EASTON - Medfield's Drew Donnelly was at the Patriots game Sunday night at Gillette Stadium with teammate Peter Gumas, and they talked about the possibility of coming back Saturday to play for their second straight Division 3 Super Bowl title.
Thanks in part to Donnelly's 80 yards rushing and a pair of interceptions, he will be making that return trip to Foxborough after the Warriors topped Abington in the EMass playoff semifinals for the second consecutive year, 12-8.
Medfield coach Mike Slason said Donnelly was the difference-maker for his team.
"Drew was phenomenal," Slason said. "He did everything for us in making an impact on both sides of the ball."
As expected, it was a defensive battle and yards were hard to come by. Medfield's longest drive (13 plays) was stopped on the Abington 34-yard line in the first quarter and the tone of the game was set.
"I thought coming in both our defenses were comparable and early on realized it would be a low-scoring contest," Slason said.
The Warriors took a 6-0 lead with 0:55 before halftime when Donnelly, after rumbling down the sideline for a 19-yard completion, ran the ball in from 7 yards.
Donnelly kept the chains moving for Medfield on its first drive of the second half when he blew past the Abington linebackers on a sweep for a 30-yard score with 5:31 remaining in the third.
The Abington offense, which was stagnant in the first half, came alive in the second half when sophomore Kristian LaPointe (86 rushing yards total) gashed the Warrior defense for 62 yards rushing and three catches for 39 yards.
LaPointe led the Green Wave to their only score when he rushed 5 yards to cut the Medfield lead to 12-8 after Mel DeYulus ran in the 2-point conversion.
"Every time Kristian touched the ball tonight, their defense had to be concerned," Abington coach Jim Kelliher said. "He was awesome tonight."
Donnelly took almost three minutes off the clock for the Warriors by gaining 26 yards on the ground during a drive that took the clock down to the four-minute mark. Abington's defense gave its offense a chance when it stopped Medfield quarterback Luke Swain on consecutive keepers inches short of a first down.
The resulting Abington possession produced the only blemish on LaPointe's day when he fumbled on the Medfield 46 with just over three minutes remaining.
Defensive back Patrick McClay recovered the miscue and Medfield used a 45-yard punt to pin the Green Wave on their 8-yard line. Donnelly ended the Green Wave's final scoring threat when he picked off quarterback Steve Perakslis on the Medfield 25.
"That was a real opportunistic play by Pat," Slason said. "They were driving and we were able to force a turnover in a key situation."
Slason took particular pleasure in heading back to consecutive championship games.
"Obviously we needed a few breaks to fall our way to get here but I'm thrilled for these kids and how well they played tonight," he said.
Despite the tight loss, Kelliher was proud of the way his young team played.
"We made some mistakes but we made up for them with some solid play and almost pulled this one out," he said. "It came down to who had the ball last and we came up just short."