They didn’t know what hit them.
Undefeated and touting who some folks thought was the best offensive football player in the state, Natick found out just what the Barnstable High Red Raiders are made of Friday night as the Red Raiders eliminated the visiting Red Hawks from postseason contention, 27-13.
Enter senior co-captain Hayden Murphy.
Murphy, who carried the ball 21 times for 159 yards and scored three touchdowns on the night – including a 55-yarder in the 4th quarter to seal the win – eclipsed the 1,000-yards rushing mark for the second straight season to lead the Red & White to victory. Murphy now has 1,047 yards rushing on the season and Barnstable (8-1) advances next Friday night to play Mansfield (9-0) in the MIAA Division 2 South Sectional Championship. If the Red Raiders defeat Mansfield they will go to the Division 2 Super Bowl the week after Turkey Day.
But Murphy was not nearly alone in this cumulative, Herculean effort by the Red Raiders. Not by a long shot.
Struggling on offense – slightly – and tied at 6-6 with time running out in the second quarter, it was BHS senior outside linebacker Nathan Yingling who snared a Troy Flutie offering at the 50-yard line, broke a tackle and then took it all the way into the end zone to give the home team a 12-6 lead. Dereck Pacheco’s PAT kick was good and the Red Raiders led at halftime 13-6.
But Natick and the Flutie road show wanted none of that as the Red Hawks came out in the second half and scored (including the PAT) to tie it at 13-13.
But that was all she wrote for the visitors.
While Barnstable fizzled on offense and was forced to punt twice to open the second half, it was Murphy on a linebacker blitz who sacked Flutie for a 14-yard loss to set up his Red & White in prime field position. Senior quarterback Kristian Lucashensky – who eclipsed the 1,000-yards passing mark with a brilliant 14-15/113-yard performance on the night – took off running for gains of 7 and 4 yards, then found Murphy at the 1-yard line for a 20-yard gain. Murphy then barreled into the end zone for his second score of the night and a lead the Red Raiders simply refused to relinquish.
In addition to Yingling’s game-changing interception touchdown, Derek Estes and Colby Blaze also turned in interceptions. Blaze’s acrobatic pick-off on Natick’s last gasp to come back with time almost out was nothing short of amazing. The Red Raiders also posted four quarterback sacks on the night.
Lucashensky now has 1,047 yards passing on the season, matching Murphy’s output for rushing yards.