DUXBURY – Linebacker Marshal McCarthy’s gray helmet is covered with 36 green stars, each representing a different individual accolade.
The senior captain earned a few more when he burst through Xaverian’s offensive line, nearly untouched, and slammed quarterback Austin DeCarr into the ground as time expired to seal Duxbury’s 20-16 win over the Hawks Saturday afternoon.
“One of the tackles didn’t pick me up, and I just got free to the quarterback,” Marshall said.
After No. 3 Duxbury (5-0) was forced to punt, Xaverian took over from the 49-yard line with just 1:04 left on the clock.
DeCarr (16-for-32 passing, 241 yards, TD) connected with wide receiver DJ Pagliuca for a 26-yard gain, and then after an incompletion, connected with him again for a 13-yard gain to bring the Hawks to the 12-yard line.
After an incompletion, DeCarr broke loose for the end zone, but Marshall wrapped him up and limited the gain to two yars.
On third and 8, Xaverian’s signal-caller nailed Joe DeNucci in the end zone for the winning score, but the ball slipped out of the receiver’s fingertips.
With just one second left, DeCarr scrambled helplessly before Marshall sacked him to keep Duxbury’s win streak alive at 31 games.
“I give [Duxbury] credit, they’re a good football team and they know how to win,” Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson said. “They made the plays on both sides of the ball, and we needed to make them and we didn’t.”
One possession earlier, DeCarr hit Pagliuca (6 catches, 96 yards) in the end zone to give Xaverian a 22-16 lead. But the Hawks lined up in an illegal formation and the touchdown was negated.
Two plays later, on fourth and goal, defensive back Jack Sullivan deflected DeCarr’s attempt at the touchdown to force a turnover on downs, spurning Xaverian’s comeback try.
“I’m speechless about the defense’s performance today,” Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron said. “Outstanding and inspired effort, and all 11 guys did a great job.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Xaverian forced Duxbury to punt from the end zone and took over at the 29.
DeCarr hit Pagliuca for a 25-yard gain, but again, Duxbury stonewalled the Hawks’ offense and stopped them on four straight downs.
After the turnover, the Dragons were pinned deep in their own territory when a false start backed them up to the 2-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Sean McCarthy (8-for-18 passing, 139 yards, INT) was sacked for a safety.
But on the ensuing possession, Marshall McCarthy sacked DeCarr to keep the Hawks off the field.
With 6:13 left in the third quarter, Xaverian’s Shayne Kaminski ripped off a 31-yard touchdown run as the Hawks took a 14-13 lead — their first of the game.
But the Dragons used seven plays to go 66 yards. On fourth and 10, Sean McCarthy hit running back Jon Hurvitz (2 catches, 48 yards) on a screen play, and the speedy back broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown for the final score.
Hurvitz (19 catches, 56 yards) also scored in the second quarter, when he rushed for an 11-yard touchdown to give Duxbury a 13-7 lead.
“We always circle this game on our calendar before the summer,” Hurvitz said. “And it’s always a big one we want to win and we do what we have to do.”