Boston High School: Gordan Fitzgerald

D3 Southeast final: Plymouth South 7, Plymouth North 6

November, 15, 2013
PLYMOUTH, Mass. -- Over the last two seasons, star running back Dylan Oxsen has been the driving force behind much of Plymouth South's success.

On Friday night, as South downed visiting crosstown rival Plymouth North, 7-6, to capture the Div. 3 Southeast Sectional crown, it became obvious early in the contest that Oxsen wasn't headed for the explosive performance many were predicting.

A slow start saw Oxsen rush for just two yards in the first quarter. The second quarter was better as Oxsen ripped off 45 yards before halftime.

Just three plays into the second half though, Oxsen fumbled away his first of two turnovers in the third quarter. That first one set up North's lone score of the game -- a 1-yard plunge on fourth down with 3:40 from QB Cullin Cosgrove. Dylan Anti blocked the ensuing point-after try, setting the stage for the comeback win.

The game looked like it might slip away from the Panthers when Oxsen fumbled his second carry of the next possession, setting the Eagles up inside the 50 again.

This time though, the defense pushed North backward before forcing a three-and-out. Instead of pinning South deep in their territory, Plymouth North was only able to get off an 11-yard punt because Matt Bremis tore through the line and nearly batted the kick down.

"Give it up to the defense," said Oxsen. "I fumbled twice and they still held North to one touchdown. They did a great job."

Even after losing two fumbles, there was never any question that South would be going back to Oxsen.

"If we're going to win a game, we're going to win it with Dylan Oxsen," said South coach Scott Fry. "Two fumbles or not, he's going to be the guy who has to carry the load to get us into the end zone. He hasn't scored 60-something touchdowns the last two years without being our go-to guy."

Oxsen rewarded that mindset on the very first play, tearing off an impressive 28-yard and moving the ball down to North's 35.

That was the first of eight consecutive carries for the go-to guy, twice more moving the chains before setting up a first-and-goal from the 6.

After Bremis took a carry, the ball went back to Oxsen on a sweep left. He broke one tackle near line of scrimmage and shot in for a touchdown, tying the game.

Gordan Fitzgerald's extra point put South up with 5:03 to play.

A facemask penalty on the kickoff pushed PN to midfield, but when a fourth-and-6 pass attempt fell to the ground, the Panthers took over with just under three minutes to play.

Once again, Oxsen -- who finished with 160 yards on a career-high 39 carries -- proved to be the go-to guy, taking five straight carries and picking up a pair of first downs before South took knees and advanced to next Friday's Div. 3 South game against Stoughton, with a trip to Gillette Stadium on the line.

THE LESS-HERALDED LEADER: Bremis helped set up Oxsen's go-ahead score with his pressure on the punt, but that was just the tip of his impact in the win. He was perhaps the key cog in slowing down North's Christian Carr, who rushed for more than 350 yards a week ago.

Against South, however, Carr was limited to 69 yards on 22 carries. Meanwhile, Bremis racked up a team-high 10 tackles from his linebacker position.

He also played an important role in the offense, rushing for 26 yards on eight carries in short-yardage situations. More importantly, he paved the way for Oxsen — especially on the game-winning drive — as a lead-blocker, and sealed off a would be tackler on the 28-yard gain.

"He's a fullback in an I-formation," said Fry. "He doesn't get a lot of press. Ya’ know, it's Oxsen, Oxsen, Oxsen, as well as it should be, but Ryan is a starting linebacker, a starting fullback and he's probably our inspirational leader on both sides of the ball."

Added Oxsen: "Bremis is an absolute animal. He loves football. He lives and breathes football. He is so aggressive on defense, he knows how to read everything, and I can't even put into words how good he is on defense. And when he gets the ball on offense, he's not going down on first contact. He's a wrecking ball and he does a lot for us."

Recap: No. 25 Plymouth South 27, Nauset 6

October, 12, 2013
NORTH EASTHAM, Mass. -– You cannot stop him. You can only hope to contain him.

After missing last week’s contest with an ankle injury, Dylan Oxsen ran wild against Nauset, rushing for 243 yards on 37 rushes en route to a 27-6 victory over the Warriors.

“When you get him back on the practice field, the whole atmosphere changes,” said Panther coach Scott Fry. “The mood of the team, they knew what they were playing for today."

With the victory Friday night, the Panthers control their own destiny in the ACL. With a win in two weeks at Falmouth, Plymouth South will take the ACL for the second year in a row.

Nauset’s star tailback Jimmy Sullivan was limited after breaking a bone on the top of his hand in last week’s last second loss at Marshfield. Sullivan wore a cast on his right hand, eliminating the passing game.

“He had a broken hand and it’s in his palm so he can’t throw the ball at all,” said Nauset coach Keith Kenyon. “We certainly wanted him to run the ball and he did, but it was difficult for him to take snaps.”

It took Oxsen a quarter to find his groove. On the second play of the second quarter, Oxsen took a pitch to the left side and found a seam for a 34-yard score. Gordan Fitzgerald hit the extra point to give South the 7-0 lead.

On the following drive, the Warriors put together some offense, getting to the Panther 32-yard line, but the drive ended on a fourth-down interception that gave South the ball at their own 44.

Oxsen took command of the offense, rushing for over five yards per carry on the subsequent drive and capped it off with a 1-yard run in the final minute of the half to give South a 14-0 halftime lead.

With starting quarterback Rick Barnhardt on the sidelines after hurting his leg last week, sophomore Andrew Shortall made her first career start. While he only threw four times, he was effective, tossing for 55 yards and rushing for an additional 25 yards.

Nauset had trouble moving the ball in the first half, as they were out gained 153-79 in the first half. But their offense found a spark after halftime to get them back in the game.

The Warriors opened the second half with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with a 2-yard scoring run from Sullivan that cut the lead to 14-6.

But it was all Plymouth South after that, as Nauset had no answer for Oxsen.

“That’s what he’s (Oxsen) been throughout his career here,” said Fry. “Just wear people down because he’s so strong and such great vision and the offensive line does too. I think over a matter of time they just keep pounding and pounding them.”

Oxsen ran for 125 of his 243 yards in the second half and outgained the Warriors offense as a whole (214 yards for Nauset). He had scoring runs of 1 and 17 yards in the final quarter, but more importantly kept the clock running for the duration of the fourth quarter to put away the victory.

Monster run game: The Panthers are a different team with Oxsen in the backfield. While the Panthers ran the ball effectively last week at D-Y, they lacked the ability to punch the ball into the end zone. But with Oxsen back tonight, the Panthers scored on every drive after their opening possession (turnover on downs).

Oxsen has the ability to put the exclamation point on every drive. His ankle took a quarter to warm up, but once it did, Oxsen found the explosiveness that we are accustomed to seeing from him.

The Panthers ran the ball at will in the second half after they wore down the front seven of Nauset.

“We’ve always been a second half team,” said Oxsen. “It depends how fired up we get. We came out fired up in the first half too but its just how we are were always more fired up in the second."

The Panthers were bit by the injury bug once again, losing senior quarterback Rick Barnhardt in the closing minutes of last week’s loss at D-Y, but Shortall stepped in beautifully.

While having Oxsen in the backfield will make it easier for an quarterback, Shortall did make a few big throws on third down and scrambled for a handful of first downs.

“Going in, we knew we were going to miss Ricky,” said Fry. “Just what he brings to the team. But the sophomore Shortall stepped in admirably to say the least. It adds another dimension to our offense.”

Losing Sullivan hurts: Jimmy Sullivan has had a standout year for Nauset. So when he broke his hand last week at Marshfield, but offense took a huge hit. Sullivan couldn’t throw the ball nor take snaps under center, two things he regularly does.

It didn’t take the Panthers long to figure out that Nauset couldn’t throw the ball (two interceptions on their first two passing plays) and could just play the run.

“Defensively, you can completely change your strategy when you know the kid doesn’t have the ability to throw the ball,” said Kenyon. “And that’s okay. We still ran the ball with some success tonight but it’s a lot of Dylan Oxsen. He’s a great back.”

Nauset still ran the ball with decent success. Sullivan ran for 80 yards on 15 carries and Kyle Cambone had 68 yards on 12 carries. But that running game couldn’t translate into points.

“Sullivan’s got a hyper extended left elbow, along with a broken right hand so he has two injuries on both arms,” said Kenyon. “It was just, let him run the ball but no threat to throw the ball and I think Plymouth South knew that after a while and they loaded up the box.”

In a game where Oxsen is running all over the offense, the Warriors couldn’t afford to not put up points on long drives, and that is exactly what happened.

The ACL beings to crystalize: The ACL has been beating up on each other all year. Heading into this game, three teams were tied at 3-1 (Nauset, South and Marshfield) and three teams at 1-2 (D-Y, North and Sandwich).

With the win, South takes sole possession of first place in the ACL (as Marshfield played a non-league game at Barnstable). Meaning that if South wins in two weeks at Falmouth (1-4, 0-4 ACL), they will win the ACL.

“If we lost this game, we wouldn’t control our own destiny and a lot of things had to go our way,” said Oxsen. “We knew that coming into this game, so we did what we had to do. We’ve got a bye this week and we’re gonna rest up our players.”

“Going in, when knew it was going to be a real competitive league with all the teams in the ACL,” said Fry. “We thought there might be a situation where everyone is going to lose at least one game. But we rebounded nicely and now we get to rest some kids and get ready for Falmouth.”

PS 0 14 0 13 -- 27
NA 0 0 6 0 -- 6

Second Quarter
PS - Dylan Oxsen 34 run (Gordan Fitzgerald kick), 10:38
PS - Oxsen 2 run (Fitzgerald kick), :47

Third Quarter
NA - Jimmy Sullivan 2 run (kick blocked), 4:02

Fourth Quarter
PN - Oxsen 1 run (rush failed), 10:04
PN - Oxsen 17 run (Fitzgerald kick), 1:27