A ground-breaking day for Northeast
WALTHAM - An opposing coach can game plan all he wants for the Northeast Golden Knights. He’ll guess what’s coming once the whistle blows from Northeast’s rush-dominated offense, and he’ll probably be right.
The problem is, it may not matter.
“I said it weeks ago, as long as our offensive line controls the line of scrimmage, we’ll be fine,’’ coach Don Heres said. “We just go out and try to outphysical people. That’s what we do. We’re not the prettiest team out there.’’
An attractive trophy now rests in Heres’s hands as his squad defeated Brighton, 22-12, in the Division 4A Super Bowl yesterday at Bentley University. The championship comes in Northeast’s first appearance in a Super Bowl, and it came after the Golden Knights (8-5) stormed back from an 0-4 start.
The Golden Knights offered few surprises on offense, employing their usual assortment of effective backfield options to control the clock and ensure a comfortable lead from the get-go.
Seniors Mike Cain (12 rushes, 85 yards) and Joey Ginepra (14-76) contributed touchdowns, as well as sophomore Bobby Novello (7-50).
“We try to play physical football all day long, and play disciplined,’’ Heres said. “What we do, we do pretty well.’’
After Cain rushed in from 20 yards for a touchdown with 1:04 left in the first quarter to give Northeast a 6-0 lead, Heres made a momentum- (and game-) changing decision. Northeast perfectly executed an onside kick, and had the ball back.
“It’s something we talked about all week,’’ Heres said. “We don’t kick that far as it is. So if we’re just going to kick the ball and give it to them on the 40 anyway, why not?’’
Brighton (5-7) had been moving the ball on Northeast early, but its fate was sealed after the onside kick. Novello capped off a long drive with a 3-yard score. After Cain’s 2-point run, it was 14-0 with 6:49 left in the half.
The Bengals weren’t ready to give up, however, scoring on their next drive at 2:17 when Jonathan Rosa found Dwight Kennedy on a 21-yard pass.
“They moved the football on us,’’ Brighton coach James Philip said. “We waited too late to come alive. They’re a good team. We played well and the guys did the best they could. I feel great about a season where we ended up playing for the state championship and I hope these young men do too.’’
Ginepra gave Northeast some breathing room early in the fourth quarter, finding the end zone from 5 yards on his fourth straight rush. Quarterback Donato DiPietrantonio ran a keeper in for 2 points and the lead was 22-6.
Brighton responded, with Rosa finishing an efficient seven-play drive with an 8-yard run. Northeast stopped the 2-point rush, stopping Brighton from making it one-possession deficit.
“I thought we had a great group coming in this year,’’ Heres said. “Our nonleague schedule was tough and even our scrimmage schedule was. Everything we did was based on this and getting [to the Super Bowl]. We started out 0-4, but they were tough teams. We were playing well, just not winning.’’