BOSTON – Good things happen to those who wait, and for the Cohasset athletic program, they have waited long enough.
Between last season’s lacrosse team and this year’s football and soccer programs, just about everyone had that taste of the championship game experience, but with no title to show for it.
But this time around and just hours after Cohasset’s graduation, the Skippers got the title that has eluded them so often, holding on to defeat Dover-Sherborn in a rematch of last years Division 3 championship game, 10-9, at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
“We said last night raise your hand if you have been in a state championship game and just about every hand in the room went up so we said there is no reason to be nervous,” Cohasset coach James Beaudoin said.
Rather than feeling the pressure of having to deal with the possibility of another disappointing end, the Skippers looked at it as having experience on their side.
“I wouldn’t call it pressure and much as I would call it drive,” senior Colin Whelan said. “There are so many good athletes on this team, multi-sport of course. It just drove everybody, they needed that championship after getting shutout in the finals three times before that.”
For the 10 seniors that took the field, it was day they will never forget. Those seniors walked across the stage in their graduation ceremony early in the afternoon before making the short trip to capture a state championship.
“This whole day has been incredible,” Whelan said. “No better way to get prepared for a game like this and to be with my fellow teammates all day.”
Beaudoin added: “This senior class is terrific, they’ve earned it. They have been so close so often and knew this was their last shot.“
Dover-Sherborn held a 3-2 lead after the first quarter, behind a pair of beautiful goals from freshman Bailey Laidman and another from Chris Williams with 27 seconds remaining in the quarter. But that is where the Skippers dialed up their defense and scored all six goals that were scored in the second quarter.
Whelan scored a pair, to go along with goals from Andrew Benson, Will Golden, Cole Kissick and Jeff Powers to give the Skippers an 8-3 halftimes lead.
“We got up early and then the going got tough and Beaudoin called timeout,” Whelan said of the second quarter. “We realized this is our last shot, we don’t have another game after this, this is no practice Sunday and we just started clicking.”
Weathering the attack: Despite the determination that Cohasset had, they nearly let their championship slip away.
Cohasset found itself in penalty trouble in the third quarter, starting with a three-minute personal foul that awakened the Raider offense. Dover-Sherborn only pushed across one goal on the man-advantage, off the stick of Grant Gregory but another Skipper penalty allowed another goal from Gregory.
Kissick scored his third goal of the game to briefly stop the Raiders run, but the Raiders scored three more extra-man goals to end the quarter from Gregory and Williams (2) to but the lead down to one entering the final quarter.
“We were up 5-0 last game against them and the came back and tied 5-5 so we knew that they are capable of anything,” Beaudoin said.
Golden gave the Skippers a two-goal lead with a goal early in the four quarter and Cohasset slowly suffocated Dover-Sherborn out with domination of possession until one last-ditch effort from the Raiders with two minutes to go.
Williams netted a goal from Gregory with 1:33 remaining in the fourth and the Raiders won the ensuing faceoff to hold possession.
D-S got a handful of shots off in the final 90 seconds, none better than the look Tyler Mann had with four seconds left, facing a half-open net but his shot went wide.
“The way we coached was because of last years game,” Beaudoin said. “When you get that close and fall two goals short, you remember how they did it to you.”
Bring out the best: When Kissick steps onto the championship stage, his performance never goes unnoticed. Kissick led his offense to 10 goals in last year’s loss to Dover-Sherborn, to go along with a monster game at Gillette Stadium in their loss in the Div. 6 football state championship in December.
Saturday was no different, with the junior scoring three goals in the win.
It had been a frustrating postseason for Kissick, who was the main focus of their opponents game plan.
“Kissick has always been locked off, always gets the pole, which allows Danny (Axelson) and Will (Golden) and other guys to get a lot of our goals,” Beaudoin said. ”In last years title game it’s where a lot of his college looks came from and rightfully so.”