Every week, The Boston Globe's Mike Carraggi expands on a story that was lost in the shuffle of a busy weekend in Division 1 football. This week: Durfee getting the monkey off it's back.
Rob McCoy has won a Tri-Valley League championship and made it to a Super Bowl. But this one was right up there with any win he has ever enjoyed.
Durfee survived Taunton, 22-21, last Friday for the teamís first in-state win since defeating New Bedford on Thanksgiving in 2007.
ĎItís obviously a great feeling, and the kids are very happy and excited,Ď said McCoy, a former Bishop Feehan and Norton coach who is in his first year with the Hilltoppers. "In a rebuilding process, itís always good to get the first win under your belt."
Durfee broke a 15-game losing streak last season with an October victory over Rogers, a school in Rhode Island. This was the first time winning against a Massachusetts team for nearly the entire roster.
"More than anything else, they are starting to believe in themselves," said McCoy. "Itís more about them believing in themselves and their teammates' abilities."
After an impressive, never-say-die performance against Taunton last weekend, itís easy to see why that belief is building.
Durfee found themselves down 14-0 nearing the end of the first half, but kicker Corey Burns capped off a solid drive with a 31-yard field goal to send the kids into the locker room with a positive feeling.
"We talked about the mistakes we made in the first half and the things we needed to do in the second, such as ball control," said McCoy.
The Hilltoppers took the message to heart, having possession for all but 3.2 seconds in the third quarter, including a seven-and-a-half minute, 12-play drive that ended in Tresley Dupontís 22-yard counter for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but what happened next kept Durfeeís momentum alive.
With a healthy respect for Taunton standout Cabrini Goncalves, McCoy instructed Burns to squibb the next kickoff. The squibb was so effective that no Tiger could get their paws on it, and Keyon Gill recovered to set up a 13-yard scoring run by Dupont. The extra point gave Durfee a 16-14 lead.
Finally having the ball again, the Taunton offense wasted no time regaining the lead. Goncalves reached paydirt on a 74-yard jaunt, and Taunton led 21-16.
"Coming off those last few drives, we believed we could score," said McCoy.
Score they did, when senior captain Keith Omosefunmi retook the lead from 11 yards out. The two-point conversion again failed, but Colin Barboza picked off a Taunton pass to seal the rare Durfee W.
Itís a long way from beating Big Three rival Brockton, or even competing against a strong New Bedford on Thanksgiving, but the win is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
"Once you get that winning going, and believe you can do that, youíre going to be a very tough team to beat," said McCoy. "Iím as happy as Iíve ever been as a head coach."
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