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Bishop Brady football routs Franklin to take Knights of Columbus trophy

The playoffs are coming, and the Bishop Brady football team – as visiting Franklin found out – is ready for them.

The Green Giants aced their final test before the postseason begins, crushing Franklin, 51-0, in the regular season finale to reclaim the Knights of Columbus trophy, given each year to the victor in the rivalry that stretches back to 1963.

Franklin took the trophy with a 32-26 victory last year, and while a win yesterday was required to keep alive any hope to host the Division III East Conference championship, Green Giants Coach Greg Roberts said the team centered its focus on bringing the hardware back to Concord.

“For us, we weren’t playing this game for that. We were playing because it’s Brady-Franklin,” he said. “It’s a rivalry … the game is always physical. It’s one of those things, both teams come in ready to play football.”

As it turned out, those hopes for a home game next week did end up getting extinguished, as Epping-Newmarket beat Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough, 34-13, but Brady does still have another game to play. And Roberts wanted to be convinced his team was gearing up to hit its stride at the right time.

“You can’t take any game off,” he said. “Yes, this game wasn’t that important from a playoff standpoint, but it is very important from a preparation and being ready to play next week (standpoint). We took this game as serious as we are next week’s game.”

It showed. The Giants (4-4) shredded the young and overmatched Golden Tornadoes (0-8), taking them apart both on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Brendan Johnson had an excellent game, completing 10 of 12 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns, 192 of the yards and two of the scores going to game MVP Matt Tetu, who also ran for 106 yards on only five carries.

“It meant the world. We’ve struggled the past couple of games, and we all pulled together and played with heart because we knew we had to win this game,” Tetu said. “We haven’t shown what kinds of receivers we have. We have good ones, and we have playmakers. … We’re going to pass, we’re going to run and we’re going to score.”

Brady’s first play from scrimmage sent the message, as Johnson showed poise in hanging in the pocket before delivering a strike over the middle to Tetu, who caught the pass and raced for an 83-yard score and 7-0 lead after only 1:05 of play.

The game quickly unraveled from there. Franklin’s offense had no answer for the Brady defensive line, turning out only 55 net yards from scrimmage, and the Giants made the Golden Tornadoes pay each time they got the ball. Brady’s second possession was a 71-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard bootleg run for a touchdown from Johnson. The third possession was a 73-yard drive, finished this time by an 8-yard Johnson run, while Brady also added scores on a 7-yard pass to Nate Daneault, a 58-yard run from Tetu and an 82-yard pass to Tetu on a streak down the right sideline, which made it 39-0 with 1:15 left in the first half.

In the second half, Dalton Morris (12-yard run) and Connor Dougherty (2-yard run) rounded out the scoring for the Giants, sending them into next week’s conference championship with plenty of confidence that they can make a run toward a Division III title.

“We were beat up last year. … I don’t know how far we could have gone in the playoffs,” Roberts said, referring to a Giants team that missed out on the playoffs thanks to that loss to Franklin in the season finale. “I feel much better this year. We lost some games we could have won, we won some games we might have lost. Obviously, adversity’s not the issue. Tight games are not the issue.”

While the Green Giants celebrated at midfield afterward, holding up the trophy they had won back, Franklin walked off, with Isias Muniz’s 26 yards on eight carries and Ken Torres’s 66-yard kickoff return the highlights of an ugly end to a difficult season. One year after winning the Division VI title, the Golden Tornadoes were sabotaged by youth, with only four seniors on the team, and while the squad suffered its share of discouraging losses throughout the year, Coach Jeff Kaplan sounded confident that the collective experience was a positive one.

“A lot,” Kaplan said, when asked how much was accomplished during the year. “We realized we were proverbial puppies. … The foundation has been laid. It’s just a slow process.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

Related

Division III football playoff pairings

Sunday, November 3, 2013

East Conference Bishop Brady (4-4) at Epping-Newmarket (4-4) North Conference Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough (4-4) at Gilford (6-2) South Conference Bow (7-1) at Pelham (8-0) West Conference Newport (6-2) at Stevens (6-2) … 0

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