BURLINGTON — Huddled at midfield, the Burlington players bowed down in prayer after a 33-6 win over previously undefeated Wakefield on Friday night.
They had a lot to be thankful for.
The Red Devils (6-1, 2-0 Middlesex Freedom) beat the defending league champion Warriors (6-1, 1-1) for the first since 2007.
“We were able to control both sides of the line, offensively and defensively,” said coach Shawn Maguire. “That was the difference in the game.”
Entering Friday, Wakefield had allowed only 44 points, but a physical Burlington team executed perfectly.
The Red Devils wasted no time taking control, receiving the opening kickoff and driving 68 yards in just six plays. Explosive running back Marcus O’Diah ran it in from 14 yards to put the Devils on the board.
After forcing Wakefield to go three-and-out, the Devils pounded the ball with O’Diah and Anthony Cruz. Quarterback Jimmy Goober connected with Jirair Manoukian for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The Warriors’ ineffectiveness on offense allowed Burlington to control the clock with its dual-threat run game. Cruz punched in a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give Burlington a 20-0 lead at the half.
In just two quarters, O’Diah and Cruz carried the ball a combined 33 times, picking up 147 yards and scoring twice.
Wakefield drove for the majority of the third quarter but was stopped on fourth down, leading to another touchdown run by Cruz.
Wakefield eventually got in the end zone as quarterback Michael Miller connected with Alec Brown for a 29-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Burlington answered with O’Diah’s second touchdown.
O’Diah and Cruz also made some big plays on the other side of the ball.
“They’re both great football players,” said Maguire. “Marcus had a great tip down in the end zone and he’s a very good tackler. Cruz is an impact player all over the place.”
With his 158 rushing yards, on Friday night, O’Diah has more than 1,000 this season. Last week in its 20-18 win against Melrose, he surpassed the 4,000 career rushing yard mark.
Going forward, Burlington will rely on its versatile backs to lead the way.
“We don’t want to take the foot off the pedal,” Maguire said. “We’re going to keep running, keep hitting, and doing everything we do all week long to prepare. If we have a letdown someone will beat us. We can’t have a letdown.”