DUXBURY, Mass. -- This was supposed to be New Bedford’s chance to show the rest of Eastern Mass. that they were a force to be reckoned with this season.
Duxbury quickly took that notion and passed it to the side.
The No. 2 Dragons (3-0) dominated the No. 20 Whalers (2-1) with a razor-sharp offensive attack in a battle of undefeated teams with a 42-19 victory yesterday at Raymond P. Chandler Memorial Field.
Matt O’Keefe completed 14-of-20 throws for 220 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The senior quarterback also added two touchdowns on the ground when the Whalers defense was able to flush him out of the pocket.
“We tried to prepare hard for this game and it obviously didn’t go our way,” said Whalers coach Dennis Golden. “So we are going to prepare harder this week and do what we can to be successful.”
The Whalers were riding high coming into the game with wins against Wareham and Silver Lake. The team was averaging over 40 points coming into the game, but the Dragons defense wreaked havoc on the skill position players.
Myles Medeiros looked out of sync through the air, although he did rush for two scores and also hit Jaraud Wood for a 49-yard touchdown pass, as he was held to 12-of-26 for 148 yards.
Marcel DePina was gobbled up for 58 yards on nine carries.
Despite the big loss to one of the class teams in the state, Golden believes there are things that he and his team can learn even though the scoreboard was well in favor of Duxbury in this one.
“We have to make sure that we play our responsibilities on defense,” said Golden. “We had some turnovers and penalties that hurt us in the first half when we were in scoring position a couple of times. We need to eliminate those and just battle the whole game.”
DUXBURY’S DUAL THREAT QB
The Dragons quarterback may have played on a part-time basis last season, but he looked like a seasoned veteran out there running the Dragons’ offense at a blistering pace.
O’Keefe accounted for five touchdowns and led six touchdown drives out of the eight — one drive only lasted one play with a kneel down to end the half — times he took the field. The Dragons were efficient in everything they wanted to accomplish, whether it was by the arm or legs of the talented senior quarterback.
The Dragons signal-caller hit eight different receivers on the afternoon and finished with 71 rushing yards.
“It really goes back to our practice all week,” said O’Keefe. “We really focused on having good routes on every play. We executed. The receivers played great and the offensive line gave me the time I needed.”
O’Keefe was sharp in the first half, but he was pin-point accurate in the third quarter, which just happened to be the last quarter he played. He finished the third quarter 8-for-9 for 125 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a phenomenal performance through the air and on the ground,” said Duxbury head coach David Maimaron. “He manages the whole offense.”
HEADS UP PLAY BY SEAMUS
The Whalers tried a little New Orleans Saints Super Bowl magic to begin the second half, when they tried to fool the Dragons with an onside kick to begin play.
The Dragons didn’t have the right front to deal with an onsides attempt, but Seamus Connelly stuck his nose in there and pounced on the ball to maintain possession.
“We always say that coming out of the half is the most important drive of the game,” said Maimaron. “We always preach that and the kids know that. (Connelly) came up with a huge football play.”
With a short field at their own 45-yard line, O’Keefe was able to direct the Dragons on a six play, 55-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by Khai Perry’s touchdown plunge from 2 yards out to push the lead to 35-7.
It was a play that the Dragons put in earlier in the week, but it was one that looked like it had been practiced over and over again from the beginning of camp.
After stopping the Whalers on fourth-and-9, the Dragons grabbed possession with 1:19 left from their own 38-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Don Webber came around and grabbed a reverse.
This wouldn’t surprise anyone if Webber kept it and used his blazing speed to get around the right edge, but he stopped and delivered a strike to Reilly Naton down the field for a 52-yard gain.
O’Keefe took care of the rest with a 1-yard keeper to score with 35 seconds left on the clock before the half.
“The right time for the right call I guess,” said Maimaron. “That put us right down there and kind of changed the momentum of the game and made sure it would stay in our favor in the second half.”
New Bedford (2-1) 0 7 6 6 19
Duxbury (3-0) 14 14 14 0 42
DUX – James Burke 27 pass from Matt O’Keefe (Tucker Hannon kick)
DUX – Joe Guilfoile 33 pass from O’Keefe (Hannon kick)
NB – Myles Medeiros 7 run (Jared Tavares kick)
DUX – O’Keefe 37 run (Hannon kick)
DUX – O’Keefe 1 run (Hannon kick)
DUX – Khai Perry 2 run (Hannon kick)
NB – Jaraud Wood 49 pass from Medeiros (kick failed)
DUX – Perry 8 pass from O’Keefe (Hannon kick)
NB – Medeiros 4 run (rush failed)