Quarterback Rayshawn Boswell '19 ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more while leading Berkshire to a 35-28 win over Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N) in the Hugh Caldera Bowl on Saturday at Williston Northampton School.
The victory sealed a New England championship for the Bears and secured the team's first undefeated season, including a bowl win (8-0), since 1978.
"I'm overwhelmed. I never pictured this moment in my life," Boswell said after the game. The Rochester, New York native finished with 187 yards on 34 carries.
The Bears hadn't trailed all season but found itself in a hole immediately. The Knights returned the opening kickoff 80 yards and scored the game's first touchdown two plays later. But Berkshire answered when Boswell found running back Jahyde Bullard for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 8:07 in the first quarter.
The score remained tied until late in the first half, when both teams combined for 21 points. Following a 4-yard touchdown run by BB&N, Boswell connected with Dante Nardi '18, who made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch to secure a 49-yard touchdown. Moments later, BB&N answered with a 73-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-14 lead heading into the locker room.
On their first possession of the second half, the Bears finished a 15 play drive when Boswell scrambled 5-yards into the end zone to tie the game at 21-21.
Berkshire's defense, led by Alex Barnosky '19, Adam Raine '18, and Michael Derrig '19, then stopped the Knights on their next possession and gave the Bears the ball in BB&N territory. Boswell gave Berkshire its first lead when he turned a broken play into a 31-yard touchdown run with 0:28 remaining in the third quarter.
|CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL GALLERY|
The game's biggest play might have come late in the fourth quarter, however. On 3rd-and-7 from BB&N's 8-yard line, Boswell slipped out of the grasp of one BB&N defender and threw the ball as he was being tackled by another defender. Wide receiver Michael Derrig caught the ball, broke a tackle and managed to dive to the one-yard line for a Berkshire first down. On the next play, Roswell scored to push Berkshire's lead to 35-21.
BB&N followed with a quick touchdown and nearly recovered an onside kick before the Bears ran out the clock. As time expired on the scoreboard, two Berkshire players dumped a Gatorade bucket on coach Mike McCabe.
"Every year you picture it being this way," McCabe said. "I think the kids this year committed to just winning and finding ways to win. Whether we win every game or lose every game, I'm still going to try to take the same approach but it's definitely sweeter this way."
Click here to watch a replay of the game.