EAST BOSTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long time.
A five minute and 20 second, 58-yard scoring drive capped by a one-yard dive by Isiah White elevated Madison Park over East Boston today, 22-14, giving the Cardinals their first Boston North title since 2002.
“Coach Robinson told me I was going to have to run hard this week,” said White of his 8 carries for 51 yards. “Whatever it takes to help the team, I am for it. If it’s blocking for Chris [Philyew], and I don’t get as many runs, I’m ok with that too. It’s all about the team.”
Going up 14-0 with 3:15 to go in the third quarter on a Dequell Golson 3-yard run, Madison Park (6-1, 5-0 Boston North) looked to be in control of the game. The ensuing kickoff by Claudel Rosembert bounced off Eastie’s Marvin Depaz’ foot at the Jets’ 34 yard line. Depaz could have fallen on the spinning ball and played it safe, but the 180 pound linebacker picked up the rock and sprinted for 48 yards, dodging tackles and rumbling for extra yardage upon impact.
After a failed pass, Jets quarterback Anthony Whitney found Maicol Restrepo sitting in the back of the end zone, literally, for a 18-yard hookup to put Eastie (6-3, 3-1 Boston North) on the board with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. On the extra point, essential for Eastie to make it a game and for Madison to keep the Jets grounded, Whitney rolled left and was being closed in on by Madison defenders. Whitney reversed the field and found freshman tight end Whitney Connor at the goal line, who was hit by a Madison defender after his catch but held onto the ball and fell into the end zone, leaving the game at 14-8, advantage Madison.
The Cardinals, determined to take what they came through the tunnel for, went to work. The kickoff by Depaz was fielded by Philyew (12 carries, 86 yards), who brought the ball back 32 yards to the Jets 42, setting up the game sealing drive.
“Last year we lost and fell apart,” said Philyew. “This year, we decided to work hard and come together to win.”
From the 42, the Cardinals put the ball on the turf for a ground assault, giving the ball back to Philyew on the first play for a 15 yard gain. Jonathan Miles took a pair of runs for eight and five yards for another first down, setting up first and 10 from the East Boston fourteen. Philyew and White took twin 6-yard hits, setting up first and goal from the Eastie 2. A quarterback sneak by Ely Plaza gave the Cardinals second and goal from the one, and a neutral zone infraction by the Jets assisted White in bowling past the plane on the following play, putting Madison up 20-8. The rush by Philyew made the game 22-8, but Eastie, having taken the Boston North title six times since 2000, looked at the 4:40 left on the clock the clock as an opportunity to win, not as an obstacle.
Taking over from their own 29, Eastie orchestrated a nearly four minute touchdown drive, capped by an 11-yard run by Whitney with 42 seconds left in the game, but the failed conversion and inability to get the ball back allowed Madison to run out the clock and walk away with the Boston North on their back.
“I’ve got to give a lot of props to our offensive line, which is also our defensive line,” added Plaza. “They play both sides of the ball, and that is all conditioning. This is my senior year, and I can leave saying that we capture the Boston North title. It feels good.”
Madison went into the locker room up 6-0, scoring with no time left in the first half. The touchdown was a 12 yard connection between Plaza and Khayree Hudson. Five plays before, Hudson missed a pass, but with the help of the Madison coaching staff, he was able to bounce back and give Madison their first score of the game.
“Before I missed the pass, I came out and didn’t feel energetic,” admitted Hudson. “After missing the catch, my coaches told me that big time players made big time plays. I got back into the game, made my move and caught the ball to give my team some motivation going into the second half.”
MADISON PARK 22, EAST BOSTON 14
MP 0 6 8 8 --- 22
EB 0 0 8 6 --- 14
MP - Khayree Hudson 12 pass from Ely Plaza (rush failed)
MP - Dequell Golson 3 run (Chris Philyew rush)
EB - Maicol Resptrepo 18 pass from Anthony Whitney (Connor Henry pass from Whitney)
MP - Isiah White 1 run (Philyew rush)
EB - Whitney 11 run (rush failed)