By Amara Grautski, Globe Corrspondent | December 2, 2009
They still remember 2007.
Two seasons ago, East Boston rode an 11-0 streak into the Super Bowl, where the Jets were met with a stark reality.
“We were on a high horse,’’ said Jets senior Michael Lockley. “We came into Gillette Stadium and thought everything was going to be great, and we came out with a [19-6] loss.’’
Last night, East Boston moved one step closer to making that game an evanescent memory, defeating Bristol-Plymouth, 35-8, in a Division 4 semifinal at Taunton High.
Lockley veered with finesse through holes opened up by his offensive line. Brandon Campbell kicked Craftsmen defenders off his feet as he powered for a 12-yard touchdown run. And at one point, quarterback Troy Williams pirouetted between two defenders on a 20-yard scamper.
East Boston’s explosive rushing game collected 100 yards in the first half and doubled that amount in the second. The Jets’ defense was also hungry, forcing two interceptions and a fumble by B-P quarterback Evan Cabral, who completed just one pass for 10 yards.
“This team is probably the most talented, skillful team I’ve had since I’ve coached,’’ said East Boston coach John Sousa. “They really wanted to get to the Super Bowl. They really wanted this game and they showed the desire out there. They didn’t want to go down.’’
East Boston (10-1) got two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter, by Lockley and Campbell, to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Lockley carried the offense in the first half with 53 yards on 10 carries.
The Jets poured it on with back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter. Brandon Amodeo sprinted down the sideline for 41 yards, and after senior Matt Wyatt picked off Cabral on B-P’s first play of the quarter, Lockley ran for a 14-yard TD to give East Boston a 28-0 cushion.
Bristol-Plymouth (8-3) finally got on the board early in the fourth. Cabral capitalized on a fumble recovery by running 54 yards on the next play. He also rushed for the 2-point conversion.
East Boston answered right back with a 35-yard TD run by Amodeo. Victor Correa kicked the extra point to put the finishing touch on a well-crafted attack.
The squad that remembers 2007 never relented. And it’s set on making sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
“All I thought was win,’’ said Lockley. “You’ve got to win with the heart that you’ve got and put it all out on the field.’’
A championship would be special for Sousa, who is retiring after the season. There’s still work to be done, a matchup with Whittier Saturday at Bentley University.
“For his last year, to go out with a Super Bowl would be great,’’ Lockley said. “And that’s what the team is trying to do.’’
Brighton 8, Tri-County 6 – Brighton didn’t get on the field until 30 minutes before kickoff, but the Bengals warmed up nicely in the sub-40 degree weather against Tri-County at Franklin High.
By the second quarter, Brighton had an 8-0 lead behind wing back Kevin DePina, who pummeled the Cougars for 100 yards on 11 carries. DePina’s biggest contribution was a 23-yard touchdown reception from Jonathan Rosa. DePina then rushed for a 2-point conversion, which was the difference and sent Brighton (5-6) into Saturday’s Division 4A title game against Northeast at Bentley University.
“We really had a good defensive effort,’’ said Brighton coach James Phillips. “Our linebackers, our defensive line played a tough, tough game.
“They wanted it here,’’ said Phillips, pointing to his heart. “It’s nothing special. They just wanted it more.’’
Led by Randy Hardy, Tri-County (8-4) fell short in the final minutes.
Hardy broke loose for a 30-yard run to bring the Cougars to the Brighton 9-yard line. But after three plays and two timeouts, there still was 1 yard to go.
On fourth and goal, Hardy punched it in to bring Tri-County to 8-6 with 2:13 remaining. But the Bengals defense made a huge stop on the 2-point conversion.
The stop served as validation of Brighton’s pride and perseverance in a sub-.500 season.
“[This season], we didn’t do what we have to do,’’ said DePina. “Today, we did what we had to do. We don’t care about no record.’’
Northeast 24, Marian 14 – With a trip to the Division 4A Super Bowl on the line, Northeast (7-5) defeated Marian (4-6) at Pierce Field in Arlington. The Golden Knights got things rolling in the first period, quarterback Donato Dipietrantonio falling across the goal line on fourth and 1.
The Mustangs fired right back, scoring on a short rush by Ben Kinsherf, and taking the lead on the extra point by Miguel Ortiz.
However, with only two seconds remaining in the first half and Northeast set up for what looked like a clock-killing rush, running back Bobby Novella fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to Raul Galdamez to send Northeast into the half leading, 12-7.
“I threw that play in four weeks ago and we tried it once and we fumbled, so tonight was nice to see it work for us,’’ said Northeast coach Don Heres.
The Golden Knights never looked back, dominating the third quarter. They drove 70 yards without attempting a pass, led by the running attack of Novella, Joey Ginepra, and Christian O’Leary. Ginepra caped the drive with a 15-yard TD rush, putting the game away.
“We bent tonight but we didn’t break,’’ said Heres. “It got a little scary, but we did enough to win.’’