Saturday, December 7, 2013
Bassett, McLaughlin go home as heroes
By Chris Bradley
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Alex McLaughlin and Travis Bassett have been playing football together since they were eight years old, with dreams of one day bringing a championship home to Littleton High.
It was a dream that coach Mike Lynn shared, too, a goal he first thought was possible when the senior captains were just freshman, a dream that only intensified with each victory over the course of their magnificent 13-0 season.
Quarterback Alex McLaughlin totaled 225 yards and two touchdowns as Littleton carved up Cohasset.
This is why there was very little surprise in the dynamic duo’s performance on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Bassett totaled 292 yards and five touchdowns, while McLaughlin had two scores of his own on his way to 225 total yards.
“I’ll tell ‘ya, when I’m losing my mind I’ll just look at them and I’ll look at their faces, they’ve won so many big games that they don’t get rattled,” Lynn said, “They’re pretty cool under pressure, they’re just big game players. They make the plays when they need to. We knew their freshman year that we were headed in a different direction.”
Lynn brought the team to Foxborough early Saturday morning before their 9 a.m. kickoff with Cohasset in hopes of easing some of the pregame jitters.
“It’s a little hard when you get here. When they get here they have to get over the shock of being on the turf at the stadium. We got here a little early so that we could get that out of the way and get down to business,” Lynn said.
Bassett couldn’t help but joke afterwards that it felt like the entire town of Littleton was packed into Gillette on Saturday morning.
But then again, maybe the star running back was onto something because the Tigers looked right at home playing on the Patriots’ turf. Littleton was dominant in what was an ultra-efficient running game, and 505 total yards later the Tigers’ captains stood at the podium with Lynn to hoist the Division 6 state championship trophy.
“It felt amazing, I’ve dreamed of playing here my whole life. To win the first state championship in the history of Massachusetts, that’s an unbelievable feeling. I just can’t wait to go home and enjoy it with my family and my friends,” Bassett said.
Bassett caught a touchdown from McLaughlin at the end of the third quarter to put the Tigers up 46-27, all but putting the game out of reach for a Cohasset squad who was looking to make a late run. When told after the game that Bassett had finished with five touchdowns, Lynn was momentarily speechless.
“Was it [five]? Oh my gosh. Travis Bassett’s a special player, that’s why he’s been getting all the exclusive articles the past couple weeks—he proved today that he deserved it. We rode him today, that’s for sure. Every time I gave him the ball something great happened,” Lynn said.
McLaughlin called the state championship an unforgettable experience, but also emphasized the fact that the journey itself is what makes the title so rewarding.
“I couldn’t pick a better group of guys to do this with. Travis…he’s shifty, he’s fast, he does it all. He’s a great player. The line did their job today, they’re all seniors—we came out and played well, that’s what happens. We’ve been playing together since we were eight years old,” McLaughlin said.
“It’s unbelievable. We’re all friends, we grew up together, it’s the best way to go out.”