After the Odin Lloyd Memorial Game on Friday night at O’Bryant, Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, was given the game ball from the Tigers' 32-16 win against Burke.
Lloyd, who played for O'Bryant in the early 2000s, was killed in June and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder in the case. Lloyd's family was honored in a pregame ceremony before Friday night's game at O'Bryant.
The O'Bryant team signed the game ball for Ward.
“First, give me two and a flare for Odin’s mom,” O’Bryant assistant coach Mike Branch shouted to the team after the game before the players clapped twice and let out a “woo” similar to the one let out by the TD Garden crowd after the Bruins score a goal.
“Give me three and the flare for Odin’s mom … On behalf of the O’Bryant Tigers I’d like to present you with this game ball.”
Branch, who coached Lloyd at both O'Bryant and with the Boston Bandits, said it was hard to keep his emotions in check all night.
"I had to compose myself and get myself ready to coach these young men, I thought I'd keep it together but you can never compose your emotions and your feelings when you love somebody," he said. "The [pregame] ceremony made us flat and play bad and coach bad in the beginning of the game, but we got together and persevered and got this win for Odin's mom and that's what it's about."
Branch said he was happy to see the game ball make Ward smile.
"Putting a smile on her face makes my day," he said. "The lady has had so much to think about and go through. That's the best feeling in the world."
Just about nine years after he walked off the football field for the last time as an O’Bryant Tiger, Darryl Hodge walked back onto the Tigers' field on Friday night. Only this time it was under circumstances he could have never imagined.
The 2004 O’Bryant grad was best friends with Odin Lloyd.
Hodge locked arms with Lloyd’s mother and sister as they walked through two lines of football players and cheerleaders from O’Bryant and Burke during the pregame ceremony to honor Lloyd.
“It was good for them to acknowledge all that we went through,” Hodge said.
Hodge also marveled at how much things have changed at O’Bryant since he and Lloyd played there.
“Before they had a turf field we had a grass field with grass and divots and all that,” Hodge said.
Hodge played quarterback for O’Bryant and currently plays wide receiver for the Boston Bandits, a semipro team Lloyd also played for. He said Lloyd always cleared a path for him on the field at O’Bryant and with the Bandits.
“I was QB, even punt return, kick return, pick six whatever it might be, I know Odin was coming to block, some of them might be penalized, but I know he’s coming to pick up a block," Hodge said. "And to be out there the last couple Saturdays and not have that it’s a miss.”
Hodge is impressed with the 2013 version of the O’Bryant team, which defeated Burke to improve to 3-0.
“I came out here last week,” Hodge said. “They are looking good. Unlike my day when we had me and Odin and a handful of others, they actually have a team of athletes. You just can't account for one person.”
Words of encouragement
After his team defeated rival East Boston handily for the second straight year on Friday afternoon, Madison Park coach Roosevelt Robinson had some words of encouragement for the Jets.
After Madison Park beat East Boston 22-0, Robinson took the unusual step of addressing the Jets.
“I went over to speak to them because I know it’s tough, they need to hear that from both sides,” Robinson said.
Despite the fact that Madison Park beat East Boston, 62-20, last season -- the largest margin of defeat in program history for the Jets, Robinson said the two programs have traditionally battled for first place in the North division almost every year.
“East Boston has always been a great rivalry for us,” Robinson said. “I appreciate the program and always look forward to playing East Boston. There are three guys here that know about the rivalry that I have here but the rest of the guys don’t have a clue. And a lot of these guys are young that I haven’t seen before [on East Boston] so I want to keep them going.
“That’s part of my job.”
Oh what a week
A few days after Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza was named the New England Patriots Coach of the Week, Zizza’s quarterback hit his own milestone.
Latin Academy senior quarterback Kyle Dance tossed his 40th career TD pass in a 36-16 win against Boston English to become the first player in Boston Public School history to do so.
Dance tied Reading and former Harvard quarterback Chris Pizzotti, Natick’s Paul Ghilani, and Holliston’s Sean Mayo for 28th on the state’s all-time passing list.
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