Boston High School: Kevin Hardy

Recap: Everett 20, Barnstable 19

December, 1, 2012
12/01/12
7:54
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For a brief moment late in regulation, Everett's quest to win a third straight Super Bowl was in serious jeopardy.

“Honestly, this one's been more stressful than any of the previous 10,” Everett head coach John DiBiaso said Saturday after his No. 2 Crimson Tide clinched the Eastern Mass. Division 1A title at frigid Gillette Stadium, 20-19, against No. 1 Barnstable. “I am emotionally, physically, mentally drained.”

Factors that caused DiBiaso to admit exhaustion included five turnovers committed by Everett (11-1), a fortuitous missed fourth-quarter extra point that kept Barnstable from forcing a 20-all, and Kenny Calaj's near fumble while the three-peat champs were killing the clock.

“I knew I was down because I felt my elbow hit the ground,” said Calaj, who intercepted standout quarterback Nick Peabody on Barnstable's previous, and final, offensive possession. “That's when it popped out.”

In real time, it appeared Calaj fumbled with 79 seconds to play. Kevin Hardy pounced on the football. Barnstable (11-1) prepared to take over roughly 30 yards from paydirt – and perfection.

But the officials – without the benefit of replay – quickly convened and ruled Calaj down by contact. The stadium scoreboard showed the replay, and it confirmed Calaj's interpretation of the play.

“It was tough to be on the end of it that we were,” Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said of the call that saved the Tide from a sixth turnover.

Barnstable – which vaulted to No. 1 with its 13-7 double overtime upset of Everett on Sept. 28 – wasn't without its chances, however. The Red Raiders capitalized on just one of the turnovers they forced. Peabody fired a 9-yard first-quarter touchdown to Tedaro France (3 receptions, 93 yards, 3 TD) that pulled the Red Raiders within 7-6.

After France caught Peabody's perfect back-shoulder throw, the Tide caught their first break. A bad point-after snap led to a failed run.

Jakarrie Washington (9 carries, 121 yards, 2 TD) reclaimed momentum for Everett early in the second. Showing excellent vision, he saw a gap along the right edge, cut back before the hole closed, and raced 53 yards down the sideline.

Washington's 6-yard run inside the right pylon pushed Everett's lead to two touchdowns late in the third.

Barnstable's feverish comeback started with 15 seconds left in the frame – and just 44 seconds after Gilly De Souza split the uprights for a 20-6 lead.

Peabody hit France on a sideline route, and the receiver did the rest. He stayed upright after tangling feet with his press-coverage defender, made the catch, then beat De Souza to the goal line on the strength of a sensational maneuver at the 35.

Everett's fourth-quarter false start on fourth-and-1 led to a punt. Peabody (8-for-28, 205 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) orchestrated a three-play drive that led to points. The QB eluded multiple defenders, buying time for France to slip past the secondary and make a wide-open 30-yard TD grab with 7:26 to go.

Dereck Pacheco's PAT attempt had the height. But it was off-target.

“It's never one kid's fault. It's never the offense, defense or special teams. You win games like this as a team, you lose games like this as a team. Our kids are as strong as they've ever been.”

The Tide? They're just a little bit stronger.

“We earned it. We worked hard all season long, worked hard for the past three years,” Washington said. “We just proved that we're the best.”

EVERETT'S 'D' EARNS AN 'A'
Josh Palmer and Calaj each intercepted Barnstable's gunslinger signal-caller, and both picks were critical in the outcome.

Palmer's INT turned into a 30-yard TD return on the game's seventh play from scrimmage. Calaj ended Barnstable's last-ditch effort.

Those plays were set up by teammates who pressured Peabody without being touched once the ball was snapped.

C.J. Parvelus set up the pick-six with a well-timed blitz. Everett's linebacker rushed untouched over center and forced a quick release by Peabody. The soft, 5-yard toss was intended for France, but Palmer jumped the rout.

Defensive end Jeff Soulouque exploded off the right edge in the final minutes. Peabody felt the pressure and rolled out of the pocket.

“I saw him (off the snap) and said, 'I have to get him. I have to at least make him feel uncomfortable because he is a great quarterback,'” Soulouque said. “I ran him down, he felt uncomfortable and threw it for an interception.”

MOVING THE CHAINS
Overshadowed by the five turnovers was Everett's ability to extend drives. Fueled by Washington's 121-yard performance, the Tide converted third downs at a 40-percent clip (4 of 10).

By contrast, Barnstable was 1-for-12 on third down (8 percent).

“I thought we moved the ball on offense well. We ran the ball real well,” said DiBiaso, who called the numbers of Jalen Felix (12 carries, 40 yards), quarterback Raheem Wingard (11-10), Joey White (7-25) and Calaj (10-31). “We just made some stupid, stupid mistakes.”



No. 2 Everett 20, No. 1 Barnstable 19
Everett (11-1) 7-6-7-0 – 20
Barnstable (11-1) 6-0-7-6 – 19

First quarter
E – Josh Palmer 30 INT return (Gilly DeSouza kick), 7:32
B – Tedaro France 9 pass from Nick Peabody (run failed), 2:42

Second quarter
E – Jakarrie Washington 53 run (kick failed), 9:31

Third quarter
E – Washington 6 run (DeSouza kick), 1:09
B – France 76 pass from Peabody (Dereck Pacheco), :15

Fourth quarter
B – France 30 pass from Peabody (kick failed), 7:26

Roundtable: Big statements, bigger production

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
1:44
AM ET
1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST STATEMENT YOU GOT OUT OF BARNSTABLE'S UPSET OF EVERETT?

Scott Barboza, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: Aside from the defense, which was phenomenal by all accounts, the manner in which the Red Raiders were able to pull off the upset was impressive, meaning that the offense was firing on all cylinders for most of the game. In other words, Barnstable can win ugly. When you hear about the offense and all the things the Red Raiders can do on offense, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the fundamentals. They can do all the things that constitute a potentially successful playoff team in that they can run the ball when called upon, get the back stop when required and they don’t turn the ball over. When you have one of the top quarterbacks in the state like Nick Peabody, that’s all you need to win. And, if Hayden Murphy runs the ball as he can and the defense, led by Andrew Ellis, is on, Barnstable is difficult to beat, no matter the conditions.

Brendan Hall, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: For me, more than anything, it was a throwback statement. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much Division 1-caliber talent you've stockpiled, how heavy your line is, or how many of your skill players run a 4.5. All that matters is who puts themselves in the best position to win -- period. Barnstable demonstrated that to a T on Friday night.

Of course, this Red Raiders team isn't an underdog. They came into the game at No. 3 in our statewide poll, and I think the general consensus was that this would be a one-score type of affair. Nick Peabody is in a quarterbacking class of his own through the first month of the season, Dylan Morris is beginning to enter Matt Costello territory in terms of production, and the Raiders' linebacking corps is one of the two or three best in the state.

Barnstable coach Chris Whidden dialed up a great defensive gameplan in the pouring rain, playing outside contain on the Crimson Tide's gifted receivers, and getting great push in the trenches with a deceivingly athletic front four that fired quickly off the ball. These guys were not as big, but they certainly were fast, and above all else they hit with a level of abandon replicated by very few teams in the state.

At the end of the day, it was a pleasant reminder that things haven't gotten soft in the game of football. At the end of the day, the overarching theme remains -- if you come out complacent, someone's going to knock you around.

Adam Kurkjian, ESPN Boston correspondent: Year after year, while Everett always seems to have its share of explosive skill players, the foundation of its success is consistent and dominant line play on both sides of the ball.

The biggest statement Barnstable made Friday night was that it can go toe-to-toe with Everett's front and get the better of the exchange. That is rare, and it speaks to the level of offseason commitment the Red Raiders have made the past few seasons. While Barnstable may have the reputation as a finesse team because of the amount of times it puts the ball in the air, it looks like the Red Raiders shattered that notion last week.

Bruce Lerch, ESPN Boston correspondent: Defense, defense, defense. Staring at Everett's offensive line with 300-pounders across the board is daunting for any opposition but the Raiders didn't seem intimidated at all. In fact, they set the tone and managed to stuff the Tide twice on fourth-down tries from the one-yard line.

All 11 starters, plus the others that rotate in made plays. Jason Frieh and the defensive line held their own Everett's blockers, linebackers Brian Hardy, Andrew Ellis, Terrence Mudie and Robbie Stuart made tackles all over the field. Safeties Ryan Litchman and Kevin Hardy were tremendous in support against the run and corners Tedaro France and Derek Estes won their matchups with Everett's speed merchants at the receiver positions.

John Botelho, Editor-in-Chief, South Shore Sports Journal: Nick Peabody and the offense have been well publicized -- and deservedly so -- all season. Going into the Everett game, they had scored an astounding 145 points in three games. But the biggest statement made while snapping Everett's 28-game win streak was that the Red Raiders' defense is just as good as their powerful offense. Division 1A should be real fun to watch come December.

Everett and Barnstable Round II is already a Super Bowl many people are excitedly calling for, but neither has an easy path to get there. Everett is likely headed for a first-round playoff game with Lincoln-Sudbury, and Barnstable has to worry about beating Bridgewater-Raynham during the regular season just to reach the playoffs.

2. NAME YOUR FIVE BEST WIDE RECEIVERS IN THE STATE

Barboza:
1. Brian Dunlap, Natick – Might not be No. 1 on any other list, but come his senior season, he's going to be right there on the top of all the volume stats list.

2. Jalen Felix, Everett – Seeing, in person, the catch he made during last year’s BC High game at Memorial Stadium is something I’ll likely never forget. It’s the same feeling I had watching Randy Moss make impossible catches.

3. Jakarrie Washington, Everett – One of the best route runners around since those Asprilla and Costello kids were the go-to targets in Everett.

4. Dylan Morris, Barnstable – Hard to argue with Morris’ production thus far this season with his eight touchdown catches.

5. Will Heikkinen, Andover – Spies tell me Xaverian had Heikkinen blanketed with double coverage throughout most of last week’s game. That’s the ultimate compliment paid to a wideout.

Hall:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable - You'll be hard-pressed to duplicate his five-catch, 207-yard performance in Week 2, and right now he's on track for 20 touchdown receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. Bar none, best wideout in the state right now. And to think, some have mused he may be a better baseball player.

2. Jakarrie Washington, Everett - You could rotate this spot with Jalen Felix, who had an explosive performance against Springfield Central, but right now you've got to with Washington based on game-breaking ability. Against Leominster and St. John's Prep, he turned the game on its heels seemingly on a dime with one back-breaking catch or run.

3. Brian Dunlap, Natick - A versatile route-runner, he's got crunch-time knack (see his game-winning catch against Norwood with 10 seconds to go) and makes the most of his touches (17.25 yards per catch, 6 TD).

4. David Harrison, Weymouth - Has seven receiving touchdowns, and in the last two games running a pistol offense at quarterback, has thrown for six. He's just plain productive.

5. Sam Blake, East Longmeadow - Doesn't get a lot of touches in the Spartans' system, but in terms of athleticism I've heard some pretty crazy stories. In his last two games, he has 232 receiving yards and four touchdowns on just seven catches.

Kurkjian:
Tough to say for me because most of the games I have been to have featured mainly run-oriented teams.

That said, looking around the state, Lincoln Collins of BC High needs to be mentioned for his size and improved speed.

Jakarrie Washington of Everett may be the fastest receiver out there right now.

Speaking of guys that can motor, Andover's Cam Farnham has been pure lightning all season as well.

As far as pure production goes, there aren't many who do more on a week-to-week basis than Natick's Brian Dunlap.

If anyone can outdo Dunlap in that department, though, how about Shawsheen receiver Devonn Pratt? One of the top wrestlers in the state, Pratt has 11 touchdown receptions already, including five in a ridiculous, 15-catch, 268-yard performance against Cambridge two weeks ago.

Lerch:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable - Seems to have a tremendous mind meld going on with quarterback Nick Peabody. Has eight TD receptions on the season, including two clutch catches in the 13-7, double OT win over Everett.

2. Jalen Felix/Jakarrie Washington, Everett - I'm cheating a little by putting both in, but it's hard to argue against the fact that these speedsters are two of the biggest gamebreakers in Massachusetts.

3. Bryan Vieira, Thayer Academy - Eight receptions for 200 yards and a TD in the opener (along with an interception return for a score) and six more catches for 179 yards and three TDs in week two. The top receiver in the ISL.

4. Brian Dunlap, Natick - Just a sophomore, Dunlap continues to team up with QB Troy Flutie to put up big numbers week after week. I may be underrating him because of his age, but all signs point toward Dunlap someday taking over at the top of this list. Maybe sooner rather than later.

5. David Harrison/Tyler O'Brien, Weymouth - It's a cheat day for me in the roundtable as I'm going with a duo once again. The Wildcats receivers have combined to catch 13 TD passes and O'Brien seems to be Harrison's favored target when he switches under center as Weymouth's quarterback.

Botelho:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable: This is sort of a chicken and egg thing. Is Nick Peabody such a good quarterback because he has Morris to throw to, or is Morris the beneficiary of a standout QB. I think the answer is Peabody is a tremendous QB and Morris an elite receiver, and the results have indicated that so far.

2. Lincoln Collins, BC High: Collins might not have the gaudy stats some his peers do (he's caught just one TD this year) but he's a D-1 scholarship athlete going to Villanova for a reason. The Eagles have been the victims of bad luck and bad timing this season, dealing with some of the toughest teams in this state - and New Jersey - while figuring out how to replace injured stars like Brendan Craven and Luke Catarius.

3. Brian Dunlap, Natick - Like Morris, Dunlap has a premier QB throwing him the ball. He's pulled in 6 TD from Troy Flutie, and is one of the biggest reasons Natick is scoring more than 30 points per game.

4. Dondre James, Whitman-Hanson - James single-handedly changes game plans of opposing teams, often drawing more than one defender on passing plays. He's spread out defenses all season, allowing QB Tom Sapienza to throw 8 TD already. James' speed and athleticism are clear with one looks at the Panthers on offense, but what he contributes away from the ball might be even more impressive. James has sprung more than one ball carrier this year with a big block.

5. Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman - The Cardinals aren't matching their regular season success from the last two years, but Donovan is among the toughest receivers for defenses to match-up with. At 6-5 and with an impressive vertical, not many defenders can go up and get a jump ball against him. He's averaging a touchdown a game right now and could get better as Spellman's line matures this season.

3. WHO IS THE BEST QUARTERBACK FROM A SMALL SCHOOL?

Barboza: Right now, I’m looking at Hopkinton’s Hank Rudden. The Hillers have been off and running in the Tri-Valley League, averaging more than 34 points per game through four weeks. Whether the Hillers can keep it going into the meat of their TVL schedule is another thing, but the 6-foot-1 senior is a dependable pocket presence.

Hall: Hard to argue with the production of Northbridge's Matt Phelan. Head coach Ken LaChapelle (who won his 300th career game last weekend) is famously inclined towards the pass -- and a passing pioneer for this state, really -- but through the first four games of the 2012 Phelan has been arguably better on his feet (41 carries, 448 yards, 12 TD) than through the air (42 of 50, 514 yards, 2 TD). LaChapelle has joked that he would like to once coach a game where he doesn't call a running play, but he tends to yield some freelancing to his quarterbacks when he feels they're up for it. And understand, for LaChapelle to loosen the reigns, you have to be a special player.

Kurkjian: Let's go into the Boston City South Division where Latin Academy junior Kyle Dance is putting together a fantastic season through four games.

To this point, Dance has had a hand in 13 touchdowns (nine passing, four rushing). You want to know how many touchdowns the Dragons have as a team? Fourteen. In other words, Dance is doing it all for this team, and it will be exciting to see how the rest of his season and career develops.

Lerch: Since taking over in week two, Shawsheen's Mike O'Hearn has produced eye-popping numbers and ranks fourth in the state with 11 touchdown passes, including a six-TD performance against Cambridge. With the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior at the helm, the Rams have put up 98 points in their last two games.

Botelho: Assuming "small" school means any outside of Div 1, 1A, 2 or 2A, the best small school QB might be Dan Eckler at Stoughton. They're a run-first offense with tons of weapons, but he's been the point man for all of their success this year.

Hanover's Ryan Bennett and Middleborough's Troy Rossi both have big arms and ideal QB size and have been fun to watch early on.

Abington's Brandon Cawley has all of the tools to run the offense for the Green Wave. He's tall, has a cannon of an arm and can tuck it and run if need be. Andrew Benson also comes to mind in the South Shore League. After sliding over from RB to QB when the Vikings didn't have an obvious heir apparent to Tim O'Brien, Benson has handled the transition well. He's very athletic and gives EB a similar look on offense they had a year ago.

4. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE?

Barboza: (Disclaimer: None of this argument has to do with St. John’s Prep right now.) Honestly, I’m not trying to make excuses here, and this has happened a couple of times during the last couple seasons, but it’s not as though the teams are playing easy schedules. On the other hand though, I think the rest of the state has caught up with the parochials a little bit. Some inside the Catholic Conference used to scoff at the idea of a Hockomock team (North Attleborough anybody?) hanging with one of those teams. Use this weekend’s Xaverian vs. Duxbury matchup as another proof positive. I think the Hawks will find out that last year’s win by the Dragons at the Hawk Bowl was no fluke. And, while most of the state still cannot match the numbers the Catholics have on their sidelines, there’s plenty of talent to be had.

Hall: With St. John's Prep, nothing. With the rest of the conference (a combined 4-12 heading into this weekend's games), where do you start?

Expectations weren't high on Malden Catholic or Catholic Memorial coming into the season, but the way BC High and Xaverian (preseason Nos. 2 and 3, respectively) have stumbled out of the gates is concerning. Then again, they've endured brutal schedules, and few teams in Massachusetts would come out of September with better than their 1-3 records. Still, the way in which they've lost is not convincing, between BC High getting dominated from scrimmage by North Attleborough and Xaverian laying eggs against Brockton and Andover. Bottom line, BC High and Xaverian so far haven't lived up to the preseason hype.

Something tells me they'll turn it around. BC High will be getting All-State linebacker Luke Catarius (ankle) back this month, and quarterback Brendan Craven (knee) sometime soon, and you can't say enough how much that could change things quickly. Xaverian finally showed signs of life in the second half of the Andover upset, and Mike Brennan has been bringing steady production to what has been an otherwise stale offense.

How quickly does Xaverian turn it around? Jury's out, because the rest of the Hawks' 2012 schedule, in order, goes like this: Duxbury, Everett, Bridgewater-Raynham, St. John's (Shrewsbury), BC High, Catholic Memorial, St. John's Prep. Talk about skating uphill.

Kurkjian: Well, there's not much wrong with St. John's Prep right now, as they've looked outstanding in their three wins and only have one loss to Everett in a game many observers thought could have gone the other way with a few breaks.

As for the rest? BC High has been decimated by injuries, but the Eagles are starting to heal up and it would not be a total shock to see them make a run at the league title once everyone is back.

Xaverian does not have nearly the amount of team speed it usually does and has not looked physical at all on the lines.

Catholic Memorial has, as expected, struggled on offense, and you simply don't improve when graduation takes away as much talent as it did for the Knights.

Malden Catholic is this year what it has been nearly every year, which is the fifth-best team in the league.

Lerch: The coaches won't make excuses but we can. Injuries have absolutely decimated BC High while graduation hit both Xaverian and Catholic Memorial pretty hard. Not to mention that these teams all play among the toughest schedules in the state. That said, St. John's Prep is still a top-three team in Massachusetts and don't think for a second that the aforementioned trio won't put it together by the time league play rolls around. Anyone who counts these teams out when we're not even halfway through the season is making a big mistake.

Botelho: BC High and Xaverian has certainly underachieved, but their schedules have been absolutely brutal. BC is also dealing with a whole mess load of injuries. That said, what looked like the best league in the state before the season needs a turnaround in the second half to avoid an overall disappointing year. If things continue like they are, St. John's Prep will coast to a league title behind Jonathan Thomas and Alex Moore. The Prep, in my mind, is probably the favorite to win the Div. 1 Super Bowl right now (I still love Brockton, but missing Austin Roberts is going to hurt them in a big way).

5. THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF SHOOTOUTS IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF ISL PLAY. WHICH IS THE BEST OFFENSE?

Barboza: I think this was supposed to be Thayer’s year to shine behind wide receiver Aaron Gilmer and the Tigers haven’t disappointed, putting up 76 points in their two games. But they still have nothing to show for it, losing two close barn-burners against Governor’s and Roxbury Latin. But it’s hard to ignore the defending ISL champions at Governor’s. We’ve extolled about Tate Jozokos’ two-sport excellence for a couple years now, but running back Eli Morrissey has been a true revelation in the early going. Gov’s should face a test this weekend against BB&N, but with 103 points scored in two games, it’s hard to pick against anything short of a repeat performance of 2011.

Hall: If what Duxbury's been doing the last couple of years doesn't tell you enough about the value of lacrosse skill in football, then Governor's senior quarterback Tate Jozokos will. The UNC lacrosse commit led a renaissance last fall, leading the Governors to the ISL championship, and is off to a quality start this season. He is as a true a dual-threat quarterback as you will find in Massachusetts.

Running back Eli Morrissey has been just as productive (5 TDs), and is arguably one of the best backs in the ISL -- not the biggest, but definitely one of the most complete, and a tough runner. Overall, the Governors have averaged 51.5 points per game in their first two contest. Hard to argue with a number like that.

Kurkjian: Tough to say with such a small sample size, but it's hard to go against what Governor's Academy has accomplished in the first two weeks. With 103 points in two games, the Governors are simply running past, over, around and through everyone in their way.

We will see whether or not that continues this weekend as they travel to Cambridge to face an always-tough BB&N squad.

Lerch: When in doubt, I always say go with the team led by the lacrosse guy. Governor's is stacked with talent on offense with quarterback/dynamo/North Carolina lacrosse commit Tate Jozokos leading the charge. Along with standout running back Elijah Morrissey, the duo has combined to score nine rushing TDs in the first two games. Until some team finds a way to slow these two guys down, the Red Dogs will keep piling on the points.

Recap: No. 3 Barnstable 13, No. 1 Everett 7 (2 OT)

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
2:11
AM ET


EVERETT, Mass. -- Mother Nature can be a fickle woman at times, and her temper tantrum last night brought enough rain and miserable weather conditions to completely alter a football team's gameplan.

Fortunately for Barnstable, they already had the tools in place to make the necessary adjustments. Namely, the Raiders had a defense capable of shouldering the load until its potent offense could strike for a big play.

Quarterback Nick Peabody found wideout Dylan Morris twice for touchdown passes and the defense stopped top-ranked Everett twice at the one-yard line to take a 13-7 victory over the Crimson Tide in double overtime at Everett Memorial Stadium Friday night.

Changing the field position game led to Everett's (3-1) first score as Jakarrie Washington came up with a big interception on Barnstable's (4-0) second drive. That helped pin the Raiders deep in their own territory and two possessions later, the Crimson Tide took advantage of the short field for s 32-yard march that ended on a two-yard touchdown run by Jalen Felix.

The defenses played to a stalemate from there until the start of the fourth quarter when Peabody hit Morris with a pretty throw that found the senior wide open for a 37-yard score.

"We were able to tag Dylan on a post corner," explained Peabody. "(Everett) have tremendous athletes so it really would have been tough for Dylan to just burn right by the guy. We tagged him on the post corner, he was able to get his guys hips turned and I had great protection up front and was able to put it out there and he made a great catch."

Added Morris, "The offensive line gave Nick plenty of time to throw the ball and Nick gave me a great throw. I just had to run under it, catch it and I got into the end zone."

Everett had a chance to win it in regulation, moving from its own 39 down to the Raiders one with under seven minutes remaining, but Barnstable's defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Terrence Mudie.

Neither team threatened the rest of the way and the game went into overtime, where the Raiders defense came up with another critical stop as Derek Estes came up to stop Everett fullback Joey White at the goal line on fourth down.

"The defense was just tremendous," praised Peabody. "It was a really great effort. We knew that they had it in them. The offense in the first half, we really weren't getting the job done or moving the ball but it was a great confidence boost to know that we could still be in the game, even as poorly as we were playing in the first half. That was huge."

The Raiders had their own chance to win it on their OT possession, but a 23-yard field goal attempt sailed wide of the uprights. Undeterred, Barnstable came right back and Peabody hit Morris again, this time for an eight-yard score, on the third play of the second OT.

The Raiders missed on a conversion pass attempt, but the defense had one more stop in them. Lineman Jake Palmer cam up with a tackle for a two-yard loss on second down, then safety Kevin Hardy intercepted a Gilly DeSouza pass in the end zone to close out the win.

"Every series we stopped them our defense was gaining more and more confidence," said Barnstable coach Chris Whidden. "They believed all along that we could beat them. We knew we could play with them and it was just a matter of time. We knew our offense was going to get something, it was just a matter of time. The first three games our offense was doing everything they could, they were putting up all the points even though we didn't make a mistake on the defensive end. We proved that it's a total team here."

NOT QUITE WHAT ANYONE EXPECTED
For a team used to scoring in bunches -- Barnstable averaged 40 points per game in its first three victories -- a trip to Everett would undoubtedly bring that average down a bit.

Weather conditions aside, the Raiders were going to go with whatever the Tide's defense gave them, so they tried to come out throwing. And they struggled, as Peabody missed on his first 11 throws and Barnstable finished the first half with just 20 yards of offense.

Rather than keep beating their heads against the proverbial brick wall, the Raiders adjusted and started using tailback Hayden Murphy as a workhorse. After being held to minus-4 yards on six first-half carries, the offensive line started winning the battle in the trenches and giving the junior room to run as Murphy collected 53 yards on his first six carries of the second half.

"(The rain) negates their speed a bit on the outside but it also negates our passing game and we've always said that we're going to take what you give us and we're going to beat you with that," explained Whidden. "They started with a 4-3 look with seven in the box so we tried throwing it at first but it was just difficult with the conditions. so we adjusted to what we could do."

Those adjustments eventually helped open things up for Peabody to throw for 96 yards and two scores over the final 22 minutes.

"I think the biggest thing was getting our running game going. Our linemen were able to block tremendously up front. Once we got the run going, I think they got a little over zealous up front and that opened it up for a couple passes."

UNLUCKY 29
The Raiders snapped Everett's 28-game win streak by frustrating the Tide in spots where they usually excel. Namely, punching the ball in from the one-yard line, something Barnstable stopped Everett from doing twice.

If Everett is going to have a chance at redemption, it will have to come in the Div. 1A Super Bowl, providing both teams manage to win their respective league titles and a semifinal playoff game.

After the game, Everett coach John DiBiaso was asked to reflect back on his squad's three-year run of perfection, but the veteran coach knows this year's team is going to have to carve its own identity before the season is over.

"It was a lot of hard work. It takes a lot to get 28 in a row and that's what I told them all year," DiBiaso said. "I preached to them, 'A lot of kids put in a lot of blood sweat and tears into those 28 games and you have something to uphold.' But this is a team in itself. They have to make their own memories and history and get their own accomplishments."

"They can't rest on what Manny Asprilla or Vondell Langston did," he continued. "They have to make their own accomplishments. We have to gather the troops, circle the wagons, we have to come out against Cambridge, which is a league game, and then Xaverian and BC High. It doesn't get any easier. Win our league and get to the playoffs. Thats our goal."

BARNSTABLE (4-0) 0 0 0 7 6 - 13
EVERETT (3-1) 7 0 0 0 0 - 7

EV - Jalen Felix 2 run (Gilly DeSouza kick)
BA - Dylan Morris 37 pass from Nick Peabody (Terrence Mudie kick)
BA - Morris 8 pass from Peabody (pass failed)

Recap: No. 4 Barnstable 55, D-Y 14

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
12:54
AM ET
Nick PeabodyEric Adler for ESPNBoston.comNick Peabody accounted for 415 yards of offense and four touchdowns as Barnstable hung 55 points on its opponent for the second straight week.
HYANNIS, Mass. -- Heading into tonight's installment, the previous three contests between border rivals Dennis-Yarmouth and Barnstable had been decided by a total of five points, with D-Y taking the last two in some memorable finishes.

Tonight's installment of what has become Cape Cod's fiercest non-Thanksgiving football rivalry, before a capacity crowd of several thousand at Barnstable High, was memorable for completely different reasons.

The 2012 version of this rivalry will be remembered for the clinic that Barnstable quarterback Nick Peabody put on, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns, with 65 more yards on the ground, in a 55-14 thrashing of the Dolphins that improves the No. 4 Red Raiders to 2-0. Middle linebacker Andrew Ellis, the leader of the Raiders' aggressive defensive front, offered up beams of relief as he looked up at the scoreboard.

"We finally did what we were supposed to do, man," he beamed. "We come out here every year like we should beat the snot out of these guys, but something happens, they get rolling, we can't stop them. But this year we finally did what we needed to do."

Said senior center Tom Grimmer, "It feels pretty good. The past two years, I've walked off the field with tears in my face. It just feels good tonight to finally get this before I get out of high school, out from under my skin. The monkey's off our backs now, finally."

Peabody has watched this game from the bench the previous three seasons as backup to record-setter D.J. Crook, but tonight he looked like he's been a four-year starter, hucking balls over the deep middle seemingly on a line and hitting his receivers intuitively in stride. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior finished the night 15-of-18 passing to go with the 350 yards.

[+] EnlargeBarnstable celebrates
Eric Adler for ESPNBoston.comBarnstable's offensive line, led by Tom Grimmer (79), paved the way to 500-plus yards of offense.
"We punted once, [but] want to put it in every time we get the ball," said Peabody, who has totaled 10 touchdowns (eight passing) in the first eight quarters of the Raiders' 2012 season. "There was a lot of good, we still have some stuff to work on for sure, and we'll be working this week."

A number of factors have led the Red Raiders' dominant start to 2012 -- they've outscored the opposition 110-20 through the first eight quarters of the season -- but the most visible one, at least tonight, was the connection with senior wideout Dylan Morris. The 6-foot-2 speedster hauled in five passes for 207 yards and the first two of Peabody's four scoring strikes.

As D-Y (0-1) attempted to stack the box, Peabody went to Morris in space for some favorable results. Their first scoring strike happened after Derek Estes came up with a goal-line pick to give the Raiders the ball at their own two. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Peabody found Morris on a skinny post well behind the safety, for a 98-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 with 1:04 to go in the first quarter.

The Dolphins went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and Peabody went back to his familiar target again on the first play of the Raiders' next drive. This time, it was a fly route down the left sideline, where Morris easily hauled in the pass against single-coverage then hip-shook a high arm tackle to march 51 yards to paydirt and a 21-0 advantage.

"He's a field general," Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said. "He makes sure we're in the right position and right place, and he'll let the offensive coordinator know 'Hey, I'm seeing this', and we trust him enough to put him in a position...and he's got so much trust in all his other weapons.

"With Hayden [Murphy] at running back, and Dylan and Tedaro [France] and James [Burke], there's a bunch of guys you've got to worry about and defend, and if you defend one, somebody else is open. And Nick's got that confidence in all his teammates."

Peabody threw two more TDs, one to James Burke on another skinnny post before the end of the first half, then a 20-yard fade to Manny Perry at the back pylon to begin the fourth quarter.

"They came out and they were kind of stacking the box, bringing some pressure, and they didn't have a high safety over the top," Peabody said. "So we kind of thought if we could isolate Dylan on the outside he could beat the corner. And he did that a couple times for the big play."

In the zone: Coming into this matchup, some mused that the key matchup might have come in the trenches, where Barnstable center Tom Grimmer was likely to square up with D-Y defensive tackle Joe Tyo. But considering the offensive numbers they put up tonight (513 yards from scrimmage), and the way they consistently moved the ball downfield, this was more the function of a unit rather than one singular act.

Though the centerpiece is nice. At 6-foot and 255 pounds, Grimmer displays a unique combination of leg power and low center of gravity to maintain leverage against bigger opponents, such as Tyo tonight. A three-year starter under center, Grimmer has had a reputation as a ferocious competitor in the weight room.

As for the line itself, the way the Raiders set up the run in Whidden's run-and-shoot scheme requires surgical zone blocking. It's a philosophy that has been ingrained in their heads since freshman year, after becoming accustomed to man-to-man concepts in the town's youth program.

"It's tough to get used to right away," Grimmer said. "But we've been doing it a while, and all we do is that zone blocking scheme. We've gotten used to it. It adds to our unity a little bit, becuase there isn't any chance to shine individually. A zone blocking scheme is designed to work together. When it works right, and everybody's getting off their blocks, it feels good."

Peabody had high praises for his line after the game.

"It's a great group, you really couldn't ask for any better of a group," he said. "They work hard. Those guys lift a ton of weight, they work really hard in the offseason, so it's not the [biggest] line but they're low to the ground and very strong. They have great technique. I have all the time in the world back there, they open up big holes. They're great."

Defense drops the boom: The secondary was exemplary tonight, led by Estes, and Whidden deferred to the expertise of one of his secondary coaches -- none other than former Oakland Raider and Falmouth High great Willie Ford -- for that aspect (can't hurt, right?).

When you ask the No. 1 team in the state, Everett, what they think of Barnstable, they will tell you the Raiders were one of the hardest-hitting teams they faced all season, if not the toughest. More than Kevin Hardy's ball-hawking skills at free safety, this hard-hitting mentality is explicated in the front seven behind guys like Ellis and Bryan Hardy.

The Raiders switched off between three- and four-lineman fronts, with Ryan Litchman strafing in and out of the box as a "Rover". When Ellis read a run, he sniffed it out quick, and he hit the hole with authority. If you watched his play in last year's overtime epic against Bridgewater-Raynham, you know this is a familiar routine with the 5-foot-10, 230-pounder.

But give credit to the interior, where seniors D.J. Goncalves, Jason Freih and John Eldridge used their long reaches to get leverage on their opponents and free up gaps for the linebackers to shoot.

"We expect that out of Jason Freih," Whidden said. "He's a returning all-league kid, and we know what we're going to get out of them."

Said Ellis, "The D-line was just taking out the holes. They just get in there and do what needs to be done, and they make our job easy."

NO. 4 BARNSTABLE 55, DENNIS-YARMOUTH 14

BA 14 20 7 14 --- 55
DY 0 6 8 0 --- 14


First Quarter
B - Hayden Murphy 5 run (Terrence Mudie kick) 7:41
B - Dylan Morris 98 pass from Nick Peabody (Mudie kick) 1:07

Second Quarter
B - Morris 51 pass from Peabody (Mudie kick) 9:56
D - Spencer McCaffrey 80 pass from Jacob Pawlina (rush failed) 5:10
B - James Burke 45 pass from Peabody (kick failed) 3:47
B - Murphy 17 run (Mudie kick) 1:43

Third Quarter
D - Cory DeSimone 3 run (Pawlina run) 5:39
B - Tedaro France 7 run (Mudie kick) 4:27

Fourth Quarter
B - Manny Perry 20 pass from Peabody (Mudie kick) 10:12
B - Kristian Lucashensky 2 run (Mudie kick) 2:35

No more underdog role for No. 5 Barnstable

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
11:44
PM ET
Barnstable isn't going to sneak up teams this fall like they did a year ago. With 12 returning starters and a wealth of additional experienced players from last year's playoff team, the bullseye now found on the backs of their jerseys won't cause the Red Raiders any extra discomfort.

Barnstable stunned Bridgewater-Raynham in overtime late last season to claim the Old Colony League title, and advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2002.

Experience and team chemistry will go a long way toward helping the Red Raiders take it a step further and accomplish something they haven't done since youth football -- win a Super Bowl trophy.

"Our core group of kids has been playing together since they were in the youth program," Whidden recalled. "I think it's the 2008 Super Bowl championship trophy that the kids have from the youth program. There's fourteen names on that trophy that are still playing for our varsity program. They're striving to get themselves back to that level and get a trophy where the little plastic guy on top doesn't twist and fall off."

It all starts with the offense, led by senior quarterback Nick Peabody. Peabody earned Old Colony All-Star honors as a wide receiver last season but started every league game under center while record-setting D.J. Crook was injured.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has a fleet of talented wide receivers to throw to, led by big-play threats Tedaro France and Dylan Morris. Look for senior James Burke to emerge as a big part of the passing game and fellow senior Manny Perry to provide depth.

Much of Peabody's offseason work focused on speed and agility, morphing an already dangerous passer into a terrific dual-threat weapon. He'll team up with Barnstable's version of 'Thunder & Lightning' in the backfield with speedy Hayden Murphy and downhill runner Terrence Mudie. Tommy Grimmer, one of five team captains, anchors the offensive line from the center position along with brother and guard Billy Grimmer.

On defense, Whidden hopes that a younger front line will eat up enough blocks to allow an experienced group of linebackers to wreak havoc. Andrew Ellis and Bryan Hardy return as inside backers while Robby Stewart steps into a starting role on the outside.

Returning OCL All-Star Jason Frieh is a menacing presence from his defensive end spot. Tommy Grimmer played primarily on the offensive line last season but is expected to add an additional presence to the middle of the 'D' line this year.

By the end of last season, Barnstable experienced the greatest amount of growth in the secondary, a spot that should be another strength in 2012 as Kevin Hardy and Derek Estes both return to lock down the corner spots. Versatile Ryan Litchman will split time between outside linebacker and free safety, depending on matchups.

"The one thing that I expect from this group, knowing what they've done since last season ended, is that whatever the potential they have, they are going to reach that potential," proclaimed Whidden. "They're going to get themselves to that point. I don't doubt that and I'm curious to see how far that potential can take them."

BARNSTABLE AT A GLANCE
2011: 7-5 (3-0 Old Colony), lost in Division 1A Playoffs
Coach: Chris Whidden (Second year, 7-5)
Key Returnees: Nick Peabody, Sr. QB, 6-3, 225; Tedaro France, Sr. WR/DB, 5-10, 175 lbs.; Tommy Grimmer, Sr. C/DL, 5-11, 235 lbs.; Andrew Ellis, Sr. LB, 5-11, 215 lbs.; Ryan Litchman, Sr. OLB/FS, 5-9, 170 lbs.; Bryan Hardy, Sr. LB, 6-1, 215 lbs.; Dylan Morris, Sr. WR, 6-0, 170 lbs.; Jason Frieh, Sr. DE, 5-8, 180 lbs.; Terrence Mudie, Sr. RB/LB, 5-10, 185 lbs.; Kevin Hardy, Jr. DB, 5-9, 160 lbs.; Billy Grimmer, Jr. OG, 6-0, 225 lbs.; Hayden Murphy, Jr. RB, 6-1, 185 lbs.
Strengths: Passing game, linebackers, secondary, experience, leadership.
Weakness: Youth on defensive line.
Outlook: Reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2002 gave the Red Raiders a taste of success that they want more of. Although the OCL is down to three teams, all three are postseason contenders with Barnstable-Raynham annually among the state's best and Dartmouth expecting a major resurgence. Peabody should finish as one of the state's best quarterbacks and his group of receivers should receive similar accolades. On defense, Litchman may be the key to whole operation, a player of whom Whidden says, "We dictate what we do defensively based on getting him around the ball."

What We Learned: Week 5

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
10:52
PM ET
LONG LIVE THE ROCKETS…?
Call it a fluke, a trap game, or just plain bad night for special teams coverage. However you choose to draw it up, the nation’s third-longest active win streak was snapped last Friday night at 41 games.

Unranked Shepherd Hill played foil to SWCL rival No. 5 Auburn, upsetting them 32-22, thanks to a series of long runs. Kenny Mardirosian returned a kickoff 85 yards to the house in the third quarter, and then Brad Picard broke through for a 60-yard touchdown scamper to start the fourth quarter with a 26-7 lead. When the Rockets responded with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Drew Goodrich to Connor Fuller, the Rams immediately fired back with a 51-yard run by Anthony Wilga, for a 32-13 lead and essentially the game.

Aberration? Of course. This is a stout Rockets defense that is sturdy in the trenches and, quite frankly, doesn’t give up many long gains.

Shocker? You bet. The Rams are always a tough out, with their vaunted Double-Wing scheme, but few predicted this (including us).

It’s a period, not a comma, in the Rockets’ storied history under coach Jeff Cormier; but it’s hardly the end. The Rockets face Leicester and Tantasqua the next two weeks, followed by a tough three-game road swing against Northbridge, Grafton then Westborough, before the Thanksgiving matchup with Oxford/Sutton.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
[+] EnlargeMaurice Hurst
Brendan Hall for ESPN.comXaverian's Maurice Hurst Jr. is establishing himself as one of the state's premier interior defensive linemen.
The picture on the front page of the Boston Globe’s high school section says it all: yes, that’s Maurice Hurst Jr. –- all 6-foot-2, 275 pounds of him –- chasing down Duxbury wide receiver Reilly Naton all the way downfield after a big gain.

Few defensive linemen in Eastern Mass. have asserted themselves the way this junior three-technique has. In Saturday’s showdown with No. 2 Duxbury, Hurst fought through double-teams all game to make quarterback Matt O’Keefe’s life tough in the pocket, sacking him twice.

“He played a hell of a game,” Naton noted. “He was in our face all day, getting double-teamed and making plays.”

For those familiar with the Parcells-era Patriots, Hurst’s father, Maurice Sr., manned the right cornerback spot for New England for seven seasons, making 102 starts and 27 interceptions; he was named to the team’s All-1990s squad for his efforts.

A quick glance at these highlights from 2011 (so far) indicate the speed is in the blood. His backside pursuit is exemplary, with a strong bull rush to boot. In other words, keep this kid on your radar.

UNDERRATED? DIAL 4-1-3
Three weeks ago, in an interview with ESPN Boston, Putnam’s Melquawn Pinkney declared the Springfield area “very underrated” for football, saying “I guess they don’t think our players are as good or as talented, but we’ve got some good players coming out of here, and they’ll soon see…I went to a lot of showcases over the summertime, and I’ll hang with the best of them.”

The reason for us coming out to Springfield, of course, was to honor the 5-foot-9 senior with our Player of the Week honors after rushing for a Western Mass record 421 yards and six scores on just 17 carries, in a 66-0 win over Agawam (four yards off the state record, too). No matter how you cut, 421 yards is pretty darn impressive.

Last season, Pinkney spelled his cousin Lavaughnte Lowe in a terrific season for the Beavers. Both went for over 1,000 yards, as Putnam accumulated over 2,600 on the ground and lost to South Hadley in the Division 2 Western Mass Super Bowl. This season, Pinkney has exploded as the Beavers’ feature back, leading all rushers statewide with 1,229 yards and 19 touchdowns. In the last three games alone, he’s racked up 1,035 yards.

Combined with Longmeadow’s T.J. Norris (101 yards last week) and Springfield Central’s Sacoy Malone (141), that’s a trio that would make the short list on any All-Star team in Central or Eastern Mass.

Give these guys some credit –- it’s long overdue.

DRAGONS DOMINEERING UP FRONT
A look down the Duxbury roster shows senior left tackle Gordon Acha at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds; and junior left guard Rob Kosharek, at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds.

A quick glance across the line tells us two things about them: 1. Those listed heights and weights are no stretch, and 2. These two kids are pretty athletic.

[+] EnlargeDuxbury Linemen
Brendan Hall for ESPN.comDuxbury's Rob Kosharerk (72) and Gordon Acha (69) are both potential Division 1 line prospects.
“They’re beasts,” senior wide receiver Reilly Naton said following the team’s win over Xaverian. “That was a huge game for Gordon, he wants to go play college football, and he proved he can play against the great players like that.

“Kosharek, the kid’s amazing. He’s gonna be the heart and soul of the team next year on the line, and that’s just a great way for them to go out in this game –- on top.”

At the end of the day, this might be one of the state’s best guard-tackle combinations; the two demonstrated fluid footwork in the passing game, and sturdy leg power in run-blocking. The two matched up with Maurice Hurst Jr. at different times, sometimes combining for double-teams, traps and chips.

Aaron Kramer, a redshirt-freshman left tackle for Boston College, is the measuring stick by which linemen inevitably get judged by in Duxbury. The 6-foot-7, 296-pounder transferred back home from BC High before his junior year, and immediately made his impact felt, helping lead the Dragons to a rout of Gloucester in the 2008 Division 2A Super Bowl and bulling them back to the playoffs a season later.

Asked if he sees shades of Kramer in Kosharek, Naton quickly concurred.

“For sure, he’s definitely proven to be one of the best linemen to come through this program in a long time,” Naton said. “I mean, the kid’s still growing. He’s huge. Kid gets bigger every day.”

Head coach Dave Maimaron sees the comparison as well.

“Junior year, comparing him to Aaron, I mean yeah, there’s definitely some crossover there in their skill level,” Maimaron said. “They’re both very athletic for their size. Aaron kept getting better, and as long as Rob keeps improving, yeah he could be a D1 kid.”

The same could be said for Acha, who like Kramer, plays center for the school’s basketball team. Like Kosharek -– and like Kramer before them –- Acha wears a long, lean frame with high athleticism and projectability. BC and Maryland are among the Division 1 feelers who have expressed interest in his services.

“Gordon also has great size and he’s really progressing,” Maimaron said. “He’s real athletic. He has great feet, very similar to Aaron Kramer’s, and he has the size.”

THROWN FOR A LOSS
You knew something was off. As D.J. Crook, Barnstable quarterback, split out wide in a formation, you expected some kind of trick play, maybe some sort of double pass.

However, that was the last time Crook was on the field during the Red Raiders' game at New Bedford. What at first head coach Chris Whidden thought was an elbow problem, later thought to be a thumb dislocation, turned out to be a fracture of the thumb on his throwing hand.

While Crook's prospect of return is questionable (his father said he hopes to return to game form in 3 to 4 weeks) the injury seemingly will affect his assault at the state's career touchdown pass record; Crook is five off from Tommy Colombo's record of 79 touchdown passes. But more than that, Crook could be absent for the Red Raiders' Old Colony League schedule, which starts this Friday against Dartmouth.

While some on the Cape might be fearful that a promising season might have been lost on a twist of fate, fear not. We're here to provide Red Raider nation with three reasons why 2-3 Barnstable could still pull out an OCL championship sans-Crook.

  1. Barnstable is more than a passing attack: A quick observation of the Red Raiders' opening drive against Whalers shows that the Red Raiders' attack is built on more than just their talented signal-caller. Running back Theo France nearly single-handedly cut through the Whalers' defense, capped off by a 44-yard touchdown run to give Barnstable a 7-0 lead.
  2. An extension of pont No. 1 ... This defense is pretty darned good: Not every Barnstable win needs to be a track meet anymore. Ask any coach who's played against the Red Raiders about junior linebacker Andrew Ellis and they'll throw praise at the 5-11, 215-pounder and free safety Kevin Hardy is perhaps the grittiest player we've seen all year.
  3. There are solutions at QB: Junior Nick Peabody filled in for Crook (promising sophomore Hayden Murphy also took a couple snaps) down the stretch. While the final score didn't exemplify a close game that was in doubt until its final moments, Peabody led the Red Raiders downfield on a couple of promising drives that were cut short by blocking penalties (including a potential game-tying score erased). While Peabody, Barnstable's top receiver, will subtract by being pulled to another position, the Red Raiders still have a deep receiving corps with Dylan Morris and Tedaro France.

Recap: No. 12 D-Y 28, Barnstable 27

September, 17, 2011
9/17/11
2:25
AM ET
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- Of all the numbers that usually get piled up when these two Cape Cod rivals square off, here's the one that ought to stick out the most: five.

Yes, just five points separate Dennis-Yarmouth and Barnstable in their last three meetings together, the latest another instant classic won in the waning minutes by D-Y, 28-27, to make it two straight in this series for the Dolphins.

It was a packed atmosphere at Dennis-Yarmouth with close to 5,000 lining the fences and bleachers for what is becoming one of the Cape's biggest rivalries. And once again, Dolphins dual-threat quarterback Matt Montalto had a flair for the dramatic in front of a big crowd. It wasn't his most well-oiled game, but he still ended up with 200 yards through the air and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead with eight minutes left in the contest.

"My line stepped up on that play, that's all I've got to say," Montalto said. "They stepped up. They gave me the three yards I needed. That was one of the biggest plays of the game, three yards [and] I reached out, saw the ball go over the goal line and knew I was in."

A botched D-Y punt return with five minutes to go in the third quarter gave Barnstable new life at the Dolphins 20, and they capitalized, with Kadeem Bailey (84 all-purpose yards) taking an option pitch from 10 yards out to give the Red Raiders a 21-20 lead late in the quarter. But the Dolphins responded with a seven-minute, 12-play, 83-yard scoring drive, aided by a late hit on fourth down deep in Raiders territory. Montalto plunged through the middle on an option keeper from five yards out, stretching across the goal line for the score, and then found Dylan Hodsdon at the near pylon on the point after for the 28-21 lead.

Folks in Hyannis will be talking about head coach Chris Whidden's decision to go for two rather than kick an extra point, after Theo France's three-yard touchdown dive with 2:11 to go. Quarterback D.J. Crook (273 passing yards, 2 TD) was stopped short of the goal line on an option keeper, and the Dolphins ran the clock out with the help of a few key first down dives from fullback Joe Furness.

For the record, Whidden said the decision had nothing to do with his kicker, who missed a 25-yard field goal earlier in the contest but was 9 for 9 on extra points in last week's 65-0 blanking of Durfee.

"We win as a team, we lose as a team," Whidden said. "I didn't want to put it on one kid's foot and have him responsible for the whole outcome. The coaches, we talked about it during the drive, and it's on the whole group, not just one kid."

He continued, "I have all the confidence in the world in him, he's a great kicker. It's just, it's a team effort, and I wanted to make sure as many people as possible felt accountable for what we did."

Said D-Y head coach Paul Funk, "I would have went for two, too."




Some other key points from the game:

Johnson on elite status: After tonight's first-half performance, we should go ahead and stitch Damion Johnson's name along with Montalto's into the ESPNBoston Mr. Football Watch List. The 6-foot-2 senior ended up with seven catches for 125 yards and scores, and has put himself into the conversation as one of the state's most talented wideouts -- if not in the very least one of the most physical at jump balls.

Early on, the Raiders pressed Johnson tight in man coverage (literally, you could probably stick a credit card between him and his defender) only to watch him rip through his man, charge down the sideline and pluck a high fade out of the air. When they backed off, he took advantage of the space and made a few nice catches off 10-yard curls.

In the first half, Johnson caught two such fades for touchdowns. A third one, muscled through double-coverage, set up Joe Furness' one-yard plunge that gave D-Y a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Whidden is a defensive guy, and as one might expect the Raiders adjusted by shading the safeties and deploying double, sometimes triple coverage. Johnson had two catches in the second half, for 39 yards. But a bold statement was made tonight.

"I knew he was one of their best players, if not their best player, and I knew he was a very, very good player -- [but] I think I even underestimated him," Whidden said. "He's a phenomenal player. If I'm a college coach and I'm anywhere near Cape Cod recruiting, I'm all over Damion Johnson. He's a hell of a football player."

Crook gets rolling: Last year's meeting between these two schools was a forgettable one for Crook, who threw five picks (including one to Montalto, who didn't play any defense tonight). In his fourth and final year under center, the 6-foot-2 Crook is not yet a finished product, but gained respect from the opposition tonight, some of the players remarking, "He played a lot smarter."

At times last year, Crook seemed to rely on short passes to All-State wideout Jordan Henderson and was thought to be mechanical at times. Tonight, he distributed the ball evenly to a half-dozen receivers, including Dylan Morris (six catches, 99 yards), Tedaro France and Bailey.

Barnstable's receiving corps boasted advantages both in size and speed against the Dolphins' secondary, and Crook was able to hit them in stride, finding the most success on crossing routes. When flushed out of the pocket, he was able to turn things around and connect with one of several speedy targets for a deep pass downfield.

For those keeping score at home, Crook is now 16 touchdown passes away from the state all-time record.

Promising against the pass: At 5-foot-9 and a twig-like 150 pounds, junior Kevin Hardy doesn't look the part of a ball-hawking free safety. But he, along with fellow junior safety Ryan Litchman (also undersized at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds), made things difficult back there. Couple that with two juniors at linebacker in Bryan Hardy and Andrew Ellis (a tri-captain and Division 1 prospect), and you have a stout defense that could be stingier come Old Colony League play.

Fleeting France: Theo France ripped off runs of 33 and 10 yards to start the second half to keep the D-Y defense honest, and finished the night with 69 yards rushing and another 23 receiving. Whidden was encouraged by his performance, which could provide the right balance to an offense that's been pass-happy the last few seasons.

"He's a tough kid," Whidden said. "He proved last week and this week that we can be a multi-dimensional team. I mean, he put a lot of work in during the offseason, and he wanted to get to the point that he's at. He's a threat. He gives us a good run game."

Slowing it down: D-Y has been known in the past few years to go with a high-octane, no huddle pace. Tonight was a different sight, Montalto getting the play in from the sidelines and reporting to a huddle.

Allow Funk to explain:

"We went no-huddle against Taunton [a 41-7 win last week]. It's hard against them [Barnstable], it's a track meet and we don't have enough kids. We will be no-huddle throughout the course of the year. We pick our shots, but there's so many kids on that team playing that it's tiring. You gotta pick your shots. We're playing everybody both ways."

DENNIS-YARMOUTH 28, BARNSTABLE 27
BA (1-1) 0 14 7 6 --- 27
DY (2-0) 14 6 0 8 --- 28

First Quarter
D - Damion Johnson 10 pass from Matt Montalto (John Terrio kick) 8:46
D - Joe Furness 1 run (Terrio kick) 5:12

Second Quarter
B - Nick Peabody 17 pass from D.J. Crook (Tom Mullen kick) 3:38
B - Tedaro France 21 pass from Crook (Mullen kick) 1:30
D - Johnson 18 pass from Montalto (kick failed) :27

Third Quarter
B - Kadeem Bailey 1 run (Mullen kick) 7:46

Fourth Quarter
D - Montalto 5 run (Dylan Hodsdon pass from Montalto) 8:25
B - Theo France 3 run (rush failed) 2:11

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