HOLBROOK - When West Bridgewater and Holbrook met on the gridiron about a month ago, some wondered whether Holbrook coach Fran Cass was saving his "A" material. Yesterday, West Bridgewater put to rest any questions about superiority, defeating the Bulldogs, 26-14.
The Wildcats, who won the first meeting, 25-0, came out the gate strong, scoring on their first two drives, each culminating in a 4-yard touchdown run by Brian Flaherty.
West Bridgewater utilized the smallish Flaherty to break through small holes. Coach Bill Panos saluted Flaherty for making lemonade on what may have otherwise been a fruitless day.
"He made it when there weren't huge holes," Panos said. "He made a lot of his yardage today on his own."
West Bridgewater senior quarterback Matt Nunes was perfect in the first half, going 4 for 4 for 64 yards. He completed two passes on the second drive, which took the Wildcats 96 yards for the score.
Holbrook had several chances at the end zone in the first half but came up empty, once because of an interception in the corner by Greg Pigeon.
The second half didn't begin any better for Holbrook. A fumble on the kickoff return put the Wildcats at the 8-yard line, and Flaherty needed only two chances to put another 6 points on the board.
Only then were the Bulldogs able to score. Junior Josh Savoy completed five consecutive passes of more than 10 yards to set up Jeremy Gallagher for a 1-yard TD.
However, the Wildcats (9-1) quickly dashed any hopes of a comeback. After a Nunes scoring pass was negated by a penalty, Flaherty scored his fourth touchdown to put West Bridgewater up 20.
On the day, Flaherty rushed for 128 yards on 20 carries.
On the other side, Holbrook couldn't find a rhythm in the passing game. Savoy attempted 31 passes but completed only 12.
"Our skill game didn't make it happen," said Cass. "We just didn't make the plays when we had to."
Panos made the necessary adjustments to quell Holbrook's passing game.
"They passed so much, it's hard to be sharp on every play," Panos said. "It only takes one pass for a touchdown."
Flaherty credited his team's balanced attack for the win.
"We ran well and we passed a couple times for first down at crucial times," Flaherty said. "It's a game of inches and we got more inches than they did on certain plays."
The defending champion Wildcats advance to the Division 4 playoffs to face Pope John Tuesday. Cass believes West Bridgewater has the ability to walk away with another championship.
"They'll go to the Super Bowl, and I don't see anybody staying within two touchdowns of them," Cass said.
As for Flaherty and the Wildcats, they had more immediate concerns, like the postgame spread.
"Turkey will go down better, now that we won," Flaherty said.