FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It became clear early on that the only thing that could stop Bishop Fenwick running back Rufus Rushins was the end of the season.
The 6-1, 230-pound junior tailback, who finished the year with 1,366 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, capped his impressive season with perhaps his biggest performance yet Saturday in the Crusader's easy win over Northbridge, 28-0, in the MIAA Division 5 state championship game.
He ripped off 170 yards on just 15 carries, scoring on touchdowns runs of 59-yards, 5-yards and 2-yards, to lead Fenwick’s high-powered offense it’s 13th straight game with scoring at least 28 points.
“Rufus is a big strong kid and he’s tough to tackle,” said Fenwick coach Dave Woods. “He’s got some good speed. A couple of his runs early were just shoestring tackles, and he got tripped up here or there. With him it’s just a matter of time. Just keep giving him the ball and sooner or later he’s going to break one.”
Defensively, the Crusaders trend of bullying other teams continued as they held the Rams to negative rushing yardage into the fourth quarter.
“This is the best team we played all year, no doubt about that,” said Northbridge coach Ken LaChappelle. “This is an outstanding team. They have everything, everywhere: the line, the back, quarterback was excellent.”
It was the defense that set the tone for this one first, forcing a 3-and-out in the opening minute of the game.
The offense, not to be outdone, marched right down the field before quarterback Nick Bona delivered a pass into the outstretched hands of receiver Eric Razney for a 39-yard touchdown less than a minute and a half later.
Northbridge was able to keep Fenwick’s offense from finding the end zone again until midway through the second when Rushins took a dive two yards up the middle for his score of the night. He added a two-point conversion rush to make it 14-0.
Early in the third quarter, Rushins delivered a dagger to the hopes of Northbridge by taking a dive 49 yards up the gut to extend the lead to 21-0 just 1:35 in the second half.
“I saw green grass, and I just booked as fast as I could,” Rushins said. “I knew I was going right down the field.”
He added another score, a 5-yard run, with 3:57 left in the third to make it 28-0 to cap the scoring.
Northbridge’s best scoring chance came late in the fourth quarter when they advanced into the red zone for first and only time in the contest.
They made it to the 14-yard line before David Hurley stepped in front of a pass headed toward the end zone for a shutout-sealing interception.
“Without question this is the greatest team this school has ever had,” said Woods. “I’m just so happy, it was so much fun coaching these guys.”