At the start of the fourth quarter, Bridgewater-Raynham was clinging to a seven-point lead against visiting Dartmouth Friday night.
On the first play from scrimmage, B-R senior quarterback Jordan Cohen stepped back to pass from his own 41, pulled his arm back, and lofted a pass down the right side for receiver Kevin Wadsworth , who hauled in the ball in stride to complete a 59-yard catch-and-run for the score, and a 21-7 cushion. The two also hooked up for a 6-yard TD in the third quarter.
Sophomore Brandon Gallagher added a 5-yard scoring run as the Trojans (5-3) pulled away for their first Old Colony League win of the season, 27-7.
That sets up a clash against 7-0 Barnstable on Friday night.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said B-R coach Dan Buron .
“I’m very pleased that we’re 1-0 in the league. I told the kids that, but the three teams [Barnstable, Plymouth North, and Falmouth] we have left are unbelievable football teams and I think if we can ever get consistent we’re pretty good and at times we’re good, but we’re just not consistent right now.”
A key component against Barnstable will be the consistency of Cohen. Against Dartmouth he completed 14 of 16 passes for 217 yards.
“I thought last week he really came into his own against Xaverian,” said Buron of the 32-27 victory.
“He’s getting better every week. It’s just game experience for him. He carried us early on because I don’t think we were blocking very well in the first half on the run game. The run game wasn’t working as well as it usually does, so he really did a nice job. He made some nice reads.”
Cohen brings determination and confidence.
“We play every play like it’s our last play,” said Cohen. “The seniors on the team this year, we do not want to go out without a title of some sort. We want to finish our high school careers knowing that we beat Barnstable, that we won the OCL title and that we went to Gillette to play in the Super Bowl. None of us want to go out losing. There’s no way that’s going to happen.”
Cohen and fellow senior Wadsworth (six catches for 177 yards against Dartmouth) prepared hard for their final football season with the Trojans.
“Me and Kevin have been great buddies for a while,” said Cohen. “We have great chemistry. We have been playing for the last two off-seasons together, throwing whenever we could, getting in the weight room, getting conditioned, getting in good shape. I’m used to him out on the field. I know when he’s going to make it and how fast he is, when he’s going to make his cut. We can time it out perfectly.”
Senior captain Kevin Johnston has stressed to his teammates the importance of the Barnstable matchup: there are no do-overs.
“I’m pretty confident because we’ve been playing pretty well,” said Johnston, a defensive end. “We just need to execute more. I think that Jordan will have a good game as well as our wide receivers. His throwing game has been on target this year. Barnstable is a big rival for us and we’ll be focused because we have to win or else we’re out.”
B-R lost a pair of practice sessions earlier this week because of Hurricane Sandy.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect us too much,” said Cohen. “We’ve been preparing for Barnstable for a while now. We’ve been watching them all season so far, just trying to see how they play and what we can do to beat them. I feel like we might still be able to get together to watch some film and do some homework on them, see what we can do.”
With the OCL title on the line, expect a large crowd in Bridgewater.
The Trojans are shooting for their first trip to the playoffs since 2010, when they beat Weymouth in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Gloucester in the Super Bowl.
Six touchdowns for Oxsen
Plymouth South junior Dylan Oxsen delivered quite the performance in Friday’s 39-12 win against visiting Dennis-Yarmouth, scoring all six touchdowns.
In an electrifying evening, he shattered the school record for touchdowns in a game and touchdowns in a season. The season mark was held by Stefan Gustafson , currently a junior at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, who scored 21. Oxsen has 24 TDS and 124 points, which leads Division 2A.
“He works very hard in the weight room and conditioning,” said South coach Scott Fry.
Plymouth South (5-3 overall) shares the top spot in the Atlantic Coast League with Nauset at 3-0.
“It was a huge game for us in general,” said Fry, whose team hosts Marshfield Friday. “It puts us in place to play for a league championship in the next week or two.”
New playoff system approved
By a 161-131 vote, a new state playoff system was approved Friday by the MIAA and will be introduced next season, resulting in the crowning of six state champions, instead of 19 Super Bowl winners.
More teams will earn playoff spots, but the posteason will start before the traditional Thanksgiving Day games.
A few area coaches weighed in on the change:
Dan Buron , Bridgewater-Raynham: “I wasn’t sure how I was going to vote and I ended up voting for the change. It’s probably time to try something different and gives more people a chance to play in the playoffs season. Our team can only benefit from it.”
Dave Maimaron , Duxbury: “My one complaint about it is the way they formed the divisions. Massachusetts is a big state and if they want to have six divisions, people get moved up and people are moved down. I just don’t understand why that needs to be done.”
Barry Greener , Walpole: “We voted against it. The Bay State league is a terrific 12-team league, six small in the Herget division and six in Carey, the bigger division. You know the old saying; if it’s not broken don’t fix it.”
Dan Nault , Wareham: “I think that 20 years ago, 30 years ago when they made the conferences the demographics fit, but times have changed. Communities have grown and shrunk.
There are good reasons for teams to stay in the same conference, but in our own conference [South Coast] there’s a large variety of schools. Right now a small school like Wareham could be playing a large Catholic school, and that’s ridiculous. They needed a change. Also if you’re 9-1, losing to a really good team shouldn’t keep you out of the playoffs.”
Coryn Doncaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.