SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

December 9, 2013

On Football: O-Line raises the Rufus, dominates Super Bowl

FOXBOROUGH — Rufus Rushins says he never believed that he wouldn’t be here, playing under the lights in a high school Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

The way he smiles, taking in the thrill of Bishop Fenwick’s 28-0 win over Northbridge in the Division 5 championship game Saturday night, it’s impossible not to believe him.

It would’ve been easy for Rushins, a powerhouse junior running back, to doubt this when he dislocated his elbow five weeks ago. He missed most of the next four games, but no matter how much it hurt he never stopped believing he’d be playing in the House Tom Brady Built.

Playing with his elbow wrapped and braced, Rushins looked no worse for wear Saturday night. Running for 162 yards on 15 carries, he scored three touchdowns and added a two-point conversion to power the Crusaders’ rout.

“I knew I’d be back,” said Rushins, who tweeted that exact thought in the hours after he got hurt. He also rushed for 152 yards in his return from injury, a state semifinal win over Abington.

“I honestly felt close to 100 percent. I knew I was good to go. It was a little bit of a tough journey, mostly because I lost some of my wind. I worked hard to get that back.”

The Crusaders echoed Rushins’ faith. From start to finish, Fenwick never doubted they were the best team in the state in Division 5. Losing, with or without their lead running back, never crossed their minds.

When you outscore your opponents 510-163, you’ve earned the right to that confidence.

Northbridge came into Saturday’s Super Bowl with a bigger offensive and defensive line, averaging 250 pounds among the starters compared to 227 for the Crusaders. That size led a lot of folks to favor the Rams, the logic being that Fenwick might have a tough time both running and stopping the run.

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