By Jeff Kiesling
When it rains, it pours.
The Dover-Sherborn High School Raiders varsity football team defeated the Hudson High School Hawks by the score of 20-7 in the second round of the MIAA Division 5 playoffs last Friday night at the Morgan Bowl in Hudson, Massachusetts. The game was played in a driving rain that lasted throughout the contest, but despite the slippery conditions, DS put up 20 points in the second quarter and held Hudson scoreless in the second half to prevail and advance to the third round of the playoffs. With the win, the Raiders remained perfect on the season and pushed their record to 10-0.
The game began shortly after dark and, as predicted, the rain did as well. The clouds opened up and dropped heavy precipitation for most of the game, forcing the teams to operate in a field that turned quickly from grass to mud. (Although the players did not seem to mind).
Hudson returned the opening kick-off to the Raiders’ 25-yard line, setting the hosts up in terrific position for an opportunity to score early. However, the DS defense responded as it has frequently this season by stonewalling the opposing offense and taking the ball back after four downs, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The two offenses struggled early as they tried to gain footing in the mud and advance the ball.
Hudson broke the stalemate late in the first quarter on a 30-yard quarterback run (and extra point) to take the lead, 7-0. Dover-Sherborn answered on its next possession when running back Michael Polk took a handoff on the left side, cut back to the middle and outran the defense for a 50-yard touchdown. Then, with the score tied at seven apiece, the Raiders’ defensive unit took control of the game. The Hawks had the ball at the Raiders’ 40-yard line when their quarterback rolled left and lofted an ill-advised pass in the vicinity of defensive end Brian Olson, who snagged the ball out of the air and took off for a 60-yard pick-six. Ronan Richards tacked on the extra point, giving DS a 14-7 lead that the Raiders would not relinquish. Dover-Sherborn added an insurance touchdown with just under two minutes remaining in the first half when QB Garrett Webb connected with Henry Moore for a 40-yard score. At the half, DS led the game 20-7, which would be the final score.
The Hudson offense drove deep into Raiders’ territory several times in the second half, but was repelled each time by a defense that refused to yield the goal line to an opponent who was throwing everything it had to throw from the playbook into what would be their last game of the season. The DS defense effectively smothered the suddenly desperate Hawks offense, which had up to that point been scoring at will this season; Hudson entered the contest averaging 33 points per game.
With the win, DS moves on to engage in another battle of unbeatens when they face fourth-seeded Shawsheen Valley Tech (10-0) (Billerica) this Friday at a neutral site (not announced at print-time) in the state semifinals.
This story was generously contributed by a member of the Dover-Sherborn community. Hometown Weekly welcomes the submission of varsity sports photos and game stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.