Rebel Football Proves Resilient with Win over Framingham

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Jake Moser

A Rebel ballcarrier as he sprints upfield (Photo/Daniel Aldridge).

 

After their dominating 47-0 victory over the Braintree Wamps in the season opener, the Rebels varsity football team bested the Framingham Flyers in a down-to-the-wire game, 27-21 last Friday night, improving their record to 2-0 on the season.  Going into the game, most believed the highpowered offenses of both the Rebels and the Flyers would result in an offensive shootout, each team fighting to outscore one another before the clock ran out.  However, the game could not have been more different—spectators received a relatively low-scoring game which focused around stingy defense as a means of victory.  Not much separated these teams, so things like turnovers and special teams played a huge factor in the outcome of the game.  Thankfully for the Rebels, they won both battles in these categories, thus earning them the victory.

Early on the Rebel defense struggled. On their opening drive, Framingham marched down the field with little resistance from Walpole defenders.  It looked like the Flyers would jump out to an early lead as they broke into the redzone; however, senior captain Cameron Hanley intercepted a pass from Framingham quarterback Christopher Bloomingdale on the Rebel goal line to prevent the Flyer touchdown.  “When the ball was snapped, I read the quarterback’s eyes and dropped by in coverage to defend the pass,” said Hanley.  “I knew I had a chance to make a play on the ball, so my first instinct was to throw my hand up to knock [the ball] down; however, I realized I had a good enough handle on it to pull it in [for the catch].  It happened so fast i barely realized I had the ball.”  After Hanley’s interception the Rebels settled in, eventually marching down the field to strike the first blow of the game with a 29-yard touchdown through the air from the arm of junior quarterback Will Bolster to the hands of senior receiver Chris Collins, giving the Rebels a 7-0 lead.

Framingham fired back a few possessions later, returning a Walpole punt for a touchdown, knotting the score at 7.  On the ensuing kickoff, senior captain and star player Mike Rando returned the kick 75 yards for the score.  With only a short time left in the first half, the Framingham offense drove down the field and completed a 13-yard pass into the back of the Rebel end zone, evening the score, 14-14 as both teams headed into halftime.

The second half  began with a touchdown for the Flyers, as Bloomingdale ran for a 10-yard score, giving Framingham their first lead of the game, 21-14.  After the Framingham touchdown, a scoring drought began for both teams.  At one point, Framingham was looking to extend the lead by two scores, but senior cornerback Brad Webber had other ideas.  Framingham took a shot downfield; however, Webber played spoiler and picked off a Framingham pass to swing momentum back into Walpole’s favor.  Walpole took this momentum and translated it into a touchdown—a one-yard rushing touchdown for senior captain Steve Thulin.  With one quarter left to play, the Rebels found themselves all tied up with the Flyers at 21.

The fourth quarter was characterized with many three-and-outs and penalties which set both teams back.  Neither team could gain an edge, until, with two minutes and thirty seconds left on a 3rd and 10, Rando caught a pass from Bolster, putting the Rebels inside the five-yard line of Framingham.  And with a 4-yard rushing touchdown from Hanley capping off the drive, the victory was sealed for the Rebels, winning 27-21 (PAT was missed on the last touchdown).  “It was just a quality team win,” said Rando.  “We knew going into the game that Framingham was going to be a great team.  It really came down to our team making big plays when we had to.”

This victory says many things about the Rebels football team, but most importantly, it shows their opponents and critics that this team is resilient and worthy of their number nine overall ranking on Boston.com .  Before the season began, most knew that the Rebels would be a forced to be reckoned with, but not many knew how the team would react under pressure.  With their 27-21 victory last Friday, Walpole has shown they have what it takes to play under pressure and win not only the ‘should-win’ games, but also the closely contested games, as well.

The Rebels will look to continue their record to 3-0 this Sunday when they play at Brookline (0-2).  When asked about his thoughts on Walpole’s next game, Rando remarked, “We know we cant take any team for granted, so we’ll be ready to go.”