The Abington Green Wave football team worked hard on its running game this past week during practice in advance of its Division 6 quarterfinal game against Sandwich, Head Coach Jim Kelliher said. It’s playoff football season, after all, and the forecast initially projected rain.
It was a dry night at Memorial Field, but the extra effort was worth it, as Abington bulldozed its way to more than 270 yards on the ground en route to a 34-0 win over the Blue Knights.
“You have to be able to do that when it comes down to the latter part of the season,” Kelliher said about his bruising running attack.
Senior running back Kurtis Lucas-Summers ran for 149 yards (99 of those yards coming in the second half) and two touchdowns. His fellow back Isaiah Ricketson added another 82 yards and a touchdown.
“These guys are tough runners,” Kelliher said.
Abington advances to the Final Four of the Division 6 playoffs and will play the winner of Saint Mary’s and Medway, which play Friday. That state semifinal game will be played at a neutral location; the date, time, and location have yet to be announced.
Abington was up 21-0 at halftime, and scored the first five times it had the ball.
“That’s pretty good,” Kelliher said. “It makes the game a little easier on you.”
With his two top receivers (Drew Donovan and Tommy Fanara) missing most of the game due to injuries, senior quarterback Ed Reilly was the model of efficiency, throwing the ball just four times and completing all four throws.
Abington held Sandwich to just 16 yards on its opening drive. On the Green Wave’s first play from scrimmage, Ricketson took an end around 58 yards down the sideline to the 5-yard line. Two plays later Ricketson ran it from 2 yards out to put Abington up 6-0.
Sandwich went three-and-out on its next series. A short punt allowed Abington to start on the Blue Knight 37. Abington ran seven straight running plays, with senior running back Mason Kilmain running it into the endzone from 7 yards out. Jack Robbins made a twisting, falling catch of Reilly’s first pass of the night, securing the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 Abington lead.
Sandwich mounted its longest drive of the first half, taking the ball from its own 20 to the Abington 20, capped off by a 31-yard catch-and-run between freshman quarterback Adam Ferreira and wide receiver Patrick Morin. However, Sandwich’s next four plays consisted of a 2-yard run, an incomplete pass, a running play that lost 3 yards, and another incomplete pass.
Abington took over with 7:17 left in the first half, and spent the next nearly six minutes marching 80 yards down the field. On the third play of the drive, Reilly made his first pass from scrimmage, rolling out to his right to connect with Lucas-Summers on a 21-yard throw down the Abington sideline. The Green Wave then played classic old-timey football, with Lucas-Summers, Ricketson, and Kilmain trading hand-offs, picking up chunks of yardage with each carry running behind a dominant offensive line. Lucas-Summers bulldozed his way in from 2 yards out for his first touchdown of the night. A successful point after try by Fanara, a senior captain, made it 21-0 Abington at the half.
Abington received the second half kickoff and was back in the endzone three plays later. Lucas-Summers followed up an 18-yard run with a 37-yard touchdown run putting Abington up 27-0 with 10:22 remaining in the third quarter.
“When he wants to run, he’s as good of a runner as you can think of,” Kelliher said of Lucas-Summers.
Looking to make up ground quickly Sandwich ran five straight passing plays, including completions of 27 yards and 7 yards. But Ferreira couldn’t connect on 4th and 4, giving Abington the ball back on the Green Wave 35.
Lucas-Summers gained 27 yards on the first play of the resulting drive. Reilly then found Mike Van Luling wide open down the Sandwich sideline for a 29-yard completion. Abington running backs continued to advance the ball at will, with Lucas Foley running it in from 1-yard out. Fanara made the point-after to round out Abington’s scoring at 34-0.
Sandwich’s best offensive chance came in the fourth quarter when senior running back Morin, took an option handoff 40 yards up the middle before being brought down at the 1-yard line. However, the Blue Knights fumbled the ball just two plays later, effectively securing the game for Abington.
Following the game, Abington received a Final Four trophy from the MIAA. Green Wave players refused to touch it, letting it sit on the Memorial Field grass while they posed around it for a team photo – an indication they’re not satisfied yet.
Kelliher said the 2021 edition of the Green Wave football team is particularly driven by a desire to measure up to its Super Bowl winning predecessors.
“They want to be as good a football team as some of the others that came before them,” he said.
The win was Kelliher’s 299th. If Abington loses in the state semifinals, Kelliher would get the chance to win game 300 on Thanksgiving morning against Whitman-Hanson.
When asked if he would prefer to reach that milestone next week or against Abington’s longtime rival, Kelliher said “It doesn’t matter.”
Kelliher had nothing but nice things to say about Sandwich Head Coach Matthew McClean, a member of the 2005 Green Wave Super Bowl team and a former Abington assistant coach.
“I absolutely love Matt MacLean,” Kelliher said. “He was a wonderful football player when he was here with me….He is a gentleman. He’s knowledgeable. He works hard. He’ll work the kids. He’s nice to the kids.”
Posted 7 p.m.
Abington High football team is dominating both sides of the ball at halftime, leading Sandwich 21-0 in the Division 6 quarterfinals.
The Green Wave have scored all three times they’ve had the ball, led by a punishing ground attack that has racked up 156 yards. Senior quarterback Ed Reilly has only thrown the ball twice; once for a 21-yard completion down the right side line, and once to complete a 2-point conversion.
Abington’s defense has limited Sandwich to 77 total yards of offense.