Fairhaven Blue Devils Headed to Super Bowl
The signs of support started popping up around town earlier this week. Bayside Lounge, Traveler's Alehouse and other Fairhaven businesses showing their love to the Blue Devils football team as they headed off to the Final Four at Veteran's Field in Mansfield.
The Blue Devils had already shocked the Division 6 bracket by knocking off #1 seed Norwell last weekend, but no one was talking about Norwell Saturday night in Mansfield. The team's focus was on the 4 seed, Hudson, and how to stop their dual threat quarterback, Jake Attaway.
On the line? A trip to Gillette Stadium for the D6 Super Bowl against Salem.
Fairhaven made it look all too easy in the first half. The Blue Devil offense was having their way with the Hawks, who couldn't figure out how to stop junior running back, Justin Marques, who found his way into the end zone three times in the first half alone. The Fairhaven offensive line was bullying Hudson's defense, creating holes for Marques and quarterback Jayce Duarte to chip away yardage.
The big play of the first half came with senior Colby Correia scampering untouched up the Hudson sideline for 83 yards—-one of the biggest touchdowns of his high school career.
Meanwhile, Fairhaven's defense came up huge, pitching a shutout in the first half, keeping Hudson's star quarterback Jake Attaway nice and quiet.
The Blue Devils brought a 27-0 lead into halftime. Head coach Derek Almeida, who was once the water boy for the football team when his dad was the head coach, was trying to figure out how to keep his team's foot on the gas for the second half.
Marques answered the call in the second half, scoring his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the game. His fifth and final touchdown capped off a clock eating drive with just over 3 minutes left in the game. Marques' longest touchdown of the night was a 5 yard rush.
Nothing is that easy though, especially trips to the Super Bowl. The Hudson Hawks showed signs of life with five second half touchdowns: two from Jake Attaway, a 39 yard touchdown reception from Savion Newton-Clark. and a 20 yard touchdown pass from Attaway to Nolan Yates.
Things got interesting when Hudson forced a fumble with 1:58 left in the game, trailing by 11, Fairhaven's second turnover of the second half. The Hawks marched it down the field for a three yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left to make it 40-37 with the 2 point conversion. But the Blue Devils recovered the onside kick and the celebrations began on the Fairhaven sidelines.
Now, Almeida follows in his father's footsteps, coaching a record breaking running back all the way to the Super Bowl. Nate Pickup held the school's career touchdown record until junior Justin Marques broke it earlier this season. Dana Almeida, Nate Pickup, and the 1991 Blue Devils won that Super Bowl 32 years ago. Two weeks from now, the current version of the Blue Devils team will try to bring home a second football state title to the Castle on the Hill.
Fairhaven's first order of business will be to figure out how to handle a virtually meaningless Thanksgiving Day matchup with Fairhaven's longtime rivals, the Dartmouth Indians. Will they play it conservatively with their starters, or keep them in game condition?
Let's face it, no one will remember whether or not the Blue Devils beat the Indians on Thanksgiving Day 2023. They'll only remember how they did in the upcoming Super Bowl. However, there is something to be said for keeping your football team in game condition and never letting up.
Win or lose on Thanksgiving Day, I have a feeling we'll be seeing more and more of those signs of Blue Devil support on Route 6 over the next two weeks.