Chieftains Power Up to Win 27-20

Published in the November 14, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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Running back Travis Patterson's second consecutive monster game powered the Nashoba Regional football team to a 27-20 Friday night victory over longtime rival Oakmont in Ashburnham.

This season's opponents can attest to the fact that the number of weapons in the Chieftain backfield is far greater than one, with Alex Warila and Dustin Greene of Stow and quarterback Tom Quinn more than capable of running the football when defenses have succeeded in containing Patterson. But there have also been games this season when opposing defenses have had no answer for the 6'1”, 210-lb junior, the most recent examples being the 251 yards Patterson gained on the ground two Fridays ago against St. Peter Marian and Friday's 235-yard rushing performance (not to mention a 56-yard reception) against Oakmont.

And when Patterson is tearing through defenders that way, you won't hear any of his backfield mates begrudging him the bulk of the carries.

“Travis is starting to steal the show a little bit – but in a good way,” Greene said. “What I've noticed is that toward the beginning of the season he was just running, but now he's starting to utilize his cutbacks. That's what's helping him get those 40 yard runs.”

The Chieftains needed every last one of Patterson's yards, plus a couple of key defensive and special teams plays by his teammates, to overcome an early deficit and fight off a valiant rally by the Spartans in the game's final minutes.

Oakmont took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Jesse Hunt to tight end Matt Goguen, capping a 62-yard drive. But the Chieftains answered before halftime with a 73-yard drive of their own that ended with a 3 yard touchdown run by Patterson, and then took a 13-7 lead on their first possession of the second half, this time with Quinn finding the end zone on a 1-yard keeper. Not to be outdone, the Spartans tied the game again less than two minutes later on a 5-yard run by running back James Rupp.

The next two touchdowns were all Patterson, a 3-yard scramble to finish a 53-yard drive and a 12-yard score set up by a Steve Ek interception that gave the Chieftains a seemingly impenetrable 27-13 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the game. But Oakmont's Seth Sheridan returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, trimming the lead to 27-20 with plenty of time left. Fortunately for Nashoba, the Spartans were unable to recover their own onside kick, and the Chieftains were able to run out the clock.

“It would have been really close if we hadn't got the onside kick,” Greene said. “In any rivalry game, it's never going to be a blowout, but honestly I didn't expect it to be this close.”

Speaking of blowouts, the Chieftains will be hoping to avenge one in their upcoming Thanksgiving Day matchup with North Middlesex (10 am in Bolton). The Patriots are winless this season, but the memory of the 39-0 drubbing they gave Nashoba in last year's regular-season finale—not to mention that a victory will give the Chieftains a share of the Division 1 West title—will almost certainly keep this one from becoming a trap game.

“Hopefully this year we'll get a little payback,” Greene said. “The memory of that scoreboard alone will fire me up for the game.”

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