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Previewing and predicting the Division 4 Super Bowl: Duxbury vs. Grafton

Senior quarterback Matt Festa (2, far right) will lead Duxbury into the Division 4 Super Bowl against Grafton on Saturday.Greg M. Cooper/Globe

Division 4 Super Bowl at a glance

DUXBURY (11-0) vs. GRAFTON (11-1)

When: Friday, 8 p.m.

Where: Gillette Stadium

How to stream: NFHSnetwork.com; Patriots.com; CBSBoston.com.


Coaches: Duxbury — Matt Landolfi (3rd season, 26-2); Grafton — Chris McMahon (9th season, 68-30)

Scoring: Duxbury — 42.1 ppg.; Grafton — 27.2

Defense: Duxbury — 15.6; Grafton — 11.4

The heavies up front: Duxbury — Nicholas Ayres (6-feet, 1-inch, 265 pounds); Grafton — Connor Shepard (6-1, 333)

Stat check: Duxbury senior Matt Festa has completed 152 of 227 passes for 33 touchdowns (with just 3 interceptions). He also has 94 carries for 429 yards and 10 TDs. Senior wide receiver Chris Walsh has racked up 47 catches for 1,071 yards and a program-record 18 receiving TDs. Junior Alex Barlow has 134 carries for 838 yards and 13 rushing scores, plus 4 receiving TDs. Defensively, Barlow (64 tackles), Dylan DeAngelis (58 tackles), and Thomas Sheehan (57 tackles) are catalysts. Both Barlow and Henry Bicknell have four sacks, and Brendan Bonner has 5 interceptions — including 4 in the last two games. The Dragons average over 400 yards per game and have converted 51 percent of the time on third down and 67 percent on fourth down. For the Gators, senior receiver Liam Donagher – a former soccer player who picked up football during Fall II in 2021 – has 54 catches for 919 yards and 13 TDs and is 27 of 28 on PATs. Quarterback Casey Jordan (66 of 107, 1,102 yards, 14 passing TDs), Tyson Thomas (116 carries, 938 yards, 8 TDs), and TJ Cahill (91 carries, 534 yards, 7 TDs) are also threats on offense. Defensively, Donagher has 6 interceptions, and junior linebacker Nick St. George has 169 tackles, including 11 for a loss, plus five sacks. Grafton has held seven of its 12 opponents to seven points or fewer.

The captains: Duxbury – QB Matt Festa (Sr.), WR/DB Chris Walsh (Sr.), WR/DB Colin Quinlan (Sr.), WR/DB Brendan Bonner (Sr.), OL/DL Nicholas Ayres (Sr.); Grafton – OL/LB Cooper Berube (Sr.), TE/LB Ryanne Chibani (Sr.), WR/FS Liam Donagher (Sr.), QB Casey Jordan (Sr.), OL/DL Mark Kogan (Sr.), RB/DB Tyson Thomas (Jr.)


Seniors on roster: Duxbury – 16; Grafton – 15


Last Super Bowl appearance: Duxbury – 2021; Grafton – 2016


With Bowl losses in 2019 and 2021, the Dragons are seeking the program’s sixth state title. “We don’t talk about last year,” Landolfi said. “We haven’t talked about it once this year. We just try to stay in the moment.” They’ve averaged a whopping 51.3 points per game in the playoffs. The final obstacle is a Gator group that has allowed just 8.7 points per game in the tournament. Grafton seeking its first state championship since 2012.


The Dragons have waited all year to get back to this stage, and they should be able to maximize the opportunity. Grafton’s defense is formidable, but it hasn’t seen a high-octane offense like the Dragons’ to date. Festa has two or more touchdowns, including one or more to Walsh, Bonner or Barlow comes up with a key play late, and Duxbury finishes on top.

Duxbury 29, Grafton 17

Trevor Hass

Trevor Hass can be reached at trevor.hass@globe.com.