QB James Caparell threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Dylan York with just 10 seconds left for what turned out to be the game-winning TD. Caparell had over 125 yards passing and also over 125 yards rushing to go with 3 TD passes, as Bedford improved to 6-1 (5-1 in D-II) with a 20-14 win over Dover on Friday night at Dunaway Field.
"We have two different hurry-up packages" said Bedford coach Kurt Hines. "And we executed it. James did a great job, he's as good a person as he is a player. Dylan York also made a great catch for us."
Dover knotted the game up 14-14 on a 15 yard TD run by Colin Shaughnessy. That gave Bedford a chance to win the game on their last drive, otherwise we were headed to overtime. The Bulldogs got the ball with only 1:20 left in the game and had to drive the length of the field, but led by Caparell and York they were able to do it.
Click play on the below media player to hear my play-by-play of the game's final moments (it was over a cell phone so sorry about the audio quality). And keep reading this article for the rest of the game story.
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You have to give Dover a lot of credit to score that late TD to tie the game up, that was a really gutsy drive by the Green Wave. It came just when it looked like Dover was down for the count. They had just went down 14-7 after a 30 yard TD pass from Caparell to Nick Vailas. Vailas was WIDE open on that play, and it seemed like it deflated the Green Wave a little bit.
Then on the very next possession Dover drives the length of the field and gets all the way down to the Bedford 1 yard line. QB Derek Stegman was starting to get in a groove, as he continued to hit his favorite receiver Jarrett Hudson. It was 1st and goal from the 1, Dover ran the ball and appeared to have a touchdown, which would have brought them to within 14-13 pending the extra point. But the officials ruled that Dover fumbled the ball prior scoring the TD and that Bedford had recovered the ball in the end zone. That play would turn out to be HUGE.
"I didn't get a great look at it" said Coach Hines. "But our defense has been underrated all year and they have done a great job of forcing turnovers."
It was the the third turnover of the game for the Green Wave, and the first one led directly to Bedford's first TD. After a fumble by Kyle Sewards (4 catches and 38 total yards), the Bulldogs took advantage of the favorable field position and Caparell hit WR Brian Collins (4 catches for 49 yards and 1 TD) for an 11 yard TD pass. It was a terrific catch by Collins, as he was bumped a little in the end zone by the Dover DB but still dove in the corner of the end zone and made the grab.
On the very next play after Dover fumbled the ball on the Bedford 1 yard line, York (75 total yards and 1 TD) made a 30 yard run. Then Caparell made another long run of his own, and all of a sudden things were looking very bleak for Dover. here was under 5:00 left in the 4th quarter and Bedford was seriously threatening to go up by 2 touchdowns, which would have pretty much ended the game right there. And that fumble on the 1 by the Green Wave was really starting to look like a costly mistake now.
The Bulldogs continued driving, and got all the way down to the Dover 20 yard line. But the Green Wave defense (which was led all game by Matt Dow, John Moss, Eric Waddington and Eric Wilson) stepped it up a notch, forcing Bedford to attempt a field goal. If BHS made the kick it would have made a it a 2 score game, which would have still put the nail in the Dover coffin. But the Bulldogs faked the FG and tried to run with the ball. They were tackled short of the goal line for a turnover on downs.
So after things were looking very bleak there for the Green Wave, suddenly they had another life. Still, they would have to drive the length of the field and there was only about 3 minutes left. But again, Stegman got in a groove and hit Wilson, Hudson and Sewards for key passes. Then Shaughnessy finished the drive with a 16 yard run followed by a 15 yard carry for the TD. There was hope for Dover yet!
But there was still 1:20 left on the clock and that was enough time for Caparell and company to march down the field for the winning score.
Up until that TD pass from Caparell to Collins late in the 1st half, the Bedford offense couldn't get anything going. Dover was really getting after the QB and bottling him up. They had 3 sacks in the 1st half and were also stopping the Bedford running game.
But starting on drive with the Collins TD that all changed. Bedford has a very good receiving core, but Dover was doing a great job of covering all of them. But as the game went on, this opened up running room for Caparell. Caparell definitely ran the ball more in this game than he usually does. He had at least 3 or 4 runs of 20+ yards. One of those runs came on 4th down and 23, when he ran for exactly 23 yards and a first down. That set up the TD pass to Collins (along with the Dover fumble) and that TD gave the Bulldogs some momentum going into the half.
"Their DE's were playing a pro-style contain" explained Coach Hines. "But then we made some adjustments to it. We just had to get James more comfortable so he had more time to throw."
This was another heart-breaking loss for Dover, who is now 1-6 (1-4 in D-II) on the season. They have now lost on a last second TD to Bedford, in double-OT to Winnacunnet and they lost by 1 point to Keene. The Green Wave could easily be 4-1 in the division right now instead of 1-4, and they finish the season with West and Merrimack. However the fact is they had 2 VERY costly turnovers, and they allowed Bedford to drive the length of the field on them and score in only 1:10. Because of that they didn't deserve to win this game. Bedford was the better team, they made less mistakes and they executed perfectly on the game's final drive.
I mentioned the standouts for Dover's defense so you can't forget about Bedford's. Their defense was led by David Cannone, Joe Thibeault, Nick Vailas, Mike Vailas (who had one of the hardest hits I've seen all year), Eric Glassman and AJ Schiappa.
There is very little that separates these 2 teams, yet Dover will miss the playoffs while Bedford has a shot at a championship. That's how competitive D-II is this year.
It is now all but a sure thing that the 4 playoff teams in Division II will be Winnacunnet, Bedford, Keene and Bishop Guertin. We know those will be the 4 teams, but we don't know the order. BG plays against Keene and Winnacunnet over the season's last 2 weeks - no doubt those teams games will play a part in how these teams are seeded. These 4 teams are all evenly matched, so home field will be crucial!
Will I still have Dover in my top 10 next week? Well, you will jut have to check the site next week to find out!