On Saturday, in a battle of 0-1 teams, football team Brookline at Stonehill College’s Coughlin Memorial Field and the Wamps won in convincing fashion, 27-7.
“We talked about with the kids; what are teams giving us?” Braintree coach Brian Chamberlain said after the game. “We wanted to get our wingbacks going. We knew people would start trying to stack the box against on us so let’s get them outside now. Our offense is starting to morph into what we know it can be.”
After neither team scored on their first possession, Braintree capitalized on a Warrior miscue when the Wamps recovered a fumble, the first of six turnovers on the day by Brookline. Braintree then drove 61 yards on 10 plays, twice converting on third and seven, before senior Pat McLeod ran it in from three yards out to give Braintree the early lead. Michael Crowley converted the PAT to make it 7-0.
Brookline turned the ball over on downs their next possession, and the Wamps were able to take advantage of good field position when they got the ball at their own 41-yard line.
Twice they got big plays on third down situations: the first on a third and eight when Dom Eddings (13 carries for 136 yards on the day) gained 23 yards, and the second on a third and nine when junior quarterback Anthony Luisi completed an 11-yard pass to senior tight end Pahl. Senior captain Steven Donovan put the finishing touches on the drive when he fought his way in from the 6-yard line and dove over the goal line to put the Wamps ahead 13-0.
“Braintree’s tough,” Brookline coach Kevin Mahoney said. “They’re tough up front. They’re going to run the ball. They’re going to
continue to run it. I think right off the bat we did a pretty decent job
catching up on it but how do we respond to negativity? How do we respond to adversity? I think we didn’t do a good job doing that.”
Brookline fumbled on the first play of their next possession, but Braintree gave them the ball back when they turned it over on downs. Then, on the Warriors’ first play, senior Stephen O’Neal (20 carries for 157 yards on the ground) took the ball 73 yards to put Brookline on the scoreboard. The PAT made it 13-7.
After neither team could do much offensively the next couple of possessions, Braintree got going. Eddings had a couple good runs on the drive, but then the Wamps handed it off to him once more, and this time he went 30 yards for the score. Donovan ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion to make it 21-7.
A last ditch effort by Brookline before the half ended with Luisi intercepting a Ben Knopf pass in the end zone that was intended for O’Neal.
Brookline opened up the second half moving the ball well. The Warriors began at their own 30, but were able to move the ball all the way to the 11-yard line; however, a bad snap in their Wildcat formation was recovered by Braintree linebacker Liam Baggett and the Wamps took over again.
“What really hurt us is we turned the ball over six times,” Mahoney said. “We had three snaps over the head. You’re not going to be competitive with six turnovers. It doesn’t matter who you play. They executed and we didn’t. They got down to the red zone and they finished with touchdowns. We’d get to the red zone and we had turnovers.”
The Wamps would once again capitalize on the Warriors’ turnover. Using three different ball carriers in Eddings, Donovan and Tim Dutcher, Braintree drove 76 yards, capped by Dutcher’s 11-yard touchdown run. Brookline was able to block the PAT attempt, but the damage was done and the Wamps had a 27-7 lead with under a minute to go in the third quarter.
Brookline turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, and the Wamps turned to Dutcher (18 carries for 93 yards) to eat up clock by powering his way up the middle to put the game away for Braintree.
Mahoney mentioned O’Neal and running back Denzel David as players who performed well, as well as offensive linemen Ramesses Akamefula, Jonah Morgenstern-Gaines and Tyler Cole. Next week the Warriors play Walpole, who coincidentally defeated Braintree last week, 40-21.
“We want the kids to have fun and be competitive,” Mahoney said. “That’s all it is. You play it to have fun and you can come out there and be competitive with each other in practice because we’re going to be going against another town’s number one out on the football field.”
Braintree will face Needham next week, and the Wamps will still be working on developing their offense some more this week.
“We have to get our vertical passing game going a little bit more,” Chamberlain said. “We have to keep working on that in practice, get Anthony looking downfield a little bit more. He’s doing real good looking on the intermediate lower routes, but now receivers are getting open because of our running game.
"We’re starting to get [defenders in the secondary] to come up, so we’re getting one-on-one match-ups. We’ll keep working on our option game too.”