By Joyce Erekson
A team might be able to survive one or two turnovers in a football game but six, well, that’s a problem.
St. Mary’s lost to East Bridgewater, 34-8, Saturday in the Division 3A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium and it was turnovers (four fumbles and two interceptions) that spelled doom for the Spartans in their bid for a state championship and a perfect season.
“It was a tough day,” St. Mary’s coach Matt Durgin said. “Maybe we picked a bad day to have some mistakes. In the end, it was great to be here. The kids deserved to be here. Hopefully in all of this it doesn’t get lost that they were (league) champs.”
Neither team could get anything going in the first half. The Spartans were forced to punt on their opening drive and it didn’t go well. The snap was high and the Vikings’ Joseph Donahue pounced on the ball at the St. Mary’s one.
Punching it in from there should have been easy, but nothing came easy for either team in this game, at least in the early going. The Vikings promptly fumbled (their first of four turnovers) and St. Mary’s Brendon Donahue scooped it up. The Spartans threw some cold water on another Viking drive early in the second quarter when Marlon Scott picked off a pass by East Bridgewater quarterback Liam LeVangie, but the ensuing drive collapsed when St. Mary’s quarterback Marcus Atkins fumbled and the Vikings’ Donahue snapped up the ball and ran 70 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good, giving East Bridgewater a 7-0 lead at the half.
Donahue would prove to be the Spartans’ worst nightmare. The junior, who got the start because of an injury to linebacker Patrick Snow, recovered four fumbles and ran two of them back for touchdowns. He didn’t score on his next recovery early in the third quarter, but the Vikings made it hurt when quarterback Liam LeVangie scored on a 2-yard run to give East Bridgewater a 14-0 lead (the kick was good).
The Vikings would go up 21-0 before St. Mary’s finally found the end zone and once again, it was a Donahue fumble recovery that paved the way. LeVangie hit his tight end, Michael Khoury, with a 32-yard touchdown pass and the kick was good. The Spartans finally got on the board in the fourth quarter after Scott recorded his second pick of the day. The junior returned the interception 29 yards to the East Bridgewater 28. Three plays later, James Brumfield took it in from the five and ran for the conversion.
The Vikings would score two more touchdowns in the final 5:38 of the game. The first came on a 48-yard pass from LeVangie to Greg Plunkett and the second was a parting gift from Donahue – a 32-yard fumble return.