By Matt Jenkins
---- — FOXBOROUGH — Standing just outside Gillette Stadium’s north end zone in the shadow of the stadium’s signature lighthouse, Bishop Fenwick assistant football coach Dave Dugan gathered the Crusaders together for their final huddle late Saturday night.
Fenwick’s rallying cry all season had been ‘finish’, but Dugan urged them to switch it up in light of the Division 5 Super Bowl result.
In one voice, the Crusaders called it out ... ‘DONE!’
Bishop Fenwick left no doubt which team was the best in Division 5, completely dismantling Northbridge, 28-0, and wrapping up a dream season that concluded with a state title and a 13-0 record.
The Super Bowl title was Fenwick’s third in program history: 1999, 2000 and 2013, all under head coach Dave Woods. Fenwick was also a state champ in 1964 before the Super Bowl system was in place.
“They were so dominant; I don’t even know if we had a close game all year,” Woods said about this season’s team.
“I was talking with Derek (Collins) and some of the other guys on the coaching staff that played back in those games (in 1999 and 2000) and those were special times. Those were our first years together and I’ll never forget that ... but this group, they’re the best team in this school’s history, no question.”
The Crusaders (who finished the season with a school record 510 points scored) made it abundantly clear that they were the best team on the field Saturday night despite many pregame prognostications that suggested Northbridge’s size, strength and ability to throw the ball would be too much for Fenwick to handle.
That only served as motivation for Fenwick, which held the Rams to a grand total of 12 yards rushing and 116 yards of total offense.
As for that large Northbridge (10-3) offensive line that featured three players who weighed nearly 300 pounds? Fenwick’s five linemen — Justice Andrade, David Hurley, Tyler Kaufman, captain Charlie St. Pierre and Brandon DeBerardinis — may have been giving up size, but that didn’t stop them from complete dominating.
Fenwick ran for 224 yards, including a game-high 162 and three touchdowns from junior Rufus Rushins.
“We’ve been proving people wrong all year, even this game,” senior quarterback/linebacker Nick Bona said. “People picked us to lose. I don’t know why they do, but I think we proved them wrong.”
Bona, like he always seems to do, got Fenwick firing right away.
Northbridge tried to run a reverse on its first play from scrimmage, but Bona sliced through a hole and dropped Chandler Brooks for a 9-yard loss. The Rams ended up punting, then on Fenwick’s first offensive play Bona threw a beautiful pass to Eric Razney for a 39-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Just like that, Fenwick was on its way.
“To force them 3-and-out and hit that (pass) play to Eric, that set the tone,” Woods said. “This was our game plan going in and it kind of validated it, like, ‘OK, this is going to work.’”
After that, it pretty much came down to three things: Rushins, the Crusaders’ offensive line, and a defense that simply wouldn’t let Northbridge score.
Fenwick’s third drive was methodical. The Crusaders kept the ball on the ground, alternating between Rushins and Bona to churn out yards. Rushins, who carried the ball six times for 36 yards on the drive, finished it with a 2-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“That (second) drive, we kind of stopped ourselves. We got a penalty and kind of killed that drive on our own,” St. Pierre said. “The next drive we knew we had to come out and score because they were a tough, physical, good team. We knew we had to score and take control of this game.”
Northbridge came with an all-out blitz on Fenwick’s third play of the second half, but the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Rushins broke through the line and raced 49 yards for his second score and a 21-0 Fenwick lead.
He added his third touchdown on the next possession, taking it in from 5 yards out.
“The line dominated all night,” senior wide receiver/safety Charlie Maistrellis said. “I don’t think their secondary wanted any part of Rufus once he broke out of the backfield.”
Northbridge quarterback Koby Schofer came into the game with big stats, having both run and thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season, but Fenwick kept him in check. Schofer carried the ball 13 times for negative-7 yards while completing 11-of-21 passes for 104 yards.
Junior linebacker David Hurley picked off Schofer to kill a potential scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
“Coach Dugan has been phenomenal all year and had a great game plan,” Woods said. “The kids executed. He’s a great coach and he puts so much work into it. I don’t think I know anyone that has more passion for Bishop Fenwick football than Dave Dugan.”
Bona finished a spectacular career by running for 54 yards, throwing for 88 and flying all over the field on defense, taking part in nearly 20 tackles.
“Our sophomore year, the nucleus of this team, we were all starting and we were 3-8. We were young and it was really tough. We took our licks last year, too, with tough losses to St. Mary’s and Hamilton-Wenham,” St. Pierre said. “This year we knew what we had to do; this was the goal the entire year.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Bishop Fenwick 28, Northbridge 0
Division 5 Super Bowl
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Northbridge (10-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Bishop Fenwick (13-0) 7 7 14 0 — 28
BF - Eric Razney 39 pass from Nick Bona (kick failed)
BF - Rufus Rushins 2 run (Rushins rush)
BF - Rushins 49 run (Kyle Russell kick)
BF - Rushins 5 run (Russell kick)
RUSHING: Bishop Fenwick — Rufus Rushins 15-162, Nick Bona 13-54, Eric Razney 1-7, David Hurley 1-1; Northbridge — Jake Wood 4-18, Thomas Tabur 2-6, Michael Quinn 1-2, Christian Polymeros 1-2, Koby Schofer 13-(-7), Chandler Brooks 1-(-9).
PASSING: Bishop Fenwick — Bona 2-8-88-1-1; Northbridge — Schofer 11-21-104-0-1.
RECEIVING: Bishop Fenwick — James Traversy 1-49, Razney 1-39; Northbridge — Jurrell Cromwell 2-32, Brooks 3-28, Robie Sabourin 3-23, Polymeros 2-18, Quinn 1-3.