It appeared the opportunity for a win had disappeared Friday night for Canton when senior Bulldog quarterback Ian Flavin fumbled the ball on the Attleboro 35 as his team trailed 26-20 with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Back on offense, the Bombardiers marched to midfield and ate up valuable time, but Attleboro was forced to punt with 23 seconds to go in the game. Then came a bad snap, a loss of several yards and the Bulldogs had new hope on the Attleboro 25.
In the face of trouble, Attleboro's defense stepped up and put the pressure on Flavin, who was unable to connect with his receivers for a game-tying touchdown. He threw an interception as time expired.
Attleboro head coach Kevin Deschenes was pleased to see his team pull out the win and extend its record to 4-0, but he was not surprised that Canton (1-2) kept it competitive.
"Canton Coach [Dave] Bohane does a great job with his kids and they play hard, and that's something we respect of other teams," Deschenes said.
The game was played on a soaked Tozier-Cassidy Field in Attleboro after a steady dose of rain came down before the contest started. By kickoff time, the rain had stopped, and then it appeared and disappeared throughout the game. No doubt the weather was a factor in a contest that featured plenty of turnovers, penalties and missed extra points.
"Every kid's dream is to play in the rain," Deschenes said. "It's a nightmare for the coaching staff because things happen that might not otherwise happen, but the kids love it."
Attleboro got on the scoreboard first with a 30-yard touchdown run in the first quarter by Malique Clark. The talented senior was not deterred by the wet field and had several dazzling plays throughout the contest as he spun around to avoid tackles and ran through walls of young men.
Clark was again a factor near the end zone midway through the second quarter, but this time to the benefit of the Bulldogs. A costly fumble on the Bombardiers' 1-yard line put Canton in easy scoring position, and the Bulldogs capitalized on the opportunity a few plays later with a touchdown run by senior Dexter Green. Attleboro kept the lead at 7-6 following a blocked extra-point attempt.
The Bombardiers followed with a series of impressive offensive plays as Attleboro appeared headed for the end zone. A 30-plus-yard run by Clark put Attleboro within the Canton 10-yard line, but the play was called back on an offensive holding call. This was one of several costly penalties for the Bombardiers.
"It was players trying to be aggressive, but those mistakes negate runs, and you can't do that," Deschenes said.
Later in the quarter, Green was back in the end zone on a 57-yard run to give the Bulldogs the lead. This was the first time Attleboro had been behind in a game during the 2012 season. A successful two-point conversion extended the lead to 14-7.
Near the end of the quarter, Clark again ran into the end zone, and the Bombardiers tied the game. The teams headed into halftime with 14 points apiece.
Attleboro had won the coin toss before the game, but chose not to start with the ball. This decision proved to be beneficial in the second half as the Bombardiers received the ball first and had a successful drive that concluded with a fourth-down, nine-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Tim Walsh to senior wide receiver Cotey Martinez. The extra point was not successful.
The Bombardiers scored again later in the quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Luke Morrison. A two-point conversion attempt was not successful, giving Attleboro a 26-14 lead.
Canton's lone second-half score came in the fourth quarter with senior Elias Camacho's run into the end zone.