FOXBOROUGH — Forget about the outcome of Saturday's Eastern Mass. Division 2A Super Bowl between Gloucester and Duxbury. Simply getting there was a tremendous accomplishment for the Fishermen.
Of course, that's little consolation to the Gloucester players, who walked off the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough feeling dejected after a 46-26 loss to the unbeaten Dragons (13-0). But there is very little to hang your head about if you're a member of the Gloucester High School football program.
Sure, compared to last year's 13-0 record and 41-0 trouncing of Hingham in the Division 2A Super Bowl, this year's 11-2 campaign and Super Bowl loss seems like a disappointment. But let's be real. Seasons like 2007 don't come around very often, yet 2008 wasn't really all that far off.
Gloucester's two losses came to a very good Swampscott squad, which made the playoffs in Division 3, and arguably the top team in the state in Duxbury. The talk in the Gillette Stadium press box was that the Dragons could hang with any team in the state, regardless of division.
"Duxbury is a special team and everyone knows it," said Gloucester head coach Paul Ingram.
Still, Gloucester hung with the Patriot League champs for three quarters. They trailed just 25-20 after the third quarter and had opportunities to jump in front but couldn't convert.
"We had plenty of opportunities, but we either shot ourselves in the foot or they made big defensive plays," said Ingram.
Despite some miscues, Gloucester's will and determination kept them in the game against a team with a size advantage and an abundance of talent, including University of Iowa-bound running back/linebacker Shane DiBona, who stands at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
While certainly talented in their own right, the Fishermen played gritty all year. They were not quite the juggernaut of last year, a team that rolled to an unbeaten record and disposed of their two playoff opponents (Masconomet and Hingham) by a combined score of 80-0.