MARSHFIELD — Nearly 10 minutes after his final game as the coach at Marshfield High, Lou Silva stood amid a sea of supporters and smiled.
His grandchildren, whom he regrettably won’t be able to coach, clung to his arms and his players strolled by, one by one, to hug him.
The Rams (6-4) had just held off Duxbury (8-3), 18-15, on Thanksgiving Day, and the typically effervescent Silva was at a loss for words.
“I don’t know how to thank this community for what they did to get me this final year,” the 37-year coach said. “It wasn’t going to happen until the community came behind me. I could easily do another 10-15 years. I love what I’m doing, I’m in good health and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The win was Marshfield’s fifth straight in the series, and it gave the Rams a 17-14-2 edge overall. Thursday’s matchup featured plenty of drama — as Marshfield fended off a furious Duxbury comeback — but the day belonged to Silva.
“It’s absolutely bittersweet,” Silva said, shaking his head. “It’s the last time on this field.”
It was a fitting sendoff, but for a while that storybook scenario was in jeopardy. Duxbury, which trailed, 18-7, with 2:53 left in the third quarter, stormed back to nearly take the lead.
Joe Gooley (14 carries, 105 yards) scored from 1 yard and converted a 2-point conversion, then Duxbury forced a three-and-out and marched into Rams’ territory. When it needed a stop, though, on fourth and 4 from its 40 with 1:34 left, the Marshfield defense delivered.
“That epitomized a Duxbury-Marshfield Thanksgiving game right there,” Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron said. “Right down to the wire.”
Marshfield leaned on its defense most of the game, intercepting quarterback John Roberts twice to take a 12-7 halftime lead. Rob Violessi forced a fumble, then Nick Banks’s pick set up a 1-yard plunge from Eddie Kielty as the Rams capitalized on Duxbury’s miscues.
They also executed some trickery, when Owen Coleman hit quarterback Jackson Phinney on a 46-yard reverse pass early in the third. Duxbury made its run, but the Rams never let the Dragons surge in front late.
“Lots of memories are coming back,” senior Jack McNeil said. “We definitely wanted to pull it out for [Coach Silva].”
More photos from Thursday’s Marshfield-Suxbury game: