CANTON – Friday's game at Blue Hills featured two champions from a season ago: The Jets, Boston North league champs, and Blue Hills, Division 4A Super Bowl champions.
But only one team played like it.
In a rematch from last year’s nail-biting playoff game – which Blue Hills won 25-22 on an unsuspecting field goal in the fourth quarter from tight end David Neil – the Jets' went down big early in the first half and eventually lost 24-6 in the season opener.
With a stable of runners at their disposal, the Warriors showcased their signature rushing attack. And once it got going, they never looked back.
The usual suspect, two-time player of the year Vincent Burton (27 carries, 158 yards, touchdown), shined and piled up both the carries and the yards – as he tends to do.
But it was the play of two newcomers to the Warriors Wing-T offense, Brandon Gordon and Daryon Calhoun (10 carries, 85 yards) that came as a surprise. And it was a pleasant one for head coach Ed Catabia.
“We’ll use all three backs [this season],” said Catabia. “It’ll probably take the pressure off Vincent a little bit and add a little bit of dimension to our offense and make it more difficult for the defenses to say 'OK who’s going to carry the ball in the offense?'
“When you have three good running backs, as we do this year and as we did last year, it’s pretty difficult. You can’t cover everybody.”
East Boston tried to do just that, but it did not work. Fake hand-offs to Burton in the inside led to big rushes from Gordon and Calhoun. And When East Boston tried to focus on the new guys, Blue Hills pounded it down the middle with Burton. It was a tough situation which put the Jets’ defense on their heels – and even their backsides – most of the game.
But let’s mention Gordon just one more time.
The junior, in just his second year in the program, had never started a varsity game. But looked a lot like he’s been there before, racking up 134 yards on just seven carries, including TD burst of 11-yards and 63-yards in the first half. The relative unknown in the Warriors backfield may have made a name for himself.
“I feel unbelievable. It was unbelievable. I never thought I’d get this chance,” said Gordon, as teammates flocked around him waving high fives and pats on the back. “This is Vincent’s team. I thought I’d get my couple rushes in every once in a while, but I had no idea I’d get this chance. So I just played my best.”
It looked a lot like Gordon’s best just might have made it his team too.
And although the Jets did not play like the champs they may have found a hidden gem themselves in first-year starting quarterback Vincent Lepore.
The junior had his incomplete passes, and even an intercepted pass (Steve Doroni) in the third quarter, but he showed he can pass the ball with accuracy while taking a licking from the Blue Hills defensive line. His lone touchdown pass, a 60-yarder aimed perfectly through traffic to Connor Henry, highlighted the potential he has at the position if his offensive line can help keep him upright.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.