FOXBOROUGH — Saturday’s Division 5 Super Bowl between Northbridge and East Bridgewater at Gillette Stadium came down to which team could handle the most pressure.
Jake Wood found the end zone on a 5-yard rush with 4:34 left to cap an 11-play, 64-yard drive to put Northbridge ahead, and fellow senior Koby Schofer made a game-sealing interception in the final minute as the Rams knocked off East Bridgewater, 36-34.
Koby Schofer is not human. One-legged interception! Northbridge wins the title! pic.twitter.com/JWhgW5ZSr0— Carl Setterlund (@CarlSetterlund) December 5, 2015
Northbridge, which had been to the last two Super Bowls and lost both, hadn’t been able to stand up to the pressure. This year, the Rams (12-1) held strong.
“It feels awesome, especially [as a senior] this year,” said Wood, who finished with 199 total yards and three touchdowns. “We knew how it felt to lose and walk down these same stairs. We knew that wasn’t going to happen this year and we made it happen for our last high school game.”
Northbridge built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind a 2-yard rush from Wood and a 7-yard pass from Schofer to Chandler Brooks.
“One thing we do very well is score early,” Rams coach Ken LaChapelle said. “It boosted the coaches’ confidence and it boosted the kids’ confidence.”
But the Vikings (11-2) began to mount a comeback before halftime, as senior Ryan Graham tossed two touchdown passes to make the score 16-14 after a field goal from the Rams’ Geoffrey Reichert.
The teams traded blows once more before the break. Graham scored on an 8-yard keeper and Schofer found Wood for a 72-yard TD pass to put the Rams ahead, 23-20.
LaChapelle, the state’s all-time leader in wins, is Schofer’s grandfather.
Schofer finished 16 of 23 for 251 yards and two scores, battling through an ankle injury most of the game.
“It’s very special to have your grandson be part of a state championship,” said LaChapelle. “We needed him on offense. We needed him to do what he did, and then he came through at the end.
“It’s a surreal moment. We’ve been here, we haven’t done it. We’re here and we did it. We asked them to visualize being state champs, and here we are. We had a little bit more than East Bridgewater today.”
Graham, who had 289 passing yards and five touchdowns, tossed two more scoring passes to give the Vikings a 34-30 lead with 9:30 remaining. But Schofer and Wood brought more pressure that East Bridgewater could handle.
“It means everything,” said Schofer. “Just being able to finally give Northbridge a state championship.”
The Rams lost to Abington, 36-6, in last year’s Super Bowl, and fell to Bishop Fenwick, 28-0, in 2013.
“Being able to finally win one just shows the state that we can play with Eastern Mass. schools,” Schofer said.
|N||Jake Wood 2-yard run (Geoffrey Reichert kick)|
|N||Chandler Brooks 7-yard pass from Koby Schofer (kick failed)|
|EB||Jake Peterson 39-yard pass from Ryan Graham (David Trask kick)|
|N||Geoffrey Reichert 23-yard field goal|
|EB||Mike Khoury 37-yard pass from Ryan Graham (David Trask kick)|
|N||Jake Wood 72-yard pass from Koby Schofer (Geoffrey Reichert kick)|
|EB||Ryan Graham 8-yard run (kick failed)|
|EB||Jake Peterson 34-yard pass from Ryan Graham (David Trask kick)|
|N||Michael Quinn 2-yard run (Geoffrey Reichert kick)|
|EB||Jake Peterson 19-yard pass from Ryan Graham (David Trask kick)|
|N||Jake Wood 5-yard run (kick failed)|
|East Bridgewater passing|
|East Bridgewater rushing|
|East Bridgewater receiving|