FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -– No Jordan Keli'inui. No problem.
The Mashpee High School football team was without Keli'inui, the team's leading rusher, for Saturday's Division 4 Super Bowl against Cardinal Spellman, but had the best running back in the game anyway.
Junior Jarod Taylor rushed for a career-high 306 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, as Mashpee rolled to a 34-8 triumph in the program's first Super Bowl appearance.
“I was trying to fill his shoes today,” Taylor said. “It was a great feeling to help out. I did it for everyone in Mashpee.”
Keli'inui missed the contest because of a sprained ankle he suffered in Tuesday's playoff victory over Millis/Hopedale. He has rushed for 1,170 yards this season.
Mashpee coach Matt Triveri said he didn't know Keli'inui wouldn't be able to play on offense until about five minutes before the opening kickoff. Keli'inui did play on defense.
“He was about 60 percent,” Triveri said. “He played fine on defense, but he just couldn't go on offense.
“Taylor is a guy who is gonna be one of the better backs in the state next year. He might be there right now. To have two backs like that, we're lucky and blessed. No doubt about it.”
Taylor entered the game with 1,070 yards rushing this season. Before Saturday, his career high for yards rushing in a game was the 183 yards he gained in an 31-7 victory over Norwell earlier this season.
Two of Taylor's three touchdowns came in the third quarter, when the Falcons put 22 points on the scoreboard to take complete control. He gained 209 yards on nine carries in the quarter.
“We knew [Taylor} was capable of this,” Triveri said. “As a staff we joke that we're doing a terrible job by not giving him enough carries because he's averaging over 9 yards per carry. We knew he had it in him. It was just a matter of getting him the football and the offensive line coming to play.”
It was the third time Spellman has surrendered more than eight points in a game this season.
Mashpee, which completed its season with a 13-0 record, led 6-0 at halftime and 28-0 entering the fourth.
Spellman, which lost to Holliston 21-7 in last year's Division 3A Super Bowl, finished its season with a 12-1 record.
“Their offense is very, very good, and their defense is exceptional,” Cardinal Spellman coach Ron St. George said. “They're extremely fast, extremely physical and extremely instinctive. They just proved that they were the better team.
“That Taylor kid is gonna be tearing it up next year. He's as talented as the senior (Keli'inui).”
The only scoring in the first two quarters came on the half's final play. Quarterback Zak Orcutt shifted to wide receiver and pulled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Cody Bingham-Hendricks as time expired.
Mashpee's lead swelled to 14-0 when Taylor scored on a 58-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Orcutt added the two-point conversion.
The Falcons added another touchdown when Orcutt connected with Kyle Murray for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 4:26 left in the third.
Taylor scored on a 54-yard run with 2:52 left in the third, and then capped his night by scoring on a 10-yard run with 5:35 to play.
“All we wanted to do was get this win for our school, our community and our kids,” Triveri said.
Shouldering the load: Spellman running back Pat Hinkley was questionable because of a separated shoulder he suffered in Tuesday's victory over Shawsheen Valley, but did play. Hinkley gained 44 yards on 10 carries and scored his team's only touchdown on an 18-yard run with 38 seconds to play.
Hinkley was not used on defense, where he usually lines up at linebacker.
“I gotta give the kid a lot of credit,” St. George said. “His shoulder totally popped out. They had to go to the hospital Tuesday night and put it back in. For him to come back and be ready to play was a great display of courage on his behalf.”
Numbers game: Cardinal Spellman entered the Super Bowl averaging 28.2 points per game, but was outgained 438-104. The Falcons gained 18 yards (all rushing) in the first half, and finished the game with 79 yards on the ground.”
“What can I say,” St. George said. “It was a tough way to end our season.”
MASHPEE 35, CARDINAL SPELLMAN 7
Cardinal Spellman (12-1 ) 0 0 0 8 – 8
Mashpee (13-0) 0 6 22 6 – 34
Mas – Zak Orcutt 4 pass from Cody Bingham-Hendricks (rush failed), 0:00.
Mas – Jarod Taylor 58 run (Orcutt rush), 9:40.
Mas – Kyle Murray 14 pass from Orcutt (Orcutt rush), 4:25
Mas – Taylor 54 run (rush failed), 2:52.
Mas – Taylor 10 run (pass failed), 5:35.
CS – Pat Hinkley 18 run (Ricky Donovan pass from Tim Burke), :38.