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MIAA DIVISION 8 FOOTBALL SEMIFINAL | HULL 39, HOOSAC VALLEY 22

Hull eventually takes control, stops Hoosac Valley to reach Super Bowl for first time in 25 years

The Hull football team is headed to the Division 8 Super Bowl after its 39-22 semifinal win over top-seeded Hoosac Valley at Shepherd Hill in Charlton.AJ TRAUB

DUDLEY — The game started with a fumble on the opening kickoff, and then a turnover after a high snap two plays later.

But when things settled down Friday night at Shepherd Hill, it was fourth-seeded Hull pulling away for a 39-22 win over top-seeded Hoosac Valley, earning a trip to the Division 8 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

Senior Jaden Stilphen opened up the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run to put the Pirates (9-2) ahead. With the Hurricanes driving a few possessions later, Hull’s Tyler Sordillo forced a fumble from senior Aaron Bush, and Pirates junior John Gianibas recovered and took it 67 yards for the score.

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“I was just hype, I was going down the [40-yard line], I was like ‘I’m taking this one home,’” Gianibas said.

Added Sordillo: “We just needed a big stop and I delivered. I didn’t even know [Gianibas] got it.”

Bush rebounded from the fumble, scoring three touchdowns and converting a pair of 2-point conversions for the Hurricanes (9-2), accounting for all 22 of their points.

With the Pirates leading 13-8 and less than a minute left in the first half, junior quarterback Luke Richardson found Gianibas, who flipped the ball to classmate Austin Bongo on a hook-and-ladder to go the final 30 yards and extend the lead at halftime.

“We knew they were going to score,” Pirates coach Mike O’Donnell said. “[They’re] big, physical, we’re not. We’re quick, we’re aggressive. So I just made the decision. We got past midfield, we had that play in our playbook. It worked.”

The second half was all about sophomore Nick Tiani for Hull. He scored touchdowns on all three of the Pirates’ possessions (two rushing, one receiving). His 47-yard receiving touchdown came on a third and long to ice the game.

“It’s amazing, being on that team,” Tiani said. “The blocking is great.”

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Hull won Super Bowls in 1977 and 1996, but hasn’t been back since, until now.

“It’s great for the kids,” O’Donnell said. “This group came in and busted their butts, worked extremely hard. We ask a lot of them. [Hoosac Valley is] 20 kids, we’re 27. For one of us to go to Gillette is a huge accomplishment.”


AJ Traub can be reached at aj.traub@globe.com.