Last weekâ€™s effort by senior Quinn Cully (4/149 yards) was impressive in the win over Scituate, but Whitney went one better than his classmate, as he caught three passes for 188 yards and three TDs in the first half to lead the Dragons to a 31-6 pasting of Whitman-Hanson last Thursday night in Whitman.
The Panthers came into the game with a single victory (Rockland) and dreams of a major upset dancing in their heads. But less than four minutes into the game, those fantasies were squashed when the Dragons took a 7-0 lead on their first play from scrimmage, compliments of a Sean Cross pass to Whitney for 47 yards and a Ben Startzell PAT.
It was feast or famine for W-H QB Rick Burke on his teamâ€™s second drive, as three big pass plays of 11, 19, and 10 yards moved the ball from the Pantherâ€™s 25-yard line down to Duxburyâ€™s 33 where a sack by senior Shane Dibona, his second, and Cully forced a Panther punt down to the Dragonsâ€™ 18-yard line.
After a Dibona run of four yards moved the ball out to the 22, Cross decided to try Whitney one more time, arching a long bomb down the left sideline that the senior receiver ran under and out-ran his defender into the end zone for a 78-yard TD reception.
Trailing 14-0 with 1:45 left in the opening quarter, Burke had the snap sail over his head for a 15-yard loss, making it third and 25 for the Panthers. Trying to get it all back on one throw, Burke went long to his left and watched as Colin McKenzie leapt high in the air for an interception at the Whitman-Hanson 41-yard line.
There was no room for error on the Pantherâ€™s part, but they continued to put Duxbury in excellent field position, leading to their own demise.
Starting at the Whitman-Hanson 41, Dibona carried the load, along with a 12-yard reception by Hakeem Lecky that put the ball at the 6-yard line. Two plays later Cross dropped back to pass and waited for Cully to cross over the middle from right to left, hitting his receiver in stride as he raced into the end zone. Startzell came on again for the successful extra point and the Dragons were in front, 21-0.
The Panthers started to move the ball, thanks in large part to a roughing call on third down after they had been stopped short of a first down. With momentum on his side, Burke found wide receiver Noel James down the sideline for a 34-yard pass, putting the ball at the Duxbury 16 where the drive would peter out.
Taking over with 1:03 left in the half, Cross hit Lecky (10 yards) and Dibona (16 yards), moving the ball out to the 42. After an incomplete pass, the senior QB found this weekâ€™s primary target for a 58-yard TD pass that put the game away.
Cross did get hit as he released the ball, sending him to the sidelines for the second half, and allowing senior back-up Liam Bevans to get some much-needed action.
Back-to-back interceptions opened the third quarter with Bevanâ€™s first pass being deflected and Lecky getting it back on the next play.
Getting the ball on its own 23, Duxbury moved the ball on passes to Lecky (8 yards) and Matt Savard (15 yards), and a 15-yard run by Dibona. A third-down incompletion brought on Startzell, who nailed a 36-yard field goal for the final Duxbury scoring.
Matt Elias recovered a fumble for the Dragons on the ensuing kick-off, but the visitors turned it over with 10:50 left in the game, allowing Whitman-Hanson to march 96 yards for their only score of the game.
The #7-ranked Dragons now stand at 8-0 and face a much stiffer challenge this week when they entertain Silver Lake on Friday night at 7 p.m.