They’re one step away from winning a state championship and officially stamping their legacy as one of the greatest teams in school history.
But entrance in to the St. Mary’s Hall of Fame, Super Bowl rings, and other such honors that are bestowed on champions are not on the players’ minds yet. There is still one very tough postseason obstacle: a talented Blackstone Valley team that is also coming to Gillette Stadium with the biggest prize of all in their sights.
While the ultimate champion will be decided at the Patriots’ home field in Foxboro, one thing is already certain: the St. Mary’s defensive game plan against Cohasset will stand the test of time.
Holding Cohasset to a single field goal (the Skippers scored their TD with the issue already decided) is an achievement that will be forever remembered by St. Mary’s football players and fans. St. Mary’s alumnus and football announcer John Hoffman was among those lauding the efforts of the Spartans’ defense throughout the game. Hoffman recognized early that the Spartans’ defense was frustrating the high-scoring Skippers on each possession.
St. Mary’s first-year head coach Sean Driscoll, who won a Super Bowl as a defensive coordinator at Winthrop High, said assistant head coach Tim Phelps and his staff did a great job coming up with the game plan.
“We spent a lot of time on preparing for Cohasset and Tim works harder than anyone I know,” said Driscoll. “It’s good to have a former head coach [at Classical], that was a great head coach and is a great assistant as well. He was a great acquisition for me and this program.”
Driscoll said he and his staff watched Cohasset defeat Abington in the South final. Cohasset won, 33-16, after routing defending state champion Mashpee, 37-16, in the semifinals.
“Going in to game and knowing what they did and seeing them live, we doubled their receivers in certain situations and we tried to take away their best stuff and what they wanted to do, and we did a good job with that,” said Driscoll. “We made sure we played a physical football game at the second level where the linebackers and defensive backs were.”
Driscoll illuminated on the contributions of two season-long standouts, Connor Donohue and George Freeman, who brought their ‘A’ games Saturday to Hormel Stadium in Medford.
“Donohue has been fabulous across the board,” said Driscoll. “He’s the key to our team based on playing special teams, safety, we asked him to play some cornerback, he’s quarterbacked for us as well. When a kid comes in to your office and says, ‘coach, whatever you need me to do, I’ll do,’ – he wanted to be a part of our success and he is a big part of it, and we wouldn’t be here without him.”
Freeman put in another fine day’s work at linebacker and running back against the Skippers.
“He’s tough on both sides of the ball,” lauded Driscoll. “He runs the ball hard and he’s a very good linebacker. He has good instincts and he’s always around the ball.”
Driscoll said he’s not fully looking ahead to Blackstone Valley just yet, with a Thanksgiving eve game against Fenwick on tap for Wednesday.