WAREHAM — With five all-league players lost to graduation and only seven lettermen returning, Dighton-Rehoboth figured to have a tough time in 2012.
It turns out the ones having a tough time are the Falcons’ opponents.
In a matchup of the top teams in the South Coast Conference, Dighton-Rehoboth shut down Wareham’s rushing attack to defeat the Vikings, 21-8, Friday night at Spillane Field.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these kids,” said Dighton-Rehoboth coach Dave Driscoll. “So many of them are starting for the first time on varsity, whether they’re seniors, juniors, or sophomores.”
The Vikings, who had averaged a league-best 28.5 points per game, were held to 153 yards and only one score on eight possessions.
“For us to hold them to 8 points, that was it right there,” Driscoll said. “I really think to beat Wareham you have to stop their running game explosiveness.”
The Dighton-Rehoboth defense set the tone on the opening possession, stopping the Vikings on fourth down inside D-R territory. The Falcons then drove 68 yards on 11 plays, taking 5:51 off the clock. On the first play of the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Nathan Kowalski (6 of 8, 131 yards, 2 TDs) lofted a 31-yard pass that Paul Costa caught over the shoulder for a 7-0 lead.
After back-to-back punts, the visitors struck for another big play through the air. Kyle Rose got open behind the Wareham defense and caught a 55-yard pass from Kowalski for a 14-0 Dighton-Rehoboth lead at halftime.
The Vikings (7-2, 5-1) took the opening series of the second half and got their offense going. Charles Tranfaglia finished a seven-play, 62-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run, and Darien Fernandez added the 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8.
After the squads traded punts, the Falcons put the game away with a lengthy scoring drive. Starting at their own 17, Dighton-Rehoboth ate 6:50 off the clock and marched 83 yards, aided by Kowalski passes of 27 and 16 yards. Mike Mello capped the 14-play sequence with a 3-yard run for a 21-8 lead with 3:35 remaining.
Costa sealed the victory with an interception two plays later.