Fast Start, Big Finish For Barnstable
By: Tom Moran Jr.
The Barnstable High football team made itself right at home at its home away from home by outlasting visiting New Bedford 38-29 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy field last Friday.
With Leo Shields Field still under construction, the Red Raiders are scheduled to play three home games at the MMA facility and even though they came away with the victory, they did not have an easy time pushing past the Whalers to up their season’s record to 3-2. The Whalers proved to be a very formidable foe in the high-scoring non-league affair that wasn’t really decided until Barnstable running back Dennis Reddy rambled 67 yards for the game’s final touchdown with 1:09 left to play.
The evening got off to a great start for the Red Raiders as they stunned the Whalers with two quick touchdowns and opened up a 16-0 lead in the first 5:29 of the first quarter.
The Red Raiders needed only one try to get on the scoreboard as quarterback Doug Crook Jr. found a wide-open Matt Delaney for a 71-yard touchdown pass on Barnstable’s first play from scrimmage. A breakdown in the Whalers’ pass coverage left Delaney uncovered and the senior wideout hauled in Crook’s pass at the NB 30 and loped into the end zone. Crook then teamed with Jordan Henderson on the PAT conversion to make it an 8-0 game with just :18 gone in the game.
The Whalers went nowhere on their first possession and the Red Raiders again needed just one play to score as Henderson got behind the New Bedford defensive backs and pulled down a 45-yard scoring strike from Crook on the first play of their second offensive possession. Reddy ran the ball in on the conversion and with just 5:29 gone in the game, the Red Raiders had a 16-0 lead and looked to be ready to turn the contest into a rout.
The rout idea proved to be a no-go as the Whalers cashed in on a Barnstable miscue to pare down the Red Raiders’ lead.
After a Red Raider punt attempt from their own end zone went awry, the Whalers got the ball at the BHS 2 and halfback Phito Gondre scored on a one-yard plunge to cut the Barnstable lead to 16-6.
The Red Raiders had two chances to counter the Whaler touchdown but an interception in the end zone and a lost fumble kept the lead right where it was but not for long.
After recovering the fumble at their own 29, the Whalers needed just five plays to cut further into the BHS lead as Gondre ripped off a 56-yard scoring run and then added the two-point conversion to make it a 16-14 game with 6:15 remaining in the half.
The Whaler defense kept the momentum on their team’s side by forcing the Red Raiders into a three-and-out on their next possession and the New Bedford offense did likewise when a 62-yard pass play set up an eight-yard touchdown carry by Gondre that gave the visitors their first lead of the game at 20-16 with 4:04 left in the half.
The Whalers then converted on the two-point conversion to up their lead to 22-16 and that advantage was still in place when the half came to a close.
It was the Barnstable defensive unit that finally got the offense back in gear. After Josiah Dulak put the Whalers in a must-pass situation by sacking NB quarterback Myles Medeiros, another big pass rush resulted in an interception by Red Raider cornerback Alex Milus.
Milus’s 31-yard return gave the Red Raiders a first down at the Whaler 26 and four plays later, Crook called his own number on a sweep around the right side and scored from four yards out to knot the game at 22-all. When Crook and Delaney hooked up on the PAT conversion, the Red Raiders were back on top 24-22 with 9:18 left to play.
The Whalers threatened on the ensuing possession but big defensive plays by defensive tackle Jason Frieh, linebackers Nolan Hickey and Ryan Litchman and safety David Kennedy brought the New Bedford drive to a halt at the Barnstable 20-yard line.
The Red Raiders didn’t stay in the shadows of their own goal posts for long though as Crook hit Delaney on a crossing pattern and great block by fellow wideout Mike Holmes led to a 58-yard gain that was followed by a 15-yard TD jaunt by Reddy.
A crushing block by tackle Ben Pogue allowed Reddy to go untouched into the end zone and Nick Peabody made an acrobatic grab of a Crook pass on the conversion attempt to up the Barnstable lead to 32-22 with 2:50 remaining in the game.
The Whalers were down but not out and they let the Red Raiders know that when they put together a 67-yard touchdown drive that took a little more than a minute to complete.
Halfback Marcel DePina capped the drive with his five-yard touchdown run and the PAT kick made it 32-29 with 1:21 still to be played.
Any thoughts of miracle comeback for the Whalers sailed down the Cape Cod Canal and into the night when Reddy broke loose for his game-clinching touchdown run.
Leading the BHS offense were Crook Jr., 11-21, 288 yards, three TDs (two pass, one run); Reddy, 16 carries, 151 yards, two TDs; Henderson, five catches, 136 yards, one TD; and Delaney, two catches, 128 yards, one TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Red Raiders were led by Andrew Ellis with eight tackles; Frieh with five tackles and four assists; Mudie with four tackles, three assists; and a quarterback sack; Litchman with four tackles and three assists; Milus with four tackles and two assists; Kennedy with five tackles and Hickey and Dulak with one quarterback sack each.
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