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Panthers pull away late from Murray, Warriors

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Coming off a gut-wrenching, last-second 42-36 defeat at Hopkinton on April 3 that featured three James Wilder touchdowns, the Medfield High School varsity football team hit the road again on Friday night looking to respond at Holliston.

With starting running back TJ Casey sidelined due to injury, Medfield's offense needed a big night out of quarterback Ryan Murray. On Medfield's opening series, Murray hit a big play-action pass to senior wideout Ben Leonard to move the ball down inside the five-yard line. Murray punched home the game's opening touchdown on the very next play with a one-yard quarterback sneak to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 4:00 to play in the first quarter.

Senior captain and running back Tristan Benson responded accordingly for Holliston, leading the Panthers down the field with consecutive long runs before capping off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run to make it a 7-6 game (PAT no-good). Medfield maintained their one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

With the game still 7-6 midway through the second, Holliston took a gamble and went for it on fourth-down-and-one from their own 30. Benson took a direct snap and cut up the middle for the first down and more, dashing 70 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Holliston opted to go for two and converted with another handoff to Benson to make it 14-7 Panthers with 7:06 to play in the half. Medfield was unable to generate any points in the final 7:06 and the game entered halftime with Holliston ahead by seven.

Medfield was forced to punt on its first offensive series of the second half. Senior captain and running back Christian Schneeloch broke a 45-yard touchdown run up the middle on the second play of Holliston's ensuing possession to make it a 21-7 game. The game's turning point came on the sixth play of Medfield's next series. With the Warriors driving and looking to cut the deficit to a single score with a touchdown, a fumble by James Wilder was picked up by Schneeloch and returned 62 yards for a touchdown. Senior captain and wideout Teddy Ratcliffe converted a successful two-point try as Holliston took a commanding 29-7 lead.

Following a Medfield punt, Holliston delivered the dagger with a 35-yard touchdown run by Ratcliffe on an end-around, making it 35-7 at the end of the third quarter. The Warriors were unable to generate much offense in the fourth quarter as Holliston prevailed by the 35-7 final. The loss drops Medfield to 1-3. The Warriors will look to respond on Friday at Ashland before finishing out the Fall II season on April 22 at home against arch-rival Dover-Sherborn.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.

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