MILTON — The pain from losing the 2005 Division 4 Super Bowl as Hyde Park’s head coach has long faded for Rich Moran but the relationships and memories he built with the players have long endured.
And that was exactly the message an emotional Moran — who has coached Dorchester for seven seasons — imparted to his players Saturday afternoon after they lost the Division 5 Super Bowl, 22-8, to Upper Cape Cod at Curry College.
“We all came together today to play football, you might never experience that again, that is such a beautiful thing,” Moran told his players as they huddled around him for one last time this season. “No one can take it away from you. Gentlemen, this is the second time I’ve been on this end. I’m going to wake up Monday morning and my wife is going to yell at me, she’s going to tell me to ‘Get up and go to work.’ And years go by and this will fade. But what won’t fade is what you did with each other. That will never, ever fade.
“Please remember that experience. Because when you give yourself that gift of self-discipline you carry it over it over into your family, you carry it over into your school and you carry it over into your community. You are now leaders of your community. Don’t ever, ever forget it.”
What Dorchester accomplished this season was nothing short of amazing. A year after only winning four games, the Bears (10-1) ran the table in the Boston City League to win the South division and clinch the school’s first Super Bowl berth since 1989. Dorchester also beat Boston City League North champion Madison Park Nov. 16 in a game dubbed the “unofficial city championship” since the winner of the North and South were meeting in the final regular season game before Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the Bears ran into a team on Saturday that had an equally miraculous story: Upper Cade Cod (10-1), which won the Super Bowl in just its third season in program history and just its second season of varsity football, won two games last season.
“This is the best team we played all year,” Upper Cape coach Mike Hernon said, "the best defense, they’re fast, they get after you and we were going to try to grind them away and try to hit the big one and we were able to do so a few times there."
Nobody hit Dorchester harder than Rams’ junior running back Jonathan Dumont, who finished with a game-high 120 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.
Dumont’s first TD, a 14-yard rush, came shortly after he fumbled the ball away to Dorchester in the first quarter. His second score was a 42-yard scamper to put his squad up, 14-0, with 4:53 left in the half.
The Rams run the same Wing-T offense as Dorchester only with bigger splits between their linemen. They finished the day with 208 yards rushing compared to the Bears' 131.
“It’s kind of weird,” Dorchester quarterback and defensive back Demetrious Leary said of going up against the same offense. “We were using our strengths and stuff and trying to hit them like Bears."
Dorchester recovered an onside kick on the opening play of the game but didn’t score until the last minute of the first half when Leary tossed his first touchdown pass of the season on a 31-yard bomb to junior receiver Arrik Bell. Trevaughn McCoy (79 yards on 18 carries) rushed for the two-point conversion to put the Bears down 14-8 going into the locker room at halftime.
“I had a good feeling that we were going to come back but stuff happens,” Leary said.
To be precise, a fumble and two interceptions happened.
First Leary fumbled the ball away to Dumont with 8:07 left in the third quarter only to get the ball back when he intercepted Rams senior quarterback Edgar Eldredge four plays later.
“My teammates were telling me to ‘Keep your head up, don’t doubt yourself’ and that gave me courage to not doubt myself and intercept it,” Leary (2 for 7 for 67 yards) said.
But five plays after that Leary threw his second interception of the game to Rams junior defensive back Rich Semple.
A late hit penalty on the next drive led to a 4-yard QB sneak by Eldredge on the first play of the final quarter to put the Rams up, 22-8.
Dorchester recovered another Dumont fumble but the Bears’ final drive of the game ended seven plays later after Leary got gang-tackled in the backfield for a 6-yard loss on third down.
“It feels terrible ending this way, but we worked hard and we played hard and we just gave it our all,” Leary said. “I got next year to do it again.”
Moran said his job in the offseason will be to make sure that his roughly 30 returning players, including a 14-player junior class, don’t think that they will return to the Super Bowl simply by stepping onto the field next year.
“They have to work hard and know that they have to work hard from the get go, with lifting and everything else,” Moran said.
Moran also told his team to cherish their Super Bowl memory.
“As years go by you will remember this journey and it will all be worth it,” Moran told his players. “It will be all worth it. Because right now, the pain you feel in your heart, you truly know what it’s like to be a Bear. Right now you know what it’s like to be a Bear. Hold on to that feeling. You hold your head up high and you walk off this field like a family.”
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