Disappointing Loss to Doherty, 12-7

Published in the October 10, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster


Now the Nashoba football team knows what it's like to play both David and Goliath. Unfortunately for the Chieftains, the outcome has been the same either way.

One week removed from a near-upset of powerful Leominster, Nashoba had to be just as disappointed with a 12-7 loss on Friday night to a Doherty team they should have beaten. Nashoba had won all five of the previous meetings between the two teams, outscoring the Highlanders 145-65.

This time around, the visiting Chieftains were playing without several key players, most notably leading rusher Travis Patterson, sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained against Leominster. But with a Nashoba passing game emerging for the first time this season to offset the running of Dustin Greene (106 yards) and Alex Warila (50 yards), both of Stow, the Chieftains had their opportunities.

“We'll never use injuries as an excuse,” said head coach Ken Tucker. “We've had a history at Nashoba of kids stepping up when they've needed to.”

In fact, with its last drive of the game—an impressive 17-play series that consumed five minutes—Nashoba appeared to be positioned to dash the Highlanders' upset hopes just as Leominster had done to the Chieftains the previous week. But the Chieftains got no closer than the 9 yard line with 27 seconds to play, before running into an unyielding Doherty defense. On consecutive plays, Warila was dropped for a 4-yard loss and quarterback Tom Quinn was sacked to set up fourth and 20 from the 21 yard line. A halfback option play had Steve Ek throwing to Quinn in the end zone, but Doherty's Gavin Halloran got a hand on the ball, and the game was over.

The Doherty game featured a number of different looks for the Chieftains, who are now 2-3 on the season, not only because of injuries but because they knew they would be facing a team with a dominant passing game for the first time all season. But after the emotional game against Leominster, the Chieftains also had to contend with the temptation to let down their guard against a theoretically weaker opponent in Doherty.

“Because we played Leominster and came close, a lot of us were coming in to this game saying, 'It's just Doherty, and we're going to kill them because they're not that good,'” Warila said. “It seemed like the team wasn't as focused, even in the locker room and on the bus ride there. We didn't show up to play.”

Doherty was particularly successful against the Chieftains on fourth down, including both of the Highlanders' touchdown plays. The first score, near the end of the first half, came on a 36 yard pass from dual-threat quarterback Tijean Pluverge to Nick Kyeremateng on what had been fourth and 10. The second score, with 5:30 remaining in the game, saw Tekena Omoebekuse converting a fourth and 2 into a 27-yard romp into the end zone.

“They're big, they're mobile, and they've got a lot of great athletes,” Tucker said of the Highlanders, who are now 3-2 on the season. “They're a good football team, and we had trouble stopping them.”

Not that the game didn't feature a few plays for Nashoba's highlight reel. On the Chieftains' lone touchdown, near the end of the third quarter, Greene got a big push from Warila to help bull through several Highlander defenders on a six-yard carry.

“I just tried to keep my feet moving,” Greene said. “I didn't even know I was in. I was just focused on getting as much yardage as I could.”

Greene also had a big defensive play that could have been the difference in the game, had the Chieftains scored on their final drive. Because of a failed extra-point kick following the first Doherty touchdown, the Highlanders followed their second score with a two-point conversion try—but Greene got a hand on Pluverge's pass to Phillip Smallwood in the end zone to foil the attempt.

After two consecutive disappointments, Nashoba will need to regroup for Friday's homecoming matchup against St. Bernard's. One piece of good news is that Peterson is expected to play.

And Warila, for one, is guaranteeing that there will not be another letdown.

“Absolutely not,” he said.


Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239