Boucher leads Tigers to victory in season opener

The Newtonite

by Kristian Lundberg
Mayor Setti Warren can finally claim his lunch.
One year removed from a heartbreaking 26-20 loss in Waltham in the first edition of the renewed Suburban League football rivalry, the Tigers made quite sure that they prevailed in the second, thanks to a breakout performance from junior quarterback Jack Boucher.
Boucher, filling in for senior Joey Mariano, who was injured in the first quarter, tossed two touchdown passes to senior wideout Ryan Quinn, and junior Mike Sullivan punched in a third on the ground to secure the 21-8 victory in the season opener last Saturday.
“Anytime you win the opener it’s a great feeling,” coach Peter Capodilupo said. “It’s devastating when you lose. Any coach that loses the opener will tell you that.”
The win earned the Tigers the Doc Cohn Trophy and Mayor Warren, who made a pregame bet over lunch for the second straight year with Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, a meal at a restaurant in Waltham.
But perhaps the more important message for the Tigers is the knowledge that their young, up-and-coming squad can play superior football for all 48 minutes.
Though both teams began sluggishly, Boucher’s first touchdown pass to Quinn with seven minutes left in the second quarter set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Facing third-and-goal from the Waltham 22, Boucher lofted the ball over the top to Quinn, who had long since beat the Hawks’ secondary on a post pattern. The extra point put the Tigers up 7-0, a lead they would bring into halftime.
The Hawks’ offense, on the other hand, struggled all afternoon with penalties and unforced mistakes. On the ensuing kickoff, Waltham senior Junior Chery found a seam down the right sideline and ran the kick all the way back to the Tigers’ 6. Yet Chery’s run was nullified by an illegal block in the back, returning the ball 88 yards to the Waltham 6. Waltham’s subsequent drive stalled at midfield when senior Andrew Kinsella picked off an overthrown pass on a poor decision by Waltham junior quarterback Moses Holloway.
From then on, it was the Jack Boucher show. On the Tigers’ first possession of the second half, Boucher hit Kinsella for 26 yards deep along the right sideline, with Kinsella dragging both feet inbounds as he made the catch. Sullivan scored on the next play, extending the Tigers’ lead to 14-0.
Waltham’s offense woke up in the third quarter, forsaking the ground game in an attempt to engineer a comeback. With under eight minutes left in the third, Chery, who registered the game-winning touchdown with six seconds left in last year’s contest, caught a slant pass over the middle and was tackled immediately.
At least, nearly everyone on both sidelines thought so. When Chery stood up and started running, too late did the Tigers realize that Chery’s knees hadn’t touched the ground.
Chery took the innocuous catch-fall-and-run 70 yards to the house, silencing the capacity crowd at Dickinson Stadium. Junior quarterback Dana Perello notched the two-point conversion himself on an option play, putting the Hawks within one possession at 14-8.
Yet Boucher and the Tigers responded.
Starting on his own 13 with 1:58 in the third quarter, Boucher marshaled his team on an exhaustive six minute, 25 second drive. The Tigers capped the drive with another touchdown pass to Quinn, this time Bocher hitting Quinn from 18 yards out. Trailing by two scores with 7:33 left, Waltham’s offense sputtered, going three-and-out. From there, the Tigers milked all but eight superfluous seconds off the clock.
“It was awesome to bring the trophy back to Newton North,” Boucher said after the game. “It’s almost as good as beating Brookline for us.”
The Tigers travel to Milton on Friday.