If this was supposed to be the biggest hurdle standing between Duxbury and a second consecutive championship, maybe the barriers need to be raised.
Because the Dragons are leaping them with ease.
Host Duxbury handled Lincoln-Sudbury in Saturday afternoon’s Division 1 East semifinal, an 18-6 rout in which the clock never stopped running in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors had come as close as any team in Massachusetts to beating Duxbury this season, losing, 10-9, in late April and many believed Lincoln-Sudbury had the best chance of preventing the Dragons (22-2) from storming to another state title.
Duxbury coach Chris Sweet told his players to be ready for a battle. They told him it would be a blowout. “And their efforts today made sure this wasn’t a close game,’’ Sweet said.
The Dragons extended their in-state winning streak to 36 games.
“I honestly thought [the L-S players] believed they had a chance,’’ said Duxbury senior defenseman Matt O’Keefe. “Until they stepped on the field with us and saw we were going at a different level than they were. By the end of the game they were dead quiet.’’
It’s not as if the Warriors (16-6) didn’t have the weapons. Juniors Henry Guild and Dan Delaney had the attacking unit clicking of late, averaging almost 14 goals over the last six games.
But the Dragons’ defense, led by senior Reilly Naton and a trio of All-Americans (James Burke, Max Randall, and O’Keefe), were relentless in forcing turnovers and keeping the Warriors from getting many clean looks on goalie Henry Buonagurio.
And L-S had no answer for Duxbury’s slick ball movement and explosive offense, which got goals from nine players. Even with a 10-goal lead after three quarters, the Dragons kept pressing for more.
The Dragons will play in its 11th straight title game Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium (they’ve won eight), lining up against Needham at 7:45.
Needham 12, BC High 7- Despite holding the Eagles to only four goals through three quarters, the Rockets found themselves ahead by only two entering the fourth quarter of its Division 1 semifinal.
Within a matter of eight seconds, two scores put Needham ahead for good and pushed it to the championship game with a 12-7 victory.
Moments after Mark Riley scored to give Needham a 7-4 lead in the final stanza, teammate Timmy Parlato won the ensuing draw, raced up field and sniped a goal eight seconds later to give Needham a comfortable four-goal cushion.
“Big sigh of relief when that happened,’’ Needham coach Dave Wainwright said. “When Timmy has big moments like that, becomes that playmaker for us, we know things are going in the right direction.’’
From the opening draw things were going the right direction for the hosts, as goals from Mikey Panepinto, Riley, and Jamie McGill forced the Eagles to take a timeout at the 5:28 mark of the first quarter. BC High got two quick ones back, but a late tally from Nico Panepinto gave Needham a 4-2 lead after 12 minutes.
The second quarter featured tighter defense as Needham’s James Caruso and BC High’s Alex O’Brien were the only players to score. Wainwright praised his senior goalie Lucas Davis, who made 13 stops in the victory.
The third period was another defensive stalemate as goals from Riley and BC High’s Corey Davidson made it 6-4 entering the fourth quarter.
After the back-to-back scores from Riley and Parlato, Davidson scored to cut it to 8-5 with 8:47 remaining, however Needham got two back from Nico Panepinto and McGill for a 10-5 lead.
Wellesley 9, Hingham 7 - Wellesley survived a wild finish in the Division 2 East semifinals against Hingham to advance to the title game vs. Concord-Carlisle Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Raiders thought they scored on an empty cage with under two minutes to go, but the ball had actually hit the side netting. When they began making substitutions assuming they had scored, they instead picked up three penalties for too many men on the field. Hingham rallied to score twice, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an 8-1 Wellesley run that extended over three quarters.