As the coach of the Hyde Park High football team in 2005, Rich Moran could not have been more prepared to take his team to the Division 4 Super Bowl against Southeastern.
The problem was he was too prepared. And his team lost 13-0.
“I changed a few things up, with Hyde Park we played Southeastern and I thought too much, I changed up a few things offensively and changed up a few things defensively,” said Moran, who will return to the Super Bowl at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Curry College as the head coach of the undefeated Dorchester Bears.
“I was sort of second guessing myself, over preparing. This year I told the coaches 'We’re doing the same stuff. We are doing the things that got us here and we’re not changing a thing.'”
But Dorchester, who plays Upper Cape Cod in Saturday’s Division 5 Super Bowl, also got a warning this week on the dangers of not being prepared well enough. Moran said a member of the Bears 1982 team that lost in the Super Bowl addressed the team on Tuesday.
“He told the kids he lost in the Super Bowl and he remembers it like it was yesterday,” Moran recalled. “He said they weren’t prepared. All the coaching staff looked at each other and we said ‘We’ll be prepared.’”
Dorchester (10-0) has also had a long time to prepare for Upper Cape Cod (9-1). The Bears don’t have a Thanksgiving game so they haven’t played a game since Nov. 17, when they beat Madison Park in a game that was dubbed the “unofficial city championship.”
“It was my buy week,” Moran said of Thanksgiving week. “We went back to the basics during Thanksgiving week. We practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We went over blocking and did full tackling drills.
“We even practiced Saturday morning. I gave them Thanksgiving and Friday off and we were right back at it on Saturday.”
In the meantime, Upper Cape Cod was battling for its slot in the Super Bowl. While Dorchester clinched its Super Bowl berth with a 12-0 win against Burke on Nov. 2, Upper Cape Cod needed a 42-18 victory against Cape Tech on Thanksgiving to clinch the Super Bowl.
“They are a fast and confident team, they are used to winning,” Moran said.
But neither the Rams nor the Bears did much winning last year. While Dorchester only won four games, Upper Cape Cod only collected two victories last year.
And Moran said there’s no telling how good his team will be next year.
“I don’t know what we can do next year, we might be 2-8,” he said. “You can never predict the future.”
That’s why Moran doesn’t view Saturday’s game as his team’s best and last chance to win a Super Bowl, despite the fact that starting next year teams will have to win at least two playoff games to clinch a Super Bowl under the new MIAA playoff format.
Moran said he likes the new playoff format even though the winner of the Boston City League South will lose its automatic bid to the Division 5 Super Bowl.
“I like the competition, I think it’s good for the city kids,” he said. “I think they need the exposure. We don’t get the exposure. It brings out the best in you.”
Under the new playoff format, all the Super Bowls will be played in Gillette Stadium.
And while some of the Dorchester players are disappointed they aren’t playing at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, winning at Curry College would be special because Moran is a member of the 1977 Curry College football and baseball teams. He was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in 1987.
“[They are] a little disappointed but, again, trying to fill up that stadium with the people that follow us would be hard,” Moran said of Gillette. “Playing on that turf would be nice. The kids are a little disappointed but they are in the Super Bowl.
“And I’m a Curry College Alumni so it’s kind of nice. All week the kids have been saying ‘We are going back to coach’s field.’”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.