Boston High School: Liam Matheson

Doherty's Adarkwah, Yiadom form terror matchup duo

December, 7, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Issac Yiadom and Alfred Adarkwah have been giving defensive coordinators across the state nightmares all season.

Throw Jahkari Carpenter into the mix from the backfield and Luke Brennan as “the straw that stirs the drink,” you might as well give up trying to stop them and just call it a victory if you can find a way to slow them down.

[+] EnlargeIsaac Yiadom, Alfred Adarkwah
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comReceivers Isaac Yiadom and Alfred Adarkwah strained the Dennis-Yarmouth defense in the Highlanders' D4 state title victory.
The Dolphins took their best shot to defeat the high-octane offense of Doherty and played very well most of the game, but in the end it was too much to handle.

“I think we were well prepared it came down to them making a couple more plays than us,” said Funk.

D-Y placed their best defensive back and arguably the best coverage cornerback in all of Division 4, Michael Dunn on Adarkwah. Liam Matheson and L.K. Metz took turns taking on Yiadom. But both receivers still found big plays that ended in the end zone.

What’s the key to the Doherty success? Well for starters, they understand that it is a team game and that they are at their best when they use all their weapons.

No one knows that more than Adarkwah, “I like to win, so whatever it takes to win. The end zone if that’s what it needs to be, if blocking is what I need to do, whatever it takes.“

Out of the 358 total yards of offense the Highlanders gained in the Div. 4 state title game victory, the ball was very evenly distributed.

Adarkwah streaked down the sideline on the final play of the first half and hauled in a 41-yard pass in double coverage which in addition to giving Doherty a 14-7 lead, also kicked the Highlanders offense into gear as they took that momentum into the second half.

“It just got us going, Alfred’s catch is got us going. He’s a big time player,” said Yiadom. “No corner in the state can cover him, he’s tall, and he’s long, he gets up and makes plays.”

Yiadom on the other side is the one who has harnessed most of the attention this season. He was the third highest recruit in the state and is Boston College-bound next fall. Yiadom hauled in six scores with 748 yards this season and then added another four scores on the ground. He finished with seven catches for 138 yards. He’s the complete package: size, speed and a tremendous set of hands.

The scariest part of this offense is that while defenses are respecting that dual-threat of receivers, Carpenter is free to run wild from the backfield. When Doherty goes into their three- and four-receiver sets, it is anyone guess where the ball is going. Carpenter ran for 87 yards and a score in the Div. 4 and ended his season at nearly 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns.

Once this offense is running on all cylinders, they are nearly impossible to stop.

Next year, despite losing Yiadom, the Highlanders still have another highly recruited wide receiver.

“I think Alfred is going to be a steal scholarship kid for somebody,” said Mulcahy.

“Who ever gets him is going to realize, he is just starting to explode right now.”

D4 South final: D-Y 26, Holliston 7

November, 16, 2013
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. – It wasn’t pretty and it was downright frustrating at times.

In what was expected to be a high scoring affair between two of the best passing offenses in the state, it was the defenses that stole the show in Friday’s Division 4 South title game.

The Dolphin defense picked off Panther quarterback Matt Jeye five times and the offense finally found their stride in the final quarter in a 26-7 victory, clinching a spot in the Division 4 State semifinals.

The Dolphins broke a 7-7 tie with less than five minutes to play on Michael Dunn’s 11-yard scoring run and Spencer Tyler put the game on ice a minute and a half later with a 13-yard scamper.

“We just started off slow,” Tyler said following the victory. “I struggled a little bit, us as a group we weren’t clicking as we’re used to. We knew we had to pick it up in the second half because the defense played a hell of a game.”

The D-Y front four got immense pressure on Jeye all game, resulting in five sacks and countless knockdowns. Defensive end Jake Stafford led his line with three sacks and Kyle Pina and Dan Robels each got to the senior play-caller once.

“They got pressure on him, that was the key to it,” said Panther coach Todd Kiley. “They got pressure with their front four and our guys had a little difficulty getting open. D-Y did a great job, they have great athleticism in the secondary.”

That pressure contributed to the five interceptions. The first came at the end of the first quarter when L.K. Metz jumped an out route on fourth down and returned it to the Panthers’ 38-yard line.

The Holliston defense answered by forcing D-Y to turn the ball over on downs in four plays.

Two plays later, Mike Anderson picked off a pass intended for Paul Beling, giving D-Y the ball at the Holliston 25 yard line. Tyler made the Panthers pay five plays later hooking up with sophomore receiver Andrew Jamiel from 12 yards out. A Drew Tardiff extra point gave the home team a 7-0 lead with eight minutes to play in the second quarter.

“From start of the game to end of the game, I don’t know if anyone had a better game than Andrew Jamiel,” D-Y coach Paul Funk said. “He’s only a sophomore. For a sophomore to step up like this and go both ways, he normally doesn’t do that.”

After the two teams turned the ball over on next two drives, Jeye (9 of 34, 119) yards) had the Panthers on the doorstep of tying the game when the ball took an unfortunate bounce.

With the ball at the Dolphins’ 17 yard line, Jeye went over the middle but the ball was tipped by Tristan O’Leary at the line of scrimmage and fell into the hands of Angelo Hardaway.

Again the Holliston defense made a stop, forcing a punt at midfield. Liam Matheson pinned the Panthers at their own one-yard line and on the following play, Dunn (16 carries, 90 yards) picked off a deep pass down the right side intended for Zach Elkinson and returned it to the Holliston 35.

“I can’t say enough about Mike Dunn,” Funk said “That kid [Elkinson] is one of the best players in the state. He covered him all game on defense and ran the ball as much as we could give it to him on offense. It says a lot about him.”

Put into a tough position third time that quarter, the Holliston defense answered again forcing a turnover on downs.

The Dolphins got the ball to begin the half and were set to double their lead when Holliston caught a break. After going four plays and 46 yards in less than a minute, Corey Desimone (10 rush, 51 yards) fumbled the ball away at the Panther 14-yard line.

After an ugly first half in the passing game, Holliston began to transition to the run game, giving their junior halfback Joe Bellomo a heavier load and looking toward the run-option to move the football.

On their first two drives of the half, the Panthers rushed the ball for 100 yards and tied the game with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter on Bellomo’s nine yard scoring run.

With the momentum at the back of the Panthers their defense forced another D-Y stop and Jeye had the offense clicking. Threatening to take the lead with the ball at the Dolphins 25 yard line, the DY defense stiffened up and forced the turnover on downs.

Dunn broke out a 40-yard run on the following play and scored from 11 yards out seven plays later.

Matheson picked off Jeye for the fifth time on the following drive, and Tyler and Jacob Pawlina scored touchdowns in the final three minutes to finish out the game.

Taking away their weapons: D-Y had not seen a passing offense like this since Barnstable to open their season. To plan for the three and four wide receiver sets that the Panthers run, the Dolphins took some up their own wide receivers to line up on defense.

Making D-Y secondary’s job easier was the outstanding play of the defensive line.

But the Panther wide outs had difficulty getting any separation.

Andrew Jamiel was the standout defensive back for the Dolphins. The sophomore doesn’t play defense but was inserted into the lineup and had himself a game.

“Jamiel was outstanding,” said Funk. “A kickoff return, a touchdown, he made a tackle on the quarterback, great defensive play on fourth and long.”

Mike Anderson drew the tough card of handling Jeye’s favorite target Paul Beling. Beling caught five balls for 67 yards, but was relatively held in check as he longest catch was only 15 yards.

Dunn lined up opposite Elkinson and held him without a catch on the night.

We just kept working on it hard in practice,” Dunn said. “We put a couple receivers that start on offense and I covered them in practice to prepare for [Elkinson]. They only had a couple targets to three and no catches, so I think we worked hard enough in practice and prepared for them well to ruin their game plan.”

That stingy Holliston defense: When Holliston football comes to mind it is their electric pass game that immediately comes to mind. But their defense stole the show.

The Panthers turned the ball over four times in the first half. Three of those Dolphin drives began in Holliston territory. D-Y only got seven points off those four turnovers. Given the circumstances, the defense showed up to play. D-Y was 2-for-14 on third down and had four fourth down stops.

“Our defense played great,” said Kiley. “As poorly as we played, we had a chance in the fourth quarter to close it out.”

Dennis-Yarmouth 26, Holliston 7

H 0 0 7 0 -- 7

DY 0 7 0 19 -- 26

Second Quarter

DY-Andrew Jamiel 12 pass from Spencer Tyler (Drew Tardiff kick), 8:02

Third Quarter

H-Joe Bellomo 9 run (Matt Jeye kick), 2:49

Fourth Quarter

DY-Michael Dunn 11 run (kick fail), 4:30

DY-Spencer Tyler 13 run (rush fail), 2:51

DY-Jacob Pawlina 29 run (Tardiff kick), :27