A lot of things were evident after the first drive of the Class M state championship. Mufasha Abdul-Basir was healthy, St. Joseph’s offensive line was too good for Brookfield, and the Cadets were not going to miss out on a state title.
Abdul-Basir carried the ball seven times on the game’s opening drive, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown as St. Joseph routed Brookfield 54-16 in the Class M title game. The championship is the Cadets’ 11th overall and third in five years.
“Each title is special in its own right and this one is too,” an emotional coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “These seniors took some lumps as sophomores, made the playoffs as juniors, and they worked so hard for this.”
St. Joe’s pounded Brookfield up front to the tune of 303 offensive yards in the first half and a 38-0 lead. The Cadets led 54-0 early in the third quarter. Abdul-Basir ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and also caught a 54-yard screen pass for another score.
“We were going to do whatever worked well today, and I felt good running the football early,” Abdul-Basir said. “I like running in weather like this because it makes me work that much harder.”
Quarterback Jordan Vazzano missed his first two passes, both of which were nearly picked off, but the rocket-armed senior completed his next five passes, four of which went for touchdowns to Lars Pederson, Mark Hirschbeck, Abdul-Basir, and Shane Miller.
“I felt pretty good throwing today, and we wanted this so bad,” Vazzano said. “These are my best friends, and this is probably the greatest day of my life.”
St. Joseph’s offense capped its best season statistically in school history. Jordan Vazzano set school records for completions, attempts, yards, and touchdowns. He finished the season with over 3,000 yards passing and 41 touchdown passes. Abdul-Basir set school records for most rushes, yards, and rushing touchdowns. He finished with nearly 2,500 yards on the ground and 33 total rushing touchdowns.
Lars Pederson and Shane Miller both broke the school record for receptions in a season. Pederson now owns the record with 60 catches. They both broke the yardage and receiving touchdown records as well.
“This is a special special group,” Vazzano said. “We’ve been thinking about this since we lost to Hillhouse and wanted to have a great year. We have to be the second or third best team in the state.”
Wherever the Cadets are ranked, they’re definitely number one in Class M, and one of the best in school history.
Email John Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone