FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Coming into the Division 5 Super Bowl on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, a lot was made by each team’s ability to run the ball and put points on the board. Bishop Fenwick took that to heart and wanted to show that its defense was as capable as its offense.
Consider the point proven.
The Crusaders used a swarming and attacking front seven to overwhelm the prolific Northbridge ground game. Led by linebackers Nick Bona, David Hurley, James Traversy, and Kevin Hannon, Bishop Fenwick consistently had Rams sophomore quarterback Koby Schofer guessing as to which read he should make.
Bishop Fenwick held Northbridge to negative-10 rushing yards in the first half and it was not until the fourth quarter that the Rams were able to get into positive yards and by then Rufus Rushins and the offense had put up 28 points. Northbirdge finished with 11 rushing yards.
Traversy, one of the Crusaders senior captains, commented after the game that the week of preparation for the Super Bowl had gotten the players ready for what the Rams were going to throw at them.
He said, “All week we ran their three bread and butter plays — the veer, the call, and the draw and we ran and we ran them until we could recognize it on the spot.”
Bona, the 5-foot-6 senior captain that finished with double-digit tackles, added, “Defense wins games, defense wins championships. That’s it. Every week we stop the run. A lot of teams like to run the ball first and when you take that away from them, there’s not much else they can do.”
A number of Crusaders mentioned that there was a lot of pregame talk about the size of the front line that Northbridge possesses (on both sides of the ball) and Bishop Fenwick head coach Dave Woods explained that his team used its speed to counteract any Rams advantage up front.
“Their coaches … he said, ‘You guys have got speed. You have a great team and you’ve got speed.’ And when you have speed in high school football it makes all the difference in the world,” remarked Woods.
Bona agreed, “We have a lot of speed on our team, which a lot of teams don’t have and we take advantage of that. I think it works on offense and defense – swarming to the ball.”
Coming into the game, Schofer had rushed for more than 1,500 yards and Jake Wood had more than 700 for Northbridge. On Saturday, Schofer was held to minus six yards on 13 carries. Wood had 18 yards on four carries. By contrast, Bishop Fenwick rushed for 230 yards as a team.
Traversy admitted that the Crusaders used predictions of a close game or a Northbridge win as motivation to prove just how talented they were this season. In completing the perfect season with the rare Super Bowl shutout, he explained that it took a strong effort by the entire team not just a few key players.
“We have those standout players but at the same time we’re a team and we work together as a team. We work well together,” he said. “We came out here and showed what the Crusaders can do.”