Ben West makes a tackle

Wahconah's Ben West tackled a Northbridge ball carrier during Saturday's state semifinal game.

DALTON — The Wahconah football team has known since Saturday afternoon that it was going to Gillette Stadium for the 2021 MIAA Division VII State Championship Game. By Saturday night, the Warriors knew who they were going to play.

Now, since Wahconah knows when it will play at Gillette Stadium, the heavy lifting of getting ready for the game begins.

The top-seeded Warriors will play No. 6 seed Cohasset in the second of three state championship games, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Foxborough. Kickoff for the Division VII game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but could run later depending on the first game.

The Division VIII championship game will start the first day’s festivities, with Hull playing Randolph at 3 p.m. Hull knocked off top-seeded Hoosac Valley in the semifinal round Friday night.

There will be three championship games Wednesday, three on Thursday and two the following Monday. Saturday’s regular MIAA Football Day in Foxborough had to be split up due to playoff obligations for the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.

The activities commence with this morning’s state championship breakfast. Coaches and captains will be at the event, to be held in Gillette Stadium’s Optum Field Lounge at 8:30 a.m. The coaches and captains will tour the stadium at 9:30 and meet with reporters on the Gillette turf at 10:30.

Wahconah head coach Gary Campbell Jr. said his team’s preparation has already begun. When reached Sunday night, Campbell said he and his staff have already done a dive into tapes of the Skippers’ games.

“[Sunday] for the staff was all about a film day and getting down what Cohasset’s sets are, who their main players and are, and generally speaking, what are their schemes,” Campbell said. “[Monday] is a film day for the team and us. We’ll review the Northbridge film. We’ll pick out the good, the bad and the ugly, and put that to rest.”

The Warriors did their traditional Monday practice, which is to walk through Cohasset’s sets, and do strength and conditioning to get ready for the week ahead.

“Tuesday and Wednesday will be fairly normal days, working on individual skills and skill development. We have a half-day [of school] Wednesday, so we’ll be out a little early,” Campbell said. “What we won’t do is a lot of contact. We’ll try to get good form and technique with bags and sleds. Give them off on Thursday, come back in on Friday morning and get a good workout there. Practice Saturday morning, give them off on Sunday. We’ll get our game prep going Monday and Tuesday.”

This will be Wahconah’s third trip to the Big Razor since the MIAA state tournament began in 2013. Wahconah lost to Holliston in 2014 and lost to Mashpee in 2016. The Warriors also made it to the state semifinals in 2013 and 2017.

So, as the Warriors prepare for the 2021 trip, what has Campbell and his staff learned about getting ready for Gillette?

“The biggest thing that we’ve learned, time after time going out there is that simple things matter,” Campbell said. “Do what we do well, and simply just be yourselves. I think sometimes, you want to do something extra when you get down there, when really you just have to be yourself.”

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.