LYNN — Twists and turns are not just expected in playoff football — they often are a certainty. But sometimes, the game plan is just that good.
Swampscott entered Friday’s Division 5 semifinal against Bishop Fenwick with one key goal in mind: shut down the Crusaders’ passing game.
Big Blue left with a date at Gillette Stadium against North Reading after its 20-6 win over Fenwick. Swampscott (11-0) returns to the D5 title game for the second time in three years (no playoff games were played in 2020).
Fenwick ran 58 offensive snaps to 33 for Swampscott, but the Big Blue did what it had to do to thwart the potent passing attack. Senior QB Steven Woods finished 13-for-36 passing for 81 yards. He also had 88 yards on the ground with a 1-yard score that put Fenwick up 6-0 in the second quarter.
But it was all Blue from there.
On just the second offensive possession of the game with 7:50 left in the first half, Cam O’Brien led a 7-play, 63-yard drive capped with a 28 yard touchdown to Cole Hamernick.
On the ensuing Fenwick drive, Hamernick knocked down back to back throws to the end zone to preserve a 6-6 tie at the half.
Both Hamernick and Swampscott coach Bob Serino Jr. were quick to credit the game plan drawn up by Big Blue defensive coordinator Peter Bush
“We have the best defensive coordinator in the state, he told us that if we shut down that passing game we win this game,” Hamernick said. “All of our defensive backs we came out as a unit to do that and the defensive line gave us a lot of help, they were absolutely awesome.”
“All the respect for [Fenwick coach Dave Woods], his crew and his team. That’s a class origination,” Serino said. “We use Hudl for film and coach Bush grills the film every day and it shows every single game we play. He is one of the best coaches in the state.”
The offensive picked up the slack in the second half, flexing its big play ability.
On the third play, O’Brien hit Elijah Burns who busted out a 61-yard touchdown to give Big Blue a 13-6 lead.
O’Brien gave Swampscott a 20-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run. Xaviah Bascon also chipped in with 15 carries for 105 yards (100 in the second half).
“It’s unreal, losing last year was a setback,” O’Brien said. “But we were together as a team all summer and we knew this was the goal and we just took it game by game.”