It was a war fought mostly in the trenches Sunday afternoon as Team Indiana beat a hard-nosed Massachusetts team 14-6 to clinch the FBUNC Eastern region title and advance to the final four round next week.
"I think we learned a lesson today," Indiana head coach Will Retherford said. "Anyone who thought the Eastern region was going to be a cake walk was wrong. We had to grind yesterday [against Team Maryland] to win and we had to grind today."
Neither team's offense moved the ball consistently all day. First downs were hard to come by, especially for Team Massachusetts, who only converted four times the entire game.
Indiana capitalized on a blocked Massachusetts punt halfway through the second quarter, getting the ball on the five-yard-line and scoring on a two-yard run by Larry Tracy.
But for the majority of the game, the run just wasn't there.
"I kind of got frustrated when I would get tackled in the backfield," Tracy said. "Nobody likes that. But our O line made some good blocks and we just kept going."
Massachusetts' lone score came in the second quarter on a 59 yard strike from quarterback Mike Piazza to receiver Ed Duggan, which was set up by a Massachusetts interception by Will Frisoli.
Massachusetts head coach Andrew Nashawaty said it was difficult to gain momentum with the run game.
"[Indiana] has a great defensive line," he said. "We were more apt to hit on the home run ball than on the line."
In the second half, Team Massachusetts took more to the air, having found success in the passing game yesterday against Team Connecticut.
After giving up a few big throws, Indiana's secondary tightened up, forcing Piazza to throw into coverage more often.
Indiana swung the momentum in a huge way during the fourth quarter when one of Piazza's passes was snagged by outside linebacker Tommy Fossett. Fossett streaked down the sideline and into the end zone untouched for a 60-yard pick-six.
"I saw one of my players hit the quarterback, and I saw the ball go into the air, and I thought, 'that's my ball,'" Fossett said. "I looked back and no one was there. All I saw was green ahead of me."
Indiana will go on to face Broward County in the FBU National semi-finals next week in Naples, Fl.
Written by Youth1 Contributor Sam Hedenberg
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