(Video by Greg Story)
TAUNTON, Mass. -– So much for the suspense that might have existed in a rematch of one of the 2011 Division 1A playoff games.
A year ago, Barnstable built a 13-0 halftime lead only to implode in the second half as Lincoln-Sudbury rallied for a 14-13 victory.
Ironically, the Red Raiders led Tuesday night’s semifinal game by an almost identical score at intermission -– 14-0 in this case. But instead of crumbling, Barnstable buried the Warriors, 28-7, and advanced to the 1A Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
The Red Raiders (11-0) will tackle the winner of the other semifinal game between Masconomet and Everett at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Barnstable stepped on the slick Taunton High turf averaging 37.6 points per game while the Warriors (10-2) came in allowing an average of only 8.1 points per game.
While the Red Raiders didn’t quite match their offensive average they did “out-defense” the Warriors.
In retrospect, the game was over by halftime when Barnstable led 14-0 after allowing a paltry 27 yards of total offense on only 17 plays.
“We have the ability on defense,” Barnstable coach Chris Whidden said. “We know we can step up and play well in a big game. Unfortunately, there might have been some times during the course of the season when we played down a little bit to the level of our competition.
“We stepped up tonight) and played not as well as we can but as well as we have. But without question there’s room for improvement. We’ll nit-pick that for the next couple of days and hope we bring the best thing we have on Saturday afternoon.”
Altogether, Barnstable’s defense allowed only 102 yards of total offense and held Lincoln-Sudbury scoreless until exactly five minutes remained on the clock.
That’s when Chris Giorgio scored on a 1-yard run –- a touchdown which didn’t exactly faze Whidden.
“Although they scored at the end, it took them four minutes to get that touchdown,” Whidden said. “Ultimately, it was a win for us even though it wasn’t the shutout we were hoping for because it took that much time. Now, we could get one drive and end the game which is what we did.”
Barnstable was “offensive”: What Barnstable also did was slice and dice Lincoln-Sudbury’s once-impenetrable defense as it amassed 330 yards of total offense.
Leading the way in this department was junior running back Hayden Murphy, who accounted for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.
“Anytime a running back has a game like that he’s got to have somewhere to run,” Whidden said. “Our front five of Owen Murray, Tom Harrington, Tom Grimmer, Chris Kennedy and Allen Buckley all played a great game up front to provide those seams for (Murphy).
“And (quarterback) Nick (Peabody) did a great job reading it. They were bringing some pressure up the middle but a lot of times they were showing it so we were able to see it. That’s where having a kid who’s as intelligent as Nick is in the game helps us because he would check us into that or check us out of that.”
Peabody was quick to admit his passing didn’t resemble the second coming of Tom Brady since completed only 7-of-23 passes for 98 yards. But he also was quick to admit that his teammates overcame his shortcomings in the passing department.
“I was terrible throwing the ball,” Peabody said. “But Hayden really picked it up. That’s what a team is all about. You’re not going to play your best game every time. Hayden was amazing. Our offensive line was amazing. You can’t say enough about our defense.
“We showed we’re a complete team. We don’t just throw the ball but we also can run it.”
Catching a break: Barnstable didn’t have to run or throw to score its first two points.
Lincoln-Sudbury was punting from its 4 when Joe Kenney’s snap sailed over the head of Chris Giorgio and out of the end zone for a safety.
Five plays after the ensuing free kick, Murphy capped a 48-yard drive by running it in from the 15 for an 8-0 lead.
Barnstable then took advantage of a short punt by Giorgio and regained possession on the Warriors’ 41.
Seven plays later, Peabody bolted 13 yards up the middle for a score which produced a 14-0 halftime lead.
Not surprisingly, that conjured up memories of last year’s semifinal game between these teams when Barnstable blew that 13-0 halftime lead.
“You don’t forget things like last year,” Peabody said. “We didn’t forget that. It was almost the exact same score going into halftime. We went in there and knew we couldn’t take the foot off the gas, and we didn’t.
“Our defense got several big stops and we were able to punch it in a few times.”
Barnstable “punched it in” a third time with 4:46 left in the third quarter when Peabody capped a 72-yard drive by wedging over from the 1.
Then, after Jon Eldredge intercepted a Henry Guild pass, Murphy scored from the 1 for a commanding 28-0 lead.
“There wasn’t a letup even when we were up 28-0,” Whidden said. “The kids really showed their pride by not letting up and bringing it on every snap.”
BARNSTABLE 28, LINCOLN-SUDBURY 7
BA (11-0) 8-6-14-0 – 28
LS (10-2) 0-0-0-7 – 7
B – Safety
B – Hayden Murphy 15 run (run failed)
B – Murphy 13 run (pass failed)
B – Nick Peabody 1 run (Dereck Pacheco kick)
B – Murphy 1 run (Pacheco kick)
LS – Chris Giorgio 1 run (Greg Boden kick)