Opening the season at Community Field, the 1993 Red Rocketeers showed off a dominant defense and explosive offense in defeating the Bishop Feehan Shamrocks 34-22. The defense was instrumental in building a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter. Fumble recoveries by senior Chris Vandette and junior Sean Cryan (for a touchdown), and an interception by Cryan deep in Feehan territory set the tone. The relentess effort from the defense didn’t end there. Junior Sean Hogan had two sacks from his defensive line spot, Matt Lacasse had an interception, and Captain Nate Weeman swallowed up ball carriers all night long. The offense was led by juniors Dave Cieplik (131 yards rushing and a TD), John Sawyer (81 yards rushing and a TD) and Chris Deschenes (64 yards receiving and a TD). Next up was a rare Sunday afternoon matchup with the Stoughton Black Knights.
Before the game, Coach Beaupre called the 3 game stretch the Rocketeers were about to embark on ‘the toughest stretch we’ve ever had to face. I was anxious to see what kind of team we had tonight.’ They certainly didn’t disappoint. The Rocketeers dominated the Black Knights en route to an 18-0 victory. Quarterback Matt Kraskouskas led the Rocketeers on both sides of the ball - rushing for 40 yards (including a TD), throwing a touchdown pass to Captain Jon Bourbeau, and flying around on the defensive side. The three captains; Weeman, Bourbeau, and Matt Fenton spearheaded a defense that allowed only 138 total yards, while accumulating 4 sacks and a pass interception. The offensive line (Andy Mingo, Nate Hamilton, Tom Dumican, Matt Fenton, Brian McConchie, and Bourbeau) continued its strong start to the season opening holes for Cieplik (104 yards rushing and a TD) and senior Dan Feid (54 yards rushing). This was a great start to the league slate with the reigning Hockomock League champs up next – Mansfield.
The third game of the season was another tough, gritty, slugfest, with the Rocketeers prevailing 13-0 at Memorial Park on a Saturday afternoon. Offensively, the Rocketeers were able to do just enough for the win. A Dan Feid touchdown in the second quarter capped a 69 yard drive, with a Chris Vandette end around for 17 yards keeping the drive alive. Then in the third quarter Kraskouskas found Chris Deschenes in the endzone on fourth-and-6 from the 15 to complete the scoring at 13-0. That’s when the defense took over. Led by Kraskouskas, Sawyer, and Hogan, the defense came up with big play after big play. Sawyer making multiple stops on 4th down, Kraskouskas batting down passes from his free safety position, and Hogan wreaking havoc in the backfield helped propel Big Red to a second straight shutout. The defense completely shut down the Hornet passing game – allowing a single completion for 15 yards on 15 attempts. The Rocketeers now had a leg up on two of its main competitors for the league title with a showdown against Division 1 Catholic Memorial next on the schedule.
The banner as the team ran out onto the field read ‘Seek & Destroy’ – mission accoplished. The Rocketeers continued their dominance by scoring 40 points before halftime in defeating the Catholic Memorial Knights 47-27. Big Red scored on its first 4 possessions of the game and 6 of its first 7. Catholic Memorial didn’t know what hit them. Ther scoring started early with Dan Feid racing 61 yards only a minute into the game to give the Rocketeers a 7-0 lead. Senior Jay Guimond finished the second drive of the game with a 5 yard touchdown run. Special teams accounted for the third touchdown with Feid getting his second touchdown of the game on an 88 yard kickoff return. The defense came up big on the next series with Nate Weeman forcing a fumble in the CM backfield (Cryan with the recovery). A few plays later it was Kraskouskas sneaking in for a one yard touchdown and a 27-7 lead. North rounded out the scoring with another Kraskouskas QB sneak, another Guimond rushing touchdown (15 yards), and finally a Brian Droney 33 yard rushing score two plays into the 3rd quarter. After two hard fought victories in league play, it was a relief for Coach Beaupre to see the lopsided outcome in the first half to allow them to rest their starters and play some younger guys in the second half.
Having gone through the toughest stretch that Coach Beaupre could remember, unblemished, it was a huge step towards the team’s goal of winning the league title. Next up was a return to Community Field for a matchup against the King Philip Warriors. The game didn’t start as planned with KP taking an early lead (7-0) which put Big Red behind for the first time all season. As you’d expect, the Rocketeers responded with two quick strikes – both to sophomore Brian Droney. First, Droney beat two defenders and then broke a tackle for a 78-yard touchdown reception. The following series ended with Droney’s second touchdown reception; this time for 30 yards. A third big play, this time from Dan Feid, would put KP in hole that they couldn’t get out of. Half way through the second quarter Feid would take a handoff and race around the right side for a 56 yard touchdown. Kraskouskas threw his third touchdown pass of the game to Bourbeau in the third quarter and the final score was an incredible 82-yard interception return from Sean Cryan. Once again, the defense completely shut down the opponent’s passing game. The Big Red defense accumulated 9 sacks, two interceptions, and allowed a measly 68 passing yards. Another convincing victory had the Rocketeers rolling, but a tough test was ahead against the undefeated Franklin Panthers at Pisini Field.
For the second game in a row, the Rocketeer offense would find itself behind in the first quarter. A 75-yard touchdown run by Franklin would open the scoring, but the defense would tighten and keep the Panthers in check for the remainder of the game. The Rocketeer defense wouldn’t allow a first down until the very last drive of the game and the Panthers would only muster 119 total yards in the contest. Franklin, even when trying trickery, was snubbed as Matt Lacasse intercepted a halfback option pass in the third quarter.
But, after a blocked punt for a touchdown, Franklin would hold what seemed like an insurmountable 14-0 lead with only 8 minutes remaining. Finally, the Rocketeer offense would make something happen. A Dan Feid touchdown reception for 22 yards would cap a seven-play drive that was aided by a pass interference call and a 16-yard scramble from Kraskouskas. The next play would prove crucial. The Rocketeers lined up for the extra point, but when the ball was snapped, the holder (Kraskouskas) would shovel the ball forward to senior Chris Vandette for two points. The defense then forced a 3 and out and the Big Red offense was back on the field to build on their momentum. A Karskouskas scramble, and then a Droney 35-yard run would put the ball on the one yard line. Kraskouskas plunged in the endzone, Jason McNamera kicked the extra point, and North had it’s first lead with 1:19 left on the clock. The Panthers would finally string together two first downs, but the game would end with the Panthers missing a 32-yard field goal – wide left. Coach Beaupre praised the seniors after the game for providing the spark that led to the comeback victory, ‘we just do the coaching, they take care of all the emotional stuff.’
Week seven was a Friday night at Community Field against Oliver Ames. The two teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, and with the score knotted at 14, the Tigers blocked a punt and took over at the North 17 yard line. With momentum having swung to the vistors, the Rocketeer defense decided to take it back. The defense would force the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs at the 9 yard line, and the Rocketeer offense would take over from the there. The second quarter would have the Rocketeers outscore the visitors 29-0 and effectively end the game by halftime. Captain Jon Bourbeau hauled in two touchdown receptions (12 + 60 yards), Dave Cieplik had an 18-yard touchdown run, and Brian Droney added a 7-yard touchdown run. The Big Red offense would pile up 340 total yards (236 yards rushing) before halftime. Seniors Dan Feid (95 yards rushing), Jay Guimond (42 yards rushing), and Terry Aussant (24 yards receiving) all contributed to the onslaught.
It doesn’t get much better than beating Foxboro at Community Field for the Hockomock League title. The 1993 edition of the Red Rocketeers didn’t have to wonder how it feels – they did it! The Rocketeer offense scored two touchdowns in the span of 55 seconds in the first quarter to establish a 14-0 lead and that’s all that was needed. The Rocketeer offense drove 59 yards on the game’s opening series, with Jay Guimond (94 yards rushing) scoring from 36 yards out. Then on the ensuing kickoff, Captain Nate Weeman kicked the ball off of a Foxboro blocker and John Sawyer recovered it to give North possession at midfield. Cieplik then darted 36 yards and Droney took care of the rest - a 15-yard touchdown run. Kraskouskas capped the scoring with a QB sneak for the two point conversion and a 14-0 lead. The defense would own the rest of the game as they frustrated and stymied the Foxboro offense. Foxboro’s second series of the game would end with a Matt Lacasse fumble recovery deep in North territory. Kraskouskas intercepted a tipped pass two minutes into the 4th quarter. As time was ticking down, Sean Cryan would recover yet another fumble to seal the victory. But, the biggest sequence would be earlier in the 4th quarter as the Rocketeer defense stood tall and kept the Warrior defense out of the endzone as they ran 6 plays from the 9-yard line. Junior Sean Hogan made a spectacular stop on 2nd down and then it was Kraskouskas making the stop at the goal line on both 3rd and 4th down. Captain Nate Weeman would explain the urgency, ‘We had to focus and get it done. We pulled together as a team; we dug deep.’ Weeman was right, this team had come together and now they were Hockomock champs and Super Bowl bound.
A undefeated Hockomock League slate was on the line for the Rocketeers, but it wast the Canton Bulldogs that were playing with a sense of urgency. North shuffled through the first half and was tied 7-7 at the intermission. If not for a fumble recovery by senior Scott Giambanco at the North 14 and subsequent 86-yard touchdown from Droney (137 yards rushing), things could have been much worse for the home team. For the first time all season they had been outplayed and were lucky not to be behind. Coach Beaupre would point out, ‘it’s a long year and you’re going to have a bad one some time.’ Luckily, for the Rocketeers, it didn’t turn into two bad halves. The Big Red offense came out and scored on its first two possessions of the second half - a 43-yard touchdown reception for sophmore Anthony Pirri (66 yards receiving), and a 39 yard touchdown reception for Terry Aussant. Senior Jay Guimond (55 yards rushing) closed out the scoring with a 21-yard run in the fourth quarter. The victory secured Coach Beaupre’s first outright Hockomock League title in his 18 years as a head coach.
Thanksgiving Day would provide plenty of spectacular plays on both sides of the ball and most importantly, a Rocketeer victory, 47-29 over arch-rival Attleboro. Each team’s offense had stellar performances. Both Dan Feid and Brian Droney had 3 touchdowns, and Matt Kraskouskas would capture the Offensive Balfour trophy with 158 yards passing (3 touchdowns) and 72 yards rushing. The biggest play was saved for the end of the first half. With only two seconds remaining on the clock and the ball at midfield, Kraskouskas scrambled out of the pocket towards the Rocketeer sideline and it appeared that he would be tackled out of bounds at the 25 yard line, but instead the ball was lateraled back to Droney who scampered into the endzone and a 20-15 halftime lead. The second half saw more offense with North scoring on a long pass to Droney (44 yards), and then grinding out drives on the ground with Cieplik and Feid leading the charge. The Rocketeers finished with 295 yards on the ground and the senior laden offensive line was outstanding. Against a formidable Bombadier defensive front, they had cleared running lanes all day for the North backfield.
It was finally time for the Super Bowl. On December 4th, the Whitman-Hanson Panthers arrived at North Attleboro High School seeking a Super Bowl win. Unfortunately for them, they ran into one of the best football teams in Big Red history. As was the case all season, the Rocketeers made big plays throughout in routing the visiting Panthers 42-7. Senior Dan Feid led the way with 136 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns, Matt Kraskouskas finished with 166 yards passing (two TD’s), and Brian Droney had 112 total yards and two scores. Not to be outdone, the Big Red defense came through with 5 interceptions (Chris Vandette, Matt Lacasse, Kraskouskas-2, and Droney). The Panther offense had 11 rushing yards at the half with Weeman, Fenton, and Hogan wreaking havoc throughout. Jon Bourbeau contributed on both sides of the ball with a touchdown catch and superb play from his defensive end spot.
It was the storybook ending that every high school player dreams about in the sweltering August days of Captain’s practice. The 1993 Red Rocketeers finished perfect, defeating all challengers and finishing 11-0. They’ll be remembered as one of the best offensive teams in school history.