LYNN — Thursday night was the final time Vincent Burton would don a Blue Hills uniform.
The powerful senior running back made the most of his time on the field, extending his touchdown streak to 21 games, before getting injured in a 26-8 win over Minuteman in the Small School Vocational Super Bowl at Manning Field in Lynn.
Minuteman (5-6), which was playing in its first postseason game in school history, learned quickly what Blue Hills is all about.
The Warriors kicked the game off with a drive the team has grown accustomed to since Burton became the focal point of the offense three years. It spanned 15 plays and lasted just more than six minutes before Burton scored his 36th touchdown of the season and added the conversion to put Blue Hills up, 8-0.
Burton carried the ball three more times in the first-half before tweaking his ankle and sitting out the entire second half. He finished the game with 34 rushing yards, a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion. His injury was not serious, but both Burton and coach Ed Catabia agreed rest was the best option.
The Warriors, who picked up their 10th win of the season, used Burton to get them going, but senior Michael Kelly put on the finishing touches to the victory.
Following a quick three-and-out by the Mustangs on the drive after the TD, Blue Hills was able to put more points on the board. Quarterback Steve Doroni, who finished his high school career 3 of 4 passing for 107 yards, plunged in from a yard to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead.
With Burton on the sideline, Kelly began to heat up, carrying the ball five times for 28 yards.
When Minuteman’s Brandon Robinson scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone to trim Blue Hills’s lead to 14-8 to start the second half, and without their captain and leading rusher available, Kelly (80 rushing yards) knew it was his time to lead.
“I just wanted to win my last game as a senior,” said Kelly, who scored two second-half touchdowns, a 6-yard dive in the third and a 13-yard scamper in the fourth. “I just didn’t want us to lose, I hate losing.”
Said Catabia: “I have a lot of respective for [Michael Kelly]. He’s done a fantastic job, and deserves a lot of credit for all of our success this season.”
With his legacy as Blue Hills’ all-time leading rusher and scorer, and with all the state records he accrued during his career, Burton would like people to remember one thing most about him and his days on the high school gridiron.
“I am humble, and thankful for the coaching staff and the kids that I played with, that blocked for me and stood by my side through it all,” he said.
Burton produced 650 total points, 5,527 rushing yards, and a Division 4A title in 2011 in his prolific career.