Key play of Super Bowl: The game’s lone score came on the opening kickoff, when sophomore Ben Reiffarth scooped up the ball on what Archibald called a “Christmas hop” and ran 71 yards for a touchdown. It was the Beavers’ only kick return for a TD all season.
“We were all so surprised,” Archibald said. “We were looking all over the field for flags but there weren’t any.”
Unsung heroes: Blackstone Valley Tech’s five senior captains — Dan Avery , Shawn Wilkins , Taylor Hanson , Pat Durkin , and Joe Angelini — quietly played through injuries.
Avery, the team’s starting quarterback, wore a harness on his nonthrowing shoulder for part of the season. Durkin, a running back, and Angelini, a two-way lineman, both dealt with broken wrists. Wilkins, who had two interceptions in the Super Bowl, and Hanson, a running back, both overcame ankle injuries.
“Those kids that are varsity contributors and special teams players, when they see a kid like [Durkin] playing with a broken wrist and [Avery] wearing a harness, it helps those other kids get over their aches and pains,” Archibald said. “For us the captains set the tone.”
Statistics check: Junior linebacker Nic Wojnar finished the regular season with 142 solo tackles, second most in Central Mass, and 164 tackles total.
Coach’s corner: Facing Bay Path again in the Super Bowl “actually was the best-case scenario for us.’’ Archibald said. “They had beaten us early in the season and kind of ruined our perfect season. . . . We had no trouble motivating the kids.’’
The future: The Beavers will lose 10 seniors to graduation, but will return a core that includes Reiffarth and Wojnar.
“We’ve got a good crop of kids coming up,” Archibald said. “They’re already working hard in the weight room. Of course winning a Super Bowl helps with enthusiasm and stuff like that, so we’re excited about the next few years. With the new playoff setup, hopefully we can get back in next year, and hopefully represent Central Mass. well.”
Loss of seniors will challenge Natick
Division 2A Super Bowl runner-up Natick will return several skill-position players next season — including junior quarterback Troy Flutie , junior receivers Alex Hilger and Justin Robinson , and sophomore wideout Brian Dunlap — but the graduation of captains Nick Lee and Mike Dunlap will be significant losses.
Lee played through an ankle injury to finish the year with almost 700 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, including one score in the Redhawks’ 28-21 loss to Beverly in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. Dunlap, the team’s top linebacker, led the team with 138 tackles.
Franklin pair proved key for Bishop Feehan
Bishop Feehan beat Lynnfield, 21-7, at Gillette Stadium for the Division 3A Super Bowl title with the help of two seniors from Franklin.
Middle linebacker Tom Salmon started every game for the Shamrocks (10-2) after suffering a serious knee injury last season. Kehma Johnson contributed at running back, scoring on a 1-yard run to help beat Bishop Stang on Thanksgiving.
Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.