By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – All season long, the Rocketeers have forced turnovers and used a stout defense to change games.
Unfortunately, that turnover never came on Friday night and Duxbury cashed in on two big momentum swings to take down North Attleboro, 21-10, at Community Field.
North Attleboro struggled for consistency on offense and managed 70 yards on the ground.
“I think they’re defense is very good,” North Attleboro head Don Johnson said. “They’re well known for their offense but I thought their defense was great tonight. They were very aggressive and we had a hard time sustaining anything on offense.”
The first big swing came right before halftime. North Attleboro led 3-0 following a 34-yard field goal from Connor Flynn and Duxbury was facing a third down in their own half. Dragons quarterback Bobby Maimaron rolled to his right and as he was being pressured, tossed a pass that sailed over the heads of his teammates on the bench. But a flag was thrown for pass interference and Duxbury’s drive stayed alive.
“You can’t make those kind of mistakes against good teams,” Johnson said. “To me, I thought the kid was throwing the ball away out of bounds so to me it was an uncatchable ball. That was third down too and instead of fourth down they scored.”
Two plays later, Maimaron hit Darnell Riley on a slant route in one on one coverage and the senior raced the rest of the way for a 47 yard touchdown to put Duxbury ahead 7-3 with just over a minute to play in the first half.
“What happens is you end up playing more on defense if you’re not moving the ball on offense,” Johnson said. “They have that explosive offense, I thought their quarterback did a good job getting rid of the ball before we could get pressure on him.”
The Rocketeers had their best offensive drive of the game coming out in the second half. On the first play, North went play action and sophomore quarterback Chad Peterson (12/24, 157 yards) hit senior Ridge Olsen over the middle for a 55 yard pick up. Peterson hit Bobby Mylod for 14 more yards and two plays later senior Nick Morrison (10 carries, 28 yards) raced it in from six yards out to put the Rocketeers up 10-7.
North’s lead was short lived as Duxbury came back and landed a punch of its own. James Cavallo got around the edge for a 28 yard pick up to get close to the red zone. On third and 7 from the North Attleboro 21 yard line, Maimaron hit Cavallo for a 10 yard gain. Four plays later, Maimaron called his own number and pushed it in from a yard out. The extra point was ruled wide but Duxbury regained the lead at 13-10.
“We talked about it all week because if you turn it over, they score,” Duxbury head coach Dave Maimaron said of North Attleboro. “It seemed like every film I watched on them, they’re defense was scoring. We emphasized it all week to not turn it over. They do have a hell of a defense and they do bring the pressure but we made the plays when we had to.”
The other momentum swing Duxbury capitalized on came on North’s next series. Facing a third down from their own 31, a botched snap was recovered by the Dragons on the 29 yard line. One play later, Maimaron hit Cavallo over the middle for a 29 yard score. On the two point try, the reverse found its way into the hands of Cavallo and he threw it to Maimaron for the conversion.
“That’s exactly of what they’re capable on doing,” Johnson said. “In just one play they can score the big play so you can’t keep giving them the ball.”
North went three and out on the ensuing drive and on its next series, a pair of penalties put them in a 4th and 27 scenario and Peterson’s long heave was picked off by Conor O’Neill.
The Rocketeers defense put a stop to Duxbury’s attempt to add on to their lead with just over two minutes left when Nick Morrison sacked Maimaron for a 14 yard loss. Peterson his Barr for 35 yards and then 14 yards but with Duxbury loading up the secondary, there was another interception to close the game.
North Attleboro is now 8-1 overall and will finish the season with one more game before it’s Thanksgiving game with Attleboro. Duxbury moves on to the D3 Southwest Final against Milton, who took down Stoughton on Friday night.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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