LOWELL, Mass. – Northeast Regional quarterback Donato Dipietrantonio called it his team’s most complete game of the season, and it would be hard to argue otherwise.
Northeast scored in every quarter and posted its sixth shutout of the season Tuesday night, when it advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl by dominating Pope John 42-0 at Cawley Stadium.
Dipietrantonio tossed three touchdown passes, and Bobby Novello added two touchdowns on the ground in the victory. Northeast held Pope John to 109 yards of total offense (7 yards rushing).
“Don’t let the score fool you -- they’re a good football team,” Dipietrantonio said. “We came to play. We’ve had a lot of scores like that, but that was definitely our most complete performance. Great football team. Great coaching.”
Northeast even recovered three onside kicks, two of which came in the second half when Pope John was limited to two offensive possessions.
Northeast, which improved its record to 10-2, led 14-0 after one quarter, 22-0 at halftime and 36-0 entering the fourth. The loss dropped Pope John’s record to 8-3.
“I knew they were going to score points,” Pope John coach Brian Vaughan said. “Offensively, the game didn’t go as we planned. We had trouble moving the ball in the first half, and in the second half we didn’t really have the ball. We thought we were going to have to score (a lot) of points, and we didn’t score any. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Pope John also committed four turnovers, three of which were interceptions.
Northeast will face Brighton in Saturday’s 4A Super Bowl. Brighton advanced by beating West Bridgewater 36-13 Tuesday night.
Pope John gained 30 yards on 20 plays in the first half. The Tigers had minus-16 yards rushing through the first two quarters.
“We have a very big, dominating defensive line,” Northeast coach Don Heres said. “It’s all a matter of preparation and them being coachable. This team is very coachable.”
Northeast put the game out of reach in the third quarter, when Dipietrantonio tossed two TD passes to Corey Thurell. The first was a 20-yard pass with 7:29 left in the third, and the second was a 41 yard pass with 5:26 to play in the quarter.
Dipietrantonio completed 5 of 7 passes for 85 yards and was intercepted once. Mike Cross caught Dipietrantonio’s other touchdown pass, which covered nine yards. When Dipietrantonio added the two-point conversion Northeast had a 22-0 lead with 1:28 left in the first half.
Northeast passed the ball 48 times in its first 11 games.
“He doesn’t have gaudy numbers, but he can throw the ball,” Heres said. “We don’t throw the ball very often, but he runs the show. We grind it out and when they bring everyone up we try to throw it over the top. It happened a couple times tonight.”
Novello gained 126 yards on 14 carries. He’s run for 1,244 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Pope John quarterback Malcolm Brown-Simpson completed 14 of 25 passes for 110 yards.
“We played a better team and the scoreboard showed it,” Vaughan said.
NORTHEAST REGIONAL 42, POPE JOHN 0
PJ 0 0 0 0 -- 00
NE 14 8 14 6 -- 42
N – Brandon Sullivan 5 run (Mike Cross rush)
N – Bobby Novello 39 run (rush failed0
N – Cross 9 pass from Donato Dipietrantonio (Dipietrantonio rush)
N – Corey Thurell 20 pass from Dipietrantonio (pass failed)
N – Thurell 41 pass from Dipietrantonio (Novello rush)
N – Novello 16 run (rush failed)
N – Jack Murphy 39 run (rush failed)