With just less three minutes to play and trailing by a touchdown, host Scituate (7-1) engineered a 98-yard scoring drive to defeat reigning Division 5 state champion Dennis-Yarmouth, 28-27, in the first round of the D5 South sectional on Friday.
Scituate senior quarterback Aidan Sullivan connected with a wide-open Jack Ruble to pull the Sailors within 1. On the ensuing 2-point conversion, using some misdirection, Sullivan darted in for the conversion and the first lead of the night.
“Our quarterback did a great job leading the charge,” said Scituate coach Herb Devine. “I said ‘If we drive down the field and score, we’re going for 2.’ I just felt let’s go for 2 and go for the win and not go to overtime.”
The winning drive came after a big goal-line stand from the Scituate defense. After a defensive holding penalty set up Dennis-Yarmouth at the Scituate 2 yard-line, the Sailors defensive line, anchored by Josh McKeever and Aidan Reidy, stuffed the Dolphins on fourth and goal to take over.
Reidy also had the game’s only sack for minus-16 yards and an interception that set up an earlier Scituate score.
“We stopped the run, but their passing game, they outplayed us for 40 minutes in the game,” said Devine. “Our guys were fortunate to make a play at the end.”
Offense was the big story for both teams, running a combined 118 plays from scrimmage. The Sailors had 56, including 15 on the game’s final drive and seven on a game-tying 90-yard drive in the third quarter.
Dennis-Yarmouth (4-4) looked to be in control after taking a 14-0 lead after a quarter. The Dolphins opened up the scoring 58 seconds into the game on a halfback pass from Geoffrey Jamiel to Michael Gurney for 58 yards.
“That really set the tone for the game and we had to bounce back fast,” said Sullivan, who finished 13 for 25 with 187 yards. “We were just talking about believing in each other because that’s the biggest thing.
The Sailors countered the Dolphins pass-heavy offense with a little ground-and-pound from junior running back Will Sheskey, who amassed 81 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
His last two runs converted a pair of third downs on the final drive.
“The line knew the situation as well as I did,” said Sheskey. “They knew all we needed was a 2-yard push to get the first down. The run was working and we kept pounding it and came out successful.”
Division 1 North
Central Catholic 40, Lexington 9 — AJ Caggianelli had two rushing touchdowns and added a 50-yard interception return as the No. 15 Raiders (6-2) earned the quarterfinal win.
Division 2 North
Lincoln-Sudbury 42, Masconomet 28 — Senior James Dillon ran for 148 yards and three scores for the Warriors (7-1).
North Andover 49, Westford 0 — With three touchdowns from senior quarterback Jake McElroy, the top-seeded Scarlet Knights (8-0) stormed to a 35-0 halftime lead.
McElroy ended the night 6 of 9 for 109 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 36 yards and another two scores.
Division 3 North
Lynn English 35, Concord-Carlisle 33 — English (7-1) stopped the Patriots (5-3) on a potential go-ahead 2-point conversion with 1:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, then again on a potential tying conversion with 17 seconds left in a wild shootout at Manning Field.
‘‘[The defense] made plays when it had to make plays,’’ said English coach Chris Carroll. ‘‘I'm proud of them.’’ Minus star receiver Prince Brown (discipline) and starting back Ishmael Bangura (injury), English followed the lead of senior QB Matt Severance, who was 12-of-16 passing for 208 yards and ran for scores of 2 and 6 yards. He directed a 337-yard attack.
‘‘We love being on offense,’’ Severance said. ‘‘We like the ball in our hands, we think we have the advantage at all times.’’
Tewksbury 35, Billerica 6 — Jay Connolly hit Josh Sughrue and Shane Aylward for 21 and 40-yard touchdown strikes as the No. 13 Redmen (7-1) waltzed past the Indians (2-5).
Division 4 North
Revere 27, North Reading 21 — Senior Darius McNeil ran for 146 yards and two scores and junior Jonathan Murphy rushed and passed for TDs to power the Patriots (5-3) to the upset over North Reading (5-2).
‘‘No one gave us a chance with all the injuries we had this season,’’ said coach Lou Cicatelli, who was minus seven starters to injury. ‘‘I tell the kids, there’s a story — it’s of resiliency,’’ said Cicatelli. ‘‘The captains really stepped up.’’ Murphy scored from 15 yards out and McNeil followed up with a 3-yard rushing score to help give the Patriots a 13-0 lead at the half. Matt Solecki had two TD passes for the Hornets to draw close. But senior Frank Simms had an interception to set up McNeil’s final score with four minutes left. ‘‘I'm very proud of the kids, the coaching staff. We’re having a blast and we’re two games away from the big game,’’ said Cicatelli. “We’re hoping we can keep it rolling.’’
Wayland 42, Burlington 6 — Mason Bolivar fired TD passes of 61 and 42 yards and scored from 18 and 8 yards out for the Warriors (6-2).
Division 5 North
Swampscott 42, Triton 20 — Quarterback Graham Inzana found Dylan January and Jonathan Oriakhi for touchdown passes of 41 and 75 yards, respectively, while also adding a 5-yard touchdown run to lead the top-seeded Big Blue (7-1) to the quarterfinal win.
The hosts led 35-0 at the half.
Division 6 North
Bishop Fenwick 55, Greater Lowell 0 — In the first half, Corey Bright was 7 of 9 for 184 yards and four touchdowns as the Crusaders (7-1) advanced to play top seed Stoneham.
Stoneham 52, Essex Tech 15 — Christos Argyropoulos rushed touchdowns of 61, 2, 43, and 25 yards to power the top-seeded Spartans (8-0) to the win.
Division 7 North
Latin Academy 29, East Boston 8 — Sophomore Zach Maffeo tossed three TD passes to senior Ryan Nguyen to lead the Dragons (5-3).
St. Mary’s 49, Georgetown 6 — The Spartans (5-2) capitalized on a pair of Royal fumbles near the goal line in the first quarter, scoring on each ensuing drive in building a 36-0 halftime cushion in a quarterfinal at Manning Field.
‘‘It was the difference in the game,’’ said St. Mary’s first-year coach Sean Driscoll. ‘‘Defensively we really stepped it up in the first quarter.’’ Jalen Echevarria (143 yards rushing, 2 TDs) fueled a 45-carry, 364-yard rushing attack. He also hauled in a 43-yard scoring reception from Derek O'Leary. ‘‘That’s what we do,’’ said Echevarria. ‘‘We just ground and pound, and teams can’t stop that.’’
Division 8 North
Boston English/New Mission 42, Matignon/Saint Joseph Prep 20 — On nine touches, Takahari Hobbs piled up 210 yards from scrimmage, including a 64-touchdown reception for the Eagles (7-0). On the ground, he totaled 164 yards and three TDs on 8 carries for English, which broke the game open with a 22-point fourth quarter.
Pope John 40, Tech Boston 8 — Quarterback Anthony Mejia passed for 168 yards and touchdowns of 50 and 85 yards on four completions while also rushing for a score to power the top-seeded Tigers (8-0) in Revere.
Division 1 South
Catholic Memorial 42, Attleboro 19 — Barrett Pratt was 18-of-23 passing for 246 yards with two TDs for the No. 3 Knights (6-2).
Needham 14, Newton North 7 — Odhari Hibberts punched in a 3-yard scoring run in the second quarter and Tyler Reid scored from 14 yards out in the third quarter to carry the Rockets (6-2) to the home win.
Xaverian 17, BC High 0 — Mike Masse scored from 2 and 6 yards out as the No. 2 Hawks (6-1) earned a quarterfinal win.
Division 2 South
Mansfield 21, Bridgewater-Raynham 7 — Vinnie Holmes ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and added 14 tackles defensively to power the top-seeded Hornets (7-1).
Division 3 South
Duxbury 35, Stoughton 14 — Senior quarterback John Roberts threw for four touchdowns, fueling the top-seeded Dragons (8-0) over the Black Knights.
Junior Will Prouty hauled in two TD passes, and Tim Landolfi, Jack Jacobson, and Ryan Prudente added a score apiece.
Duxbury will host defending South champion North Attleborough in a semifinal.
North Attleborough 21, Whitman-Hanson 13 — Brendan McHugh started (18 yards) and finished (5 yards) the scoring with runs as the Red Rocketeers (6-2) pulled out the win in the fourth quarter.
Walpole 27, Plymouth North 7 — Will Jarvis threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns on 14-of-19 passing and added a rushing touchdown to lead the Rebels (6-2).
Division 4 South
Dighton-Rehoboth 52, Pembroke 6 — Owen Arden hauled in a 10-yard touchdown reception and added a 47-yard interception return as the Falcons (6-2) rolled. Joe Carrera scored on three short runs.
Hopkinton 28, Nauset 0 — Senior Matt Brown ran for 119 yards and a TD on 15 carries and senior Ryan Kelleher had a passing and rushing touchdown for the Hillers (5-3).
Division 5 South
Canton 27, Hanover 13 — In a stellar two-way performance, junior Kyle Fitzgerald rushed for two touchdowns and recorded 10 tackles for the Bulldogs (7-1).
Falmouth 22, Foxborough 14 — Jake Murphy ran for 140 yards and two short scores as the No. 17 Clippers (7-0) remained unbeaten with the quarterfinal win.
Holliston 42, Somerset Berkley 0 — Tristan Benson scampered for four touchdowns, headlined by a 62-yarder in the first quarter as the 18th-ranked Panthers (7-0) pounded out the quarterfinal.
Division 6 South
Dedham 34, Apponequet 14 — Ryan Flaherty was 20-of-21 passing for 271 yards and three touchdown passes as the Marauders (7-1) cruised the quarterfinal win.
Medway 25, Norwell 16 — Junior QB Drew Plunkett set up the first touchdown — a 5-yard blast from Nick Sheehan — with a 32-yard run and connected with Liam Hoye on a pass play to set up his own 1-yard keeper as the Mustangs (6-0) rolled to an 18-0 halftime lead to present coach Chris Baker with his first playoff win.
Justin Pratt scored on the first drive of the third quarter. Matt and John Stout both scored for the Clippers in the third quarter, but the Medway defense held the rest of the way.
Old Rochester 27, Bishop Stang 22 — With the Spartans (4-4) closing in on a once-comfortable three-possession Bulldog lead, Desmond Dias scored from 14 yards out in the fourth quarter for 8-0 ORR.
Division 7 South
Cohasset 40, Southeastern 6 — Senior Gray Thomas ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Skippers (5-2).
Nantucket 34, Case 7 — Junior Devonte Usher had four rushing touchdowns — including scores of 52 and 82 yards — to power the Whalers (6-2) to the quarterfinal win in Swansea.
Division 8 South
Upper Cape 17, Old Colony 7 — In their second game against Old Colony in six days, Kemrin Glover and Juzary Salim scored on 17- and 7-yard runs and Anthony Georgeopolis (3 sacks) anchored the defense for the Rams (6-2).
Arlington 41, Malden Catholic 20 — Adam Bowler passed for three touchdowns and added three more on the ground as the Spy Ponders (3-5) rolled.
Arlington Catholic 43, Mystic Valley 0 — Senior Riley Donovan threw for 150 yards and three TDs for the Cougars (1-6).
KIPP Academy 12, Brighton 8 — Tomi Oladunjoye scored the winning touchdown with two seconds left to lead the Panthers (4-4).
Marshfield 21, Quincy 12 — Robby Violissi powered home touchdown rushes of 2, 12, and 5 yards for the Rams (3-5).
Norton 23, Middleborough 0 — Colin Cochrane’s 25-yard pick-six and Jahvon Morson’s safety keyed a defensive shutout for the Lancers (3-5).
South Shore Voc-Tech 20, Bristol-Plymouth 14 — Nick Podgurski threw a touchdown and then rushed for the winning score in the fourth quarter to lead the Vikings (2-6).
St. Sebastian’s 37, Brooks 6 — Bryce Gallagher had two rushing touchdowns, added a 50-yard interception return, and QB Billy Seidl sprinted 65 yards for a score for the ISL-leading Arrows (6-0).
Winthrop 15, Shawsheen 0 — Sophomore Bobby Hubert had a pair of 2-yard scoring runs for the Vikings (3-5).
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com