The Lincoln-Sudbury football team nearly pulled off another stirring playoff comeback at Bentley University Saturday night against the state’s number one ranked team. Not many people gave Lincoln-Sudbury a chance against mighty Everett and Massachusetts Player of the Year Jonathan DiBiaso. Fortunately, L-S coach Tom Lopez and his gritty group of players didn’t listen to the experts.
The Warriors weren’t given much of a chance in their playoff game against Barnstable either after being down 13-0 going into the fourth quarter. But the 2011 Lincoln-Sudbury football team showed everyone how much resolve and character they had by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn a trip to the Division 1A Superbowl, where they would go toe-to-toe for three quarters with the state’s top team before falling, 36-13.
Even more amazing was the Warriors’ ability to compete with these teams despite the loss of top running back and defensive back Brian Carroll. Carroll accounted for 11 of Lincoln-Sudbury’s touchdowns this year, including two on defense.
“I believe that we will win,” the crowd chanted as the Warriors drew to within a single touchdown of Everett with one quarter to go in the season. The Warriors made believers out of everybody even though their comeback came up short against the Crimson Tide on a cold Saturday evening. Being down 21-6 at halftime with no touchdowns on offense might cause many teams to question their ability to stay with a potent offensive team like Everett. But quarterback Matt Cahill and his offense showed unwavering confidence as they drove down the field converting a key third down pass to Will Twyman and a pinpoint touchdown strike to Jack Harris in the corner of the end zone.
“I was really proud of the effort our kids put forth,” Lopez said after the game. “We worked hard and prepared really well and that’s why we were able to compete with the best team in the state for three quarters.”
The Warrior defense showed the same grit and toughness they showed throughout the year, stopping Everett on three separate drives in the second half. The offense gained confidence as a result of the defense standing tall at critical moments. Many coaches will tell you that defense wins championships. Lincoln-Sudbury was no exception to that rule as opponents averaged a mere 12 points against the Warriors this season. Holding Massachusetts record holder Dibiaso without a touchdown pass in the Superbowl was another accomplishment unmatched by any Everett opponent this year. Not bad against a quarterback that threw 44 touchdown passes in 12 games.
For the most part, the Lincoln-Sudbury football team dominated many of its opponents on its way to an 11-2 record. There were bumps along the way, including a difficult loss to Concord-Carlisle, who also finished undefeated with a Superbowl title, and the loss to Everett. Westford Academy gave the Warriors a difficult time as well, going into the half with a 14-10 lead in week 8. But the Warriors outscored the Grey Ghosts 28-0 in the second half, adding another example of Lincoln-Sudbury’s refusal to quit under adversity.
The Warriors will lose some valuable seniors this year including captains Cahill, Patrick Mullin, Kyle Ashley, and Ricky Antonellis. Jack Harris, Will Twyman, Connor Young, Dan Cellucci, Tim Krumsiek, and Kelvin Sanders have also played their last game for Lincoln-Sudbury. The Warriors will be loaded in 2012 however, with Chris Giorgio, Brian Carroll, Greg Strait, Malik Layne, and Henry Guild all returning for next year. After making the semifinals in Division 1A in 2010, Lincoln-Sudbury improved on that accomplishment in 2011. Stay tuned in 2012 to see if the Warriors can make that next step.