Hodsdon leads Dolphins to title game
BRIDGEWATER - Dylan Hodsdon doesn’t back down easy.
Last night, in front of bleachers filled to capacity at Bridgewater-Raynham High School, Hodsdon ran, jumped, caught, tackled, and shoved to make sure his team advanced to the Division 2A Super Bowl, garnering more than 150 all-purpose yards, including two touchdowns in the first half, and coming down with a momentum-changing interception as D-Y’s perfect season continued with a 46-20 win over Walpole in the semifinals.
“I don’t think I have seen him play a better game,” said senior quarterback Matt Montalto, who was 8-of-13 passing for 186 yards and ran for 86 more. “He’ll break it if he gets in the open field and that’s what makes him so scary. Sure, he’ll run you over, or he can just run right by you.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Montalto led the Dolphins (12-0) to the Rebels 1-yard line before sneaking in for the game’s first score.
Brad Webber returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards into the end zone to put Walpole (9-3) in position to tie it, but the extra point was missed.
So Montalto and the five-pronged D-Y running attack went back to work, marching downfield and scoring on a 28-yard pass to a streaking Hodsdon, who had beat his defender and ran open into the end zone.
While the Dolphins stingy defense kept Walpole quarterback Tom Donnellan in check, D-Y’s ground game was nearly unstoppable.
Joining Hodsdon in evading tackles and sprinting by defenders were seniors Quan Lovett, Rufus Hamilton, Joe Furness, and even receiver Damion Johnson.
“We knew these guys were good as freshmen,” said coach Paul Funk, who took over the nearly-extinguished football program in 2001 after acting as an assistant to John DiBiaso in Everett. “They’re a unique bunch of kids that have been together for a long time.”
When it looked like the Rebels could get back in the game late in the first half, Hodsdon read Donnellan’s eyes on a passing play and jumped a slant route, intercepting the ball and putting the Dolphins back in scoring position.
After a personal foul on Walpole sent D-Y to the 15-yard line with 30 seconds to go, Montalto found Hodsdon, again open in the middle of the field, for a touchdown.
“That was big,” said Funk. “Dylan is a great player. He’s had a million good games. This is just a regular game for Dylan and he was great today.”
It’s been a long journey for Funk, who will attempt to lead the Dolphins to their first Super Bowl title on Saturday against Funk’s alma mater, Wakefield.
“That first year was tough,” Funk said. “Those guys hung in there. I have a lot of respect for those guys that were with me that first year. We as a community and a coaching staff and the kids changed the culture of the school.”