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Matt Festa (6 TD’s) propels Duxbury to Division 4 state championship

FOXBORO — The walk through the hallowed halls of Gillette Stadium was all too familiar of a stroll for Matt Festa. After falling just short in the state championship one year prior, the Duxbury football star was driven to finish his high school career with the ultimate prize.

The senior quarterback succeeded, finishing 10-for-14 with 250 passing yards and six total touchdowns, as Duxbury completed a perfect season by securing its first Super Bowl title since 2016 with a 42-7 drubbing of Grafton in the Div. 4 final.

“This group of guys put in endless amounts of work all season,” Festa said. “To win every game, and come out undefeated with a state title is the best feeling ever.”

It was the sixth title in program history for the Dragons (12-0). Last year, Duxbury fell in the same game to Patriot League rival Scituate after allowing a game-winning two-point conversion in the closing seconds. The Dragons had no visions of a repeat, and wasted little time in making a statement. Festa immediately connected with senior Dylan DeAngelis for a 33-yard touchdown pass on their opening possession to provide Duxbury a quick 7-0 lead with 8:59 to play in the first quarter.

Duxbury High's Alex Barlow rumbles for yards against Grafton in the first half during the Division 4 Super Bowl on Friday night at Gillete Stadium in Foxboro. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)
Duxbury High’s Alex Barlow rumbles for yards against Grafton in the first half during the Division 4 Super Bowl on Friday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)

Then, just seven seconds into the second stanza, Festa plowed into the end zone from four yards out to make it a 14-0 contest.

Grafton (11-2) would respond, as senior Casey Jordan found touted wideout Liam Donagher for a 9-yard touchdown connection, helping the Gators slice their deficit to 14-7 with 5:22 to play in the first half.

However, that was all Grafton would be able to muster in this one. Duxbury proceeded to march right back up the field, as Festa scampered for a 2-yard touchdown rush to give the Dragons a 21-7 advantage at the half.

“These kids are a resilient group of young men,” said Duxbury coach Matt Landolfi. “They’ve been through a lot. They stick together, they work hard, and I couldn’t be more happy for them. They always seem to come through in important times, and do it as a team.”

Festa picked up right where he left off to begin the second half, as he hit Chris Walsh for a 50-yard pass. Shortly thereafter, the senior quarterback ran in for a 2-yard rush, and the rout was on as Duxbury broke things open at 28-7 with 10:06 left in the third.

In addition to his passing numbers, Festa racked up 12 carries for 35 yards rushing with four of his touchdowns coming on the ground. Walsh hauled in five receptions for 145 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Alex Barlow added 125 yards rushing himself.

Jordan finished 19-for-32 passing with 157 yards and a touchdown to propel Grafton.

“I’d say Duxbury football is probably the most resilient program around,” said Festa. “I don’t think you’ll find anyone else that comes back from adversity like we do. It just feels great to come back to the field we lost a heartbreaker on, and do some damage and come out with the win.”


Grafton (11-2)    0    7    0   0  –   7

Duxbury (12-0)  7   14  14  7  –  42

DU – Dylan DeAngelis 33 pass from Matt Festa (Nathaniel Elliott kick)

DU – Festa 4 run (Elliott kick)

GR – Liam Donagher 9 pass from Casey Jordan (Donagher kick)

DU – Festa 2 run (Elliott kick)

DU – Festa 3 run (Elliott kick)

DU – Chris Walsh 24 pass from Festa (Elliott kick)

DU – Festa 4 run (Elliott kick)

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