Rebels leave Red and Blue all Black and Blue

Adam Riegel

  Perfection does not often meet perfection, but this past Friday night, the 9-0 Walpole Rebels and the 9-0 Natick Red and Blue faced off in a clash of titans. Natick hoped to gain an edge in the game by having all of their students wearing red; however, the Rebels countered with a strong fan turn out of their own as the Walpole crowd “whited out” the Natick stands. Backed by these diehard fans, the Rebels met the challenge and stayed perfect, downing the Red and Blue 21-9.  

  Coming into the game, both teams had their work cut out for them. The Red and Blue had to find a way to stop ironman Ryan Izzo along with one thousand yard passer Sonny Mastromatteo and his strong band of receivers including seniors Ryan Collins, Leo Ajemian, Chris Cameron, Steve Conroy, junior Michael Milien, and sophomore Troy Salvatore. Meanwhile the Rebels had to prepare for quarterback Scott McCummings a 6’3” dual threat as a passer and rusher, as well as the new linebacking studs Tim and Tom Brandt. 

  “We ran a hybrid defense,” pointed out senior captain Chris ‘Camz’ Cameron. “It had me worried for alot of the week because lots of kids were playing out of position, but two interceptions and only nine points allowed is a solid game.”

  Solid may in fact be an understatement. McCummings, nearly a one thousand yard rusher at this point in the season, was held to under seventy yards and the Natick offense as a whole only gained 125 yards on the ground and 53 yards through the air, and they were held well under their average of 27 points per game. Helping the Rebel defense shine, was sophomore Dave Conroy, who in his first start, played sideline to sideline acting as a formidable replacement for injured senior captain Mitch Savini. With two interceptions and a number of tackles for losses, the Rebels held the Red and Blue to just nine points. 

  “He seemed a little uncertain in the first half, but by the second half he was a friggin’ animal,” said defensive coordinator Barry Greener.

  The basics of football are that if you score more than the other team, you win; the Rebels did just that. Despite facing a defense that allowed less than 10 points per game, the Rebels controlled much of the second half, scoring two touchdowns and a game total of 21 points. While this was the fewest points the Rebels had scored all season, it was the most Natick had allowed. The main story on offense again was Izzo who rushed for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries. His performance was a direct result of the an excellent job by a senior offensive line.

  “We had confidence in what we are able to do as a unit,” said left tackle Kyle Morris. “Now we just had to go out and show it.”

  The rushing game was complimented by the passing game once again. For the first time in his many weeks Mastromatteo was held without a touchdown pass and with less the 100 yards passing, but Sonny had key completions to Collins and Milien for crucial first downs.

  “This was a phenomenal victory for the whole team. Whenever you come to another team’s field and win it’s an awesome feeling, but especially against Natick,” said junior running back Ryan Izzo. 

 The Rebels do not plan of stopping here. With a Thanksgiving game against Weymouth and then the first round of the playoffs the following Tuesday, December 2, the Rebels are looking to keep this winning streak going. 

  “Team effort means team victory,” Coach Villa reminded his players after the game.

  What Villa may have forgotten was that it was more than just the coaches and players. One group played a huge role at the game, providing additional fire and spirit to the Rebels as they played: the ‘Rebel Rowdies’. This group of highly spirited individuals has come out for the two biggest games of the season – Norwood and Natick – wearing all white and throwing baby powder to “white out” the stands. Offering chants and cheers and just general rowdiness this group of superfans has brought that little extra that has been missing from some games this year. 

  With this win, complimented by the Rebel Rowdies, Rebel spirit and Rebel pride are back in full force.