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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The top two quarterbacks in the Bay State Conference squared off on Friday afternoon as the Walpole Rebels hosted the Natick Redhawks. The Rebels (1-1, 0-1) entered off of a 28-12 victory against rival Norwood to open up the season, while the Redhawks (2-0, 2-0) made the trek to Turco Field after handing Needham a 42-0 beatdown in their opener.
Early special teams miscues ended up being too much for Jarvis (24 of 40, 210 yards) and the Rebels to overcome, as Natick jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and never looked back, prevailing by a 30-7 final.
Jarvis led the Rebels into Natick territory on Walpole’s game-opening series, hooking up with Drew Von Klock and Ray Louissant for long completions before the drive stalled out at the Natick 45-yard line. A misplay on the punt gave Will Lederman and the Natick offense a short field to work with, taking over at the Walpole 43. Lederman (6-12, 140 yards, three touchdowns) quickly led the Redhawks down the field, hooking up with Terrance Cherry for the game’s opening score from 12 yards out to give Natick an early 7-0 lead.
The Redhawks not only forced a three-and-out on Walpole’s next possession, but also blocked the fourth-down punt and returned it for a touchdown to go up by 14 at the end of one quarter. Jarvis responded by leading Walpole down the field on its next possession to begin the second quarter, hooking up twice with Von Klock for a total of 41 yards to set up a first and goal. Jarvis capped off the drive with a one-yard sneak to get the Rebels on the board and cut the deficit to 14-7 with 8:02 to play in the half.
Lederman made Walpole pay for a defensive breakdown on Natick’s next series, hooking up with Nick Ofodile for a 71-yard touchdown to put the Redhawks back up by 14 at 21-7. Jarvis led the Rebels down the field on Walpole’s next series with a pair of completions to Louissant, one to Bryan Malone, and a long run by Derek Petrucci. With 48 seconds to play in the half, Jarvis attempted to hit Louissant on a slant route over the middle, but the pass was picked at the goal line by Natick’s Felix Ferrucci to end the drive. Natick took a knee and carried their 21-7 lead into halftime.
Following a long drive by Natick to open up the second half, Walpole’s defense held the Redhawks to a chip shot field goal as the Redhawks went ahead by 17 at 24-7. Walpole was forced to punt on its next series before a 22-yard touchdown connection from Lederman to Ofodile with 6:21 to play sealed it. Natick went on to win by the 30-7 final.
Walpole will look to get back on track when the Rebels travel to face rival Wellesley on September 21.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.