SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -– No one protects their house like Dennis-Yarmouth.
Four weeks after knocking off then-No. 12 Barnstable at home, the Dolphins handled No. 14 Plymouth South, 31-12, for their first Atlantic Coast League victory.
The Dolphins improve to 17-2 at home since the beginning of the 2010 season.
“We love this field,” D-Y defensive coordinator Tommy Campbell said following the victory. “We got a tradition here now and we get all puffy when we get on the field. We win a lot of games here, the lagoon is a great place to play.”
Plymouth South (3-1, 3-1 ACL) was without its standout tailback Dylan Oxsen. Oxsen hurt his ankle in last weeks victory over cross-town rival Plymouth North and was questionable all week. But the Panther offense had little trouble finding their groove, rushing for 272 yard on the ground.
Nick Eaton picked up the slack in Oxsen’s absence, rushing for 85 yards on 26 carries. Sophomore Dylan Anti rushed for an additional 82 yards on just seven carries.
“We ran the same offense we always run and we put our next tailback in the game,” Panther head coach Scott Fry said following the game. “We prepared the best we could and our kids stepped up today.”
The Dolphins (2-2, 1-2 ACL) stacked the box all game to stop the big play. Liam Matheson was a man on a mission, making big play after big play and refusing to allow the Panthers running game get to the outside.
“I had three different defenses ready for today,” said Campbell. “I stuck with two of them and one of them was scraped when he (Oxsen) wasn’t in there. They come out in so many formations. He’s (Oxsen) such a good player that you really got to key on him. You game plan for him but then you see him not in the game.”
The Dolphins offense seems to have finally found their game. Michael Dunn got the scoring started in the first quarter when he found a hole on the right side that was good for a 70-yard score.
“I just followed my blockers,” said Dunn. “They made the holes and I ran the ball off of them. I think the offense is going really well right now and we want to keep that momentum going.”
D-Y scored again in the second quarter when senior quarterback Spencer Tyler found Cory Desimone down the middle for a 31-yard score, capping a eight-play, 68-yard drive with 1:48 remaining in the half
On the following possession, the Dolphins forced a three and out, and aided by 20 penalty yards on the punt, D-Y got the ball back at their own 42 with 31 seconds left.
Tyler calmly marched his team downfield, going 3-for-4 for 38 yards on the drive, setting up Drew Tardiff for a 30-yard field goal and giving the Dolphins a 18-0 lead heading into the half.
D-Y wasted no time in the second half, as Dunn ran back the kickoff back 75 yards to seemingly put the game out of reach.
Despite trailing 25-0, Plymouth South stuck with their running game. Of their 272 rushing yards, 166 of them came in the second half. South scored on their next two drives, with touchdowns runs of 19 and 32 from Matt Bremis and Dylan Anti, respectively, but the Dolphins crushed all hope of a comeback when Tyler called his own number from 19 yards out.
“Tyler was very solid, said Dolphins coach Paul Funk. “No mistakes, made passes when he needed to, ran the ball well and managed the game well.”
Panthers can still run without Oxsen: Losing one of the top back in the state can cripple any teams offense, especially when that player has been involved in 10 of your last 12 touchdowns. But Plymouth South still ran the ball effectively. Four Panthers ran for over 50 yards which led to South controlling the ball for 25:26 and a half minutes compared to the Dolphins 15:34.
Give credit to the Panther offensive line for that. It doesn’t matter who they have behind them, they will find a hole for you to run through.
Campbell was worried about the Panther front five all week, “Their offensive line is really big and strong up front. I knew we were going to have some problems handling them. I didn’t know what they were going to do without Oxsen. I figured they were going to try to pound us.”
“When you don’t have one of the best players in the state playing for you, it makes a difference,” said Fry. “But I was really proud of the way our kids played and battled. The score is no indication of the how we played.”
The Panthers' injury situation didn’t get any better in the fourth quarter.
On the Panthers' final drive, quarterback Rick Barnhardt was sacked by DeAndre Bennett. Barnhardt went down awkwardly and immediately grabbed his left leg. He stayed down on the field for a couple minutes and was carried off the field by teammates. Earlier in the quarter, running back Matt Bremis also went down, tweaking an ankle. He came in for another play but returned to the bench after that.
Two big injuries to watch for as the Panthers prepare for Nauset next week. Both teams have one loss in the Atlantic Coast League.
Dolphins finding their chemistry: After a devastating last second loss to Nauset last week and no-show from their offense three weeks ago at Plymouth North, the Dolphins totaled 329 total yards of offense and added a 75-yard kickoff return.
D-Y has some athletes. Not since the days of Matt Montalto and company have the Dolphins been able to stretch the field like this. The athleticism on the outside is impressive. Mike Anderson (four catches, 72 yards) went up and hauled in a 39-yard pass with a defender draped all over him. Michael Dunn will line up in the backfield, as a receiver and took a handful of snaps under center. Spencer Tyler can throw the long ball but has the speed to pull it down and take off.
There are plenty of ways this team can beat you and it looks like they are figuring out their identity.
“We worked a lot on offense this week," said Dunn. “We put in a few plays to spread the defense and make big plays and it worked. The offense is working real well right now.”
The offense this week was the best way to neutralize the Panthers ground game. The Panthers like to run defenses down, but with the Dolphins offense clicking so well, D-Y was able to get their defense off the field and keep it there while their offense went to work.
“The big thing was our offense kept us off the field a lot and kept drives going,” said Campbell.
D-Y will travel to Sandwich next week, still looking for their first road victory. The Sandwich defense has struggled at times this year and the Dolphins offense will look to keep the momentum going.
Special teams wins ball games: An often-overlooked part of the game, but the Dolphins special teams deserves a game ball. Drew Tardiff hit a 30-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Dunn ran back the second half kickoff for 75 yards. Even the punter got into the action, as Liam Matheson averaged 44 yards per kick.
Midway through the third quarter Matheson booted the ball from the Plymouth South 48 yard line and it was downed at the one-yard line. Half of his punts were inside the 20.
D-Y won the field position game all night, starting the Panthers deep within their own territory.
Even when things didn’t go right, the D-Y took advantage. After D-Y’s second touchdown the snap was botched on the PAT. Spencer Tyler picked it up and ran to his right, converting the two-point conversion.
When things are going right, things are going right.
DENNIS-YARMOUTH 31, PLYMOUTH SOUTH 12
DY-Michael Dunn 70 run (Drew Tardiff Kick), 2:14
DY- Cory Desimone 31 pass from Spencer Tyler (Tyler run), 1:48
DY- Tardiff 30 field goal, 0:00
DY -- Dunn 75 kickoff return (Tadiff Kick), 10:50
PS --Matt Bremis 19 run (rush failed), 7:22
PS – Dylan Asti 32 run (kick fail), 10:47
DY -- Tyler 18 rush (kick fail), 7:58