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Needham traveled to Walpole for week seven and went 1-3 in competitive divisions.
A Squad (8th Grade) – Walpole 40, Needham 14 – PJ Corwin threw for his first career touchdown and Ruben Melkonian also threw for a score, but ultimately the Junior Rockets fell to 0-7 on the season against a very tough and well-coached Walpole team. Needham played well out of the gate, but late interceptions and solid defense by the Rebels were too much for the Rockets to overcome.
Defensively, Jake Maio had a career’s worth of tackles on the afternoon while Graham Smith, Patrick Toolan, and Tommy Fullbrook played exceptionally well and kept the Rebels from breaking multiple big plays.
B Squad (7th Grade) – Needham 36, Walpole 20 – B squad took it to Walpole early with great play in all three phases of the game. The Rocket offensive line pushed Walpole back all day long with aggressive play from Sam Billante, Matt Ferrara, Chris Closuit, Will Harris, Matt Filippine, and Jack Snelling. Great defensive play by Jimmy Meunier, Jason Silver, Gerald Perkins and Aiden O’Brien helped to lead the Junior Rockets to a 36-20 win to put them at 5-2 on the season and looking forward to their first postseason berth in the Bay State playoffs.
C Squad (6th Grade) – Walpole 35, Needham 0 – In a measuring stick game against the defending conference champion, C squad came up short. Offensively, Needham moved the ball with strong carries by Rafael Montero, Timmy Bruen and Colin Sullivan, but penalties and blown up plays by the Rebel pass rush kept Needham out of the end zone.
The defense played tough but unfortunately could not find an answer to Walpole’s ground game. Jonah Bloch and Warren Gillis played stout on the defensive line, and Peter Greenes had some big plays in the Walpole backfield. The loss drops C Squad to 4-3 on the season and they will need some help in order to make the playoffs.
E1 Squad (4th Grade) vs Walpole* – The E1 team started slow against Walpole but played a strong second half. Runs by QB Jack Barrett, wideout Nolan Joyce, and running back Denis O’Donovan allowed the Rockets to move the ball 60 yards down field just before halftime. The drive was capped with a 20-yard power run by fullback Travis O’Brien, who carried several Walpole defenders into the end zone with him. Alex Rufo converted the extra point on a sweep play to the right.
The defensive line of Charlie Simeone, Will Connelly, Yan Shtein, Alex Rutley and Adler Kukoleca kept the Walpole offense off balanced and scrambling for the entire second half.
E2 Squad (2nd/3rd Grade) vs Brockton* - The E2 Jr. Rockets played a very tough game with a lot of great sportsmanship. The offense used this opportunity to try some new plays. Rory Kizer, Dean Mostafa, and Philip Alexopolous, worked hard on offense, trying to break through the wall of Walpole defensive linemen.
The Junior Rockets had strong defensive plays this week with Carson Dunn and Jack Gage making some excellent tackles. Jake Heckman also had a great tackle for a loss in the backfield.
* Note that scores are not kept for the E1 and E2 instructional levels of AYF Football.
Needham wraps up its regular season with a full slate of games against Natick.