SOMERSET, Mass. – Somerset’s run to the 2010 Eastern Athletic Conference championship began last December.
“We were in there lifting from about two weeks after the end of last season,” Blue Raiders offensive and defensive tackle Ian Levesque said. “We were so close to winning the EAC last year that it was all we could think about.”
There were days when Levesque said his legs were so tired he could barely get up the steps to his front door. Yet, after enduing a fast-paced 49-28 shootout with defending EAC champion Bishop Feehan and running the gauntlet to a 10-0 record, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman seemed happy enough he could have levitated off the field having seen his hard work pay off.
“There was definitely an air of something different this week,” said head coach Nick Freitas, who led the No. 20 Blue Raiders to their first football league title in nearly three decades.
Freitas wasn’t about to let his team look past Feehan, which trudged an unlikely road to set up Friday’s winner-take-all matchup on County Street.
The Shamrocks lost their first five games out of the chute, but redeemed themselves with a four-game winning streak, including three conference games.
Freitas installed a sign reading “What did you do to beat Feehan today?” In the spirit of the Golden Domers, their opponents, it was a reminder not only to play like a champion, but practice like one.
“Their record doesn’t show how good of a team they are,” Levesque said. “They played a bunch of good teams early in the year. We knew we had to come to this game really focused, really prepared. [This week,] practices went a little bit longer, film sessions went a little bit longer. Everybody had to be on the ball and have that mentality to not give up at any point in the game.”
The Blue Raiders showed their resolve, embarking on a 14-play touchdown drive on their first possession with Seth DeMello punching in the first of his six touchdowns. The 17-yard score from Adam LeDoux saw the Somerset offense in a bit of a different light. Running back Jaron Spear also connected with DeMello on a passing play for a 42-yard score in the second quarter.
DeMello, who ran for 245 on 20 carries, added rushing touchdowns of 3, 39, 88 and 13 yards, respectively.
Alex Estrella also had a touchdown run of 11 yards in the second quarter.
The Shamrocks received stellar quarterback play from junior Andrew Murphy, who completed 13 of 21 pass attempts for 312 yards and three touchdowns.
"I didn't feel safe until it was down to point-six second left on the clock there," Freitas said.
By that time, Freitas had already been doused in a congratulatory water bath by his team. Nick Almeida finished the game with emphasis with the fifth Somerset sack of Murphy.
Then, and only then, could the celebration truly begin.
Bishop Feehan01477 -- 28
Somerset721714 -- 49
Somerset Seth DeMello 17-yard pass from Adam LeDoux (T.J. Eisle kick)
Somerset DeMello 3-yard run (Eisle kick)
Bishop Feehan O'Brian McHayle 57-yard run (Matt Allen kick)
Somerset DeMello 42-yard pass from Jaron Spear (Eisle kick)
Somerset Alex Estrella 11-yard run (Eisle kick)
Bishop FeehanBrandon Cole 13-yard pass from Andrew Murphy (Allen kick)
Somerset DeMello 39-yard run (Eisle kick)
Bishop FeehanWilliam Firth 24-yard pass from Murphy (Allen kick)
Somerset DeMello 88-yard run (Eisle kick)
Bishop FeehanO'Brian McHayle 56-yard pass from Murphy (Allen kick)
Somerset DeMello 13-yard run (Eisle kick)