Nashoba Football Looks to Complete Perfect Season at Gillette Stadium
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Nashoba (12-0) will face a physical and capable Shepherd Hill (10-2) team, but they are not just playing for the Division 2 Super Bowl. Nashoba is playing for its spot in Central Mass football history.
The Chieftains haven't been beaten since a 2010 Super Bowl loss to St. John's, reeling off 25 consecutive victories in that span, the longest such streak in the region. While he admits that going undefeated is a goal every year, Nashoba coach Ken Tucker says his team isn't feeling the pressure of the streak.
"We honestly look at each week as a separate issue," Tucker said. "I know I don't feel the weight of a winning streak, and I know our team doesn't, because we believe you have to win one before you can a bunch in a row."
"Our kids are sky-high looking forward to the opportunity to play at Gillette. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. But, it's my job to make sure they don't get too 'up' for this game."
Nashoba has indeed been impressive in 2012. Quarterback Jack Sarnoski has emerged as a great compliment to star running back John Ojukwu on offense, and linebacker Zack Hume has been spectacular in the middle of a defensive that is surrendering just 7.5 points a game.
While the Chieftains are looking to lock up another unbeaten campaign, they are still not even widely viewed as the region's best team. Division 3 favorite Auburn has dominated every opponent it has faced this season, and has sat atop our Power Rankings for the majority of the year.
Still, Tucker says there is nothing his team can do about outside opinions, though he does admit to admiring the Auburn program.
"I'm impressed with Auburn all the time," Tucker said. "(Auburn coach) Jeff (Cormier) and I are great friends, but it's a shame we're not going to get to settle this debate on the field, where it should be settled… Other than that, the polls are the polls. It's fun stuff to talk about, and a reason that football is so fun, but we can't pay too much attention to that stuff."
When asked to put his team's magical run into historical context, Tucker quickly answers that Nashoba's season isn't done.
"Well, we still have to get the job done against a Shepherd Hill team we really respect," Tucker said. "But when I think of the best teams I can remember, I think that St. John's team from 2010 has to be in the conversation. The Nashoba teams of the 1990's were really good, and North Middlesex seemed to be in the Super Bowl every year for a while."
"Our team from last year and some great Auburn teams need to be in the conversation, but I don't know. I can only rank the teams that I've seen a lot of. I just know we've got a very good team this year."
Nashoba battled Shepherd Hill for the Division 2 title at Gillette Stadium today at 11 am.
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