To pull off an improbable upset, you need to play near-perfect football. On Saturday afternoon, third-seeded Marshfield did just that as they shocked second-seeded Catholic Memorial, the two-time defending Division 2 champion, with a stunning 52-40 semifinal victory at Bridgewater-Raynham High.
The Rams (9-2) are winners of nine straight and will play top-seeded King Philip (11-0) at Gillette Stadium in the state championship (time, TBA).
The scoring started for the Rams on the game’s first play when Giovanni Joseph returned the opening kickoff 90-yards for a touchdown.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with the lead changing hands five times.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy” said Marshfield coach Chris Arouca. “I didn’t think we’d score that many points, but I don’t know how many people thought we would.”
Marshfield junior running back Davin True was a workhorse in the first half, totaling 155 yards of offense and three touchdowns on scoring runs of 12, 1 and 2 yards. The final touchdown put the Rams ahead for good, 28-27, just before halftime.
“The linemen made a great push” said True. “They just made their blocks and did a fantastic job.”
In the second half, the Marshfield defense stiffened and held CM to only six points until the Knights, whose only offensive bright spot was the rushing effort of Lesean Sharp (180 yards, 1 TD), scored in the final minute, with the Rams in control of the game.
Jake Brilliant (38 yards of offense) carried the load in the second half, scoring twice on a 4-yard catch-and-run, and a 13-yard TD catch from junior quarterback Tor Maas that extended Marshfield’s lead to 45-33 with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
“Jake in the second half was awesome” said Arouca. “He’s a good football player.”
After Will Devine recovered a CM fumble, Marshfield slowed down the pace, eventually icing the game on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Maas to tight end Brady Crowley to put the Rams up, 52-33.
Division 3 State
Milton 37, Westfield 14 — A year after making their first appearance in the Division 3 Super Bowl, the third-seeded Wildcats are headed back to Gillette Stadium again.
Senior quarterback Patrick Miller threw three touchdown passes, connecting twice with dynamic sophomore receiver Ronan Sammon and once with senior running back Nathan Ehui, to help Milton (8-3) run away from 10th-seeded Westfield in a semifinal triumph at Shrewsbury High.
HALFTIME— Ethan Winter (@EWints) November 18, 2023
No. 10 Westfield 0️⃣
No. 3 Milton 1️⃣3️⃣
Wildcats beneficiaries of two big plays and Bombers come up just short of getting on the board before the end of the half as Jax St. Pierre gets stuffed at the 1-yard line on 4th & Goal. @newftbj @GlobeSchools pic.twitter.com/pL9KHKsIwv
The Wildcats will draw a rematch with Bay State Conference rival Walpole in the Division 3 Super Bowl. Milton will look to avenge its first loss of the season, a sobering 42-23 setback against the fourth-seeded Timberwolves in Week 6 of the regular season, but also for redemption after suffering a 34-28 loss to sixth-seeded Wakefield in last year’s Division 3 title game.
This was a tough act to follow last year’s team,” said Milton coach Steve Dembowski. “So many kids have stepped up for us over the course of the year to fill the void of all the great players that we lost.”
One of those players was Sammon, who had six receptions for 124 yards and scoring catches of 47 and 36 yards against Westfield (9-2).
“He’s been relied upon by Patrick [Miller] from Day 1,” Dembowski said of Sammon. “Ronan has just been special in what we do this year and how we are . . . He’s had a great year.”
Sammon knew he’d have to step up after his older brother, Luke, was among the stellar group of senior receivers who departed Milton after last year’s run to Gillette.
“I knew I had to fill a big role,” Sammon said. “I knew what I had to do and worked hard all summer and I did what I could [to help the team].”
Division 4 State
Duxbury 19, Tewksbury 7 — On the final play Saturday, with the outcome already decided, senior captain Alex Barlow competed until quite literally the final second as though the score were tied.
A Tewksbury pass sent the ball to the 5-yard line, and Barlow came out of nowhere to make a textbook tackle at the 1 as time expired. It was a fitting end to the Dragons’ Division 4 semifinal triumph at Xaverian Brothers High in Westwood.
“That was the balloon popping at the end,” Barlow said. “We wore them down the whole game.”
Final: Duxbury 19, Tewksbury 7— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) November 18, 2023
Alex Barlow 16 carries, 134 yards, 2 TDs, and Thomas Sheehan a score. Stellar defensive effort for the Dragons, who have allowed just 13 total points in the playoffs.
Duxbury is headed back to Gillette, where it will face Scituate @GlobeSchools pic.twitter.com/DD3in3DjoS
Barlow racked up 16 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns and wreaked havoc defensively, helping the No. 1 Dragons (9-1) outlast the No. 4 Redmen (7-4), to punch their ticket to a return to Gillette Stadium for the third consecutive year for a Divsion 4 Super Bowl matchup against seventh-seed Scituate in the hopes of avenging a 2021 Super Bowl loss to the Sailors.
As a tune-up, Duxbury will host Division 2 Super Bowl-bound Marshfield on Thanksgiving Day..
“It always feels great, but the job’s not finished,” Barlow said. “We’ve got two more games left. We hope to win them and end our season how we want to.”
Duxbury quarterback Trevor Jones found Thomas Sheehan for a 22-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, then Barlow added a 24-yard scamper to extend the margin to 13-0.
Tewksbury answered on a 10-yard scurry from Tyler Barnes to slice the deficit to 13-7 at halftime. From there, the Duxbury defense, which has allowed just 13 total points this postseason, turned it up a notch.
Finn Carley, Rob Heppenstall, Barlow, and more helped keep in check Tewksbury QB Vincent Ciancio. Barlow added a 3-yard score with 4:13 remaining, as the Dragons advanced.
“It was just a gritty, grind-it-out type of game,” Duxbury coach Matt Landolfi said. “You’ve got to win those sometimes. It might be a little ugly, but you’ve got to come out with a victory. Our guys did it today.”
Division 7 State
Uxbridge 35, Clinton 15 — Behind a total of five combined touchdowns and 273 yards rushing from the LaChapelle brothers, Kellen and Camden, the top-seeded Spartans (11-0) cruised in their semifinal win at Shrewsbury High and seek its first state title in the Division 7 Super Bowl against sixth-seeded Amesbury (9-1) at Gillette Stadium (TBD).
“It’s huge (for the program) 100 percent,” Uxbridge coach Matt Blood said. “This is what all the kids play for, all the coaches work for just to see the excitement around that we have worked for all season long.”
Senior quarterback Kellen LaChapelle rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns, and his younger brother, Camden, rushed for 180 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. “He’s a dynamic runner and is tough to tackle,” said Blood of Camden LaChapelle, who has taken on a more prominent role since Braedon Cammuso went down with an injury. “He makes good moves, good plays and he protects the ball.”
The Spartans set the tone early capitalizing on a Clinton fumble on the first play of the game. Camden LaChapelle got the scoring started with a 6-yard TD run to give Uxbridge a 7-0 lead not even two minutes into the game.
The Gaels respondedto even the score on a 65-yard TD pass to Nathan Frisch that tied it, 7-7. After Clinton failed to capitalize after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Uxbridge rattled off 28 unanswered points.
Division 8 State
West Boylston 36, Cathedral 0 — From the first snap of the game until the final whistle, The Lions churned out yards, piling up 326 yards on 45 carries with the only negative-yardage play coming when they took a knee at the end of the first half of a dominant semifinal victory at Doyle Field in Leominster.
“Our running backs, we’re deep. We’ve got a lot of running backs,” said senior running back Jamie McNamara, who scored two touchdowns. “No one is selfish on our team. Everyone shares the love and whatever it takes to get the job done. Our ultimate goal is Gillette, so whatever it takes, whoever is going to get the ball, that’s what we do.”
Five different backs spread the ball around with Jackson Caramanica, John Raus and quarterback Luke Foley also finding the end zone.
Top-seeded West Boylston (11-0), the defending Division 7 champions, will face No. 2 Carver at Gillette Stadium for the state title.
The Lions ground attack was relentless from the start, taking up the first 5:24 over 10 plays with McNamara finishing off the drive from 3 yards out.
Trailing 14-0 late in the first half, Cathedral (7-3) came up with a big stop as Jideofor Jeffrey Uchendu tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and Joshua Boyle-Collins came down with the interception.
The Panthers got as close as the 3, but a strip sack on fourth down ended the drive.
West Boylston scored on all three possessions in the second half to break the game open.
Cathedral also got a fumble recovery from Anthony Paul-Alleyne in the first quarter to put an end to a West Boylston drive.
Tyler Amaral reported from Bridgewater and Mansfield, Trevor Hass from Westwood, Ethan Winter from Shrewsbury, Keith Pearson from Leominster.