YARMOUTH — In a game featuring two of the best offenses in Division 4, it was the Dennis-Yarmouth defense that stole the show on Friday night.
The Dolphins limited a potent Holliston attack to just one score, forcing five interceptions, as the Dolphins defeated the 12th-ranked Panthers, 26-7, in the Division 4 South final.
D-Y (8-2) moves on to the Division 4 state semifinals next week in Brockton to face the winner of Saturday’s game between Pentucket and Bedford.
“We have been working our butts off since January in the weight room working hard and our goal is to get to Gillette and we are on that path now,” said Michael Dunn, who had the go-ahead score, a 11-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Coming into the game, Holliston (8-2) had not scored less than 30 points, but the D-Y defense picked a great night for its best performance when its offense was not clicking as usual.
“The defense worked their butts off. They had a chip on their shoulder because it’s always about the offense and they wanted to step up and they did,” said Dennis-Yarmouth coach Paul Funk.
Despite four interceptions of Holliston quarterback Matt Jeye in the first half, D-Y held just a 7-0 lead at the break. With the spread offense sputtering, Funk changed things up with a rush-happy formations.
The adjustment paid off in the fourth quarter when a 74-yard drive, in which seven of the eight plays were runs, ended with the score by Dunn, which broke a 7-7 tie.
“Our offensive line has been good all year so we thought let’s get behind them and put this thing away. We were going to win this thing on the ground and we did it,” said Funk.
Spencer Tyler added a 13-yard TD run, and Jake Pawlina scored from 29 yards out with less than two minutes left.
The defense shut down the passing game in part because Dunn held Holliston’s top receiver, Zach Elkinson, to zero catches.
“Michael Dunn as a press corner, I don’t know if there is a better one in the state because that kid as good as they say he is. Dunn shut him down. We didn’t even double cover [Elkinson], we kept Dunn on him all game,” said Funk.
Jeye, who led Division 4 with 23 TD passes, was 10 of 37 for 143 yards — with five interceptions.
“I think it was just that Dennis-Yarmouth is very good defensively. They were physical with us up front in the run game, in the pass game,” said Holliston coach Todd Kiley.
As the D-Y players received the Division 4 South trophy following the game, the players refused to touch the hardware, yelling, “this isn’t the one we want.”
“We want the other win at Gillette,” said Dunn.