FOXBOROUGH– It almost felt like history repeated itself for the St. Mary’s football team in Saturday’s Division 7 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. Two years ago, St. Mary’s appeared in the Division 3A Super Bowl and picked the worst time to play under its capabilities.
It was no different this time around.
The Spartans, sluggish offensively from the opening whistle, fell into a two-score deficit at halftime and fell, 18-0, to Blackstone Valley.
“It was just a tough day offensively for us,” Driscoll said. “We didn’t execute. They’re good. I don’t think they let up more than 13 points all season. Most of their games were shutouts from what I saw. They’re good for a reason. They were here last year and they had leadership coming back.”
The red-hot Beavers finished their season at 11-1 with their only loss coming in a Week 1 overtime defeat to Milbury.
“It’s amazing,” Beavers coach Jim Archibald said. “A hundred years from now nobody will be able to take this away from us. I’m so happy for these kids. It’s an incredible group of kids. They deserve every bit of this. They worked so hard day in and day out.”
St. Mary’s finished its season at 8-5.
The Spartans totalled just 75 yards of offense, 26 of which were collected by George Freeman on five carries. Jalen Echevarria, St. Mary’s leading rusher and receiver, was limited to 18 all-purpose yards.
“We had to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, which we were able to do,” Archibald said. “Our defense has been able to do this to teams all year. We play a three-man front but we get after it up front.”
Quarterback Derek O’Leary completed 4-of-11 pass attempts for 27 yards and rushed for 11 yards on two carries.
Beavers quarterback Scott Mackay (16 carries, 96 yards) scored on a pair of 1-yard keepers. Mackay completed 4-of-8 pass attempts for 66 yards. JD Anataya (seven carries, 69 yards) scored on a 2-yard rush.
After the Spartans stumbled on consecutive three-and-outs to start the first quarter, Blackstone Valley found its footing to take the lead. Antaya capped a 31-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving the Beavers a 6-0 lead with 4:04 left in the quarter (PAT failed).
Freeman gave the Spartans their first first-down of the game with consecutive 7-yard carries in the second quarter but St. Mary’s couldn’t sustain the drive. Blackstone Valley grabbed a 12-0 lead on Mackay’s 1-yard keeper with 59 seconds left in the half (conversion failed).
Antaya intercepted an O’Leary pass near midfield on the ensuing possession. The Spartans tackled Mackay at the 1-yard line on the final play of the half (a 6-yard scamper) to remain within striking distance, down 12-0, at halftime.
“In the first half we got out of our game a little bit,” Driscoll said. “We got put in a lot of third-and-longs. We couldn’t make that one big play to get us going and get us rolling.”
St. Mary’s, looking for a score on the opening drive of the second half to climb on the board, stumbled again. With 4:07 left in the quarter, Mackay found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge and bumped Blackstone Valley’s lead to 18-0.
The best chance for the Spartans to score came in the opening of the fourth quarter when the Spartans were the beneficiaries of two pass interference penalties. The first brought St. Mary’s to the 19 and the second brought the Spartans to the goal line.
Blackstone Valley read everything St. Mary’s threw at it, keeping the Spartans scoreless. That was all she wrote for St. Mary’s as the Beavers ran out the clock for the 18-0 win.