Take a look at the new format for the MIAA football play-offs and it appears that Duxbury is the David amongst a group of Goliaths. By far the smallest school in Division II South, the Dragons will be playing the Needham Rockets on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Needham.
When the divisional setup was first proposed by the MIAA, Duxbury Athletic Director Thom Holdgate was front and center opposing his school’s placement amongst a group of schools that average 1200-1500 students each: the reason being we were being penalized for winning despite an enrollment of just over 1000 students.
While the Dragons have been able to hold their own against larger non-league teams like Xaverian, Bridgewater-Raynham and New Bedford over the years, the majority of Duxbury’s opponents and similar sized schools from the Patriot League have been placed in Division III.
Holdgate made two appeals to the MIAA to place Duxbury in Division III where 15 schools with larger enroll- ment than Duxbury are in the South division alone. The Duxbury AD also asked the MIAA to award Duxbury 10 points for league wins like central and western MA, but was denied once again.
“We can’t control the league schedule,” said Holdgate. “So to be penalized for playing league opponents does not seem logical. If we had received 10 points for league wins we would have been hosting a play-off game this week instead of on the road.”
Friday night’s match-up with Needham will certainly be a challenge for Coach Dave Maimaron’s team, as they will have to contend with running back Mike Panepinto, who rushed for 317 yards and five TDs in the Rockets Bay State Carey clinching 42-28 victory over Weymouth HS last week.
And if you think that is bad, they were on track to go to Natick and face Troy Flutie, who threw for 370 yards and five TDs, along with running for 183 yards and scoring three TDs.
This was made possible by Duxbury’s 27-14 win over Quincy on Friday night, combined with King Philips loss, setting up the No. 5-seed vs. the No. 4 seed in first round play-off action.
The Dragons had little trouble with the Presidents (4-2), who had a remote chance of getting into the play-offs if all the cards fell right. But on Friday night nothing went Quincy’s way, as Duxbury’s senior captain Marcus Urann picked up a Quincy fumble on the seven-yard line and ran it into the end zone midway through the first quarter for a 6-0 Duxbury lead.
Things would only get worse for the visitors, as they had their punt blocked on fourth down, and on its next series had a fourth-down attempt stuffed at their own 40- yard line.
Freshman Bobby Maimaron, who shared QB duties with senior starter Sean McCarthy and started the second quarter, hit senior Wes Quinzani for 17 yards on first down to the 24. Sophomore Collin Prudente followed with a 16-yard burst to the eight, where two plays later Maimaron found junior receiver Joey Dacey in the end zone for a TD and a 13-0 lead.
The Duxbury defense shined the rest of the night, as Quincy QB James Lam was under pressure every time he went back to pass, with Jim Chappuis, Victor Moitinho, Urann, and Hunter Marston registering big sacks in the final four minutes of the first half.
Both teams could do little with their first possessions of the second half, as the Dragons were stuck back on their own 12 with 6:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Maimaron scrambled up the middle for 35 yards on first down, taking it out to the 47. The Dragons went to their bag of tricks on second down and Cam Walsh headed for the backfield where he took a pitch from Maimaron. He spotted Quinzani all alone down the right sideline and hit him in stride for a 53-yard TD pass to make it 20-0 after Tyler Powers’ PAT split the uprights just 35 seconds after getting the ball.
A Duxbury sack by Sean McCarthy and penalties continued to frustrate the Quincy offense in the third quarter, as a fourth down attempt by the Presidents failed and the Dragons took over on the Quincy 43. A 33-yard strike to Quinzani moved the ball into the red zone, where freshman Devin DeMeritt took just two plays to run it into the end zone from 10 yards out and a 27-0 lead.
Quincy would score two meaningless TDs in the fourth quarter in a last ditch effort for play-off survival.