DUXBURY — All season long, as linebacker Joe Gooley has been Duxbury’s unstoppable Hummer, running back Joe Gooley has been its vintage Rolls-Royce, rarely used but always special.
“In a game like this,” Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron said, grinning, “we knew it was time to take him out of the garage and ride him.”
Gooley, while dominating on defense and special teams like he usually does, had perhaps his best game ever as a running back. The senior captain racked up 12 carries for 93 yards. He had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD, igniting the second-seeded Dragons to a 38-13 thumping of third-seeded Hingham in the Division 3 South semifinals on Friday.
Duxbury’s Renaissance man dabbled in many ventures, but his most noticeable contributions came on offense, as he made defenders fall like dominoes.
“Gooley looks like he’s running at a different speed than everyone else on the field,” Maimaron said. “He’s a special player.”
Though Gooley wasn’t the team’s feature back all year, he was used on occasion. The flashes of brilliance were there, but they came in small doses as Maimaron didn’t want to risk injury or overuse.
On Friday, though, Maimaron knew there was no more reason to wait. The Dragons had only scored a combined 23 points in their last two wins — which were by 1 and 2 points — and they needed a jolt on offense from a familiar face.
“All I had to do was miss a safety and I was gone,” Gooley said. “I didn’t really have anyone to take me down at the line of scrimmage.”
Gooley said during the week he practiced half with the offense and half with the defense. He also sprinkled in his usual special teams reps, and his diligence showed when he pinned Hingham at the 1 on a punt.
It was a little bit of everything from Gooley, and the Dragons know they’ll need that same production next Friday night against North Attleboro in the South finals.
“We’re on to next week,” Gooley said, “and I can’t wait to play again.”Trevor Hass can be reached at email@example.com.