Even though Burke lost to West Roxbury by two touchdowns Friday afternoon at White Stadium, the Bulldogs’ coach Byron Beaman was pleased that, in his estimation, they forced what might be the best running team in the city to resort to trickery.
The longest play in Westie’s opening touchdown drive was a 29-yard reverse by senior wide receiver Jovan Johnson. In the second quarter Johnson ran the reverse again for a 59-yard TD to go up two scores.
“The reverse doesn’t kill you, the reverse is a trick play, the reverse isn’t a football play,” Beaman said after the 20-8 loss. “The reverse is something you do when nothing else is working. That’s what you do, you pull out a bag of tricks when nothing else is working. That’s a credit to our defense that you have to pull out your bag of tricks.”
But Westie (3-2) had plenty of up-the-gut run plays too, as 250-pound junior running back Michael Obianigwe led the Raiders with 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“I love coach Beaman but those are definitely football plays and we try to catch them when they least expect it,” West Roxbury coach Derek Wright said. “A couple times we caught them when they least expected it. It’s a play we work on a lot in practice and like I said, there’s no telling when we will throw that reverse at you and it is part of our game plan.
“But we got Big Mike to run the ball down the field so it’s not like we can’t run football plays per se. So we definitely run football plays. That’s, I can’t even say a trick play, because they know that we do it.”
With that said, West Roxbury can’t just rely on pounding the ball with Obianigwe the entire game since it still hasn’t been able to establish its passing game this season. The Raiders haven’t completed a touchdown pass this season.
Westie only had 19 passing yards on Friday.
“Hopefully in the future that passing game will come in because I’m a receiver so I’d love to see that happen,” said Johnson, who collected 91 yards rushing on Friday on three reverse plays. “If we get that pass game, nothing can stop us. I think it just has to do with timing, we’re not used to passing.
“In the past our football was very old school. If it was third down and long then maybe we’d pass, possibly. We had a very predictable scheme. So our coaches are trying to develop a different scheme. So hopefully when they are done developing it, our passing game will be there.”
Burke, who only had one touchdown this season coming into Friday, also got its offense going against Westie. The Bulldogs (1-4) scored its first touchdown in a city league game when senior quarterback Elvin Perez tossed a 25-yard pass to senior wide receiver George Tate. Brandon Newton ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 12-8 going into halftime.
“I trust my quarterback and I knew he was going to make the throw,” said Tate, who finished with 42 yards receiving.
Perez, who went 3 of 8 passing for 54 yards, said the touchdown gives them momentum going forward.
“It just helps us a lot because it just shows we’re coming together,” he said.
The Bulldogs carried the momentum from their first-half TD into the second half too as they drove the ball down to Westie’s 9-yard line on eight plays. But on the ninth play, Perez fumbled the snap and West Roxbury defensive lineman Berthony Henri fell on the ball.
“I saw the ball and I was like ‘Should I pick it up?’ and I was like ‘No I’m just going to dive on it,’” Henri said. “I always remind my teammates to never give up, to keep fighting because plays like that happen.”
Burke forced Westie to go three and out on the next drive but the Bulldogs' ensuing drive stalled in the red zone.
West Roxbury didn’t waste the opportunity. Obianigwe iced the game by capping a 12-play drive with a 35-yard TD run with 2:32 left.
“That touchdown, I don’t even know how I got in,” Obianigwe said. “As soon as I got through the line I just started cutting and running and running and running and I got a touchdown.”
Even though Beaman dogged Westie for its reverse plays, he acknowledged that they didn’t have much of an answer for Obianigwe.
“It’s basically a one-man show for them over there,” he said. “He’s a house, he’s a tough man to bring down. You keep giving him the ball and eventually defenses wear down . . . It was a good overall game for us to take a step in the right direction.
“I’m proud of our guys today.”
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