Dragons' senior class rules
DUXBURY - Duxbury’s senior class already has some impressive accomplishments, two Super Bowl championships, four Patriot League titles, and the state’s longest active winning streak.
But yesterday’s 33-6 rout of archrival Marshfield, the Dragons’ 24th consecutive win, gave the outgoing class one more special memory, making it the first group to graduate undefeated against the Rams.
“We have a tremendous senior class,’’ said coach Dave Maimaron. “We knew this class could play football, but they have really stepped up and led all season. Hopefully it continues for two more games.’’
With the playoffs looming, it would have been easy to forgive the second-ranked Dragons (11-0) for looking ahead. Duxbury sputtered early because it was too fired up. Senior quarterback Matt O’Keefe struggled to connect with any receivers in the first quarter, leaving the vaunted spread passing attack without a first down on its first three drives.
But O’Keefe settled down the offense went downfield as the second quarter began. Facing a third-and-6 at the Marshfield 26, O’Keefe found his most athletic receiver, James Burke, over the middle at the goal line. The senior wideout used every inch of his team-best vertical leap to haul in the pass and break the ice for Duxbury.
“We came out slow being our last game on this field and we were pressing,’’ said O’Keefe. “But once we calmed down and started driving it felt great.’’
On its next possession the Dragons went to the ground, as O’Keefe ran off a pair of big runs, setting up first-and-goal inside the 5. Maimaron then called the number of senior Henry Buonagurio, a three-year starter whose back injury had kept him out all season. On his third try, Buonagurio got in for a touchdown and a lifetime memory.
“He didn’t play a snap of football all year so to be able to give him a senior memory was special,’’ said Maimaron. “He really deserves that. He’s a great kid and it really pumped the team up.’’
The Duxbury defense, which held the Rams (7-4) without a first down until the fourth quarter and to only 6 total yards in the first half, forced another three-and-out to give the Dragons one more chance to score before the half.
O’Keefe did the rest, completing five passes on the drive for 45 yards that was capped with a 9-yard strike to Don Webber, who made a fine catch on a comeback route near the sideline on third down with 1:54 to go before halftime.
“He was a slow starter but we know with him it’s just a matter of time before he starts making plays,’’ Maimaron said of his quarterback.
Duxbury struck two more times in the second half, including a second touchdown for Buonagurio while stifling Marshfield until the fourth quarter, when the starters were already looking toward the playoffs. The Dragons will begin defense of their Super Bowl title in the opening round of the Division 2 playoffs Tuesday night against No. 12 King Philip.