Tech coach Gary Sverker and the Tech fans who made the trip to Quincy Thursday night for the Massachusetts Vocational Large Division Super Bowl knew what was at stake on Southeastern Regional’s last drive of the game: everything.
Would the Tech football team be returning to Lynn with the school’s first-ever vocational state football championship or would it be Southeastern returning to South Easton with the trophy?
Led by the heroic efforts of Ryan Murphy, Pedro Martinez, and Joe Brady, and a solid performance by sophomore quarterback Luis Tavarez the Tigers weren’t going to be denied in their first trip to the bowl.
With 25 seconds left, senior captain Steven Caisse broke up a fourth-down pass at the 5-yard line, allowing Tech to nail down a thrilling 18-16 victory over Southeastern. The Tigers made their key defensive stand as fans on both sides were on their feet cheering for their respective teams.
“It was a very exciting game and a great way to cap off a great season,” said Sverker. “Defense is the name of the game and we stopped them when it mattered. We didn’t give up the big play. This was a great venue and participating in this game was a lot of fun.”
Murphy, a senior captain and co-MVP of the Commonwealth Conference, wrapped up his outstanding career with a superlative outing. Murphy scored on a 9-yard touchdown run and spearheaded the Tigers’ rushing attack. A two-way standout, Martinez caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tavarez and also rushed for a 7-yard score.
Brady, a senior captain, had a couple of huge pass catches, and showed excellent leadership in an exciting, hard-fought contest.
And then there was Luis Tavarez, who made his first start at quarterback a memorable one, displaying poise and confidence at the controls of the Tigers’ offense.
“Luis did a great job,” said Sverker. “He grew up right in front of us. He’s an honor roll kid who’s a student of the game. I was really happy for him and the way he played.”
Linebacker David Mover, a CAC All-Star was immense in the middle of the Tigers’ defense. CAC All-Star Alex Quinton excelled on the offensive and defensive lines.
Sverker singled out his three captains, Caisse, Murphy, and Brady, for their efforts. Caisse played in the championship game with a broken thumb.
“Those three captains were great leaders,” said Sverker.
At what point in the season did Gary Sverker believe that his team had the makings of a champion?
“I think the turning point of the season was when we were down 29-14 to Shawsheen in the third quarter and we came back and won the game,” said Sverker. “The kids showed me a lot of character and determination in that game and it continued right to the final minute of our final game (Super Bowl).”
Tech finishes its season with an 8-4 record. It was a season in which the coaches and players may have exceeded their own expectations.
“We actually reached a goal that we hadn’t even set,” said Sverker. “I think the kids had set this as a goal. The kids talked about getting in to the playoffs all year. I guess I should have believed them.”
Sverker thanked his assistant coaches, offensive coordinator, Ray Donahue, defensive coordinator McKenzie Charles, special teams coach Brad Tilley, assistant coach Harold Samuelson Jr., and freshman coach Angel DeLeon for their efforts this season.