Attleboro football clinched a spot in the Massachusetts Div. I playoffs with a 19-12 win over Hockomock rival King Philip, in what may have been Big Blue's hardest fought win of the season.
"Every day we have goals," coach Mike Strachan said. "We set goals for ourselves in practice. As silly as that might sound, we believe in it. We get better every day. We talk about coming out, getting better, and setting goals for ourselves. This team has really done that. I think that’s the difference."
The Blue Bombardiers improved to 6-1 overall. They will await their opponent in the Div. I playoffs next week. King Philip dropped to 5-2 overall and will likely still see playoff action.
King Philip's struggles Friday started from the beginning. On the third play from scrimmage, Attleboro quarterback Tim Walsh found receiver Brenden Massey for a 30 yard reception and touchdown, giving Big Blue a lead less than a minute into the game.
King Philip responded twice in the first half, first on a 7-yard reception from quarterback John Dillon to runningback Joe Johnston. On KP's next possession, Dillon snuck the ball in himself.
Dillon went 7 for 18 passing for 47 yards. KP was led by Johnston, who earned 134 yards on the ground. Still, Attleboro was able to stifle the Warrior offense in the second half by forcing them into passing situations.
"Whether we’re doing it ourselves or a lot of the time tonight just getting whipped up front, it puts you in a bind," KP coach Brian Lee said. "When we need to make a play in the passing game, we just haven’t been able to find it in the last two weeks. That kind of makes the difference. It really hurt us that we haven’t been able to make those plays in the passing game when we needed them."
Attleboro took a 13-12 lead into the second half after Walsh hit receiver Matthew Elliot from the one yard line on a play set up by a 48-yd reception from Walsh to Massey.
Attleboro's second half score was set up by a Pat Dunn blocked punt early in the third quarter. Dunn's block set up momentum that led to a Tommy Burns 17-yd reception and Damon Belin 10-yd touchdown run.
Walsh put up his usual impressive numbers, throwing for 117 yards on 7 for 17 passing. The Bombardiers, however, were tested in the running game, and Belin stepped to the plate. The junior speedster led Attleboro with 73 yards on the ground.
"We wanted to grind it as well today," Strachan said. "They have very good pass coverage."
Both teams will learn who they're playing next week on Sunday.
"We’ll see what we’ve got next week," Strachan said. "Hopefully it’s a good contest."