Murphy's law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
That saying may have found a new meaning on Friday night in Duxbury, when senior running back Bobby Murphy had the best game (31 carried/191 yards) of his high school career in a 15-13 overtime thriller over Scituate.
The win crowns the #19-ranked Dragons as Patriot League Keenan Division champions and sends them into the Division 2A Super Bowl playoffs against Atlantic Coast League champs Marshfield five days after taking on the Rams on Thanksgiving Day in Duxbury.
Scituate came into the game at 8-1 and hadnâ€™t won a league title during the lifetime of its players, with its lone loss coming at the hands of undefeated Cohasset.
While Scituateâ€™s record was impressive, the Dragons were on a streak of their own, having won seven straight games after losing two to start the season.
It was a somewhat conservative game from both sides in the first half, as the wind hampered the passing of Duxburyâ€™s Kane Haffey and Scituateâ€™s Tyler Park.
Scituate had the best chance to take a first-half lead with 6:18 left. Starting at midfield, the Sailors went 47 yards in two plays: a 24-yard pass to Chris Mogan and a 23-yard run by Morgan Billings that put the ball at the three-yard line. Limiting Scituate to one yard on the next three downs, the Duxbury defense came up big once again, as they stopped Billings on a fourth-down sweep to the left by knocking him out of bounds.
The Dragons started the second half looking much more aggressive, concentrating on the run and picking Murphy to carry the load. Beginning at its own 48, Duxbury moved all the way down to the Scituate four-yard line where Casey Burns picked off a Haffey pass on the next play and took it to midfield. The Dragons got a break when the Sailors were hit with a penalty, bringing the ball back to the seven.
Seven plays later the Sailors were forced to punt and Duxbury had great field postion at the Scituate 33. A 12-yard pass to senior Matt Savard kept the drive alive at the 22 and a pair of runs by Murphy (11 and 9) had the ball at the Scituate nine-yard line.
Coach Dave Maimaron called a halfback option; a foolish play he took full responsibility for after the game. Handing off to Matt Hallisey, the junior rolled left and tried to pass it back across the grain. The strong winds hung the ball up in the air, allowing Matt Stewart to get back into the play and pick off the wounded duck, going 95 yards with the interception and sending the Scitautre crowd into bedlam as he crossed the goal line.
The conversion was good and the Sailors were ahead 7-0 with 9:36 left in the game.
Duxbury wasted little time in clawing its way back, as Murphy went 27 yards off left tackle, capping a seven-play drive that covered 74 yards. Ben Startzell came in under pressure and nailed the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:39 showing on the clock.
With time runnign out, the Sailors were faced with a fourth down and a yard to go at their own 44. Coach Herb Devine couldnâ€™t pass up a chance to pull off the upset and decided to go for it. Duxbury linebacker Max Randle made the big stop for the Dragons, as Scituate was now forced to stop their hosts with 3:11 left in the game.
Duxbury took five plays in getting it down to the 27-yard line for a Startzell field goal attempt. However, his kick was blocked with little time left for the Sailors to mount an attack.
The game went into overtime with each team getting a shot from the 10-yard line. Scituate went first and struck immediately, as Wes Hawkins took a pitchout around the right side and put his team ahead 6-0. The two-point conversion failed and the Dragonsâ€™ hopes were still alive.
Murphy went for seven yards on his first attempt from the 10 and was stuffed for a one-yard loss on second down. Henry Buonagurio got the call on third down and went nowhere, setting up a do-or-die fourth down situation. Murphy took a handoff around the left side and barely managed to get over the goal line to tie the game at 6-6.
Maimaron went to Murphy one more time, and the captain went straight ahead, walking into the end zone for the winning conversion and sending his teammates streaming onto the field to celebrate.
â€œWe put the ball in the hands of our offensive line and Bobby Murphy, and they both got it done,â€ said Maimaron.