READING – After running back Brian Garcia injured his ankle in Wayland’s Thanksgiving Day game, Robert Williams, who splits totes with Garcia, knew he would need to carry the Warriors’ ground game.
The junior responded with a career game on Tuesday at Hollingsworth Field, rushing for 307 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Warriors (9-3) to a 36-14 win over Westwood and a trip to the Division 3 Super Bowl, where they’ll face Sharon at Bentley University.
“I’ve just been working for it all year and the [offensive] line has been in the weight room all the time working for it,” said Williams. “I don’t even think about the stats. I just go out there and do what I can for the team to win.”
The Wayland offensive line of Kevin Kelley, Ben Bouschetto, Spencer Register, Matt Cramer, and Matt Devlin simply overpowered Westwood, allowing Williams to pick and choose his spots.
The first came in the form of a 17-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, as Williams helped the Warriors capitalize on the first of Westwood’s five turnovers.
Wayland’s defense, which entered the game allowing 9.5 points per contest, held the Wolverines (8-4) to less than 200 yards of total offense and was helped out by Dayleon McKenzie’s three-interception day.
Williams’s second touchdown came on a tough, 2-yard run and put Wayland up, 13-0, with 3:50 to play in the first quarter.
Westwood responded in the second, cutting the score to 13-7 thanks to a 16-yard rush by Daniel Roache. However, on the very next play from scrimmage, Williams delivered his longest run of the day, breaking through the Westwood line for a 63-yard score.
Just before the half, wide receiver Robert Williams found his way into the end zone on a 35-yard pass from Wayland quarterback Matt Goddard (5 for 15, 96 yards, 1 TD) to give the Warriors a 26-7 edge.
“They’re two great juniors,” said Wayland coach Scott Parseghian of the Williamses. “They’ve been doing a lot for us on both sides of the ball all year.”
Westwood showed life in the third, turning in a nine-play, 77-yard drive to start the quarter to make it a two-score game. Robert Berluti caught a 7-yard score from his brother, Alex.
Then they forced a Wayland turnover on downs, but mustered only a momentum-killing three-and-out on their next possession.
The ground-bound Robert Williams put any thought of a Wolverines’ comeback to bed with a 44-yard touchdown run with 1:36 to play in the third.
“The five up front, they pushed these guys around,” said Parseghian, who takes special pride in his offensive line. “We came out here and we were more physical than they were and it showed.
“Being a former offensive line coach, I just love . . . that kind of stuff.“
This is the first time the Warriors have made the playoffs since 2007. Parseghian spent the past three seasons dealing out playing time to underclassmen, and they had the experience to make a run this season.
“When you’re playing sophomores, you’re not going to be able to win a lot,” he said. “You win football games with seniors. We’ve got 23 seniors, and they’re leading the way right now.”