Dover-Sherborn's Jack Casale (74) is praised by head coach Steve Ryan following a tackle for loss early in the first half of Friday's 42-0 win against Sharon. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
It was about as complete as a performance possibly could be from kick-off to kneel-down for the Dover-Sherborn High School varsity football team on Friday night.
Entering off back-to-back victories against Nipmuc Regional (28-7) and Weston (42-6), the Raiders looked to wrap up non-conference play a perfect 3-0. Thanks to a trio of two-touchdown performances by senior captain and wide-out Johnny Bennett, sophomore wide-out Brian Olson and senior running back Efosa Imade, the Raiders rolled to a dominant 42-0 victory.
"Feels great to be 3-0," said Dover-Sherborn head coach Steve Ryan following the victory. "I thought our guys competed hard tonight. There's definitely some things we want to clean up and improve upon in practice this week as we head into conference play, but overall, a really good win."
After Dover-Sherborn's defense forced a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, Bennett fielded the punt by Sharon and made several would-be tacklers miss before dashing 61 yards for a touchdown to draw first blood for the Raiders. The DS defense again forced a three-and-out from Sharon, but this time the Eagles elected to kick away from Bennett. On the third play of Dover-Sherborn's drive, junior quarterback Dan Sullivan was picked off by Sharon's Kyle Samuels, setting up the Eagles inside the DS 30.
Faced with their first bit of adversity of the night, the Raiders defense proved up to the task as Henry Murphy intercepted Sharon's Liam Conway and returned the ball out to midfield, keeping the score 7-0 at the end of one quarter. With 9:28 to play in the half, DS pulled a play out of the 2006 New England Patriots playbook and executed to perfection. Sullivan faked a high snap as the ball was snapped directly to Imade in the backfield. Imade cut to his right and fought through a series of Sharon defenders before diving into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown run to make it a 14-0 game.
Later in the half, Sullivan led the Raiders down the field with multiple completions to sophomore wide-out Emilio Cabey before connecting with Bennett for a five-yard touchdown with 52 seconds to play before halftime to make it 21-0. On the first play of Sharon's ensuing series, Cabey intercepted Conway along the far sideline and returned the ball out to midfield. With only 29 seconds to work with, Sullivan hit Cabey for back-to-back completions to give DS a shot at the end zone with four seconds to play. On the final play of the half, Sullivan scrambled out of the pocket and lofted up a mini-Hail Mary to the end zone. Sullivan's ball was batted down by multiple Sharon defenders, but landed right in the arms of an awaiting Olson for a touchdown. The late and semi-miraculous score gave the Raiders a commanding 28-0 lead at halftime.
DS received the ball to start the second half and Sullivan immediately hooked up with Cabey for a highlight-reel 42-yard connection down the far sideline to set up the Raiders in plus territory. Three plays later, Imade punched home a three-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 35-0 with 7:48 to play in the third quarter. Following a Sharon punt, Sullivan put together one final drive to hammer the nail into the coffin, ending with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Olson up the seam to make it 42-0 and force the game to a running clock.
The Raiders will look remain unbeaten when they host Norton to open up TVL play on October 1.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.