Hook-and-ladder, that's all you need to say.
Simple to detect but impossible to defend, just hand the football to this week’s 50-for-50 profile Dylan Oxsen and watch him run.
“Dylan was an absolutely electric running back,” said his football coach, Plymouth South Athletic Director Scott Fry. “We’d give him the football 30-35 times each game, and even though the other team knew exactly what was coming, they still couldn’t stop him.
“Dylan was fast, he could break tackles and he was incredibly strong so when we gave him the football he was very tough to bring to the ground. We had a great offensive unit with the talented linemen and the tight end blocking in front of him. Five of those six kids ended up either playing football or wrestling in college.”
Dylan said familiarity was a huge part of the success of the football team during those years.
“For one reason or another, most of that group remained together from youth football with the Jaguars all the way up through high school.” Dylan said. “Instead of heading off to private school when we got to high school, a lot of us stayed together as friends and teammates and that cohesiveness was a big part of the team’s success in 2012 and 2013.”
During his junior and senior seasons Oxsen helped make Plymouth South football games appointment viewing on the way to two playoff appearances.
Dylan was the final leg in one of the most famous football plays in Plymouth history. The Panthers were trailing Nauset at home in the final game of the 2012 regular season with the Atlantic Coast League championship on the line. Down to the deepest part of their bag of tricks, Plymouth South dusted off the trusty hook-and-ladder play to secure the title.
Quarterback Jason Lamb took the snap and found Bobby Moss open in the flat. The ball wasn’t in his hands long as Moss quickly tossed it to Oxsen streaking down the home sideline. Half of the town of Nauset was on his heels for the final 40 yards but there was no stopping him from scoring the game-winning touchdown.
Fry said Oxsen’s performance in the following game, a 38-33 playoff loss to Natick High in the Division 2A state semifinals, is also stuff of legend. Oxsen rushed for more than 300 yards and Natick quarterback Troy Flutie threw for 300 yards as the teams went up and down the field in less than ideal weather conditions.
“It was absolutely incredible to watch the two of them going back and forth,” Fry said.
One step away from a chance to play for a state title as a junior, there was no stopping Oxsen and the Panthers the next season on their path to Gillette Stadium. Unfortunately, waiting for them in the state title game was a super-sized Tewksbury High football team.
“Everywhere you looked, Tewskbury was just huge. They looked like a pro football team,” remembered Dylan. “We gave them a good fight in the first half but they took over in the second half of the game to win the title.”
After scoring 30 touchdowns on the freshman football team and playing mostly defense on varsity as a sophomore, Dylan exploded on the scene his final two high school seasons, averaging seven yards a carry.
He ran for 2,100 yards and scored an amazing 40 touchdowns his junior year. Despite missing some time due to injuries as a senior, Dylan still went for 2,165 yards and 26 touchdowns that year. In the first half alone in the season-openier against Marshfield he rushed for three touchdowns, threw for another touchdown and returned an interception for a touchdown.
While he proved to be a superstar on the gridiron, Oxsen also excelled each winter as a wrestler and with the spring track and field team. He was a multiple-time league all-star in all three sports.
“Wrestling was a good way for me to keep in shape and I loved the competitive aspects of the sport,” he remembered. “I was a sprinter on the spring track team and that allowed me to work on my speed and footwork as well as my endurance. I had some injuries over the years, but never really anything with my hamstring or quad and I think the work I did on the track had a lot to do with that.”
Dylan, 23, went on to play four years of football at Assumption College. He’s was named a Second-Team NE-10 Conference All-Star his junior and senior years. He’s works as a corrections officer at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.
Each week during 2020, the 50-for-50 project will profile a Plymouth person or state championship team that positively impacted the town in the last 50 years. To nominate someone, email Sports Editor David Wolcott Jr. at email@example.com with information on the nominee.