FOXBOROUGH — Bishop Fenwick sophomore Steven Woods was thrilled just to be on the sideline during Saturday’s Division 6 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, but a couple of injuries thrust the coach’s son into the limelight.
With Fenwick trailing, 28-14, late in the fourth quarter, starting quarterback Chrys Wilson went down with a lower leg injury. Backup quarterback Jason Romans was dealing with cramps, so Fenwick coach Dave Woods turned to his son, the team’s new utility man.
“He does anything we ask of him,” the 21-year coach said of his son. “Any time somebody’s hurt, throw Steven in. Whether it’s a kickoff, kick return, punt. Today it was quarterback. We were down to our last quarterback and Steven did a great job. I’m proud of him.”
In one of his first varsity appearances, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound southpaw promptly completed a 10-yard pass to Romans, who pitched the ball to junior Stefano Fabiano on a designed hook-and-lateral for 24 more yards.
Then, Woods rolled out to his left and lofted a beautiful ball to Romans for a 16-yard touchdown before hooking up with junior Jordan Maurice for a successful 2-point conversion to make it a 28-22 game with 2:10 remaining.
“With so many injuries, [Woods] gave us a chance to get back in the game,” said Romans, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound sophomore.
“He did a good job. We had a good year and not many seniors leaving, so we’ll be back. I know that for a fact.”
The Crusaders (10-2) were unable to recover the onside kick and Ashland (12-1) went on to clinch its first state title since 1995, but it was the experience of a lifetime for Woods.
“I definitely did not expect [to come in at quarterback],” Woods said. “To have two of your QBs go down like that in a matter of plays is pretty crazy. I had thrown a couple passes [at the varsity level], but nothing in big-time situations like this.”
Woods played quarterback throughout his Pop Warner career in Wakefield, then split time as a passer between Fenwick’s freshman and junior varsity squads last year.
After spending most of the regular season quarterbacking the JV squad, he was called up to varsity for the D6 North playoffs and saw some action as a linebacker. The sophomore took a few snaps in mop-up action when the Crusaders won their first two playoff games, 35-0 and 48-6.
He never expected to have this type of moment on the biggest stage in high school sports.
“I’m glad I got to go out there,” said Woods. “It’s too bad we couldn’t win. But looking back, it’s pretty cool. I’ll probably remember that the rest of my life.”
Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.