SCITUATE — Sometimes when all else fails, it never hurts to put the ball in your playmaker’s hands.
For Scituate, that player has been Keegan Sullivan this season, and he showed why with his latest standout performance Friday night. The senior star erupted offensively, racking up 24 carries for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as the Sailors staved off a tough test from rival Hanover during a thrilling 21-13 victory in front of a packed house.
“It was a battle,” said Scituate football coach Herb Devine. “That was a great football game. All the way to the end here, that was a good 48-minute game.”
What was originally billed as a matchup between two of the top teams in a loaded Patriot League certainly lived up to the hype, just not in the manner most expected. Throughout the season, the two programs had built up reputations for having high-flying offenses, both of which could score at will.
This game however, was a defensive battle throughout. Hanover (4-2) got things started at the tail end of the opening quarter, as junior quarterback Michael Landolfi connected with Nicholas Freel for a 13-yard touchdown strike, giving the Hawks a 7-0 lead with 7:07 to play in the stanza.
However, Scituate had an answer, as Colin Morley took a handoff on a counter, then fought his way to paydirt from five yards out to even things at 7-all at the conclusion of the opening quarter, a score which would stand until the halftime break.
Despite being held to just 34 yards on six carries in the first half, Sullivan still managed to flip things into another gear. On the Sailors’ initial drive of the third quarter, Sullivan punched in a 4-yard rushing touchdown to provide Scituate its first lead of the night at 13-7.
Then, with just 29 seconds to play in the quarter, Sullivan took a swing toss, beat the rush to the edge, then sprinted up the left sideline for a 15-yard touchdown scamper. He would add a two-point rush, as Scituate took a 21-7 lead.
“All credit to the line there,” Sullivan said afterward. “(Hanover) had some big guys up front … but we were able to get some good holes, and Andrew (Bossey), my fellow running back, was giving me some good blocks, and I was able to hit them. Got free on two of (the rushes), which was huge, put us up two (scores).”
However, Hanover answered almost immediately, as Freel broke off an 18-yard rush with 11:30 left in regulation to trim it back to a 21-13 game.
Then, with 8:20 remaining, the Hawks blocked a punt attempt by Scituate to set up shop deep in enemy territory at the Sailors’ 18, but they were unable to capitalize on the field position, thanks to a series of penalties. Facing a 4th and 14 situation, Landolfi’s pass skipped off his target’s hands, falling incomplete.
Hanover was given one final chance to tie things with 14 seconds remaining. After Landolfi was injured on a trick play, David Quinlan filled in under center, and fired a Hail Mary pass toward the end zone. The ball skipped off a Scituate corner, then barely out of Joseph Curran’s reach, as the Hawks fell just short of pulling off a miracle.
As of this past week, Scituate was slotted as the No. 1 team in Div. 4 according to the MIAA power rankings. Devine hopes that this win will keep the Sailors in prime standing.
“This a playoff-type atmosphere,” Devine said. “It’s a playoff feel for these guys, and it’s all about repetition. The more you play in big games, the easier it gets to get rid of those little nerves at the beginning of a game … I think playing a team like Hanover, in a game like this, is going to help both teams in the long run.”
High School Sports, Sports, Hanover, High School Football, Scituate