Abington High football coach Jim Kelliher has heard all about Bishop Fenwick's speed, he's seen it on film, and he has a pretty good idea how to neutralize it.
The Crusaders' ability to get the pigskin out in space to playmakers like Charlie Maistrellis, Eric Razney and Nick Bona could be one of the major keys to the game when Fenwick and Abington meet tonight (7 p.m.) in the Division 5 state semifinals at Woburn High School's Connolly Memorial Stadium.
The winner of this contest moves on to the Division 5 Super Bowl against the Central/Western Mass. champion on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Bishop Fenwick (10-0), which has played without star running back Rufus Rushins for the last two-and-a-half games, has made its opponent pay by making big plays, especially in the postseason.
"It's one thing to see their team speed on film ... and another to see it right there live. Other coaches, that's what they mention (about Fenwick) all the time. Speed kills and that's gotta be a factor," Kelliher said. "It's something we can neutralize and the easiest way is to not let them have the ball. That's going to be difficult, we have to be aware of that."
In three playoff contests, Fenwick is averaging more than 34 points per game and only surrendering just 10.
Simply keeping the ball away from the Crusaders will only work, however, if the Green Wave can put points on the board and stop Fenwick from scoring.
In the second round, Austin Prep came in with a similar game plan and did pretty well keeping the ball out of the Crusaders' hands. Bishop Fenwick only had six possessions and 41 plays in that outing, but scored touchdowns on four of their six possessions and made the Cougars work for every yard.