FOXBOROUGH — With their 28-0 Super Bowl championship victory over Northbridge Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, the Bishop Fenwick football team sent a very clear message to the rest of Massachusetts: no Division 5 team was even in their class.
And a message like that is always delivered on defense.
The Rams managed just 12 yards rushing against Fenwick and 116 yards rushing over four quarters.
“There was no secret. Our defense has won games for us all year,” said senior captain and middle linebacker Nick Bona. “Defense won us a championship.”
At 165 pounds Bona looks like David, but hits like Goliath. He finished with 19 tackles (including one for a loss) and one-and-a-half sacks. He also knocked two Rams out of the contest and blew up Northbridge’s very first play from scrimmage — a counter — for a 9-yard loss.
But the signature play for Bona came in the second half on another counter, where the Rams pulled 290-pound guard Connor Gatto up through the hole. Bona came up and smashed Gatto back into the Rams’ ballcarrier, then regained his balance and made the tackle.
“You saw it; (Bona) laid some hits out there,” said Crusaders head coach Dave Woods. “He’s a great kid who’s going to make some college coach very happy.”
Bona wasn’t the only playmaker for the Fenwick defense; it had 10 others Saturday night. In fact, nobody on the defense had an off-day. Everybody made plays.
Fenwick assistant coach Dave Dugan dialed up the perfect game plan geared towards stopping the the Rams’ three go-to plays in the running department. It required discipline and tenacity from every member of the defense — and the Crusaders delivered in both departments.
“All week in practice we only ran their three big plays: the veer, the con (counter) and the (QB) draw. We ran them over and over again” said senior captain James Traversy. “If we stopped their bread-and-butter, it was to our advantage. Everyone was swarming to the ball.”