DUXBURY — The clock kept ticking, but Abington would not abandon what had kept it in the game in the first place. The Green Wave had a chance to tie, 24 yards away with less than three minutes remaining, and they stayed on the ground. The run game had been their best bet all night, but in the end, the clock became their worst enemy.
After a furious fourth-quarter comeback by Abington, push came to shove, literally, as No. 8 Duxbury came up with a goal-line stand as time expired for a 20-13 win Friday night.
The Green Wave scored a touchdown with 4:38 left in the fourth to make it a one-possession game, and then brought out the hands team for the onside kick. Abington senior Steve Manning recovered the kick at the Duxbury 48, but three plays later, senior Drew Hadley intercepted a pass from quarterback Bryan Dwyer, and it looked like the game was over.
But the Dragons fumbled it back to the Green Wave at the 24-yard line with 2:41 remaining.
Having had success running the ball but not much to show through the air, Abington went to its ground game, even with the clock ticking. Senior running backs Jason Halpin and Al Freeman helped push the Green Wave to the 1-yard line, where they called their final timeout with 13 seconds remaining.
On the next play, Dwyer couldn’t get a handle on the snap. He picked up the ball, but by the time he had it securely in hand, he had nowhere to go but into a sea of Dragon linemen. Seconds later, the clock hit zero, and Abington’s luck ran out.
“We hit [Dwyer] about a yard back and he still almost made it in,” said Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron. “I’m glad we were able to keep him out.”
Early on, it was the Sean McCarthy and Hadley show. McCarthy, at quarterback, and Hadley, at wide receiver, were in sync from the first play from scrimmage, hooking up for a screen pass that went 32 yards. That drive ended in an 11-yard touchdown run from McCarthy.
After Duxbury recovered a fumble later in the quarter, McCarthy went right back to Hadley on the first play. It resulted in a 60-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, putting the Dragons up, 14-0.
Halpin punched home a 2-yard run for a touchdown late in the second quarter, but Duxbury responded before the end of the half. McCarthy was nearly sacked before he threw to a wide-open Hadley in the end zone for the 20-7 lead.
The second half was a defensive battle, no more than in the final minute, when the Dragons came up with one last stop to earn the win.
“It’s a game of inches,” Maimaron said.
Duxbury will have another challenge next week, facing Bridgewater-Raynham at home. Abington hosts Canton.