High School: Mansfield rallies to beat North Attleboro in a classic

NORTH ATTLEBORO- Mansfield and North Attleboro haven’t faced each other since 2014 but their long time rivalry didn’t skip a beat on Friday night. In a game that will be long remembered by players, coaches and fans alike, Mansfield came from behind to beat North Attleboro 31-29 in double overtime.

For three quarters the game was a defensive struggle dominated by North Attleboro whose defense in particular played well.

The Red Rocketeers picked off Mansfield Junior quarterback Connor Zukowski twice in the first half and stymied two potential scoring drives for Mansfield. It was more of the same for most of the second half. That’s until Zukowski and the passing finally found their stride.

Zukowski (18-for 29, 302 yards, four touchdowns) led the Hornets on a 10 play, 80 yard drive with just over four minutes left in the game. Zukowski’s primary target on the drive was senior wide receiver Dana Johnson. Zukowski and Johnson connected three times for 63 yards. The drive culminated with a Zukowski to Trevor Foley touchdown pass. The 6-4 sophomore had a monster game for the Hornets catching 7 passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns.

After converting the two point conversation, the game went into overtime where Zukowski hit Foley again along the right side line on a fade. The Hornets used the passing game to convert on the two point attempt and led 23-15.

On North’s first possession, the Hornets defense was stingy holding the Red Rocketeers to a fourth and goal. North scored however when senior captain Tyler DeMattio powered his way into the end zone. The converted quarterback carried the ball 19 times for 65 yards and scored three touchdowns on the night. The Red Rocketeers converted their two point attempt on a Chase Frisoli to Gavin Wells pass and North Tied the game at 23.

North got the ball first in the second overtime. DeMattio struck again, this time beating the Mansfield defense to the right pylon to give the Red Rocketeers a 29-23 lead. North’s two point attempt however was thwarted by a false start.

On Mansfield’s first possession of the second overtime, Zukowski hit junior running back Rocco Scarpellini on a halfback screen. Scarpellini broke a couple of tackles and bulldozed his way into the end zone. Zukowski hit Foley again on a pass for the two point conversion and that sealed the game for Mansfield.

Mansfield’s youth and inexperience was evident in the first half but once the Hornets got in rhythm on their final drive of regulation, they took the game over. With the win, the Hornets improved to 2-0.

For North Attleboro, it was tough loss to swallow considering they dominated the game for three and a half quarters. The loss dropped North to 0-2 on the season.

Mansfield returns home next Friday night to host Stoughton while North Attleboro travels to King Philip.

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