BRIDGEWATER – A Friday night home opener for the high school football team with a matchup against a fellow Division 2 playoff hopeful had Bridgewater-Raynham rocking.
The Trojans rolled behind the play of their junior backfield duo of quarterback Declan Byrne and running back Dawson Dubose. Their combined four touchdowns helped catapult the Trojans (1-2) over Barnstable, 26-10.
“Huge for us because Barnstable is in our division,” said B-R coach Lou Pacheco of the win. “We’ve always had amazing games against Barnstable for years. So our guys still consider it a league game.”
B-R sophomore Charles Swenson recovered a fumble on Barnstable's first play, which set in motion the Trojans first win of the season. Byrne embarked the Trojans on a TD drive, which he capped with a 4-yard QB sneak for a 6-0 lead.
“Declan Byrne, like I tell everybody, he’s the best around,” said Pacheco. “He’s going to show everybody. There’s some great quarterbacks in this state but I wouldn’t take anyone over him.”
Byrne went on to finish with two more rushing touchdowns. Both of those TDs came on QB sneaks up the middle. When asked, Byrne credited his offensive line after a rough start to the season.
“First two games, we had our struggles. But today they wanted to kill somebody and I loved it,” said Byrne of the guys in the trenches. “They were running people over, we kept running the ball down their throats. That’s football.”
But all those drives that ended with a Byrne finish began with Dubose playing smashmouth football to get the Trojans in striking distance.
“I’m a running back coach,” said Pacheco. “So if you want to coach a running back, then that’s the guy you want. You just keep feeding him the ball, he gets better as the game goes on, all those clichés.”
Dubose finished with 190 yards rushing on 35 carries. He would have had a second touchdown in the second quarter, but it was called back for holding.
“We execute and it’s there all day,” said Dubose. “As the game goes on you get a little warmer, you see what they’re doing and the game develops.”
According to Byrne, the juniors may be in their second year of varsity, but the players before them have given them the advice they need.
“The seniors this year and last year helped us so much,” said Byrne. “We started as sophomores. So we can’t even describe how much they’ve helped us because as young guys it’s hard to come in front of the fans.”
Aside from the impact of the juniors, the game was a defensive chess match. A total of seven turnovers happened throughout the course of the game. That included a safety with 4:46 in the first quarter to put the Red Hawks on the board, cutting B-R's lead to 6-2. At the end of the half, the score was a 12-10 Trojan lead.
The only touchdown from Barnstable was a 75-yard run up the middle by junior France Tajardo that briefly give the Red Hawks the lead at 10-6. Ultimately, turnovers proved costly for the visitors.
“I just felt like we made too many mistakes,” said Barnstable coach Ross Jatkola. “We put the ball on the ground too many times. We just can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win a football game.”
Senior Daniel Francis sealed the win with an interception on Barnstable's final drive. In the third quarter, a Myles Beckett sack put the Red Hawks into a third-and-long and senior Dalonte Jenkins intercepted a pass on the following play.
The Red Hawks started every drive on their own side of the field. A big part of that was from Trojans punter and kicker Mason Berry. Berry pinned Barnstable inside its own 10 with a punt and also boomed a 50-yard punt.
“He’s awesome,” said Pacheco. “He’s actually a better kicker than he is a punter. He had a heck of a game. Field position was ginormous.”
B-R will look to even the record next Friday at Marshfield. Barnstable is still searching for its first win (0-3) and will hope for that to be against Durfee in a league matchup Friday.
This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: Bridgewater-Raynham football defeats Barnstable in home opener