, Salem, MA


November 29, 2013

Bona, Bishop Fenwick pull away from Pingree to remain unbeaten

PEABODY — A post-game snapshot early yesterday afternoon pretty much summed up Bishop Fenwick’s football season so far.

Senior quarterback/linebacker Nick Bona, the electrical current that sparks the Crusaders, stood with a trophy at his feet, blood smeared and crusted in and around his left ear, victory in hand and unfinished business on his mind.

Bona earned the Sal Tripoli Award -- the trophy given to Fenwick’s Thanksgiving Day MVP -- after running for 150 yards and a touchdown, throwing for 78 yards and making a plethora of defensive plays, including a sack for a safety in the first quarter of the Crusaders’ 36-27 win over Pingree.

Battered and bruised but never beaten, Bishop Fenwick will now take a 12-0 record into next Saturday’s Division 5 Super Bowl against Northbridge at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough (8 p.m.).

“It’s a great way to keep rolling into the Super Bowl,” Bona said. “We didn’t want to lose, then be down going into next Saturday.”

Aside from resting junior running back Rufus Rushins, who only returned to the field last Friday after suffering a dislocated elbow in an earlier playoff game against St. Mary’s of Lynn, Fenwick played yesterday’s game near full-strength.

Despite a sloppy first half, it was clear early on that Fenwick would not be taking Pingree lightly. Similar in size, numbers and skill, Fenwick and Pingree battled from the beginning, with a few defensive plays setting the tone early for the Crusaders.

Bona’s safety, when he sliced through the Pingree line to drop Highlanders’ quarterback Griffin Beal a couple yards deep in the end zone, got the scoring going. Senior defensive back Charlie Maistrellis then scooped up a loose ball after a high snap and raced 63 yards for Fenwick’s first touchdown.

“We dug ourselves a hole early,” Pingree (6-3) coach Chris Powers said. “If that doesn’t happen at the start of the game, we’re looking at a tight game down the stretch. That’s all you hope for, that you can be in it from the beginning.”

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