For the second straight year, the Pilgrim football team cruised to a Beacon Bowl victory over rival Toll Gate, this time by a 49-0 decision. The win now evens the Beacon Bowl series at 2-2.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Pats’ offense would explode for 28 points in the second quarter to gain the advantage and put the game out of reach for Toll Gate.
Demitri Ayres led the way with two rushing touchdowns for Pilgrim, coming from 3 and 23 yards out. Quarterback Mike Borges also rushed for a touchdown while connecting with Connor Fallon and Cesar Pascual for scores through the air.
Adam Ferrara and Ethan Laramee also rushed for scores in the lopsided victory.
“We were actually a little worried going into the game. The kids usually have a little more pizzazz on gameday, but today they were silent. But they played amazing and I’m very proud of them. This was one of our best games this season. We scored on every possession, we were set up with great field position. It was a great performance. Legendary – this was a legendary class and this was a legendary year,” Pilgrim head coach Blake Simpson said.
The Patriot defense was also dominant on Thursday, forcing two turnovers and constantly pressuring Toll Gate quarterback Greyson Pasquina.
“We sent a few blitzes and they had to block our six with just five guys, so it was easy to get to the quarterback. Our [linemen] are just men, grown men with strength, and they out-physicaled them,” Simpson said.
Although the contest was an exhibition, the Pats secured the perfect season, which included a Division III Super Bowl title as well as the Beacon Bowl win.
Ayres was happy to finish his career on a high note and to be one of the focal points of Pilgrim’s turnaround over the past two seasons.
“It’s crazy, those are the things that you dream of. To go undefeated is insane, it’s something that I haven’t really processed yet because it’s still new to me,” he said. “I’ll take these next few weeks to reflect on it, but this is something that I’ll never forget. We were at the bottom a couple years ago, but we really were committed to building this program up. We got to work and have been grinding over the past few years … these guys are my brothers.”
The seniors will now shift their focus toward graduation, and they hope to see the Pilgrim success continue next year.
“I hope [the underclassmen] take something from us. I hope they carry on that work ethic that we had and hope that they carry it on to the underclassmen after them,” Ayres said. “I hope to see them carry this on as long as they can.”