WEYMOUTH, Mass. – In heavyweight matchup of two of the Bay State Conference’s best, there’s plenty you knew about No. 10 Weymouth and No. 12 Natick entering Friday night’s game.
But there was more to be learned about the Red Hawks in their handy 42-23 win. Quarterback Troy Flutie showed he’s equally capable making plays with his feet as with his arm. Natick’s offensive line proved it could hold up against the Wildcats’ front. And, perhaps most importantly, the Red Hawks defense shined in the face of their biggest test of the year.
Natick (6-0) created five turnovers, three of which ended Wildcats drives in the red zone, swinging momentum at several key moments.
Everything else was left up to Flutie. In the air, he was efficient, completing 10 of 14 pass attempts for 171 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, he was electric, running for 215 yards and two scores, including a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“Troy’s really matured a lot,” Flutie’s favorite target Brian Dunlap said postgame. “He’s got that offense under his belt. He does a great job leading us. The offensive line does a great job calling out their blocks, they’re all on the same page and that helps Troy.”
Dunlap also showed his versatility on both sides of the ball. The wideout took an end-around 67 yards for touchdown to get the Red Hawks on the board at 7-7 with 3:15 to play in the first. Dunlap also provided a bookend to Natick’s victory (which coincidentally was Weymouth’s first home loss in four years) with an interception return of 38 yards for a touchdown in the fourth.
It was Natick’s second interception of the game and their fifth takeaway on defense.
ANOTHER BIG LOSS
Aside from the scoreboard, the Wildcats (5-1) suffered a potentially bigger loss when jack-of-all-trades Ozzy Colarusso left the game just before half with a shoulder injury.
After David Harrison collected an interception against his counterpart, Weymouth took possession with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. Harrison moved the Wildcats into field goal range on the next play, connecting with Darrell Fernandez on a 43-yard pass.
On that play, Colarusso was injured and did not return. As the Wildcats top place kicker, Colarusso was replaced by freshman Matt Long who promptly knocked a 34-yard field goal through the uprights on the last play of the half. It gave Weymouth a 23-21 lead.
From then on, the Wildcats were shut out and the Red Hawks posted 21 unanswered points.
But Weymouth head coach Kevin Mackin wasn’t about to make any excuses for his team’s performance.
“That didn’t decide the game,” Mackin said of Colarusso’s injury, “the turnovers did.”
BREAKING DOWN THE WILDCATS
Dunlap spread the credit around when speaking of the Red Hawks’ defensive effort against Weymouth.
The Wildcats, who’ve changed things up with Harrison – originally a wide receiver – under center in recent weeks, present multiple looks on offense and plenty of worries for opposing defensive coordinators.
Dunlap said it all came down to preparation.
“We knew they like to roll out a lot,” Dunlap said. “Their receivers do a great job getting to different levels. Their quarterback is great, he brings that threat to run or pass. But the linebackers stayed with him, making sure he threw the ball and then the [defensive backs], we just jumped the routes. We had the safeties jumping the flats and our backside free safety had the deep.
“Coach [Mark] Mortarelli did a great job helping us out this week.”
Natick -- 7 14 14 7 -- 42
Weymouth – 7 16 0 0 -- 23
W - David Harrison 48-yard run (Ozzy Colarusso kick)
N - Brian Dunlap 67-yard run (Sam Lenson kick)
N - Troy Flutie 75-yard run (Lenson kick)
N - Justin Robinson 35-yard pass from Flutie (Lenson kick)
W - Colarusso 81-yard pass from Harrison (Colarusso kick)
W - Harrison 1-yard run (kick failed)
W - Matt Long 34-yard field goal
N - Flutie 21-yard run (Lenson kick)
N – Mike Abbruzze 50-yard pass from Troy Flutie (Sam Lenson kick)
N - Dunlap 38-yard interception return (Lenson kick)