Through five drives during the first half, a trio of which found its way onto the soil of the Foxboro High School football team, the Lancers of Norton High were unable to dent the end zone.
Having possession of the ball to initiate drives at their 34, 23 and 34 yard lines during the second half, the Lancers crossed midfield but once over the final 24 minutes of action at Adams Field Saturday and were unable to cash in on a potential game-tying touchdown on four plays from the Foxboro 12-yard line.
“We’re a good defensive team,” Foxboro High football coach Jack Martinelli said after a season-opening, 7-0 victory.
The Warriors benefitted from the Warriors’ front cast of 200-pound senior Anton George, 220-pound senior Nick Cherry and 205-pound junior Jon Moses.
The Warriors intercepted two passes and created five QB sacks (totaling 27 lost yards) against the Lancers.
Foxboro was unable to advance past midfield on six series during the first half and forced to punt five times. In the second half, the Warriors took advantage of a pair of Norton penalties to score the lone touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run by junior Mike Norvish four plays into the fourth quarter.
Foxboro took possession of the ball at the Lancer 39 and 11 plays later, quarterback Shayne Kerrigan and running back Bob Yerardi made enough plays to put the Warriors into the end zone.
Kerrigan completed an 11-yard pass to Ryan Hughes, advancing the ball to the Norton 18, then converted a fourth down with a 7-yard pass to Luis Sulham. Yerardi had 13 rushing yards on the series while 6-foot-4 senior left-footed kicker Tyler James split the uprights with the conversion kick.
Norton had an opportunity to knot the score in the fourth quarter, advancing to the Foxboro 5-yard line with just over five minutes remaining, but a pair of sacks by T.J. Perry and George on third down was followed by Moses blocking a fourth-down pass to deep-six the Lancers’ chances for the equalizer.
The Lancers forced Foxboro to punt with just over two minutes left, but Norton lost control of the return and George recovered the fumble, leaving the Warriors with the ball at the Norton 34-yard line.
“The bottom line is that it’s a win,” Martinelli said. “Norton came to play, they’ve got some tough kids and what I’ve learned all along is that the other team practices too.”
Norton crossed midfield three times on its five first-half series — to the Foxboro 48 on its second drive, to the Foxboro 37 on its second drive and then initiating its fifth series at the Warrior 37.
That first chance ended when Perry, Foxboro’s senior strong safety, intercepted the ball at the 30-yard line. Norton’s best chance, starting a drive at the Foxboro 43 with 2:57 left before halftime, was undermined again by an interception by senior free safety Elijah Harris.
The Lancers hurt themselves with eight penalties, including six in the second half where they were able to net just 49 yards of offense against the Foxboro defense during the second half.
Foxboro mustered just 26 rushing yards, completed just two passes and had one first down in the first half.
“The offense will come,” Martinelli said.
Foxboro (1-0) will host King Philip on Friday at Jack Martinelli Field.