The boldest decision coach Dan Buron made in Bridgewater-Raynham’s Division 2 South semifinal win over Natick on Friday night wasn’t actually intended to be a decision at all.
Already up, 21-7, with less than a minute to go in the first half after a 71-yard touchdown scamper by Devante Greaves (27 carries, 198 yards, 3 TDs), the Trojans went for what looked like a surprise onside kick that went off a Natick player’s leg and was recovered by a B-R player.
A few plays later, the Trojans scored again for a three-touchdown halftime lead, points that turned out to be important as they fought off a RedHawks rally to prevail, 42-21, and punch their ticket to a second straight sectional final.
“That was huge, because we were playing great but I think we get complacent — it’s happened all year,” Buron said of that final minute of the first half. “Luckily, [Greaves] breaks that, and then . . . it was not an onside kick, we just hit the kid and things went our way. But thank God, because that was the difference in score for a while.”
The Trojans (8-1) dominated time of possession to start the contest, taking a 14-0 lead and holding the RedHawks (7-1) to just 13 yards on their first three drives, before Natick managed to get itself off the canvas. Christian D’Antonio found Max Ferrucci deep down the left seam heading for the post for a 40-yard strike, setting up Malik Williams’s 3-yard scoring plunge two plays later and cutting B-R’s lead in half with 1:08 to go in the first half.
But B-R struck a vicious counterpunch. The first play of the Trojans’ ensuing drive went to paydirt, Greaves shooting up the right side for a 71-yard score with 47 seconds to go. The Trojans recovered the onside kick, and five plays later made it 28-7 on a 25-yard tip-toe catch by Jeff Ciccio at the back pylon with just 10 seconds before the break.
Down, 35-7, in the third, Natick got two quick scores, first a 35-yard strike from D’Antonio to Ferrucci then a 6-yard D’Antonio keeper in which the senior initially appeared to have been stopped on forward progress, only to break free into the end zone.
Division 1 North
Central Catholic 45, Methuen 21 — Senior Max Faro scored twice from 10 yards out in the first half as the second-ranked Raiders (8-0) opened a 31-0 lead in the semifinals.
Division 2 North
North Andover 35, Chelmsford 33 — Junior Jake McElroy (three passing touchdowns, two rushing) led the Scarlet Knights (8-1) past the Lions (4-5).
Lincoln-Sudbury 52, Masconomet 21 — Senior Andrew Marshall racked up 180 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the top-seeded Warriors (9-0) in the semifinal romp.
Division 3 North
Lynn English 34, Billerica 15 — Junior Matt Severance (3-of-5 passing, 187 yards) threw a pair of TD passes — including strikes of 99 and 49 yards to Tyshon Anderson — and rushed for two more for the unbeaten Bulldogs (9-0). English registered two sacks and recovered its own onside kick.
Division 4 North
Melrose 27, North Reading 26 — Issac Seide had three rushing touchdowns to lead the No. 17 Red Raiders (9-0), who denied North Reading’s 2-point conversion with 22 seconds left to win the game. Jake Bedell had three touchdowns for the Hornets (6-3) in the loss.
Division 5 North
Lynnfield 26, Newburyport 7 — Senior Nick Kinnon and Matt Mortellite had two touchdowns each for the Pioneers (8-1). Kinnon caught an 8-yard pass from Mortellite and had a 95-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
Watertown 21, Somerville 20 — Conor Kennelly caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining at Dilboy Stadium, then nailed his third extra point to give the Raiders (5-4) their second straight playoff win on the road.
Division 6 North
Stoneham 44, Shawsheen 39 — Kevin McShane scored on an 8-yard run with 1:52 remaining and the Spartans (7-2) then denied Shawsheen on fourth down to pull out the semifinal win.
Tre Pignone (18 carries, 190 yards) scored four total touchdowns to pace Stoneham. Shawsheen quarterback Cody Sughrue threw for four touchdowns and ran for another one.
Division 7 North
St. Mary’s 46, Greater Lawrence 0 — The 15th-ranked Spartans (9-0) put 38 points on the board in the first half on the way to the semifinal win at Manning Field. In slightly more than two quarters under center, QB Calvin Johnson ran for more than 50 yards and three touchdowns on just a handful of carries. His lone completion was a 37-yard touchdown.
Brighton 28, Latin Academy 6 — In the teams’ second meeting in three weeks, William Jean threw two touchdown passes and Jose Vargas rushed for 136 yards and another score to power the Bengals (6-3) into the final. Quincy Taylor snared a TD pass and recovered a blocked punt for another.
Division 8 North
Cathedral 28, Tech Boston 14 — Senior Khamal Headen supplied an 80-yard TD run for the Panthers (8-1).
Division 1 South
Xaverian 28, Needham 0 — Junior back Michael Saliba rushed for two scores as the Hawks (5-4) shut out the Rockets to advance to semifinals against Catholic Memorial.
Division 3 South
Duxbury 38, Hingham 13 — Senior captain Joe Gooley racked up three touchdowns as the second-seeded Dragons (8-1) coasted by the Harbormen and into the sectional final against North Attleborough.
North Attleborough 35, Stoughton 12 — Chad Peterson had three rushing touchdowns for the No. 10 Red Rocketeers (8-1).
Division 4 South
Hopkinton 27, Dartmouth 0 — Shane Cooney and Luke D'Aloia each had an interception return for a touchdown to lead the Hillers (9-0), who recorded their fifth shutout of the season.
Milton 20, Silver Lake 14 — Junior Luke McMenamin completed 30-yard TD passes to Isaiah Woodley and William Crowley and junior back Smith Charles ran for 104 yards and a 7-yard TD in the third quarter for the Wildcats (7-1).
Division 5 South
Dennis-Yarmouth 43, Foxborough 7 — Rob Evans (eight rushes, 151 yards) scored three touchdowns as the top-seeded Dolphins (9-0) dominated Foxborough. Jonah Arsenault pitched in with 81 yards on 13 carries with a pair of scores.
Scituate 38, Medfield 21 — Aidan Sullivan was nearly perfect, completing 19 of his 21 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns to propel the Sailors (8-1) to the semifinal win.
A 15-play, 93-yard drive in the second quarter was the turning point for Scituate, with Andrew Blanchard (28 carries, 105 yards, 2 TDs) delivering a 10-yard scoring run.
Division 6 South
Old Rochester 12, Rockland 8 — Will Garcia (7 yards) and Harry Smith (6 yards) scored on short runs to power the Bulldogs.
Division 7 South
Abington 28, Nantucket 13 — Senior Mark Kilmain (two touchdowns) led a grinding ground game as the visiting Green Wave (6-3) knocked off the second-seeded Whalers (7-2) on the island.
Division 8 South
Wareham 40, Sacred Heart 8 — The Vikings (8-1) rushed to a 40-0 halftime bulge in the semifinal, with Elijah McAllister and Erik Zine scoring twice. Zine also had an interception.