TYNGSBORO – Thanksgiving is all about traditions. As far as the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders are concerned, one of them is beating the Tyngsboro Tigers on Thanksgiving.
And thanks to a Shane Dawson touchdown rush with 18 seconds remaining, the Crusaders continued that tradition with a 20-18 win at Pierce Field.
It was the sixth consecutive Colonel Prescott Cup victory for the Crusaders (7-4) and sixth consecutive win to end the season. Three consecutive G-D senior classes have never lost to Tyngsboro (5-6).
Down 18-13 with 4:10 remaining, the Crusaders marched 71 yards in 16 plays, converting two third downs and two fourth downs along the way. After being stopped a blade of turf short of the goal line on first and goal, Dawson (15 carries, 143 yards, two touchdowns) plunged in on the very next play to give the Crusaders the win.
“There was no question where we were going to go with the ball, and I’m sure [Tyngsboro] knew too,” G-D head coach Tom Sousa said. “He just wasn’t going to be denied.”
Quarterback Michael Tammaro, wearing no. 12 for the Crusaders, managed the offense like a different no. 12, notching five of his eight completions on the final drive.
“Michael has a ton of talent,” Sousa said. “He’s going to be a very key leader for us next year. He’s a junior and he wanted to win it for our seniors.”
Dawson scored all three touchdowns for the Crusaders. His first came on his first touch of the game, a 76-yard carry in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead. In the second quarter, he intercepted a Kyle Laforge pass and returned it 25 yards to give the Crusaders a 13-12 lead.
“Shane is unbelievable,” Sousa said. “He plays so hard, he’s a captain, and he’s a great leader for us.”
In saving one of his best performances for his final game with the Crusaders, Dawson said he was inspired by Joey Orlando, who ran for 192 yards and a touchdown in his final game against Tyngsboro last year.
“The amount of yards he gained last year was really impressive,” Dawson said. “I want to thank him. He made me a really good player.”
Laforge threw three touchdown passes in the first half, one each to Jacob Lafferty (three catches, 77 yards; one sack), Jack Buckley (three catches, 48 yards; 10 carries, 70 yards), and Kyle Corkum (two catches, 39 yards; one sack). Overall he completed nine of 17 passes for 177 yards.