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Bennett, Raiders run by Lancers

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Coming off a 17-0 win at home against Medway on April 9, the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity football traveled to Norton on Friday night looking to make it a pair of wins in a row and improve to 4-1.

Playing in extremely wet conditions, the Raiders caught an early break. The Lancers hit a long pass down inside the DS 20-yard line on the third play of the game. However, on second and goal from the eight, senior linebacker Mikael Badeau recovered a fumble on a botched handoff at the six-yard line to allow the Raiders to avoid an early hole.

A strong run on third-and-long by senior running back Nick Rinaldi kept Dover-Sherborn's opening drive alive. Two plays later, junior quarterback Grady Russo hit sophomore wideout Michael Polk on a go-route down the near sideline for a 79-yard gain to flip the field and set up the Raiders in opposing territory. A toss play to Rinaldi out to the left went for 17 yards down to the two-yard line to set up a first-and-goal for the Raiders. Russo capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run on a read option on the very next play to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 40 seconds left to play in the opening quarter.

After Dover-Sherborn's defense forced a three-and-out on Norton's next possession, a bad snap on the punt attempt by the Lancers sailed into the end zone. Rinaldi ran down and tackled the Norton punter in the end zone for a safety to give the Raiders a 9-0 lead at the end of one quarter.

The game remained 9-0 until 2:29 left in the second quarter, when Russo threw a ball out to senior wideout Johnny Bennett in the flat on a bubble screen. A great seal block by Polk allowed Bennett to split the seam before bouncing to the outside. Bennett outran a gang of would-be tacklers down the far sideline for a 56-yard touchdown, extending Dover-Sherborn's lead to 16-0. The Raiders would take their 16-point lead into halftime.

DS received the second half kickoff and Russo immediately drove the Raiders deep into Norton territory. However, a fumbled snap recovered by the Lancers kept the game at 16-0 midway through the quarter. Norton responded with a highlight-reel, 41-yard, one-handed touchdown grab by senior wideout Collin Lyons to cut the deficit to 16-6 with 3:26 to play in the third (two-point try no good).

Bennett responded for Dover-Sherborn on the following drive with a huge catch-and-run for 57 yards down to the Norton nine-yard line. Following consecutive rushing plays by Russo that brought the ball to the two-yard line, DS capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown by Rinaldi on a toss play out to the right. The score extended Dover-Sherborn's lead to 23-6 with 11:50 to play.

After Norton worked its way into DS territory on their next possession, a great strip by Bennett with the Norton quarterback fighting for extra yards caused a fumble that was recovered by senior defensive back Charlie Budd. Russo and the DS offense were able to chew out the remainder of the clock as the Raiders came away with the 23-6 victory.

At the time of print, DS will travel to face arch rival Medfield on April 22 as the Raiders look to close out the season with three consecutive wins.

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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