YARMOUTH, Mass. -- Matt Montalto sat back in coverage, jumped a route over the middle and put the cap on the most impressive first half of his young high school career with an interception that he returned for a few dozen yards with some of his trademark shake and bake.
The Dennis-Yarmouth quarterback/defensive back then took a late Barnstable hit out of bounds and, in Bledsoe-like fashion, popped right back up, let out a howl and sprinted off the field to the locker room.
"I was hyped up at that point," Montalto laughed. "I was hyped up before the game, I was hyped up all throughout. It felt really good."
The junior signal-caller had just put on a clinic in the through two quarters against his heavily-hyped visitors from two exits down Route 6, accumulating nearly 200 yards of offense and accounting for all four of the Dolphins' touchdowns for a 28-8 lead at the break. This annual rivalry, just as it has in previous years, inevitably turned into a shootout; and in the final minute of action, the Dolphins' secondary picked off Red Raiders quarterback for the fifth time, closing the door on a 41-38 win.
"Our quarterback is a very, very accurate passer," D-Y head coach Paul Funk said. "He might not have the strongest arm in the world, but he is accurate, and if you give him an inch, he's going to put it there."
Said Barnstable head coach Doug Crook, "Montalto gives you headaches with his quickness. He comes up on the run, our defense is young and the kids kids drop off their guy...it's an experience."
That was much the case in the first half. On the Dolphins' first drive, Montalto (213 total yards, 4 TD) found a wide-open Rufus Hamilton on 3rd and 10 for an easy 24-yard gain on the left sideline, then scrambled a few plays later for a nine yard rollout to keep the chains moving. Facing fourth and 10 at the Raiders' 15, Montalto put the finishing touches with a soft toss to Dylan Hodsdon wide open in the left slot for the game's first score.
This pattern of third-down bail-outs and wide-open strikes continued, with Montalto running in two (from 35 and five yards out) and firing one to Justin Clark in the near left corner, and the Dolphins took a 20-point halftime lead.
Barnstable's D.J. Crook (19 of 36 passing, 239 yards, 4 TD, 6 interceptions; nine carries, 87 yards) rallied the Raiders back to within striking distance and put the ball in seven different hands on the night, but overall the Dolphins' secondary seemed to throw him for loops. Over the top, D-Y was airtight, making the Raiders pay for balls over or under-thrown.
Junior fullback Joe Furness (15 carries, 108 yards) made it 41-22 with 1:58 left in the third quarter on a 74-yard break up the left sideline. But still, the Raiders had a chance to win this one late. Mike Holmes hauled in a 15-yard strike from Crook with 44 seconds to go, and Jordan Henderson came up with the point-after conversion pass in the back of the end zone to cut the lead to 41-38.
D-Y recovered the ensuing onside kick, only to have a Barnstable player recover the fumble on an attempted kneel. But on Barnstable's first play of the potential game-winning drive, Damion Johnson picked off Crook deep over the middle.
Dennis-Yarmouth 41, Barnstable 38
BHS 0 8 14 16 --- 38
D-Y 14 14 13 0 --- 41
D - Dylan Hodsdon 15 pass from Matt Montalto (John Terrio kick)
D - Montalto 35 run (Terrio kick)
B - Dennis Reddy 3 run (Reddy run)
D - Justin Clark 11 pass from Montalto (Terrio kick)
D - Montalto 5 run (Terrio kick)
B - Andrew Ellis 5 pass from D.J. Crook (pass failed)
D - Damion Johnson 70 interception return (Terrio kick)
B - Mike Holmes 16 pass from Crook (Reddy pass from Crook)
D - Joe Furness 74 run (pass failed)
B - Henderson 8 pass from Crook (Matt Delaney pass from Crook)
B - Holmes 15 pass from Crook (Henderson pass from Crook)