Saturday, December 2, 2017

Seide Carries Melrose Past Nashoba for Division 4 Championship

By Eamon Convey (@eamonconvey)

FOXBOROUGH - The Melrose Red Raiders (13-0) came to Gillette Stadium for the MIAA Division 4 Super Bowl with 24 seniors, all of whom hoped to avenge back-to-back Super Bowl losses at Gillette in 2014 and 2015 to the Dartmouth Indians.

Avenge they did, courtesy of a 21-0 shutout victory over the Nashoba Chieftains (10-2), in a game where the Red Raiders ran all over their opponent, and delivered their longtime head coach Tim Morris a Super Bowl trophy.

“Been doing this for 25 years,” Morris said. “Certainly a long time coming. Hard work pays off is what we tell our guys, and they kept working, working, working.”

After the Chieftains defense forced a punt on the Red Raiders first offensive series of the game, its offense took over and worked a methodical drive into the red zone.

Then, disaster struck for Nashoba.

Junior quarterback Sam Bolinksy kept the ball on a 3rd and 1 sneak and stayed down on the field with an apparent lower leg injury. While Bolinsky was able to return for the Chieftains first offensive drive in the second quarter he returned to the bench shortly after.

The Red Raiders' offense finally got their stud RB Isaac Seide the ball early and often in the second quarter, including a 37-yard scamper and a one-yard slam for the only touchdown scored by either team in the first half.

“All year long Isaac has been getting it done,” Morris said. “We grinded out a few drives today, but we kept working and knew he would break one eventually.”

Once the second half started it was all Seide all the time for the Red Raiders who continually pounded their star running back and didn’t do much of anything outside of that offensively. In fact, the Red Raiders only attempted two passes in the game and neither were completed.

“We just wanted to keep pounding the ball,” Seide said. “Our offensive line is great. I say this every time but they make the holes and I just run through them. Credit to those guys, every single one of them.”

While the Red Raiders offense turned on the jets in the second half, credit its defense for continually making timely offensive plays, creating a turnover courtesy of a Chris Cusolito interception, and forcing Chieftain punts time and again.

“I saw them running the slant,” Cusolito said of game-sealing interception. “We had been over that all week in practice and I just cut in front of it.”

Though Cusolito made the biggest play of the game defensively for the Red Raiders, it took a team effort to stop what had been a potent Nashoba offensive attack.

“The kids were prepared and fired up for this one,” Morris said. “That first series they drove a little bit, but our kids just bend but don’t break, stay poised, good thing will happen.”

His head coach recognized the clutch play of his sophomore defensive back during the playoff run.

“That is his third interception in the last three games,” Morris said. “He’s a good young player for us. The best is yet to come for him.”

Cusolito, like many teammates, touted the greatness of Isaac Seide after the Red Raiders’ shutout win.

“His work ethic is what makes him great,” Cusolito said. “He is the first one in and the last one out every day. Always working as hard as he can.”

On completing an undefeated season and capping it with a Super Bowl victory at Gillette Stadium, Cusolito described the emotions of his team quite succinctly.

“Greatest feeling ever.”

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