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91-yard TD pass sets tone as West Boylston tops St. Bernard’s for Div. 7 state title

FOXBORO — West Boylston and St. Bernard’s came into the Division 7 Super Bowl knowing a thing or three about each team’s rushing attack.

But a play-action, championship-record pass was the difference early on as the Lions (11-2) roared to a 29-6 victory over No. 3 St. Bernard’s (11-2) in an all-Central Massachusetts final Friday at Gillette Stadium.

The win is the first-ever Super Bowl title for the Lions since the state championship format started in 2013, but the third title in school history, with Central Massachusetts titles in 1988 and 2012.

West Boyston quarterback Luke Foley gets a throw off as he is tackled by a St. Bernard's player. West Boylston rolled to a 29-6 Division 7 Super Bowl championship win in Foxboro. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)
West Boylston quarterback Luke Foley gets a throw off as he is tackled by a St. Bernard’s player. West Boylston rolled to a 29-6 Division 7 Super Bowl championship win in Foxboro. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)

After a scoreless first quarter, quarterback Luke Foley tucked in a second-and-seven designed run off left tackle on the Lions’ own nine-yard line and found Connor Muldoon in a one-on-one battle in the middle of the field. Foley tossed up a 50-50 ball and Muldoon did the rest for a 91-yard touchdown at 11:04 of the second to give the top-ranked Lions the 6-0 lead in a game they never trailed.

The Foley-to-Muldoon connection is now a Massachusetts State Championship scoring record for yards on a touchdown as the completion surpassed Clinton’s Rich Wetherell’s 89-yard pass to Dan Notaro in a 1994 win over Leicester.

“It really changed the momentum of the game and opened things up, it was a tight game, and we needed that score,” said Muldoon. “We have a great line with Jake O’Brien, Jon Edwards, Sam Stille and all the guys on the line really makes us hard to stop.”

After Jamie McNamara punched in the two-point conversion, West Boylston held the 8-0 lead into the halftime lockers as both teams struggled to get their run games on track.

On the first series of the second half, St. Bernard’s Antonio Mancini (23 carries, 72 yards) finished off an 11-play drive that ate up 7:59 of time in the third to cut the deficit to two, 8-6, at 4:01 of the third.

That was all the Benardians could muster as West Boylston went back to the tried-and-true balanced double-wing running style and smash-mouth defense they have been accustomed to.

St. Bernard’s head coach Tom Bingham was gracious and emotional in pointing to his seniors in their last dance ending with a loss.

FOXBOROUGH MA - December 2: MIAA Football Championships at Gillette Stadium. West Boylston High's Connor Muldoon stiff arms St. Bernard's Damien Jones for a gain on a run. December 2, 2022 in FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)
West Boylston’s Connor Muldoon stiff-arms St. Bernard’s Damien Jones for a gain on a run Friday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. West Boylston was a 29-6 winner. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)

“Wish we had a few things back and certainly did not put our best foot forward but incredibly proud of these seniors for the road our school has gone through the last four years and the leadership we’ve had and everything they have accomplished along the way,” said Bingham. “It just seemed we never really got into a rhythm on either side of the ball and that’s not to take anything away from West Boylston and maybe it was something they were doing to make that happen.”

After Mancini’s lone score for the Bernardians, John Ruas answered right back with a 32-yard touchdown on the next series as West Boylston pulled out to a 16-6 lead. Bobby Humphrey and McNamara added their own rushing scores in the fourth quarter as the Lions scored 21 unanswered points to close things out with 5:07 left to play.

McNamara finished the day with a game-high 136 yards on the ground on only 17 carries capped off by his game-ending 45-yard scamper to the end zone.

The Lions’ defense was outstanding all game long, holding St. Bernard’s to 68 yards of offense in the first half en route to allowing only 172 total yards in the game. Senior captain Damien Jones finished with 71 yards on 18 carries for the Bernardians.

“In the second half, I felt a little pressure, but we don’t have a kid over 220 pounds on the (offensive) line, so we are tough,” said West Boylston head coach Mike Ross. “Our defense has played well all season and Mancini and Jones are unbelievable.”

“We have four (running) backs, they are all good, and most teams do not have that. The new state format is so hard to even get to here. You play the best in the state and I think Division 7 is the toughest division in the state top to bottom,” said Ross.

ST. BERNARD’S (11-2) – 0 – 0 – 6 – 0 — 6

WEST BOYLSTON (11-2) – 0 – 8 – 8 – 13 — 29

WB – Connor Muldoon 91 pass from Luke Foley (Jamie McNamara run)

SB – Antonio Mancini 2 run (run failed)

WB – John Ruas 32 run (Bobby Humphrey run)

WB – Humphrey 9 run (run failed)

WB – McNamara 45 run (McNamara kick)


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