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Nipmuc Football Scoring in the Rain

Nipmuc football suffered a heartbreaking loss to Clinton two weeks ago, and had to deal with a short week and inclement weather, but still rolled to a 42-7 win over Tantasqua on November 10. "Clinton was a rough loss for us," said Nipmuc head coach Phil Shiloski. "I was really happy to see us come back."
Against the Gales, Nipmuc led with less than three minutes to play. Clinton sacked quarterback Mike Smith and forced a fumble. Six plays later, they completed what was a comeback victory and handed the Warriors' their third loss of the season. Nipmuc took on Tantasqua on a Thursday night due to the Veteran's Day holiday and were met with an additional challenge, driving rains.
"We came prepared," said Shiloski.  "We brought some pop up tents and we were able to go ahead with our game plan."
Nipmuc was led offensively by star running back Joe Mespelli. He scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense, returning it 50 yards. He also was the driving force in the Clinton loss, accounting for two touchdowns on the ground and another on a pass from Smith. Defensively, the Warriors were led by Nick Tancrede, who set a new school record with 15 tackles. Darren Moore had seven tackles and two sacks.
"Darren is a threat and teams don't typically run to his side," said Shiloski.  "With Nick, we really have a double threat on both sides of the defensive line." The pair led a defensive effort that managed to force three first half turnovers against Tantasqua and help Nipmuc improve to 7-3.
"We preached to the kids that Tantasqua was much better than their (3-5) record," said Shiloski.  "They play some tough games, a really tough schedule."
Nipmuc has also played a difficult schedule, with losses to quality teams in Hopkinton and Hudson in addition to the loss against Clinton. "I think we are right where I thought we would be, minus the Clinton game, which was a disappointment," said Shiloski.  "We are a senior driven team and I knew we had some tough games on our schedule.  Our losses are to teams that are pretty darn good."
Nipmuc has sealed a play-off berth, and will be a top two seed. A win on Thanksgiving over Blackstone Valley Tech will give the Warriors the top seed ahead of Grafton in Central Mass Division Four. "I think we have had a great season so far," said Shiloski. "We have played and beaten some stellar teams, and I think we are showing people we can definitely play with the top dogs."
A holiday tradition-in-the-making, the annual Thanksgiving Day football game against BVT will take place on Thursday, November 24 at 10 a.m. at Blackstone Valley Tech.




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