SUPER SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 2014
It’s that time of year again, Super Saturday. This year, Massachusetts State Championship Super Saturday fell on December 6th, and twelve high-powered high school football teams from across the state gathered at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, home of the New England Patriots, to decide the fate of six state championships; one for each of the six divisions here in Massachusetts.
For the third season running-and eighteenth in their rich history- the Northbridge Rams were one of the twelve teams on hand vying for a title, and for the third straight year, they failed…and once again, it was pretty miserable sight to behold.
WHAT DID THE COACH HAVE TO SAY?
“It was a little embarrassing, you know?” explained the straightforward and legendary Northbridge High head coach, Ken LaChapelle, who just-so happens to be the winningest high school football coach in Massachusetts history (331-107-6), following the gut-wrenching and heart-breaking defeat. “We got outclassed; we were outplayed and ‘out-toughed.’ And I really don’t know what else to say.”
It’s funny Coach, because apart from maybe commenting on your inventing a new word to describe the putrid performance, we don’t really know what to say either. It seems as though one of the most storied schools in state just can’t win the big game anymore.
Now just 10-8 in championship contests, the Rams have looked, well, embarrassing on the big stage in recent years. Losing these last three years by a combined score of 85-6 says one of two things: Northbridge just hasn’t been that good, or, Eastern Mass. teams are just a whole lot better than Central Mass. teams. Set aside their Super Bowl defeats, and you’ll see that the Rams have amassed a combined 32-6 record over the last three seasons, so it’d be awfully difficult to say that this team just isn’t all that good.
OH KOBY, THAT, MY FRIEND, WAS REALLY BAD
Junior quarterback Koby Schofer, who was NOT himself under the relentless pressure of the Abington defensive front (9-27, 80 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s) is surely sick of losing ‘the big one.’ Such sentiment can be clearly seen in the above photograph, which was taken at the conclusion of the 2014 Super Bowl State Championship game, a 36-6 loss to Abington High on December 6th.
In each of the last three years, Northbridge has been totally embarrassed in the big game, sadly after putting together terrific regular seasons and spirited postseason runs. So the question is: why and what happened? Losses of 21-0 to Grafton High in 2012, 28-0 to Bishop Fenwick in 2013, and 36-6 this year to Abington just cannot be explained away by mere ‘bad days.’
(Follow the maroon, blue and lime green links for game-specific stories covering the Rams repeated ‘Super’ defeats.)
327 AND COUNTING…BUT WHAT DOES THAT MATTER?
Nevertheless, the state’s winningest high school football coach with 327 wins, all at Northbridge High, cannot tell us why his team can’t get over the hump, despite having a squad brimming with talent and tradition.
“We’ll reflect on the season in a few weeks, but right now, we’re very disappointed. You go in 12-0 and if nothing else, you’d like to have had a little better showing than we did.”
The entire experience could be summed up during a during a nightmare, four-minute sequence at the start of the third quarter. The poorly timed combination of bad Northbridge luck, and easy Abington points that took place, quickly ended any and all championship hopes for the previously undefeated Rams.
“That was just a bleeding, poor animal, out in the woods, getting eaten up by wolves; that’s what that ended up being,” said an animated LaChapelle.
The heart-breaking stretch saw the Green Wave lead balloon from 15 to 36, ending the Rams championship hopes.
SO, WHAT, HA-HAPPENED WAS…
The bottom line is simple; it’s heartbreaking and inexplicable. Northbridge will only graduate six players from this year’s team, so in all likelihood, they will be the odds-on favorite to represent Central Mass in the 2015 Super Bowl State Championship game.
Should they get back for a fourth straight year, they will not only face becoming the Buffalo Bills of high school football (Buffalo went to, and lost, four straight NFL Super Bowls in the early 1990’s), but they will also have the chance to be first team in the state to reach the championship game four years in a row.
One has to wonder if the Rams will ever even want to go back to Gillette.
♥ What do you think? If you’ve got your own opinion, please, leave a comment and let me hear all about it. Let’s keep it (fairly) clean and respectful everyone, lol. ♥
Check out the Worcester Telegram & Gazette's Central Mass sports page,'Hometeam,' to find out more about the Worcester County sports scene. For links to other Northbridge High football coverage head on over to Stonebridge Press, Inc., for stories and photos by yours truly. Also, check out my Twitter feed, @jon_gouin, and give me a follow for crying out loud. In exchange I promise to give you live updates on all the local action you care about most!