East Bridgewater bests St. Mary’s 26-18 in state semifinal
By Cary Shuman
The St. Mary’s High School football team spotted East Bridgewater a 20-point lead in the first half and its spirited comeback fell short, 26-18, in the Division 5 state semifinal Saturday at Cawley Stadium in Lowell.
East Bridgewater quarterback Ryan Graham, a 6-foot-3-inch senior who is being recruited by colleges including the University Rhode Island (which happens to be St. Mary’s coach Matt Durgin’s alma mater), helped the Vikings build the 20-0 lead.
Abraham Toe, the Spartans’ explosive running back who was one of the leading scorers in the state this season, sparked the St. Mary’s comeback with two rushing touchdowns, the first coming with 8 seconds remaining in the first half.
Toe’s second TD closed the gap to 20-12 with 8:31 left in the game and the Spartans appeared to be gaining momentum against the undefeated Vikings. But East Bridgewater responded with a touchdown with 5:01 left to rebuild the lead to 26-12.
Displaying tremendous heart in the final minutes, the Spartans drove the field and scored when Antonio Felix connected with Marcus Atkins for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds left in the game. St. Mary’s ensuing onside kick bid was unsuccessful.
East Bridgewater coach Shawn Tarpey felt Graham’s fast start in the passing game set the foundation to victory.
“He’s a senior who’s been starting for three years and in big games he’s played really well for us all year,” said Tarpey. “But we’re not surprised. We hoped that we were going to make some plays in the passing game and it happened to happen in the first half.”
Tarpey credited St. Mary’s for its excellent season and for frustrating his team’s offensive attack in the second half by packing in their defense.
“We had to make some adjustments in the second half,” said Tarpey. “St. Mary’s was one of the toughest teams we’ve played all season. We’ve had a few close games and that’s certainly right up with one of them. To get to Gillette [Stadium] and to beat a very good St. Mary’s team just feels incredible. We were 9-2 last year and lost in the South final so this is big for us to get over that hump in terms of getting though the South sectional and getting to Gillette.”
Matt Durgin was proud of his team and its comeback against a very powerful East Bridgewater contingent.
“They never quit,” said Durgin. “It’s a great group of people and it showed what character they had to come back against an excellent football team. Give them [East Bridgewater] credit. They’re good. But we hung in there. It’s a credit to the toughness mentally and physically of our kids.”
St. Mary’s is set to wrap up its season against Bishop Fenwick Wednesday night at Manning Field. St. Mary’s defeated Fenwick on its way to winning the North sectional title.
The North Shore Navigators named 2015 FCBL Organization of the Year
The North Shore Navigators have been named the 2015 Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) Organization of the Year. The announcement came from FCBL commissioner Chris Hall on Thursday afternoon.
“Since day one, Pat Salvi and Bill Terlecky have been great league partners and community leaders,” said Hall. “Their leadership has allowed the Navigators to become successful on the field, in the stands and in the city of Lynn. It has also been an integral part of the success of the Futures League as was seen at this year’s All-Star Game at Fraser Field.”
The Navigators are coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history as they set records in both attendance (1147 per game) and wins (33). The Navigators also set team records in triples, stolen bases, walks, on-base percentage, All-Star selections and FCBL post-season awards. Additionally, the Navigators players set 9 individual franchise records and 3 FCBL individual awards. The Navigators also played host to a crowd of over 2,300 people at the 2015 FCBL All-Star Game.
“This was a tremendous year for us both on and off the field,” said Navigators General Manager Bill Terlecky. “We had a great returning team of staff members including the Laramie family, Joe Gill, Meli Abraham and Roei Biberstain that worked great with our new interns to provide a great experience for both the players and fans. We would also like to thank our host families, community sponsors and fans. Without their constant and undying support we would not be where we are today.”
A large part of the Navigators success on the field came from the leadership of Field Manager, John Zizzo. Zizzo came on board this past off-season and brought the energy and guidance needed to make a run at the FCBL Championship. Although the Navigators ultimately fell short of the Championship, they did set many franchise and league records due to Zizzo’s leadership.
“Our franchise is very proud to receive this honor,” said Navigators owner Pat Salvi. “It is a credit to our terrific General Manager, Bill Terlecky, and his staff. Also, we could not have achieved this without our great partnership with the City of Lynn. We are part of a terrific league and will strive to get better every year for our wonderful fans.”
These words of partnership were echoed by Lynn City Council President Dan Cahill. “We are very proud of Bill Terlecky, his players and his staff for being recognized for their outstanding performances both on and off the field,” said Cahill. “Lynn is honored to partner with the Navigators and we look forward to many more successful seasons to come.”
The Navigators, with the current ownership and leadership team, have been in Lynn since 2012 and have signed a long term lease to be there for many seasons to come. The Navigators partner with over 20 local businesses and have become a fixture in the Lynn community.
“The North Shore Navigators have been a true asset to the community,” said Agganis Complex Facilities Manager John Kasian. “The current ownership team led by Bill Terlecky has been extremely easy to work with and I wish them continued success.”
St. Mary’s boys soccer falls to Monson in state final
By Cary Shuman
When St. Mary’s senior Dan Hennessey scored his second goal to give his team a one-goal lead, it appeared that the Spartans might be on their way to an upset of a powerful Monson team and the Lynn school’s first state title since 1988.
Monson answered quickly to Hennessey sixth and seventh goals of the MIAA tournament. The Mustangs’ first tally was a 30-yard rocket by midfielder Tyler Eig. The second came on a penalty kick that tied the game at 2-2.
Monson, a high school with no football team but two soccer powerhouses (the Monson girls team also won the state title), then took control of the game in the second half and ultimately claimed a 6-2 victory over St. Mary’s in the Division 4 championship game at Milford High School.
Monson coach Michael Rouette said the state title was the school’s first since 1991. Monson had won the Western Mass. title last year but fell to Sutton in the state semifinals.
“Soccer is the sport in the town on Monson from the youth level all the way up,” said Rouette.
He was admittedly anxious when St. Mary’s took the early advantage on the scoreboard.
“The first half, I have to be honest, St. Mary’s did a fantastic job of locking us down in the middle of the field and not allowing us to change fields,” said Rouette. “They have some nice strikers and they were able to cut through and get a couple of good goals.”
Rouette said he made adjustments at the half that included the stretching of the St. Mary’s defense. The Mustangs also used an unusual 4-5-1 alignment throughout the game.
Junior midfielder Connor Hicks helped propel Monson’s attack with two goals and two assists.
St. Mary’s coach Michael D’Agostino said Mustangs’ game-tying score on a penalty kick late in the first half seemed to affect his team’s momentum.
“We didn’t bring that intensity, hustle, and drive that we had the first half,” said D’Agostino. “Dan [Hennessey] scored on a beautiful goal to start us off but they came right back with a beautiful goal. If we had brought the same intensity to the second half, I think we would have kept right with him. But they have a talented player in [Connor] Hicks. We probably should have marked him a little big tighter.”
D’Agostino told his players at the breakup banquet Sunday night how proud he was of their 17-3-3 campaign that included a Division 4 North title, a win in the Eastern Mass. final, and a berth in the state championship game.
“I said after the first preseason game that the talent his here and it’s how we put together and use it,” said D’Agostino. “I think we found a way to do that this year. We bond the kids together and get in the fight as a family. We definitely stepped up doing that.”
The coach believes his players will benefit from such a memorable season that showed the unity of the team.
“I told the players they’re going to remember this season for the rest of their lives and that it will be a great memory for them down the road. This year’s team was an extra special team with players who strived for excellence on and off the field.”