MARSHFIELD, Mass. -– The playoffs started a week early for the Dolphins and Rams as both squads we looking at similar situations. Win and your in. A loss and it gets, murky, to say the least.
And if this game is any indication of how the rest of the playoffs will go, buckle up.
After Marshfield took a 36-33 lead with 3:04 left on the clock, Spencer Tyler drove him team 82 yards in 10 plays in just under two minutes, hitting Cory Desimone for an eight yard score to give the Dolphins a thrilling 40-36 victory over rival Atlantic Coast League rival Marshfield.
“They battled from start to finish,” said D-Y coach Paul Funk following the game. “There were so many times we could have folded our tent. That’s a heck of a team over there and we just battled and battled and battled.”
The Rams got the ball back at their own 35 with 1:22 to play and made every second count.
Jack Masterson guided the Rams to the D-Y 11 yard line with two seconds to play, going 4-for-6 for 44 yards. With time for one final play, Masterson threw it up for Dan Dalton but the pass fell incomplete and the Dolphins faithful erupted.
“The kids were battling like crazy,” said Marshfield coach Lou Silva. “To consider yourself a player you got to make plays and in that second half a lot of our kids made plays.”
Following the final Rams score, Michael Dunn (8 rush, 72 yards) returned the kickoff 75 yards, but the play was negated due to a holding penalty. Tyler (20-35, 282 yards 4 TDs; 10 rush 93 yards) set up shop at his own 15 and went 3-for-8 on the drive for 55 yards. He connected with L.K. Metz for a 40 yard strike and a huge defensive pass interference on Marshfield on third down in the end zone gave D-Y the ball at the six yard line and a fresh set of downs.
“We just knew we had to be confident,” said Tyler about the final drive. “We knew our offense was clicking so we were all very confident.”
“That’s a lot for a high school kid to have that compsure,” offensive coordinator Joe Jamiel said of his senior quarterback. “He made a great read and a great throw.”
After the teams exchanged touchdowns on the first six drives, the Dolphins began to pull away toward in the third quarter. After stopping the Rams on three consecutive drives, Tyler hit Andrew Jamiel for a 24 yard score with 5:08 to play giving D-Y a 33-21 lead.
The Rams responded with a three yard score from Ben Joyal that was set up by a Jack Masterson 47-yard hookup with Dalton cutting the lead to 33-28 with 7:20 to go.
After an unsuccessful onside kick, the Dolphins took over at midfield but Tyler fumbled the snap and Marshfield took over with a short field. Marshfield marched downfield and took the lead on Joyal’s three yard run, but left too much time for the D-Y offense.
“I’m just really proud of how hard our coaching staff and players worked this week,” said Funk. “We worked 27/7 for this game.”
Hot Start: The first defensive stop didn’t come until 3:07 of the second quarter. Marshfield took their first three drives and marched 76, 68 and 41 yards for touchdowns. The Dolphins were nearly identical, going 76, 68 and 67 yards.
The Dolphins didn’t bring out their punter, Liam Matheson until the fourth quarter.
Whoever draws these two squads in the postseason will have their hands full. After back-to-back losses earlier in the season, the Dolphins are averaging 41.5 points per game and have scored over 40 the last three.
“He’s (Tyler) grown leaps and bounds,” said Jamiel. “He has the ability to see the field and make the right decisions. He’s really come a long way.”
The Dolphins don’t know who’ll they’ll have in the Division 4 South playoffs until Sunday at the earliest. But the way the Dolphins are playing right now, good luck to who gets the unlucky draw.
“We’ll practice hard all week and whoever we play, we’ll be ready for them,” said Dunn.
Marshfield on the other hand, may need some help to get into the Division 2 South playoffs. A win would have cemented themselves in the playoffs. If they do get in, it will be another tough draw for their opponent. Marshfield is averaging 31.8 points in their last five games, but more dangerously, their composure in close games makes them stand out.
Two last second victories over Nauset and Plymouth North and then went punch for punch with D-Y makes them dangerous.
“Winning those two close games boosts the kids confidence,” said Silva. “It tells me we have some battlers. Kids that aren’t going to give and battle to the last whistle.”
Michael Dunn. Playmaker. Dunn’s athleticism, strength and speed gives him a unique ability to change the outcome of a game on his own. Weather is be on offense, defense or special teams there is no way to stop him. At least the Dolphins opponents haven’t figured out a way yet.
After the Dolphins turned the ball over in the first quarter, Dunn picked off Masterson to swing the momentum back. After a fumble early in the second half, Dunn picked off Masterson again; refusing to lets the Rams capitalize off the D-Y miscues.
He returned a kickoff in the final minutes, albeit negated from a holding call when D-Y was on the brink and he blew by the Rams defensive backs a handful of times, creating the home run play. Opening up the deep threat also opens up other options, such as Mike Anderson, Jake Pawlina and rising star Andrew Jamiel.
As long as Dunn is healthy, and Tyler is under center, D-Y can go toe-to-toe with any team in the state.
No. 23 D-Y 40, Marshfield 36
M - Robert Rovito 56 run (Aaron Skulky kick), 9:15
D - Corey Desimone 2 run (Drew Tardiff kick), 8:05
M - James Marzelli 4 run (Skulky kick), 3:55
D - Michael Dunn 34 pass from Spencer Tyler (kick blocked), 1:15
M - Jack Masterson 9 run (Skulky kick), 7:55
D - Dunn 43 pass from Tyler (L.K. Metz pass from Tyler), 5:50
D - Tyler 43 run (kick fail)
D - Andrew Jamiel 24 pass from Tyler (pass failed), 5:08
M - Ben Joyal 3 run (Skulky kick), 7:20
M - Joyal 3 run (Masterson rush), 3:04
D - Cory Desimone 8 pass from Tyler (Tardiff kick), 1:22