November 16, 2009
By Mike Scandura
NEW BEDFORD — Two words summed up Brockton football coach Peter Colombo’s feelings yesterday after the Boxers beat New Bedford, 22-12, in a key Big 3 game.
“Mission accomplished,” Colombo said after Brockton (8-1, 2-0) captured its eighth consecutive Big 3 title. “We’re going to the playoffs, and we’re thrilled to be there.”
Conversely the Whalers (5-4, 0-1) missed out on their first trip to the playoffs since 2001.
“We believe in our kids,” New Bedford coach Dennis Golden said. “We believe we can play with anybody and we’re going to keep believing that. Each time we take the field we expect to be successful.”
New Bedford was successful twice on defense when it appeared Brockton was going to score and break the game open. But in each case, Brockton still scored without its offense touching the ball.
Brockton led 7-6 midway through the second quarter when Trevon Offley — who gained 203 yards on 23 carries — was held to one yard on fourth-and-goal from the 2. But after New Bedford went three-and-out, Jordan McDonald blocked Brian Hopwood’s punt.
Hopwood fell on the ball in the end zone, but was smothered for a safety.
Then, early in the fourth quarter with Brockton leading 15-6, Offley again was stopped short, this time on fourth-and-goal from the 2. But two plays later, Kadeem McIntosh intercepted a Nate Lewis pass Lewis and returned it 14 yards for the clinching score.
“Jordan’s been awesome this year,” Colombo said. “He didn’t play last year but he’s made play after play for us this year.
“Kadeem is a senior who hung in there. He finally got a chance to play this year and I’m so proud of him.
“You’re disappointed you didn’t finish the drives,” Colombo added. “But by forcing their offense to play out of their end zone helped us get (nine) points.”
New Bedford gave every indication it might spring an upset when it took opening kickoff and covered 75 yards in seven plays, with Lewis connecting with Jon Williams on a 12-yard swing pass for a touchdown.
But Brockton needed only three plays to go ahead for good.
With the Boxers in a passing situation, New Bedford stacked the box. But once Offley broke through the line of scrimmage there was nothing between him and the end zone and he sprinted 59 yards for the score.
While Lewis completed 14 of 28 passes for 194 yards, New Bedford’s running game wasn’t a factor.
“Our defense just continues to make plays,” Colombo said. “That’s really our heart, the defense. They’re tremendous.”