FOXBORO — This time, it was going to be different.
A year ago, Nashoba lost starting quarterback Sam Bolinsky to an injury en route to a shutout loss to Melrose in the Division 4 state title game at Gillette Stadium.
On Friday night, with the same stakes on the line, a healthy Bolinsky and a charged up group of Chieftains dominated Dighton-Rehoboth in a 31-0 win to claim the program's second state title in four years.
"Sam was phenomenal," Nashoba coach Jamie Tucker said. "He just did a great job standing in there. Our receivers were just great, kind of making some one-on-one plays. Our offensive line did a great job. They blitzed so many guys from different spots. That's a tough job. I was very proud of our guys all-around, but Sam, all year, has been fantastic."
Bolinsky was terrific throughout. He completed 10-of-19 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown, hitting receivers in the short, intermediate, and long range. There were a few drops mixed in, as well, so the quarterback was maybe even a little better than the stats suggest.
"I'd say we're one of the best offenses (in Nashoba history)," Bolinsky said. "We're pretty good. Defense was great. I cannot say enough about defense, but, of course, I only play offense, so I can only say my side of the ball and say that. But I think we're pretty damn good."
He will get no argument from Dighton-Rehoboth.
After a stalemate in the first quarter, Nashoba took over in the second and never looked back. Dighton-Rehoboth looked to be in a good spot, pinning the Chieftains deep in their own territory with a punt that was downed at the Nashoba 7-yard line.
But on third and 9, Bolinsky hit Danny McNulty out in the left flat for a 16-yard pickup. On the next play, Bolinsky tossed a screen pass to Brendan Lee, who took it 61 yards to the D-R 15. Alex Childs then ran it over the left side for a 15-yard touchdown and added the first of his four PATs to give Nashoba a 7-0 lead with 4:40 left in the half.
The Nashoba (12-1) defense forced a three and out, and Bolinsky went back to work. On third and 17 from the Chieftains' 40, Bolinsky went deep to Troy Barksdale for a 40-yard connection. Two plays later, Bolinsky found Will Danby for a 16-yard score.
That's how it stayed until halftime, and the Chieftains did not let up from there. Taking the opening kick of the second half, Nashoba drove down to the D-R 2, with the help of a 49-yard connection from Bolinsky to John Foney, to set up a 19-yard Childs field goal.
After recovering a fumble on the next Dighton-Rehoboth (9-3) possession, the Chieftains all but put it away on a halfback pass from Barksdale to Darby that found paydirt from 36 yards out.
Barksdale had a strong all-around game, with an interception and key bass breakup highlighting his defensive efforts.
"He was just phenomenal," Tucker said of Barksdale. "He's been a great player for us for two or three years. He just keeps getting better. He was awesome."
Childs added an 8-yard scoring rush late in the fourth, but by that time, the outcome was well decided.
"There's no one that's tougher than Alex Childs," Tucker said. "He's such a tough kid. He runs hard. He plays hard every single play, and he's kicking for us. He just does a lot of stuff, and he's been phenomenal."