Turnovers and a sluggish start hurt the Marauders Thursday as they lost the 83rd annual Thanksgiving showdown with archrival Norwood, 48-18. The loss at Veteran’s Field was especially tough for the team’s 22 seniors, a group that made up half of the team’s roster.
“We gave them the ball to score touchdowns, and in our own zone,” Dedham’s Mikyle Hill said after his final game playing in the crimson and gray. “That’s what really hurt us.”
The direction of the game was evident early on when only two plays into the game the Mustangs recovered a fumble on a Marauder reverse at the Dedham 39-yard line. Norwood quarterback Tommy Munro’s resulting pass to Peter Kelly in the back corner of the end zonewould be just one iteration of a common scene throughout the game as Norwood capitalized on five Marauder turnovers in the first half alone.
“You hate to say that one play set the tone, but it really did,” Dedham coach Dave Flynn said. “A big play would have been motivating for these kids, but we didn’t make it. It was just turnovers.”
Munro put forth a phenomenal effort, rushing for two touchdowns by himself in addition to his pair of touchdown passes. His long legs carried him to a game high of 83 yards on 11 carries, and his arm brought him to century mark in the air.
“Everything was clicking today,” said Norwood's Munro. “This was a great season and an awesome way to end the season.”
Before the quarter was out Norwood would score twice more. Brad McIssac picked off Hummel, setting the Mustangs up for a quarterback keeper from the 1-yard line, just shy of the two minute mark.Dedham fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Kyle Skinner the opportunity to score on a 7-yard run with scarcely 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter the Marauders finally got on the board when Hummel took a shotgun snap from the 12-yard line and ran straight up the middle and past the goal line. The Mustangs [7-4] responded quickly, however, when Brendan Carthcart returned the kickoff for another Norwood touchdown.
Following a pair of fumbles on consecutive drives, Dedham's Hummel dropped way back on a third-and-15 and launched the ball under pressure. It was intercepted by Norwood's Kelly, who carried it for a first-and-goal with three minutes remaining before halftime. Alty then took the ball 9 yards into the end zone.
Following a halftime show highlighting the bands, cheerleaders,and color guards of both schools, the Mustangs returned and demonstrated their dominance once again. Norwood wide receiver Sam Anderson took a 19-yard and a 14-yard pass for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the quarter, bringing the Norwood lead to 41-6.
Hummell would only take three snaps in the quarter as a series of flags ran time off the clock.
After stopping the Mustangs on fourth-and-goal, Dedham was able to capitalize. Dedham's Shawn Pinkham carried the pigskin to the 15-yard line where the Marauders faced a second-and-four. Hummel then put the ball in the air to receiver Mike Ryan, who broke through a pair of defenders and ran for an 85-yard touchdown.
Hummel would find Ryan once again before the game closed, this time on a 15-yard toss to the end zone. The leaping Ryan reached between the defending Alty’s hands for the reception, bringing the score to 48-18, and there the score stood when time expired.
“Our kids played great,” Norwood coach John Sarianides said. “They came out hungry, they came out focused, and when we got out opportunities we took advantage of them.”
Despite the loss, first-year coach Dave Flynn said he saw much he liked over the course of the season and reason to hope for future years. While the team was plagued with injuries over the course of their 2-9 season, not a single player became academically ineligible to play, he said.
“That’s success right there,” said Flynn.
Additionally, a large group of freshman, many of whom had never played football before, went out for the team and finished the season, and a Pop Warner team recently appeared in their division’s Super Bowl.
While the score was no doubt disappointing for many Dedham fans, the loss was tempered by the rededication of the field.
Stone Park had been refurbished as party of the ongoing Avery School construction, and on-hand to celebrate the field and the veterans for whom it was named, was Congressman Stephen Lynch, State Rep. Paul McMurtry, Selectman Mike Butler of the School Building Rehabilitation Committee, and Dana McQuaid of the Combined Veterans Council.
After the speeches were concluded, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter made several passes over the field and a new flag donated by Norfolk County Commissioner Francis O’Brien.