If your dreams of another undefeated Patriots’ season have gone down the tubes, you might want to start thinking about your hometown high school football team when you go to bed at night.
Taking on its second straight Division I foe, the Duxbury Dragons showed why they are in everyone’s Top 20 rankings by shutting out Bridgewater-Raynham HS, 15-0, on a rainy Friday night in Bridgewater.
If ever there was evidence needed as to why Duxbury needs an artificial turf field, you would have to look no further than Friday night’s game. With rain pouring down the whole night, the Trojan’s field looked as good after the game as if it had been played on in sunny 75-degree weather.
It’s no big secret who to focus on when trying to stop the Dragons, so the Trojans were all fired up to put a clamp on senior running back Shane Dibona (16 carries/166 yards). They did it well on the first series, forcing a three and out in the first three minutes and taking over on their own 47-yard line.
The Trojans had troubles of their own getting their offense started in the slippery conditions, but much of it was due in large part to the play of senior defensive tackle Will Shields, who stuffed Jake Williams for a one-yard gain and sacked QB Kevin Bumpus for a four-yard loss on third down to force a punt.
Neither team could get anything going in the rapidly played first quarter, so field position would become crucial at some point in the game. With Duxbury backed up to its own eight-yard line with less than eleven minutes left in the half, junior JB Marston dug the Dragons out of a hole by unloading a 64-yard punt and putting the Trojans back on their own 24-yard line.
Bridgewater quickly moved the ball down to the Duxbury 39 in five plays. But after three downs the Trojans faced a fourth and four from the 33. Bumpus dropped back to pass and watched as Steve Ripley raced across the line and dragged the QB down for a nine-yard loss.
Duxbury looked like it would finally get its offense cranked up when Dibona ripped off a 17-yarder down to the Bridgewater 32, but four plays later they had made no head-way and turned the ball over once again.
A fruitless series in the final three minutes for both teams sent them into their respective locker rooms at halftime tied at 0-0.
The Trojans took the second-half kick-off and could do nothing with it, as Quinn Cully, Dibona, and Chris Norling crushed Bumpus for an 11-yard loss on third down.
Starting on its own 43-yard line, Duxbury moved to midfield on a seven-yard Dibona run on first down. On second down the senior back cut off the right side and escaped three tackles, bringing the ball all the way down to the Trojan 14.
After a pass to Cully gave the Dragons possession and a first down at the two-yard line, the Bridgewater defense dug in and held them to one yard on three downs. Rather than call on kicker Ben Startzell for a sure three points, Coach Dave Maimaron called QB Sean Cross to the sidelines and had his signal caller take it off right guard for what would prove to be the winning score.
What appeared to be a simple PAT attempt surprised the crowd and the Trojans when Cross mishandled the snap, but recovered it in time to find a wide-open Cully in the right side of the end zone for the two-point conversion with 1:06 left in the third quarter.
Field position was still an issue when B-R pinned the Dragons back on their own nine-yard line after a mishandled punt with 10:36 left in the game.
A tough Trojan defense and a penalty forced the Dragons to punt away, as Marston got the ball out to midfield. On the first play from scrimmage, Isaiah Johnson went right up the middle for 33 yards down to the 14. Three plays later B-R faced a fourth down at the five and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
Back on their own five-yard line with 5:33 on the clock, the Dragons needed to eat up some yardage and control the clock. A Dibona run, a 10-yard pass to Ripley, and a Cross keeper had the ball at the 18-yard line.
On the next play the call went to Dibona around the right side. Making sure to stay in bounds and keep the clock running, the senior cut back toward the middle of the field and ran into a brick wall of Trojan defenders. The impact sent Dibona backwards, yet he was still on his feet, as he continued around the wall of players and out-ran his defenders down the right sideline for 87 yards and a TD. Startzell converted the PAT to complete the Duxbury win.
The Dragon defense was huge in critical situations throughout the night, with senior Tyler Genereux leading the way with a total of eight tackles, while Dibona, Ripley and defensive back Rob Kates registered five tackles each.
The Dragons now prepare for Friday night’s game with Plymouth North.