ABINGTON, Mass. -– With roughly one minute remaining in the fourth quarter and the Abington Green Wave 39 yards away from a game-winning touchdown, East Bridgewater senior Connor McDermott made a game-saving tackle on 4th-and-9. It helped the Vikings preserve their undefeated record for yet another week and keep pace with Mashpee in the South Shore League with a dramatic 25-22 victory.
“That tackle was the biggest tackle I’ve ever made,” McDermott said. “Anytime you get the stopping tackle, it’s pretty big, but I pretty much just give it to Coach [Shawn] Tarpey because he’s been coaching us all this time, and he was just saying, ‘stay where you are,’ so I just stayed where I was and made the tackle."
Tarpey added, “A game like this, you’re excited, and sometimes everybody wants to make the play, [but] they realize they’ve just got to do their job, and we’ll be OK. Obviously, there’s not much else we could say, just kind of do your thing. [Abington] still [had] to put it in the end zone or kick a field goal, and we stopped them at the end.”
Both teams shook off their pre-game jitters during the opening minutes of the first quarter with back-to-back interceptions before Abington’s junior place kicker Joe Buckley kicked a 26-yard field goal, which gave the Green Wave their first lead of the game.
East Bridgewater responded on the ensuing possession, as senior quarterback Timothy O’Brien, (10 carries, 128 yards, and 3 TDs), rushed for his first of three scores, before Abington answered with a 34-yard run by sophomore half back Matt Kilmain.
Entering the second half, East Bridgewater added three more touchdowns on the ground, thanks to O’Brien and senior halfback Casey DeAndre, (22 carries, 159 yards, and TD) before Abington staged an epic comeback that featured two rushing touchdowns by junior half back Babila Fonkem, and an onside kick, which didn’t result in any points.
“I thought my kids played a hell of a game, they gave every effort that they could give, [and] I didn’t think they backed down from anything and this is the kind of game that should happen and it did,” Abington head coach Jim Kelliher said.
“[This win was] incredible. Obviously, it just keeps us right on the path that we need to be on with next week’s matchup, and I’m certainly going to enjoy this one tonight, but it’s good,” Tarpey said. “Last year, we beat these guys, and then we went out and lost to Mashpee, so we’re going to enjoy this [victory].”
VIKINGS RUN AGROUND
Against the Green Wave, the Vikings running game demolished their opponents front seven, as O’Brien and DeAndre combined for 287-yards on the ground, and four touchdowns.
“[It’s] not very easy,” Kelliher said. “That’s the best combination of two guys that I’ve seen. They did such a nice job in the backfield, riding, faking, they do an excellent job.”
Tarpey credited his running attack against Abington by saying, “That’s been that way all year. Teams have either taken away Casey or Timmy, and the other ones had a good game, depending on who they were trying to take away, so we busted out, we didn’t execute, we had the turnovers in the first half, but we’re glad to pull it out in the end.”
BACK AND FORTH
Both teams combined for 32-points in the third and fourth quarters, as Abington and East Bridgewater flexed their offensive muscles on the ground game, but it was the Vikings, who managed to score an additional six points in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference.
“We came back each and every time they came back and at the end they were just three-points better than us," Kelliher said. “We’re working, if anything to get ourselves in position to maybe get a field goal kick there, we didn’t get it, but that’s what we work on, that’s what we do each and every week, that’s what we [do] on the practice field all time.”
EAST BRIDGEWATER 25, ABINGTON 22
East Bridgewater (9-0, 5-0) - 0 6 6 13 -- 25
Abington (6-3, 4-2) - 3 6 0 13 -- 22
A - Joe Buckley 26-yard Field Goal
EB – Timothy O’Brien, 14-yard run, (pass failed)
A – Matt Kilmain, 34-yard run (pass failed)
EB – Casey DeAndre, 15-yard run (run failed)
A – Babila Fonkem, 17-yard run (Buckley kick)
EB – O’Brien, 15-yard run (kick failed)
EB – O’Brien, 27-yard run (Kevin Lynch kick)
A – Fonkem, five-yard run (pass failed)