BURLINGTON — For the first time since playing Stoneham four weeks ago the Burlin-gton High football team went up against an offensive juggernaut that was virtually unstoppable. And similar to that game when Stoneham scored on virtually every possession, the Red Devils couldn't stop an opposing offense once again.
With two big offensive weapons Bedford scored touchdowns on its six first-half possessions and the first two times with the ball in the second half.
The Red Devils could only find the end zone three times.
This helped the Buccaneers roll to a convincing 55-18 victory over Burlington in the Thanksgiving season-finale for both teams at Varsity Field on Thursday.
The two unstoppable weapons for Bedford were running back Eric Miles, who rushed for 198 yards on 17 carries and four touchdowns, and quarterback Jake Morrison, who rushed for 130 yards on 17 carries and three scores. Morrison also completed 11 of 20 passes for for 160 yards.
Mike DeLia also added a touchdown run, while the Buccaneers' defense limited the Red Devils to just 76 rushing yards the entire game.
The bright spots for the Red Devils were the efforts by senior quarterback Ronan Noke, who in his last high school game completed 7 of 19 passes for 253 passing yards and two touchdowns, and senior running back Adam Eldeeb who closed out his high school football career with 73 rushing yards on 15 carries and a score.
But Burlington's defense was no match against the virtually unstoppable running game of Bedford, and finished its season with a final overall record of 2-9.
"Bedford's runners and receivers were just too big and fast, and we just couldn't stop them," said Burlington coach Dan MacKay. "Bedford executed their offense better than us, while we couldn't execute our offense the way we wanted most of the game. We also committed penalties and turnovers and they didn't."
The Buccaneers gave an early indication the Burlington defense was in for a long day on just the second play of game, when from their own 35-yard line Miles took his first carry right up the middle, and all the way downfield for the score. The first of seven extra-point kicks for Nick Tatarczuk gave Bedford a quick 7-0 lead.
The Red Devils did respond on their first possession when, after moving the ball in four plays to their own 43-yard line, Ronan Noke hit Sam Doherty with a high pass over the middle, and Doherty took it all the way to the end score for the score, to cut Burlington's deficit to 7-6.
The Buccaneers quickly answered back by taking just two plays to score again. After Morrison completed a 36-yard pass to DeLia to move the ball to the Burlington 18, Miles took his second carry of the game all the way to paydirt for the score, and Tatarxzuk's kick extended Bedford's lead to 14-6.
The Red Devils responded on the very next play from their own 39-yard line, when Ronan Noke threw a pass towards the right sideline to his brother Aidan, who caught it and ran down the sideline 61 yards for the score, which cut Burlington's deficit to 14-12 less than five minutes into the contest.
But the Buccaneers, starting their next possession from their own 39-yard line, launched a 10-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Morrison initially completed 11- and 15-yard passes to Charlie Naylor. After several short runs moved the ball to the Burlington one, Morrison ran it into the end zone, which along with Tatarczuk's kick increased Bedford's lead to 21-12 with still just under four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Red Devils moved the ball close to midfield on their next possession, before a pass by Ronan Noke was intercepted by DeLia, to give Bedford the ball back on its own 41-yard line. This time it took the Buccaneers eight plays to go 59 yards extending into the second quarter for another score, capped by a 36-yard touchdown run by Morrison, which along with Tatarczuk's kick extended Bedford's lead to 28-12.
The Red Devils could only move the ball close to midfield on their next possession, before a quarterback sack forced Burlington on a fourth-and-22 to kick the only punt of the game for either team. The Buccaneers then methodically went 56 yards on eight plays, highlighted by a 23-yard pass from Morrison to Rich Fedele. The drive was capped by a nine-yard touchdown run by Miles, his third of the game, which along with Tatarczuk's kick pushed Bedford's lead to 35-12.
"They were faster than us, they were stronger than us, they competed at a higher level than us, and they were more disciplined than us," said MacKay. "That's what it was right there. But that's a really good football team we lost to today, and we hadn't seen a team like that since we lost to Stoneham."
The Red Devils caught a glimmer of hope when, on the first play of their next possession, Noke completed a 51-yard pass to Doherty to advance the ball to the Bedford 19-yard line. But four straight incomplete passes forced Burlington to give up the ball on downs.
The Buccaneers then used their sixth possession to march 81 yards in 11 plays, with a 40-yard pass from Morrison to Fedele moving the ball to the one-yard line. Morrison got his third touchdown run on the next play for Bedford's sixth score, to give the Buccaneers a 41-12 lead by halftime.
The Red Devils could only advance the ball to the Bedford 47 on their first second-half possession before giving up the ball on downs. On the very first play after getting the ball for the seventh time, Miles ran the ball up the middle 53 yards for Bedford's seventh score.
To their credit the Red Devils didn't quit, as Eldeeb stepped up twice to help Burlington put up one final score. First he caught a screen pass from Ronan Noke and ran 51 yards to the Bedford seven-yard line, then two plays later from the five, ran the next carry into the end zone for the touchdown to make it now 48-18.
"I felt Adam Eldeeb was one of just a few of our players that played hard the entire game, while Aidan Noke got to play and he played hard as always, and Ronan (Noke) threw the ball well today under a lot of pressure," said MacKay. "But I was disappointed with the play of some of our other players, and it just wasn't our day."
On their eighth possession of the game the Buccaneers 54 yards on 12 plays, capped by a six-yard touchdown run by DeLia, for their eighth score on the first play of the fourth quarter. This made it now 55-18 and, with running time used the rest of the way, capped the game's scoring.
While the season-ending setback finished a disappointing two-win season for the Red Devils, MacKay expressed his appreciation after the game to how his team continued to work hard through eight straight losses. This eventually helped Burlington win two games late in the season. But, overall mistakes and a lack of focus prevented Burlington from achieving more success this season.
"The kids showed up and practiced hard every week, and in Week 6 we really started working hard and were more focused," said MacKay. "But for most of the season things just didn't go our way. We gave it a good effort every game, but made mistakes, committed penalties, and weren't focused all the time."