Boston High School: Aurian Dawkins

Top 10 Plays from Super Saturday

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
12:53
AM ET
Saturday’s inaugural MIAA Football State Championships at Gillette Stadium crowned victors in six divisions, which meant plenty of highlight reel-worthy plays were jam-packed into the day. Here are my Top 10 plays from the weekend:

(Video clips courtesy of Hudl.com)

Honorable Mention –- Rufus’ Rumble
Glad to see we’ll have another year of Bishop Fenwick running back Rufus Rushins, because the junior is a lot of fun to watch when he gets a full head of steam downhill. The Crusaders shut out Northbridge, 28-0, for the D5 state title, thanks to Rushins’ 158 yards and three scores on 15 carries.

10. Follow Your Blockers
Dennis-Yarmouth’s L.K. Metz follows every fundamental rule here as he jukes and jives his way to a very nice kick return, taking a Doherty squib kick all the way down to the Highlanders’ 6-yard line to set up an eventual score. Doherty went on to win the Division 4 state championship, 28-26.

9. Ball Hawk
Mansfield’s Aurian Dawkins shows great awareness and ball instincts on this end zone interception, jumping a would-be TD throw to St. John’s receiver Mike McGillicuddy and laying out for the pick. Mansfield doubled up the Pioneers, 28-14, to win the D2 state title.

8. Bassett Hounds the Skippers
Littleton running back Travis Bassett had the best statistical performance of the day, carrying 22 times for 263 yards and four TDs, and adding a 29-yard catch off a screen pass for a fifth TD, and adding two interceptions, as the Tigers routed Cohasset 52-35 for the D6 state title. There are plenty of highlight plays for Bassett, but my personal favorite is this 78-yard scamper. Just look at the afterburners he puts on this one.

7. Isaac to the Post
Boston College commit Isaac Yiadom had a big day on both sides of the ball for Doherty, including this 64-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Yiadom finished with seven catches for 137 yards and a TD.

6. D’Andre Dumps ‘Em
UNH commit D’Andre Drummond hits the R3 button on this 52-yard touchdown run for Central Catholic, leaving one unfortunate Xaverian defender in the turf. The Raiders doubled up Xaverian, 34-17, for the D1 state title.

5. Run, Rocco, Run
Cohasset’s Rocco Laugelle is off and running on this 77-yard interception return for a touchdown. Watch as he slips away from about five tacklers en route to paydirt.

4. Poetry in Motion
Doherty QB Luke Brennan (12 for 20, 259 yards, 2 TD) threw a couple of pretty balls on the afternoon. But none were prettier than this 41-yard bomb to Alfred Adarkwah, plopping the ball safely into the lanky senior’s bread basket, right over the top of double coverage.

3. Cody’s Crackback
As the title implies, Central Catholic receiver Cody Demers laid one of the most vicious sticks of the day, this crackback block springing loose quarterback Matt Milano to toss a 31-yard touchdown pass to Cam Manning. This play made it 7-0 Raiders, and effectively set the tone for the evening.

2. Jump Ball
We couldn’t get our hands on video of this impressive TD catch by Tewksbury’s Kevin Dick, late in the Redmen’s 42-14 rout of Plymouth South for the D3 state title. But it probably works out better that way, as photographer Eric Adler passes along a frame-by-frame account of the grab.

1. Megatron
Simply put, Demers was just awesome on Saturday. This TD catch permeates those sentiments.

D2 final: Mansfield 28, St. John's (S) 14

December, 7, 2013
12/07/13
6:15
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Not only did Mansfield enter Saturday’s Division 2 state championship against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) minus its injured leading receiver, Brendan Hill, but the Hornets also turned the ball over five times – in the first half alone.

Even though the Hornets only trailed 14-7 at halftime, a repeat of that performance quite likely would have resulted in a Pioneers victory.

Not quite.

“We were in a big, big hole,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding said after his team rallied for an improbable 28-14 victory. “We did everything we could to give it away.

“I thought the big difference was twice when we turned it over in our own end, we came up with stops or this thing would have gotten away from us in a hurry.”

The plays that Redding cited each occurred in the second quarter.

St. John’s Derek Houde recovered a Miguel Villar-Perez fumble at the Pioneers 20. But Mansfield’s Connor Finerty planted Shane Combs for no gain on fourth-and-one from Mansfield’s 23.

Then, after the Pioneers’ Pat Ryan recovered a “pooch kick” that deflected off a Hornet at the Mansfield 17, Aurian Dawkins intercepted an Andrew Smiley pass in the end zone.

Cool, calm and collected: Those plays had much to do with the Hornets’ mindset during intermission.

“We felt pretty good at halftime because we had moved the ball and we hadn’t punted,” Redding said. “We were only down seven. To turn it over five times against a team like this and be down seven, we felt like we still had a good shot at winning it.

“This group has a lot of character. Nobody was rattled at halftime. We felt pretty good and we came to play in the second half on defense.”

Granted, Mansfield (13-0) held St. John’s (9-4) to a modest 161 yards of total offense in the second half. But if there was one sequence that reflected the Hornets’ character it was the one that began at the tail end of the third quarter with Mansfield leading, 21-14.

Commencing on the last play of that period, Mansfield chewed up 68 yards of Gillette Stadium real estate on 13 plays and took a whopping 7:49 off the clock.

The drive culminated with Villar-Perez (18 carries for 120 yards) busting through the right side from the 3 for the game-clinching touchdown.

“I think that was the most crucial drive we’ve had,” Mike Hershman said. “It took up a good portion of the fourth quarter so we kept our defense off the field.

“It was big for us. We just wanted to execute and try not to give their offense another chance to score. To melt so much of the clock and punch it in at the end was perfect.”

Hershman was one of several Hornets who “executed.”

Besides running for 66 yards and one touchdown on eight carries, he also caught six passes for 77 yards.

“We executed very well on offense (Mansfield amassed 384 yards of total offense) and on defense I was trying to give everything I had,” Hershman said. “This was the last game and I wanted to leave it all on the field.”

Fast start: Mansfield began the game with a 66-yard-, 10-play drive that ended with Alex Ruddy diving over from the 2. But St. John’s countered with a 66-yard drive that culminated with Smiley sneaking over from the 1.

The Pioneers took what proved to be their last lead, 14-7, after Jacob Byczko recovered a Mansfield fumble. Shane Combs (14 carries for 100 yards) sped 19 yards to the end zone.

Mansfield’s Mike Barresi intercepted a Smiley pass three plays into the third quarter and that set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Alex Ruddy. But Alex Thompson was wide right on the ensuing PAT so St. John’s still led 14-13.

No problem.

After St. John’s went three-and-out, Mansfield marched 59 yards with Chris Buchanan blasting over from the 8 and Villar-Perez bulling his way for a two-point conversion.

“It was a very professional-like halftime without a lot of hollering,” Redding said. “We just wanted to keep it going, hold onto the ball and get some stops,” Redding said. “The goal was to have a tie or a lead going into the fourth and we managed to do it.

“To win a championship you have to play defense, which we did in the second half, and you’ve got to be able to run the ball (Mansfield gained 299 yards on the ground) and we did that as well. We’re known for our passing. But today was about defense and running the football.”

MANSFIELD 28, ST. JOHN’S 14

MANSFIELD (13-0) 7-0-14-7 - 28

ST. JOHN’S (9-4 ) 7-7-0-0 - 14

First quarter

M – Alex Ruddy 2 run (Alex Thompson kick)

S – Andrew Smiley 2 run (John Coveney kick)

Second quarter

S – Shane Combs 19 run (Coveney kick)

Third quarter

M – Ruddy 11 run (kick failed)

M – Chris Buchanan 8 run (Miguel Villar-Perez run)

Fourth quarter

M – Villar-Perez 3 run (Thompson kick)

D2 South: Mansfield 31, Wellesley 14

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
11:34
PM ET
MANSFIELD, Mass. -- When it looked like Wellesley's defense found a way to limit Mansfield's high-power offense, the Hornets displayed yet another weapon.

Quarterback Kyle Wisnieski ran for a team-high 80 yards helping to spark Mansfield to a 31-14 win over Wellesley in an MIAA Division 2 South Quarterfinal game.

Wisnieski is known for his accurate passing to weapons like Brendan Hill, Michael Hershman, and Kyle Hurley and the Hornets have even established a strong run game this season behind Miguel Villar-Perez and Chris Buchanon, but it was Wisnieski's legs that did the trick Friday night.

After punting on their first offensive series, the Raiders' defense held Mansfield to a 35-yard field goal from senior Alex Thompson. On just their second play of the next drive after recovering a surprise onside kick attempt, Wellesley quarterback John Fadule took it 54 yards for a touchdown to give Wellesley a 7-3 lead, but that would be their only one of the night.

"We tried to steal the onside kick and it backfired," said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. "We gave them a short field and they made us pay. After that I thought we settled down on defense. We gave them some hitches and slants but nothing big. Defense just played great."

Mansfield responded in a fashion they have used all season, mixing in runs and counters with big gain passes. Starting at their own 14-yard line, Villar-Perez and Buchanon combined for 16 yards on three rushes before Wisnieski hit Hurley over the middle for 18 yards and then Hill on the sideline for 33 more. Villar-Perez then went 19 yards almost untouched to give Mansfield the lead back at 10-7.

A quick three-and-out from Wellesley gave Mansfield the ball back at their own 31. Wisnieski dropped back to pass twice in a run but on both occasions, the Raiders had strong coverage and Wisnieski took off running, picking up 21 yards and then 15 yards. With the defense forced to respect Wisnieski's mobility, he connects with a wide-open Hurley on the left side for a 19-yard touchdown to put Mansfield up 17-7.

"They were dropping a lot of guys in coverage so it kind of opened it up," said Wisnieski. "The pass rushers got past me and there was a lot of room to run so I just took advantage of that."

Redding credited both Wellesley for their coverage scheme as well as Wisnieski for being able to make a play.

"They did a good job of covering and had a good scheme in the secondary and kind of clogged things up on Mike Hershman, Brendan Hill, and Kyle Hurley but they did give us some running lanes," he said. "Kyle [Wisnieski] is well respected for throwing the ball to those guys but he's a very good athlete. If he wasn't a quarterback, he'd be a heck of a receiver and defensive back. He makes a lot of bad calls into good ones by getting out and running for some yardage."

The Hornet defense again came up strong, forcing another three-and-out from the Raider offense and their punt was partially blocked by Hill, setting the Hornets up at their own 37. Wisnieski elected to stay in the pocket this time, hitting Villar-Perez over the middle on back to back passes to gain 30 yards. A pass interference call put the Hornets at the Raiders 5-yard line and two plays later, Buchanon punched it in from less than a yard out.

Mansfield almost tacked on another score but Wisnieski was picked off in the end zone, only his third interception thrown all season, and Mansfield took a 24-7 lead into halftime.

Mansfield went three-and-out to start the second half and Wellesley ate up a lot of clock on their first drive but it was ended when Aurian Dawkins came away with his second pick of Fadule. The Hornets then used eight rushing plays and one pass completion to get to the Wellesley 3-yard line as the third quarter ended.

On the first play of the final quarter, Buchanon took the toss to the right before cutting back in and scoring his second touchdown of the game to make it 31-7 with 10:55 left. Wellesley's final touchdown came with just 28 seconds left in the game with back ups from both sides in. Sophomore Myles Cole rushed to the left for a 19-yard touchdown for the Raiders.

"On offense we're pretty explosive at times," Redding said. "We didn't have to punt a whole lot which is good in the playoffs. Kyle was a little dinged up and we really didn't want him running much. He ended up running more than he has in the last month. Brendan made some big, big catches for us."

The top-seeded Hornets will now continue in the playoffs and will host No. 4 Needham, who defeated Duxbury 42-28 on Friday night.

"I like were we are," said Redding. "We're playing good defense and we're balanced on offense but the next round gets even tougher whether its Duxbury or Needham, the level just gets tougher and tougher. You have to bring your A game every Friday if you want to move on."

Recap: Mansfield 28, Franklin 21

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
9:31
PM ET


MANSFIELD, Mass. -- Mansfield had its 1,000 yard rusher sidelined, lost their starting center and tackle during the game, and faced a second half deficit to a strong Franklin Panther team.

No big deal, right?

The Hornets overcame it all behind a strong rushing performance from senior Kevin Makie (28 rushes, 133 yards, 3 TD) and forced three interceptions to rally past the Panthers, 28-21, and clinched the Hockomock League’s Kelley-Rex Division.

“I’ve been here 23 years,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said. “It was one of the best second-half performances I’ve ever seen by a football team.”

Despite drawing first blood on Makie’s first score –- a six yard run -– the Hornets found themselves behind at the break.

After Mansfield’s scoring drive, Franklin responded with a six-play drive that ended with Panther quarterback Nick Zucco finding a wide open Brandon Eccher over the middle for a 41-yard score.

Momentum swung back and forth as Mansfield went three-and-out but the Hornet defense responded with an Aurian Dawkins interception. But Mansfield’s drive stalled and the momentum swung back to Franklin as Jeff Gray blocked a Mansfield punt.

After three straight rushes from senior Kyle Finamore (102 yards, TD), Zucco went over the middle again, this time to Robert Dellorco for an 18-yard touchdown to give Franklin a 14-6 lead at half.

“I thought the big thing in the second half was that we avoided penalties,” Redding said. “No turnovers, very few offensive penalties, we executed great.

“The defense came to play in the second half, that was the critical piece, getting the ball back to our offense.”

The defense started off right away, forcing a three-and-out from Franklin on their first drive. The Hornets then took the ensuing drive 10 plays, capped off by a Chris Buchanon run from 14-yards out. Quarterback Kyle Wisnieski found sophomore Brendan Hill in the back of the end zone for the successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.

It was a déjà vu performance from the Mansfield defense on the next drive, again forcing a three-and-out that led to more points o the ensuing Hornets possession. Senior James Comer, a 260 pound defensive lineman who had an interception in the first half, came up with the key stop on third down.

The Panthers used eight rushing plays –- a combination of Makie, Buchanon, and Alexander Rudy –- and one pass play to take their second lead of the game. On fourth and goal from the one-yard line, Makie took it to the right and into the end zone for the first play of the fourth quarter.

Franklin looked to respond on their next drive, getting into Mansfield territory behind the legs of Zucco, but their drive came to abrupt halt when Zucco was picked off by Michael Barressi.

Mansfield’s next drive was the knockout punch.

The Hornets went 62 yards, including two huge third down conversion passes from Wisnieski (one to Michael Hershman for 14 yards, the other to Makie for 18) and a division-clinching fourth-down conversion from Mike Cunningham at the Franklin 11.

After the fourth down conversion, it was announced at Alumni Field that Hockomock rival King Philip had taken down North Attleboro 16-14, meaning if Mansfield won, they would clinch the Kelley-Rex.

Two plays later, Makie found the end zone for the third time on a three-yard burst to give the Hornets a 28-14 lead.

The Panthers didn’t go quietly though, as Zucco orchestrated a 69-yard drive finished off by a 14-yard touchdown run from Finamore. With just 35 seconds left and no timeouts, Franklin attempted an onside kick but Barressi was able to recover for the Hornets, giving them the Kelley-Rex Division.

“It feels great,” Makie said. “Everyone came in doubting us and we proved everyone wrong. KP got the big win and we’re going to the playoffs.”

Mansfield now has a date with Patriot League Keenan champ Duxbury, ranked No. 6 in ESPN Boston's latest statewide poll, on Nov. 27. The time and location are to be determined.

Big-Makie: With leading rusher Robbie Rapoza (1,067 yards, nine touchdowns) sidelined with an injury, the focus of Mansfield’s offense turned to Kevin Makie.

Makie, who came in with 730 yards and eight touchdowns, took full advantage of his opportunity, racking up 133 yards and scoring the winning touchdown with just 2:28 left in the game.

“We just wanted to put up points, we knew that they had a good offense,” Makie said.

Redding made it a point to note that Makie isn’t playing at 100% either.

“Makie’s been tough,” Redding said. “Kevin has really stepped up and he’s playing at about 90 percent with a high ankle sprain. We’ve got some tough cookies here.”

Not much to be thankful for: When the ball is kicked off on Thanksgiving, there will be no playoff implications at stake in the Hockomock league. Entering this week, it looked as though it was going to come down to Turkey Day to decide who would represent the league in the playoffs, but Saturday changed that.

Earlier in the day, Sharon was able to edge out Foxboro to clinch the Davenport Division and earn a date with Pembroke, leaving 9-1 Stoughton on the outside looking in.

On the large side, it will be 9-1 King Philip left out of the playoffs. Ironically enough, it was KP’s win over North Attleboro that allowed Mansfield to clinch with a win.

With no playoff implications, all teams will be playing for pride, including King Philip and Franklin who will play each other.

MANSFIELD 28, FRANKLIN 21
Franklin (7-3) 0 – 14 – 0 – 7 --- 21
Mansfield (7-3) 0 – 6 – 8 – 14 --- 28


Second Quarter
M – Kevin Makie 6 yard run (2 point failed)
F – Brandon Eccher 41 yard pass from Nick Zucco (Mike Carden kick)
F – Robert Dellorco 18 yard pass from Zucco (Carden kick)

Third Quarter
M – Chris Buchanon 14 yard run (Brendan Hill pass from Kyle Wisnieski)

Fourth Quarter
M – Makie 1 yard run (Michael Hershman kick)
M – Makie 3 yard run (Hershman kick)
F – Kyle Finamore 14 yard run (Carden kick)

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