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Nipmuc Football Falls in Quarterfinal

The Nipmuc football team saw its four-game winning streak come to an end on Friday with a 20-7 loss to Grafton in the Division 4 Central sectional quarterfinals. The Indians scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from and upset minded Warriors team that saw its record fall to 4-4 on the season.
"It was a tight one, the score didn't indicate how the game played out," Nipmuc head coach Phil Schiloski said. "We made the adjustments we needed to make at halftime. We wanted to pound the football on the ground and we did that."
After a scoreless first quarter, Grafton's Matt O'Brien punched in a two-yard touchdown run to give his team a 6-0 halftime lead. Nipmuc reclaimed the lead in the fourth quarter when Max Polay capped off a drive with a one-yard touchdown. The extra point put the Warriors in front 7-6, but the home team would respond.
The Indians mounted an 87-yard drive on their next possession. Ifeatu Melifonwu scored from five-yards out and added a two-point conversion to give his team a 14-7 lead. "We pinned them down inside the 20, they gained 30 yards on the first play to get themselves out of danger," Schiloski said. "We had a third down and seven and they threw for a first down. We had them stuffed on a sweep and the back reversed and ran it 35 yards down to the five and they punched it in."
A 44-yard interception return for a touchdown by Grafton's Jack Fontana put the game on ice for the Indians. Schiloski said defensive end Ryan Nelson played well for the Warriors and Polay carried the offense after halftime. But the late game execution was a bit better for Grafton.
"They made some big plays and they just took the game from us," the head coach said. "I thought we played excellent, our game plan was pretty good. We went in hoping to mix it up throwing and running in the first half and shifted to the ground game in the second half."
With the loss, Nipmuc moves on to a consolation game this week. The Warriors will visit Groton-Dunstable (GD) Friday night with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The eighth-seeded Crusaders played Shepherd Hill to a scoreless tie through the first half in their quarterfinal match-up. The Rams pulled away with 24 second-half points to move on to the semifinals.
"It will be a tough task, they play a really tough schedule," Schiloski said. "They are fast and big up front. We played them last year in the second game so we have film on them and they have film on us. It'll take a good effort on our part."
Regardless of the outcome of this week's game, Nipmuc will have another contest next weekend against an opponent to be determined. If Nipmuc beats GD, it will play the winner of this weekend's Holy Name-Worcester North tilt. If Nipmuc loses, it will play the game's loser. Either way, the game will be played at Nipmuc. The Warriors will wrap up their season on Thanksgiving morning against Blackstone Valley Tech.




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