Boston High School: Matt Cuneo
October, 12, 2013
By Paul Lazdowski | ESPNBoston.com
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Gridiron history is being made at Dexter School.
After defeating Evergreen-Bonnefond League foe Hyde School (Bath, ME), 38-28, at home on Saturday afternoon, Dexter is 4-0 for the first time and sitting atop the standings.
“Yeah, we’re making history,” said Dexter head coach Casey Day. “But, obviously, it wasn’t easy.”
Hyde proved Dexter’s most challenging opponent this season. After collectively outscoring its first three adversaries 107-49, the hosts were repeatedly forced into situations versus Hyde which tested their mental and physical resilience.
Every time the home team responded.
Early on, however, it did not appear the contest would turn into such a battle.
A little over a minute into the first quarter Dexter struck for two quick scores, hinting that a blowout might follow.
First, Luke Cuneo, who completed 18-of-30 passes for 274 yards, three touchdowns, three two-point conversations and two interceptions, connected with Mark Webber (six catches, 83 yards, TD) down the right sideline for a 27-yard scoring strike. Opting to go for two-points, Cuneo then found Justin Smith for an 8-0 lead.
Dexter retained possession when it successfully recovered its onside kick off. On the next play, Cuneo again went deep this time finding Colin O’Brien (four catches, 115 yards, TD) down the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. Another two-point conversation – this one to Chris Kinney – extended Dexter’s lead to 16-0 only 1:06 into the first quarter.
“More often than not we’re an onside kicking team,” Day explained. “Maybe in the past we didn’t have the guys to cover the thing. We have the guys that can cover the thing now and a guy that can punch it down deep. We feel like if we can get one or two a game, and we’ve got a good shot at it, we’ll take a crack.”
As opposed to Dexter’s ultra aggressive, spread, no-huddle, up-tempo and frenetically paced offense, Hyde instead opted for a more methodical, grind-it-out approach reliant on a ground attack and passes to its 6-foot-4 tight end, Chris Collins (eight catches, 156 yards, two TD, two-point conversion), across the middle which utilized both his height and athleticism.
“We’ve been working on that a lot during practices,” said Collins of the numerous jump ball catches he made against opposing defensive backs. “I have a lot of height on kids and I used to play basketball. Like I said before, I can just go up and grab it. I love going to get the ball.”
The philosophy worked as Hyde settled in before eventually scoring with 9:52 to play in the second quarter. Evander Lenardson hit Collins for a 35-yard touchdown. A fake point-after attempt resulted in Collins catching the two-point conversion from Deker Adelman.
Leading 16-8 at halftime, Hyde had opportunities to further close the deficit. However, the Dexter defense held.
It was a spark that also seemed to propel an offensive unit that had gone stagnant since the game’s opening 76 seconds.
What followed was a seesaw scoring battle throughout the third quarter. Dexter scored first en route to 22 points over a 12 minute span, while Hyde added 14 points of its own.
Cuneo picked up his third touchdown on a 22-yard pass to C.J. Okafor with 8:43 to play in the frame. After Hyde responded with a Jared Jenson 9-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 22-14, Okafor returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Matt Cuneo converted the 2-point attempt with a run up the middle.
Trailing 30-14, Collins snagged his second touchdown with 2:27 remaining in the quarter. Lenardson hit Jensen for the 2-point conversion to bring the score to 30-22.
Then, with three seconds remaining in the quarter, Matt Cuneo took the handoff from his brother Luke and ran it into the end zone from 15 yards out. Owen Martinson corralled Luke Cuneo’s pass for the two-point conversion and a 38-22 advantage.
“We kind of let up a little bit, which disappointed me,” said senior quarterback Luke Cuneo. “Myself, I made a couple bad decisions. But going into halftime leading 16-8, Coach kind of said, ‘Boys, we have to pick it up or this team is going to creep back into the game.’ We knew we had to come out in the second half and put one in right away, and we did. Nice touchdown pass to CJ and a good catch.”
Hyde’s Caleb Jones scored on a 16-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but it would be all the offense the visitors would muster.
As Hyde drove deep into Dexter’s territory with less than two minutes remaining, junior linebacker Nick Strand dropped back into coverage and snared an interception to effectively seal the win.
Still, with four games remaining, including one against an undefeated New Hampton School squad, Dexter is focused on achieving bigger goals besides simply making school history through four games.
“We didn’t have the best week of practice this week,” Luke Cuneo said. “But, like I said, if we keep practicing 100 percent every week there’s no team that we can’t beat. If we keep working 100 percent and playing hard, there’s a chance that we could go undefeated. We’re looking forward to it.”
May, 2, 2011
By Tom Layman | ESPNBoston.com
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Dexter School head baseball coach Dan Donato didn’t forget the two losses his team suffered last season at the hands of BB&N, apparently neither did the rest of his team.
Donato’s club ran it’s winning streak to eight games in 2011 after an 8-4 win over BB&N (8-4) on Monday night at Harvard University, which was the site of an exciting extra-innings affair won by the Knights last season.
“We came over here with a little sense of purpose to avenge some of those losses,” said Donato.
Dexter used a four-run top of the fifth inning, and tacked on three more in the final two innings to give starter John Magliozzi and relief pitcher Ryan Sullivan breathing room to work. Magliozzi gave up two earned runs and struck out seven in six innings of work, while Sullivan survived the seventh despite watching two runs cross the plate.
The Knights’ grabbed the early 2-0 lead after Rhett Wiseman took advantage of some second life in the bottom of the third. Wiseman got jammed, but Pat Curtis couldn’t corral the short pop-up despite a valiant diving attempt.
Wiseman smacked the next pitched up the middle by the diving centerfielder to plate Mike Samko and Robert Krentzman.
Dexter started 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, but finally broke through when freshman Mark Webber singled in Barrett O’Neill in the top of the fourth. Knights’ starter Devin Perry was moving through the lineup with five strikeouts in the first four innings, but a blister he developed on the top of his thumb on his throwing hand opened the Dexter floodgates.
Dexter plated four in the top of the fifth, with Curtis coming through with the crushing two-run double to push the lead to 5-2. Magliozzi’s sacrifice fly brought home Matt Cuneo in the top of the sixth off of reliever Matt Pugh, and Brendan Fitzgerald later scored on a throwing error as the right-fielder overthrew the cut-off man.
“It came down to some fundamentals and I thought our kids did a good job in those areas,” Donato said. “We found a way to battle a good pitcher”
Keeping the runs coming against a very tough BB&N team was very important for Donato, because Magliozzi had to weasel his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth and the Knights did tack on two in the final frame.
“I knew we had to, because their bats are that good,” Donato said. “In the late innings we were still running, we were still trying to manufacture runs, because I have a lot of respect for what they do and how they play the game.”
Life Without Chin
There was a glaring void for BB&N on the mound as Andrew Chin is out for the remainder of the year. The talented lefy, who is expected to play next season at Boston College, will undergo Tommy John Surgery in the next few weeks, according to Knights’ head coach Rick Foresteire.
Foresteire has had to do some shuffling, and seeing his new No. 1 starter Perry leave the game with a blister issue was probably the last thing that he wanted to see.
“He just cut it somehow on the top,” he said. “It’s not anything long-term. He hasn’t had a chance to stretch out in the last week or so in terms of innings. I think he threw well. … I think it got a little irritating (for him).”
Perry, Pugh and Brandon Kerrigan will have to fill in for arguably the most consistent starting pitcher in the entire state. The shock of losing the ace of the staff, who helped BB&N go 20-0 last season, is still tough to shake off for Foresteire and the rest of the club.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “He’s a great kid and that’s why it’s been so tough on all of us. Not only is he talented, but what he’s meant to the program. You know he wants to be out there competing, and to not get to see him pitch is sad.”