REHOBOTH — The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High football team has become the machine that it is on offense, without much doubt, due to the blocking skills of the line.
The Falcons had had two consecutive 40-point performances, fueled by two consecutive four-TD performances by senior tailback Jaren Ramos in scoring 83 points and emerging as, perhaps, the best football team in the South Coast Conference.
But that accolade will be put to the test Friday at Robert T. Roy Field in a 6:30 p.m. kickoff when the Blue Raiders of Somerset Berkley step onto the turf.
“Having some experience has made a difference,” said D-R coach Dave Moura, who is also the Falcons’ line coach. “As far as the teaching, the installation of the blocking assignments, they’ve seemed to have picked it up much quicker this year.
“We’re all in the same boat. Some of the younger teams are still finding their way a bit. Having seniors, they’ve been great about policing the situation.”
The Falcons have five seniors among their rotation of seven players on the offensive line, including 6-foot-2, senior tight end Wes McQuillan.
Both Falcon tackles are seniors, Sam Branco at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds and Ethan Escobar, at six-foot, 235-pounds. The center is a returning senior starter as well, A.J. Peltz, at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds.
Rotating at guard is senior Alec Bilodeau (5-11, 170), who was a starter only on defense as a junior, and two juniors, Cam Kairet (6-1, 205) and Adam Pereira (5-7, 215), just back from the injured list.
“They’re just a bit more confident with their progressions and their blocking assignments,” Moura said.
Other than allowing a TD to Old Rochester on the first play of the game in their season opener, the Falcons have allowed just one TD. Somerset Berkley established its ground game and blasted Seekonk 38-0, but then were routed 28-0 by Apponequet.
With the Falcons running a wing-T, ball-control offense, D-R has not allowed opponents a short field either. D-R is approaching 16 offensive series by its two opponents — Old Rochester Regional High and Bourne, having allowed one score on a Bulldog fourth quarter pass.
“The blocking assignments are still the same, we haven’t changed much,” Moura said of sticking with the same 2019 season playbook. “It’s certainly a pleasant surprise, but these kids have put the work in with COVID-19 protocols,” he said of off-season conditioning, even with COVID 19 restrictions in place.
“We have a nice collection of running backs (Aidan O’Connor, Aidan Fyfe) as well, so when they hit the hole, they’re running at that second level,” Moura added. “They’re a hard-working group of kids that are excited to be out there. For the seniors, this is their year, they’re not going to get another one.”
Bishop Feehan at St. Mary’s, Lynn
Bishop Feehan High coach Bryan Pinabell likes the fact that the Shamrocks’ defense limited run-savvy Bishop Fenwick to gains of three yards or less on 20 of their 34 rushing plays last week. allowed just five completed passes, and kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard for their final five series and 35 minutes of the CCL game.
There was a 23-yard punt return by junior Billy Roche; a 16-yard kickoff return by junior Dan Haggarty; three pass catches by junior Rob Pombriant; 51 rushing yards by sophomore Nick Yanchuk; seven completed passes by junior QB Aidan Crump. The offensive line has three underclassmen — 225-pound Case Mankins,240-pound sophomore Eddie Cinelli and 215-pound junior Nick Haven — all in their first starting assignments.
Heading into their 6 p.m. kickoff at the Manning Bowl, the Shamrocks continue to take small steps forward.
“They are athletic, they are speedy, they are explosive on offense, they play tough (4-4) on defense,” Pinabell said of St. Mary’s. “They have decent size, so once again we’re going to have to play our best game to beat them.”
The Shamrocks need to create, and take advantage, of turnovers, along with more third down-and-short yardage situations in addition to limiting penalties (six for 65 lost yards against Fenwick).
“We need every advantage that we can get,” Pinabell said. “We’ve got to improve some little things and continue the process. We don’t have that game experience yet, but we’re getting there. We’re not that far away.”
Bourne at Seekonk
SEEKONK – Listening to Seekonk High coach Vernon Crawford and he firmly believes that he has the best quarterback in the SCC in J.T. Moran, one of the best running backs in Robbie LeBeau and one of the best receivers in Nathan Clarke.
The fact of the matter is that there is just one senior, 210-pound Brenden Santos, on the offensive line.
“We’re young up there,” Crawford said, having two sophomores, 250-pound right guard Ryan Doherty and 280-pound left tackle Josh Troiano in starting roles.
Two juniors, 220-pound right tackle Aidan DiPalma and 175-pound left guard Jason Amaral were with the junior varsity when the Warriors last played a varsity football game in 2019.
The Warriors have a 6:30 p.m. kickoff Friday against the Canalmen.
“That’s the biggest thing, we have young linemen,” Crawford said of the difficulty in executing blocking schemes and plays. “The future is bright, those kids are going to be good.”
Another fact is developing depth with a roster of under three-dozen, having only 10 linemen for offense and defense. “If we get one or two injuries, it’s a different team,” Crawford said. “We’ve taken two running backs and put them on the line, we’ve had to move people around.”
Tri-County at St. John Paul II
It has been a struggle for coach Kahn Chace and the Cougars to get back onto the field as games with Blue Hills Regional and Upper Cape Regional were cancelled due to COVID 19 protocols.
So instead of boarding a bus for a ride to Cape Cod Saturday for a noon kickoff, the Cougars will head out Friday afternoon for a ride into Dorchester for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Chace said of the circumstances. “We were hoping to play Saturday, but things change quickly these days,” the Cougars not having played a game for two weeks.
“We were able to practice last week, we got a couple of kids back, but we’ve been missing seven starters,” Chace added. “Things are constantly changing. The kids were disappointed to have to take a week off, it’s been frustrating. Even if you’re not sick, but in close contact with someone, you’re out for 10 days.”
The Cougars have already been hampered by a lack of depth and experience.