LINCOLN — Maybe he should not have been, but James Dillon was surprised when he heard what his Lincoln-Sudbury defense accomplished in a 35-7 rout of Springfield Central.
The Warriors only allowed one first down all game, coming late in the fourth quarter, and Central had just 26 total yards of offense.
"We didn't really know what to expect because we didn't have too much film on them, so we were changing our game plan all week" said Dillon, who starting at running back and linebacker for L-S, and rushed for 141 yards and all five Warrior touchdowns on 24 carries. "I mean, we knew we were going to be good, but that's incredible."
Dillon won't get any argument from Central, which only scored as time ran out in the first half on a 75-yard kickoff return by Cqari Bacote to cut the L-S lead to 21-7.
But those bright spots were few and far between for Central, as the Warriors dominated on both lines.
"(We) were really, really, really scared of their speed," Lincoln-Sudbury coach Tom Lopez said. "They have speed everywhere. . . . I thought they'd throw the ball better, but I think a lot of that had to do with our defense. Our defensive front three, basically (Cal) Kenney, (Mike) Ciaffone, and (Finn) Garrity were outstanding. And don't forget, that's three guys against five."
It felt like L-S could have played nine on 11 on both sides of the ball and still won, as Central never got anything going, and L-S converted 8-of-11 third-down attempts, including 5-of-7 in the first half.
The teams traded punts to start the game before Dillon dashed in from 13 yards out for the game's first touchdown with 3:37 to play in the opening quarter. Joey Caloiero booted the first of his five extra points to make it 7-0.
After another Central punt, L-S put together an 11-play drive that ended with an 8-yard Dillon score with 7:45 to play in the half.
L-S had another long drive, this one 12 plays, and Dillon finished it off from 2 yards out on fourth down to push the lead to 21-0 with 14 seconds left in the half.
Bacote followed with his kick return for a touchdown, but L-S held a 210-2 advantage in yards from scrimmage at the half, and Central never came close to making it a game.
In the second half, Andrew Cahill and Milind Lee both intercepted Central junior quarterback Isaac Boston, while L-S quarterback Braden O'Connell was effective when he needed to be. O'Connell completed 4-of-7 passes for 50 yards, and also rushed for 40 yards. The L-S offensive line of Ciaffone, Kenney, Dan Kerrigan, Andrew Guerra, and Aidan Cavanaugh also paved the way for 65 yards rushing on eight carries from Kyle Smith.
Dillon punched two 1-yard scores in the third and fourth quarters, and L-S proved it was as good as its preseason hype.
"I told the kids, you're never as good as you think you are, you're never as bad as you think you are," Lopez said. "Right now, we're never as good as you think you are, and Monday we'll wake them up again to reality."
Reality came pretty harsh for Central, and Golden Eagles coach Vlad Brower heaped praise on L-S.
"I'm thankful for tonight and scheduling a great school like this, and getting to learn about their program, about the area, and coming to this school and seeing how much support they have for their athletic program," Brower said. "You know, it's a learning experience. It's a great group of kids and a great coaching staff, a veteran coaching staff that did a great job tonight."