BRAINTREE — Sharon is headed to the Division 3 Super Bowl for the first time after winning a defensive battle with Pembroke, 7-6, Tuesday night. But the reason may have much to do with Pembroke coach Bob Bancroft’s momentous decision late in the game.
Pembroke scored on fourth and 7 with 1:09 left to make it a 7-6 game when quarterback Cory Brandon connected with running back Colin Claflin in the end zone.
Bancroft’s quandary: go for 2 and the win or kick the extra point and most likely send the game into overtime.
Bancroft confidently called for a 2-point conversion. Brandon attempted to hit senior Tom Johnson, but the pass fell incomplete and the Sharon sideline erupted into cheers as the score remained 7-6.
After a scoreless first half, Sharon’s offense returned to the field determined to gain control of the ball and keep it.
An interception by senior Jared Fogel started a domino effect for Sharon (9-3) ultimately leading to a touchdown by senior captain Sean Asnes.
On second and 10, the Eagles recovered their own fumble but lost 3 yards. Sean O’Neill then threw an incomplete pass and Sharon punted.
However, a fumble on the return was seized by Toby Modebelu, giving the Eagles the ball right back. At the 4-yard line, Asnes found a hole in the defense and ran the ball in for the touchdown.
The Titans (7-4) thought they had scored first after Brandon threw a 12-yard pass to Nick Burns in the end zone, but a flag was thrown for offensive pass interference.
This was Pembroke’s second year in a row in playoffs and the second year falling short of the Super Bowl, but Bancroft remains proud of his team.
“Defensively, I couldn’t be any happier,” said Bancroft. “We stopped them. I think offensively we moved the ball enough, but they’re really good. They’re really quick.”
Both teams boasted stellar performances on defense.
Pembroke was held to 76 rushing yards and only gained possession of the ball once in each of the first two quarters. Sharon rushed for only 46 yards.
“This is why we do situational football in practice, to do these different kind of situations,” said Sharon coach Dave Morse. “They kept their composure throughout, stayed even keel, made plays when they needed to, obviously.”
Brandon was feeling the pressure from Sharon and was 2 of 7 for 19 passing yards and was sacked twice.
O’Neill completed 1 of 4 passes for 26 yards.