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A capsule look at the Division 1 Super Bowl: Central Catholic vs. Springfield Central

Senior Ayden Pereira is a dual threat at quarterback for Central Catholic.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Central Catholic (11-1) vs. Springfield Central (9-2)

What: Division 1 Super Bowl

When: Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Gillette Stadium

TV, radio: Patriots.com, CBSBoston.com, CBS Boston app


Coaches: Central Catholic — Chuck Adamopoulos (25th season, 195-75); Springfield Central — Valdamar Brower (14th season, 112-38).

Scoring: Central Catholic — 39.0; Springfield Central — 43.4.

Defense: Central Catholic — 18.1; Springfield Central — 21.5.

The heavies up front: Central Catholic — Mathew St. Hilaire (5 feet 11 inches, 242 pounds), Jaden Wiggins (5-10, 230); Preston Zinter (6-3, 220); Springfield Central — Josiah Griffin (6-3, 225), Ahmari Owens (6-4, 321)

Stat check: These are two of the most explosive offenses the state has seen in recent history and both quarterbacks have been putting up gaudy numbers. Ayden Pereira, a senior committed to Maine, has passed for 2,680 yards with 32 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions, adding 750 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. His top receiver has been fellow senior captain Justice McGrail (1,028 receiving yards with 15 touchdowns on 58 catches). Watson, a junior with multiple Division 1 offers, has passed for 2,026 yards with 22 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions, adding 590 rushing yards over 10 starts. Watson’s top target is Boston College-bound senior Joseph Griffin, who is averaging 18.3 yards per catch with 896 receiving yards. Griffin’s brother, Josiah, keys the defensive line with 39 tackles, including 10 for a loss. Tariq Thomas is Springfield’s leading rusher with 1,116 yards plus 292 receiving yards. Junior Mathias Latham leads Central Catholic with 386 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. Latham is the Raiders’ second-leading tackler behind junior linebacker Sean Mercuri (96 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions). Jaden Wiggins, the son of former Patriot Jermaine Wiggins, leads the team with 8½ sacks and 16 tackles for loss.

The captains: Central Catholic — QB Ayden Pereira (Sr.), WR/DB Justice McGrail (Sr.); Springfield Central — QB William Watson (Jr.), WR Joseph Griffin (Sr.), DB Gary Poyser (Sr.), OL Travis Gause (Sr.), DL Zachary Jones (Sr.), LB Mesias Lee (Jr.)


Seniors on roster: Central Catholic — 11; Springfield Central — 15


Last Bowl appearance: Central Catholic — 2015; Springfield Central — 2019


Watson and Pereira are third-year starters and first met in a shootout in September 2019, with Pereira’s Raiders pulling out a 52-42 victory at home. After a yearlong delay due to the pandemic, the Raiders honored their commitment with a road trip to Springfield’s Berte Field on Sept. 10 and Pereira totaled a program-record 10 total touchdowns in a 67-52 win. Springfield’s offense seems to have hit another gear with Watson tallying eight touchdown passes while leading the Golden Eagles to 40 and 60 points in wins over Xaverian and top-seeded Franklin to make the Super Bowl. Central Catholic has shored up its defense lately, most recently snapping a five-game losing streak against St. John’s Prep by producing four turnovers in a 35-12 win over the Eagles in the state semifinals.


This will be a fantastic game to watch on the turf at Gillette Stadium since both teams utilize a spread attack with gifted dual-threat quarterbacks. While they’ve combined for over 90 points in consecutive meetings, these teams could slow down a bit on the grand stage. Central Catholic’s defense has been great lately, but there seems to be no stopping the Golden Eagles, who “adjust, attack, and dominate,” as delineated by their team slogan. If the Raiders play man coverage, Watson could beat them over the top, but if they use multiple safeties, Springfield’s rushing attack should churn out yards. Turnovers will likely play a key role, but Springfield is talented enough to overcome mistakes and win a Division 1 state title after securing consecutive D3 state titles in 2018 and 2019.


Springfield Central 38, Central Catholic 29