On the biggest stage of its season, Cohasset junior running back Cole Kissick had the biggest performance of his of his career.
Kissick rushed for 250 yards on 29 carries and helped the Skippers to defeat St. Clement, 40-20, propelling them to their first Super Bowl berth.
Cohasset will play Littleton for the Division 6 crown Dec. 7 at Gillette Stadium.
The Skippers tied for the most wins in program history with win No. 10. Coach Peter Afanasiw says his team’s magical season has to do with more than just skill and talent.
“Chemistry [is why we’re winning],” said Afanasiw as his team hollered for his attention while they huddled and waited for him to celebrate the victory. “Eighty percent of these guys have played so many sports together. They all play 2-3 sports together and never leave each other’s sides. They are like brothers out there.”
Kissick’s first play from scrimmage was a 13-yard run. Although the drive was stalled by a Junior Oyaronbi’s interception, Kissick was just getting started.
On the ensuing drive, Kissick had 45 yards on three rushes, leading to quarterback Chris Haggerty’s 1-yard TD rush to put Cohasset up 7-0 with 5:41 to go in the first. The Skippers then recovered a squib kick and eight plays later, Kissick ran into the end zone from 5 yards for a 13-0 Cohasset lead.
Michael Sullivan put the Anchormen (8-2) on the board with a 6-yard TD pass to Khaneil Bruce with 9:42 to play in the second quarter. Sullivan was dropped in the end zone by Brett Dooley with 7:11 to go in the half as the Skippers took a 15-6 lead.
Then Kissick scored his second TD, a 1-yard run to put Cohasset up, 21-6, at the half.
Kissick, who had 199 yards by halftime, scored his third and final touchdown on an 8-yard rush 1:55 into the second half.
St. Clement scored two straight TDs to trim its deficit to 27-20. Deron Hines scored on a 3-yard rush and Sullivan connected with Bruce from 37 yards. Ryan Gillis sealed the game with two late touchdown runs of 13 and 7 yards.
Although the Skippers will be playing in their first Super Bowl, Kissick knows there is work to be done.
“We’re not just going to go there [to Gillette], we have to win the Super Bowl, we have to bring it home” he said. “We have to finish what we started.”
Littleton 52, Turners Falls 26 — Senior running back Travis Bassett had six carries for 100 yards and four touchdowns and added a 30-yard touchdown reception, all in the first half, to power Littleton past Turners Falls at Westfield State University’s Alumni Field.
Littleton (11-0) will face Cohasset for the state championship.
“It’s sweet,” Bassett said. “I’m pretty sure every kid dreams about playing at Gillette. It’s unbelievable.”
The Super Bowl berth is the first for Littleton since it made back-to-back trips to Division 3 title games in 2008 (Central/Western Mass.) and 2009 (Central Mass.). Both ended in losses for the Tigers.
“We’re going to a true state championship game. That’s never happened before,” Littleton senior quarterback Alex McLaughlin said. “It will be the first time for the teams in this division to do that, and we’re going.’’ It’s pretty cool, but we’re not done yet
The Tigers won the coin toss, elected to receive, and built a 24-0 lead in the opening eight minutes.
Then sophomore Connor Bassett picked off a pass at the end of the first quarter, then hauled in a 33-yard pass from McLaughlin on first down. Four plays later, older brother Travis waltzed in from 10 yards for his third TD and a 32-0 lead with 9:30 left in the second quarter.
“We always want the ball first if we can get it, and we won the coin flip. When we do that, we just execute our offense,” said Littleton coach Mike Lynn. “We’ve got some real playmakers on offense this year and they did their thing today.”
The Indians (8-3) broke through on the ensuing possession as Smith (13 of 19 for 286 yards) found Jalen Sanders for a 35-yard touchdown — the first of three by the duo that included a 46-yarder and 31-yard strike.
It was too late for the Indians, though, who were pounded by the Littleton offensive line of Andrew MacGregor, Chris Bales, Michael Ray, Ryan Clark, and Sam Presti, while the fleet-footed Travis Bassett ran his TD tally to 28 this season.
Elijah Pyram scored the Tigers’ final TD with his 52-yard jaunt with 7:18 left in the third
“I have to thank my offensive line for that,” he said. “They did a great job blocking and creating holes for me.”