End of the line
Although it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard, the Hollis Brookline football team gave Windham its toughest match of the season. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, it still wasn’t enough.
HB made things interesting in the second half, but the Jaguars scored two late touchdowns to put the game out of reach, securing a 32-7 victory in the Division II semifinals.
Windham will now face St. Thomas Aquinas (9-1), which beat Kennett 48-14 in the other semifinal, at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 in the Division II championship game at the University of New Hampshire.
Saturday’s contest bore little similarities to Windham’s 56-0 blowout victory over HB on opening day. The Cavaliers came into the playoff game with a chip on their shoulder, and their intensity certainly contributed to Windham’s opening three-and-out.
“Nobody gave this team any respect,” HB coach Chris Lones said. “Nobody expected anything from this group. When people have been talking about the playoffs, they’ve been talking about everybody but us. It was a foregone conclusion that we were going to come here and get out (backsides) handed to us.”
It didn’t take much longer for the Jaguars to find the end zone, as quarterback Brendan McInnis found Matt Shea for a 16-yard touchdown in the quarter’s final seconds. Windham scored again only a couple of plays later when running back Kurtis Jolicoeur ran the ball up the middle for 40 yards, extending his team’s lead to 14-0.
The Cavaliers had two golden opportunities later in the second, but the Windham defense stepped up both times. The Cavs faced a first-and-goal situation from the 1-yard line, but the Jaguars’ defense stuffed their opponent’s three rushing attempts. The drive ended when Cavs quarterback Patch Zorn was picked off in the end zone.
The team had another opportunity on its next possession, but couldn’t capitalize on multiple chances from the 9.
Windham managed to drive down the field on the final possession of the half, and Anthony Gallo’s field goal extended the lead to 17-0.
The Cavaliers finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, when Andrew Butler snuck the ball 5 yards into the end zone. That would be the last time HBwould threaten, and the Jaguars scored two more insurance touchdowns to secure the victory.
“We were 100 times better than when we played them the first time,” Lones said. “This game was closer than 32-7. I’m so proud of these kids. I’m proud of the senior class. I’m proud of the coaching staff for all the work they did preparing these kids for today. They came here as the underdog. They came here with nobody expecting anything from them, and they came here and they laid everything on the line.”
Butler and teammate Wyatt Farwell filled in admirably for injured running back Matt Ferenczhalmy, combining for 79 rushing yards. Zorn finished with 88 yards passing and three interceptions.
McInnis had quite a day for the Jaguars. The senior finished with 12 completions for 205 yards and three touchdowns, while also contributing 63 yards rushing.
Gallo finished with four of those receptions for 80 yards, while Kellin Bail finished with a pair of touchdowns.