WOBURN — They had caused three turnovers and started each of their first four offensive drives with outstanding field position, yet still found themselves trailing by two points before halftime.
It’s at that point that the Bishop Fenwick football team put it all together and started playing ... well, Bishop Fenwick football.
Junior workhorse Rufus Rushins, in his first game back from injury, rushed for 152 yards and scored two touchdowns while senior captain Nick Bona also hit paydirt twice as the unbeaten Crusaders went on to crush Abington, 35-8, in the Division 5 state semifinals at James J. Connolly Memorial Stadium last night.
Fenwick (now 11-0) scored the game’s final five touchdowns by using brute force up front, speed through the gaps and to the outside, and dominating the South Shore League champions defensively. Now, they’ll be playing in their fourth Super Bowl — and for the first time at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro — on Saturday, Dec. 7 against the winner of today’s Central/Western Mass. final between Hoosac Valley and Northbridge.
“I was looking to play against Northeast (Regional in the Div. 5 North final) last week, but the doctor said and coaches said it would be a good idea to sit out another week. So against my judgement, I did,” said Rushins, who scored on runs of 38 and 2 yards. “It was a tough decision to make, but you know what? I think it was for the best.”
The Crusaders held Abington’s running attack to less than 80 yards on the ground and wore down the visitors physically at the point of attack the longer the contest played out, forcing quarterback Bryan Dwyer to scramble out of the pocket much more often in the second half.
“We knew that they were going to come right at us, that they were a hard, physical team,” Bona said of the Green Wave. “But we’re a tough team, too, and knew we could outmuscle them and had more speed than them.