HOLBROOK — During the final minutes of Holbrook/Avon’s stunning 34-30 win over previously undefeated Upper Cape, a game official asked Bulldogs coach Fran Cass how he managed to stay so excited all game.
“One of the kids put seven sugars in my coffee this morning,” Cass joked.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1), who dress just 22 players each week, fed off the energy of their eccentric coach, who admitted his team wasn’t at its best leading up to Saturday’s game.
“We had a terrible week of practice, honestly” said Cass, holding his dog Toby, who roamed the sideline all game. “But these guys love the game, they love to play, they knew what this game meant, and they came out and beat an undefeated team.”
Senior running back Ben Riordan paced the Bulldogs, rushing for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.
After a 1-yard sneak from Upper Cape quarterback Edgar Eldredge pulled the Rams (8-1, 4-1) to within 28-24 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs came back with a bang.
Quarterback Lucas Currier, who ran for 59 yards and one TD and passed for 51 more and two more scores, found Mark Georges for a 28-yard score on fourth and 10. The play came out of an unusual formation, the Bulldogs’ version of a water bucket play, in which there were only three down lineman with five players lined up to the left. Meanwhile, Georges was the lone player on the right side and he was able to break free for an over-the-shoulder catch.
“We always practice a number of things,” said Cass. “You have to know when to use those plays. It’s an unconventional formation where we can moves players, depending on how [the other team] aligns themselves.”
The Rams responded on the ensuing drive with Eldredge scoring on another 1-yard sneak to make it 34-30 with just over three minutes remaining.
Upper Cape failed to recover an onside kick, allowing the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
“We don’t control our own destiny anymore,” said Upper Cape coach Mike Hernon. “We’ve got to put it back together and get ready for Thanksgiving. They moved the ball well today, they came to play.”
The teams scored on the game’s first five possessions, with Holbrook/Avon taking a 22-16 lead into the half. The Bulldogs received the kickoff to start the third quarter and went 81 yards in 13 plays, while chewing up 9:01. Riordan, who gained 65 yards in the drive on 11 carries, capped it with a 5-yard rush.