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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After putting an end to a brief two-game losing streak last week with a 43-0 victory over Brookline, the Walpole Rebels (4-2, 1-1) traveled to Braintree on Friday night to take on the Wamps (3-3, 1-2), looking to win their second straight.
Behind a big three-touchdown (two passing, one rushing) night by junior quarterback Will Jarvis, the Rebels were able to gut out a hard-fought 21-9 victory.
Jarvis hit senior captain and wide outAndrew White for a 12-yard touchdown strike on Walpole’s opening series to give the Rebels a 6-0 lead with 8:09 remaining in the first quarter. The Rebel defense forced a punt on Braintree’s ensuing possession to get the ball back for Jarvis and the Rebel offense. Jarvis hit senior captain Chase Conrad for a long catch-and-run down inside the 10 on the third play of the drive before rushing it in from a yard out to make it 12-0. Conrad converted a successful two-point conversion to make it a 14-0 game with 1:49 to play.
Braintree climbed back into the contest with a touchdown with 6:48 to play in the first half to make it 14-6, but the Rebels fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Wamps were knocking on the door. Walpole’s defense stood tall, however, as a pair of big tackles by senior Ethan Kelley forced a fourth down stop to preserve the 14-6 lead. Braintree forced Walpole to punt and converted a field goal as time expired in the first half to cut the deficit to 14-9 at the break.
Both teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, and the Rebels carried their five-point lead into the fourth quarter. Braintree drove into Walpole territory with under nine minutes to play in the contest, but the Rebels were able to get the stop and force a field goal attempt. The Wamps attempted a fake field goal, but did not fool the Rebel defense; a swarm of Walpole tacklers sniffed out the play and made the stop to preserve the five-point lead with 8:15 to play.
Jarvis delivered the dagger on Walpole’s ensuing possession with a 70-yard, highlight reel run up the far sideline inside the 20, followed by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Conrad on fourth-and-25 to make it 21-9 with 5:07 left.
Chris Reilly put the nail in the coffin with a sack on fourth down, deep in Rebel territory, to allow Jarvis and the Rebel offense to kneel to victory. Walpole will return to action on October 19 against rival Needham at Turco Field for senior night.
“This win was huge for us,” said Jarvis following the victory. “It puts us at 4-2 with a lot of momentum heading into the biggest game of the season against Needham next Friday. The win also has some playoff implications and could lead to us having a home playoff game in a couple weeks. I thought both the offense and defense played great, and overall, it was a great team win.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.