BROCKTON — Millis will play in its first Super Bowl since 1999 after a 31-0 win over Latin Academy in the Division 4A semifinals Friday night.
For Millis, the win was an emotional one, as the team learned its freshman coach, Don Kraby, died from lung cancer the morning of the game.
“This junior class was really close with him,” said coach Dana Olson. “We had a roller coaster today. The kids persevered. I was a little nervous, but Coach Kraby was a tremendous guy and we’re going to miss him tremendously.”
Junior P.J. Adams had two receiving touchdowns and junior Dom Zonfrelli had a rushing touchdown.
“He meant a lot to us. He was a father figure, and we wanted to show him our appreciation,” said Zonfrelli. “Tonight was definitely for him, he deserves it. He’s a good guy, and we miss him. We always will.”
The Mohawks came out firing from the opening kickoff.
Junior Ray Hiliare returned the opening kick 48 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, junior Bryce Latosek hit senior Brian Espanet on a screen pass. Espanet turned and fired a pass 51 yards downfield to Adams for the opening score.
It was a play the Mohawks had scored on in the playoffs before. The last time was against Mashpee in the Division 6 South final in 2015.
“We’ve been running that play for 15-16 years,” said Olson. “My brother and I at all the schools we’ve been coaching. We just felt we had good field position, let’s roll the dice, go big or go home. I thought it really set the tempo early, and it was fantastic. Brian Espanet is a super talented kid.”
Adams added another touchdown from 24 yards just before the half on a pass from Latosek to give the Mohawks a 21-0 lead at the half.
When two turnovers in the second quarter started to stall the Millis attack, the defense took over to keep the game out of reach. Hiliare had a tackle for a loss and a knockdown in the end zone to keep Latin Academy off the board before the half.
“We were concerned about some of their athletes,” said Olson. “Their quarterback, [John Teehan] is a great athlete obviously, but we play in a tough league. We were ready for this game, no doubt we were ready for this game.”
The Mohawks will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Maynard from the Central and Turners Falls from the West.
The Division 4A Super Bowl will be played at Worcester State University on Saturday, Dec. 3 at noon.