BRIDGEWATER – Dan Buron didn’t want to be in this position, but after 14th-ranked Bridgewater-Raynham clawed and scrapped to within 2 points of top-ranked Barnstable with four minutes left on Friday night, the Trojans’ coach found himself on the quiet sideline of his own field, wondering if he called the wrong play.
By most accounts, Barnstable was the better team in the 27-25 win, as the Raiders clinched the Old Colony League Title and improved to 8-0.
But after a wild fourth quarter that included two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and a kickoff return for a touchdown, Bridgewater-Raynham (4-4) had its chance to tie the game after Brandon Gallagher scored on a 2-yard touchdown run.
Needing 2 yards to tie the game, Buron called for an option-pass with senior wideout Kevin Wadsworth, who had wobbled off the field in the first half after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone. The Barnstable defense didn’t bite and Wadsworth was sacked.
“I’m questioning myself a little bit,” Buron said. “We were going to fake the sweep, hope he got up, and — I don’t know. I shouldn’t have — I think Kevin was a little nicked up. It was my fault. He tried to execute. He’s a [heck] of a ballplayer.”
After failing to recover an onside kick, the Trojans came up with a huge defensive stop and found themselves on their own 6-yard line with 1:43 to play, but the Barnstable defense spared no quarter.
“I thought we played hard,” Buron said. “They’re better athletes than us. We’re always smaller and slower but the kids are just resilient.”
Barnstable jumped out to a 14-0 lead after senior quarterback Nick Peabody dissected the Trojan defense with ease in two consecutive drives, hitting Dylan Morris on a 35-yard fade for the first touchdown and running the second one in from 2 yards out.
For B-R, the plan was to get Cohen involved early, establishing the passing game before turning to Gallagher and the reliable rushing attack.
Cohen played a strong first half, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wadsworth in the second quarter. Wadsworth, who got up after getting hit in the head, missed the extra point.
Back to work from his own 21-yard line in the third quarter, Cohen dropped back for a screen pass and didn’t see Barnstable linebacker Jason Frieh, who picked it off and ran it to the end zone as Barnstable took the 21-6 lead.
“We went over that play at halftime,” Freih said. “I set up in that lane and he threw it right in my chest.”
After the two teams exchanged touchdowns, the game turned chaotic.
B-R junior Ryan Martin ran back an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Barnstable fumbled the next kickoff.
Cohen turned the ball over two plays later on an interception.
Peabody was then sacked and fumbled the ball over to B-R, which scored on a Gallagher’s 2-yard run, leading to the failed 2-point attempt failed.
Barnstable will again play Lincoln-Sudbury in the playoffs. L-S won, 14-13, in last year’s Division 1A semifinal before losing to Everett in the Super Bowl.