Chieftains Take Down Gaels, 47-12

Published in the September 24, 2008 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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If Friday's gridiron date with Clinton was a trap game, the Nashoba Regional Chieftains didn't just sidestep the trap. They obliterated it.

The Gaels arrived in Bolton looking for their first win since 2006. It wasn't inconceivable that the Chieftains, looking ahead to this week's road trip to league-rival Gardner, might have been just the least bit vulnerable.

Not a chance.

The Chieftains took less than two minutes to score their first touchdown and never looked back. They scored on all five of their first-half possessions, led 34-6 at halftime and extended that lead in the second half, even with the majority of the starters watching from the sidelines. The final score was 47-12.

Put that in your trap, why don't ya?

It was Nashoba's fourth straight win over their historic archenemies, but the one-sidedness of the rivalry didn't diminish the thrill of victory this time around for the 2-0 Chieftains.

“That's why you play—to win,” said Stow junior linebacker Matt Morrison.

Senior running back Travis Patterson put on a show in the first half, racking up 215 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Patterson got his aerobic exercise for the day on his first three trips to the end zone, with runs of 43, 55, and 41 yards; the fourth, a more conventional power run from the three yard line, answered Clinton's lone score of the first half.

“Our offensive line did an excellent job opening up holes for him,” said head coach Ken Tucker. “He's fun to watch once he gets up a head of steam.”

The offensive line, led by Stow senior Matt Murray, opened some big holes for other running backs too. Senior Steve Ek assumed the ball-carrying duties on the Chieftains' fourth possession, a three-play drive that ended with a six-yard scamper into the end zone.

And if Patterson's last touchdown didn't erase any momentum the Gaels might have been hoping to take into halftime, Stow junior Billy Lombardo's interception of Clinton quarterback Connor McLaughlin in the waning seconds of the half certainly did.

Patterson was relieved of duty after halftime, but the Chieftains' dominance continued. Little more than a minute had ticked off the clock when a massive hit from 305-lb junior Peter Hagermoser dislodged the ball from McLaughlin's grasp near the Clinton 20 yard line. Stow junior Tom Oliver scooped up the loose ball and hightailed it into the end zone, giving the Chieftains their biggest lead at 41-6.

The Gaels scored on their next drive to make the score 41-12, but that was as close as they would get. On the next Chieftain possession, Oliver again found the end zone, this time on a 29 yard run behind the blocking of sophomore Keenan Labonte and Stow junior Joe McGillicuddy. The PAT by junior Jim Garvey, who had six in the game, brought the score to 47-12.

“Coach Tucker told me I was dancing too much when I ran, so I just ran straight,” Oliver said. “His idea worked.”

Just as Lombardo had punctuated the end of the first half with an interception, Stow junior Luke Cressman did the same at the end of the second half with a fumble recovery near the Nashoba 28 yard line that spelled the end for Clinton.

Now, having decisively dispatched the Gaels, the Chieftains can turn their attention to Gardner. The Wildcats are 1-1 following a 10-7 win over Marlboro on Friday, the 200th career victory for head coach Walter Dubzinski.

“Gardner's a tough opponent, and it's a league game,” Morrison said. “They'll give us a tough time. They run the ball hard, so we'll really have to play well on defense against the run.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm at Watkins Field in Gardner.

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