PEABODY — The scene for the Bishop Fenwick faithful has become very familiar as the Crusaders lined up across their home field for the Division 5 North title game.
When healthy, the Crusaders carry 30 players on their roster. With the co-ed school’s total enrollment only reaching 600, it’s a small number that leaves little room for injury.
Across the field stood Northeast, linked arm in arm from sideline to sideline. The Golden Knights boast a roster 60 strong, carrying more upperclassmen than Fenwick carries players.
But the Crusaders have one thing many of their opponents lack: speed, and a lot of it.
In the weekend’s lone matchup of undefeated teams, Fenwick raced to the end zone early and often Friday night and clinched the Division 5 North title with a 43-6 victory over Northeast.
“We’ve got about 16, 17, 18 kids that play, and man, they play their hearts out,” said coach David Woods. “I’m proud of them. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of them tonight.”
The win sends the Crusaders (10-0) to the state semifinals, where they will play Abington next weekend. The venue will be will be determined at a later date.
Holding a 21-0 lead midway through the third quarter, Fenwick’s speed pushed the game out of reach. Forced to punt on fourth and 17 from its own 33, Northeast (9-1) had its kick blocked by Fenwick’s Charlie Maistrellis.
Fellow senior Tom Parsons attempted to corral the loose ball, but he knocked it farther and farther into Northeast’s end of the field. Northeast junior Rob Newhook finally jumped on the loose ball, but it was in the end zone and the Crusaders had a safety.
Fenwick returned the ensuing kickoff into Knights’ territory, setting up camp at the 33. Six plays later, junior Robert Carrillo raced untouched for a 10-yard score. In the span of two minutes, Fenwick had stretched its lead to 30.
After a four-and-out by the Knights, Fenwick continued its torrid scoring pace. Maistrellis (95 yards, two touchdowns) tacked on his second score, carrying the ball 55 yards into the end zone. Fenwick’s Brandon DeBerardinis added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter for a 43-0 advantage.
“It’s easy to coach when you have speed,” Woods said with a laugh. “Northeast, they’re a great defensive team and they play good defense, but we just have kids who are a little bit faster.”
Fenwick quarterback Nick Bona passed for 123 yards and two touchdowns. He found fellow senior Eric Razney for a pair of scoring strikes in the first half.
Kevin Rosado scored on a 25-yard run for the Knights.