By Sean Walsh
It did not look promising at the outset.
But down 13-0 in the first quarter after a pair of heart-rending fumbles, the never-say-die Barnstable High Red Raiders scored four unanswered touchdowns to snap the program’s 8-game losing streak and defeated the host BMC Durfee High School Hilltoppers, 28-13.
But that victory did not come easily.
Barnstable (1-8) turned the ball over five times in this affair, losing five fumbles in all, but its secondary tallied two interceptions. And in the end, at least on paper, the victory could be deemed junior quarterback Griffin Burke’s best output of the season. Burke went 13-20 in the air and passed for 212 yards and three touchdowns – one each to juniors Eric Holzman and Nathan Balthazard and one to sophomore Andrew Atsalis (his career first) – and also ran one of his own into paydirt from 46 yards out.
Burke’s wide receivers – Ryan Dauphinais, Bo Delaney, Eric Holzman, Balthazard and Atsalis – each accounted for either substantial yardage gains in key situations or exceptional receptions. Balthazard, who caught four passes for 72 yards and a TD, made an otherworldly 34-yard catch on a seemingly impossible 3rd and 35 situation. On 4th and 1 and down 13-7 on the Durfee 46, Burke then faked a handoff and tore up the middle for his longest career rush and career rushing touchdown.
Barnstable’s final score came on Atsalis’ first-ever varsity touchdown in the 4th quarter.
The Red Raiders’ Brener DeSouza and Tavian Miranda each collected key interceptions during the game.