Despite four touchdowns from senior running back Cam Mulvaney, the Hopkinton High School football team fell to perennial powerhouse Holliston, 37-27, in its season opener on Saturday in Holliston.
Hopkinton fell behind 14-0 early on short rushing touchdowns by Holliston’s Christian Schneeloch and Tristan Benson. The Hillers then responded quickly, with a seven-play, 67-yard drive. Mulvaney had the big play, a 45-yard run in which he broke a handful of tackles before racing down the right sideline to the Holliston 7-yard line. He capped the drive with a 2-yard run late in the opening quarter. Avery Ravech delivered the extra point.
After holding Holliston to a three-and-out, the Hillers embarked on an eight-play, 71-yard drive to tie the score. The big play was a 40-yard pass (that appeared to be incomplete but was ruled a catch) from quarterback Cole Salyards to Nick Leccese at the Holliston 18. Then on third-and-5 from the 13, Salyards rolled to his right and threw it to a wide-open Mulvaney for the touchdown. Ravech’s extra point tied the score with 8:36 left in the second quarter, and it stayed that way for the rest of the half.
Hopkinton got the ball to start the second half, and Brian Keefe returned the kickoff 35 yards to the Holliston 45. On third-and-5, Salyards found Keefe for a 38-yard completion to the 2. Three plays later, Mulvaney ran it off right tackle for the score. Ravech’s extra point gave the Hillers a 21-14 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Aidan Kelley drilled the returner and forced a fumble that was recovered by Joey Carrazza at the 20. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Holliston moved the ball to the 10, and Hopkinton looked to be in great position. However, Holliston’s defense tightened. On fourth-and-goal from the 7, an incomplete pass gave the ball back to the hosts.
Holliston proceeded to go 93 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 9-yard pass from Kevin Balewicz to Kevin Lyons. Benson ran it in for the two-point conversion and a 22-21 Holliston lead with 3:08 left in the third.
After a Hopkinton three-and-out. Holliston went 75 yards in 10 plays. Ryan Stanwood ran it in from a yard out, and Benson rushed for the two-point conversion and a 30-21 lead.
However, the Hillers would not go away. After Mulvaney returned the kickoff 27 yards to the Hopkinton 42, the visitors needed only four plays to reach pay dirt. The big play was a 40-yard pass from Salyards to Leccese to the Holliston 7. On the next play, Mulvaney ran it to the left side for the score. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 30-27 with 5:42 remaining.
Holliston put the game away on the third play of its next possession when Benson took a pitch, broke a tackle and raced down the left sideline for a 66-yard touchdown, his second of the day. Nick Cotting hit his third extra point to cap the scoring.
Hopkinton’s final possession ended with an interception.
The HHS offensive line, consisting of Aidan Morin, Hayes Pearson-Woodruff, Joe Arena, Jake Sokol and Brady Auslander, had an impressive day. And sophomore defensive lineman Brendan McGowan had a highlight when he intercepted a pass on the second play of the game.
Hopkinton next plays at Ashland on Friday.