FOXBORO — Blackstone Valley Tech football is “on the map” after a loss in a Super Bowl thriller to a program in the midst of a dynasty, and will look to return to the title game after making its first appearance since the introduction of a statewide playoff system.
“Nobody thought we could do it, nobody gave us a chance,” BVT head coach Jim Archibald said after the 22-16 loss to Mashpee at Gillette Stadium. “Everyone thought they were going to pull away in the fourth quarter. For us to have the ball with two minutes left, a chance to win the game down by six, that speaks volumes about our kids and how hard they played.
“BVT football is on the map,” Archibald said.
Playing in front of thousands of fans crowding one sideline of the Patriots’ home stadium, the Beavers went toe-to-toe with a Falcons’ team heavily favored by many of the pundits who weighed in prior to the game. In a day of lopsided Super Bowl match-ups, the Beavers provided their fans with drama late into the fourth quarter, when an interception ended Valley Tech’s bid for a game-winning drive.
“Everybody looks at us and they see the word ‘technical,’ they see the word ‘vocational’ and they think this is a joke football school,” said senior quarterback Reece Hendriks. “But they don’t know what BVT is actually about. It’s about toughness, it’s about heart, we showed that on the field today. We showed that through our whole season.”
Valley Tech has won Super Bowls in the past, in 2007 and 2012, under the old format that grouped teams together in their own districts. In 2013, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association switched to a statewide Super Bowl format, and the Beavers have been working to get to this game ever since.
Hendriks admitted he and his teammates had wide eyes as they took the field Saturday night before focusing on the task at hand.
“It was crazy,” he said. “We were all running out and I just stopped and looked around and said ‘this is amazing. Nobody but all these elite teams get to experience this, so it was something I wanted to take in and enjoy before the game and then I just flipped a switch and it was game time.”
“This is what it’s all about, this is why you play and coach high school football,” Archibald added. “We couldn’t have asked for a better situation, down six, got the ball, two great teams throwing haymakers at each other. This whole experience has been great and we don’t want this to be a one-and-done thing, we want to get back here.”
This article appears in the Dec. 8 edition of the Milford Town Crier.