An undefeated team holds many qualities to win a championship—whether it’s focusing on the things you can control, embracing the pressure, or battling through adversity. These factors all played a role in the success of the two undefeated teams going into the 2023 Flag Football State Tournament at Gillette Stadium.
The Seven Hills Shamrocks and Bridgewater-Raynham Grizzlies came into this tournament 5-0 in their respective regular season league play. On Saturday, Nov. 18 they both faced-off in the same three-team division, round robin tournament to solidify a perfect record and a gold medal.
The first match of the day was between the Seven Hills Shamrocks and the Ivy Street Hawks. The Shamrocks’ amazing passing game allowed them to consistently drive down the field and find players in the endzone, scoring a staggering 27 points. The Shamrocks beat the Hawks with a final score of 27 - 6. After a dominating win over the Hawks, Seven Hills was feeling optimistic going into their final game of the day.
“We’re feeling good. Feeling good and ready to play the next one,” said Seven Hills head coach Tyrone Hicks Sr. When asked if the team has gone through adversity throughout the season, Coach Hicks said, “Yeah, we’ve got guys hurt and everything else, but we have a ‘next man up’ mentality—everybody picks up each other, so it’s a good thing. Everyone’s having fun.”
The second match of the tournament was a face-off between the Bridgewater-Raynham Grizzlies and Ivy Street Hawks. This was the Grizzlies’ first game of the day and would also be their biggest challenge. In a back-and-forth contest, both teams found themselves at 6 points apiece at the final whistle. This led to an overtime matchup, where each team was given two plays to score and if it still remained scoreless, whoever gained the most yardage won. The Grizzlies held the Hawks to 6 yards in their two plays. Then, on the Grizzlies’ first play of overtime, the running back blew past the Hawks’ defense for 20+ yards before his flag was pulled, solidifying the win in overtime.
After the tough overtime battle, the Grizzlies lacked confidence heading into a gold medal matchup with a strong Shamrocks team. “I think we have our work cut out for us. I watched their last couple of games, and they have a great running and passing game—it’s just all about how we react,” said Grizzlies’ head coach, Jon Dyer.
The Grizzlies faced similar challenges to the Shamrocks this season, making this final game all the more intense. “We have lost three players in the past four games due to injuries and personal reasons and we’ve had the next person in line step up,” said Coach Dyer. “I think that’s the beauty of how good teams are made, and we got to roll with it.”
It was time for the final match of the day between the two undefeated teams in the division: The Seven Hills Shamrocks and Bridgewater-Raynham Grizzlies. Seven Hills came out hot, putting up 12 points in the first half, closed out by a Shamrocks interception made by No. 14 Andrew Tillery. But in the second half the Grizzlies picked up some slack. With four minutes left in the game, B/R Grizzlies threw a bomb to the endzone for a touchdown, cutting their deficit to 6 points. In the final minutes, Seven Hills got the ball back, which leading to a throw downfield caught by Mackenzie Purry for a touchdown to seal the deal with a score of 18-6. To top it off, the Grizzles’ final possession led to an interception in the hands of Tillery for his second pick of the game. The Shamrocks would go on to win gold and preserve their perfect record, finishing the season 8-0.