NORTON, Mass. – Which four teams will reach the Tri-Valley League playoff has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time with Holliston, Medway, Norton and Westwood ensconced at the top of the standings.
Entering into Friday night’s action, as to how those entrants would rank in the tournament (which kicks off in T-minus two weeks) was anyone’s guess beyond Norton having first dibs on the top spot. After Holliston’s 42-0 drubbing of the Lancers in Norton, that process has only gotten muddled.
Following the Panthers’ impressive showing, all four squads are now square at 6-1.
One thing is clear, however.
If the top spot were to be judged on style points alone, Holliston’s flexing of their offensive muscle against the Lancers would be case enough.
“We wanted to go high tempo, we wanted to gas them,” said Panthers quarterback Sean Mayo, who completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for 185 yards and a touchdown. “We mixed it up with the run and we ran a little bit more than we usually do, but we got it done tonight.”
Holliston controlled the game from its onset. After fielding the opening kickoff, the Panthers maneuvered downfield on a six-play, 64-yard drive capped by Kevin Curry’s first of three rushing touchdowns.
Things got out of hand in the second quarter after Mayo found Dan Barone (5 catches, 110 yards) on a 26-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first. On the ensuing kickoff, Atticus Grinder scooped up a Norton fumble and reached the end zone on a 14-yard score.
Harper Lee couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
“What a great football name, isn’t it?” Holliston head coach Todd Kiley said while reflecting on his special teams ace. “[Grinder] is a kid that honestly could be starting a lot of other teams but he brings it every [play], special teams wise. It was no different tonight.”
On the second play from scrimmage following Grinder’s score, Barone picked off a Brendan Curtin pass and returned it 35 yards to the Lancers’ 4-yard line. Two plays later, Curry punched in his second touchdown from two yards out.
“We had a great week of practice,” Curry said, breaking down Holliston’s defensive keys. “We knew what they were going to show, we knew their tendencies.”
The Panthers bore down on Norton’s defense for two more scores in the second half. Curry, who finished with 12 carries for 85 yards, knocked in his second two-yard score of the game in the third quarter and Barone added an exclamation point with a 47-yard run to paydirt with 1:08 remaining in the contest.
Holliston141477 -- 42
Norton 0000 -- 0
Holliston Kevin Curry 5-yard run (Christian Baker kick)
Holliston Dan Barone 26-yard pass from Sean Mayo (Baker kick)
Holliston Atticus Grinder 14-yard fumble return (Baker kick)
Holliston Curry 2-yard run (Christian Baker kick)
Holliston Curry 2-yard run (Baker kick)
Holliston Barone 47-yard run (Baker kick)