The 2012 Sharon High football team saw years of dedication pay off with a Division III Super Bowl championship last Saturday.
Head Coach Mr. Dave Morse said, “They bought in to hard practices, to early-morning film sessions, and it shows; that’s how you win a Super Bowl.”
Senior captain Calvin Joseph said, “It felt great, because ever since the season ended last year, we’ve been working together as a team, working out, lifting weights. And it paid off – we came off with a Super Bowl victory.”
“When you have strong leadership from the coaches and from the seniors, good things can happen,” said Sharon Athletic Director Mr. Bill Martin. “You can tell by watching them how much hard work it took. They were willing to do all the extras to get it done.”
When Morse was hired to lead the Eagles in the spring of 2011, he says that he saw the opening for a Super Bowl title this season, given the talent of the current senior class.
“Two years ago, when I looked at the roster and saw what we had, I knew that second, that day, that this was possible,” Morse said.
Asnes says that the Class of 2013 football players have long realized that they had a chance to lead an elite squad their senior seasons.
“Since freshman year, all of us in the grade had been talking about this. We knew we had a very talented grade; we just had to work hard,” Asnes said.
The running back says that winning Davenport Division games in 2011 over Foxboro and Canton gave the Eagles a heightened anticipation for this season.
“Last year, we got a realization when we started beating a couple of teams - we knew we had something special going on,” Asnes said.
Morse says that he has seen a marked improvement from the Eagles over the past two seasons.
“They became a formidable football team that played defense; learned a lot of football, which then helped them use their athletic ability to make plays and recognize things. They truly became a complete team,” Morse said.
“We definitely improved a lot,” said Asnes. “You saw a lot of people step up in different games. It wasn’t just one person on offense or defense; it was a team effort all year.”
During the regular season, Sharon captured its first-ever Davenport Division title. The Eagles defeated Canton, Stoughton, and Foxboro to qualify for the postseason.
“That was one of our goals,” Asnes said. “Obviously, to win the Super Bowl, we had to win the Davenport. It’s always good beating your rivals. We did a good job [of that] this year.”
In the postseason, Sharon downed Pembroke, 7-6, before reaching the Super Bowl. At Bentley University, the Eagles bested Wayland, 12-3.
In the title game, Asnes caught a touchdown with :27.7 remaining in the first half, giving Sharon a 6-0 lead.
“Our O-line did an amazing job,” senior captain Bradley Schiff. “All those guys up front were moving people. Sean could have driven his car through those holes. It was unbelievable. Going in with a touchdown advantage going into the half – that was big.”
Morse says that he was pleased with the offense this season. “They scored when they needed to score. It was good; we had a great balance between run and pass.
“We had playmakers that could stretch the field through the passing game and run the ball, as well. And a good offensive line. It was really a complete group,” Morse added.
Schiff says that at halftime, the Eagles made sure not to let up in the second half. “We were not ready to take it easy.
“It was time for us to pick it up, put our foot down, get a couple of more scores in – dominate. We weren’t satisfied with how we were doing in the first half; it was time for us to put our foot on the gas,” Schiff added.
In front of an enormous and raucous Sharon crowd (see page 19), the Eagles padded their lead on the first play of the second half. Asnes darted his left, cut back to his right, and raced 71 yards for a touchdown.
“Sean was great,” Morse said. “He got hard yards when he needed to. He lowered his shoulder against a very stout defense that shut a lot of teams down this year.”
“We needed a big play to open up [the second half],” Asnes said. “That was a good play. Got to give it to our linemen; they created a big hole, and I was able to run through there. It was huge to get another touchdown.”
Wayland kicked a field goal and was marching down the field late in the fourth quarter, but Morse says that he was confident in his defense to step up.
“I loved our defense being on the field when the game mattered. I knew they would make plays when we needed to make them. They were amazing all year,” Morse said.
In the final instance of the season of the above, Schiff, a linebacker, stepped in front of a Warrior pass for his first career interception, sealing the game.
“We knew that was going to be the nail in the coffin,” said Morse. “Schiff is an All-State caliber player. He’s made plays all year. It came at a big time.”
Of making a Super Bowl-winning play, Schiff said, “We have a bunch of guys that weren’t about to let that opportunity slip by. This is something that we wanted, and we didn’t let anyone take it from us. We went and took it.”
Morse says that throughout the season, the Eagles played their best during crucial games and situations. “That can’t be said enough – any big game we had that we needed to win, any play we needed to make, they did. It was truly amazing.
“Big plays don’t happen by mistake; it takes a lot of execution. And the way our kids prepared and bought in made it work, especially on defense. We made so many big plays on defense this year, and that’s a sign of a great team,” Morse added.
As quarterback Sean O’Neill took a knee and the clock was running out on Sharon’s 12-3 victory over Wayland, Schiff says that he took a step back to realize the magnitude of the moment.
“I really wanted to absorb the atmosphere around me. That was something I’m going to remember forever. I really wanted to embrace it.
“This isn’t something that every high school kids gets to do. We achieved greatness. This isn’t something you do every day,” Schiff added.
Morse says that a Super Bowl championship was also a great reward for the coaching staff. “It validates everything that I believed in, putting in hundreds of hours of work - and relying on my coaches to put in hundreds of hours of work - because we thought this payoff was there.
“Now that we have it [the championship], it validates everything, and it makes everything so worth it. It shows, ‘This is the blueprint that needs to happen to have a Super Bowl champion,” Morse added.
The coach had a long list of some of the players who made a marked improvement from their performance in 2011 and over the course of this season.
“[Senior linebacker] Toby [Modebelu] was incredible, and the growth that he’s done in a year was tremendous. [Senior offensive lineman] Ryan Elantri, throughout the year, especially the second half, elevated his game and was great.
“Three guys in particular who have a really tough job – [senior safeties] Colin Gray, Drew Kowalski, and Jared Fogel – who are expected to cover the pass as well as the run, recognize all the formations, see keys that are 10, 15 yards in front of them and react in close proximities. They did a phenomenal job.
“[Senior cornerback] Jameel Emmanuel – he started one year for us, and he played how we needed him to play. He played awesome.
“Our linebacking core [Schiff, Modebelu, and junior London Chandler] is our linebacking core. They speak for themselves with the attributes that they have,” Morse added.
After a lengthy on-field celebration and a celebratory bus ride from Waltham back home on Dec. 1, the Eagles came into Sharon with a police escort.
As the squad rode on South Main Street past the fire station, multiple firetrucks blared their horns in support of the hometown team.
And on Monday night, the Board of Selectmen honored the Super Bowl champs, the first-ever in program history, during the Town Meeting.
Morse said, “Anytime your government asks you to come and speak before them, it’s an honor. It was good for our kids to be recognized on a town-wise basis.”
Martin says that the Athletic Department is purchasing two new championship banners (Super Bowl and Davenport), to be added to the Sharon High gymnasium wall.
Joseph said, “I’m really excited. In all of the sports I’ve played, I’ve never gotten one. The first one is always the best one.”
Martin says that the banners’ unveiling is likely to happen before or at halftime of a varsity basketball game this winter, but no date has been finalized. “We’ll plan an evening to do something special for the team.
Morse says that he is in the process of designing Super Bowl rings for the champions. “It will be amazing for those kids to have something like that for the rest of their lives.
“It’s good that as a coach, now my biggest worry is how much bling our ring is going to have. It’s a good problem to have,” Morse added.
“We’ve got to figure out the timing of everything, but we’ll make sure that it’s something that’s fitting for a Super Bowl championship team,” Martin added.
Asnes is hopeful that the 2013 edition of the Eagles can repeat this year’s success and build a tradition of winning football at Sharon High, but that it would hinge on their mindset this offseason.
“They’ve just got to lift, go to every passing league, go to every passing league – do not take one day off. It doesn’t come easy; they’ve got to realize that they can’t take any days off. How hard they work is how good they’re going to be,” Asnes said.
“Everything that separates a good team from a bad team is the amount of lifting and conditioning they’ve done,” Joseph said.
“Once they do that – a lot – it’s going to transfer over to the field. That’s what happened with us. We did a lot of condo, a lot of running, a lot of lifting, and that paid off in the future for us.”
Morse, who says that he will coach the Eagles in 2013, said, “People need to take it upon themselves to put in the hard work that this senior class did. If they want to be a good team, they’ll put in a good effort. If they want to be a great team, they’ll put in a great effort.
“We don’t make excuses. We do not rebuild; we reload. Every player on the current roster who is coming back is expected to give every single ounce of their effort and make sacrifices, because we’ve set the standard. We’re expecting to be a championship-caliber team every single year,” Morse added.
“To all the younger kids, once they start lifting, it’s going to pay off – next year and the following seasons,” Joseph said. “They’ve just got to keep working like we did, and they can come out on top."
Sharon Football Reigns Supreme