WALPOLE — Staring down a four-point deficit with below a minute remaining, Walpole quarterback Noah Mackenzie was able to do all the things it took to safe a victory.
He orchestrated a 40-second masterpiece, taking the Timberwolves all the way in which down the gridiron and capping it off with an 11-yard landing cross to Jamal Abdal-Khallaq that secured a 39-31 victory over No. 4 Mansfield for the No. 5 Timberwolves.
“I just went through the progressions,” Mackenzie stated. “Everything was there that we wanted. That last play, the safety was wide, (Abdal-Khallaq) was called and I hit him. It worked like that.”
This play introduced the rating to 33-31 and a defensive landing as time expired gave Walpole the victory and superior the workforce to the Division 3 semifinals. Head coach Chris Sullivan stated that even when circumstances appeared bleak, his workforce’s confidence by no means wavered.
“We never doubted ourselves,” Sullivan stated. “We had 54 seconds and I thought to myself that’s too much time. We knew we could score that quickly and we did.”
While the sport ended excessive scoring, it didn’t begin that approach. The Hornets led off with a 26-yard discipline purpose from James Warren, and Mackenzie hit Kamari Hughes for a 61-yard landing cross a drive later. Both defenses would maintain sturdy until late within the first half when Hornets quarterback Connor Curtis hit Brandon Jackman for a 25-yard landing.
This could be the extent of the scoring within the opening half, because the Hornets led 10-7 and Sullivan praised the opponents for his or her tenacity.
“We have an explosive group,” Sullivan stated. “Mansfield gave us everything they could on defense. They did a really good job.”
Walpole began the second half with a fast landing by way of working again Logan Keys however Mansfield scored two straight touchdowns to take a commanding 24-13 lead. In response, Mackenzie turned to his legs, working for greater than 60 yards and capping the drive off with a one-yard landing to chop the deficit to 24-19.
“I just wanted to score,” Mackenzie stated. “I was getting tired of drives being stopped. I knew we needed to get going so I was going to do whatever I needed to get going.”
After a fast three-and-out from Mansfield, Mackenzie and the Timberwolves stormed down the sphere as soon as once more and he scored one other dashing landing and transformed the two-point conversion to take a 27-24 lead.
“Noah really stepped-up big time in the second half running the ball and made some key throws,” Sullivan stated. “The O-line struggled a bit in the third but picked it up in the fourth and overall had an excellent game.”
The Hornets weren’t achieved, nonetheless, as Curtis hit Jackman once more to re-take the lead. This was adopted up by the eventual Timberwolves game-winning drive.
“We all just keep fighting for more games with each other,” Mackenzie stated. “We didn’t want this to be it.”