(Foxboro MA) Will Klein was in the bleachers when Abington won their last football title (2014).
Unfortunately for the undefeated Leicester Wolverines, Will was on the field today for Abington.
The result? A 21-7 win and a Division 7 title for the Green Wave.
“Will had an unbelievable day today,” said dampened Abington head coach Jim Kelliher post-game.
And who could argue.
Will was even responsible for giving Coach Kelliher an icy bath as the celebrating started along the victorious Abington sidelines.
Will rushed for two touchdowns and finished with 207 yards on twenty-three carries.
On the Green Wave’s first possession, Will ran for a first down. On his second carry he disappeared off left tackle for a 61-yard score. Looked like a long morning in the making for Leicester.
But the Wolverines (12-1) kept Will from getting the two-point conversion.
One minute later Leicester showed the Gillette Stadium gathering why they were undefeated and why they were in the championship game.
Advertised as a team capable, and unafraid, of using trick plays, the Wolverines pulled one off against Abington. The play started left and suddenly there was a pass to the right to sophomore Mike Mero. But that wasn’t the end of it. Mike then passed downfield to a wide-open Jack O’Neil and Leicester was immediately back in the game on the 74-yard touchdown.
By the way, the pass over to Mike Mero drew up the Abington safety on that side which enabled Jack O’Neill to be by himself for the catch and score. The defender? Will Klein.
Nolan Power kicked the extra point and Leicester was ahead 7-6 with 6:52 left in the first quarter.
Now it looked as if a lot of points would be scored by both teams on this chilly/sunny morning, but they weren’t. Leicester’s point production ended for the morning…….Abington’s didn’t.
“Their offense was complicated, but I credit my defensive coaches for figuring it out,” said Coach Kelliher. “They did get one at the start, but we stopped everything else. We did have some extra time to prepare for them and it helped.”
The Green Wave (11-2) picked up a second touchdown in the second quarter (4:34). Twice the team from the South Shore League converted fourth-down plays. Once it was with a Will Klein rush. Later it was a 4th-and-7 pass to junior Matt Maguire. Will powered the final yard to the end zone and Seamus Schmidt swept left for the two-point conversion. Abington had a 14-7 lead at half-time.
More Will Klein in the third quarter. Abington looked to be in a punt setup, but Will Klein had the ball. He could have punted but when he saw an opening, he ran for a first down. Later in the quarter, with Leicester in possession, senior Bryce Gosselin found daylight down the right sideline, but over came Will to push Bryce out after an eighteen-yard game possibly saving a tying touchdown.
Into the final quarter Leicester only trailed by one touchdown. Did they have another trick play that could even the score? Not on this morning.
They got into Abington territory (49) but the Green Wave defense forced them into a fourth down. Daniel Mero’s pass attempt was then knocked down by defender Cedric Lucas with 3:31 left.
“I was glad to get in front of that ball and end that drive,” said Cedric afterwards.
“Abington had a really good defense,” explained Leicester QB Daniel Mero. “They filled the holes when they needed to. It was tough for us to execute.”
Will Klein sent Abington on their way to a final touchdown. He swept right, dodged one tackler and put the Green Wave in business at the Leicester 20. Senior Gabe Spry covered the final four yards for the score. Tom Fanara kicked the extra point pushing the Abington lead to 21-7 with 1:42 remaining.
Leicester went all-air on their last possession. What a surprise, Will Klein ended Leicester’s last hope for points with an interception.
“The touchdowns and the other good things that happened were nice,” explained Will, “but I’m happier that the team won the game.”
“Will is one of those guys that every coach dreams of having,” said Coach Kelliher. “It’s like, ‘Thank you, Lord!’”
“It’s the second state championship game I’ve been in this year,” recalled Will. He was part of Abington’s basketball team that lost in the title game in Division 4 to Worcester Tech in March.
The Green Wave won eleven straight games after starting with losses to Hingham and Rockland. “That was a long time to be winless,” said Will.
Both Leicester and Abington lost in the regional finals the last two seasons.
Leicester plays in the South Worcester County League.
The sun may have been out for the 9AM start but most of the field was in shadows.
I greatly appreciated the stats provided by the MIAA before and after the game.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)