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MIAA DIVISION 4 FOOTBALL SEMIFINALS

Patriot League rivals Scituate and Duxbury earn the ticket for a rematch, for Division 4 championship

With seven minutes to go in a tie game, Scituate was hoping to put together a lengthy, clock-draining drive that ended in points.

Keegan Sullivan had other plans.

The senior do-it-all athlete broke a 66-yard game-winning touchdown run with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter to hand the top-seeded Sailors a 21-14 victory over No. 4 Grafton in the Division 4 state semifinals at Rocky Marciano Stadium in Brockton.

“We kind of had that all year where we just battle and battle and battle and figure out a way to pull out a ‘W’,” Scituate coach Herb Devine said. “You have to give the ball to your better players in the fourth quarter and Keegan stepped up big time.”

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Scituate will now face Patriot League rival Duxbury for the Division 4 championship at Gillette Stadium (TBA). The Dragons prevailed, 27-26, in their league matchup Sept. 17.

Sullivan had just 35 rushing yards through the first three quarters, but finished with 144 on 11 carries, combining with senior D’Kari Rodrigues (11 carries, 124 yards) to lead a powerful Sailors ground game. Scituate had just enough juice to overcome Grafton quarterback Tyler Dimond, who spent the afternoon scrambling in the backfield and extending plays with his legs, finishing with 151 passing yards and 76 rushing yards (2 TDs) as he rallied the Gators (10-1) from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter.

“We came out with a lot of energy and then they matched it,” Sullivan said. “They were giving us some different looks on defense. We made some adjustments and started pounding the ball and it worked out for us.”

Scituate (10-1), which snapped Grafton’s 12-game win streak, advances to the state championship for the first time since 2018, when Sullivan was a freshman playing sparingly during a 35-14 Division 5 win over Nipmuc.

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“It’s awesome,” Sullivan said of making a return trip as a senior. “Being able to do it with all the kids I’ve grown up with playing and this team is just awesome.”

Duxbury 38, Foxborough 21 — Fueled once again by a stellar performance from junior quarterback Matt Festa, the second-seeded Dragons (9-1) pulled away from the third-seeded Warriors (9-2) at Veterans Memorial Stadium Quincy to earn a date with top-seeded Scituate at Gillette Stadium in the Division 4 Super Bowl.

Festa ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more, helping Duxbury erupt for 28 second-half points after falling behind 14-0 early and 14-10 at the half. He finished the night 14-of-24 passing for 261 yards and added 11 carries for 56 yards on the ground.

“It’s starting to just become normal,” junior wide receiver Chris Walsh said. “He’s putting up those stats every game. He’s really one of a kind.”

Walsh, not to be outdone by his classmate, reeled in a spectacular 31-yard one-handed grab in the fourth quarter that Festa called the best play he’s ever seen. Festa then plunged it in from 1 yard out to extend the cushion to 31-21 with 10:21 remaining and added a 15-yard score five minutes later to put the game out of reach.

Just like last week against Danvers, the Dragons fell behind early and never panicked. Foxborough workhorse Dylan Gordon, whom Duxbury coach Matt Landolfi compared to Eric Dickerson, erupted for 73 yards in the first quarter and added a 2-yard score early in the second, then the Dragons kept him in check after that.

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Dennen Sullivan drilled a 32-yard field goal and Festa ran it in from 6 yards out late in the half, then Festa found a wide open James Anderson for a 62-yard strike and Matt Ciesielski for a 5-yard score in the third. The Warriors responded with a 59-yard bomb from Thomas Marcucella to Rashaad Way to make it 24-21, but the Dragons closed strong to advance to Gillette.

“I’m just really happy for these kids,” Landolfi said. “They’ve worked really hard, and I’m proud of them for everything they’ve done on and off the field. They’ve handled themselves incredibly well.”

Correspondent Trevor Hass reported from Quincy.