FOXBOROUGH — Abington followed the strong legs and broad shoulders of Will Klein to its fifth Super Bowl title since 2002.
The 6-foot, 195-pound senior rushed for 207 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns — punctuated by 61-yard cutback run for the game’s first score — to carry the Green Wave to a 21-7 victory over Leicester for the MIAA Division 7 title Saturday morning at Gillette Stadium.
“You can go into the dictionary and pull out every word and there still wouldn’t be enough to describe Will,” said Jim Kelliher, who has been Abington’s coach for 46 years.
“He’s really gifted, yes, but at the same time he’s that guy who is a lunch-pail guy at a skill position.”
“We just won and he says ‘Hey coach, is there anything you want me to help with on the sideline?’ That’s the kind of kid he is. He is one awesome player to coach.”
And a major challenge to defend, according to Leicester coach Tim Griffiths.
“We said last week, he stood out on film and he stood out today,” said Griffiths. “He’s a big, strong kid. Fast, runs hard. We knew had our hands full with him, he’s the real deal.”
Abington (11-2), which rattled off 11 straight wins after losses to Hingham and Rockland, surged ahead, 6-0, on Klein’s 61-yard run with 7:52 left in the first quarter, but the conversion failed.
Leicester (12-1) answered a minute after Klein’s first score with a 74-yard pass from Mike Mero to Jack O’Neill, plus the conversion, for a 7-6 lead, but Klein blasted in from the 1-yard line for his 20th TD of the season, and Seamus Schmidt’s conversion put Abington on top for good, 13-7.
“I love blocking for him,” said Abington senior captain Sean Landers, a three-year starter at left guard. His older brothers, James and Ryan, played on the 2014 title team.
“Every time I make a nice block, he comes up to me and pats me on the back and says, ‘Hell of a block, Sean.’ ”
Noting that Landers and fellow guard Brady Cristoforo “pull for me every time,” Klein thanks them every game. After following their power blocks for his second TD, Klein said he was going to give the pair something for Christmas.
The victory was a gift for Kelliher, who said that after the 0-2 start, the players got better each and every week and they started to believe in what they could do.
“They started to play together and it just continued and kept rolling on, and when you get into the playoffs, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Kelliher, who also lauded the hard work of his assistant coaches.
Abington 21, Leicester 7
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Leicester (12-1) 7 0 0 0 — 7
Abington (11-2) 6 8 0 7 — 21
A — Will Klein 61 run (rush failed)
L — Jack O’Neill 74 pass from Mike Mero (Nolan Power kick)
A — Will Klein 1 run (Seamus Schmidt run)
A — Gabe Spry 4 run (Tommy Fanara kick)
RUSHING — A, Will Klein 23-207, Gabe Spry 5-15, Tom Furness 2-7, Kosta Retzos 2-6, Colby Augusta 7-(-10); L, Bryce Gosselin 11-51, Daniel Mero 4-4
PASSING — A, Colby Augusta 3-11--53; L, Mike Mero 2-2--68, Daniel Mero 5-22--44
RECEIVING — A, Gabe Spry 1-23, Matt Maguire 1-16, Will Klein 1-14; L, Jack O’Neill 2-94, Jeffrey Puchalski 1-15, Luke Clay 1-12, Stephen Olsen 1-0, Xavien Rosario 1-(-3), Daniel Mero 1-(-6).
Steve Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.