Any hopes of a Division 4 Super Bowl Title by the Blue Hills Football team were evaporated in just 62 seconds.
Steven Reynolds broke through with a 25-yard touchdown run and Matt Costello added a 35-yard interception return for a score as Shawsheen Tech emerged with a 14-point fourth quarter rally en route to a 20-6 victory over the Warriors in Saturday's highly anticipated showdown at Curry College.
The Rams, who just one year ago finished the season at 3-8, completed the turnaround season en route to an 11-1 mark. The Rams, who earned their first Super Bowl trip since 1978, captured their first ever title.
"It came down to a couple of huge plays in the fourth quarter, and that was the huge difference,'' Warriors Coach Ed Catabia, whose team finished its season at 10-2 overall, said. "Shawsheen has a tremendous defensive front line, and I thought we did a nice job for the most part. We just couldn't do much inside the red zone, and you have to give them a lot of credit."
Offensively, the Warriors were guided by Vincent Burton, who rushed for 129 yards on 24 carries while Isaiah Texeira added 28 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
"We controlled the ball in the first half, but we just couldn't come through with that big play,'' Catabia said. "We had our chances, and we couldn't capitalize."
In the game's opening minutes, the Warriors threatened as Burton, who rushed for 1,418 yards in the regular season, rumbled through for a 34-yard gain before adding another 15-yard scamper to the Ram 26. After a pair of stops at the line of scrimmage, the Rams defensive unit held ground, as quarterback John Curran fired an incomplete pass on a fourth and seven from the 23.
"We bent, but we didn't break,'' said Ram Coach Al Costabile. "Our defense has been playing great football over the last four games, and we play for shutouts. Our entire defensive line did an outstanding job, making stops at the line of scrimmage when they had to, and we forced them to (throw the ball) in certain situations."
On another first quarter drive, the Warriors once again marched down field to no avail. On a second and four from their own 43, Curran fired a 24-yard screen pass to Burton to the Ram 33. With the end zone in their sights, the Warriors couldn't deliver as Texeira failed to convert on a fourth and two from the 25.
"If we had been able to convert a key first down, then maybe we would've been able to get in the end zone,'' Catabia said. "Unfortunately, their defense did a great job holding the line."
Led by a series of Burton rushes, the Warriors threatened downfield, driving to the Ram 25. Faced with a fourth and six from the 20, Curran failed to convert, firing an incomplete pass.
On the ensuing drive, the Rams capitalized, engineering a seven play, 80-yard scoring drive. For a moment, it appeared as if the Warriors' defensive unit had held ground as quarterback Ryan Woolaver fired an incomplete pass on a third and five, but the Warriors were whistled for a personal foul penalty, as the Rams were given new life.
Following a pair of completions by Woolaver the Rams drove to the 31-yard line before Woolaver scrambled for a 30-yard touchdown run with 1:28 left in the first half.
Off a quarterback draw, Woolaver scrambled down the middle of the field, and followed a pair of blockers into the end zone as the Rams grabbed a 6-0 lead.
"The (facemask) penalty hurt us,'' Catabia said. "If we don't commit that penalty, then chances are they're going to punt from deep in their own end and we get good field position, but we made a mistake at a crucial time."
Even with a 6-0 halftime lead, adversity had faced the Rams as Woolaver was carted off the field in the last play of the half with an apparent leg injury. Woolaver would not return as he was taken to the hospital for X-Rays after falling awkwardly on his femur on a sack.
With junior back-up Tyler MacInnis taking the snaps, the Rams marched downfield as Andrew Dascoli, who rushed for 105 on 21 carries, sliced his way into Warrior territory. On a third and eight from the 20, MacInnis struggled, as Bryan Oyenchefule hauled down an interception with 7:24 left in the third quarter.
Led by Burton, the Warriors established 15-play, 81-yard scoring drive that spanned 6:29 of clock. On rushes and several scampers by Burton and Texeira, the Warriors were faced with a third and eight from the six before Texeira cut to his left for a key six yard gain. On a third and goal from the one, Texeira, on a toss left waltzed into the end zone as the Rams surrendered their first points in a five game span. A failed two-point conversion attempt left the game tied at 6-6 with :55 left in the third quarter.
"The kids weren't happy they allowed that touchdown,'' Costabile said. "We knew that with (Woolaver) down for the game, that we had to come through with some big plays. The seniors really rallied around MacInnis and we're all about family on this team."
Despite failing to convert on the ensuing drive, the Rams pinned the Warriors at their own eight yard line on a 35-yard punt by Devin Connearney.
"That punt was huge, because it set us up with some great field position,'' Costabile said. "Our defense had to come up with some huge stops, and we were able to take advantage. It was a beautiful punt and it was perfectly placed."
As Texeira was stopped for a seven yard loss, the Warriors were pinned at their own one, and were forced to punt.
Only two plays later, the Rams capitalized as Reynolds broke through for a 25-yard touchdown run. Following a Connearney block on the right side, Reynolds spotted daylight and dashed into the open end zone with 4:57 left in the contest. A successful extra point increased the lead to 13-6.
On the ensuing drive, the Warriors nearly tied the score on one play. Off a pass from Curran, the ball slipped through the hands of Michael Kelly at the Ram 35 and fell for an incomplete pass. Two plays later the Rams increased the lead en route to a 20-6 lead. Off an attempted screen pass, Costello intercepted a pass at the 35 and dashed down the right side into the end zone for the score with 3:55 left.
"That was a huge turn of events,'' Catabia said. "If (Kelly) had made the catch, then it probably would've been for a touchdown. I don't know if he lost the ball in the sun, but it slipped through his hands, and then a couple of plays later, they picked off a pass off a screen for the touchdown."
Securing the win in the final minutes, the Rams recorded another interception as Reynolds hauled down his second of the quarter.
"It's a great win for the program, and to win a Super Bowl is a tremendous accomplishment,'' Costabile said. "It's something that these guys are going to remember for the rest of their lives."