When you’ve won eight Super Bowl like Mansfield’s Mike Redding, he’s bound to be hit with the inevitable question: “Was this your best Super Bowl team?”
Playing the role of a politician to a tee, Redding expertly deflected the question, saying many of his past championship teams had great traits. He did admit that this year’s Super Bowl winning team may have been as complete a squad as he’s had.
Many an opposing coach lamented the fact that Mansfield was the ultimate nightmare matchup because they had no weaknesses. The scores bore that out as the Hornets won 10 of their 11 games by double figures, including a 41-0 win over Lincoln-Sudbury in the Div. 2 Super Bowl.
Only one team finished ahead of Mansfield in the final Boston Herald rankings and that was St. John’s Prep. The Eagles succeeded defended their Div. 1 title by defeating Catholic Memorial for the second straight season, 21-14.
St. John’s Prep was one of three teams to defend their titles. Springfield Central took home its second Div. 3 title with a 38-13 win over Duxbury, while St. Bernard’s rolled past West Bridgewater, 30-8, in the Div. 8 Super Bowl.
Melrose earned distinction as the only undefeated football team in Massachusetts. The Red Raiders held off a spirited challenge from Plymouth South, 28-13, in the Div. 4 Super Bowl. Other Super Bowl champions included Swampscott (Div. 5), Ashland (Div. 6) and Abington (Div. 7).
As we’ve done in the past, we’ll take one final look at the 2019 high school football season.
FOUR BEST POSTSEASON GAMES
Central Catholic 39, Everett 37 (OT) — This Div. 1 North semifinal clash had it all from an inadvertent fifth-down, 12 men on the field during a successful field goal try and a controversial finish. It was the classic referee-basher’s delight.
Ashland 20, Old Rochester 19 — The Clockers’ trip to the Div. 6 championship almost ended here, but a huge defensive stand at the end saved the day.
Tewksbury 29, Winchester 28 — Having survived Concord-Carlisle in dramatic fashion a week earlier, the Redmen were back it again. They stopped a potential game-winning 2-point try to win the Div. 3 North title.
Bishop Fenwick 25, Stoneham 20 — The rematch was far more competitive than the regular season encounter, but the end result remained the same.
STARS OF THE WEEK
WEEK 1: Ashur Carraha threw for 407 yards and five touchdowns as Cambridge defeated Boston Latin, 47-37.
WEEK 2: Riley O’Connell passed 278 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the waning moments, as Lincoln-Sudbury edged Reading, 21-20.
WEEK 3: Tyler DeMattio rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries and also booted a 19-yard field goal as North Attleboro defeated Bishop Feehan, 38-27.
WEEK 4: Will Prouty threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 170 yards and a fourth score as Duxbury defeated Hingham, 41-20.
WEEK 5: Nick Norko ran for 243 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries, threw a touchdown and also picked up 12 tackles as Bishop Feehan won its first game, 35-28, over Malden Catholic.
WEEK 6: JC Petrongolo completed 11-of-19 passes for 267 yards and four scores, while teammate Zach Mitchell caught three TD passes and also recorded an interception and fumble recovery as Catholic Memorial defeated St. John’s Prep, 34-32.
WEEK 7: Mitchell Gonser caught three touchdown passes and also blocked two field goals, one coming with 11 seconds left in regulation, to give Milton Academy a 20-14 overtime win over Governor’s Academy.
WEEK 8: Will Lombard ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns as Bridgewater-Raynham beat Dennis-Yarmouth, 32-30, to give head coach Dan Buron his 200th win.
WEEK 9: Nick Siegelman rushed for 277 yards and five touchdowns as Plymouth South raced past Hopkinton, 42-6.
WEEK 10: Colton Fahey threw for 363 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns, including the game-winner with five seconds left, as Pingree handed Dexter Southfield its first loss, 50-43.
WEEK 11: Shamil Diaz ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing for a fourth score, as Greater Lawrence defeated Manchester-Essex, 42-6, to claim the North title
WEEK 12: Joe Llanos ran for 380 yards and scored six times, while making 10 tackles as Revere capped off a 10-win season by defeating Winthrop, 46-31.
WEEK 13: Dominic Cavanagh threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for a fourth score as Ashland defeated Bishop Fenwick, 2822, for its first Super Bowl title since 1995.
PLAYERS TO WATCH NEXT YEAR
Joenel Aguero (St. John’s Prep), Jalyn Aponte (Natick), Zack Athy (Holliston), Tyrese Baptiste (Everett), Scott Brown (Andover), Hollis Dirstine (Lawrence Academy), Garrett Doherty (Milton Academy), Cincere Gill (Mansfield), Harrison Greenslade (Pingree), James Guy (St. John’s Prep), T.J. Guy (Mansfield), Louis Hansen (St. Sebastian’s), Tim Hays (Concord-Carlisle), Geoffrey Jamiel (Dennis-Yarmouth), Drew Kendall (Noble & Greenough), Will Lederman (Natick), Darrius LeClair (Catholic Memorial), Ben Lofstrom (Silver Lake), Tyler Martin (BB&N), Owen McGowan (Catholic Memorial), Devonte Medley (Brockton), Zach Mitchell (Catholic Memorial), James Murphy (Reading), Tony Muse (Lawrence Academy), Sam Ofurie (Lynn English), Ayden Pereira (Central Catholic), Rayan Riazi (Revere), Billy Stevens (Pingree), Josaiah Stewart (Everett), Sahnai Swain-Price (Middlesex), Aidan Sweeney (Wakefield), Ikenna Ugbaja (Belmont Hill), Shiloh White (Catholic Memorial), Chrys Wilson (Bishop Fenwick)
*As much as everyone wanted to knock the switch to Federation rules for some controversial officiating, a bigger issue might be the premise by which certain referees get certain games. More than one coach expressed some displeasure over that process, feeling that a form of cronyism still exists in some parts.
*I’m all for kids doing whatever it takes to get their name out there in hopes of getting college interest. What is a little perplexing are those who feel the need to tout themselves an hour after a loss. Give it a little time.
*The Vocational Bowls have been a great concept, but it wasn’t a good look to see one team pull out and be replaced fairly late in the process. When this space is getting calls from coaches and athletic directors among the vocational schools wondering why this happened, you know there is a lack of communication. We don’t begrudge a school for not wanting to play, but it would be nice to get an explanation from the folks who run the tournament as to why it happened.