SeanMcCarthy12thPlayerIf you missed last Sunday night’s Patriots/Broncos game, you might have been able to recapture the excitement on Thanksgiving Day in a back-and-forth encounter between the Dragons and Marshfield HS.

Much like that epic Sunday night, Duxbury dominated first-half play, but Marshfield came roaring back in the second half and came away with a 38-34 victory to narrow the series at 14-13-2 in favor of the Dragons.

In a game where victory would go a long way in soothing the disappointment of their 2013 seasons, it sure looked like the Rams were intent on not wasting any time when they went 73 yards on their opening drive with senior captain Ben Joyal talking it in from two yards out for a 6-0 lead with 7:52 showing on the clock.

After both teams went nowhere on their next possessions, the Dragons took over on the Marshfield 36 after a very short punt. With 3:40 remaining in the first quarter Duxbury moved the ball down to the 25. On the next play QB Bobby Maimaron connected with senior Drew Hadley for 23 yards down to the two, and the visitors were ready to tie the score.

With the Ram defense stacked in the box, Maimaron found senior Victor Moitinho in the back of the end zone to tie the game at 6-6 with a minute left in the quarter.

After the Duxbury defense stopped the Rams at midfield and forced a punt, the Dragons offense was pinned back at its own five-yard line.

A 17-yard burst by converted QB Sean McCarthy got the drive rolling, and 13 plays later with the aid of a face-mask penalty, McCarthy finished off the 95-yard drive with a 14-yard TD run on a sweep around right end to make it 12-6 with 3:05 left in the half.

The Duxbury defense was immense on Marshfield’s next series, as senior Grant Kramer pressured Marshfield QB Jack Masterson on third down and forced another Ram punt to midfield with 1:25 on the clock.

Duxbury was intent on putting more distance between themselves and their host. It didn’t take long, as a penalty and a 20-yard completion to Hadley had the ball at the Marshfield 15. With 38 seconds to go in the half, Maimaron found Hadley just inside the left pylon and things were looking good for Duxbury with an 18-6 lead at halftime.

With half of the fans having gone home because of the weather, the potential for a Duxbury victory and travel plans for many; the show was about to begin.

Taking the second half kick-off with a chance to ice the game, the tables turned quickly for the Dragons when Maimaron had his pass picked off by junior captain Matt Benson, who rambled all the way into the Duxbury end zone to close the gap to 18-12.

Hoping to be the first team to score a PAT, Masterson rolled out and watched his pass get picked off by Moitinho, who ran it back 100 yards for two points and a 20-12 Duxbury lead just over a minute into the half.

Midway through the third quarter after a short Duxbury punt, the Rams took over at the Dragons 42-yard line. Eight plays later Masterson took it 13 yards for a TD and the Rams were back in the game trailing 20-18 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

Disaster struck again when Marshfield’s Fred Allen picked off Maimaron again and brought it down to the six-yard line where it took the Rams just three plays to grab a 24-20 lead on a run by Jamie Marzelli

The fourth quarter gave the remaining fans whiplash, as it took just two plays for Duxbury to jump back out ahead.  A 20-yard completion to Brian Zec and a 17-yard TD strike to Hadley gave the Dragons a 27-24 lead with 9:58 left in the game.

Things were looking good for the Dragons when the Rams were forced to start at their own 24-yard line. But on their fourth play from scrimmage, senior captain Bobby Rovito broke free for 61 yards and a TD to give the hosts a 31-27 lead after a successful PAT.

It seemed whoever had the ball last would be victorious, and the Dragons did their part in maintaining the suspense.

Starting at his own 35-yard line, Maimaron completed a crucial pass for 33 yards to Moitinho, followed by an 11-yard run by McCarthy. With the ball at the 21, Duxbury’s freshman QB found Hadley once again for his third TD of the day that gave the Dragons a 34-31 lead with 7:15 remaining.

A Brad Marcotte interception stopped the Rams in their tracks immediately, but the Dragons gave them the ball back two plays later via a fumble.

Starting at its own 25 with 5:35 to go, Marshfield chipped away at the Duxbury defense, methodically moving down the field and failing to find the end zone when the Dragons stopped Masterson on the one-yard line on fourth down with 55 seconds remaining.

Faced with a tough situation deep in his own territory, Coach Dave Maimaron had his team try to move the ball out of harm’s way in order to let his offense get some breathing room. Bobby Maimaron went on a keeper up the middle and the whole Marshfield defense converged on him.  It was a mass of humanity on the two-yard line and when the officials pulled the players off the pile they ruled that Maimaron had fumbled and the Rams had possession.

On first down junior Jacob Maher took it into the end zone and the PAT made it 38-34 with 35 seconds left, sending the Rams home with their first holiday victory in several years.