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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Entering on the heels of a tough 41-6 defeat to division-leading Holliston (4-0, 3-0), the Medfield High football team traveled to Ashland on Saturday needing a win to get back on track and realistically stay alive for a shot at winning TVL Large.
Unfortunately for the Warriors (2-2, 0-2), a fast start was countered by a resurgent final two quarters by Ashland. The Clockers (4-0, 3-0) overcame an early 14-7 deficit for a 35-16 victory, severely dampening Medfield’s chances of winning the division with two conference defeats and just three games remaining before playoffs.
Junior quarterback Ryan Murray hooked up with senior captain and wideout Jimmy Cosolito for a 46-yard touchdown connection on third-and-18 with 6:13 to play in the opening quarter to give Medfield an early 6-0 lead (PAT unsuccessful).
Medfield’s defense preserved the six-point advantage at the end of one quarter, thanks to a goal-line stand on Ashland’s ensuing possession. Following a Medfield punt, Ashland went on a two-play, 53-yard drive, concluding with an 11-yard touchdown to take a 7-6 lead with 11:38 to play in the half. Murray responded for Medfield, leading the Warriors down the field before connecting with junior wideout James Wilder for a 26-yard score on a slant route, followed by a successful two-point try with a receiver sweep to Wilder to give Medfield a 14-7 lead.
Medfield’s defense forced a punt and it looked like the Warriors were going to have the chance to add to their lead. However, following a controversial turnover on a punt return where the ball may or may not have been touched by Cosolito, Ashland capitalized with the tying touchdown with 2:26 remaining. The game entered halftime at 14 apiece.
Ashland received the ball to start the second half and marched down the field for the go-ahead score with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter. Medfield’s offense was forced to punt, but the Warriors were able to pin the Clockers on their own two-yard line. On the first play of the ensuing series, sophomore defensive lineman Jared Hirshfield split the gap and sacked the Ashland quarterback in the end zone for a safety, making it a 21-16 game. The play gave the ball back to Murray and the offense with 6:29 to play in the quarter.
The Ashland defense forced Medfield to punt before a long rushing touchdown pushed the lead to 28-16 for the Clockers with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter. The Medfield offense was unable to generate anymore points, while Ashland was able to seal the victory with a long touchdown late to prevail by the 35-16 final.
The Warriors will look to rebound on October 12 at home against Hopkinton.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.