NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The question coming into this season was whether New Bedford football would be able to parlay the momentum from last year’s Big Three co-championship and playoff appearance into big things this year.
So far so good as the Whalers put up 40-plus points for the second week while rolling to a 41-20 win over Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon.
Even though it was a non-league matchup, it was an important early season marker for New Bedford, as the Lakers have held the upper hand in the teams’ recent meetings.
New Bedford (2-0) ran out to a 26-0 halftime lead, outgaining the Lakers with 205 yards of offense compared to Silver Lake’s 11 yards gained. Whalers quarterback Myles Medeiros threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns by the half, giving way to Mike Rapoza in the third quarter as the Whalers continued racking up points.
Whalers running back Marcel DePina also got into the act with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter before returning a punt 82 yards for a score, giving New Bedford a 20-0 lead in the second.
“Marcel has the ability to change directions very quickly,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said. “He’s got great vision as a back. “
Medeiros added his third touchdown pass of the game to Jaraud Wood, a 13-yard completion in the third quarter.
Xavier Barros capped New Bedford’s scoring in a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:27 remaining in the third.
Silver Lake (0-2 ) finally got on the board inside of two minutes remaining in the third with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dana Nemes to John Hurley.
Matthew Pinnetti and Jeffrey Reynolds added late rushing touchdowns for the Lakers in the fourth.
New Bedford now eyes next week’s challenge against No. 2 Duxbury. While everyone is anticipating the Whalers’ eventual date with Brockton, Golden’s team has their attention fixed on a worthy opponent.
“Duxbury’s one of the best teams in the state, everybody knows that,” Golden said. “They haven’t lost in a long time and we have our work cut out for us.”
BUILDING A LINE
The talk of the offseason was how New Bedford would be able to replace their talented bookends on the line from last season in Lance Burlingame and Janny DosReis. Two weeks in, the Whalers are building an identity as capable pass protectors and run blockers, led by returning starter Darian Sousa-Bizarro. Not to mention, the defensive line has been downright dominant, evidenced by a three-sack day for Carl Santos, two sacks by Servulo Pires and a fumble forced by Ricky Moraes. Throw in an impressive junior in end Tyler Arena and New Bedford once again has the makings of a D-line that can hang with the Boxers. “They’re doing well,” Golden said of the group. “Coach [Nick] Salmon and Coach [Marc] Hayes are doing a great job with them every day. They’re giving a good effort in practice. The kids are coming and playing hard consistently. It’s a good thing, it’s a good situation.”
HOLDING IT DOWN
Medeiros stepped into the starting quarterback role midway through last season and hasn’t looked back. He’s become more comfortable in the Whalers’ offense and stated his experience as a prime factor. “Especially with the O-line, they’re giving me great time to throw,” said Medeiros, who has eight touchdown passes through two games. “I’m making good reads, the receivers are where they need to be. Our practices have been good. Everything’s going good this year, everything’s falling into place.” Medeiros is a long, lanky passer with the ability to pull the ball down and take off running. However, his pocket presence has improved, has good arm strength and showed good touch on the ball in his 27-yard touchdown pass to Wood in the second, coming on a fade route to the near side pylon. It also helps having a weapon like Wood, a tall 6-foot receiver with the ability to separate himself from defenders with a long reach.
DePina takes over as the feature back in New Bedford’s offense this year, following talented track star Phito Gondre. However, the Whalers’ aren’t loosing much in terms of speed with DePina, a good athlete in his own regard as a member of New Bedford’s basketball team. Although he’s listed at 5-foot-6, DePina’s not afraid to run inside, but it’s in the open field where his value is found. Consider the 82-yard punt return he fielded on one hop, juking his way past two Laker defenders and then streaking down unabated down the left sideline as evidence.