Two months from now, the Walpole and Wellesley High football teams may both be playoff bound, but on Saturday afternoon a big-game feel was evident when the Raiders visited the Rebels at Turco Field.

Recent results between the two now former Herget Division rivals – Wellesley flips over to the Carey this year under Bay State Conference realignment – suggested that fans were in for a treat as each of the last three meetings have been decided by a combined total of 10 points since 2015.

That trend continued in another instant classic on Saturday. After finding itself down by 21 points with 10 minutes to go, the Raiders mounted a furious comeback, cutting it to seven with the ball just shy of midfield and a little over two minutes remaining.

But the Rebel defense made one final stand, escaping with a dramatic 42-35 win over Wellesley. Walpole moves to 2-0 overall under new coach Chris Sullivan.

“We took our foot off the gas a bit in the fourth,” said Sullivan. “Hats off to Wellesley, they just battled and wouldn't go away. We knew they were a good team. These games over the past few years have been tight the whole way, and I think it's just because we're so similar. We both work hard, battle from behind and just refuse to give up in any situation."

After a very defensive first half that saw the teams head into the break tied 14-14, the offensive floodgates opened in the second.

Wellesley was forced to punt on its first drive of the third quarter, but quickly forced a punt itself. Wellesley senior Hugh Callahan – who had a monstrous day on offense – muffed the punt and set Walpole up at the Raider 33. Five plays later, an 18-yard touchdown catch for Chase Conrad and the extra point put Walpole up 21-14 with 3:41 left in the quarter.

The Rebels grabbed a surprise onside kick and seven plays later went up 28-14 on an 11-yard TD run from Chris Riley.

Just one play after the kickoff, Callahan (7 catches, 203 yards, 2 TDs) hauled in a 75-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Matt Maiona and a Kevin Canaday PAT made it 28-21 heading into the fourth.

Prior to the end of the third, Walpole got a huge return on the ensuing kickoff down to the Wellesley 10-yard line and made the Raiders pay on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown catch by Andrew White from QB Will Jarvis to go back up by two scores at 35-21.

On Wellesley's first play of the ensuing drive, Walpole recovered a fumble at the Raider 15. Two plays after that, it was 42-21 thanks to a 15-yard TD catch by Conrad. Wellesley refused to go away, though, needing just four plays to go 45 yards after the kickoff and a 4-yard run by Chris Althoff and a Canaday extra point cut it to 42-28 with 9:01 remaining.

A huge field goal block by Trevor Foreman at the Raider 10-yard line with 5:29 left gave Wellesley more life. Just seven plays later, after some ridiculous catches by Callahan, the Raiders cut it to 42-35 on a 2-yard QB keeper from Maiona.

The Wellesley defense forced a punt and the offense got the ball back at its own 47 with 2:37 remaining, but Walpole's defense forced a turnover on downs and kneeled out the remainder of the clock.

"I'm extremely proud of the way we fought late in the second half,” Wellesley coach Jesse Davis said. “But we played undisciplined and made a lot of mistakes to put ourselves in that hole and that's on me, I take responsibility for that.”

The Rebels opened the game with an impressive 11-play, 65-yard drive ending with a 2-yard TD run by Riley. Five plays later, Wellesley made it 7-7 after taking over at its own 34 thanks to a 46-yard catch and run by Teddy Komjathy.

Walpole went back up 14-7 with 2:48 left in the half on a 9-yard keeper by Jarvis. Wellesley responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive and a 9-yard Callahan touchdown catch with just 16 seconds left in the half to make it 14-14.

"Both these teams play very similarly and both play very hard," said Callahan when asked what makes this rivalry so special of late. "It's just a dog fight every time we play them. It came down to the wire and we couldn't get it done. But I thought we played really hard."