SUDBURY, Mass. --- Concord-Carlisle (10-0) used a dominating second-half performance to break a scoreless halftime tie and win 27-0, earning their second consecutive shutout victory.
The much anticipated game between the undefeated leaders of the Dual County League's Large (L-S) and Small (C-C) divisons began as a chess match, with each team looking to establish dominance on the ground and in the trenches.
While both teams surrendered yards in the first half, neither team could break through the strong defensive efforts up front. Concord-Carlisle had longer offensive possessions but L-S’s defense, led by senior defensive tackle Tim Krumsiek (eight first-half tackles), came up with bigger stops.
C-C’s defense began the second half by forcing two crucial three-and-outs on L-S’s first two possessions securing favorable field position for the C-C offense and senior running backs George Craan and Tyquan Culbreath.
Craan and Culbreath pounded and evaded the L-S defense as senior center Andrew VanderWilden, and the C-C offensive line opened up the middle. The Patriots gained 250 of their 366 rushing yards in the second half.
Craan carried the ball 28 times for 164 yards on the night, and scored the game’s first two touchdowns on one-yard plunges. The first of Craan’s two scores broke the scoreless tie midway through the third quarter. His second came with 9:29 remaining in the game.
Culbreath (109 yards, 2 TD) took over in the fourth quarter as the senior scored twice and broke the first big play of the game on a 37-yard burst through L-S defense.
“In the second half we knew that if we kept going at it we would eventually break one,” said Culbreath. “Every week we come in with the mentality that if we work hard we will get the payoff in the end.”
The 1-2-3 punch: C-C’s three headed monster at running back completely dominated the second half as the line opened up holes for Craan, Culbreath and junior Tim Badgley (10 carries, 89 yards) to take over the game.
Badgley gained 68 yards on a final fourth-quarter drive that sealed the game and exhausted the clock for the Patriots.
“We just executed tonight,” said Craan. “Everyone stayed on their blocks and we were relentless tonight. Coach Dimare prepares us well at practice and our motto is, keep going until you hear the whistle.”
Dimare recognized: Dick Dimare is a long time offensive assistant for Concord-Carlisle who was also the school's legendary former girl’s basketball coach. Dimare received a rousing ovation after the game from players and coaches for the work and preparation that went into the offensive game plan.
Defensive adjustments: The battle of the defenses went to Concord-Carlisle on the night as the Patriots are now just allowing 8.9 points per game with another shutout win.
“The guys really prepared defensively this week and it paid off,” said Robichaud after the game. “They (L-S) have a lot of skilled players out there.”
Key shift: C-C Defensive Coordinator Tom Dalicandro’s squad made a key move as they shifted junior Evan Boynton inside to play alongside co-captain Thomas Kleyn to form a tough middle of the defense.
“Thomas is a three year starter for us and is one of those kids who is like another coach on the field,” said Robichaud. “Evan, right before the Westford Academy game, moved inside to our SAM backer position and he has made a huge difference in terms of the integrity of the defense.”
Another important factor has been the improved play of the secondary. C-C starts a true freshman, Will Blumenberg, at one cornerback along with seniors Anthony West, Culbreath and Jackson Finigan, whom Robichaud calls the “centerfielder and playmaker of the defense”.
“We have a lot of confidence in that group,” said Robichaud. “They are a group of fast kids and they did a really good job for us tonight.
Injured Warrior: L-S could never get their running game off the ground in the second half and part of that was due to an ankle injury suffered by workhorse junior running back Chris Giorgio. While junior athlete Brian Carroll provides the explosive option for the Warriors Giorgio provides the tough, in between the tackles running.
Playoff bound: Lincoln-Sudbury will represent the DCL Large in the playoffs against Barnstable High School in one of the two Division 1A playoff games. L-S will also travel to Newton South for Thanksgiving Day football this year.
Concord-Carlisle can secure their third consecutive playoff appearance with a win at home over Bedford on Thanksgiving Day. Bedford (6-4, 3-0) is also undefeated in league play and is playing their best football of the season.
CONCORD-CARLISLE 27, LINCOLN-SUDBURY 0
C-C (10-0) --- 0 - 0 - 7 - 20 --- 27
L-S (9-1) --- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 --- 0
George Craan 1 run (Evan Boynton kick)
Craan 1 run (Boynton kick)
Tyquan Culbreath 37 run (kick failed)
Culbreath 16 run (Evan Boynton kick)