This one could be a classic.
The 2023 Bedford High School football season reaches its apex – at least so far – this Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff at the oldest Dual County League rival – Wayland.
Both teams are 4-2 and vying for post-season seeding in a crowded MIAA Division 4 field.
“They’re definitely back after a down year,” said BHS Head Coach Tom Tone. “It’s the game of the year, to this point.”
The Bucs won their third consecutive game at Newton South last Friday, scoring four unanswered touchdowns and turning what started as a close game into a rout with a running clock through much of the fourth quarter. Indeed, the Buccaneer defense allowed only 16 offensive yards on 16 Newton plays in the second half, for a final score of 42 to 8.
The Bucs’ football depth was paramount in the outcome. Several key two-way players were out with illnesses or injuries, including Dykan Lykins, Gilbert Galman, Mekhi Volcy, and Xavier Ruiz, who is also the kicking specialist. Ethan Kauffman, a junior lineman, handled the kickoffs and blasted six extra points. The coach said that “he certainly rose to the challenge.”
“I thought we played very hard, really tough,” Tone said. “There were a lot of good contributions by different guys. It was a really satisfying game. We had a lot of kids step up – I’m hoping we can keep it going.”
Bedford raced to a 14-0 lead midway through the first period. Sparked by a first-play 29-yard run by Drew Siwik, the Bucs finished their nine-play scoring drive with quarterback Ryan McGrath’s 10-yard scamper after executing an effective fake handoff.
The Bucs then took over on downs at the Newton 40-yard line and on the first play, McGrath connected with Nelson Crawford in stride over the top for the TD.
Newton South clawed back with a 12-play scoring drive that survived thanks to a fourth-and-13 conversion. And after a very quick three-and-out, the Lions methodically drove from their 12-yard line to the Bedford 24 in 10 plays, most of them completions to open receivers.
Then sophomore Chase Brazee took over. On first down, he tackled tailback Graham Tonkonogy for a three-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, quarterback Charles Vyadro – already with 10 completed passes – dropped back, but couldn’t scramble away from Brazee for an eight-yard sack. Vyadro found Paxton Boyd on fourth-and-21, but Ricky LaBoy wrapped him up well short of the first down.
“Those plays were really big,” Tone agreed. Brazee “has a really high motor. He makes a lot of plays and always is near the ball – a really tough kid.”
The possession took more than eight minutes. Bedford needed just 1:43 to regain the two-touchdown lead. McGrath and Crawford connected for 19 yards, Siwik rushed for 14 to cross midfield, and on third-and-one from the 37, McGrath found Crawford again, this time coming off the left flank.
Newton South took the second-half kickoff, but any chance of a comeback was buried by the Buccaneers. The Lions eschewed punting on fourth-and-five from their 45, and the defense stopped Tonkonogy after a short catch. Bedford then marched to the end zone, highlighted by LaBoy’s 24-yard dash to the one-yard line. It took four downs before he broke into the endzone.
Siwik had the fifth TD and McGrath scored again after four consecutive rushes for 24 yards by CJ Chung.
Siwik led all rushers with a career-high 87 yards. Crawford’s six catches for 116 also were tops for his career. Siwik and junior Arnav Munjal also ended Newton possessions with interceptions. Munjal, a junior, played both ways and had a reception and a pick.