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Randolph Upends Lee in State Tournament

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print

11:46PM / Friday, November 05, 2021


LEE, Mass. -- When the Randolph football team needed a big play, its big offensive line was up to the task.
 
The ninth-seeded Blue Devils wore down the Lee Wildcats late and came away with a 24-9 win in the first round of the Division 8 playoffs on Friday night at Consolati Field.
 
Randolph drove 70 yards for the winning touchdown in the third quarter -- overcoming a first-and-30 along the way -- and picked up a key fourth-and-4 for an insurance touchdown in the fourth.
 
As with all of Randolph’s yards on the night, those gains came in the running game.
 
“A lot of times, especially up front, as teams get tired, you start to see the pad level rise a little bit and get a little bit higher and a little bit higher,” Lee coach Keith Thomson said. “They have some big guys up front. Give them a lot of credit.
 
“That’s a good football team. They play a tough schedule. The last two games, they played two of the top 10 teams in D7 in Cohasset and Mashpee. They lost those games, but they competed. We saw both those games on film, and they competed very well.”
 
Lee, which won its regular season finale on the road to earn the No. 8 seed in the state and the home playoff berth, competed all night against the Blue Devils.
 
The Wildcats set the tone on the game’s first possession. Dylan Ely picked off a pass and returned it 20 yards to the Randolph 44.
 
Lee then drove to the 9 using a balanced attack of six runs and four passes before Matt Petrescu came on to kick a 25-yard field goal and give his team a 3-0 lead.
 
After throwing a pick on its first pass attempt of the game, Randolph stuck to its bread and butter the rest of the way.
 
On its third possession, that paid off as the visitors marched 79 yards in 17 plays, chewing up 8 minutes, 33 seconds in a drive that ended with Malik White’s 7-yard touchdown run. Randolph ran in the two-point conversion with 1:41 left in the second and took an 8-3 lead into half-time.
 
Lee answered on its first possession of the second half, taking the third quarter kickoff and going 60 yards, the last 4 on a pass from Hayden Siok to Elliot Winston.
 
After a 15-yard return by Mahkhi Barnes on the ensuing kickoff, Randolph went 70 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The crusher was a 44-yard run on first-and-30 that set up first-and-goal at the 10.
 
Lee punted on its next possession but then forced a Randolph punt to get the ball back at midfield early in the fourth down, 16-9.
 
After picking up a first-down, Lee threw an interception to the Devils’ Vinny Bembeleza on a tipped ball with 8:21 left.
 
Randolph then took the ball from its 39 to the Lee 16, where the Wildcats forced the Blue Devils into a fourth-and-4 with 2:53 on the clock.
 
Barnes got the call and broke loose on the left side for a 16-yard run to put the game out of reach.
 
“I’m really proud of the effort,” Thomsons said of his squad. “There was a lot of fight in our guys tonight. They came out and you could see it in their eyes before the game. This was playoff football. They grasp that. They knew what was out stake. They came out and laid it all on the field tonight. I’m super proud of our guys.”

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