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Valley Tech Football Playing for District Title

Two of the most explosive and overpowering high school football teams in Central Mass will square off Friday night as Blackstone Valley Tech visits Littleton for the sectional championship.
"No one has been able to contain them this year," said Beavers' head coach Jim Archibald of the 9-0 Tigers, who are averaging 41 points per game. "It's going to be on our defense to win the battle at the line and win the turnover battle."
BVT also comes in 9-0 and advanced to the title game with a 40-20 win over Maynard, followed by a 35-12 win over West Boylston. Littleton blew past Bay Path 39-7 and outlasted St. Bernard's 36-20.
The Beavers needed to overcome an early deficit in the semi-finals against West Boylston. Senior quarterback Nic Wojnar was intercepted and the interception returned for a touchdown on Valley Tech's opening possession. On the ensuring drive, the Beavers went three and out for the first time this season. The defense would respond, however. Senior Ben Reiffarth picked off a pass in the flat and brought it back 15 yards for a score and a fumble recovery on the next Lions' possession set up another score. When Wojnar hit Bailey Leacy from 11 yards out late in the first quarter, the Beavers had taken a 19-6 lead.
"They were by far the best team we have played all year and we didn't know what to expect," said Archibald. "But our guys were up to the challenge defensively. We dominated the line of scrimmage and all in all, I was very pleased with the effort."
As eye-popping as the Valley Tech offensive numbers have been this season, the defense has been the team's anchor. Under defensive coordinator Matt Blood, the Beavers are allowing just nine points per game, including two shutouts and five games in which they held the opponent to one touchdown or less.
"Going into the playoffs, we knew we had dominated our league but I wanted to see how we would play against some of the toughest teams from the area," said Archibald. "We have shown that we belong in that conversation with anyone, we are playing our best football against some very good teams."
The challenge for the Beavers' defense Friday night will be slowing down Alex McLaughlin, Littleton's quarterback. The senior has rushed for more than 1,000 yards on 89 carries, gaining around 11 yards per touch. He's also completed 58 percent of his passes for nearly 1100 yards through the air and 29 total touchdowns. Fellow senior Travis Bassett has 21 touchdowns this year, 11 rushing and 10 receiving, but Archibald says the focus will be on containing the quarterback.
"Every gun has a trigger, and for them, the trigger is McLaughlin," he said. "We need to keep him between the tackles because he can be very dangerous when he gets outside. We feel we can control the line of scrimmage and be the more physical team. We have been able to wear down opponents physically all season. If we can get some pressure on the QB, get him rattled a bit, it would help our defensive game plan."
Although Littleton presents the toughest challenge BVT has faced this season, the defending Division 6 Super Bowl champions are hardly strangers to big games. "For us, it's about going to work and doing what we do well," said Archibald. "We have been in games like this before. This is what we wanted for our program, to get to a point where playing for championships was something we expected every year. We're excited and we're ready to go."




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