After reeling off five straight wins, capped by an impressive 31-14 road win over Division 1 Xaverian last week in Westwood, it wasn’t surprising that the No. 2 ranked Dragons would suffer a letdown as they returned to Patriot League action on Friday night with a 21-0 win in Scituate.
Having taken their share of bumps and bruises against the Hawks, it was sort of a reduced workload during practice last week for Coach Dave Maimaron’s team: a respite they richly deserved after impressive wins over several D1 opponents.
“This was a really ugly one,” said Maimaron. “We didn’t execute well or play very smart. We expected a letdown and it was obvious after we rested them a little last week in practice.”
After kicking off to the Sailors and forcing a punt on their first series, the Dragons turned the ball over on their first offensive play. But Scituate was kind enough to return the favor on their first play when Andrew Padula picked off a Mike Stewart pass at the Duxbury two-yard line.
Neither team would do anything on their next possessions, as Duxbury took over at their own 21-yard line following a Sailor three and out with 2:10 left in the first quarter.
After a pair of Khai Perry (16 carries/76 yards) runs took the ball out to the 33, where senior QB Matt O’Keefe (11 for 20/191 yards) dropped back and lofted a 67-yard TD strike to senior Reilly Naton, who got behind the Scituate secondary and broke a tackle before heading into the end zone for a 7-0 lead after Tucker Hannon’s PAT split the uprights.
A botched onsides kick gave the host great field position at the Duxbury 43, but a great stuff on fourth down by senior linebacker Max Randall turned the ball over on the 36.
O’Keefe, who was having a tough first half, tried a sideline pass on first down and was picked by Scituate’s Dante Sacchitella. The stagnant Sailor offense could do nothing with it and Duxbury took over once against their own 31-yard line.
“Our passing game was off, our throws were late, and our routes weren’t crisp. It was nothing like we had done for the past five weeks,” said Maimaron. “It’s like we decided to do it all this week. It was like preseason again.”
The Dragons would engineer their longest drive of the game, as Perry was the primary workhorse gaining 35 yards on five carries and catching two passes for 24 yards. On fourth and one at the Scituate 11 O’Keefe was sacked by an onrushing Alex Way (6’4”/225) and the Dragons were out of luck again.
The Dragon defense continued to hold Scituate at bay, forcing another three and out and ending a dismal first half with a poorly-executed razzle-dazzle at midfield.
Reminded at halftime that they would be getting everyone’s best shot from now on, the Dragons responded with a different approach, unleashing Perry and the ground game to start the second half.
Taking the ball from their own 33 to the Scituate 33 on eight running plays, junior tailback Jon Hurvitz (8 carries/40 yards) got his shot when he took a pitch around the left side and cut back against the grain, accelerating through the Sailor secondary and going 33 yards for a more comfortable 14-0 lead with 7:20 left in the third quarter.
After the Duxbury defense surrendered a rare first down, senior Seamus Connelly (9 tackles and named Player of The Game) partially blocked a punt that the Dragons took over at their own 37.
A Naton interception killed any Scituate comeback chances later in the quarter and the Sailors continued to go for fourth down attempts any time they had the ball.
With 9:16 left in the game the Dragons started their final scoring drive from the Scituate 46. Perry and O’Keefe did all the heavy lifting, but a 31-yard completion to Don Webber (7 receptions/109 yards) moved the ball down to the one-yard line. Three running attempts couldn’t get the ball in the end zone until Hurvitz went up and over the pile on fourth down to put the game away.
The Dragons return home this Friday when they take on North Quincy (1-5) at 4:15 p.m. If the school is still on an EEE curfew, AD Thom Holdgate is hoping to move the game up to 4 p.m.