Football Playoff Drought Continues

Walpoles sophomore runningback carrying the ball against rival, Natick.

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

Michael Fortin

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

Walking off the field on Friday, November 1, the Rebels once again to deal with another embarrassing playoff loss in which they did not only lose but in short, got manhandled.  This recent 35-7 postseason loss to North Attleborough is just another playoff game to add to the list of games the Rebels have gotten blown out in the past few postseasons.  Since the Rebels won the Division 2 State Title in 2008, Walpole has gone 0-3 in playoff games, including losses of 28-0, 46-20 and 35-7 in 2010, 2011 and 2013 respectively.

This problem brings up the question everyone wants an answer for:  what’s wrong with the Rebels?  Just about no one can figure this out.  One might say it is from a lack of talent, but this would be the farthest thing from the truth.  Since 2009, Walpole has produced stellar athletes from the likes of Ryan Izzo, Adam Riegel, Dave Conroy, the Hanley brothers — the list just goes on and on.

Additionally, the staff for the Rebels is one of the best staffs in Massachusetts headed by Head Coach Barry Greener and Offense and Defense Coordinators Bill O’Connell and Joe Abate.  Since 2009, the staff has added to their prestige adding defensive backs coach Dave Wall and brought retired NFL quarterbacks coach Todd Collins in.  The Rebels staff has combined to win multiple State Titles throughout their years; clearly, they are not the problem.

Another problem one might bring up is does their schedule prepare the Rebels for the tough postseason?  Up until 2012, Walpole played only the Bay State in the regular season which is known to be one of the most competitive leagues in the state.  Walpole has had to go through elite competition, playing powerhouses Natick, Needham and Weymouth.  However, one could make an argument that the other Bay State league games have been “cupcake” games seeing that the Rebels rarely lose to the rest of the Bay State.

The Rebels certainly have not struggled in the regular season in years past. They have gone 43-8 since 2009 and most of these wins have been blowouts.  However, as soon as the Rebels enter the postseason, the tables turned 180 degrees as they struggle to have a competitive game.

The Class of 2013, which many consider one of the hardest working and talented classes to come through WHS, never even won a playoff game in their time here as they went 0-2 while getting outscored 74-20.  Even in Ryan Izzo’s senior year, in which he was considered one of the best running backs in New England, the team did not even make it to the playoffs, getting snubbed by a 10-1 record.  Similarly, last year’s team dominated every game besides their one loss and did not even have a chance in playing a playoff game.  The current Rebels team, however, took advantage of the new playoff system grabbing a five seed with a 4-3 record but could not capitalize on this, being blown out in the first round.

Despite their recent playoff failures, the Rebels are still one of the most dominant programs in Massachusetts.  The Rebels look to take all that they have learned these last couple years in order to turn around and once again claim a State Title in years to come.