SEEKONK — FHS Coach Derek Almeida wasn’t happy with the way his Blue Devils responded to adversity in their come-from-behind win over Sharon in Week 6. “Last week I really did not like our body language and the way we were hanging our heads when bad things happened,” Almeida said. “I think that’s one of the downsides of winning in blowout fashion is you never have a lot of bad things happen and really football comes down to how you react to different situations. That was a big thing we talked about all week.”
Facing an early 12-0 deficit against Seekonk on Friday night, the Blue Devils didn’t get down on themselves. Instead they answered the call by scoring 15 straight points to pull out a thrilling 15-12 victory at Connolly Field. It took a game-winning field goal in the final seconds for Fairhaven to stay perfect on the season and capture its second straight South Coast Conference Gold Division championship.
“I think that is how a championship game should go,” Almeida said. “I feel great we were on the winning side, but that was a great high school football game.” Sophomore Jarod Frates took coach Almeida’s message to heart.
Frates missed both of his extra point attempts, but didn’t dwell on them when he stepped onto the field with 7.5 seconds left and the game tied at 12. “It was my first time kicking a field goal in a game,” Frates admitted. “I was really nervous, but I knew I had to get it through the goal post. It feels amazing.” Junior quarterback Jayce Duarte tried to pump Frates up.
“I called it,” Duarte said. “After he came off after he missed the second (PAT), I told him, ‘You’re going to hit the game-winner and it’s going to be OK. Don’t worry about the two first ones.’ It was awesome. It was one of the best games I’ve ever played in.” Coach Almeida said, “He missed two extra points, but you’ve got to suck it up and move on to the next one. I had trust he was going to make it.”
Frates calmly knocked down the 29-yard field goal, setting off a jubilant celebration for Fairhaven. “Coach Almeida always says aim for the right goal post and it worked,” said Frates, a first-year kicker, of his first varsity field goal. “I was just messing around in practice and decided to try and kick and I got the kicking spot. The rest is history.”
[Article and photo courtesy of the New Bedford Standard-Times.]