Nashoba finishes strong; 4 straight wins cap campaign.
Byline: Dave Nordman
TOWNSEND -- After his team lost to Fitchburg on Oct. 24 to fall to 2-5, Nashoba Regional football coach Jamie Tucker told his seniors that they would still finish the season with a winning record.
That meant defeating Westboro, Hudson, Gardner and North Middlesex.
Tucker's prediction came true on Thursday as the Chieftains (6-5) pulled away from the Patriots (6-5) for a 35-13 win at John E. Young Memorial Field.
The victory was Nashoba's eighth straight over North Middlesex, which only has three wins in 20 games in this Thanksgiving series.
Senior Greg Gothie, filling in for classmate Kurt Arsenault who has been ill, earned offensive MVP honors for the Chieftains. He rushed for over 100 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns. He also caught a TD pass from senior Drew Schartner in the second quarter.
"I know a lot of people say this, but I really couldn't have done it without the linemen,'' said Gothie, who singled out the efforts of Mike Curtin, Derek Pasquale, Jake Hicks, Wilson Fay, Richard Stamos and Travis Macko. "They really worked their (butts) off today.''
Schartner suffered a right knee injury while making a tackle on defense on the fourth play of the third quarter and watched the rest of the game on crutches from the sideline.
North Middlesex also lost its senior quarterback, John Boutwell, who received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and was ejected with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
Schartner's replacement, junior Rob Atwood, was named Nashoba's defensive MVP, but he also led the Chieftains on three late scoring drives.
"He's a really cool, calm and collected kid,'' Tucker said. "He showed a lot of poise out there.''
After Boutwell completed a 55-yard touchdown pass to Ryan McDonald to pull the Patriots within 15-13, with 7:54 left in the third quarter, Atwood ran for a 9-yard TD on fourth down and Casey Elkins' second of three extra points made it 22-13.
Gothie then ran for touchdowns of 12 and 7 yards in the fourth quarter. His first TD was set up by Atwood's interception, which resulted in a 67-yard, nine-play scoring drive.
"Phenomenal, just phenomenal,'' Tucker said of Gothie's effort. "He's a hard inside runner, the perfect guy for (these field conditions). He was patient and hit the whole when he needed to.''
After a scoreless first quarter, Schartner completed a 17-yard TD pass to Chad Sarnoski in the left corner of the end zone at 10:12 of the second. Atwood's conversion rush made it 8-0.
Boutwell's 10-yard TD pass to Matt Wetherell and Ryan McDonald's extra point pulled North Middlesex within 8-7 with 1:52 left in the half.
But Nashoba responded quickly. Schartner's second TD pass, a 17-yard catch and run by Gothie out of the backfield, followed by Elkin's PAT, gave the Chieftains a 15-7 lead with 41 seconds to go before intermission.
"It was just great Thanksgiving Day football,'' Tucker said. "The field conditions were tough, so we knew we were going to have to run it inside and pound it, and our kids really responded.''
McDonald was named North Middlesex's offensive MVP, while Tyler Zech earned defensive MVP honors.
Contact Dave Nordman
Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.
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|Publication:||Worcester Telegram & Gazette|
|Date:||Nov 28, 2014|
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