By Michael James LeClair
The Nashoba Regional football team will have a chance to defend its crown this season after all.
The Chieftains wrapped up their regular season Friday night in Bolton by welcoming Westborough High School to Route 117.
The Nashoba hospitality ended when the Rangers stepped foot on the field however as the Chieftains dominated from start to finish, spanking the Rangers 55-6.
Nashoba improved its overall record to 5-3 on the season with the win and have now won two straight and three of its last four games. The Chieftains will spend the week gearing up for the Central Mass. Division 2A playoffs which begin Friday night.
The Chieftains earned the second seed in 2A and will host third-seeded Doherty (4-4) of Worcester on Friday night. The winner of Friday night’s matchup will take the winner of the other 2A Semifinal between top-seeded Marlborough (6-2) and fourth-seeded Tantasqua Regional (3-5).
Last year, Nashoba capped a dream season with a 27-13 victory over Reading High School in the Massachusetts Division 2 State Championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The championship triumph finished the Chieftains season with a perfect13-0 record. This year the Chieftains are competing in Division 2A but their goal of getting back to Gillette Stadium hasn’t changed.
In Friday night’s contest, Nashoba scored the game’s first 41 points before Westborough could finally get on the scoreboard with its only touchdown of the contest.
Nashoba was busy as both sides of the football found the end zone against the Rangers. The Chieftains defense accounted for two touchdowns on Friday night, both courtesy of Nick Rodgers.
Rodgers got the scoring party started in the first quarter when he scooped up a Westborough fumble from just inside Nashoba territory and rumbled 52 yards to the end zone. Alex Childs added the extra point to make it 7-0 in favor of the hosts.
The home team struck once more before the end of the first quarter when Nate Mansour ran it in from five-yards out. Child’s kick made it 14-0 after one quarter.
Nashoba added to its lead with the only points in the second quarter. Sam Bolinsky found Alex Jacobs for a 10-yard touchdown pass and a 20-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Nashoba found paydirt three more times. Touchdown runs by Jake Fire ad Gabriel Barbosa where sandwiched around a 15-yard pick six by Rodgers. Childs added all three extra point kicks in the third quarter after missing its lone attempt in the second quarter following Jacobs’ touchdown.
With the game no longer in doubt the Chieftains special teams’ coverage made a mistake on the ensuing kickoff. Westborough’s Avery Andrews found a seam in the Nashoba coverage and was off to the races as he ran it back 80-yards for a Rangers touchdown to make it 41-6 after three quarters.
With still 11 minutes left to play Nashoba wasn’t finished putting points on the board. The Chieftains struck for two more touchdowns in the final stanza, a 35-yard touchdown run by Barbosa and a two-yard touchdown run by Ethan Hill. Both of Child’s extra point attempts were true to conclude the scoring in this one.
The Nashoba football program isn’t the only Chieftain team that will be participating in the upcoming sectional tournament. The Nashoba girls’ volleyball, girls’ soccer and field hockey teams will all be playing in the second season later this week.
The girls’ volleyball team, head coached by Johnna Doyle, wrapped up the regular season with a stellar 16-4 overall record. The Chieftains put the finishing touches on their regular season with a convincing 3-0 win over St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg.
The Nashoba girls’ soccer team and head coach Renee Moulton are dancing into the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament as the Mid-Wach B champs and with a record of 11-3-4.
Jaime Mariani’s Nashoba field hockey squad is the two-time defending Central Mass. Division 1 champions. The team will have a chance to make it three in a row as it embarks on its journey into the sectional tournament later in the week. Nashoba wrapped up the regular season at 13-2-3 and earned a share of the Mid-Wach B title with Marlborough with identical 6-1-1 league records.
All Nashoba playoff bound teams will know their postseason fate later in the week when the MIAA announces postseason pairings for each fall sport.