BRIDGEWATER, Mass. –- You know who Andrew Maestre is without seeing his number 34 in the backfield, as the Brighton High junior fullback is listed at a generous 245 pounds before even going downhill. But don't fall asleep on his fellow classmate under center calling all the signals.
Junior quarterback Jonathan Marrero collected 218 yards of total offense, along with three touchdowns with two coming on rushing plays in the pivotal second half of play as the Bengals (9-2) advance to their second straight Division 4A Super Bowl with a 36-13 win over West Bridgewater.
Marrero finished 11-16 for 142 yards through the air, and had 76 yards carving up the West Bridgewater (9-2) defense on only eight carries.
“Our defense played great and our offensive line made it happen for me all night,” said Marrero.
The defense was staked to a 20-point lead right out of the gates as Maestre, who finished with 67 yards on 17 carries, scored his two touchdowns on the first two series for the Bengals.
Brighton's first score was set up by a 41-yard kick return by Olumide Olukoga down to the Wildcats' 39-yard line. Seven plays later, Maestre punched it in from five yards out on a first-and-goal plunge.
West Bridgewater (9-2) shot themselves in the foot turning the ball over on their very first play from scrimmage to give the Bengals the ball back on the 36-yard line. Maestre was at it again -- but this time with an acrobatic leap over the pile with the ball inside the one-yard line on a third-and-goal. Maestre finished off the second drive with a two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead with only 6:11 expired from the game clock.
The Wildcats didn't have much luck on their next possession as a three-and-out gave the Bengals a third shot at the end zone before the first quarter was even finished. Despite a 55-yard punt by D.J. Jamieson that backed up Brighton to their own five-yard line, it only took seven plays to go 95 yards for the 20-0 lead. Marrero was just warming up as he went 2-for-2 on the drive for 70 yards through the air, including a 29-yard strike to the speedy senior Olukoga up the sidelines for his first of his trio of touchdowns.
The Wildcats made things interesting with an Andrew Drass 31-yard touchdown pass to Brian Cooper to the end the first half and then opened the second half with an eight-play drive finished off by Mike Toczko's nine-yard scamper to pull within seven, 20-13.
But Marrero called his own number on a designed sweep for a 17-yard score and then again on a broken play, Marrero turned back upfield for an 11-yard score for this third touchdown of the game.
"All three (Maestre, Olukoga, and Marrero) played outstanding and we wouldn't be here without them," said Brighton head coach, James Philip, who last won a Super Bowl title in 2007. "We are only part of the way there and we've been to the Super Bowl four out of the last five years so hopefully this time we win one."
Ironically, the Bengals move to Super Bowl Saturday to face Northeastern, who advanced with an impressive 42-0 win over Catholic Central Small Champs, Pope John. Brighton and Northeast faced off last year in the Division 4A title game, with the Knights prevailing 22-12 at Bentley University.
"Northeast is going to punch us and we are going to punch back - we can't wait," said Philip.
BRIGHTON 36, WEST BRIDGEWATER 13
BRIGHTON (9-2) 14 - 6 - 8 - 8 -- 36
WEST BRIDGEWATER (9-2) - 0 - 7 - 6 - 0 -- 13
BR - Andrew Maestre 5 run (run failed)
BR - Maestre 1 run (Maestre run)
BR - Olumide Olukoga 29 pass from Jonathan Marrero (run failed)
WB - Brian Cooper 31 paqss from Andrew Drass (Cole Paskell kick)
WB - Mike Toczko 9 run (kick failed)
BR - Marrero 17 run (Maestre run)
BR - Marrero 11 run (Dwight Kennedy pass from Marrero)