By the end of the night the Hingham fans were silent, too embarrassed to admit their hosts might be â€œunder-rated,â€ as they watched their team (2-4) get demolished by the #7-ranked Dragons, 42-14.
â€œHinghamâ€™s had our number for the past two years when they won the league title,â€ said Coach Dave Maimaron. â€œWe knew we had to beat them if we wanted to win the league title and Iâ€™m not sure how focused we were the past two weeks thinking about that. I figured we would come here ready to play tonight and we did.â€
After two straight performances that Maimaron didnâ€™t feel were up to par, the Dragons put on a show that firmly established them as the team to beat in the Patriot League, especially with Friday nightâ€™s upcoming game with Scituate, who lost (14-7) to Silver Lake on Friday night for its first loss of the year.
The Dragons were determined to play smash-mouth football, and they left little doubt on their first series of the game, starting at their own 30-yard line and going 70 yards in eight plays.
With Shane Dibona getting the majority of the carries (6 for 49 yards), Duxbury needed just three minutes to gain a 7-0 lead after Ben Startzell nailed the PAT.
A smothering Dragon defense led by Will Shields, Kyle Gavoni, Tyler Genereux, Quinn Cully, Steve Ripley Chris Norling and CJ Cote forced Hingham to punt after three downs. But the Harbormen were just as stingy, as they woke from their first series funk and forced the Dragons back to their own 19 where Startzell punted the ball to the Hingham nine.
Neither team could get any semblance of an offense going until midway through the second period, when the Dragons started a drive from their own 20-yard line with 7:27 left in the half.
A nine-yard run by Hakeem Lecky and a 44-yard burst by Dibona (11 carries/122 yards) suddenly had the ball at the Hingham 23.
Despite a 10-yard penalty for holding, the Dragons continued to move the ball down to the 13, where Dibona fumbled to kill the drive with 3:31 showing on the clock.
The vaunted Duxbury defense turned the game around at this point, stuffing the Harbormen on three straight plays and forcing a punt that was blocked by senior linebacker Chris Norling and picked up by junior Bobby Murphy, who walked into the end zone for the second score of the night and a 14-0 lead.
On Hinghamâ€™s first play from scrimmage, the ball was knocked loose and recovered by Quinn Cully at the Hingham 31. A 10-yard holding call on the visitors, an eight-yard run by Murphy, and a 13-yard TD burst off guard by Dibona looked like the game was wrapped up at 21-0 with 1:10 showing on the clock.
But Hingham had other things on its mind, as QB Jake Quinn fooled the Duxbury defense for one of the few times all night, as he dropped back and executed a QB draw for 50 yards down to the Dragonâ€™s 15-yard line. Two players later the Harbormen were in the end zone and went to the locker room trailing 21-7.
After both teams were stopped in their tracks starting the second half, Hingham began its second drive at its own 24-yard line with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.
After gaining a first down on a keeper, Quinn dropped back to pass and fired a quick out to the left, only to watch Lecky jump the route and sprint down the sideline with a 35-yard interception for a TD and a commanding 28-7 lead.
Everything fell apart for the defending champs after that, as Cully sacked the punter on the 11-yard line on the next series after a high snap from center, and Dibona scored his third TD of the night on an 11-yard run up the middle for a 35-7 lead with 2:48 left in the quarter.
Ben Urann made a crushing tackle on the ensuing kick-off that took the life out of the Harbormen, who turned the ball over after three downs and watched the Dragons score at will, with Murphy ripping through the Hingham defense for 21 yards and a TD to make it 42-7 with 10:41 remaining.
Senior QB Conor Murphy took over the Hingham offense with 10:32 to go and marched the Harbormen down the field on an 80-yard drive with Pat Creahan scoring on a 23-yard TD pass against Duxburyâ€™s second unit.
Back-up QB Liam Bevins came on for Duxburyâ€™s final series with 5:27 to go and was driving his team for a TD when freshman Tim Hallisey had the crowd on its feet with a spectacular 30-yard TD run that was unfortunately nullified by a Dragon penalty.
â€œWe tried to come out and establish the run because we have a lot of faith in our offensive line,â€ said Maimaron. â€œOur defense was great and they have been stellar all year. Hingham caught us off guard on one play, but other than that our defense was prepared and our coaching staff did a great job getting them ready to implement our game plan.â€
Despite the outstanding play of the offense, the Duxbury defense was superb with Shields (9 tackles), Gavoni (6 tackles), Genereux (7 tackles), Cully (6 tackles), Norling (6 tackles), Cote (9 tackles), and Steve Ripley (6 tackles) stifling the Hingham offense.
Now sporting a 6-0 record, the Dragons will face their biggest Patriot League challenge so far this year when they hit the road to take on Scituate (5-1) on Friday night at 7.