Wachusett grinds down Nashoba

HOLDEN — It did not take long for Wachusett to show visiting Nashoba the type of game that was about to transpire.

On the second play from scrimmage, Wachusett's Aidan Tomaszewski took a handoff right up the gut and bullied his way 18 yards to the Nashoba 22-yard line.

With a sterling two-way performance from Tomaszewski and a dominant effort from both lines, Wachusett handed Nashoba its first loss with a 35-0 rout Friday night.

Tomaszewski finished with 101 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, as the Mountaineers piled up 161 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the defense held Nashoba to 77 total yards, 23 of which came when the backups were in for both teams.

Wachusett (5-2) quarterback Melke Shabo completed 5-of-9 passes for 58 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but it was the play of the offensive line and Tomaszewski that defined how thoroughly the Mountaineers controlled play.

"(Tomaszewski)'s been a defensive lineman for us. Played fullback tonight for us," Wachusett coach Mike Dubzinski said. "He runs hard. He's an avid weightlifter. He's a throwback to what football was in the 40s and 50s. He hustles. He runs. He practices hard every day. He's emotional. He's enthusiastic. He's a real joy to coach."

That first run from Tomaszewski set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Shabo to Artie Papandrea, who made a twisting, diving grab.

"He's had a couple guys that have been ahead of him," Dubzinski said of Papandrea. "He gets a start tonight, makes a great catch right off the bat."

Nashoba did not get very far on the ensuing drive, and Wachusett took over near midfield. Tomaszewski then carried four times for 29 yards to help march the Mountaineers deep into Nashoba territory, and again Shabo helped finish it off with a 13-yard scoring toss to Liam Griffin.

It appeared that Nashoba (6-1) may have turned the momentum midway through the second quarter when Matt Johnson intercepted Shabo in the Chieftains' end zone.

But three plays later, Thomas Raeke intercepted Nashoba quarterback Sam Bolinsky and returned it to the Chieftains' 20-yard line.

Tomaszewski pounded out 13 more yards on two carries to help set the table for J'Zhon Henderson's 5-yard score. Henderson was the lightning to Tomaszewski's thunder, mostly working the edge with 54 yards on 12 carries.

Things went from bad to worse for Nashoba to start the second half, as a bad snap off a punt on the first drive of the third quarter gave the Mountaineers the ball at the Chieftains' 2. Tomaszewski plowed in from there, and it was 28-0 less than three minutes into the half.

Tomaszewski heaped praise on the offensive line, which consisted of senior tight ends Liam Griffin and Barry Walsh, right tackle Jon Cook, junior right guard Jacob Nadeau, junior center Joel Minnich, sophomore left guard Owen Champagne, and junior left tackle George Shabo.

"The line played, I can't even give enough credit to the line (and) how well they played," Tomaszewski said. "The holes were huge. Our defense, we ended up with a shutout. They played great. We blocked, we tackled great."

Although Nashoba was able to put together its first drive into Wachusett's end of the field after that, a Griffin sack on fourth-and-14 ended any realistic hopes of a comeback.

Tomaszewski applied the finishing blow with a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth, where he bowled through multiple arm tackles.

"He was really good tonight," Nashoba coach Jamie Tucker said of Tomaszewski, who also had a sack from his defensive tackle position. "I thought they did a good job up front. (Tomaszewski) was really good on both sides of the ball. He was excellent."

And Wachusett, which has two losses by one score each to Doherty and St. John's of Shrewsbury, never let up.

As Tomaszewski said, "We just kept pounding."

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