FOXBOROUGH - Walpole left Gillette Stadium with the taste of defeat lingering last season. The Rebels made sure they left Gillette yesterday with the EMass Division 2 Super Bowl trophy in hand. Led by Ryan Izzo, Walpole defeated Mansfield, 41-21.
"We knew we had to come out with this one," said Izzo. "After last year's loss, we had to come out and win."
"This was a team effort," said Walpole coach Danny Villa. "It was going to take every one of us to win and the results showed that."
The Rebels rode the arm of Sonny Mastromatteo and the legs of Izzo, both of whom were playing in their second Super Bowl.
Mastromatteo provided the first spark for Walpole. On the third play of the game, he hit a wide-open Chris Cameron down the seam for a 63-yard scoring strike.
"We knew we were going to have to open them and up and spread them out," said Villa.
Mastromatteo finished with 134 yards passing, two touchdown passes, and a rushing touchdown.
Mansfield responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in Greg DiPietrantonio's 3-yard touchdown rush that made it 7-7.
From that point on, however, Walpole dominated.
Izzo began to find his groove and the Rebels scored 27 points in the second quarter. After not touching the ball on the first four Rebel plays, Walpole fed Mansfield a heavy dose of the leading scorer in Eastern Mass.
"We know who our bread and butter is," said Villa.
Izzo gave the Rebels a 14-7 lead on a 9-yard run. He rushed for 41 yards on the drive, mostly from the Wildcat formation. On the day, Izzo rushed for 193 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Izzo's most impressive touchdown came with 3:50 left in the half. Mastromatteo hit Leo Ajemian on a 6-yard hitch. Ajemian tossed the ball back to Izzo, who went 24 yards for a 20-7 lead.
"We practice that play," said Villa. "Every time we practice, we fumble. That play works every one out of 10 times. This was the one that did work."
After the hook and ladder, Mansfield moved to the Walpole 39, but an incompletion, a sack, and a short run left the Hornets with fourth and long. Mansfield went for it but a pass fell incomplete.
After the turnover on downs, Izzo slipped through the line and broke down the sideline. He turned on the jets and waltzed into the end zone for a 49-yard score and a 27-7 Walpole lead.
"A lot of credit has to go to the offensive line," said Villa. "Mansfield has one of the best defensive lines in state. My boys took it to them perfectly."
Then Mansfield fumbled on its next possession, and three plays later, Mastromatteo dived in from the 1-yard line to push the lead to 34-7.
After a hectic week in and out of courtrooms and playing on short rest, Mansfield didn't have much left in the tank.
Mansfield scored two touchdowns in the second half. Kevon Rogers scored on a 15-yard scamper and Jeff Mallett hit Shawn Doherty on an out-and-up for a 24-yard touchdown.
Sandwiched between those touchdowns was Walpole's final score. After pounding the ball down the field, Mastromatteo executed a textbook play-action fake. He proceeded to hit T.J. Kelliher on a post route for a 22-yard touchdown.