The Boston Patriots celebrate their victory.
BOSTON — The Boston Patriots varsity football team won its second straight championship in a national tournament, the Battle in Rocky Top Youth Football Classic.
The tournament was held in Knoxville, Tenn. from Nov. 16 – 18. More than 250 teams from 21 different states took part in the event. The Patriots were the only team representing New York state. Boston played in the 13-and-under unrestricted weight class division.
The Patriots won all three of their games in the tournament and outscored their opponents by a score of 60 – 0.
Coach Bill MacDonnell said that he was impressed by his team’s performance. “Last year, this same, exact team went to the Midwest Championship in Cleveland and also won the title,” he said. “They didn’t allow a point in that tournament, either, and played great, again, this time around.”
The Boston Patriots race to the finish.
In the first round, the Patriots defeated the Bearden Bulldogs 30 – 0. They advanced to the next round to take on the Waterford Corsairs and came away with a 22 – 0 victory.
During the Nov. 18 championship game, the Patriots defeated the Stephens County Rebels from Georgia 8 – 0. The game was tied, with 2 minutes remaining, when the Patriots faced a fourth and 15 from their own 30-yard line.
MacDonnell decided to for it and Will Pritchard caught a 15-yard pass over the middle, for a first down. Boston scored a touchdown on the drive, to take the lead. On the following possession, Pritchard intercepted a pass, which sealed the 8 – 0 victory for the Patriots.
MacDonnell credited his offensive line for much of his team’s success. “Our offensive line was a large part of the reason we were able to be successful,” he said. “The biggest kid on our line was 165 pounds and they were going up against kids who were 250 pounds or more. Brett Morseon and Joe Ables were both key components in the trenches.”
The Patriots rumble with another team during the championship.
The Boston Patriots varsity football team finished the regular season with a 7 – 3 record and is a national champion in the 13-and-under age bracket. MacDonnell, the Boston Patriot football commissioner, was acknowledged by player Josh Dahl, who has been playing under the coach for two years. “The Boston difference is that it’s all about teamwork and we have a coach that believes in us enough to bring the best out of each player,” he said.
Team photographer Julie Dahl said that she believes MacDonnell deserves a lot of credit for the work he has done with the team. “He has built an incredible program in Boston,” she said. “His passion for the game and ability to take a regular kid off the street and turn him into a football player sets him apart from others. My son stepped onto the football field two years ago, knowing almost nothing about football. He walked off that field in Knoxville a two-time national champion.”