SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -– Forgive the Dennis-Yarmouth fans for their exuberance, they certainly had a lot to be excited about.
With the Dolphins demolishing 12th-ranked Barnstable by 28 points late in the fourth quarter, some of the D-Y faithful prematurely began the celebration by putting on a mini-fireworks display just behind the field. Four minutes later, when the score went final and the home team had finished off a surprising 37-9 shellacking of the Red Raiders, more pyrotechnics flew skyward as the team wearing green and white smiled at both the result, and the rockets’ red glare.
“I thought it was a good effort all around,” D-Y Head Coach Paul Funk said. “Our offensive line was outstanding, and our defense didn’t give up a single point. We had just one mistake on offense... We’re just hard-working kids, our kids just work.”
Even more explosive than the show in the sky was the play of D-Y senior quarterback Spencer Tyler. The athletic signal-caller for the Dolphins had himself quite a day, before leaving in the third quarter with leg cramps. By that time, though, the game was pretty much already decided thanks to his display of running and throwing.
Tyler carried the ball 14 times in the game, gaining 139 yards, which included a 50-yard touchdown scamper just before halftime that all but sealed the deal. He also was 9-for-15 passing the ball, with touchdown throws of 20 and 24 yards. Tyler was also intercepted one time, which was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter by the Raiders’ Derek Estes.
A blowout win by the Dolphins, who lost 55-14 last year in Hyannis, was not what Tyler and company expected.
“We used (last year’s game) as motivation a lot, we talked about in the locker room and at halftime said ‘we have to remember what they did to us last year,’ and used that as motivation not to let up in the second half,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a battle, but we worked hard in practice and we worked hard over the summer. We expected to win, we prepared to win.”
While the D-Y offense shook off a sluggish first quarter to light up the scoreboard, their counterparts from Barnstable had no answers for the Dolphins’ defense, which recorded four sacks against starting quarterback Hayden Murphy (5-for-11, 49-yards, 1 interception). Shifty Barnstables halfback Justus Chafee picked up 124 yards on 14 carries, but the bulk of his yardage came on three big runs that went for 22, 33 and 24 yards. His other 11 rushes resulted in just 45 yards as the Dolphins’ defensive line did a nice job of closing the gaps and taking away his cut-back lanes.
Dennis-Yarmouth struck first late in the first quarter when Tyler capped an eight-play, 55-yard scoring drive by hooking up with Mike Anderson from 20 yards away. Tyler threw a pretty back shoulder throw to Anderson, who timed his cut to the ball perfectly. Drew Tardiff added the PAT to make it 7-0.
D-Y was aiming to double up its lead when their quarterback made his lone mistake of the night. He misplaced a throw up the left sideline, and Estes jumped the route and took it the other way for a 48-yard pick six. The Raiders’ PAT tied the score with just under nine minutes left in the first half.
From that point on it was all Dolphins. D-Y used a Tardiff 27-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to take the lead for good, and then the defense, which did not allow Barnstable a single point in the game, forced a quick three-and-out.
With two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the half, the Dolphins opened up a big lead and sent the Raiders to the locker room reeling. Tyler hit Jacob Pawlina up the left seam for a 24-yard scoring strike with 1:50 left in the half to make it 16-7.
The Raiders got the ball in great field position after that TD, thanks to a short kickoff and a personal foul, but turned it over on downs at the D-Y 37 with 1:05 to play before intermission. Tyler and company needed just two plays from there, as Anderson pulled down a 13-yard pass on the first play of the drive and then Tyler scored from 50-yards away on an athletic run off of a QB draw.
Barnstable fumbled it away the first time they had the ball in the second half, and came up short on a fourth-and-one play on their second, near midfield, thanks to a fumbled snap.
Backup quarterback Michael Dunn’s 53-yard run with 3:11 to play in the third made it 30-7. On the next play from scrimmage, the Dolphins forced a fumble by Chaffee that Drew Smith recovered in Barnstable territory. Less than a minute later Cory Desimone scored on a 23-yard sweep.
Barnstable’s other two points in the game came midway through the fourth. After a goal line stand by the D-Y defense. Dunn stepped out of bounds to take a safety on fourth-and-long from his team’s own two.
Chris Whidden, Barnstable’s Head Coach, made no excuses for his team’s performance.
“We just made far too many mistakes and didn’t execute things, and they have a good team there this year,” Whidden said.
“It’s not ability, it’s technique,” he continued. “We just have to continue to work. Our inexperience shone through out there today...this doesn’t make me think we’re a bad team, we just had a real bad night and hopefully this is our wake-up call.”