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D7 SUPER BOWL: AMESBURY VS. UXBRIDGE

Amesbury and top-seeded Uxbridge will rely upon its band of brothers to lead the charge in Division 7 Super Bowl

Amesbury has put together a 9-2 season, with playoff wins over Wahconah, West Bridgewater, and Cohasset, to reach the Division 7 Super Bowl against top-seeded Uxbridge.John Blanding/Globe staff

In Amesbury’s quest to reach the Division 7 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, restaurants and bars in town have held live streaming events so the proud community can watch its hard-nosed high school team pound out yardage on the ground.

The run-heavy Hawks are playing for a state championship for the first time since 2008 with their “Straight-T” offense producing 3,272 rushing yards and 390 points through 11 games. Their senior-laden offensive line has paved the way under the tutelage of a strong coaching staff, which has received unexpected help from a student-athlete this season.

When Amesbury (9-2) takes on top-seeded Uxbridge (12-0) (Friday, 3 p.m.), senior Drew Scialdonewill be roaming the sideline, looking for any weaknesses in the opposition’s scheme that his teammates can exploit.

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A running back and safety, Scialdone tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in the first half of a Week 1 win over North Reading, and underwent surgery on Oct 31. Just three days later, on crutches, he continued to help coach up his replacements at halfback and safety.

“For me it was important to still be part of this team and make as much impact as I can by helping out anyone I could,” said Scialdone, who will play baseball at Maine.

“All the coaches have been awesome by helping me through the whole process. I’ve learned how much time they put in, and how important it is to them, which makes is even more special than I already thought it was.”

All four of the Amesbury captains are senior linemen. Most are three-year starters. After a Division 7 semifinal loss last November to eventual Super Bowl champion West Boylston, the Hawks have been on a mission.

“We’ve been working for this moment for four years,” said Kyle Palen, who starts at center and nose guard. “It’s taken a lot of hard work. Early mornings, running, time in the weight room, so we’re excited for the challenge to finally get there.”

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Palen is joined on the offensive line by fellow captains Aiden Donovan, Will Arsenault, and Danny Hutchings, a group that has paved the way for senior twins Michael and Max Sanchez to combine for 2,209 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns, with DJ DiCarlo plunging in for seven touchdowns.

In his seventh season, Amesbury coach Colin McQueen has crafted a system that is tough to stop, with three backs in a straight line up behind sophomore quarterback Justin Dube, ready to receive a handoff, or block for their teammates.

Amesbury has rarely punted this season, and will need to maintain ball control to keep Uxbridge off the field Friday.

“There’s a good buzz around the town, but there’s also been a change in expectations the past few years,” said McQueen. “We expect to win every week. Sometimes we get bested, but for the most part we’ve been on the right side of things. It’s been a slow build and we’re hoping to take that next step and hopefully bring home some hardware.”

Uxbridge has undergone more of a rapid rebuild under fourth-year coach Matt Blood.

Blood (’99) won two Super Bowls at Northbridge under Ken LaChapelle, the winningest coach in state history, and was an assistant under Holliston’s Todd Kiley and Blackstone Valley Tech’s Jim Archibald before becoming defensive coordinator at Uxbridge in 2018.

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Now he’s coaching LaChapelle’s grandsons, Kellen and Camden, who are smashing program records at quarterback and tailback, respectively.

“There’s no doubt that they know the game,” said Blood, who holds a 28-11 record over four seasons. “What shines about Cam and Kellen is their competitiveness. They’re from a huge football family and sports is their life.”

Blood’s son, Aidan, a senior captain, is the team’s leading tackler at linebacker. Additionally, defensive end coach Ted Rigney is the father of leading receiver Liam Rigney, and offensive line coach Bill Noyes is the father of 6-foot-3-inch right guard Nate Noyes.

While his son is ferocious on the field, Blood points out that Aidan has eclectic hobbies that include fly fishing and guitar. Not too far afield from his father, a high school football coach who has held the rare day job of high school art teacher at Holliston High for 21 years.

During his time outside the classroom, Blood has been sure to absorb football knowledge from coaches who have had success at the highest level.

“There’s the football side of things, and the organizational side of things,” Blood said of running a program.

“With the right people in place on the staff, it’s not about micromanaging, it’s allowing coaches to do what you hired them for, to coach. You have to trust what they have to offer, work with that, and be collaborative.”