ROCKLAND — In a back-and-forth contest between two of the best teams the South Shore League has to offer, Middleboro saved its best for last.
The visiting Sachems scored the game’s winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to knock off Rockland, 20-19. Jacob Briggs threw the game-winning 27-yard touchdown pass to Nate Goodline with 4:37 left.
“We came into a place that has been tough for us,” Middleboro coach Pat Kingman said. “Our kids were hungry, and we knew what we had to do.”
Middleboro started with the ball and quarterback Jacob Briggs consistently found holes, eventually popping through for an 11-yard touchdown run with 6:47 remaining in the first quarter.
Rockland would then storm down the field off the work of running back Jacob Coulstring before a bullet from Michael Moriarty found the hands of Lucas Leander and tied the game at seven with 3:47 remaining in the first quarter.
A pair of penalties plagued drives on the next possession for each team, but Rockland would get the edge by riding Coulstring’s physical play all the way to a touchdown in the waning seconds of the half. The Sachems would block the extra-point attempt, keeping the score at 13–7 as the half expired.
The second half began with major sparks from the run game for both squads. Coulstring sprinted to a 37-yard gain to start play and Jordan DePina followed with a 48-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was no good, and the Bulldogs increased the lead to 19–7.
This would not last long. Two significant runs from Briggs, including a 39-yard touchdown run, provided a quick response and an extra point cut the deficit to 19–14.
The Bulldogs drove down the field but were stopped on fourth down in the red zone with 15 seconds left. This would spell the end of the line for Rockland, as Middleboro would hold on to win 20–19.
“It’s a battle between two good teams,” Rockland coach Nick Liquori said. “This was one of the ones where they made one less mistake and that’s what it really comes down to in high school football.”
Middleboro advances to 5–1 on the season, while Rockland falls to 4–2.
“They played hard to the end,” Kingman said. “We got lucky probably a couple of times, but you need to get lucky to be a good football team.”