By Jeff Kiesling
The Dover-Sherborn Raiders varsity football team leaned heavily on its defense and rallied in
the second half to beat a winless, but inspired Norton High School squad to remain perfect on
the season. Norton played a solid first half of football and led DS, 7-0, at the break. The visiting
Raiders finally managed to take the lead, 20-14, halfway through the fourth quarter, but the
Lancers still had a chance to pull off the upset before two late defensive scores allowed DS to
pull away for a 33-14 win that pushed their unbeaten streak to eight games.
The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first quarter. The Lancers scored the only points of
the first half on a 25-yard pass play late in the second period and tacked on the extra point to
take a 7-0 lead. Uncharacteristic penalties, dropped passes, turnovers, and poor execution on
both the offense and special teams plagued the Raiders in the first two quarters and they found
themselves in unfamiliar territory, trailing at the half.
In the second half, the Raiders seized the momentum when Mekhi Robinson intercepted the ball
at the Lancers’ 30-yard line and returned it to the 2-yard line. On the next play the offensive line
opened a huge hole on the left side for running back Michal Polk, who took the handoff and
waltzed into the end-zone untouched. However, the extra point attempt was no good; the
Raiders still trailed by a point.
The Lancers were unable to move the ball on their next possession and they gifted the ball back
to Dover-Sherborn at their own 30-yard line after a short punt from their own goal line. The
Raiders were able to take advantage when Ronan Richards scored on a designed quarterback
keeper up the middle from just inside the 15-yard line. The Raiders elected to go for two points
and converted on a pass from Garrett Webb to Polk, who broke into the open on the right side,
giving them a 14-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The lead would prove to be short-lived, however, as the determined Lancers answered with a
touchdown of their own on the next possession, which was keyed by a 55-yard pass play and a
pounding running game. With nine minutes remaining in the contest, the score was knotted at
14 points apiece.
The Raiders offense stalled, and they were forced to punt the ball back to Norton, who took over
at their own 15-yard line. At that point, the DS defensive unit kicked into high gear and changed
the tide of the game. On the second play of the drive, the Lancers attempted a pass over the
middle. Defensive back Griffin Rosbottom cut in front of the intended receiver and tipped the ball
into the air, where Robinson snagged it for his second pick of the night. The Raiders took over
with terrific field position inside the Lancers’ 20-yard line.
Polk carried the ball on three successive plays to get inside the two yard-line and Richards was
able to punch it in from there on a QB sneak up the middle. He then put the extra point attempt
through the uprights, giving DS a 21-14 lead with time winding down in the fourth.
The Lancers still had a shot to steal the win, but they sealed their fate on the next possession
when they attempted a pass that Harry Dummer intercepted near midfield and returned down
the right sideline, 65-yards, for a touchdown. Incredibly, on Norton’s next (and final) possession,
Chris Kiesling broke in front of a Norton receiver on the left hashmark near the 40-yard line,
intercepted the ball and then raced, untouched, down the left sideline for a second pick-six as
Dover-Sherborn will conclude its regular season with its annual meeting at Medfield on
Thanksgiving morning. In the meantime, they turn their attention to preparing for the state
playoffs, where they are an 8 seed. They will play against the 9 seed, Watertown High School,
this Friday, November 4, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/dsfb114
This story was generously contributed by a member of the Dover-Sherborn community.
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