Saturday, November 4, 2017

Bridgewater-Raynham Out-Muscles Natick in D2 South Semis (Plus Video)

Photo by Matt Siegel. Continue to the bottom for video clips by Matt as well.
By Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN)

Natick, Mass. – Such is the beauty of Bridgewater-Raynham football. Even when the Trojans aren’t trying to pull off one of their trademark gut-check calls that scream gumption, they can’t help themselves.

Already up 21-7 with under a minute to go in the first half after a Devante Greaves (27 carries, 198 yards, 3 TD) touchdown scamper, the Trojans went for what looked like a surprise onside kick that went off a Natick player’s leg, and was recovered by a B-R player. A few plays later, the Trojans scored again for a three-touchdown halftime lead, which turned out to be crucial points as they fought off a second half Redhawks rally to prevail 42-21 in an MIAA Division 2 South semifinal.

With the win, B-R punches its ticket to a second straight D2 South final, where the Trojans will look to exact revenge on King Philip in a rematch of last year’s heavyweight slugfest won by the Warriors, en route to their first state title in program history.

“That was huge, because we were playing great, but I think we get complacent – it’s happened all year,” B-R head coach Dan Buron said of that final minute of the first half. “Luckily, [Greaves] breaks that, and then… it was not an onside kick, we just hit the kid and things went our way. But thank God, because that was the difference in score for a while.”

Early on, the Trojans (8-1) looked like they were going to have their way in this matchup. They dominated time of possession to start the contest, stringing together two lengthy scoring drives to take a 14-0 lead. Their game-opening drive was a thing of beauty, calling for tosses and dives on their first eight plays, just long enough to suck in the Redhawks (7-1) defense for their signature play-action waggle, Corey Sullivan finding a wide-open Jeff Ciccio streaking to the pylon on a corner route to finish a six-minute, 53-yard drive.

Another quick Natick three-and-out yielded another long Trojans scoring drive to open the lead up to 14-0. This time, it was Greaves punching in his first of three scores on a one-yard dive.

The Redhawks came into this contest averaging 357 yards of offense per game, anchored by a stalwart offensive line and a three-headed backfield monster led by Malik Williams, Amir Mells and Tim Ramdstrom. But Natick was held to just 13 yards on its first three drives, before managing to get itself off the canvas.

Late in the second quarter, Christian D’Antonio (12 of 19, 200 yards, TD, INT; 6 carries, 43 yards, TD) found Max Ferrucci (4 catches, 125 yards, TD) deep down the left seam heading for the post for a 40-yard strike, just his second completion of the night. That set up Williams’ three-yard scoring plunge two plays later and cut B-R’s lead in half with 1:08 to go in the first half.

But B-R struck back with a vicious counterpunch. The first play of the Trojans’ ensuing drive went to paydirt, Greaves shooting up the right side to daylight for a 71-yard score with 47 seconds to go. The Trojans then recovered the onside kick, and five plays later made it 28-7 on a 25-yard tip-toe catch by Jeff Ciccio at the back pylon with just 10 seconds before the break.

The Trojans began the third quarter by taking their largest lead of the game, aided largely thanks to a 45-yard kickoff return from Dan Taylor, with a Natick penalty tacked on at the end to give B-R starting position at the Redhawks 22 on their half-opening drive. Greaves punched it in three plays later from nine yards out to make it 35-7.

Natick got off the canvas with two quick scores, first a 35-yard strike from D’Antonio to Ferrucci then a six-yard D’Antonio keeper in which the senior initially appeared to have been stopped on forward progress, only to break free into the end zone.

But after falling on an onside kick at their own 35 to start the fourth quarter, the Trojans strung together a monster 13-play, 65-yard, eight-minute drive to seal the win, capped with a one-yard Bryce Shaw plunge with 2:55 to go.

B-R outgained Natick 362-281 for the game, including a 245-112 advantage in the first half, and a 273-81 advantage on the ground.


NAT       0              7              14           0              ---           21

BRI         7              21           7              7              ---           42

First Quarter

B – Jeff Ciccio 15 pass from Corey Sullivan (Thomas Fay kick) 3:59

Second Quarter

B – Devante Greaves 1 run (Fay kick) 8:51

N – Malik Williams 3 run (Sam Waltzman kick) 1:08

B – Greaves 71 run (Fay kick) :47

B – Ciccio 15 pass from Sullivan (Fay kick) :14

Third Quarter

B – Greaves 9 run (Fay kick) 9:29

N – Max Ferrucci 35 pass from Christian D’Antonio (Waltzman kick) 5:02

– D’Antonio 6 run (Waltzman kick) :00

Fourth Quarter

B – Bryce Shaw 1 run (Fay kick) 2:55

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