punted the first time it touched the ball before taking a knee in the closing seconds to end their final possession.
Following their season opening win, the Chieftains’ next two games will be back home. The team hosts Shrewsbury on September 19 for its first home game and then welcomes Wachusett Regional to Bolton on Friday, September 26.