Rushins and his offensive line reduced that theory to rubble.
The statistics are staggering. The Crusaders ran for 226 yards compared to a net of 12 yards rushing for Northbridge. Fenwick averaged 7.5 yards per carry; Northbridge didn’t climb out of negative rushing yardage until late in the fourth quarter, and their longest run from scrimmage was eight yards — Rufus had seven runs longer than that, and Fenwick quarterback Nick Bona had four.
The battle in the trenches was a decisive technical knockout for the Crusader line: Charlie St. Pierre, Tyler Kaufman, Justice Andrade, Brandon DeBerardinis and David Hurley (plus Josh Ninconchuk and James Traversey in the jumbo package).
“They were big, strong and tough, but tonight was our night,” said St. Pierre, expanding on what it takes to win the physical battle with a bigger opponent across the line of scrimmage.
“You kind of have to figure out what he’s going to do. You definitely have to get lower than a bigger guy and have quicker footwork. You just get inside him, and then comes down to who wants it more.”
The Crusaders certainly wanted it on a 9-play scoring drive in the second quarter. Every call was a run to either Rushins or Bona. Fenwick didn’t face a third down on the game-changing march, which was capped by a 2-yard Rushins plunge and stretched the lead from six points to 14-0.
“When we can run it with Rufus and Nick, there’s no reason to put it in the air too much,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Woods, who tied an area coaching record by winning his third Super Bowl title. He had plenty of faith in his line, even with Northbridge loading the box with defenders.
“The line was awesome. It was a lot of double teams, and then working out to the linebackers.”