|Concord-Carlisle’s Henry Bumpus snags a touchdown pass during Saturday’s big win. (Photos by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)|
Champs finished off perfect seasons
The Concord-Carlisle and Nashoba Regional high school football teams capped undefeated seasons with Super Bowl victories on Saturday. An inside look at their path to the top:
EASTERN MASS. DIVISION 3 Concord-Carlisle 42, Oliver Ames 9
Defining moment of the season: The 13-0 Patriots were dominant in a number of wins, but their 35-12 victory over Acton-Boxborough Regional in Week 7, the program’s first over the Colonials since 1987, made a statement.
“To beat A-B was really symbolic,’’ said coach Mike Robichaud. “We always know where we stand after playing them. It was really good feedback for us to be able to say, ‘We’re a pretty good team.’ ’’
Key play of Super Bowl: On a fourth-down call with 11 seconds left remaining in the first half against Easton’s Oliver Ames High, senior quarterback Ryan Hoey connected on a 20-yard scoring pass to senior tight end Henry Bumpus for a 21-3 lead. “We felt pretty good going into halftime,’’ Robichaud said. “Not that it was over by any means, but if we could lock it down, we’d be OK.’’
Unsung hero: In his first year starting under center, Hoey didn’t rack up eye-popping statistics, but he made big plays when necessary, and orchestrated the wing-T offense with precision (35.4 points per game). “He was just focused like a laser,’’ Robichaud said of Hoey. “He’s not flashy, he doesn’t have great stats, but when you think about running a team and running an offense like the wing T when the quarterback has to be really precise, Ryan was a champ.’’
Stat check: Senior running back George Craan capped another impressive season with 122 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries against Oliver Ames. He finished with 24 touchdowns and 1,733 yards on 211 carries (8.2 yards per carry).
Coach Mike Robichaud: “We had a great year last year but we didn’t finish it the way anybody wanted it to finish,’’ he said of the team’s loss to Duxbury in the Division 2A Super Bowl. “But that whole process kicked over very quickly from last season. A lot of what we talked about after [Saturday’s] game was all the hard work we put in. It was nice to see it pay off.’’
The future: The Patriots graduate 19 seniors. Junior running back Tim Badgley will return, as well as junior linebacker Evan Boynton and freshman cornerback Will Blumenberg, who snared an interception Saturday.
“All the kids are great and they all contribute,’’ Robichaud said. “But there’s also the reality that a lion’s share of those 19 are the guys that are on the field for us all the time. There will be some big shoes to fill, and that will be exciting.’’
CENTRAL MASS. DIVISION 2 Nashoba Regional 27, Holy Name 0
Defining moment of the season: The perfect season almost wasn’t.
In Week 5, the Chieftains were trailing Marlborough with four minutes remaining when linebacker Sam Ashline recovered a fumble in the end zone to hand the Chieftains a 19-17 lead on their way to a 26-17 win. It was Ashline’s first game of the season after undergoing surgery for blood clots in his arm in August.
“That was the turning point for us,’’ said Nashoba coach Ken Tucker. “We had somehow managed to win that game when it looked like we were definitely going to lose. . . . It was kind of a reminder that we can find a way to win. Our kids showed a lot of character that night.’’
Key play of Super Bowl: On the first play of the second half, senior quarterback Trevor Wyand found junior running back John Ojukwu for a 66-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead over the Worcester high school. “I felt that we had missed two other scoring opportunities in the first half when we were stopped at the goal line,’’ Tucker said. “To start the second half with that play and have it go for a score gave us a little bit of breathing room.’’
Unsung hero: It’s easy to be overlooked on a linebacker corps with Ashline and junior Zack Hume, one of the state’s top players. Tucker singled out junior Jack Sarnoski for recognition, as “one of the players who went unnoticed, didn’t make any all-star teams, but when I watch film, he’s around the ball all the time.’’ Also the team’s backup quarterback, Sarnoski helped the Chieftains beat Algonquin Regional and Holy Name early in the season when Wyand was out with a separated shoulder.
Stat check: Just how dominant were the Chieftains en route to their 13-0 record? They outscored foes by a ratio of better than 4 to 1 (410-102). The defense recorded four shutouts and did not allow three touchdowns in a game all season.
Coach Ken Tucker: “It’s quite an achievement,’’ he said of the team’s undefeated year. “We talked a lot about the history of our program. Compared to some other schools it’s a relatively short history, with Nashoba starting in the early 1960s. This is just our 50th year of football. For us that’s a big deal. In that time, we’ve had some great teams, but never one that’s won 13 in one year.’’
The future: Nashoba will graduate 19 seniors, but Hume will be back to anchor the defense while Sarnoski will get the quarterback snaps. Ojukwu will lead the rushing attack.
“We have a good nucleus to build on,’’ Tucker said. “As long as they stay focused, hopefully we can keep things together and make another run next year.’’