Springfield Central loses to St. John’s Prep in D-1 football championship

Springfield Central High School competed for a fourth straight state championship Saturday afternoon.
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 10:55 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2022 at 10:59 PM EST
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FOXBOROUGH, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Springfield Central High School competed for a fourth straight state championship Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles were on a mission in familiar territory. The setting was a windy and rainy Gillette Stadium. Up for grabs was the Division I trophy in Pop Watson’s final game at Central.

On their first drive, on third down, Watson tried to scramble, but was taken down from behind by Marquese Avery.

St. John’s Prep looked to get on the board first. A field goal attempt is blocked, which was a great play on the line by Bryce Gentry-Warrick.

After that change in momentum, Central’s Tariq Thomas moved the chains, but Central failed to capitalize. Then, after dodging defenders, Watson scrambled and the pass went through the hands of St. John’s Prep safety Joenel Aguero. The two have been friends since middle school.

Central was then forced to punt and the snap went over Watson’s head. St. John’s Prep had a chance, but Kymari Latney caused a fumble and recovered it.

St. John’s Prep was first to get on the scoreboard. With a quick pass to Aguero, he did the rest and it was 7-0 St. John’s Prep in the second quarter.

In the final minute before halftime, Aidan Driscoll went back to pass and there was a Josiah Monday interception. Despite the mighty Central offense not completing a pass in the first half, they were only down a touchdown.

Carson Browne steadily moved the ball up the field, but Josiah Griffin blew up plays in the backfield. There was some Central trickery with a handoff to Tariq Thomas, Dwyane Early Jr., and more.

In the wind and rain, on a fourth down, Watson had a pass fall incomplete.

Browne had the ball again as St. John’s Prep’s offensive line gave a high amount of push in their rushing attack. To finish off the drive, a play looked short, but after a momentary pause, officials signaled a touchdown and it was 13-0 St. John’s Prep.

Early in the fourth quarter, Watson went back to throw, on the run, when he was almost picked off by Marquese Avery.

Browne was at it again and St. John’s Prep continued their running game. On one drive late in the game, it was fourth and six yards to go, then became fourth and one yard after an encroachment penalty. On that fourth and one, the offense drove up the middle and grabbed the first down and that iced the game.

The St. John’s Prep Eagles win the MIAA Division I state championship. Central falls short of a four-peat.

“My kids are in pain, so I’m in pain. It’s just a tough one...We’ll bounce back, believe that. I just told the guys, better than anybody in this state, we’ll built for this. We’ll get right up off the ground get back in the ring and fight again next year. We’ll be here, we’re not going nowhere,” said Springfield Central head coach Bill Watson.

Central’s incredible season class - Pop Watson, Kymari Latney, Josiah Griffin, and others - leave with two state titles and have lifted Springfield Central to national prominence.