Everywhere they looked, Josh Mateo and Trey Howe were seeing green.
Whether it was the Monster behind their bench or the wide expanses of field their offensive line opened in front of them, Blackstone Valley’s senior running backs made the most of their Fenway Park experience.
“When we came out of the visitors’ locker room through the dugout, it was real,” BVT interim coach Anthony Landini said. “You get the aura of Fenway.”
Mateo and Howe combined for 331 rushing yards and six touchdowns as Blackstone Valley pulled away in the second quarter to beat Nipmuc 47-19. The Beavers have racked up four straight wins in the Thanksgiving rivalry between two schools located across from each other on Pleasant Street in Upton. BVT (7-3) leads the all-time series 9-4.
“It was a good win,” Landini said. “It’s great for our rivalry and our program, our fields being 100 yards apart from each other.”
Under the watchful eyes of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the Citgo sign - and behind a monstrous line of Trout Marnell, John Furno, Landry Fitzgerald, Jacob Lisak, and Brock Chapman - Mateo scored Blackstone Valley’s first three touchdowns on runs of 40, 3, and 7 yards.
“My linemen up front, they did the same thing they’ve been doing all year, giving me big holes to run and I just do my magic,” Mateo said after finishing with 14 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Late in the second quarter, a 26-yard hook-and-ladder play that started with quarterback Alex Burgos, went through Evan Laughlin, and finished with Howe racing the final 19 yards gave the Beavers a 28-0 halftime lead.
Howe added two more touchdowns in the second half, including a 60-yard back-breaker to open the fourth quarter. He finished with 163 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
“[Howe]’s been dealing with some ankle injuries and hand injuries so he’s been doing his thing,” Mateo said. “Didn’t look like it tonight. I’m proud of him.”
Blackstone Valley, which recovered an onside kick in the second quarter and spent most of the day facing short fields, finished with 373 rushing yards and averaged 11 yards per carry.
“Our offensive front has been good all year,” Landini said. “We’re more of a spread team, we’re known as a spread team, but our strength was up front this year so we had to go more under center, change gears a little bit. We have a couple of good backs in Josh and Trey. They had big games.”
Nipmuc (3-8), which gained just three first downs on its first five possessions, started moving the ball in the third quarter. Quarterback Oscar Clark finished 9 of 18 passing for 85 yards and two touchdowns, adding 133 yards and a score on the ground.
The only disappointment for Blackstone Valley was finishing their season at the wrong professional stadium. The Beavers reached the Division 6 state semifinals before falling to Rockland, 20-17, on Saturday.
“I can speak for everyone: This is not the place we wanted to be playing today, of course. We wanted Gillette,” Mateo said. “But I’m proud of this team and this experience is great. Look at all these fans out here in purple and green showing love. I love the game of football, man.”