WOBURN — One simple word has driven and defined this Bishop Fenwick football team.
It’s printed on the back of the Crusaders’ team T-shirts; they’ve carried it in their hearts and minds; and they’ve made it a goal for every single practice, play, possession and game they’ve competed in this season.
Yet in the first half of last night’s Division 5 state semifinal matchup with Abington, Fenwick just couldn’t find a way to pick up the tough yardage, twice getting stopped on 4th-and-2 situations.
Facing a critical possession late in the half, the Crusaders knew they needed to produce points before heading into the locker room, and the team turned to a familiar formation — the Jumbo package — but an unfamiliar ballcarrier. The decision drastically changed the game’s momentum and carried the Crusaders to a 35-8 victory that secured their place in the Division 5 Super Bowl.
Staring at a 2nd-and-goal from the 5-yard line and sensing the eyes of the Abington defense all focused on junior running back Rufus Rushins, Fenwick coach Dave Woods made the call — 47 Con.
”Whenever I hear that in the huddle, I get excited because I know I have big Josh (Niconchuk) pulling up inside the hole with me,” junior left tackle David Hurley said.
When Fenwick turns to its Jumbo package, Hurley and junior offensive lineman Brandon DeBerardinis line up in the backfield with Rushins, like a pair of bulldozers prepared to clear a path for a Mack truck. On this particular play, senior quarterback Nick Bona handed off to one of the bulldozers — Hurley — who followed Niconchuk through the hole and into the end zone.
Bona then connected with Hurley for the two-point conversion, giving Fenwick a 14-8 lead going into the half.
”All my friends tell me I can’t catch,” Hurley laughed. “Normally I’m not going out for a pass, but I don’t feel like my hands are that bad.”