Chieftains in Must-Win Situation after Loss

Published in the October 31, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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In the chase for a Super Bowl berth, the Chieftains' backs are against the wall after a 20-0 loss to new league rival Holy Name on Saturday in Worcester. As if the upcoming clash with undefeated St. Peter-Marian wasn't looming large enough, Nashoba Regional is now essentially in a must-win situation.

Holy Name (4-1) and Nashoba (2-1) each now has one loss in Division 1 West, while St. Peter-Marian remains a perfect 4-0 following a narrow 24-34 victory over St. Bernard's last Friday night. For the season overall, the Chieftains (4-4) also trail the Napoleons and Guardians (both 4-3) by one game in the loss column.

Given that St. Peter-Marian edged Holy Name (winners of the last two Division 2 Super Bowls under the previous alignment) in a 6-0 victory on Sept. 15, it's almost certain that the Guardians will give the Chieftains all they can handle when they visit Bolton on Friday.

“There are no easy games on the schedule,” said Nashoba head coach Ken Tucker. “I keep looking for them, but they're not there.”

The games don't get any easier with a depleted backfield, as the Chieftains found out on Saturday. Although lead rusher Travis Patterson returned for the second straight game following a shoulder injury, he struggled to gain ground against a tough naps defense without the blocking of Stow senior Alex Warila. Warila, who sprained an ankle at the end of the previous game against Wachusett, started on defense against Holy Name and had hoped to play one-way for the entire game, but aggravated the injury midway through the opening quarter and could only watch dejectedly from the sidelines as his team struggled to run the ball.

“It was terrible, knowing you couldn't go in and help out,” Warila said.

The Chieftains were playing from behind for almost the entire game, after a blocked punt turned led to a 25-yard touchdown run by the Naps' Eric Agyman only two minutes into the first quarter. A successful two-point conversion run by Eleizio Marchezi had the Chieftains staring at an early 8-0 deficit.

The two remaining Holy Name scores also came on big plays, with Kevin Greene escaping for touchdown runs of 57 yards early in the second quarter and 75 yards with four minutes remaining in the game.

“We didn't play as well as we could have in the first half, and got ourselves into a hole,” Tucker said.

The Chieftains' offense was more effective in the second half, driving into Naps territory on all but one possession, but could not get into the end zone. Two of those drives ended with interceptions, as quarterback Tom Quinn battled against stiff winds as well as Naps defenders.

“We had some opportunities but weren't able to finish them,” Tucker said.

The Chieftains, who are undefeated at home so far this season, have to hope for better fortunes in Friday night's effort against the Guardians, scheduled for 7 p.m.

“We can't afford a loss,” Warila said.

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