Say hello to your new Big 3 champion...?
New Bedford landed the knockout punch of the year with an eight-minute fourth quarter drive that iced a 23-21 win over longtime league and state powerhouse Brockton, clinching them a share of their first Big 3 Conference title since 2001.
Senior offensive/defensive lineman Lance Burlingame had the game of his life, coming up with a sack and a slew of quarterback pressures, and paving big holes all afternoon for senior Phito Gondre (26 carries, 107 yards, TD). Junior wide receiver Marcel DePina (130 all-purpose yards) scored the biggest haymaker of the afternoon in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 64-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Myles Medeiros (12 of 18, 185 yards) to make it 23-15.
Paul Mroz (7 of 13, 133 yards) answered back with a six-yard scamper to close it to 23-21 with eight minutes left. But on the two-point conversion attempt, senior running back Trevon Offley (14 carries, 150 yards, 2 TD) was stuffed short of the goal line.
The Whalers then put together an eight-minute, forty-five second drive behind steady runs from the speedy Gondre, marching all the way to the Brockton 15 before turning the ball over on downs with under a minute to go.
New Bedford now heads into its Thanksgiving Day matchup with archrival Durfee with playoff implications on the line. A loss to the visiting Hilltoppers would create a three-way tie for first in the Big 3; league tiebreaker rules give the playoff berth to the team that has gone the longest without making a playoff appearance, which would grant the berth to Durfee. However, league rules also stipulate that a team must have above a .500 winning percentage to be eligible, which does not qualify Durfee at 3-7 but would qualify the 5-4 Whalers.
NEW BEDFORD 23, NO. 2 BROCKTON 21
NB 5-4 1-0
Brock 8-2 1-1
NB 14 0 3 6 23
BR 0 0 15 6 21
N - Phito Gondre 2 run (Justin St. Pierre kick)
N - Izaiah Baretto 5 run (St. Pierre kick)
B - Trevon Offley 74 run (Ralph Cherry pass from Austin Roberts)
N - St. Pierre 26 field goal
B - Offley 30 run (Lucas Depina kick)
N - Marcel DePina 64 pass from Myles Medeiros (kick failed)
B - Paul Mroz 6 run (rush failed)