MIDDLETON — Beating Minuteman Saturday afternoon, 30-6, was a double slice of pleasure for the North Shore Bulldogs.
North Shore clinched its third straight Commonwealth Small league championship. But unlike the past two seasons, this year’s triumph is much sweeter, as coach Paul Worth picked up his 100th career win. to go along with the 2013 league title.
“Twenty years ago I started this program and when I was a young kid I dreamed of being a football coach and never thought I’d be in this position,” said an emotional Worth after his players honored him with the game ball. “To spend 20 years at a program, and build a program, and watch these kids grow and learn and all of the sudden get a 100th win, that’s pretty cool.”
Backed by a big offensive line and a stable of able rushers, the Bulldogs (4-2, 3-0) used their run-oriented offense to good advantage. Spearheading the effort with 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries was Ross Murphy, who transferred from Danvers before his sophomore year.
“It feels great to be part of a team that’s going to the playoffs. And it feels great to win it for coach,” Murphy said. “I’ve been with [coach Worth] since my sophomore year and he’s been a teacher with me as well. We’ve kind of grown together since I’ve been here, so it really just feels great to help out.”
Minuteman (4-2, 2-2) scored first on Zahir Ramsey’s 3-yard scamper in the first quarter, but it was all Bulldogs the rest of the way. Not a pass was thrown by the North Shore offense, but the need for it was never there. Murphy was helped out by Daniel Bailey (eight carries, 53 yards) and Michael Nuernberg (six carries, 73 yards) as the Bulldogs racked up 289 total rushing yards.
Nuernberg put North Shore on the scoreboard with a 41-yard touchdown rush, his first carry of the game, to give the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead before halftime. Following Murphy’s 13- yard scoring run in the third, Bailey reached the end zone on an 8-yard run to put the Bulldogs up, 22-6.
The league-clinching win marks the first time in the past three seasons the Bulldogs will not have to share the title. It’s all theirs.