Friday, September 8, 2017

Bridgewater-Raynham Wins Season Opening Slugfest at Duxbury

By Tom Joyce (@TomyJoyceSports)

DUXBURY - You may have heard this one before.

The Bridgewater-Raynham High football team knocked off a defending state champ for the second year in a row. Last year, the Trojans topped Xaverian. This year, it was the Duxbury Dragons on the road in their opener on Friday night.

Shutting down the Dragons' passing game in the second half was the difference-maker, as the BR grinded its way to a 20-10 win.

“That looked like an old BR team,” head coach Dan Buron said. “In the preseason I wasn’t sure. There were a couple times where we were able to hold them.”

“I thought our defense played great,” he added. “We were down a couple of guys, but a lot of guys jumped in and did a great job. To come in here and to beat this team, our guys deserve a lot of credit. I’m shocked we held them to 10 points. It’s just a team win tonight.”

Michael Wilder had a pair of interceptions for the Trojans in the fourth quarter which epitomized the Trojans shutdown defense in the second half. They let Dragons quarterback John Roberts complete six of his nine passes in the first half for 67 yards but in the second half, they held him to four completions on 11 attempts while throwing a pair of interceptions.

“When they were in trips, we cheated Devante Greaves in to take that away,” Buron said, explaining his team’s second half adjustments to stop the Dragons in the air. ”Up front we made a few adjustments and our linebackers keyed in on some things. There was one formation where they were hurting us a bit on that speed sweep, but then we started bringing up Wilder on the edge to it so then the backers could sit on the quarterback a little bit.”

The Trojans took the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 1-yard touchdown run from Navy commit Bryce Shaw. The extra point was good and it gave the Trojans a 14-10 lead. Less than two minutes later, however, the Trojans got the ball back again.

With 9:26 remaining in the contest, Wilder reeled in a one-handed reception on his team’s own 38-yard line, crushing the Dragons' forward momentum in a tight ballgame. Being a power run team was absolutely beneficial for the Trojans on their next drive.

Adding an insurance score took the Trojans 5:26 of game time, as they pounded their way downfield, switching to a more run-heavy scheme, despite their tendency to throw early in the contest. Will Greaves led their effort on the ground, excelling on off-tackle tosses as the offensive line led by Connor Donovan and James Hanafin excelled up front.

Greaves had 113 yards on 17 carries and he punched in a 6-yard touchdown run after breaking a tackle with four minutes remaining in the game to put the Trojans up, 20-10.

The Dragons countered with a strong drive of their own. Going to the ground helped their cause, especially when Roberts (12 rushes, 51 yards) ran powers plus counters on fake jet sweeps. On BR’s 27-yard line, the Dragons tried to go deep, but the ball ended up in Wilder’s hands once again with under two minutes remaining in the game to seal the win.

“It’s good to be able to go out there and play and get that win to start out the season,” Wilder said.

In the first quarter, the Dragons and Trojans traded touchdown passes, but the Dragons had a 10-7 edge headed into halftime thanks to a 27-yard field goal from Ben Carver with under a minute remaining in the first half.

The Dragons won the opening drive and deferred. Although the Dragons were sharp defensively for much of the game, it would not take the Trojans long to gain an early advantage.

BR struck first on their opening 7-play drive. Greaves picked up a pair of first downs on the ground. Later in the drive, quarterback Corey Sullivan (7-for-16, 112 passing yards) converted on fourth and 11 as he hit a wide open Joseph D'Emilia for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 7:12 remaining in the quarter to give their team the early edge. The successful PAT attempt put them up 7-0.

BR’s second drive was not as successful and Dragons captain Joe Gooley smashed their attempted punt so hard it rolled out of bounds at BR’s own 6-yard line. From there, Roberts hit Will Pouty on a 6-yard touchdown pass and Carver’s extra point tied it up with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter.

D’Emilia also had a fumble recovery in the contest. When he went down with an injury, Buron said Jadyn Rosario stepped up and helped fill the void defensively. The team was also without Danny Taylor in the contest.

Off to a 1-0 start, BR moves on to face Xaverian on the road next Friday.

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