There was no debate from Derick Coulanges and the rest of the starters on the St. Mary’s football team.
The top unit was going to play Wednesday at Fenway Park, even with a Super Bowl date against Stoneham scheduled a week from Saturday.
“We all wanted to play on this big stage,” said Coulanges. “There’s a lot of football players that can’t play on this field. I feel like we took advantage of today’s opportunity.”
Coulanges, backfield mate David Brown, and starting quarterback Tyler Guy all shined and set the tone early as St. Mary’s cruised to a 34-21 win at Fenway over former Catholic Central rival Austin Prep in a final tune-up before the D6 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
“There’s always the debate around Massachusetts about whether to play your guys [in advance of a Super Bowl],” St. Mary’s coach Sean Driscoll said. “I’m proud of my guys for playing.”
In the first quarter, Guy hit the speedy Brown on a screen for a 15-yard touchdown pass. St. Mary’s then recovered an onside kick and Coulanges rumbled in from 8 yards for a 13-0 lead.
The Spartans (11-1) responded to a touchdown run from Austin Prep’s Troy Varoudakis with a seven-play, 67-yard drive that featured a 17-yard run by Brown, completions of 13- and 14 yards from Guy, and a 1-yard TD plunge by the latter for a 20-7 lead.
“Derick and Dave are a good 1-2 punch back there and complement each other well,” said Driscoll. “I think we’re tough to defend in that aspect.”
Joel Maggs added a 60-yard interception return early in the second quarter for a commanding 27-7 lead before the St. Mary’s starters finally retreated to the bench and made way for the backups.
Driscoll called Wednesday’s win at Fenway a “team win” that he hopes propels his team into the state title game at another historic venue.
“To play at this great place and then go to another great place next week it’s a great experience,” said Driscoll. “We made today a special moment and that springboards us into next week.”
Austin Prep, now competing in the NEPSAC’s Evergreen League, finished 0-9.