Turnover-plagued Bulldogs cling to win
It was another tightly contested matchup for Old Rochester and coach Justin Kogler.
Kogler watched his offensive unit score with just over three minutes left in the game to lead the Bulldogs to their eighth straight victory, 27-23 over the Bishop Stang Spartans Friday night.
This was the first round of the Division 6 South Sectional Tournament and the Bulldogs showed their flaws after turning the ball over four times.
The Bulldogs (8-0) have made a habit out of having close games, after they eked out a 40-33 win against Case last week.
“I am happy we survived without playing our best football,” said Kogler. “We stopped ourselves tonight with an interception and the fumbles.”
A slow start on offense in the first quarter did not help. After returning the opening kickoff, the Bulldogs’ drive bogged down and they failed a fourth down conversion.
The Spartans responded by marching down the field to kick a 28-yard field goal. The next offensive drives for the Bulldogs ended in a Desmond Dias fumble and a Cole McIntyre interception.
In the second quarter, however, they seemed to finally hit their stride. On back to back drives, the Bulldogs found the end zone, including a touchdown run by Jackson Cote before the end of the half.
Kogler dialed up a sneak attack to start the second half and decided on an onside kick, which was recovered by the Bulldogs. The Spartans quickly responded by ripping the ball out of the Bulldogs’ hands and recovering it.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, their defense was stout enough to halt the following Bishop Stang drive. The Bulldogs then put together their own well-crafted drive which ended in a 1-yard sneak up the middle for a touchdown. Following a 2-point conversion, the Bulldogs were up 21-3.
In the fourth quarter, Bishop Stang quarterback Justin Lopes breathed life into his struggling offense, scoring on three consecutive drives.
The first score came from a six-yard shovel pass from Lopes, which happened well outside of the pocket. Their next drive ended in a 45-yard bomb set up by a fumble from Jackson Cote, putting the Spartans down just 21-16.
Faced with an energized opponent, the Bulldogs dug deep and put together five minute drive, ending in a Dias rushing touchdown.
With the score now at 27-16 following a failed 2-point conversion, a last minute touchdown by Lopes was not enough to climb over the hump. Ultimately, a failed onside kick sealed the game and the win for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs will take on the Dedham Marauders in the second round of the Division 6 South Sectional Tournament on Nov. 2.