BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – If what usually works isn’t working, try something different.
It’s not as though Dan Buron all of sudden will transform Bridgewater-Raynham’s offense into a high-flying spread attack. However, the Trojans’ 28-15 win over Marshfield on Saturday afternoon was proof positive that B-R can mix things up. Instead of the Trojans’ meat and potatoes rushing attack running up the gut, Buron spread the Rams thin, rolling out a series of three and four wide-out formations.
After a shaky start, No. 13 B-R (2-1) turned in perhaps its best overall performance of the young season.
“After the first series, I think we settled down,” Buron said. “I think we played better on both sides of the ball. The kids settled down.”
The Rams (1-2) embarked on a 14-play drive off of the opening kickoff and scored 7:45 later on Mark Pomella’s 31-yard pass to Bryan Mey. The 6-0 advantage was the last lead Marshfield held, as the Trojans would go on to score on three straight possessions from the first into the second quarter.
“That’s how we play football,” Trojans running back and linebacker Nick Schlatz said. “B-R football’s all about the driving the ball down the field, finishing drives and then getting the ball back and doing the same exact thing over again.”
Eric Wabrek put B-R ahead with two touchdown carries on back-to-back drives with runs of three and six yards.
Branden Morin added a 2-yard touchdown run for a 21-6 lead before Marshfield’s Brendan Doherty hit a 38-yard field goal to make it 21-9 at the half.
Schlatz again made it a three-possession game with a 2-yard run with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
However, it was the senior captain’s contributions as a decoy that proved key to B-R success. After the Trojans had trouble establishing the running game on their first possession of the game, Buron started flexing Schlatz out to wide receiver, drawing the attention of the Rams’ defense. Oftentimes with a double-team devoted to Schlatz on the wing, B-R found greater success on the ground with Morin and quarterback Brad Deluliis running the ball.
“We’ve been doing it a little the last couple of years … with [Brad] Deluliis, Mike Connolly and even Billy Zolga last year, we spread it out and threw a little bit more,” Buron said. “But now what we’ve done is split Nick Schlatz out there and then we have Arcel Armstead, who’s a pretty good running back, too, on the other side, so people have to worry about them because they’re good receivers, too.”
Not exactly by the book in B-R’s terms, but it certainly was effective.
BETTER EACH WEEK
Not only did Buron mix things up, he also felt his team has improved with each passing week, commenting that last week was the Trojans’ best week of practice. That was evident in the play of B-R’s young offensive line, which took its lumps in a Week 1 loss to No. 2 Duxbury, but was a strength on the whole on Saturday.
“Each week, we’re getting a little bit better,” Buron said, “with a young offensive line, I think we got shell-shocked [in the Duxbury game].”
About Saturday’s performance, Buron added, “That group hung in there, we were lucky to survive that first game, but they’ve gotten better.”
ON THE MOVE
After moving Schlatz out of the backfield, Marshfield wasn’t able to key on the bruising back running up the middle. It also freed quarterback Deluliis to air out the ball some, while also allowing him to find some running room.
“They were loading up,” Buron said. “They took away what we do best, or what we think we can do best.”
It also enable Deluliis to show off his athleticism. Not to mention, it got him into the flow of the game.
“He seems to play better when he’s more involved in the offense, instead of just handing off,” Buron said of his senior signal-caller. “Now, he’s more involved and working up a sweat, if you will, he just seems to respond to that.”
Buron praised the work of Wabrek, the senior running back and inside linebacker.
Not only did Wabrek score B-R’s first two touchdowns with some hard-nosed, goal-line running, he set up the Trojans’ first scoring drive with a heady interception, slipping underneath an out pattern.
“He was injured some of last season and he’s not one of our captains, but Eric’s a smart player and brings us some leadership,” Buron said. “He was one of our game captains for today and he showed the type of player that he is.”