FOXBOROUGH — The 2019 season for Mansfield ended up being the perfect concoction for success. A head coach at the helm for more than three decades, mixed with a group of veteran players determined to engrave their own history into the program.
And for the Hornets on Friday night at Gillette Stadium, the season ended in elation just miles down the road from where it all started.
Mansfield (11-1) dominated in all facets of the Division 2 Super Bowl to deliver the program its eighth state title since 1992, with a 41-0 victory over Lincoln-Sudbury.
“I’ve been to Super Bowls, but never anything like this. We brought our ‘A’ game on both sides, and just too many weapons on offense and too much experience,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding.
“This year, we are just an elite team [with] amazing skill [and] great up front. I don’t know if we have a weakness as far as high school teams go.”
The defense translated to quick and immediate offense, putting the game out of reach early.
After having to punt on its first possession, Mansfield senior Mike DeBolt intercepted a pass on the Warriors’ second play of their opening drive. Minutes later, Mansfield took full advantage of the turnover, as junior Everett Knowlton reeled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from senior Jack Moussette.
The Hornets scored on their ensuing possession following a Lincoln-Sudbury punt, with a senior Nick Marciano 3-yard run.
Lincoln-Sudbury (8-4) only converted three first downs in the first half, and one of their two trips all night into the red zone ended when junior Nick Bertolino intercepted a Collin Murphy pass in the end zone midway through the second quarter.
The turnover proved to be a key momentum swing when, eight plays later, senior Vinnie Holmes (10 rushes, 149 yards) scored the first of his three touchdowns with a 4-yard run to make it 21-0 at the half.
“We knew we had the capability to do it, and we just executed to the maximum tonight,” said Holmes.
“Last year I wasn’t even able to play in the sectional final game, and this year, I feel like this team just bonded and glued together during the postseason, so we knew we could get this done.”
The Warriors knew the adversity they were up against, and an onside kick to start the game was a way to try and get the offense momentum early. Mansfield recovered the attempt, and even though Lincoln-Sudbury didn’t fall behind as a consequence, it was unable to get any traction against the Hornets’ stout defense.
Lincoln-Sudbury had only 64 total yards in the first half and 134 overall. With the score, 34-0, entering the fourth, the final 10 minutes under federation rules was running clock.
“We saw what [Mansfield] did in the D2 South bracket, they pretty much destroyed every team that they played,” said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Jim Girard.
“We’re really proud of our guys getting to this point. I wish we were a little bit more competitive, but we know they’re an outstanding team and our guys really fought. We got beat by a better football team.”
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Mansfield (11-1) 7 14 13 7 — 41
Lincoln-Sudbury (8-4) 0 0 0 0 — 0
M — Everett Knowlton 14 pass from Jack Moussette (Michael DeBolt kick)
M — Nick Marciano 3 run (Michael DeBolt kick)
M — Vinnie Holmes 4 run (Michael DeBolt kick)
M — Vinnie Holmes 16 run (kick failed)
M — Vinnie Holmes 72 run (Michael DeBolt kick)
M — Ethan Thevenot 5 run (Michael DeBolt kick)
RUSHING — LS, Jack Malone 2-56, Andrew Cahill 4-7, Gordon Gozdeck 6-2; M, Vinnie Holmes 10-149, Cincere Gill 5-54, Ethan Thevenot 4-21, Nick Marciano 5-17, Anthony Comer 4-11, Michael DeBolt 2-9, Jack Moussette 2-(-1)
PASSING — LS, Collin Murphy 5-16-3-52; M, Jack Moussette 6-8-0-98
RECEIVING — LS, Griffin Brown 1-44, Jesse McCullough 1-8, Ben Ohler 1-7, Nolan O'Brien 2-(-7); M, Michael DeBolt 2-55, Cincere Gill 2-38, Ethan Thevenot 1-14, Vinnie Holmes 1-(-9)
Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.