BRAINTREE — Blue Hills defeated North Shore, 23-22, at Braintree High Thursday night for its second consecutive Small Division Vocational Championship.
Both North Shore (7-4) and Blue Hills (8-4) were in the MIAA playoffs but were dispatched in the earlier rounds. Given another game for their winning record against vocational schools, the Warriors took advantage of the opportunity.
“We just told the kids this is an extra game for both teams, let’s see if we can defend what we did last year,” said Blue Hills coach Ed Catabia, who won in his first vocational championship last year. “If you look at the history here, the past three years, we’ve lost 62 starters between special teams, offense, and defense. And for these kids to step it up and win eight games and make it into the MIAA playoffs as a wild card, and having this opportunity here, is a tribute to these kids and what these kids have worked for all year.”
Blue Hills won an MIAA Super Bowl in 2010.
Playing without star running back Dimitri Revolus (23 TDs, 154 points), who injured his knee in the Thanksgiving Day game, Blue Hills was forced to evolve offensively. The Warriors leaned on senior tight end David Neil, the only player remaining from the 2010 championship team.
Neil lifted the Warriors to a quick 16-0 lead on two 1-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter. The Bulldogs got on the board when Yordany Sanchez snagged a 65-yard touchdown throw from Ian LaFavour as time expired in the first half.
“It’s disappointing to lose a playoff game, but being able to win this game means everything to me and to everyone on this team,” said Neil.
North Shore continued to fight back in the second half, holding Blue Hills scoreless in the third. North Shore scored on LaFavour’s 2-yard QB keeper that trimmed the lead to 16-14 at the end of three. After the score, the Bulldogs forced Blue Hills to punt, but a fumble on their ensuing drive set up Brandon Gordon’s winning 5-yard score for Blue Hills.
Sanchez brought the Bulldogs to within 1 point on his 54-yard TD scamper with 4:34 left in the game.
The Bulldogs played their final game as North Shore Tech. According to head coach Paul Worth, North Shore Tech, Essex Agricultural Tech, and Peabody Vocational are merging to form one school next year: Essex Tech High School. The new school nickname will be the Hawks and teams will wear blue and green jerseys. Worth will remain the new school’s athletic director and football coach.