Bourne grinds one out
Canalmen inch closer to playoffs
DIGHTON - Though rare for a football coach to admit, Bourne’s John McIntyre confessed his team was nervous entering last night’s showdown at Dighton-Rehoboth.
“We thought we matched up well against them, but we were nervous going in because of all the talent they have,’’ McIntyre said. “They were the league champions last year for a reason.’’
If the Canalmen were nervous they certainly didn’t show it, as Bourne downed the host Falcons, 22-6, at Robert T. Roy Field. Bourne improved to 8-0 (4-0 South Coast Conference) and took sole possession of first place. D-R dropped to 6-2, 3-1.
Bourne’s win avenged last year’s 36-30 overtime loss to the Falcons.
After a quick three-and-out by the Falcons on their opening possession, Bourne went to work on a nine-play, 65-yard drive that was finished with an 11-yard touchdown run by Joe Epps. A 2-point conversion by Marquesse Rhodes made it 8-0.
Following another D-R punt, Bourne extended the lead with a bruising, 7-yard run by Jake Achstetter that saw the senior back carry three Falcon defenders into the end zone. Epps ran in the 2-point conversion, putting Bourne ahead, 16-0.
The Falcons recovered a Rhodes fumble at his team’s 30-yard line on Bourne’s next possession, and six plays later, Bryan Rocha hit Adam Benvie in the end zone from 5 yards out to cut the lead to 16-6 entering halftime.
Bourne again coughed the ball up, this time on the opening possession of the third quarter, but the Falcon offense was stymied by penalties and forced to punt from the Bourne 39-yard line.
“That was a key possession,’’ McIntyre said. ”We played well but those fumbles really could have hurt us bad. Our defense stepped up in a big way on that series to keep it a 10-point game.’’
Pinned back at their own 10-yard line, the Canalmen put the game away with a 17-play, 90-yard drive that ate 6 minutes 49 seconds off the clock. Relying exclusively on the ground game, Bourne pushed the lead to 22-6 when Epps scored on a 13-yard rush with 5:56 remaining.
“We figured we might be able to establish the run and be more physical than them,’’ McIntyre said. ”It’s nice when the kids execute the game plan.’’
Epps led the way, carrying 12 times for 137 yards and two scores, while Rhodes ran 20 times for 96 yards.
The Canalmen host Apponequet next Friday before finishing with Fairhaven and Wareham. Bourne is in the driver’s seat for what would be their first playoff berth since 2004, when the Canalmen lost in the Division 2A playoffs to Bishop Feehan, and just their second overall.
“This doesn’t sew up the league for us, but now we control our own destiny,’’ McIntyre said. “If we win out and take care of business, it’s ours.’’