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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Coming off a 31-19 victory against Milford in the Division III South quarterfinals, the No. 4 seed Walpole High football team traveled to Hingham on Friday night with a spot in the sectional title game on the line.
In what has been a bit of an up-and-down season for Walpole High football, the Rebels brought their A-game on Friday against the top-seeded Harbormen. Unfortunately, despite putting together arguably their best defensive performance of the year, Walpole was unable to pull off the upset, falling 14-8 in an extremely hard-fought contest.
Walpole’s defense forced a turnover on downs deep in their own territory on Hingham’s opening possession. The teams then exchanged punts to culminate a scoreless first quarter. Senior captain and quarterback Will Jarvis led the Rebels down inside the red zone on Walpole’s first possession of the second quarter. After the drive stalled out inside the 10, Harry Butters attempted a 31-yard field goal that went wide left, keeping the game scoreless.
Hingham capitalized on the missed field goal, taking the ball 71 yards for the go-ahead score: a 43-yard touchdown run by senior captain Zach Kelleher to claim a 6-0 lead (PAT blocked). The teams exchanged punts before Walpole took over inside their own 10-yard line. A misplay on Walpole’s punt attempt along their own goal line resulted in a safety, giving Hingham an 8-0 lead. The Harbormen nearly made it a two-possession game at the half after driving deep into Walpole territory. However, an interception in the end zone by Thomas Farrell kept it an 8-0 game at the break.
Walpole took the ball to start the second half and the Rebels went back to the basics, driving 71 yards on 15 plays with multiple hard-nosed runs by Derek Petrucci and John Murphy. The drive was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by Jarvis on a play-action bootleg. Petrucci tied the game at eight with a successful two-point conversion on a half-back toss to the left.
The game remained tied at eight heading into the fourth quarter. On a fourth down and nine inside the Walpole 20, the Harbormen pulled some trickery as Cooper Estes took a handoff on a reverse and hit quarterback Owen O’Brien for a 21-yard touchdown to give Hingham back the lead at 14-8 (PAT blocked) with 10:48 to play. Still trailing by six with 3:12 remaining, Walpole got one final shot to tie or win the game. With the ball at midfield, Jarvis lofted up a pass to his No. 1 target in fellow senior captain Drew Von Klock. Christian Julian jumped the route and picked off the pass before stepping out of bounds at the 50. With Walpole out of timeouts, Hingham was able to kneel to victory for the 14-8 victory.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.