NORTH DIGHTON — At 5 feet 6 inches and 150 pounds, Old Rochester running back Darien Dumond isn’t the prototypical goal-line back.
But with their game against host Dighton-Rehoboth tied with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs facing a second and goal from the 5-yard line, Dumond showed toughness beyond his size.
The sophomore was hit at the 3-yard line but kept churning his legs, driving the pile and backing toward the end zone before falling over the goal line for the go-ahead score as Old Rochester stayed unbeaten with a 35-28 win over the Falcons on Friday afternoon.
“That’s the play that we can show our younger kids, our freshmen and sophomores, when they come into the program,” Old Rochester coach Henry Quinlan said. “This is what hard work and lifting weights and believing does for you. It was just a great effort.”
The win was the first for the Bulldogs (5-0) over Dighton-Rehoboth since 2008.
The Falcons (4-2) had a chance to tie it on their final possession, but Bulldogs senior Chris Demers picked off Nathan Kowalski’s pass near midfield with 2:45 remaining to close out the game.
“That’s the class of the league,” Quinlan said of 2012 South Coast Large champion Dighton-Rehoboth, “and you beat them, that says a lot about your program. I’m very proud of our kids.”
Dighton-Rehoboth led, 28-21, at the start of the fourth, but Old Rochester marched 62 yards in six plays, capped by senior Nolan Bergeron’s 1-yard quarterback sneak to knot the score with 8:36 to go.
Bergeron finished with three rushing touchdowns, while senior Richard Phillips carried 25 times for 229 yards and a score. Dumond had 94 yards on 17 carries and had to step in because two running backs were inactive for the game.
Quinlan said this summer was the first offseason of mandatory lifting sessions for the Bulldogs as he tried to instill a higher level of commitment from his players.
“What we’re selling is if you work hard, believe in each other and love each other, good things happen,” he said. “I’m so happy for these kids.”
Dighton-Rehoboth got on the board first on a 1-yard run by Norman Manchester.
And after Old Rochester responded with a Bergeron score, Kyle Rose took the ensuing kickoff 76 yards to put the hosts up, 14-7, with 3:02 left in the first.
But the Falcons couldn’t stop the Bulldog rushing attack, as Phillips broke off a 50-yard run to set Old Rochester up inside the Dighton-Rehoboth 10-yard line. Bergeron finished off the drive on the next play with his second rushing touchdown.
Phillips gave the Bulldogs a 21-14 lead at the half with a 9-yard score.