Needham no match for balanced B-R
Trojans in first bowl since 2001
BRIDGEWATER - The Bridgewater-Raynham Trojans will play in their first Super Bowl in eight years Saturday following a dominant 28-0 victory over Bay State Carey champion Needham last night in Division 1A semifinals.
The Trojans will face Northeastern Conference heavyweight Gloucester.
Bridgewater-Raynham coach Dan Buron will be making his sixth trip to the Super Bowl in 17 years. The Trojans haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2001. Their last playoff game was in 2004.
Buron went into this game thinking about his seniors and how much work they had put in this year on and off the field.
“This was their last time on this field,’’ Buron said. “We didn’t have a Thanksgiving game so this is like our Thanksgiving. So I said, ‘Let’s go out and play hard and play well,’ and they did a nice job.’’
The Trojans (10-2) led, 21-0, at halftime thanks to two long returns by Neil Harrington, on a kickoff and punt.
“The first kick return, we just needed a good start,’’ Harrington said. “We needed to start the game off right.’’
Bridgewater-Raynham received to start the game. Harrington fielded it at his 14 and ran it back to the Needham 34. Isaiah Johnson carried the ball on the next play, and a facemask penalty against Needham pushed the Trojans to the 11.
B-R quarterback Mike Connolly threw a 7-yard pass to Harrington before Johnson scored from 4 yards just over a minute into the game.
After Needham (7-5) went three-and-out, Kevin Cray punted to Harrington.
He said he considered calling for a fair catch, but with confidence in his blockers, he fielded the punt at his 32 and broke off a 68-yard scoring return. Connolly threw a 2-point conversion pass to Jake Williams to give B-R a 14-0 lead.
Needham controlled possession for the rest of the first quarter and most of the second, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard.
The Rockets made it to B-R’s 37, but on fourth and 5 quarterback Kevin Brennan couldn’t connect with Kerry Hecker, and Needham turned the ball over on downs.
It took the Trojans three plays to put another 7 points on the board, starting with a 54-yard pass from Connolly to Kevin Bumpus. On first and goal from the 9, Connolly threw incomplete, but on the next play Mike Chicoine burst threw a pack of defenders for the score and a 21-0 lead.
Needham went three-and-out on the first possession of the second half, setting up the Trojans for their fourth and final scoring drive.
Jake Williams carried six times for 28 yards in the nine-play march, including a 1-yard TD carry with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Buron praised his team’s play on both sides of the ball.
“[Needham’s] a big-play team. We really tried to prevent that big score,’’ Buron said. “They throw a lot of deep balls, so I thought the defense did a pretty good job with that. The offense did a good job controlling the ball . . . It was a good team win tonight.”