By Alex Lefkowitz (Sports Editor)
RANDOLPH, MASS —The Sharon High School football team kicked off their season with an impressive 22-12 victory against the Randolph Blue Devils on Friday evening.
From the opening kickoff, the Eagles had the advantage as senior Xavier Hackett scored on the game’s opening play. Hackett also returned an interception for a touchdown later in the game.
“We put in a lot of hard work in practice this week and we had a lot of confidence going into the game. This was proven right off the bat with Xavier’s return,” junior Austin Dodes said.
“Going into the game we came together as a family and knew we all had each other’s backs. It all came down to our preparation and team unity,” the cornerback and wide receiver added.
Junior quarterback and safety Drew Naisuler made his presence felt on the field on numerous occasions, including a touchdown-saving tackle late in the third quarter.
“It was a pretty big play because they would have scored and taken all the momentum,” Naisuler said.
Along with a stellar performance by Naisuler, sophomore running back Aaron Strong stole the show with his power running. After a Randolph turnover deep in Sharon territory, Strong broke free sprinting down field for a 55 yard rush to get the Eagles out of the shadow of their end zone.
“He stepped up big at the most important times,” Naisuler added.
With all this offensive skill came a little bit of luck, as Randolph had two long touchdown runs called back for offensive holding. The Eagles defense converted on these second chances, holding strong on both occasions with big tackles made by linebacker Markendy Paul.
“They seemed more physical on film,” senior captain Nate Hirsh said. “But we conditioned better and that showed in the end of the game,” the offensive and defensive tackle added.
Sharon’s ability to take advantage of the Randolph turnovers proved to be the difference in the game, as the Eagles shocked the hock in their season opener.