They have put up ungodly offensive numbers during the 2011 season, but it was the defense that stole the spotlight last Thursday in Duxbury, as the Dragons won their 24th consecutive game with a 33-6 trouncing of Marshfield on Thanksgiving Day.
The victory was a good tune-up for Tuesday night’s Division 2 semifinal playoff game with Hockomock League champion and #12 ranked King Philip (9-1) to be held in Weymouth at 5:15, and it also served to break the tie in the Turkey Day rivalry with Duxbury now leading the series 13-12-2.
It also left the senior class undefeated against Marshfield in its four years of varsity action, as the veteran club came to life after a very unusual and sluggish first quarter to dominate play the rest of the morning.
Led by the game’s defensive MVP, senior linebacker Max Randall, the Dragon defense held the Rams to just six yards of total offense in the first half and had them in negative territory early in the second half after holding them to minus seven yards on their first drive.
“Our coaching staff does an unbelievable job preparing the kids and putting them in the right position, and the kids execute the game plan week in and week out,” said Coach Dave Maimaron. “As long as we line up right every time out, with the amount of three-year starters we have on defense they can certainly play.”
After an unproductive six minutes in the first-quarter, the Duxbury offense got back its swagger when it started at its own 24-yard line and methodically moved down the field with a combination of senior QB Matt O’Keefe’s passing and the running of junior Jon Hurvitz.
“I think we were a little too jacked up for the Thanksgiving game,” said Maimaron. “We had two or three miscommunications that haven’t happened in weeks. We settled down and we just have to make sure we don’t do that on Tuesday.”
Completed passes to Don Webber, Joe Guilfoile, Reilly Naton, and Andrew Buron showcased Duxbury’s outstanding receiving corps, while Hurvitz and O’Keefe supplemented the drive with a half dozen runs.
“He was off to a slow start, but he can play at such a high level it is just a matter of time before he gets it going,” said Maimaron of O’Keefe.
With the ball at the 31-yard line, O’Keefe dropped back and found James Burke running down the middle of the field where he leaped high at the goal line and hauled in a TD pass (Tucker Hannon PAT) to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead with 9:49 left in the half.
It was another three and out for the Ram offense, as the hosts took over at midfield following a punt.
A trio of O’Keefe keepers went for 42 yards all the way down to the two, where senior Henry Buonagurio, making his first appearance of the year due to a back injury, took it into the end zone on his third try to give his teammates a 13-0 lead with 5:40 showing on the clock.
Marshfield was now losing the field position battle, as another three and out forced a punt that only made it out to the Duxbury 43. Seven plays later the Dragons were in the end zone again, as a 33-yard strike to Webber put the ball at the 14, where O’Keefe eventually found his classmate in the end zone for a nine-yard TD pass and a 19-0 halftime lead.
After stuffing Marshfield to start the second half, the Dragons took over on the Ram 43-yard line and proceeded to march down the field unencumbered, moving 57 yards in six plays and scoring on a Hurvitz TD-run up the middle for 14 yards.
The Duxbury defense with Mark Trudeau and Own Gray combining to take away the middle of the field from the Ram running attack, forced a punt once again that left the Dragons at the Rams’ 43-yard line,
Sophomore Sean McCarthy took over at QB for Duxbury and immediately made an impact, hitting Guilfoile for 26 yards and then handing off to Khai Perry for 24 yards that had the ball at the one. In came Buonagurio to finish off the drive and give the Dragons a 33-0 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
Marshfield would finally get on the board with seven minutes to go in the game when senior QB Mark Pomella directed the Rams on a 73-yard scoring drive punctuated by a 4-yard TD run by senior Mike Williams.
“We have a tremendous senior class and we had great one last year too that taught these guys how to lead.” said the Duxbury coach. “I think the leadership from last year’s seniors carried over to this year’s team and we knew this team could play football. They really stepped up and led all season and I hope we’ll be playing next Saturday for the title.”
TICKETS FOR PLAYOFFS
Tickets for Tuesday night’s playoff game with King Philip at Weymouth HS at 5:15 on Pleasant Street in Weymouth will be $10 for adults and $7 for students (anyone 6 or older) and senior citizens.