Since the MIAA changed its football playoff format in 2013, Xaverian has been a steady presence earning the top seed in Division 1 South in all but one year. But this season, Hawks’ football in November will be in the non-playoff bracket.
The Hawks (1-6) were eliminated from postseason contention with a loss at BC High on Friday, 27-7.
“It stinks we’re out of the playoffs,” said Xaverian coach Al Fornaro. “But we’re not going to all of a sudden abandon ship. I’m not really one for moral victories, but I just told them ‘Those who want to play football, we’ve got four more games and I’ll see you Monday.’”
The sequence that defined Xaverian’s season came on its last two possessions of the first half. The Hawks were set up in the red zone following a 60-yard interception return by Henry Fleckner — his second of the night.
But a holding penalty and a sack forced a Xaverian three and out and a subsequent punt. Xaverian would get a final chance after BC High missed a 47-yard field goal with a minute to play in the half.
Xaverian marched downfield in a hurry, using a 49-yard completion by junior Michael Berluti to senior Justin Wenstrom to reach the Eagles’ 4-yard line. After two incompletions, Berluti was picked at the goal line by Louis Timmins and his intended receiver Dylan Reilly saved what would have been a 100-yard pick-6 at his own 8-yard line.
“It just picked up our momentum,” said BC High senior Brendan Cassamajor. “That carried our team to a win. Just all around we had a good game.”
The story for the Eagles (4-3) was Cassamajor’s return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury. His presence was felt immediately as the bruising back rushed for 130 yards and four touchdowns, one in each quarter.
“The kids really respond to him,” said BC High coach Jonathan Brillo. “It’s nice to have our captain back, he’s an emotional kid. As a team we played very well tonight.”
His third touchdown came after the Eagles’ defense forced a three and out on a Ryan Carney sack, followed by a 58-yard punt return from senior Jacob Perez to set up BC High inside the Hawks’ 10-yard line.
“I try to run as hard as I can,” said Cassamajor. “I owe it all to my offensive line, we have the best line in Massachusetts. They did their job so I could do mine.”
BC High junior quarterback Bobby Wiesenhahn was just as strong, completing 13 of 21 passes for 229 yards in the contest.
Dan Shulman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.