HAVERHILL — With Shawsheen already ahead by 11 points in the fourth quarter, Paul DePlacido took a lateral wide right, stopped, reversed field, and dashed 85 yards untouched for a touchdown.
DePlacido not only iced the game, but captured a playoff berth for Shawsheen as it defeated Whittier, 37-12, and clinched the Commonwealth Large crown.
“It’s a great feeling, hard to put into words,” said DePlacido. “I just love playing for this team. We won it all my sophomore year and as a senior we’re gunning for it again.”
DePlacido, who finished with 313 yards on 28 carries and five touchdowns, provided the Rams with more offense than they needed.
It all began with a 112-yard first quarter. The Rams’ opening drive, which was propelled by a DePlacido 22-yard run, was capped when the senior tailback took a handoff 2 yards off right tackle.
“We just ran right behind the offensive line,” said DePlacido, who tacked on a second touchdown in the first quarter after breaking four tackles on a 34-yard run. “We were confident, we knew all we had to do is follow.”
The Rams came out of the half with a 17-12 lead and turned back to DePlacido.
“We buckled down defensively in the second half,” said Rams coach Al Costabile, who will be seeking his second Super Bowl championship in three years. “We struggled a bit in the first half, but that’s what good teams have to do. Sometimes things don’t come easy.”
Seven carries and 55 yards later, DePlacido was celebrating with his teammates after his third score.
“We got outstanding running from Paul today,” said Costabile. “He sets up his blockers well and runs to the open areas. I can’t say enough about what he did.”
DePlacido tacked on a final score late in the fourth quarter, plunging into the end zone from a yard out. The score was set up by DePlacido — except this time, defensively.
Playing safety, DePlacido’s interception put the Rams on the Wildcat 15.
“We knew we had a good team at the beginning of the year,” said DePlacido. “We knew we had a chance and we’re going for it all.”
Jaylin Deveau accounted for each of the Wildcat touchdowns. Deveau ran in from 14 yards out and caught a 13-yard pass from Connor Bradley.