Despite winning by two touchdowns, there were plenty of times where the Whitman-Hanson Panthers could have cut into the Foxboro Warriors’ lead. With the defense coming through with stops and turnovers time and time again, the Panthers struggled to gain any momentum on offense. Bending but rarely breaking, the Warriors walked away with a 21-6 win over the Panthers.
“It wasn’t pretty but we needed a win bad and the kids bounced back after a lackluster performance last week,” Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli said.
Keeyon Neal led the running attack for the Warriors with 106 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. The underclassman finished off Foxboro’s opening drive with a 2-yard run to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead and found the end zone again in the third quarter from three yards out.
Senior Luc Valenza (11 carries, 86 yards) helped extend the lead to 14-0 at the start of the third quarter, running for 17 yards.
With the Panthers taking over at their own 20 after a Valenza fumble at the Panthers 1-yard line midway though the second quarter, Austin Gutierrez intercepted Dylan Thomas’ pass to Zach Downey to give the Warriors the ball back.
“When we turned it over, and made a stop and got the ball back, those are things young teams have to learn,” Martinelli said of keeping momentum.
The cornerback picked up a second pick in the third quarter after Salman Alam (8 tackles) forced a Thomas throw into the hands of Gutierrez. The interception would start the drive that would lead to the second Neal touchdown.
The Panthers' lone score came with 8:26 left in the game on a 26-yard run by Michael Lenane. The Warriors were able to recover the onside kick.
Whitman-Hanson had one last chance to cut into the lead with a minute to play but a pair of incomplete passes gave Foxboro the ball back for the final kneel down.
The Warriors will take a week off before starting league play against Oliver Ames on Sept. 27.