Bulldogs hoist trophy after rocking Ashland
MATTAPOISETT — Facing heavy rain and slick mud, the Old Rochester Bulldogs combined hard-nosed defense and an unstoppable running game to take home the Division 6 South Championship trophy after punishing the Ashland Clockers 28-6.
The Bulldogs had David Hagen Field rocking on Friday night after they put up four scores and gutted the Ashland offensive attack. The Clockers could not find the end zone until the final minute of play due to the driving rain and an impenetrable defense which crushed any hopes for a comeback.
The Clockers (9-2) received the opening kickoff as rain began to fall and fans cheered at each side of the field.
The Bulldogs’ offense can score in an instant, so it was important for Ashland to score right out of the gate. Unfortunately for them, the Bulldogs defense came ready to play and forced a quick punt on the opening drive.
After a turnover from the Bulldogs, however, it looked as if the Clockers had a chance to shutdown their undefeated opponent.
Despite the takeaway, Ashland came up short on offense as well.
With a well-placed punt pinning them at the one-yard line, the Bulldogs put together one of their most impressive drives of the entire season. On the back of a strong rushing attack, the Bulldogs marched the length of the field and pounded the football into the end zone on an eight-yard Desmond Dias rush at the end of the first quarter.
On the next drive, the Bulldog defense came up with a big third down sack to force yet another Ashland punt. Without missing a beat, the Bulldogs hit pay dirt on a 39-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Noe, putting them up 14-0.
The stingy defense quickly halted the Clockers on their next drive. On the attempted punt, the snap was fumbled by the punter and the Bulldogs went to work on offense at the goal line. Dias wasted little time finding the end zone again and did so on a hand off at the two-yard line.
At the end of the half, the Bulldogs were up 21-0 and poised to continue their dominance in the second half.
Though the offense did not score again until fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ defense refused to give Ashland any breathing room on offense.
The Clockers started the second half by moving the ball well and picked up a few first downs. When it seemed like Ashland was starting to click on offense, a fumble quickly put a damper on any momentum they were starting to build.
By the end of the third quarter, the steady rain had turned into a complete downpour and converted the field into a muddy soup.
If there were any questions about the Bulldogs’ defensive effort heading into the second half, they were all put to bed following an impressive eight-play goal line stand. With Ashland knocking on the door of the end zone, the Bulldogs came up with back-to-back fourth down stops after a pass interference call gave Ashland a new set of downs.
On the eighth attempt to get into the end zone, the Bulldogs swarmed an Ashland runner and forced a timely fumble at the two-yard line. The defensive stand effectively ended any shot for Ashland to rebound from its poor start to the game.
Before the final seconds ticked off of the clock, Dias found the end zone on a 28-yard rush and Ashland managed to toss a touchdown pass with 55 seconds left on the clock, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.
When the clock hit zero, the Old Rochester student section stormed the field and Bulldog players celebrated the victory by turning the muddy field into their own slip’n slide.
After playing 12 games this season, and winning them all, the Old Rochester Bulldogs finally hoisted their Division 6 trophy in front of a crowd of peers and family members.
“It’s been a great year and the kids earned it, I’m very happy for them and all my coaches,” said Coach Justin Kogler. “I’m extremely proud of them, their work in the offseason is the reason why we’re here right now and they’re just a great group of kids.”
With Friday’s win, the Bulldogs will move on to play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for the Division 6 Super Bowl.