Amesbury 40, MV 19

Smooth sailing for Flannigan, mates

It was a moment of uplift for Stephen Levarity as Amesbury celebrates its Super Bowl victory over Martha's Vineyard. It was a moment of uplift for Stephen Levarity as Amesbury celebrates its Super Bowl victory over Martha's Vineyard. (David Kamerman/Globe Staff)
By Jeff Powalisz
Globe Correspondent / December 7, 2008
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WALTHAM - Jared Flannigan had clock to kill.

Receiving the snap on the first play of the second half, the Amesbury senior quarterback realized his team had another date with the end zone.

Flannigan's impromptu 61-yard touchdown run wasn't a game-changer in Amesbury's 40-19 rout of Martha's Vineyard at Bentley University yesterday in the EMass Division 3A Super Bowl. It was merely an illustration of the team's relentless offensive attack.

"We were trying to run some clock off and I just saw a little opening," said Flannigan, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for two TDs. "Luckily I was able to go all the way. I'll take [the 6 points] any day."

With a 21-0 lead one minute into the second quarter, and a 34-7 advantage by halftime, the Indians (12-1) erased any chance for a competitive game, holding the Vineyarders (11-2) in check.

The gaping holes created by Amesbury led to three impressive rushing performances -- Flannigan had 150 yards on 11 rushes, Jesse Burrell had 117 yards on 12 carries, and Kevin Johnston rushed 13 times for 67 yards.

"[Flannigan] played picture-perfect at the option today," Amesbury coach Thom Connors said. "We did everything we needed to do. We just jumped on every chance we could get. I thought the difference would be our offensive and defensive lines, and I think that's what did it. We won the battle up front, and set the backs free."

Flannigan also threw the ball (56 yards passing), firing a 15-yard pass to Burrell for a 7-0 lead. The Indians went 5 for 5 in the first half, scoring every time they had the ball.

Before the first quarter ended, Johnston went 13 yards nearly untouched to give Amesbury a 14-0 lead.

"We came and showed what we could do," Connors said. "We capitalized on our opportunities today, which is what we've done all year long."

On Amesbury's next drive, Johnston had two straight 1-yard plunges, the second of which secured a 21-0 lead with 8:55 left in the second quarter.

The Vineyarders scored four minutes later, Nick Gross hauling in an 18-yard pass from Mike McCarthy while falling in the corner of the end zone. Gross bobbled the ball, but held on for an outstanding catch.

Flannigan then went to work. He had a 4-yard touchdown on a bootleg, then connected with Ryan Dragon for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left.

"Everything was clicking on all cylinders," Connors said. "We thought we had a pretty good scout on them. At halftime, I told the kids we had a long way to go. We had to come out in the second half, put the hammer down and keep it that way."

Flannigan made sure the team followed his coach's advice with his 61-yard run to make the score 40-7.

"It's everything," Flannigan said of the victory. "It's what we've worked for. I've been playing since the fourth grade and I finally made it."

The Vineyarders tried to slice away at the deficit in the second half, with McCarthy (18 of 20 passing, 12 carries for 68 yards) hitting Gross from 14 yards with 8:33 left. In the final minute, McCarthy scored on a 1-yard keeper.

"I'm proud of the way the kids conducted themselves all season," Martha's Vineyard coach Don Herman said. "They conducted themselves like champions. They deserved to be here. It's a shame we couldn't have played better."

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