Foxborough took care of business in the Hockomock League Davenport Division Friday night to keep pace in what promises to be an exciting finish to the 2012 high school football season.
The Warriors (6-2, 2-1) beat Davenport Division foe Canton (1-5, 0-2), 28-22 at Ahern Field to stay one game back of Sharon (2-0) for the division lead – tied with Stoughton (2-1). The Black Knights hold the tiebreaker with the Warriors, however, because they defeated Foxborough, 20-0 in Stoughton on Oct. 5.
Foxborough travels to Sharon on Saturday, Nov. 10 to potentially play for a shot at the Davenport Division title and a postseason berth.
“We go out of league next week and then we got a shot at part of the title [against Sharon],” said Foxborough head coach Jack Martinelli. … “Let the playoff chips fall as they may. There are still some pretty good matchups [in the Hockomock Davenport Division].”
But to get that chance, Foxborough had to get past a physical Canton team Friday and it did on the legs of running back Kiivone Howard and the strength of its defense.
The Warriors have been most successful this season when running the ball well and playing strong defense. Both were on display Friday night in Foxborough’s win over the Bulldogs.
“It was a heck of a game,” Martinelli said. “[Canton] were tough kids … as tough as anybody we’ve played physically. I tip my hat off to them.”
Howard proved to be too much for Canton’s defense as the senior captain racked up over 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns – two of those scores coming on runs of 63 and 40 yards.
Howard continued his torrid touchdown pace, recording his 16th, 17th and 18th rushing scores through eight games this season
“He’s special,” Martinelli said.
On defense, the Warriors were both opportunists and clutch. Foxborough time and time again came up with the stops it needed down the stretch while forcing three Canton turnovers, including a fumble with 2:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, which led to the eventual game-winning touchdown run by Howard.
“[Foxborough’s defenders] gave us their all,” Martinelli said.
Both of Canton’s fumbles resulted in Foxborough touchdowns.
Canton jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 2:21 to play in the first quarter on an 11-yard run by running back Dexter Green set up by a 16-yard scamper by quarterback Ian Flavin. The extra point failed.
Foxborough, as it seemed to do every time Canton scored, answered with a touchdown of its own.
The Warriors drove 70 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Howard with 8:43 to play in the first half. Howard’s touchdown was set up by an 18-yard pass to Luc Valenza from quarterback Mike Slaby to put the ball at the one-yard line. Kyle Will nailed the extra point – one of his four PATs – to give the Warriors a 7-6 lead.
That score remained unchanged until midway through the third quarter. Canton took a seven-point lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by captain Elias Camacho, who also converted the 2-point conversion with 6:10 to play in the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by an 11-yard run by Green following a Foxborough fumble at its own 15-yard line.
Canton’s 14-7 lead over Foxborough didn’t last long as the Warriors responded with a lengthy drive that needed a big fourth down conversion enroute to the game-tying score.
Beginning at its own 44-yard line, Foxborough drove down to Canton’s 29-yard line before facing a fourth and eight situation. Slaby made a critical play to keep the drive alive, connecting on a 9-yard pass to Alex Pacitti to move the ball into the red zone.
From there, Slaby again found Pacitti, this time for a 17-yard touchdown on a short pass over the middle, executed perfectly by the Warriors’ offensive line. The score knotted the game at 14 apiece heading into the fourth quarter.
Foxborough carried its momentum into the game’s final 11 minutes, scoring two touchdowns off of two Canton fumbles. Howard ripped off a 63-yard touchdown run following a Canton fumble on the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line. That put Foxborough up 21-14 with 10:49 to play in the fourth quarter. Then with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter, Canton fumbled again and the Warriors recovered. Howard made the Bulldogs pay for their mistake with a 40-yard touchdown run to put Foxborough up by two scores – 28-14.
Canton’s Camacho – angered by Howard’s third touchdown run – took matters into his own hands when he took the ensuing kickoff and returned it nearly 70 yards down to Foxborough’s eight yard line. A quick score by the Bulldogs – a six-yard touchdown run by Flavin – made it a single possession game with 1:23 remaining. Camacho converted the 2-point conversion to make the eventual final score 28-22.
Foxborough recovered the ensuing onside kick and took the end-of-game kneel downs to walk off Ahern Field with an important Hockomock League victory.
Foxborough returns to its home field next week when it hosts East Bridgewater for a 7 p.m. non-league game.
Foxborough Player of the Game
Kiivone Howard: Foxborough’s star running back recorded over 200 yards rushing Friday and scored three more touchdowns to give him 18 on the season – through eight games. He was easily the most dominant player on the field Friday and takes Patch’s game ball for the 28-22 victory.
Canton Player of the Game
Elias Camacho: The senior captain has heart and it showed Friday night. Camacho scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown and converted two 2-point conversions but it is what he did on a kick off return in the fourth quarter that showed what type of competitor he is. Camacho, fuming from Howard’s 40-yard touchdown run to give Foxborough a 28-14 lead, angrily fielded the ensuing kick off right around Canton’s 30 yard line and exploded for nearly 70 yards to Foxborough’s 8-yard line, which led to a Flavin touchdown.