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View From the Sidelines

Steev Riccardo

Greetings sports fans! By the time most of you read this column, the high school sports season will be over for all the local teams and before you know it basketball and indoor track will be underway.

It was quite a high school football season for the local teams and both Shepherd Hill and Bartlett made it to their respective division finals.

Shepherd Hill appeared to be on their way to another Gillette stadium super bowl game before being derailed by an excellent Doherty team 32-28 at home in the Division 4 finals. Nevertheless the Rams had a great 8-2 season heading into their Thanksgiving showdown with the Tantasqua Warriors.

You know what you are going to get when you play the Rams but they throw it at you anyway and it’s hard to stop. It all starts with their huge offensive line led by junior Chris Lindstrom and from there on they had a lot of weapons at the skill positions.

Junior Drew Jean-Guillaume ran the Rams’ offense superbly all season in his first real shot at quarterback. He led the team with 12 rushing touchdowns and was also able to put the ball in the air when he had to, mostly to tight end James McGuigan, who leads the team with seven receptions.

With many key players returning next season, one player the Rams will really miss is senior Jake Gelb, who led the team with 777 yards heading into the Tantasqua game.

Despite the results of the Tantasqua game that the Rams should win, they didn’t let anyone down this season, losing to two excellent Central Mass teams in Doherty and Leominster and all in all had a fantastic and successful season.

Things are little different in Webster when it comes to the Thanksgiving game. The third longest rivalry in Central Mass is important to the town and therefore many of the school’s followers only care about one thing, beating Southbridge.

For a fourth year coach like Dane Laboissonniere, who didn’t grow up in Webster, getting to the playoffs was the team’s biggest goal this season and when they made the playoffs and then knocked off Auburn and Southbridge back-to-back before losing in the finals to Northbridge, they really opened some eyes.

This year’s Indians were a unique team led by a combination of talented seniors and juniors. Two of those seniors, Alex Givins-Perry and Ricky Spooner, played well all season and helped set the tone along with a trio of outstanding juniors in Anthony “The Bull” Cafarelli, Neil Flanigan, and James Patterson.

Givins-Perry (AGP) was second in Central Mass with an incredible 1524 yards rushing along with 18 touchdowns despite missing a game.

   Spooner managed each and every game as well as a high school quarterback could and threw seven touchdown passes and ran for five more touchdowns with an incredible 847 yards passing.

   Patterson also had some great numbers for the Indians, scoring a total of 11 touchdowns with 639 yards rushing and another 206 yards receiving.

   However, above all the numbers for the Indians is the pair of Cafarelli and Flanigan, two juniors who could both be playing college football in two years. They are both excellent two-way players with Cafarelli anchoring the offensive line and Flanigan the leader of the green defense.

   Bartlett should have taken care of business and beat Southbridge on Thanksgiving, but regardless, they get should be rewarded for an outstanding season.

   It wasn’t easy for the Oxford Pirates this season and no one said it would be. They lost a bunch of Sutton players before the season even started but were still able to get enough guys on the field to compete on a high level week after week.

   Quarterback Tyler Tremblay played superbly all season, leading the team with nine rushing touchdowns on 620 yards, while throwing another 13 touchdowns on an amazing 1412 yards passing -   numbers that put him in the top ten in Central Mass in several categories.

   Fellow senior Liam Pickett also had an excellent season for the Pirates and his 1062 yards receiving were second in Central Mass heading into the Thanksgiving game versus Bay Path. He also scored 11 times.

   Much like Bartlett, the Thanksgiving game was a big deal for the Pirates this season as they began a new chapter, playing neighboring 6-4 Bay Path for the first time.

   The Minutemen, led by all around star player Justin Sherman (nine touchdowns) and sophomore quarterback Tucker Hetherman (eight passing touchdowns), would make for an interesting match-up against the Pirates. 

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