LYNN — The ground game was rolling at Manning Field on Tuesday night as the St. Mary’s rushing attack rumbled for four touchdowns of longer than 50 yards, three by Jordan Collier, as the Spartans rolled to a 36-8 victory over Shawsheen in the Division 4 playoffs.
Collier, with touchdown rushes of 66, 64, and 85 yards, carried the ball 13 times for 262 yards, leading a unit that worked both the big play and the grinding short game for more than 400 yards.
“It was awesome,” said Collier. “It was the best feeling I could think of. Words can’t explain how happy I am right now.”
His coach summed up Collier’s efforts with a simple, “Unbelievable.”
St. Mary’s advances to the Division 4 Super Bowl on Saturday against Abington.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Spartans defense stood tall in a bend-but-don’t-break situation as quarterback Michael O’Hearn led the Rams downfield.
Shawsheen failed on fourth-and-13, leaving St. Mary’s (11-1) on its 34-yard line. One handoff to Collier was all the Spartans needed to get the first points of the game as he scampered for 66 yards down the middle of the field.
A 12-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Cassidy with just 25 seconds remaining sent St. Mary’s into halftime with a 16-0 lead.
The third quarter played like the first, scoreless, but when Collier received a handoff on the first play of the fouth, he found another hole and sprinted past the Shawsheen defense for a 64-yard score.
Pinned on their 15-yard line on the Spartans’ next offensive possession, Collier struck once again on first down, this time bouncing to the right, outracing a defender 85 yards to the end zone.
“I was feeling good at first,” said Collier of the 85-yard run. “From like the 20 on, I was just like putt-putting. I felt like a broke-down car. But I just knew I had to keep pushing and we had to put the game away.”
After another four-and-out by the Rams, St. Mary’s again needed just one play to score when Connor Sakowich went 55 yards to make it 36-0.
“All the kids stepped up,” said Durgin. “They’re a very tight-knit group of kids. It was difficult preparing [on a short week], but the kids bought in and have been business-like. You’ve got to give the kids credit for being ready to go.”
Shawsheen (9-2) was able to break the shutout with 16 seconds left on a 3-yard run by Christopher Sorensen.
“I’m very proud of them, they had a great season,” Shawsheen coach Al Costabile said of the Rams. “”Old friend of mine Matt Durgin did a great job. [St. Mary’s is] really a great team . . . the city of Lynn should be proud of them.”