FOXBOROUGH - BC High brought its brand of football to Gillette Stadium last night. They left all of it on the field, then took the EMass Division 1 Super Bowl championship by beating Brockton, 13-7.
"It feels great," said coach Jon Bartlett, who led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title since 2000. "This was our goal, to get to the bowl, to win the bowl."
The Eagles produced perhaps their best drive all season, patching together an 18-play march that took more than nine minutes and chewed up most of the second quarter. The pivotal series culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyler Horan, which gave BC a 13-7 lead. "That's been our trademark all year, just pounding it. We knew we had to do that to win the game," said Bartlett. "We just challenged the kids to do that."
The Eagles converted two short fourth-down attempts - one by Horan (27 rushes for 139 yards, 2 receptions for 44) and the other by quarterback Bill Kiley - on a drive that featured just one pass and no plays that gained more than 9 yards.
When Brockton got the ball, the Eagles survived a long run by Khalil James-Offley, the leading scorer in Division 1. But the Boxers couldn't convert the run into points and BC High went into the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
The game, however, was not decided until the last minute.
After BC High rode another long drive to the Brockton 7-yard line, the Eagles threatened to put the game away.
Brockton's Carlito Weaver, Dominique Williams, and Josiah Bell-Hilliard made spectacular defensive plays, then Conor Flaherty's field goal was nullified because of an illegal formation, pushing BC High back 5 yards.
Flaherty lined up for another kick, this time from 39 yards, but Bell-Hilliard blocked it, giving the Boxers one last chance.
With just more than six minutes left, Brockton began to march from its 36.
Quarterback Sam Previte converted a sneak on a third and 2, and another one on a third and inches, leading to the moment the 137 student-athletes on both sides will probably remember forever.
On fourth and 1 at the BC High 26, Brockton coach Peter Colombo chose to go away from his bread and butter, James-Offley (13 rushes for 55 yards), and called a toss left to running back Jamal Johnson, who was stuffed by linebacker Pat Moynahan behind the line of scrimmage.
"We thought we'd have them looking in the middle and try to go wide," said Colombo. "They had a nice call."
James-Offley agreed with the call.
"I'm glad we did that, even though we didn't get the first down because they were mainly keying in on me," he said. "It was a different look."
"[Defensive lineman] Rob McCourt did the real dirty work, he fought over the tight end's block," said Moynahan. "Then when Johnson tried to cut back, I was right there."
The Boxers landed the first punch of the game on their first possession, overcoming three false starts and a fumbled snap inside the red zone.
Offley scored from 7 yards to give Brockton a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The drive started deep in BC High territory, courtesy of a low snap on the Eagles' punt, which gave Brockton the ball at the BC High 24.
BC High jabbed back on the ensuing drive, or more appropriately, Horan did.
The Catholic Conference co-MVP accounted for 73 of the 74 yards on the drive, 48 of which were eaten up on a screen pass from Kiley that Horan took up the left sideline for a touchdown.