- Scott Barboza, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. – From the opening minutes, you know it would come down to the final minute and whichever team had the ball last.
As soon as Dennis-Yarmouth and Middleborough took the field for Friday night’s Division 4 South semifinal at Battis Field, the points started to electrify the scoreboard. So it was only fitting that in the midst of a 42-42 shootout with less than three minutes to play in regulation it would be one last captivating offensive drive that would settle it.
Middleborough junior quarterback Brendan Chipman embarked his team on a two-minute drill the span of 70-yards. When the Sachems offense was through with Chipman lunging into the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds remaining, there was a feeling as though there might still be enough time for the Dolphins to volley back yet again.
True to form, the game went down to its very last play, with a Hail Mary heave to the end zone resulting in an interception, and the Sachems held on for a 49-42 win.
“Since the beginning, they’ve bought into everything that we’re doing here,” Middleborough head coach Pat Kingman said of his team. “They believe that might give up a score, but we’re going to answer with a score.”
Both quarterbacks – Chipman and D-Y signal-caller Michael Dunn – were the main attractions to the 10-round punchout.
Chipman started the game 8 of 8 for 202 yards through the early third quarter, throwing for two first-half touchdowns, while finishing with 254 passing yards (12 of 14) and five scores (three passing, two rushing). Meanwhile, Dunn had surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark by the half while racking up 183 rushing yards on 27 carries, while throwing for 112 yards.
The teams scored on the first six drives of the game and went to the half tied, 28-all.
However, the Sachems (9-0) were able to gain a bit of separation in the second half, building a 42-28 lead after a pair of Chipman scores – first on a 33-yard pass to Eddie Hart, then on a 16-yard run.
But D-Y (6-3) and Dunn weren’t held back for long. Dunn returned a kickoff 72 yards for score before leading the Dolphins on a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by his 15-yard touchdown run. Dunn’s 2-point conversion run tied the score again, 42-42, with 2:55 to play in regulation.
That’s when Chipman went to work – again.
“We just needed to stay relaxed and knew whoever had the ball last, that was it, we just needed to score,” Chipman said.
Calming presence: Aside from his accurate passing display, Chipman has a commanding presence – one that also has an effect on his coach.
“He keeps me cool and collected,” Kingman said.
At no point was that on display more than in his two-minute drill to victory. Chipman completed both pass attempts on the drive while adding 27 yards with his feet while getting support from running back Casey Tucker (15 carries, 147 yards, TD).
“We have Chipman run the two-minute drill on his own,” Kingman said. “I haven’t called a two-minute play all year long and during practice. And he did what he needed to do.”
The kids are alright: Headed into Friday’s action, the Sachems were prepared to be engaged in a track meet with an athletic Dolphins’ team.
Kingman called Dunn “the real deal” after the victory, but believed his team was ready and able. Although the Dolphins entered the postseason as the seventh seed in the district, the D4 state finalists from a year ago still possessed plenty of firepower for the Sachems to worry about.
“Absolutely,” said Tucker, who also had an 80-yard kickoff return for a score. “We knew it was going to be a high-scoring game no matter what. We expected this. Fort-two, forty-two with a minute left – you can’t get much better than that.”
More than just proving they can beat an established program at the most important time of the year, the Sachems have sought to build a reputation that permeates from their backyard to the state-wide football circles.
“When Coach Kingman came in and decided to take over the program, we knew he was going to turn the program around,” said Tucker, a senior. “We knew that we had the skill level and the competition to do what we have to do.”
Now, the Sachems face another one of those marquee challenges as they’ll travel to top seed Holliston next week for the D4 South sectional title game.
“Everybody’s starting to come to the games, everybody’s starting to recognize us,” Chipman said. “We’re a good team, and people just …”
Chipman trailed off. It was as though he wanted to complete the sentence with “recognize it.” If he would have, no one would have blamed him. It’s the plain truth.
There’s confidence about this group, and they’re proving it at the right time.
“I think we’re going to go further,” he added.
MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. – From the opening minutes, you know it would come down to the final minute and whichever team had the ball last.As soon as Dennis-Yarmouth and Middleborough took the field for Friday night’s Division 4 South semifinal at Battis Field, the points started to electrify the scoreboard.