By Cary Shuman
If you’re a St. Mary’s High School supporter, you may want to keep the first Saturday in December open on your calendar.
The sensational Spartans kept their dream season heading in the right direction with a 52-8 rout of Winthrop in the Division 3A North quarterfinals Friday night at Manning Field.
Calvin Johnson, Abraham Toe, and James Brumfield each scored two touchdowns to power St. Mary’s to its eighth consecutive victory and a berth in the semifinals against Lynnfield. Johnson (12-153) and Toe (8-117) were the rushing leaders while Brumfield made the play of the game on special teams when he pounced on a Winthrop fumble and returned in 36 yards for a touchdown.
Nino Echevarria concluded the Spartans’ scoring by returning a fumble 76 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Marcus Atkins also excelled at quarterback for the Spartans. The 6-foot, 180-pound junior made a crushing block on a cross-field run by Johnson.
“When Marcus came to the sidelines, I said to him, ‘I might put a ‘6’ in front of that ‘5’ – that was a heckuva block,’” related Coach Matt Durgin. “ Give Marcus credit. He’s been under the radar but he’s been a quiet leader all year and there’s no question we would not be as successful without him. He’s really been a great leader.”
Two more wins in the North playoffs and St. Mary’s will be playing for the state championship in the Division 3A Super Bowl on Dec. 3 at Gillette Stadium.
Winthrop head coach Sean Driscoll was impressed by the Spartans’ offensive line and multi-faceted rushing attack.
“I praise their guys up front more than I praise their athletes because I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve,” said Driscoll, a former lineman himself. “But I tell you, St. Mary’s is a great football team. My hat’s off to them. It’s probably one of the better teams I’ve seen in about 10 years. I think they play football the way it’s meant to be played. They’re a very talented group and they have one of the best coaches on the North Shore.”
St. Mary’s coach Matt Durgin, who was a guest on the WNBP-FM sports radio show, “Nic and Nick at North Shore Sports Desk” Saturday morning, said, “This team came out ready to go and they executed. We prepared hard for the game because we respect Winthrop very much. It’s a good team win. We have to gear up again [for Lynnfield].”