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Valley Tech Shuts Out Nipmuc for 5th Straight T-Day Win

Prior to meeting on the gridiron for their annual Thanksgiving football game, captains from Blackstone Valley Tech and Nipmuc Regional High School met for a friendly lunch in the BVT Three Seasons Restaurant. Left to right with the "Battle on Pleasant Street" trophy are: BVT students-Mark Brownell of Douglas; Nic Wojnar of Grafton and Chris Nazzaro of Northbridge with Nipmuc students-Owen Bradley of Upton; Kyle Braile of Mendon; Patrick Robinson of Upton; and Elijah Berger of Upton. Not pictured but present for the recent lunch were: BVT Athletic Director Michele Denise; BVT Head Coach Jim Archibald; Nipmuc Head Coach Phil Schilosky; and Nipmuc Athletic Director Bill Leaver. BVT photo


Playing through an assortment of injuries, the Blackstone Valley Tech football team earned a 34-0 win over Nipmuc on Thanksgiving for its fifth consecutive victory in the fledgling holiday rivalry.
The Beavers entered the game 9-1 overall, but senior quarterback and linebacker Nic Wojnar was limited with a groin injury. As a result, BVT turned to junior Ben Reiffarth early in the game, and he put his team on top in the first quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run.
"We stayed on the ground with Ben in the first, Nic just couldn't run as much as he usually does because of the groin," said Valley Tech head coach Jim Archibald. "We tried to throw more in the second and we were able to open it up a little. "
Rainy weather in the days leading up to Thanksgiving morning made for sloppy field conditions, but Wojnar was still able to throw for 107 yards on the day. He connected with sophomore Joe Hanson on a 25-yard TD pass near the end of the first half to put the Beavers up 21-0 heading into the locker room. Hanson, playing place of an injured Chris Nazarro, rushed for 92 yards on just six carries. His 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter effectively sealed the victory for BVT over its Thanksgiving rival.
"It's never too hard to get up for this game," said Archibald. "We have a great rivalry with Nipmuc, and coming in, we had won four years in a row. We told our guys 'you don't want to be the team that ends the winning streak. "
The Beavers were able to bounce back after a 28-8 loss to Littleton in the Division 6 Central Sectional title game. Nipmuc finished the year 4-7 overall. The Warriors were a playoff team in Division 4. Nipmuc's leading rusher Kyle Braile entered the game among the leaders in Central Mass in rushing, but Valley Tech held him to just 61 yards on 22 carries despite not having Wojnar, the district leader in tackles, in the middle of the defense.
"We didn't do anything special, we just played our base defense," said Archibald. "We won the battle at the line of scrimmage and that allowed our skill guys to get to the ball and make plays. "
Seniors Joe Trettel and Mark Brownell, along with juniors Mike Salerno and Jake Tancrede, anchored the defensive front for BVT. "Nic was only able to play three series on defense, but we were still very pleased with our front seven," said Archibald. "The guys who had to step-up, stepped-up. "
Archibald was also quick to credit his team for being able to return to form despite being eliminated from the post-season just a week and a half before. "It was obviously disappointing to lose, but once we got back to practice, it was business as usual," he said. "I give credit to the kids, they stepped up and did what they had to do. "




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