With the state semifinals in the books, the pairings and schedule is set for the MIAA Super Bowls that will decide that state champions of Massachusetts football on Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium. The new football playoff system that went into place this past season has left six championships up for grabs, and there are now twelve teams that will vie for the chance to call themselves state champions.
There is guaranteed to be fresh champions this year, as no team that won a Super Bowl in 2012 is returning to a title game. With the final slate of games set to go, here is a look at all of the Dec. 7 matchups in Foxborough. Next
Division 6: Cohasset vs. Littleton, 9 a.m.
Records: Cohasset (11-1 overall, 5-0 South Shore Small), Littleton (12-0 overall, 6-0 Mid-Watch)
Scouting report: Cohasset won the Small division title in the South Shore conference, posting a 11-1 overall record while going 5-0 in the league. Cohasset steamrolled Nantucket and Blue Hills on its way to a 14-8 win over Millis-Hopedale to claim the Div. 6 South title. In the state semifinals, Cohasset held a 27-20 lead entering the fourth quarter, but senior Ryan Gillis ran for two touchdowns and the defense held to give Cohasset a 40-20 win over North champion St. Clement. Senior Cole Kissick ran for three touchdowns, while senior Chris Haggerty also ran one in for Cohasset. Cohasset defeated Hull 20-0 on Thanksgiving with a pair of touchdown runs by Rocco Laugelle.
Littleton won the Mid-Watch conference by going a 12-0 (6-0 league). Littleton blew past Bay Path, St. Bernard’s, and Valley Tech on its way to the Div. 6 Central championship, then easily handled Turners Falls in the state semifinals. In the semis, Littleton senior Travis Bassett ran for 100 yards and four touchdowns, and added a fifth on a pass from quarterback Alex McLaughlin. McLaughlin added a running touchdown of his own, while Elijah Pyram ran one in as well in Littleton 52-26 victory. Littleton defeated Ayer Shirley 36-8 on Thanksgiving, pulling its starters shortly after rolling to a 22-0 lead.
Division 5: Bishop Fenwick vs. Northbridge, 8 p.m.
Records: Bishop Fenwick (12-0 overall, 5-0 Catholic Central), Northbridge (10-2 overall, 1-2 Southern Worcester County League)
Scouting report: Bishop Fenwick won the Catholic Central conference. As the No.1 seed in Div. 5 North, Fenwick defeated St. Mary’s, Austin Prep, and Northeast Regional to win the sectional title. In the state semifinals, Fenwick allowed South champion Abington to strike first, then pitched a shutout for the rest on the game on its way to scoring 35 unanswered points and an easy victory on the road. Rufus Rushins ran in for two scores, David Hurley and Nick Bona each ran in for one, and Bona returned an interception 30 yards for the icing on the cake. Fenwick defeated Pingree 36-27 on Thanksgiving thanks to 158 rushing yards by Bona.
Northbridge was the No. 4 seed in the Div. 5 Central tournament. After taking down Gardner in the first round, Northbridge upset No. 1 seed Leicester 28-23, then defeated Bartlett by 13 points to take the sectional championship. In the state semifinals, Northbridge faced a one-point deficit with 2:36 to play, but rallied to gain 65 yards in 12 plays, converting a fourth-and-8 on the way, ending in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Koby Schofer to Chandler Brooks with 30 seconds to play to beat Hoosac Valley, 29-22. Schofer connected with Brooks for a score earlier in the game, while Schofer and Jake Woods also ran in touchdowns for Northbridge. Northbridge took down Uxbridge on Thanksgiving after falling behind 14-0 by halftime, but scored 28 unanswered in the second half to secure the win.
Division 4: Dennis-Yarmouth vs. Doherty, 11 a.m.
Records: Dennis-Yarmouth (10-2 overall, 5-2 Atlantic Coast), Doherty (11-1 overall, 3-0 Inter-High Conference)
Scouting report: D-Y held its own as a Division 4 team surrounded by Division 1 and 2 schools. As the No. 2 seed in the Div. 4 South tournament, D-Y handled Hanover in the first round and took down Apponoquet by eight points in the second round before blowing out Holliston in the sectional finals 26-7. The state semifinals saw D-Y take down North champion Bedford, 21-14. Three second-quarter touchdowns – runs by Cory Desimore and Spencer Tyler, as well as a 70-yard touchdown pass from Tyler to Mike Dunn – put D-Y in front and the defense held on for the win. Dennis-Yarmouth defeated Nauset 13-0 on Thanksgiving on second quarter touchdown scores by Jacob Pawlina and Andrew Jamiel.
Doherty took the Inter-High conference title and was the No. 3 seed in the Div. 4 Central tournament. Doherty rolled to easy victories over Quabbin and Hudson before edging Shepherd Hill by four points to win the sectional title. In the state semifinals, Doherty faced West champion Wahconah, which scored two first-quarter touchdowns to put Doherty in a 16-0 deficit. Doherty’s defense clamped down for the rest of the game and the offense turned on the burners in the second quarter, scoring 22 unanswered points to take the 22-16 victory. Luke Brennan passed for two touchdowns – to Jahkari Carpenter and Alfred Adarkwah – and ran in for another, while the defense forced Wahconah to a safety. Doherty beat Burncoat, 32-30, on Thanksgiving after a fourth quarter touchdown saved Doherty from the upset.
Division 3: Tewksbury vs. Plymouth South, 6 p.m.
Records: Tewksbury (12-0 overall, 5-0 Merrimack Valley Conference), Plymouth South (9-2 overall, 5-2 Atlantic Coast)
Scouting report: Tewksbury dominated Division 2 of the Merrimack Valley conference. Tewksbury crushed Somerville in the opening game of the Div. 3 Northeast tournament, gained a three-point victory over Gloucester in the second game, then took down Marblehead to win the Div. 3 Northeast title. Facing Northwest champion Melrose, Tewksbury showed its consistency, scoring touchdowns in every quarter and limiting Melrose to 14 points, while Tewksbury put up 32 of its own. Johnny Aylward ran for a touchdown and connected with Kevin Dick on another, while Edward Matovu and James Sullivan ran for a touchdown each. Tewksbury took down Wilmington 21-7 in its Thanksgiving game.
Plymouth South was the No. 1 seed in Div. 3 Southeast. After blowing out Sharon 35-7 and beating Dartmouth 21-7 in their first two games of the tournament, Plymouth South faced its crosstown rival Plymouth North in the sectional championship. North held a 6-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but South managed a touchdown with seven minutes to go and held on to win 7-6. In the state semifinals, Plymouth South took down Southwest champion Stoughton, 14-12. South stormed to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on touchdown runs by Dylan Oxen. Stoughton rallied for two touchdowns before halftime, but failed to convert either extra point, and Plymouth South held on through a scoreless second half. Plymouth South rested its starters on Thanksgiving against Plymouth North, and North won 39-8.
Division 2: Mansfield vs. St. John’s-Shrewsbury, 1:30 p.m.
Records: Mansfield (12-0 overall, 5-0 Hockomock Kelley-Rex), St. John’s (9-3 overall, 0-1 Central Mass. Conference)
Scouting report: Mansfield’s offense showed its strength in the Div. 2 South tournament, and the No. 1 seed defeated Wellesley, Needham, and Barnstable by a combined score of 114-75. In the Div. 2 state semifinals, Mansfield demolished North champion Waltham, jumping out to a 35-0 haltime lead and scoring again in the third quarter to win 41-0. Michael Hershman returned a fumble recovery for the first score of the game; Kyle Wisnieski connected with Brenden Hill for two touchdowns and for another with Miguel Villar-Perez. Alex Ruddy and Christopher Buchanan each ran for touchdowns. Mansfield defeated Foxborough 14-7 on Thanksgiving.
St. John’s of Shrewsbury had the highest win total in the Central Mass. conference, earning the No. 2 seed in Div. 2 Central. St. John’s breezed through North Middlesex and Marlboro – putting up 55 and 56 points on each, respectively – before a tough finals matchup with Leominster, who defeated St. John’s in the Div. 1 Central state championship in 2012. St. John’s erased the memories of the past season by defeating Leominster in a 51-42 shootout, winning the Div. 2 Central title. The state semifinals saw St. John’s trail Springfield Central by one point with less than two minutes to play, but Shane Combs ran in for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:07 left to give St. John’s the lead. Springfield Central had one last chance, but Drew Smiley picked off a pass in the end zone to seal the victory and send St. John’s back to the state championship game. Combs ran for three touchdowns, while Smiley threw two scores to Davon Jones and Jack Coveney hit a 28-yard field goal. St. John’s fell to St. Peter-Marian 19-7 on Thanksgiving, but may have suffered an even greater blow, as Smiley was forced to leave the game after sustaining a shoulder injury.
Division 1: Xaverian vs. Central Catholic, 3:30 p.m.
Records: Xaverian (10-1 overall, 4-0 Catholic Conference), Central Catholic (10-1 overall, 5-0 Merrimack Valley Conference)
Scouting report: Xaverian was the No. 1 seed in Div. 1 South, and took down Catholic Memorial in the opener 54-28, then slipped by BC High, 11-9. Xaverian faced off with Attleboro in the sectional finals with a trip to the Div. 1 Super Bowl on the line. Trailing 21-14 in the fourth quarter, running back Shanye Kaminski ran for a 37-yard touchdown with only one shoe on, and quarterback Jake Farrell later hit Nick Colantuoni for a score to give Xaverian a 28-21 lead. Damion Wood ran back an interception for a touchdown to increase the lead to 14, but Attleboro scored shortly after to make it 35-28. Kaminski then ran seven times to eat up the final 3:46 left on the clock to give Xaverian the win. Xaverian took down St. John’s Prep on Thanksgiving by a score of 28-22, but Kaminski and fullback Kenny Kern were both forced to leave the game with injuries.
Central Catholic was the No. 2 seed in the Div. 1 North tournament. After rolling Lexington and Action-Boxboro, Central Catholic faced Everett, the three-time defending Super Bowl champions and No. 1-ranked team in Massachusetts, in the sectional finals. Faced with a 15-14 deficit with less than five minutes to play, Central quarterback Mike Milano led the offense down the field and hit Cody Demers with a 24-yard pass that gave Central a 20-15 lead. The defense clamped down in the final two minutes to stun favored Everett and put Central into the Div. 1 Super Bowl. D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie ran in for a score and Milano broke out for a 60-yard touchdown run earlier in the contest. Central Catholic crushed Andover 44-18 on Thanksgiving, with Demers racking up 174 combined yards and two touchdowns.
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