The 3-1 Bedford High School Buccaneers have scored 119 points over their first four games in 2022.
As dynamic as the Bedford offense can be, led by senior quarterback Eric Miles, the interior line, and a bunch of Bucs who can catch, the defense is generating its own headlines.
Last Friday the defenders simply suffocated any semblance of a Wayland Warrior attack, as the Bucs blanked their longtime rival, 38-0, in the opening game at Sabourin Field.
The Bucs are preparing for a tough battle against the 3-1 Waltham Hawks this Friday. Waltham dropped its first contest at Westford Thursday, 21-14, as a comeback fell just short. The Hawks earlier beat both Newton and Winchester high schools.
Wayland, now 0-4 for 2022, managed six first downs and 91 yards of offense. Senior quarterback Ulysses Lopez-King absorbed six sacks, including a close encounter with Bedford’s Ryan Cohen that resulted in a lost fumble. The Warrior penetrated the Bedford 45 only once, with a drive extended by a fake punt that died on downs at the 29.
“That’s the third straight game where I thought our defensive line was dominant,” said Head Coach Tom Tone. “A lot of guys were swarming to the ball; there weren’t a lot of solo tackles.” He added that Wayland came into the game with some deep passing plays, but the Bedford secondary took that away as well.
Since an opening day loss in 85-degree heat, the Bedford defense has yielded three touchdowns over three games.
It’s simple to summarize the Wayland win. Bedford had six possessions; five ended with touchdowns and the sixth a 28-yard Nick Tatarczuk field goal. Wayland’s seven possessions ended with two turnovers, two punts, loss of possession on downs, and running out the clock to end the half and the game.
What turned out to be the winning points were scored three minutes into the contest, as Miles, exploding through the left side, ran 30 yards to the endzone. The score capped a methodical eight-play drive, seven on the ground, as the Bedford hurry-up offense paid dividends right away.
“We got the early lead, which was huge,” Tone said. “Scoring on your first drive puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”
Miles, who finished the 159 yards in just 16 carries and sat out the fourth quarter, carried four times in that first series for 54. Tatarczuk converted the first of five points after touchdown. His field goal followed Jayvon Williams’s interception, which set the Bucs up around midfield.
“Nick had a real strong kicking day,” Tone said, also crediting the short snapper, Sam DeAngelis, and the holder, Williams.
Bedford’s third series also started around the 50 following Cohen’s strip sack. Miles rushed into the endzone from the 10.
With 2:18 remaining in the half, he scored again from the nine. That was Bedford’s shortest scoring drive in history – one play.
Wayland had punted from its 45, and the kick struck one of the Warriors, thanks to pressure from senior defensive back Kristian Ivanov. Bedford sophomore Cian O’Donnell scooped up the ball and raced about 40 yards to set up the TD. That was smart, Tone said, as once the punt is blocked behind the line of scrimmage it’s a live ball.
Bedford’s two second-half touchdowns were by Miles and junior running back Ricky Laboy, who had 70 yards on the ground for the night.
“On offense, we did enough, but we had a lot of big plays out there that didn’t connect,” Tone noted. Several play-action passes to open receivers were closer but not completed.
Two-way senior defensive lineman Emil Colon left the game with a sprained ankle. “Hopefully we’ll get him back soon, but we had some guys step up,” Tone said, mentioning sophomore Jackson Masters and senior Eric McDowell.
The regular season has reached the midpoint, and Tone said that makes Friday’s encounter with Waltham “definitely the biggest game of the year.”