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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Defense was the name of the game on Friday night as Dover-Sherborn Regional High School hosted Norton on the gridiron in DS’ TVL opener.
Despite trailing 7-3 for a significant portion of Friday night’s contest, Steve Ryan’s Raiders (2-1, 1-0) were able to rally with a late score before playing some stout defense to earn a hard-fought 9-7 victory.
DS’ opening series stalled out deep in Norton territory, but sophomore Drew Dummer got the Raiders on the board first by booming home a 38-yard field to make it a 3-0 game with under a minute to play in the opening quarter. The teams exchanged punts until 4:48 remaining in the half, when Norton marched down the field, thanks to a series of quarterback keepers, before punching the ball in from a yard out to claim a 7-3 lead at halftime.
With both teams playing shutdown defensively, the game remained 7-3 until late in the third quarter when DS was finally able to punch one into the end zone as junior quarterback Kirby Ryan hooked up with senior wide out and first-year varsity player Matt Paolatto for a 42-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 9-7 lead (two-point try unsuccessful).
Still ahead by two points with under four minutes to play, the Raider defense stood tall and forced a turnover on downs with 3:10 to play. Senior captain and running back Tylan Mendes (12 carries, 122 yards) sealed the victory for DS by converting a pair of long first down runs, allowing the Raiders to kneel to victory.
DS will look to make it two TVL wins in a row when the Raiders take on Millis on September 28.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.