Duxbury survives big test
Dragons stand tall to win 26th straight
WEYMOUTH - Duxbury entered last night’s Division 2 Eastern Mass. semifinal against King Philip with last year’s Division 2A Super Bowl under its belt and 25 straight wins dating to 2009.
It took everything the Dragons had to walk away with win No. 26 and another Super Bowl berth.
Duxbury (12-0) used its big-game experience to hang on for a 7-0 win over King Philip at Weymouth High School. The Dragons will play Tewksbury in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium Saturday.
“We’ve been in these situations before and I think that kind of helped us,’’ Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron said. “I think that was a slight advantage we had, and we needed every advantage we could get against that team.’’
Trailing, 7-0, King Philip (9-2) took over at the Dragons’ 36 with 3:08 remaining in the game, but an interception at the goal line by backup cornerback and wide receiver Greg Williams gave Duxbury the ball and the win.
“It’s an amazing feeling,’’ Williams said. “This is a dream come true.
“We won the Super Bowl last year, but I wasn’t a big part of that team and I was hoping to do anything I could to contribute this year, and I’d like to think I’ve made that contribution.’’
Said Maimaron of Williams, “He’s been stuck in this program for four years fighting to get on special teams, he just started getting some playing time on defense a couple of weeks ago. If you had ever said he was going to save our season, I wouldn’t have believed you.’’
King Philip had its best starting field position of the game for the final drive.
The Dragons attempted to punt on fourth and 5, but the snap to Reilly Naton was low and he was forced to kick the grounded ball away.
The result was a 15-yard penalty on Duxbury and a first down for the Warriors. King Philip drove to the Duxbury 6 in five plays and took a timeout with 59 seconds remaining.
Despite the extra time to draw it up, Williams was able to read the Warriors’ play, getting inside position on the intended receiver but letting a pass bounce off his hands. When a chance came again on the next play, Williams seized it.
“They went right back at me again on the goal line, and I was ready for it,’’ Williams said. “My teammates did a great job taking everything else away.’’
With both offenses averaging more than 30 points per game, nobody on the field thought the winner would be the first team to 7 points.
John Hurvitz broke the stalemate with an 11-yard run to cap a 10-play, 76-yard drive with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The extra point by Tucker Hannon provided the final margin.
“We expected a shootout,’’ Duxbury quarterback Matt O’Keefe said. “But both defenses played great and made it tough for both offenses all game.’’
O’Keefe took hit after hit from a relentless King Philip rush.
“I’ve played three seasons of varsity football and that is by far the best defense I have played,’’ O’Keefe said.
“It’s bittersweet knowing we got one game left,’’ he added. “But all the seniors keep saying, ‘We’ve got to finish this the right way,’ so hopefully we can put together a good game plan for Saturday and get the win.’’