Gilbert/Northwestern rolls over Plainville, 41-6, in Class M quarterfinals
That prediction came true in a big way, but only for one team, the Yellowjackets, who dismantled the visiting Blue Devils by a 41-6 score to advance to the semifinals, where they will face Hillhouse on Saturday.
Hillhouse (ranked 8th) knocked off the top seed Berlin by a 33-30 score on the road and will be another tough test for the ’Jackets.
This one was over six minutes in and the tone was set on a pass to a receiver who forced his way to the game’s first score.
After taking the ball on the opening kickoff, G-N quarterback Bobby Lippincott rolled out and found Sean Fitzgerald on a crossing pattern.
Fitzgerald made his way down the sidelines from the Plainville 41, ran into two would be tacklers who appeared to have him stopped, but the senior tight end bulled his way to the end zone and a 6-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
“That play by Fitzgerald really pumped up the sidelines,” head coach Scott Salius said. “We had though we could get him open across the middle and they couldn’t stop it.”
When the G-N defense took the field with a lead, it was a bad sign for the Blue Devils, who did not get a first down the entire first half.
The hits came early and often; linebacker Kyle Jones met a runner two yards in the backfield on Plainville’s second play from scrimmage and when Jim Schmitz stopped a sweep cold in its tracks, both sides of the ball where clicking.
After the first of five consecutive three and outs by the visitors, a bad snap on a punt gave the ’Jackets a first and goal from the Blue Devils two-yard line.
Drew McCarthy punched it in from two yards out and after six minutes of play, it was a two score game.
Another three-and-out led to a 61-yard hook-up between Lippincott and Fitzgerald for a lightning fast 21-0 lead against a shell-shocked visiting team.
“It’s hard to keep a team up when they fall behind fast,” Plainville first-year head coach Chris Farrell said. “You need a couple things to go right for you so you can get back on track but Gilbert did a great job stopping us.”
At 35-0 at the half, all the coaches could do in the locker room was say ‘wow’.
“I never thought we would perform this well on both sides of the ball for an entire half,” Salius said. “The defense just shut them right down, allowing the offense to get rolling.”
How true was the domination by the now, semi-final bound Yellowjackets?
Lippincott sat out the entire fourth quarter while McCarthy and Devon Molway left late in the third.
Molway ended the night with 88 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown while McCarthy found the end zone twice.
Senior running back Kyle Jones added a score in the second quarter.
While they may not have walked away with the kind of ending they wanted, the Blue Devils had a remarkable season, posting a 8-3 mark after losing 20 of 21, the past two seasons.
“We can always say we made the playoffs in our first year,” Farrell said. “I could not be prouder of how the kids left everything on the field tonight.”
This Gilbert/Northwestern defense is indeed something special, allowing just 121 total yards all game, with no passing yards, and one of the runs was a 66-yard scamper for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, when this one was over.
That’s 55 total yards of offense otherwise by the Blue Devils.
So the dream season continues for the ’Jackets, as Sailus reminded them at midfield after the win.
“You are one of just 16 teams still playing football in the state. You are one win away from playing at Rentschler Field (the finals are being held there this season) for a Class M Championship.”
You feel like betting against this defense