Nashoba Finishes the Job at St Bernard's

Published in the October 22, 2008 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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The Nashoba Regional football team's motto this season is “Finish the Job.” Some weeks, that was easier said than done. But on Friday night, the Chieftains overpowered St. Bernard's from the first tick of the clock to the last in a 26-8 road win that ended with Stow senior Dan Trefry sacking quarterback Taylor Lively as time ran out.

Talk about finishing the job.

“It was huge,” said Stow senior captain Matt Murray. “It was our second league game, so we knew we needed to step it up. I was really happy with team's effort.”

The return of senior running back Travis Patterson, who missed the previous week's loss to Doherty with an ankle injury, definitely gave the Chieftains (now 3-3, 1-1 in Division 1 West) an added spark. Patterson made his presence known both on offense, where he rushed for 140 yards and scored three touchdowns, and on defense, where he filled in at safety for injured senior Conor Megee.

But an additional benefit of Patterson's return was that, with St. Bernard's focused on guarding against the big running play, the Chieftains were able to showcase other facets of their offense. Senior Steve Ek and Stow juniors Luke Cressman and Billy Lombardo shared the ball-carrying duties, and the Nashoba quarterback tandem of senior Bobby Falvey and Stow sophomore Will Hurley combined for three touchdown passes, with Patterson and Stow senior Paul Murray the most frequent targets.

“I've said all along that we have to do more than just hand the ball off to Travis,” said head coach Ken Tucker. “Teams can't just defend one thing against us.”

Truth be told, the Bernardians were essentially finished at the end of the first half, after one touchdown pass by Falvey and two more by Hurley led to a 19-0 Chieftain advantage. A fumble recovery by Stow senior Matt Murray set up the first score, a 20-yard strike from Falvey to Paul Murray early in the second quarter.

Another fumble on St. Bernard's next possession, this one recovered by Stow junior Matt Morrison, ultimately led to the second score, when Hurley found junior running back Travis Patterson in the end zone on an 8-yard waggle play (similar to the play on which Lombardo scored the previous week).

The third score, a 20-yard pass to Patterson, capped a 60-yard drive in which Paul Murray had two key first down receptions. As for the scoring play itself, Hurley gives a lot of the credit to the offensive line: Trefry, Matt Murray, senior captain Rodney Leach, and juniors Nick Lemay and Sam Leandres.

“The offensive line blocked really well, because I had a ton of time,” Hurley said. “Pass protection was really nice all game.”

But the job wasn't finished yet. On their first second-half possession, the Bernardians drive 68 yards and got as close as the five yard line before the Chieftain defensive line forced a turnover on downs. On the very next play, Patterson ran the length of the field for a 95-yard touchdown run that brought the lead to 26-0 with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Nashoba defense took charge for the remainder of the game, making life miserable for the Bernardians and especially Lively, who was sacked at least four times. Lombardo and Matt Murray led the defensive effort, but Bernardian ball-carriers often had several Chieftains converging on them at once.

“What I liked about our defense was that it was really a swarming defense. It wasn't just one guy,” Matt Murray said. “That's how we want to play defense.”

St. Bernard's finally broke up the shut-out on a 78-yard touchdown run by Lively with less than two minutes remaining in the game – the first points the Bernardians had scored since their 35-0 win over Ayer on Sept. 19.

Although the Bernardians made things interesting by recovering an onside kick, they failed to advance in the face of a Chieftain defense that had a job to finish.

The next order of business for Nashoba will be a trip to Holden for a non-league tilt with Wachusett Regional, which is coming off a huge 20-14 overtime win over Leominster. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm on Friday.

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