The Indians came into the game at 2-1, hoping to give the #8-ranked Dragons some competition in Duxbury’s first Patriot League game of the year. But falling behind early was the last thing Hanover could afford to do, as they went to a no-huddle offense early and often to try to confuse the Dragon defense.
“They hadn’t shown that all year,” said Coach Dave Maimaron. “But we figured they would try something different. We looked a little tired at times, but it eventually played into our hands as the game wore on because we have more depth than they do.”
After taking the opening kickoff at their own 30-yard line, an 8-yard run by junior Bobby Murphy and a 32-yard scamper by senior Shane Dibona (13 carries/106 yards) had the Dragons sitting pretty on the Hanover 30. The Indian defense stiffened and was aided by a Duxbury penalty that forced a fourth down pass attempt that went incomplete.
Hanover QB Matt Johnson got a rude greeting on his first play from scrimmage, as senior linebackers Steve Ripley and Chris Norling came storming across the line and planted Johnson on his back for an 11-yard loss.
A Hanover punt gave Duxbury great field position at its own 47 where the call went to Dibona on a first-down carry for 37 yards. After the senior running back and senior QB Sean Cross (6/11 for 83 yards) moved the ball down to the six-yard line, Dibona got the call again and was hit, jarring the ball loose and into the end zone where senior guard Tom Dacey landed on the football for a TD. Sophomore Ben Startzell’s PAT was good and the hosts had a 7-0 lead with 3:45 left in the quarter.
Mistakes would take their toll on the visitors, and they made their first one on the next play, fumbling the kickoff on a vicious special team’s hit by the Dragons that popped the ball loose and allowed senior Hakeem Lecky to pounce on it at the Hanover 21-yard line.
A second-down pass to Murphy put the ball at the nine-yard line where Cross dropped back and lofted a ball deep into the left corner of the end zone for a leaping Ian Whitney that made it 14-0 after Startzell’s second PAT.
Hanover came out throwing on its next series and seemed to give the Dragons plenty of trouble, as Johnson went to the air for senior Nick Hocking and junior Greg Devine and moved the ball all the way down to the Duxbury 36 before being forced to punt once again.
Both offenses suddenly went stagnant over the next six minutes, but Hanover’s Ian Concannon gave his team a chance to turn things around when he stepped in front of a Cross pass and took it deep into Duxbury territory.
Hoping to get back into the game quickly, Johnson dropped back and looked for Hocking down the right sideline, only to have Lecky jump in front of his intended receiver at the one-yard line. The speedy Lecky went up the Hanover sideline untouched, distancing himself from his pursuers and putting the game away for good at 21-0 with 4:29 left in the half.
It was three-and-out for a disheartened Indian squad after taking the kickoff, and Dibona added to their misery just over three minutes later when he took it into the end zone from two yards out following a 15-yard run by Ripley.
Hanover got a spectacular 55-yard kickoff return by Brett Wheeler with 50 seconds left in the half. With the ball sitting on the Duxbury 39, Johnson dropped back to pass and was mauled by Norling and classmate Kyle Gavoni for a 5-yard loss that preserved a 28-0 halftime lead.
The second half started with Johnson directing a Hanover drive all the way down to the Duxbury 2-yard line where a penalty and a fourth-down bobble in the end zone ate up over four minutes and produced nothing.
But on the first play for Duxbury, Dibona fumbled the ball and Hanover recovered at the 15. Two plays later senior Mike Masse broke three tackles and burst into the end zone from 10 yards out to make it 28-6.
The Dragons took the ensuing kickoff and went 43 yards in four plays, aided by a 15-yard Hanover penalty that put the ball on the Indian’s 22. Cross dropped back to pass on third down and rolled to his left, firing a rocket to Lecky, who picked it out of the air for his second TD of the night. Startzell made the conversion for his fifth PAT, ending the scoring for the Dragons.
Coach Dave Maimaron had the luxury of playing his subs for the final 16 minute of the game, and several of them had impressive performances including sophomore tailbacks Adam Martin (3 carries/25 yards) and Chris Sowa (one carry/29 yards), freshman QB Matt O’Keefe and the versatile Jake Pierce, a senior guard and defensive tackle, who got the call at running back and barreled his way to 20 yards in four carries.
But the big story of the night was Lecky, who scored twice, including his 99-yard interception for a TD, recovered a fumble, and caught two passes for 44 yards, along with the Dragon defense led by senior defensive back Colin McKenzie (7 tackles), Ripley (5 tackles), and Matt Savard (5 tackles.)
“Hanover played a good game,” said Maimaron. “But we just have more weapons than they do.”
With the Dragons now holding the #8 spot in the Boston Globe’s Top 20 poll, is there a chance that the Dragons could take the rest of the regular season schedule lightly?
“We’re going into our league games starting tonight, and if you lose one you’re done,” said Maimaron. “If you have to get motivated for that there is something wrong with you. We have a good team, but we’re not good enough that we can just show up and not tackle. We had a lot of missed tackles tonight. We need to show up every week and play hard if we are going to win.”
Now sporting an undefeated record at 4-0, the Dragons will take on Quincy High School on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on Hancock Street in Quincy.