WEYMOUTH — Making it to Gillette Stadium for a state title game is actually really difficult.
It’s just that King Philip makes it look so easy.
Following a 41-21 win over Barnstable in a Div. 2 state semifinal, the Warriors clinched their sixth appearance out of the last seven tournaments.
KP improves to 11-0 heading into a date with Franklin at Fenway Park next week. Barnstable falls to 9-2.
The Warriors were utterly dominant from the jump, as they seemingly did everything right, from running the ball, to throwing it, to playing defense.
“It’s great,” KP coach Brian Lee said. “I’m so happy to have these guys. I’m so proud of their effort. It’s not easy to win games. It’s not easy to go in and compete against these teams. It’s hard to get there. To put yourself in that position, it shows how hungry the boys are because there could be complacency. You’ve already been, especially these guys, some of them it will be their third Super Bowl start. Just really pleased that they’ve stayed focused and stayed the path to make it happen.”
Junior running back Andrew Laplante rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, and also recovered a muffed Barnstable punt to set up one of his scoring runs. Quarterback Thomas McLeish completed 7 of 10 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
“The run game is always going to be a strong point,” McLeish said. “But to be able to make wrinkles off that and be able to make a big play, like you saw with Mason (Campbell), a 50-60-yard touchdown, then I like our chances.”
“He’s great,” Lee said of McLeish. “There’s plays to be made, and it’s nice to be able to do two things, Not just have to run it, but be able to do both. Certainly, the weapons we have right now, it’s been nice and balanced, which I think we’re going to need going forward.”
After a Barnstable punt on the first possession, KP went 10 plays for 51 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Jack Berthiaume.
The Red Hawks went three and out, and Laplante finished a three-play drive when he dove in from a yard out as KP led, 14-0, in the first quarter.
Then came the big strike, as McLeish hit Campbell for a 63-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Laplante’s fumble recovery set the Warriors up at the Barnstable 25. He took a handoff around the left side, then sprinted to the pylon for the touchdown, and KP was up, 28-0. The Warriors had one more score in them before the break, as McLeish hit David Constantine for a 23-yard touchdown as time ran out in the half.
King Philip substituted liberally in the second half, as Barnstable was able to get on the scoreboard late. Tajardo France, Ka’Ron Ford and Aiden Kundel scored second-half touchdowns for the Red Hawks.