It’s been a long road, but Old Rochester Regional (ORR) football finally has its sights fully set on the MIAA Football Division 6 State Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Saturday at 3:30 pm.
“[Monday] was really the first day it had sunken in,” said ORR coach Justin Kogler. “Last week it was still kind of focusing on Apponequet, Thanksgiving, and everything else.”
Old Rochester had a two-week break from postseason play after winning the South Sectional Finals. The first week was a bye for the Bulldogs as North Sectional Champion Stoneham coasted 45-7 past Central Sectional Champion Littleton to get a shot at the big game. Then Old Rochester had its annual Thanksgiving Day game against Apponequet, in which the Bulldogs cruised to a 35-14 win, keeping the undefeated season (11-0) intact.
Will Garciaran for three touchdowns and 190 yards on 16 carries against the Lakers, while Desmond Diasalmost kept pace by rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
But the win and holiday have come and gone. Now the Bulldogs are focused on one thing alone – finding a way to beat Stoneham.
“To be honest, that was the first time in my coaching career I just wanted Thanksgiving to go away,” Kogler said. “I just wanted that game out of the way, which is sad because the Apponequet Thanksgiving Day game is a great tradition. But knowing what was ahead, I kind of wanted that game gone. And I knew I had to play starters and just was praying we get out of there healthy.”
As the Bulldogs have assessed the film and scouting reports throughout their preparation, they’ve found Stoneham bears comparison to Dighton-Rehoboth, which happened to be the team to snap ORR’s shutout streak in Week 4 of the season.
“I’d say [they’re most similar to] Dighton-Rehoboth because they run a lot and are a very tough team,” linebacker Dylan DeWolfesaid. “But also, last year’s Wareham team ran that same offense. Just that tough, gritty, run-right-through-you kind of offense and that’s what we’re preparing for.”
However, Stoneham will likely turn out to be an amplified version of the Falcons, given the Spartans are one of the highest scoring offenses in the state, regardless of division. That’s a challenge the Bulldogs are certainly well equipped to handle, being one of the top teams in the state defensively, as well as possessing an explosive offense in their own right.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good,” linebacker Desmond Dias said. “All we have to do is wrap up. If we wrap up, I think we can win this game.”
Tabor Academy girls soccer coach Steve Sughrue will now have two Division I soccer commits on the roster heading into the 2019 series with Jaydah Bedoyaverbally committing to extend her soccer career with the UConn Huskies.
She follows in teammate and fellow forward Cat Barry’sfootsteps, who already committed to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
“She wanted to find the right fit for her goals, athletically and academically,” Sughrue said. “She’s worked really hard at Tabor, both in soccer and in the classroom. She visited a lot of schools and had a lot of schools watch her at Tabor and her club team. I was really impressed with the process she went through, trying to be deliberate, visiting a lot of schools and talked to a lot to people and got advice from people she looked up to.”
Sughrue continued, “[UConn has an] excellent coaching staff, good young team; they’re going to grow and they have talked about trying to develop character within their program, and I can’t think of a better character kid than Jaydah. She cares so much about her teammates and always doing her best. She’s been a wonderful addition at Tabor and I know she will be at UConn.”
Bedoya had interest from other schools, including Boston College and Brown University, but once UConn came on her radar she never wavered. Now she can’t wait to start her time as a Husky.
“I love school spirit and all that stuff. It was different there,” Bedoya said. “I felt like all the kids were, when they walked around, … happy to be there. I feel like I should be able to go to a school where I’m happy, but at the same time go for my academics as well, which is another thing, as well. Their academics are really good.”
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar