FOXBOROUGH - It's not often air shows are held in December, but Duxbury quarterback Sean Cross took flight in the EMass Division 2A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium yesterday. High-powered Gloucester - averaging 36.8 points entering the game - was outgunned by Duxbury, 46-26, as the Green Dragons registered their second undefeated season in four years.
Duxbury gained 442 yards from scrimmage, mostly from the arm of Cross, who threw for a career-high 334 yards on 14-of-25 passing. Fellow senior Shane DiBona had 79 yards on the ground in what was a shining night for the 2009 class.
"It's special because of the group of seniors we have," said fourth-year coach Dave Maimaron. "We have a whole bunch of three-year starters and they've played a ton of football games for me."
Duxbury (13-0) scored on its first play from scrimmage. Cross connected with Ian Whitney on a play-action roll to the left that worked to perfection for a 69-yard touchdown.
Gloucester (11-2) didn't take long to answer. On its next drive, senior Taylor Burbine romped around left end for a 12-yard score.
Tailback Ross Carlson added a 24-yard dash for a score to put Gloucester up briefly, 14-7, but Duxbury regained control.
Cross connected on two TD passes, to Hakeem Lecky for 61 yards and to DiBona for 13, to give the Green Dragons a 22-14 advantage.
"He put the ball on the money," said Maimaron. "It was just a phenomenal performance by Sean."
Duxbury took advantage of a Fishermen defense that was forced to account for the 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound DiBona. "They were keeping their safeties up in the box," Maimaron said. "They blitzed us at first. But we gave Sean a little time and it was lights out."
But the lights would flicker a bit first. After Duxbury failed to score from the red zone, Gloucester responded with an 80-yard rushing touchdown by Giacomo Romeo.
A Carlson interception gave the Fishermen a chance to take the lead, but Gloucester couldn't take advantage. Then, in the fourth quarter, Duxbury went for the jugular.
Cross found Whitney on a 61-yard connection - part of Whitney's team-leading 130 yards - to set up a DiBona 1-yard punch.
A Gloucester fumble set up a fourth TD pass by Cross, a 33-yarder to Quinn Cully to end Gloucester's comeback hopes.
Duxbury fullback Kyle Gavoni and Gloucester's Gilbert Brown traded late-game touchdowns to complete the scoring.
Duxbury's winning spirit extends off the field, said its coach. "This is a tight group of kids," Maimaron said. "We haven't had one ounce of problems."
"We just took it one game at a time," said Lecky, who had four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. "We just wanted to have a great year and then hopefully make it to Gillette, and we did."
The Duxbury senior class will move on to more great opportunities. Lecky and Cully are heading to Syracuse University and Notre Dame, respectively, both to play lacrosse, and DiBona is going to play football at the University of Iowa.
"We're going to miss them, but this is a great way to send them off to college," Maimaron said, still shivering from his Gatorade shower.
"I'm very fortunate to be coaching in a place like Duxbury. We have outstanding support from the town. I have a great coaching staff and, most importantly, I have a great team."