by Kristian Lundberg
Trailing by eight with under nine minutes to play at home against Needham Friday, the Tigers faced a fourth-and-goal from the Rockets’ 1-yard line. The situation called for a quarterback sneak, so the Tigers lined up in a power formation with three backs, with sophomore quarterback Christian Cox preparing to take the plunge to paydirt.
Yet Needham’s much-bigger defensive line was ready. The Rockets stuffed Cox immediately at the line, preventing him from crossing the plane and the Tigers from scoring the potential game-tying touchdown. Their inability to score would end up dearly costing the Tigers, who ultimately fell 28-25 in a game they very well could have won.
“If we play this way we’ll be okay,” coach Peter Capodilupo said after the game. “A lot of our young kids played well, and hopefully this is something we can take into Brookline.”
Such is the narrative of the Tigers’ 4-6 campaign this year, in which the squad has posted promising results at times yet otherwise falls short of the elite teams in the Bay State Conference.
The Tigers made mincemeat out of their weaker opponents, defeating conference bottom feeders Braintree, Milton and Norwood, but against the cream of the Bay State crop they lost handily. Hosting Herget Division leader Walpole Saturday, Oct. 27, the Tigers gave up 28 points in the first quarter en route to a 47-0 drubbing.
When the Tigers host the Warriors in the 118th rendition of the Thanksgiving Day rivalry, the Tigers will have revenge squarely in mind. At Parsons Field in Brookline last year, the Tigers could not contain Brookline quarterback junior Nick Scott, who ended up rushing for over 200 yards and four touchdowns, and the rest of the Brookline offense in a 32-19 rout.
The Tigers’ ability to secure a win most likely will depend on their success through the air. The squad, 4-6, comes into the Turkey Day rivalry with an up-and-coming quarterback in Cox, who delivered a breakout performance against Needham, tossing four touchdown passes against a vaunted Needham secondary. The Tigers also expect strong performances from junior Jack Boucher, a quarterback/wide receiver hybrid who caught two of Cox’s four touchdowns against the Rockets. With the passing game established, they will also look to senior tailback Andrew Kinsella to churn up yardage and the clock on the ground.
An additional advantage the Tigers will have Thursday, Nov. 22 is home-field advantage. While they have dropped their past two Thanksgiving Day contests in Brookline, the Tigers ride a five-game home winning streak against the Warriors.