Walpole Falls to Natick in OT Thriller

Walpole's sophomore runningback carrying the ball against rival, Natick.

Walpole’s sophomore runningback carrying the ball against rival, Natick.

Justin Rouhana

Walpole's sophomore runningback carrying the ball against rival, Natick.
Walpole’s sophomore runningbacks carrying the ball against rival, Natick.

In a game that only added more fuel to the fire in what is a rivalry for the ages, Walpole ultimately lost to No. 2 Natick in overtime, 56-55, on Friday, October 25.

The Rebels received the opening kickoff and brought out there offense led by senior Captain and quarterback Will Bolster. On the first play of the Rebels first offense drive, Bolster hit a streaking junior receiver Jack Lavanchy, who hauled in a 25 yard pass and went down hard after being hit high by a Natick defender. Lavanchy maintained possession of the ball after the big hit and things looked as if they would go the way the Rebels wanted them to.

After feeling out the pass game, the Rebels stayed on the ground and tried their hand at running the ball. In absence of senior Captain running back/safety Connor Moriarty, sophomore running back Steve Cuqua became the go to guy for the Rebels coaching staff. Cuqua had an outstanding game running for 6 touchdowns, 308 yards on 43 carries.

“That was the best game I have ever been a part of and the best I’ve ever played”, Cuqua said.

Although they had scored first and continued to pretty much dominate the entire first half, the Rebels went into half time tied with the Redhawks, 21-21. The Rebels made some half time adjustments and soaked up an amplifying half time speech from their coaching staff that was structured around the fact that the team was playing phenomenally in what is arguably the biggest rivalry game in long time. They returned to the field for the second half and scored first once again.

The Rebels defensive backs knew that they were going to have their work cut out for them prior to going into the game, however they did not realize that they had the ability to hang with Natick’s receiving core. They were covering them so well that senior Natick quarterback Troy Flutie had to resort to scrambling with the ball as opposed to his cannon of an arm. This hurt the Rebels big time, especially after sophomore outside linebacker Lovejindy Salvant, the only person on the team with the speed to catch Flutie, went down with a low ankle sprain.

The Rebels and the Redhawks continued to battle back and forth; one team scoring, then the other returning the favor. With just about 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rebels were ahead by one score. The Rebels had the Redhawks pinned down, with Natick facing a 4th and forever situation. The Redhawks went to the air and the Rebels covered the receivers outstandingly well. Flutie took the snap and somehow managed to pass to one of his receivers who was seemingly wide open and the Redhawks got the first down in the Rebels own red zone. The Redhawks went on to score and the Rebels failed to score again, sending the game into overtime.

The Redhawks got the ball first and started their scoring attempt on the 10 yard line going in. Natick scored on their first attempt, thanks to Flutie running the ball. Natick surprisingly, because they missed several earlier in the night, then decided to go for the extra point and successfully made it. This made the score 56-49, Natick.

The Rebels took over from the Redhawks and set up shop on the 10 yard line. The first attempt was no good, making it 2nd and goal. Bolster took the snap and handed it off to Cuqua, who ran it in for his 6th touchdown of the night. The Rebel coaching staff decided to go for the win and go for the two-point conversion. Unfortunately, the Rebels attempt was no good and the game ended, the final score being 56-55, Natick.

Disappointed as they were, the Rebel coaching staff and captains were extremely proud of their team. Senior right tackle and Captain Nick Cordopatri said, “I have never been more proud of a group of guys, brothers, in my whole life. We played a great game.”

The Rebels drew a formidable opponent for the first round of the playoffs, North Attleboro, who they have never seen in their entire team history. The game is scheduled to be played today, November 1, in North Attleboro. The Rebels hope to ride their momentum they have from playing such a great game against Natick and get their first playoff win of the season.