WEYMOUTH, Mass. -– The last time Brockton was in an MIAA Division 1 Super Bowl, gas prices were around $3, the housing market was spiraling downward, and Barack Obama had just been elected President.
Nothing crazy, right? Well, just understand that four years is an eternity in Brockton.
The Boxer faithful are known for their uniquely feverish blend of paranoia and restlessness, and aren’t afraid to let it be known to the players, coaches and everyone in between.
“We were beyond sick and tired of it, especially after last year,” said senior safety Micah Morel, alluding to their disappointing 5-6 finish in 2011. “We were absolutely disgusted with not being in the playoffs the last two years. We just wanted to turn this ship around.”
Said quarterback Austin Roberts, “They’re always coming up to you, and no one’s happy until you win a Super Bowl."
For now, everyone can rest easy. Brockton (9-3) is back in its first Division 1 Super Bowl since 2008, by way of an easy 33-7 victory over Bay State Carey champion Weymouth at the latter’s home field, thanks to a dominant rushing attack that gained 432 yards with just a single passing attempt.
Brockton hasn’t won a Super Bowl since taking back-to-back titles in 2004-05, when quarterback Jessy Resende and tailback Junior Penn were taking New England by storm and the Boxers were getting love in national polls. If they are to bring home the third Super Bowl title of the Peter Colombo era, they’ll have to do beat St. John’s Prep, which won the first meeting, 27-12, in Week 4.
“It’s been a while,” Colombo said.
Alluding to the Boxers’ first Super Bowl title in the first year of the era, in 1972, he continued, “We’re hoping to get back, and 40 years later...We started it off in ’72, and we’re hoping to put the brackets around this era.”
As usual, the dominant ground game was primarily the work of a four-pronged attack in the Boxers’ flex scheme: Roberts (18 carries, 125 yards, 2 TD), and senior running backs Moise Edouard (seven carries, 106 yards, TD), Ricardo Calixte (eight carries, 88 yards, TD) and Morel (10 carries, 90 yards, TD).
The Wildcats (8-4) stacked the box with its 50 front, yet the Boxers were able to establish the edge consistently, for big gains. Leading the attack as usual was Roberts, unafraid to lower his shoulder and charge forward and making the correct read on the option seemingly every play.
“He was very, very efficient tonight,” Morel said. “He played ‘Augie-Ball’ tonight. It was great.”
It started on the Boxers’ opening drive of the game, gift-wrapped for them at the Wildcats’ 19 after a Weymouth fumble on the first play of the game. Four plays later, Roberts tossed out wide to Morel, who glided over the left pylon for the game-opening score just two minutes into the contest.
Weymouth drove all the way to the Boxers’ 20 on the next drive, but stalled after quarterback David Harrison threw incomplete looking for the end zone. Going the other way, the Boxers completed a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive thanks to Edouard’s work, taking an off-tackle 44 yards down to the Weymouth 3 then punching it in on a dive the next play.
Then, the weirdest thing happened. Brockton’s kicker slipped as he went to kick, getting the nose of the ball, and the ball rolled 10 yards only to bounce off a Weymouth blocker into the hands of Brockton’s Justin Ahanon. Three plays later, the 215-pound Calixte made it 21-0 just 11 minutes into the contest with a 38-yard touchdown scamper, sprung loose by an Edouard kick-out block and cutting back at the left sideline with 10 yards to go for an easy score.
Defensive Back U: Year after year, the Boxers’ secondary churns out future Division 1 college athletes, this year being the Bryant University-bound Morel. Tonight, the unit made arguably the statement of the game after the offense fumbled the ball away on the first play of the second half. Harrison used a bubble screen to Ozzy Colarusso and a 24-yard QB draw to give the Wildcats first and goal from the Boxer 4.
Earlier in the game, Harrison knifed through the defense with a slick 18-yard touchdown pass to Colarusso. The play was drawn up perfectly, with trips to the right, both inside receivers running out routes and the outside man – Colarusso – cutting to the goal post on a slant.
This time, however, Harrison threw four incompletions to end the drive. Roberts then led the Boxers 96 yards the other way, accounting for 52 of the yards plus the score to make it 33-7.
“If we elimintated Harrison from extending the plays, we knew we had a good shot,” Morel said. “We’ve been playing great lockdown defense on the outside with our corners and our secondary the past few weeks, and we knew if we could contain Harrison then we had a good shot at winning this game.”
And how did they contain?
“Pressure up front, linebackers took their key steps,” he said. “Stay in the cutback lanes and just make sure that he wasn’t going to get anywhere.”
Tanks in the trenches: The Boxers installed their “Flex” offense, an option-based scheme utilizing multiple wing-backs (popularized by college programs such as Navy and Georgia Tech), as a way to take advantage of Roberts’ run-first exploits and the running back depth. Suffice to say it’s more than paid off, as the Boxers have run for 3,066 yards and 37 touchdowns as a team, with an average of 255.5 yards per game, making them among the state’s most efficient rushing attacks.
It’s a misdirection offense, but also one predicated on mobile linemen. Led by 6-foot-2, 260-pound road grader Joe Previte, the Boxers controlled the line of scrimmage from the opening whistle. It was an efficient night, calling 45 running plays and averaging 9.6 yards per run.
“The o-line has been great all season,” Roberts said. “They’re the best part of our team, offensive line and defensive line. They did a great job today. They controlled the line of scrimmage, made it easy for the backs.”
For all the headlines Roberts and Morel tend to grab, Weymouth head coach Kevin Mackin agreed it's the guys in the trenches that are the key ingredient.
"The most impressive part is that offensive line -- they are very, very physical," he said. "They've played a lot of years together obviously, and we threw everything we had at them. I think at one point we had all 11 guys in the box, and they still pushed us back. So, you've got to tip your hat to a team like that. They're very physical."
BROCKTON 33, WEYMOUTH 7
BRO (9-3) 7 20 6 0 --- 33
WEY (8-4) 0 7 0 0 --- 7
B - Micah Morel 8 run (De'Andre Brown kick) 7:58
B - Moise Edouard 3 run (kick blocked) 9:30
B - Ricardo Calixte 38 run (Austin Roberts run )8:06
W - Ozzy Colarusso 18 pass from David Harrison (Colarusso kick) 2:27
B - Roberts 5 run (kick blocked) :16
B - Roberts 2 run (rush failed) 3:07