GROTON – The lessons learned from dealing with adversity have made Bradley teDuits a better quarterback.
Last season, teDuits directed a Groton-Dunstable offense that ran into one brick wall after another, while struggling to put points on the scoreboard. The Crusaders only won one game in 2018, scoring eight points or less in seven of their contests.
But this fall, has been the ultimate reversal of fortune for teDuits and the Crusaders. teDuits is running Groton-Dunstable’s spread attack with an unflinching confidence, and everyone associated with the program is following this senior co-captain’s lead.
teDuits has emerged as a sorcerer in shoulder pads while serving as the offensive catalyst on a Crusader club that’s been playing as if it’s been touched by magic. A three-year starter at quarterback, teDuits has passed for 1,123 yards and 13 touchdowns, and rushed for 192 yards and four scores while helping Groton-Dunstable post a 6-2 regular season record and earn an MIAA playoff berth.
Third-seeded Groton-Dunstable will play at second-seeded Tantasqua (6-2) in a Division 4 Central semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“Last year was tough,” said teDuits, a Groton resident. “We only won one game. To bounce back like we have and go 6-2 and make the playoffs has been awesome.
“We have a great group of guys. Going through everything we experienced last year has made us a better team, 100%. So many guys who are starting now know how tough last season was. We came into this year just wanting to win. And things just clicked right away.”
teDuits, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 165-pounds, has relied on his instincts and athleticism while making plays with his arm and his feet.
“He’s done a real good job,” said Groton-Dunstable head football coach Tom Sousa. “Him being a three-year starter, he’s going to set the tone for the offense. His performance is going to influence how everybody else does. And he’s done a good job with that for us.
“In the past, I think he felt a little bit of I have to do it all. But he’s really matured and that’s helped us be competitive and be successful.”
teDuits has been at his best when it has mattered most. His ability to produce in the clutch has the upstart Crusaders believing anything is possible.
When a team gets on the type of roll that Groton-Dunstable is on this season, there are going to be plenty of plays that withstand the test of time. And teDuits and receiver Jack Barry will be linked forever for making the play that served as a springboard to the Crusaders’ remarkable gridiron turnaround.
After opening the season with a win over Marlboro, Groton-Dunstable was trailing North Middlesex by six points with less than a minute to play in its second game. But teDuits came through in crunch-time, tossing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Barry with 38 seconds left to play and Ben Furman kicked the winning conversion to give Groton-Dunstable a thrilling, 18-17 victory. That win went a long way toward teDuits and his teammates buying into the notion that 2019 was the year of the Crusaders.
“NM has always been a rival,” said teDuits. “Losing to them would have killed the team’s morale. Winning in the last second the way we did was just huge for the whole team. It was just a great moment.”
teDuits is an accurate passer, who works well with his receivers. On plays when no one is open, he’s quick enough on his feet to race for a first down.
“He’s pretty versatile,” said Sousa. “He’s a definitely a dual-threat kid who can make plays with his arm and running with the football.“He’s had a good season passing the football. But we’re really counting on him to manage the game and be a leader of the offense.”
teDuits isn’t the only member of his family playing a big role in Groton-Dunstable’s success this season. His twin brother, Colin, is a starter at inside linebacker and plays tight end.
Colin, who missed the first three games of the season with a broken right thumb, recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Oakmont. But he has yet to be on the receiving end of one of Bradley’s touchdown passes. Bradley did hook up with his older brother, Ryan, a former Crusader receiver, on several touchdown passes when he was a sophomore.
“Colin hasn’t caught one from me yet,” said Bradley. “But it’s definitely on my to-do list.”
Although he stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 180-pounds, Colin is the little brother since Bradley is a couple minutes older. With all of the football playing, the teDuits boys have received plenty of support and guidance from their parents, Lisa and Chris.
“Catching a touchdown pass from him would be pretty cool,” said Colin, who is primarily a blocking tight end. “It’s been pretty special playing football with him. We’ve been playing together since second grade. It’s really been fun.
“(Bradley) worked really hard in the offseason. He’s gotten a lot better with his technique. His arm strength is stronger. So I’m not surprised at how well he’s playing. I knew he had it in him.”
Bradley teDuits believes in letting his actions on the field speak volumes about his playmaking ability.
“He’s not the loudest kid,” said Sousa. “He’s not a rah-rah guy. He leads more by example. He just goes out and makes plays.”teDuits hopes to lead the Crusaders to a deep playoff run.
“We knew we had talent,” said Bradley teDuits, who is an honor-roll student. “We didn’t know how the season would go, but we’re here now. Everyone is playing well. We’re all excited. We’re coming in expecting to win. We want it bad.”