The Burke and South Boston football squads were both looking for their first win Friday afternoon when they met at Saunders Field in Dorchester.
And it was the first play from scrimmage that ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in this City League matchup as Burke ended up beating South Boston, 8-0.
After fielding the Burke kickoff, South Boston began its drive on its own 28-yard line. Setting up in a shotgun position, quarterback Robert King dropped back and looked for a receiver in the flat but made a risky throw that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Burke’s Jessie Bland.
“The first thing I was thinking when I saw the pass was stepping out in front and catching the ball,” Bland said. “After that, I just put on the jets and headed for the end zone.”
After a successful 2-point conversion by running back Nesly Bissainthe, Burke had an 8-0 lead that it wouldn’t give up for the rest of the afternoon.
Both defenses absolutely dominated. Neither team had more than 100 total yards on offense.
“Defensively, we played pretty good today,” Burke coach Byron Beaman told his team. “Definitely feel good about the win, but we survived this one, guys.”
Survive they did. South Boston forced four fumbles and recovered three of them, but just couldn’t get the offensive push it needed to score.
With 3:38 left in the fourth quarter, King put together a couple of impressive passing plays to receivers Ben Sostek and Derron Stone to drive to Burke’s 40, but a sack on fourth down sealed the victory.
"I'm happy to win our first game this year," Bland said. "As a team, we're really close. We just need to work on playing all four quarters."
After the game, Beaman, his staff, the players, and the cheerleaders all celebrated their first win of the season in a giant huddle.
And Beaman didn’t forget to thank his defensive back for that ever-so-important first play.
“You guys did a great job of stepping it up today when needed,” he said. “Oh, and Jessie, thank you.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.