Benvie carries Falcons over Lakers
LAKEVILLE - Recognizing his team would struggle to slow Dighton-Rehoboth power back Adam Benvie, Apponequet coach Robert Lomp decided to roll the dice.
“They’re a lot bigger than us, so we had to take chances on defense by putting more guys in the box otherwise we would have died a slow death,’’ Lomp said. “When you have that kind of strategy sometimes you put the kids in a position that is a little bit over their heads. Really our only option was to go big or go home.’’
The risky adjustment ultimately backfired as Benvie broke off two huge touchdown runs in the second half yesterday to lead the visiting Falcons to a 21-7 victory over the Lakers. The win improves D-R to 2-0 while Apponequet drops to 1-1.
While Benvie was the star on offense for D-R (nine carries, 164 yards, three scores), coach Dave Driscoll said the growth of his team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, was the most encouraging aspect of the win.
“What I’m most pleased about is that our team rose to the occasion today,’’ Driscoll said. “We played noticeably better than we did last week as a team, especially on defense.’’
The Lakers grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when senior Zach Nanfelt (16 carries, 56 yards) scored on a 29-yard cutback run, putting the finishing touch on an 11-play, 71-yard drive which prominently featured senior back Nate Michael (24 carries, 97 yards). D-R looked poised to answer on the next series, but quarterback Jerry Whitmore was hit and fumbled in the backfield as he attempted a handoff, giving the Lakers the ball at their own 13.
The Falcons’ defense came up with a big play of its own just before halftime. Faced with a fourth-and-11 from the D-R 45-yard line, Apponequet looked to catch its opponent off guard by lining quarterback Evan Martin at receiver and putting sophomore Cameron Costa under center. Costa looked for Martin near the sideline but defensive pressure up the middle forced a lame throw that was intercepted by Mason Hinken, who returned to the Apponequet 30. Six plays later, Benvie dashed in from 7 yards out to make it 7-6 at halftime.
“My quarterback got hit, it was a breakdown in pass protection,’’ Lomp said of the turnover. “Cameron never got the ball to the sideline as he was supposed to, so the throw came up short.’’
After forcing the hosts to turn it over on downs in the opening possession of the third qayrter, the Falcons went back to the ground game, chewing up 4 minutes 37 seconds on a 10-play drive. Benvie found a crease on a fourth-and-3 and busted through for a 41-yard score to give the Falcons a 14-7 advantage entering the final stanza.
Once again the D-R defense stood tall and forced the Lakers to turn the ball over on downs on their next possession. Benvie secured the victory on the next play by racing home on a 49-yard score to close the scoring.
Last season D-R’s victory over Apponequet clinched the South Coast Conference title and pushed the Falcons into the playoffs. Benvie believes this season’s win will foretell a similar fate.
“This win could be the biggest win of the year,’’ Benvie said. “We don’t know yet, but I feel as though it will be. I’m very confident this win will determine a lot as we go through the season.’’
Patrick McHugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.