Blass Emerges as Offensive Weapon in 29-0 Victory Over Brookline


A Walpole running back looks for the end zone. (Photo/Greg Salvatore)

James Cullinane

A Walpole running back looks for the end zone. (Photo/Greg Salvatore)

The start of the 2011 Walpole Rebel Football season has been almost everything but smooth.  Perhaps the only thing spectators have observed more than dominance thus far is inconsistency.  The Rebels came out flying in their season opening victory over Braintree but then relinquished 20 first quarter points against Framingham, before clawing back to beat them by a score of 30-20 in this week two battle.  Looking to build off of this early momentum and continue their undefeated start to the season, third year Head Coach Barry Greener’s Rebel squad welcomed the visiting Brookline Warriors on September 23 under the lights at Turco Field.

The rainy conditions had an early impact on the game, as both the Rebels and Warriors had trouble controlling the ball.  Behind solid defense, the Rebels managed to overcome an opening possession fumble by senior Dave Thibault by forcing a turnover on Brookline’s first possession in the form of an interception by junior corner PJ Hayes.  The Rebel offense, led by senior quarterback Tom Donnellan, capitalized on Brookline’s early turnover by driving down the field and eventually scoring on a 2 yard rush by Senior Captain Craig Hanley.  The point after was successfully converted by junior Cam Hanley.  However, the Rebel offense would be held in check by the Warriors for the remainder of the half, barring a 27 yard field goal by Cam Hanley.  This score held as the Rebels entered halftime leading the less-than-impressive Warrior squad by a score of 10-0.

The Rebels showcased how dominant they can be on both sides of the ball in the third quarter by putting up 19 points on three touchdowns by senior tailback Shane Blass, one of many Rebel veterans looking to fill the void left by junior Mike Rando’s season ending knee injury.  On the first second half Walpole possession, Blass broke a Brookline tackle and displayed his 4.5 speed, outrunning the Warrior defense down the sideline for a 64 yard touchdown.  Only minutes later, Blass once again found the edge and turned the corner, leaving Brookline defenders in the rear-view mirror on a 45 yard score.  However, Blass was not quite finished with his monstrous third quarter, later scoring a 44 yard touchdown on a perfectly blocked counter.  By the end of the third quarter, Blass and the Rebel offense had increased their lead to 29-0 over their Bay State foes.

Coach Greener and his skilled staff of many former Rebels used the fourth quarter as a platform for second and third stringers to get onto the field.  This mix of veterans and young Rebels managed to preserve the Rebel shutout, despite a close call on the game’s final play, a clutch pass deflection by sophomore cornerback Myles Cofield.  The final horn blew with the Rebels ahead 29-0, preserving their early undefeated record.

Although a blowout in many regards, the Rebels look to improve off of their inconsistent performance against Brookline.  After the game, Blass said, “A win is always a win and that’s something to be happy about, but we are all very aware that we have room to improve over the remainder of the season.”  When asked about his individual performance, Blass said humbly, “I think you should be talking to Shank (Senior Captain Dan King) and the rest of the big boys up front because without them, we couldn’t score any points.”

With their greatest tests still lying ahead, the currently 15th highest ranked team in Massachusetts know how long the road to greatness stretches ahead of them.  The Rebels will continue the quest for their 8th Superbowl title against Milton on Saturday.