Johnny Bennett (4) looks to the sidelines for a defensive play-call signal. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Coming off a 35-24 defeat to Bellingham on October 8, Dover-Sherborn High School varsity football returned to action on Friday night with another road tilt against rival Medway.
In order to remain in the hunt for the TVL Small title, the Raiders (4-1, 1-1) needed a bounce-back win in order to keep pace with the upper tier of their division: Bellingham (3-3, 1-1) and Norton (5-0, 2-0).
Medway received the game's opening kickoff and the two teams exchanged punts to begin the night. Medway quarterback Luke Frauton then led the Mustangs (3-3, 2-2) on a nine-play, 59-yard drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown on a slant route over the middle on fourth-and-goal to Connor Kewley. The Mustangs took their 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Following a Dover-Sherborn punt, Henry Murphy seized back momentum for the Raiders by punching the ball out of the grasp of Medway running back Matt Childs. Will Bowen recovered the fumble at the Medway 31-yard-line, setting up Grady Russo and the DS offense in plus territory. On the first play of the ensuing series, Russo connected with Michael Polk over the middle on a slant as Polk out-ran the Medway secondary for a 31-yard touchdown. Dover-Sherborn kept the offense out and successfully converted a two-point try with Russo hitting Johnny Bennett on a flat route in the right corner of the end zone, giving DS an 8-7 lead with 8:48 to play in the half.
An interception by Kewley on Dover-Sherborn's next possession set up Medway's offense with a short field. Frauton immediately cashed in with an 18-yard touchdown connection to Matt Converse in the back-right corner of the end zone to give the Mustangs a 14-8 lead with 5:22 left in the half. With 1:48 to play in the half, Russo made up for his interception and completely flipped the game's momentum. Russo dropped back on a play-action pass and unleashed a 48-yard bomb to tight end Brian Olson down the far-right sideline for a touchdown that gave the Raiders a 15-14 lead at halftime.
On the opening kick-off of the second half, Bennett made the play of the night and possibly the season so far for DS. After letting the ball bounce down along his own goal line, Bennett picked up the ball and made a series of would-be tacklers miss before cutting to the outside and dashing 99 yards for a touchdown. The score extended Dover-Sherborn's lead to 22-14 with 11:46 left in the third.
With the game still 22-14 midway through the fourth, Frauton got Medway back to within a single score by hitting Kewley again for a two-yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone. On the proceeding two-point try, it appeared as if Medway had tied the game at 22 on a miracle shovel completion from Frauton to Kewley. However, Frauton, who was in the grasp of multiple DS pass-rushers, was ruled beyond the line of scrimmage when he made the pass. A flag was thrown for an illegal forward pass, resulting in a subsequent loss of down. The penalty allowed the Raiders to maintain the lead at 22-20 with 7:12 to play.
Dover-Sherborn completely changed the identity of their offense on their next possession. Normally a pass-heavy unit, the Raiders were determined to chew clock with their run game. By repeatedly pounding the ball with running back Efosa Imade for big chunk plays, the Raiders were able to do just that. The drive burned 5:11 of clock and concluded with a violent 22-yard touchdown run by Imade that featured multiple broken tackles. The score put the Raiders ahead 29-20 with 2:01 to play and all but sealed the victory.
On the first play of Medway's ensuing possession, Bennett picked off Frauton on a pass over the middle and returned the ball 37 yards for a game-clinching pick-six. Dover-Sherborn came away with a statement 35-20 victory to keep their TVL Small championship hopes alive.
DS will look to ride the momentum off of the Medway victory and make it a pair of wins in a row when the Raiders travel to Millis on October 22.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.