STOUGHTON — Friday was an emotional day for members of the Stoughton football team. In the morning, the team boarded a bus to attend the funeral of teammate David Wade, who was killed in an accidental shooting last Saturday. Just hours after saying goodbye to a friend, the Black Knights were together again, this time on the field.
With the team dedicating the season to Wade, the Black Knights shut out Foxborough, 20-0, to improve to 5-0.
“It was the hardest day ever for the kids and for me and the family,’’ said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “I thought we played well for Dave, we were playing for ourselves, too, we were playing for our team but Dave was obviously here. I’m so proud of the kids so proud of the fans. The Wade family, you don’t know how much they are hurting right now and we had to give them something to cheer about.”
There was a moment of silence for Wade before the game and his jersey, No. 56, was carried out by the captains during the coin toss. His number was also on stickers on the helmets of the Black Knights and many fans wore shirts with Wade’s number on the front and “Once a Knight, always a Knight” on the back.
“He was a great kid, tough, smart, funny,” said Burke. “He was a great player for us. It is almost impossible to replace him.”
Marcus Middleton was a huge contributor on offense for Stoughton, scoring on a 40-yard run in the first and on a 67-yard pass from Dan Eckler in the fourth.
But for Middleton, this game was about more than football.
“All I know was that I was thinking that I wanted to do it for Dave,” said Middleton. “We wanted to come out and we wanted to do this for Dave and all we wanted to do was get the win for him.”
Stoughton received the opening kickoff and on the fourth play from scrimmage, Middleton took a pitch on the left side and found a hole, exploding for the 40-yard touchdown just 2:14 into the game.
At the end of the first half there were two huge momentum swings. Stoughton had driven down field and on first and goal at the Foxborough 6, Aaron Mack rushed up the middle and fumbled as Foxborough landed on it with 1:13 left in the half.
But on third and 10 from the 1, Warrior quarterback Mike Slaby was hit on a keeper and fumbled. Stoughton’s Imani Pina picked up the ball in the end zone and the Black Knights took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
Slaby was injured on the play and did not return.
On the first play of a drive in the fourth quarter from the Foxborough 33, Eckler found Middleton wide open down the middle for the score. It was only Eckler’s fourth pass of the game and it caught the Warror defense off guard.
Foxborough attempted a comeback, but Pina intercepted backup quarterback Nolan Rogers in the red zone to seal the win with 4:39 left.