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Ryan: Raiders ready for opportunity

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Dover-Sherborn Regional High School last took the field on Thanksgiving in 2019: a 34-14 defeat to arch rival Medfield. After dwelling on that defeat for 15 months, the Raiders are finally being given the opportunity to return to the gridiron this spring and play a condensed six-game, TVL-only schedule.

Leading DS in 2021 will be four co-captains: senior offensive tackle and defensive end Oliver Ferrari, senior and four-year varsity offensive guard and defensive end Tim Cofield, junior running back and safety Johnny Bennett and senior quarterback and linebacker Grady Russo.

"Every year, we have the goal of being the best team in the Tri-Valley League-Small," said head coach Steve Ryan when asked about his team's general goals for this season. "However, this year I’m also happy that these kids get a chance to showcase their talent and hard work. My players have been working hard since the end of last season, 15 months ago. I’m glad they have the opportunity to get on the field now."

As far as getting used to the new schedule and preparing for a football season in the dead of winter, Ryan acknowledges that his team has had to make many adjustments. However, Ryan also says that the Raiders have developed a new philosophy: to control what they can and go to work.

"This season will provide many adjustments: new COVID rules, practicing in smaller groups, limited weight room access, and the frigid weather and snow," said Ryan. "We are also still adjusting to the NFHS rules that came into play last year. We have a new quarterback this year and a whole new defensive system. We also were expecting two returning starters who are not on the roster this year. But, we have a philosophy of 'don’t flinch.' It means that we don’t react or focus on the things we cannot control. We follow the rules, but we put our minds on football and we never talk about coronavirus or the weather."

DS will open up their season on March 12 against Westwood before back-to-back home games against Dedham (March 19) and Millis (March 26). The Raiders will travel to Bellingham on April 3 before hosting Medway on April 9 and finishing the season at Norton on April 16.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.

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