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FOXBOROUGH — After the Bishop Fenwick football team’s loss in the Division 6 state championship, Patriots owner Robert Kraft presented the Crusaders and state champion Ashland with their respective trophies on the Gillette Stadium concourse.
While the Crusaders may not have walked away winners, Kraft gave them their credit, saying he couldn’t help but admire their effort from start to finish. He was spot on.
The wounds may take a while to heal, but Fenwick left everything it had on the field despite a handful of key injuries in the 28-22 loss.
To start, Joe Rivers, a key piece on both sides of the ball, had been sidelined for a number of weeks with a blood clot.
“Joe is one of our best football players,” Fenwick coach Dave Woods said. “To not have him hurts us as a team. But it really hurts more personally for him not to be able to play. I know it was killing him. I feel bad for him but I try to tell him there are worse tragedies in life and he’ll grow from it and learn. But it would’ve been nice for him to be out there.”
During the game some more Crusaders started to miss key time. Chrys Wilson was injured in the second half after being tackled. The quarterback who had played so well all season and also made key plays at linebacker tried to limp back onto the field later, but he couldn’t continue.
Cornerback, wide receiver and backup quarterback Jason Romans also went down and missed a few key drives. From there the Crusaders turned to their third quarterback, Dave Woods’ son Steven.
Steven Woods gave the Crusaders a fighting chance, throwing a late touchdown to Romans, who had come back into the game, but the comeback fell just short.
“Chris and Jason both got hurt,” Woods said. “And Andrew Wilson was another player to go down. We were kind of down to our last quarterback there at the end. Steven did a great job. He threw a touchdown pass, he’s getting interviewed (after the game) and everything. God bless him.
“(Steven) is a great kid,” Woods added. “He does anything we ask of him. Anytime somebody is hurt we can throw Steven in, whether it’s a kickoff, kick return, punt. Today it was quarterback. I’m proud of him.”
You can’t take any credit away from Ashland, quarterback Dominic Cavanagh played an amazing game for the Clockers, throwing for 270 yards, three touchdowns and rushing for another score. But it says a lot about Fenwick’s program that the Crusaders were able to overcome some key fallen players when they could’ve easily packed it in.
At the end of the day the players wearing the Crusaders black and gold have plenty to be proud of after a memorable run, many of whom may have gone unnoticed during the season.
“To be honest we have so many guys that do so many things that go unnoticed,” Woods said. “I can’t name just one person. We talk all the time, it doesn’t take 11 guys it takes the full 52 guys that we have on the team. To single out any one would be tough, I think they all played great. We did everything we wanted to do, had a chance in the fourth quarter and just came up a little short.
“Our seniors were awesome but we also have a lot of juniors. I know this is not going to sit well with them but hopefully they can use it as motivation and we get back here next year.”