Two undefeated teams met in the boys’ soccer city championship Wednesday afternoon at English High. But only one team would come out victorious and cap off an undefeated season.
Four-time defending city league champion Madison Park was able to defeat Dorchester, 2-0, behind key goals from sophomores Witer Batista and Estevao Gomes. Cardinal goalie Joao Rosa held the Bears at bay all afternoon with 11 total saves.
“Throughout the year, we’ve continuously played well,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “The kids did a great job keeping up with practices. I’m happy with the way we came out and played today, and winning the Cities’ means a lot. Especially for our players.”
Despite dominating possession of the ball for the majority of the first half, Dorchester was unable to put one past Rosa, who made six saves before halftime.
The Cardinal’s drew first blood when Batista scored with 16 minutes left in the first after a nifty pass from teammate Jairo Ortiz.
“I went up for the header, but I lost control,” Batista said. “But Jairo made a great recovery for me and quickly passed it, so I put it home.”
Madison Park took that 1-0 lead into the half, and came out firing in the second. Less than 10 minutes in, Gomes scored off a deflection from a Dorchester player. This 2-0 lead proved to be all the offense Madison Park would need as Rosa continued to perform superbly in net.
“He’s outstanding,” Joao Gomes said of Rosa. “He’s definitely a go-getter and never quits. Hopefully he can cash in on some of his skills, and continue to get better and better and maybe become a professional.”
After the game, Dorchester coach Tim Lavin described his Bears team as the best he’s coached in 10 years.
“This was our first time making cities,” Lavin said. “It’s also the best record we’ve had since I’ve been here. I’m proud of the way we played today, Madison’s goalie just played great and we couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.”
This is Rosa’s third City Championship in a row, and he still has one year left as the Cardinal’s anchor in goal.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “It always feels great winning the cities. I give it to the seniors though, they’ve worked so hard. Dorchester’s a great team too. We just came out and worked as hard as we could today.”
The stages are set for Wednesday’s City League soccer championships. And they're sure to be exciting.
After impressive comebacks in their semifinal games, East Boston and O'Bryant will face off at Madison Park at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“We knew whoever we were going to play that it’ll be a tough game,” East Boston coach Richard LaCara said after Monday’s 2-1 win over New Mission. East Boston was down, 1-0, at the half until sophomore forward Vanessa Mejia’s two-second half goals propelled the Jets to victory.
The Jets will be facing an O’Bryant team that, despite being the fourth seed, pulled off an astounding comeback in the semifinals to defeat top-seeded Latin Academy, 3-2, Monday.
“We lost to East Boston earlier in the year, 5-1,” O’Bryant coach Jason Joseph said Tuesday. “But we’ll use this practice to tie up some loose ends in preparation.”
O’Bryant was down, 2-1, with less than a minute remaining when Keena Nicholas scored to send it into overtime, and then she scored again in overtime to clinch a championship berth.
Top-seeded Dorchester will play second-seeded Madison Park Wednesday at English High at 3:30 p.m.
The teams dominated the City League this year. They had no league losses, playing to a 1-1 tie when they faced each other in late September.
“My guys are excited,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “They’re also mindful that Dorchester’s a great team. They can pass, run, and score really well. We’ll have to bring our best come tomorrow afternoon.”
Gome’s Cardinals beat East Boston, 2-1, in a close semifinal Monday afternoon at White Stadium. Madison Park’s defense kept the Jets at bay all afternoon.
Dorchester beat Burke, 3-0, in its semifinal at English Monday afternoon to set up this anticipated rematch. Burke and Dorchester entered the half tied at 0-0, but goals from Merveil Meyitang, Roberson Cevat, and Sauvilet Cine gave Dorchester the 3-0 win.
There is sure to be top-notch soccer played when these two well-coached powerhouses clash Wednesday. And both coaches know it.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Madison Park and their soccer program,” Dorchester coach Tim Lavin said. “They have been one of the top teams in the city over the years. We just are focusing on playing our game and competing to the best of our ability tomorrow.”
Clutching her medal, middle hitter Massiel Ramirez gleamed with a bright smile, saying, "We never lost hope. I knew we could do it."
In an emotional roller coaster of a match, her Boston English volleyball squad came out on top to defeat O'Bryant, 3-1, at Burke High School Tuesday for the school's fourth city championship.
"I knew it was going to be a battle. They played great defense and our girls didn't give up and stayed at it," said Bulldogs coach Hardy Mondesir after the 25-16, 25-12, 21-25, 25-23 win.
"The only thing we had to do was work on defense, because we finally made it as a team, as a family," said Ramirez. "I feel the best in my life. This is the thing I know I am good at and I love doing it. Now I know I'm good at it because I have my medal."
Middle hitter Jasmine Allen's performance at the service line carried the Bulldogs through the final set, bringing them back from a 23-21 deficit.
The set was a point-for-point rally that came after a tightly contested third set in which O'Bryant managed its first lead of the match. When it mattered most, Ramirez hit over a block and managed a service ace to set up the Bulldogs for game point before a timeout. An O'Bryant error settled the set.
Ramirez had her biggest moments in the first and second sets along with outside hitter Heidy Barreiro. They worked side by side to deliver an unstoppable offense.
"[Heidy] is everywhere and she works hard to get every ball," said Mondesir. "[Massiel], the key is her height. The minutes she stays behind the ball and attacks, it's pretty dominating."
Ramirez pounded through a double block to help end the second set, 25-12.
The duo worked to set the bar in the first set by giving the Bulldogs a 10-point lead and control over the volley, allowing Ramirez to showcase her hitting. Barreiro had an all-around consistent performance but shined on the service line, earning Boston English 5 points before forcing O'Bryant to a timeout at 19-11. Errors kept the rest of the set tight.
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Both semifinal games in Boston City League girls’ soccer kept the crowd on their toes Monday afternoon despite a bitter gusting wind at Madison Park.
And each game had quite the ending.
East Boston beat New Mission, 2-1, with two second half scores, and O’Bryant upset top seeded Latin Academy, 3-2, in overtime to solidify this year's city championship set for Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s amazing, really,” O’Bryant coach Jason Joseph said after his team pulled off an improbable comeback late. “It wasn’t a perfect game today, but the girls did everything I asked. There were times that our offense clicked well, and there were times our defense clicked too. But our freshman goalie Amanda Leyton-Nolan made some key saves and kept us in it.”
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, O’Bryant was facing almost certain defeat down, 2-1, at the hands of Latin Academy. But a breakaway goal from Keena Nicholas proved to be enough to send the game into overtime. Midfielder Caroline Adduci made a great pass to set up Nicholas’s run.
“I got a nice pass and found myself wide open,” Nicholas said. “So I shot it home.”
Less than 10 minutes into overtime, it was Nicholas again who played the hero when she scored to give her team a 3-2 win and championship berth.
“Winning today means everything,” Adduci said. “As a team we’ve really worked hard this year to get here, so I couldn’t be happier.”
But O’Bryant wasn’t the only team at Madison Park’s athletic complex today to pull off an impressive comeback.
On the neighboring field, East Boston struggled early to maintain any offensive rhythm against New Mission and found themselves down, 1-0, at the half.
“At halftime I reminded my players that we’ve still got the whole second half,” East Boston coach Richard LaCara said. “And they came out and did it. They’ve played with total heart, all year long. Our goal has always been to win the city championship.”
East Boston’s sophomore forward Vanessa Mejia scored both goals in the second half to give her team the opportunity to play Wednesday against O’Bryant. Her first strike came with 30 minutes remaining in the game, while her second came thirteen minutes later.
“I’m so happy to make it to the championship,” Mejia said. “We’re going to keep working hard as a team. And just keep trying as hard as we can.”
Wednesday’s game is sure to be a thriller. In early September, O’Bryant lost to East Boston 5-1, but both teams have steadily improved since their last showdown.
And both coaches know it’ll be a battle Wednesday afternoon.
“I mean, with only one day of practice in between, tomorrow will probably be fun and loose,” Joseph said. “We’ll tie up some loose ends in preparation, but they’ll need to rest too.”
LaCara and his pumped up team stayed afterwords to watch O’Bryant’s dramatic finish with Latin Academy, and he told his players to use it as an opportunity to learn about their opponent.
“It didn’t matter who we were going to play,” LeCara said. “Wednesday will be a tough game.”
The 2013 girls’ city league championship between O’Bryant and East Boston will take place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Park.
After a year's hiatus coaching the WPI women's volleyball team, Hardy Mondesir returned to Boston English and the Bulldogs dethroned an undefeated Latin Academy in the City League semifinals Monday at Burke High School.
Boston English will face O'Bryant, which swept Madison Park, 3-0, in the other semifinal, in Tuesday's championship
English took a hard-fought, five-set match, 20-25, 25-22, 15-25, 27-25, 15-13, one that Mondesir called a "collective team win."
"We're working as a team to get to where we need to be, which is at a state championship. We came in ready to go serve tough. That was the game plan," he said.
Setter Yandra Perez set up her hitters with solid placement, allowing middle hitter Massiel Ramirez to step up her offense. Outside hitter Heidy Barreiro also had strong showings.
Mondesir said nerves got the best of his squad early, but that eventually his girls were able to get back to "bump, set, spike and working on keeping nerves together."
"It's a different game when you have someone jumping and attacking you," he said.
O'Bryant's biggest challenge was Madison Park sophomore Antonea Green, who continuously drilled down hits, keeping the match competitive despite the 25-23, 27-25, 25-12 final score.
"She's phenomenal. She's a wonderful player and she's only a sophomore so she has a lot to look forward to. She does so many facets of the game well so we had to move our defense around her," said O'Bryant coach Gertrude Fisher.
Defense and serving kept her team in control, with stellar play from junior Shayla Newman-Toledo and senior Camly Pham.
"The kids set a goal at the beginning of the season to get to the city championship. I told them it's not something people get often so they better embrace the moment," said Fisher.
Boston English and O'Bryant face off at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Burke High School.
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Teams for this season’s City League championships have been announced. Semifinals for girls' volleyball and boys’ and girls’ soccer will kick off Monday afternoon while each sport's finals will be played on Wednesday.
Top seed Latin Academy (12-0) will look to defend its title as last years City League champion when they face off against an English (9-2) team that was second in the City League South Division.
On the other side, No. 2 O’Bryant (12-0) will also take an undefeated record against No. 4 Madison Park (9-3), which lost two of its last three regular season matches.
Both games are at Burke High School, starting with Latin Academy against English at 3 p.m. and finishing with O'Bryant against Madison Park at 5 p.m.
Top seed Dorchester (12-0-1) will play a Burke team that’s coming off an impressive 8-1 victory over Boston International to gain a playoff berth.
Burke however will have its hands full with Dorchester; a team that failed to lose this year and tied against Madison Park, 1-1. Madison Park (11-0-2), second ranked and last year's defending champions, will play third seeded East Boston (9-2-2) to decide what this year's championship matchup will be.
Both games start at 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Dorchester and Burke will play at English High School, while Madison Park and East Boston will play at White Stadium.
Top seed Latin Academy (10-0-2) will play fourth ranked O’Bryant (9-1-2) starting 3:30 p.m. at Madison Park’s lower field.
Parallel to this action, second ranked New Mission (10-1-2) will square off against East Boston (11-2) 3:30 p.m. at Madison Park’s upper field.
East Boston is last year's defending champions so expect some great matchups when these teams all clash Monday afternoon.
With the 2013 MIAA playoff pairings announced Sunday afternoon, here’s a quick look at which BPS teams made the postseason and also a look at some non-qualifier city games to look forward to in the coming weeks.
In the Division 6 North quarterfinals bracket the No.1 seed O’Bryant (7-0) will face off with No. 8 seed West Roxbury (3-4) at Madison Park with date and time TBA. Latin Academy (6-1), the No. 4 seed, will matchup with Dorchester (5-2), the No. 5 seed and that game will be held at White Stadium with date and time TBA.
Wrapping up BPS participants in the 2013 MIAA playoff picture is the undefeated Brighton Bengals (7-0), who will be the No. 3 seed in the Division 5 North quarterfinals as they go up against Manchester-Essex (4-3) Friday at White Stadium at 7.
Following the quarterfinal and semifinal playoff matches, all six state Super Bowls will be played at Gillette Stadium Dec. 7.
Here’s a running list of a slew of BPS teams in both Division 5 and 6 that will suit up for non-playoff games. All date and time info is TBA
Division 6 North: Boston English (3-4) at Lynn Tech (3-3), Charlestown (1-6 ) at Matignon (2-5 ), Burke (1-6) at New Mission (1-5), and South Boston (0-7) is at St. Joseph’s Prep (1-6).
Division 5 North : Greater Lawrence at East Boston and Greater Lowell (0-7) at Madison Park (4-3).
The Tigers have finally got over the hump.
O’Bryant found its way back on the championship stage and into the postseason for the first time since 2008, clinching the Boston South league and remaining undefeated after dispatching Latin Academy, 21-8, on Friday at White Stadium.
“It was a lot of hard work,” said Kevin Gadson, the longtime Tigers coach who has not seen the postseason since losing to Manchester-Essex in the first round of the 2008 MIAA playoffs. “We’ve been just missing and just missing, and this year with the help of the lord, and some good coaching, and a lot of support, and the kid’s hard work we’ve been able to overcome today against a very good team,” he said.
Leading the charge for O’Bryant (7-0, 5-0) was senior and four-year player Mehki Williams, who rushed for a game-high 153 yards, including a 78-yard TD burst in the first quarter.
“I couldn’t even believe it. I had to fall to the floor in shock, I thought I was dreaming,” said Williams on winning his first league championship. “It’s been four years we’ve all been working our butts off . . . and I’m just proud of all of us.”
The other Tiger scores came from Kevin Nash, who scored on a 5-yard dash in the second, and senior quarterback Ajani Alfred-McFall, who scored on a 1-yard plunge to seal the game in the fourth.
It was a see-saw game between two of Boston’s best teams that included 12 combined turnovers. It was the Tigers who did a better job of handling the pressure.
Latin Academy (6-1, 4-1), guilty of a season-high seven turnovers, including three costly fumbles, never got its offense going as it posted its lowest scoring output of the season. Constant pressure kept stud quarterback Kyle Dance, who scored LA’s only touchdown on a 5-yard rush in the second quarter, off balance all game long. Dance, who has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season, had his usually efficient game relegated to just 7-of-19 for 49 yards.
Down, 13-8, and on the O’Bryant 31 with 1.8 seconds left in the first half, Dance found a streaking Moise Rainford wide open in the end zone. Dance threw a perfect pass, and Rainford ran a perfect route, but he couldn’t haul in the go-ahead catch.
“With stuff like that it should’ve been a blowout,” said Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza.
“We had opportunities. We had two dropped balls in the end zone. We didn’t play well,” he said. “We we’re outplayed and they were the better team today. We’ve had consistent efforts all year and for some reason it just wasn’t there today.”
The loss, according to Zizza, doesn’t mean the Dragons have canceled their postseason plans, though.
“The second season begins Monday, we’re looking forward to it. We’re definitely in the playoffs, we made the top eight,” said Zizza, referring to the eight teams to be selected by the MIAA from Division 6 North.
The Burke and South Boston football squads were both looking for their first win Friday afternoon when they met at Saunders Field in Dorchester.
And it was the first play from scrimmage that ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in this City League matchup as Burke ended up beating South Boston, 8-0.
After fielding the Burke kickoff, South Boston began its drive on its own 28-yard line. Setting up in a shotgun position, quarterback Robert King dropped back and looked for a receiver in the flat but made a risky throw that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Burke’s Jessie Bland.
“The first thing I was thinking when I saw the pass was stepping out in front and catching the ball,” Bland said. “After that, I just put on the jets and headed for the end zone.”
After a successful 2-point conversion by running back Nesly Bissainthe, Burke had an 8-0 lead that it wouldn’t give up for the rest of the afternoon.
Both defenses absolutely dominated. Neither team had more than 100 total yards on offense.
“Defensively, we played pretty good today,” Burke coach Byron Beaman told his team. “Definitely feel good about the win, but we survived this one, guys.”
Survive they did. South Boston forced four fumbles and recovered three of them, but just couldn’t get the offensive push it needed to score.
With 3:38 left in the fourth quarter, King put together a couple of impressive passing plays to receivers Ben Sostek and Derron Stone to drive to Burke’s 40, but a sack on fourth down sealed the victory.
"I'm happy to win our first game this year," Bland said. "As a team, we're really close. We just need to work on playing all four quarters."
After the game, Beaman, his staff, the players, and the cheerleaders all celebrated their first win of the season in a giant huddle.
And Beaman didn’t forget to thank his defensive back for that ever-so-important first play.
“You guys did a great job of stepping it up today when needed,” he said. “Oh, and Jessie, thank you.”
The city championship sites and times for soccer and volleyball have been set for this fall. All that’s left are the qualifying teams, which will be announced later this week.
Semifinals in both soccer (boys’ and girls’) and volleyball will be played on Monday, Oct. 28.
One semifinal boys’ soccer game will be played English High School, the other at White Stadium. Both games start at 3:30. The championship will be Wednesday, Oct. 30, at English at 3:30 p.m.
Both girls’ semifinals will be at Madison Park. They both start at 3:30 p.m., on the upper and lower fields. The championship will be Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 3:30 p.m. on the lower field.
Volleyball semifinals will be at Burke, at 3:30 and 5 p.m. The championship will be Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 3:30 p.m., also at Burke.
O’Bryant vs. Latin Academy at White Stadium, Friday, 3 p.m.
This is the key matchup of the season. In the City League South, Latin Academy and O’Bryant are tied for first place at 6-0. Expect it to be a battle for the ages when these two powerhouses meet.
Madison Park vs. Brighton at White Stadium, Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Madison Park is two games behind Brighton for first place in the City League North, but Brighton (6-0) has yet to lose. After opening the season 0-2, Madison Park has won four straight and has a lot of momentum. Watch Brighton’s electrifying senior quarterback Jalen Apperwhite as he tries to pick through a stingy Madison Park defense.
Burke vs. South Boston at Saunders Field, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Both teams are looking for their first win of the season. South Boston has struggled to put up points, while Burke’s defense has struggled to stop teams. Expect both teams to turn things around and play an evenly matched game.
Ryan M. Butler covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe or @BPSspts.
With the final week of the soccer regular season upon us, O’Bryant welcomed Boston International to its turf field for a matchup Tuesday afternoon.
Behind forward Eber Moreno’s hat trick, Boston International was able to put together a 5-1 victory over an O’Bryant squad that was short quite a few players.
“Today we had a couple players who had to sit out because of academics,” O’Bryant coach Ian Doreian said. “So we played a lot of younger guys. But I’ve been pleased with our team’s senior leadership this year and today was their last home game.”
Boston International jumped ahead, 2-0, with two Moreno goals, in the second minute and then again in the 30th. International took that 2-0 lead into the half.
“I think we played great today,” Boston International coach Miguel Cura said. “We moved the ball really well and took advantage of our goal-scoring opportunities.”
The second half proved to be all Boston International as well. Forward Pedro Daveiga, midfielder Jessy Vaz, and Moreno all scored for a commanding 5-0 lead.
“I think we worked together well today,” Vaz said. “When we all work as a team, that’s when we win games. I’m getting excited for the playoffs.”
O’Bryant’s only goal game late in the second half off a penalty kick. Senior Victor Hernandez was able to put a ball past goalie Eliseu De Pina.
After the game, Doreian said Hernandez has really helped out late in their season.
“Victor’s really stepped up for us this year,” he said.
O’Bryant is now 7-8, and is facing a must-win next game.
Cura reminded his team that the hard work was just beginning.
“I’m excited and thinking of the next game,” Cura said. “I always try and tell my players to get focused on what’s coming next.”
Burke and CASH have both struggled this season against the brunt of the City teams, but expect a good game when these two evenly matched teams face off on Monday afternoon.
Boston International vs. O’Bryant at Madison Park, Tuesday at 3:30
Both International and O’Bryant are fighting for a spot in the playoffs this season, and both teams are coached very well. Expect some fast paced soccer when they clash Tuesday afternoon.
East Boston vs. West Roxbury at Millennium, Thursday at 3:30
This matchup is sure to be a close one. East Boston and West Roxbury are both very evenly matched and have been in some tough games this season.
The English High football team picked up right where it left off last week when it squared off against a tough West Roxbury team Friday afternoon.
Fueled by quarterback Emmanuel Almonte’s three rushing touchdowns, the Eagles defeated the Raiders, 24-6, at West Roxbury High School.
With last week's 22-0 win over New Mission and Friday’s victory against West Roxbury, first-year coach Brian Vaughan's Eagles (3-3) matched their win total from last season.
“You guys showed great effort today,” Vaughan told his team. “So we can celebrate this win tonight and celebrate it again in the morning. But after that, this game against West Roxbury is over and we’re focusing on next week.”
Following a scoreless first quarter, Almonte’s first touchdown came early in the second when he bolted 5 yards into the end zone. After a safety caused by the relentlessness of the Eagles defense, English took an 8-0 lead into the half and came out aggressive to start the third quarter.
Almonte scored first on a 4-yard run and then finally on a 1-yard burst thanks to some key blocking by his offensive line.
“Today was a huge win,” Almonte said. “Our blocking was solid, and overall I think we did a pretty good job. We need to work on our defense for next week, though. They snuck in a few passes we shouldn’t have allowed. But now we’ve just got to focus on Dorchester.”
Almonte had over 100 yards on the ground and made some key tackles while playing defense. The Eagles made it difficult all afternoon for the Raiders (3-3) and running back Michael Obiangwe to find any room to run.
Vaughan and his team were pumped up over the big road win, but he made it clear that they will be getting back to business shortly.
The Latin Academy girls’ soccer team took a page out of Broadway’s playbook Friday afternoon.
Even though Madison Park forfeited just before the Dragons’ third annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game, the show still went on as Latin Academy scrimmaged its JV team at Hynes Field in West Roxbury.
“That still helped us improve and helped [the JV] improve on their game,” said sophomore forward Anna Kopp, who scored the second goal in the 3-0 victory that raised money for the America Cancer Society during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“It’s for the cause, it’s now about who we play.”
The game raised $720.70, almost double last year's total.
Madison Park couldn’t make it to the game because of a transportation issue, but Latin Academy still charged $4 admission ($2 for anyone sporting pink). In addition to wearing pink socks and kicking a pink soccer ball, Latin Academy also sold refreshments and crafts to raise money for the cause.
“They couldn’t get a bus here,” said Latin Academy first-year coach Kara Stafford. “It was disappointing. We were looking forward to competing and we worried that the fans wouldn’t appreciate seeing us playing our JVs. But you know what? I think our JVs played really, really hard and it was an excellent game.
"It’s always hard when you play somebody you think you’re better than to keep performing. But the girls did a really great job of staying pumped up for the game.”
Senior defender Jillian Eweka scored the only goal of the first half before Kopp and Rachel Kerrigan scored second-half goals for the varsity squad.
Stafford was going to donate $10 for every goal that was kicked out of the air and $20 for every goal headed into the net.
“Unfortunately, nobody scored off an air ball or a header, but I’m still going to donate a little bit of money,” Stafford said.
A former goalkeeper at Northeastern, Stafford also decided on the spur of the moment to get in net at halftime. She charged fans $1 for the chance to score on her. And she let up only one goal.
“I felt that they were missing out on seeing two varsity teams compete, so we needed a show to get the fans involved,” Stafford said.
Stafford said this was a good chance for her to see her JV team play.
“A lot of times, they have home games when we have away games,” she said. “It was a great opportunity [to see the JV team] and it was a good opportunity for us to see what we have to work on. They have some players that are extremely fast, and it will be great to keep watching them develop.”
This was also a chance for Stafford's team to bond just before the city tournament at the end of the month. Last year, Latin Academy lost, 1-0, in the finals to East Boston.
“We know that for cities we have to not only be on our A game but on our A game together,” Stafford said. “And coming together, getting all the socks, everybody is looking out for each other, helping sell things, getting their friends to come, showing pride in their team. It gets them to come together.”
Kopp, who has been on the varsity since eighth grade, was playing in her third benefit game. She was pleased to see members of the school’s undefeated football team (which has a bye this week) in attendance.
“It’s great, there’s always great energy every year, and our whole school comes together and we get supported by the boys football team,” she said. “We all come together for one event, one cause, to raise awareness for breast cancer.”
The game will not be forgotten soon, even if it's because the pink streak sprayed into Stafford’s hair will take some time to wash away.
“Well, my hands are almost not pink and I washed them probably 10 times,” she said. “It’s spray-on. It will come out eventually.”
The force this season that is the Dorchester boys’ soccer team just can’t seem to be contained by any City League teams.
The Bears put up eight first-half goals against a stellar O’Bryant squad Thursday afternoon at Dorchester High and ended up winning, 8-1. With the victory, Dorchester improved to a league-best 10-0-1.
The Bears have led with a consistent offensive attack all season, and on this afternoon, six players scored. They went into the half leading, 8-0, and didn’t surrender a goal until O’Bryant’s Jerhan Ponteen scored in the 71st minute.
“We’re heading for the cities,” defender Merveil Meyitang said. “All year we’ve been playing confidently as a team. And winning has been able to keep us on that level of play.”
The Bears are averaging 5.1 goals a game while giving up less than one. They lead the City League in both categories.
“I’m excited for the playoffs,” senior forward Roberson Cevat said. “It feels good. I hope we can keep playing at this level.”
Cevat scored the Bears' second goal on the day with a strike 16 minutes into the game.
The only team this season that has effectively given Dorchester trouble was Madison Park, which it tied, 1-1, in late September.
Still, with the season coming to a close and playoffs approaching, coach Tim Lavin reiterated the goals his team set when practice started in mid-August.
“Our goal has been to qualify for cities,” he said. “And now having reached that goal, our next goal becomes to win it. So we’re going to keep going after that.”
For the third straight year, the Latin Academy girls' soccer team has bonded by hosting a game to raise money for breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s game, against Madison Park Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Hynes Field, will once again raise money for the American Cancer Society to support breast cancer research.
“The girls all look forward to this each year,” said first-year varsity coach Kara Stafford. “It’s a great tradition that the previous varsity coach started. They get dressed up, they plan out how they are going to warm up, they really take ownership of the fund-raising at school, walking around selling things during lunch, making posters and putting them up.
“It’s a good chance for them to work on something that’s not soccer.”
The team will charge $4 admission and $2 for anyone sporting pink, and sell refreshments and crafts to raise money. The players will also sport pink on the field and play with a pink ball.
The Latin Academy girls raised more than $400 each of the last two seasons and they hope to surpass that figure this year.
“I hoping that we’ll exceed last year and maybe hit the $500 mark, that would be great,” Stafford said. “We’ve been getting the word out to a lot of the teachers and people’s families, so we’re expecting a pretty good turnout.”
Senior defender and cocaptain Jillian Eweka said the game is a chance to bring the school community together.
“I think a lot of people are affected by breast cancer, and it gives everyone an opportunity to show their respect and it’s really a way for everyone to come and show their support,” she said. “When we all come together, we all fight for one cause, it really brings us together. We dress up and it brings us together.”
Eweka said the game has the added benefit of helping the team bond just in time for the city championships at the end of the month. Last year, Latin Academy lost in the final game, 1-0, to East Boston.
“Afterwards, we are ready for cities, it’s a good central game for everybody,” she said. “It really brings us together. It works out really well because we’re all together.
"We know what we have to do to finish the season strong, and this brings everyone together and puts everyone in the same mind-set.”
Three games to watch in football this week:
English at West Roxbury, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
West Roxbury (2-3) is coming off tough losses to Brighton and East Boston. The Raiders look to get back on track against an English team (2-3) that shut out New Mission, 22-0, last week. Eagles quarterback Emmanuel Almonte had more than 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week, so West Roxbury’s defense will have to contain him.
Madison Park vs. Burke at White Stadium, Friday, 3 p.m.
Burke (0-4) is still looking for its first win. It hung tough with English and O’Bryant early in the year, but struggled against a more competitive Latin Academy squad. This week, it faces a Madison Park team (3-2) that has won three in a row.
Brighton vs. New Mission at Reservation Field, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Brighton (5-0) and quarterback Jalen Apperwhite bring an undefeated record into a game against a New Mission squad (1-4) that struggled to put up points against a tough English defense last week. New Mission will have to score points to contend with the offensive attack of Apperwhite and the rest of the Bengals.
Community Rowing’s Row Boston program began in 1998 out of Olympian Holly Metcalf’s vision to provide Boston youth with opportunities to progress in a tough environment. The program started with O’Bryant High School and has since snowballed into working with BPS kids from several other urban schools.
Now Row Boston has more than 60 BPS kids who row regularly.
Not to mention that its girls' varsity team gets a rare opportunity to row in the Head of the Charles this weekend.
“I’m really excited for the Head of the Charles,” said girls’ varsity rower Ayla Rich. “I’ve been rowing for over two years now. It’s hard work, but at the same time it’s almost kind of relaxing. I like the concentration.”
Row Boston, located on the Charles River in Brighton. is completely volunteer-driven. But that doesn’t mean these young rowers aren’t taught by the best. Boys’ varsity coach Drew Tennant started rowing at Cornell University, while girls’ coach Ariel Handler was a coxswain at UCLA.
“Row Boston actually started with O’Bryant and was specifically for girls at first,” Handler said. “Then we added the boys' program and we’ve just continuously added more and more schools.
“We’re in a program that teaches rowing but also helps with their academics, too. We have study hall once a week and we also take kids on trips to go visit potential colleges. It’s great.”
Transportation for the rowers is also taken care of.
“After school, we go and pick up the kids,” Tennant said. “We go all around in buses or vans. We pick up students from Latin Academy, Brighton, East Boston, and Snowden, among a few others.”
The teams practice weekdays from 3-5.
“Over the years, this program has evolved,” said Row Boston Director of Outreach Ellen Minzner. “I mean, it started so inner-city girls could find their voice through participation in athletics, and now we’ve actually seen one of our rowers get a full athletic scholarship to the University of Washington.”
The girls’ team is set to race around 1 p.m. Sunday on the Charles. Tennant is also rowing himself, as a part of the masters single event.
Rich could hardly hold back a smile when talking with Handler about the upcoming regatta.
“I can’t wait,” she said.
The first half proved to be all that the Latin Academy boys’ soccer team needed to beat Snowden Wednesday afternoon in some chilly October weather.
The Dragons scored all four of their goals in the first 40 minutes, propelling them to a commanding 4-1 victory over a Snowden team that couldn’t effectively move the ball out of its zone.
“We played more of the soccer I’ve been wanting them to play all season,” said Latin Academy coach Dennis Allen. “I think we played a great first half, and for the majority of the game we executed fairly well and operated as a team.”
Latin Academy’s Casey Nelson scored less than three minutes in. Teammate Matteo Grando then proceeded to score two goals, in the 11th minute and then quickly again in the 14th.
“My teammates' passes really helped,” Grando said. “All year we’ve been working on passing and taking good shots on goal. I think today really showcased what Coach has been having us work on. Recently we’ve just been communicating better on the field.”
Forward Patrick McToal had a nice assist on Grando’s second strike. The Dragons' final goal came from midfielder Juan Gomez, who scored with just under eight minutes in the first half.
In addition to Latin Academy’s first-half surge on offense, its defensive players also played exceptionally well for the game's entirety.
Goalie Nick Duenas had a solid day in the net. He allowed only one goal, to Snowden freshman forward Ramsey Jean-Juste, which came late in the first half. Anders Kirleis also provided some stellar play for the Dragons on the defensive side.
Allen is happy with the progress his young team has made. But he also recognizes his team’s tough schedule for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got three games to go,” Allen said. “But they’re going to be tough. Off the top of my head, I know we’ve got Madison and Burke coming up, so we know how tough those games will be.”
The Dragon’s scored all four of their goals in the first 40 minutes, and propelled themselves to an commanding 4-1 victory over a Snowden team that couldn’t effectively move the ball out of their zone.
“We played more of the soccer I’ve been wanting them to play all season,” Latin Academy coach Dennis Allen said. “I think we played a great first half, and for the majority of the game we executed fairly well and operated as a team.”
Right away Latin Academy’s Casey Nelson scored less than three minutes in. Teammate Matteo Grando then proceeded to score two of his own goals, first in the 11th minute and then quickly again in the 14th.
“My teammates passes really helped,” Grando said. “All year we’ve been working on passing and taking good shots on goal. I think today really showcased what coach has been having us work on. Recently we’ve just been communicating better on the field.”
Forward Patrick McToal had a nice assist on Grando’s second strike. The Dragon’s final goal came from midfielder Juan Gomez, who scored with just under eight minutes in the first half.
Despite Latin Academy’s great offensive first half surge, their defensive players also played exceptionally well for the games entirety.
Latin Academy Goalie Nick Duenas had a solid day in the net. He only allowed one goal to Snowden’s freshman forward Ramsey Jean-Juste, which came late in the first half. Anders Kirleis also provided some stellar play for the Dragon’s on the defensive side.
With the Dragon’s regular season coming to a close in a few weeks, Allen is happy with the progress his young team has made thus far. But he also recognizes his team’s tough schedule for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got three games to go,” Allen said. “But they’re going to be tough. “Off the top of my head I know we’ve got Madison and Burke coming up, so we know how tough those games will be.”
Three games to watch in girls' soccer this week:
O’Bryant vs. West Roxbury at Millennium, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
O’Bryant is coming off an 8-1 win over Madison Park, and West Roxbury has had impressive wins over Snowden and Madison Park. Expect a tight match between two teams that sit in the middle of the pack in the City League.
New Mission vs. Dorchester at Roberts Field, Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.
New Mission lost its first game to City League best Latin Academy earlier this year, 1-0, but has steadily improved and logged victories over East Boston and Snowden. Dorchester has struggled scoring goals, so expect New Mission to keep moving in the right direction.
Brighton at Charlestown, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
Brighton is chasing Latin Academy for the top spot in the City League. They survived a thriller against Dorchester last week, 2-1, and expect them to edge closer to Latin Academy when they play a Charlestown team that’s struggled to contain teams with a solid offensive attack.
Three games to watch in volleyball this week:
East Boston at Latin Academy, 3:15 p.m. Tuesday
A battle of teams at the top of the City League’s North Division. Latin Academy is undefeated in league play, while East Boston has only lost twice. They played earlier this year and Latin Academy took all three sets, so expect the Jets to come back with a vengeance.
O’Bryant at Burke, 3 p.m. Wednesday
O’Bryant is on top of the City League’s South Division, posting five wins in league play. Burke has won two league games but has struggled against the better teams. This match will definitely be close.
Brighton vs. Boston International at East Boston, 4:15 p.m. Thursday
Brighton and Boston International have both struggled this year in the City League North. Although they are both near the bottom, expect this match to be a great one. Brighton got its first win over South Boston earlier this season, while Boston International is still on the hunt for its first.
Snowden vs. Latin Academy at White Stadium 3:30 p.m. Tuesday
Both Snowden and Latin Academy have struggled to finish games this season. Although Snowden is coming off a 7-0 win over Charlestown last week, they’ll have to bring their best when they square off against a Latin Academy squad that has kept the majority of their games within reach so far.
Dorchester vs. Boston International at White Stadium, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday
This one is sure to be a thriller. Both Dorchester and Boston International is a top of the City League and they both have relentless offensive attacks.
Expect this game to be high scoring and a close match when they face off at White Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
East Boston vs. Burke at Ceylon 3:30 p.m. Friday
East Boston has steadily improved over the course of the season. They tied a very competitive Madison Park team 1-1 last week, and expect to keep moving in the right direction when they face Burke Friday afternoon. But don’t count Burke out, earlier in the season they put up 12 goals against Snowden.
O’Bryant won a must-have, 8-6, league game over visiting Dorchester Friday, but clinching their fifth straight victory and standing atop Boston South doesn’t mean there still isn’t work to be done.
“We have to get a lot better,” said Tigers’ coach Kevin Gadson, who was pleased with tying Latin Academy for first-place in the league and inching closer to a playoff berth, but insists there’s room for improvement. “We have to practice better, hit harder, we have to block better and we have to tackle better.
“We won the game, but we weren’t sharp at all. We got to get more disciplined and take advantage of some of the opportunities we let get by. Last year we lost, 6-0, to them and this year we won, 8-6, so it was still a slug match, but we can and have to be much better.”
The usually offensively adept Tiger’s got the win, but it wasn’t in the prettiest fashion. Save for the 20-yard TD pass from quarterback Ajani Alfred-McFall to Brian Donna on their first drive, the game was filled with stop-and-go possessions that resulted in punts and two turnovers on downs. At the end of the first half, O’Bryant had accumulated just 53 total yards, most of which came on the touchdown pass.
Dorchester, who out gained the Tigers with 142 first-half yards, got their only score from a surprising contributor in middle linebacker Leon Sealy, who channeled his inner Mike Vrabel to haul in a 43-yard pass in the second quarter.
The win over the Bears left O’Bryant (5-0, 4-0) tied with Latin Academy (6-0, 4-0). The two teams will square off for the league title in two weeks. O’Bryant will faceoff with winless South Boston next week in a nonleague game. Latin Academy has a bye next week.
“All I know is we have South Boston next, and until then, we’re not worrying about Latin Academy,” said Gadson. “I’m happy for the guys, and they’re glad we won, but we’re not done yet.”
And although the game with Latin Academy is being pegged as a must-win for both O’Bryant and LA, a loss by either side does not mean missing out on the playoffs. The loser could still get into the MIAA postseason as the South’s second-place finisher. With eight teams out of 19 total from Division 6 North being picked up for the postseason, the loser has a playoff shot.
As for Dorchester (3-2, 2-2 in league), last year’s South champ, the Bears are out of contention after suffering their second league loss of the season (the first was to Latin Academy).
“[The league championship] will fall between LA and O’Bryant. We didn’t deserve it,” said Bears coach Rich Moran, who was visibly disappointed. “I told my guys before the game whoever makes the most mistakes will lose the game and we made the most mistakes.”
The most costly of all: an interception thrown by Demetrius Leary that was snagged by Ajani Alfred-McFall late in the fourth quarter as the Bears, who assumed control on their own 27 yard line two plays earlier after forcing a turnover on downs, were attempting to score the go-ahead touchdown.
“It felt great to get that game-winning interception because it secured our lead and guaranteed us a win,” said Alfred-McFall of the key defensive play, part of a second-half defensive performance that allowed just 12 total yards by Dorchester.
“Our defense is always bailing us out,” said Gadson. “Once we learn how to finish games, we’re really going to be something.”
The English football team stormed onto its turf field in style Friday night, facing New Mission under the lights.
And ultimately, it was English (2-3) who stormed off the field with a 22-0 victory over a New Mission (1-4) team that couldn’t stop the Eagles' surge in the second half.
“We moved the ball well today,” English coach Brian Vaughan said. “We also overcame a lot of our penalties, which is something we’ve struggled with. I keep telling the guys it’s all about getting better everyday.”
Despite a stagnant offense in the first half by both teams, the Eagles scored all three of their touchdowns on the ground.
Quarterback Emmanuel Almonte scored the game's first touchdown midway through the third quarter on a six-yard rush. Senior running back Jodarnio Seide logged the other two, first with a 29-yard scamper, and then with a 61-yard run.
“I have to give it to my blockers,” Seide said. “They really helped out with making the holes for me tonight. It just feels great to get our second win.”
All night, the Eagles' defense made it tough for New Mission to get anything going. Overall they held the Titans to less than 100 total yards. Linebacker Matao Calloway intercepted a New Mission pass late in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
After the game, New Mission coach Michael Pittman gathered the players and coaches in a huddle and congratulated both teams on a well-played game.
“Congrats to English on some good football,” he said. Right here, in this huddle together is what it’s all about.”
America SCORES Boston celebrated 15 years of youth development in style Thursday night when they welcomed honored guests Jay Heaps and Brad Feldman to the Cyclorama in the South End. Feldman is a New England Revolution broadcaster, while Heaps is currently the Revolution’s head coach.
“For me, I think tonight's event is just amazing,” Heaps said. “This core group that make up SCORES is really strong. And to see these young kids here tonight, this is what it’s all about and the reason we got involved.”
SCORES is an afterschool program for Boston’s youth that combines soccer, poetry and service-learning to inspire kids to lead healthy lives.
Thursday’s celebration featured a light scrimmage for the kids, a SCORES video presentation and a live auction.
The night kicked off with the SCORES kids participating in a soccer skills clinic assisted by their counselors. Parents and adults were able to enjoy food and drink sponsored by 12 ethnic restaurants.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this,” SCORES board chairman David Chang said. “We’ve been planning tonight for eight months. We also have a ton of volunteers that helped make this happen.”
Feldman, attributed the event's success to the efforts of the SCORES team.
“I want a big round of applause to recognize all their work,” he said. “They’ve all helped this incredible program. Fifteen years now it’s been around, and look at the growth.”
After the skills clinic, Heaps taught the kids a drill he uses with his Revolution players to work on their headers.
“I wish the rest of my players could be up here with me,” he said. “But I’ve sent them home and to bed because we’ve got a big game Saturday.”
The celebration then concluded with a live auction that showcased Patriots' tickets, vacation packages and dinners.
But even though the night’s atmosphere was light and celebratory, the positive influence that SCORES continues to bring inner city youth remained the topic of conversation.
“To be able to bring the kids, sponsors and the public together in one night, it’s awesome,” SCORES Program Director Dwayne Simmons said. “I think the parents got a lot out of it too. Tonight just reflects positively on what we’re trying to do, and what we’ve been doing at SCORES.”
A day after a bus drivers' strike postponed school sports across the city, Boston International and Brighton squared off Wednesday in boys’ soccer amidst chilly temperatures at White Stadium.
Boston International (6-2) tied Brighton (5-4-2), 1-1, in what was an extremely evenly matched game.
“International’s one of the top teams in the league,” Brighton coach Hussein Issa said. “I’m happy with this tie. The kids knew coming in that it was going to be a battle.”
Brighton struck first when senior forward Lizandro Nogueira scored nine minutes in off a deflection.
“I got the rebound off one of my teammates,” Nogueira said. “The goalie came out, so the ball was left right there for me. I think overall we need to work on helping each other out defensively for our next game.”
It looked like Brighton was going to find success offensively, but for the rest of the half, it struggled to stay consistent with the ball.
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Michiale Wineh had a breakaway opportunity for Brighton but was stopped by a great play from Boston International goalie Eliseu De Pina.
Boston International survived, and went into the half trailing, 1-0.
Following a pep talk from coach Miguel Cura, Boston International came out aggressively in the second half. Less than 10 minutes in, forward Marcos Espinosa scored off an assist from teammate Eber Moreno.
Afterward, Espinosa seemed more excited about the bus strike being over than his goal.
“I’m just happy with the opportunity to play,” he said. “ But it was a good goal, definitely a nice kick from Eber.”
The game ended with both teams struggling to find any rhythm with the ball. Boston International had a great opportunity with a penalty kick, but failed to convert.
Cura said he liked how his team played, but he recognized that it didn’t capitalize on some key opportunities.
“We had a lot of different opportunities to score today,” he said. “We need to work on hitting those penalty kicks -- that should be a given for us by now. But I think today was really well-played all around.”
Boston City League teams will resume play this afternoon after Tuesday’s bus strike led to the postponement of 10 games around the city.
“It’s a relief,” said athletic director Ken Still. “I’m relieved especially for the kids, but also as far scheduling goes. Teams got an extra day of practice yesterday, too, so that was a positive.”
Though the bus drivers went back to work this morning, it was at first unclear whether city sports could resume. But the athletic department worked hard to make sure the process went smoothly.
“We reschedule games on a consistent level,” Still said. “We’re absolutely fine. In fact, most of the games have already been rescheduled.”
Around the league, coaches were happy to get back to the season.
“I’m excited,” said Charlestown volleyball coach Tony Gearcy. “It’s just really good for the kids.”
His Charlestown team is facing English today, and Gearcy was at first unsure whether they'd be able to make the trip to Jamaica Plain.
But all is well again in the City League. With his retirement date edging closer, Still made sure to get everything back to normal.
“The last day I work is the 21st,” he said. “But I’m using some vacation time to my advantage.”
After 11 years on the job, Boston Public Schools athletics director Kenneth Still spent his last day in his White Stadium office Wednesday.
Still will use his unused sick days until he is officially retired from the district on Oct. 21.
“It is what it is, everyone retires, there’s nothing wrong with retiring,” Still said. “Presidents leave office, CEOs move to other companies. It’s always part of life.”
Earlier this month, BPS spokesman Brian Ballou said an interim AD is not expected to be named.
“We opened up the application process back in August, but have since then expanded our search nationwide,” Ballou said in an email. “We anticipate generating a list of candidates soon to fill the position, and do not anticipate bringing in an interim AD in the meantime.”
The Globe first reported Still’s retirement in July, when it also was reported that the underfunded and understaffed athletics department was being investigated for possible misuse of its $3.1 million budget.
Still has said his retirement was in the works for a year and is unrelated to the investigation. On Tuesday, he declined to comment on the investigation.
Still also declined to say what he will do next.
“I’ll think of something,” he said. "I’m in the process”
His last two days on the job provided one last fire for him to stamp out.
An unexpected school bus driver strike Tuesday forced the district to cancel all games and practices for Tuesday afternoon. Even though the bus drivers returned to work on Wednesday morning, the status of the remainder of the week’s games is up in the air.
“I hope that everything is fixed," said Still. "I hope that the buses are up and running and we can play ball."
Still, who played and coached basketball at Boston English before going on to coach at Brandeis University, took the AD job in 2003.
One of his first orders of business was restoring night football games in the city for the first time in decades. Night games were banned in 1958 after a brawl broke out during a game at White Stadium.
Another watershed moment was four years ago when the Globe ran a seven-part series outlining how woefully unsupported the department was. That series led to Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction’s Red & Blue Foundation creating the multimillion-dollar charitable foundation called the Boston Scholar Athletes program. Founded in 2009, the program enhances opportunities for the city’s student-athletes.
Still has also championed nontraditional sports programs in the city, such as tennis and cross-country. He also helped boost track and field.
"What I do know is that I will miss Kenny Still when he retires in October," BPS track and field commissioner Mary Grant said via email in July. "He is a huge advocate for the growth and development of the BPS track program."
Boston English athletics coordinator Barry Robinson, who retired as English's boys' basketball coach last year, said he used to watch Still coach from the stands.
"I admired his teams and how they went after it each game," Robinson wrote in an email. "He was a guidance counselor when English High School was located on Louis Pasteur. When he moved on to Brandeis, I watched his practices and games. I have been following his career since I came to Boston.
"Ken Still is a product of Boston Public Schools and he is a consummate professional. He stabilized BPS athletics, and with his leadership, the student-athletes in the City of Boston are playing on an even playing field with their competitors."
Robinson thanked Still for being a mentor to him.
"I have learned so much from you, you inspired me to get my Master of Education degree in Athletic Administration," Robinson wrote. "Kenny, thank for your services. The City of Boston thanks you, too."
In the end, Still said, it is the student-athletes he will miss the most.
“Just the kids, the kids, you look at it from an athletic point of view but it’s also educating,” he said. “You look at the teaching. Learning is the most important thing. Dr. Johnson [former superintendent] said all the time ‘The kids, are we taking care of them? Are we helping them achieve?' "
From Wednesday to Oct. 21: West Roxbury at. CASH, 3:30 p.m.
From Tuesday to Oct. 17: Snowden at Burke, 3:30 p.m.
From Tuesday to Oct. 15: O’Bryant at Dorchester, 3:15 p.m.
From Wednesday to Oct. 18: CASH vs. Snowden at English 3:30 p.m.
From Tuesday to Oct. 23: Burke at English, 3:30 p.m.
From Tuesday to Oct. 25: O’Bryant vs South Boston at Madison Park, 3:30 p.m.
Despite bus drivers being back to work Wednesday, BPS athletic director Ken Still is unclear whether sports in the city will resume this afternoon. Scheduled for today are four volleyball matches, two girls’ soccer games, and five boys’ soccer games.
On Tuesday, 10 games throughout the city were postponed. According to Still, they will be rescheduled.
Even though the situation is still up in the air, Friday's football games most likely will be played.
"In the city of Boston, you have to be willing to adapt," said Latin Academy football coach Rocco Zizza. "So today, if there's no buses, we'll walk to practice. Same thing with tomorrow."
Keep posted for more updates.
Mayoral candidates Marty Walsh and John Connolly are both set to speak at Dorchester's Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center on Columbus Day.
The Mayoral Conversation event is called “Active Youth, Healthy Communities.”
Each candidate will speak about improving neighborhood-based opportunities for Boston’s youth so that they can effectively engage in healthy physical activity.
Walsh and Connolly will have the opportunity to briefly address the topic before opening up the floor to questions from parents and other community leaders in attendance.
Doors open for the public at 8:30 a.m. Walsh is expected to take the floor first at 9 a.m., followed by Connolly at 10 a.m.
There is off-street parking available directly in front of the Tennis Center. The address is 950 Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester.
If you have questions regarding the event, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps nobody understands the plight of the Boston Public School bus drivers better than BPS coaches.
At the same time, nobody is more frustrated by Tuesday morning’s sudden bus driver strike that led to the cancellation of all BPS games and practices for the afternoon and left the remainder of the week’s games up in the air.
While coaches have sympathy for drivers trying to get teams to games and practices on time during snarled rush-hour traffic, they are also frustrated by regularly delayed and broken-down buses that can leave their teams waiting on the sideline for hours.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” said Charlestown volleyball coach Tony Gearcy, whose game against Boston English was postponed. “But at the same time, the bus drivers are human beings like me and you and they’re entitled to their own rights.
“But it’s definitely an unfortunate situation.”
The drivers' action Tuesday morning affected more than 30,000 students and resulted in four girls’ soccer games, one boys’ soccer game, and four volleyball matches being postponed.
"I'm sure that there are a lot of disappointed kids across the city who are missing their games," said O'Bryant volleyball coach Gertrude Fisher, whose game against Dorchester was postponed.
Now coaches are worried that games won’t be played at all this week.
“I am very concerned,” said Brighton football coach Randolph Abraham, whose 4-0 team is scheduled to play South Boston Friday, via email. “If they canceled practices for today, then it is not looking good for Friday.”
BPS athletics director Kenneth Still said any canceled games will be rescheduled, and as of early afternoon, he was trying to lobby the central administration to allow teams to practice if they don’t rely on buses to get to their sites.
But even though Latin Academy is walking distance to its practice field, football coach Rocco Zizza said he was forced to cancel practice anyway because the central administration had already said “all athletic events" were canceled.
It is frustrating, said Zizza, "especially because it’s such a beautiful day, too. It’s kind of ridiculous, but welcome to the city of Boston. It seems like we shoot ourselves in the foot sooner or later in the city of Boston.”
Zizza said his team could even walk to White Stadium for its game against Burke Friday afternoon if need be.
“The other schools are a different story,” Zizza said.
Schools such as East Boston and New Mission in Hyde Park suffer the most because they are located so much farther from their practice fields and opponents’ fields than other schools, which can be problematic for bus drivers.
“From East Boston to Hyde Park, and, yes, their job is to be on time,” said New Mission athletics coordinator Cory McCarthy. “But at the same time, if you are telling us you can be on time, be on time.”
Twice this season, McCarthy said, the bus for his girls’ soccer team didn’t show up.
McCarthy said if the work stoppage drags on, the students will be the ones who suffer in the long run.
“I just think it’s poor strategy on their part,” he said of the bus drivers. “I understand how they feel. In some cases, I see what the bus drivers go through and the hard time they have dealing with the unpredictable traffic and obstacles.
“There’s a lot of obstacles and pressure to be on time. I just think their frustration led to poor strategy. There’s a better way for their voices to be heard than to walk out on the kids. They are not hurting adults. Adults get paid but some kids are losing out on education.”
Globe correspondent Ryan Butler contributed to this report.
The surprise strike by Boston school bus drivers Tuesday morning has forced Boston Public Schools to postpone all after-school sporting events for the day.
There were four girls' soccer games, one boys' soccer game, and four volleyball games on Tuesday's schedule.
It is unclear whether games scheduled for the remainder of the week will be played.
“Sporting events for this afternoon have been canceled because of the transportation issue,” said BPS spokesman Brian Ballou. “Beyond that, I can’t speak.”
BPS athletics director Kenneth Still said central officers canceled all practices as well for
Tuesday but he was trying to get them to allow teams to practice if they don’t rely on buses to get to the practice field.
“I’m trying to get a hold of the central office so at least they’ll be allowed to practice,” Still said.
Still said Tuesday’s games will be rescheduled, just as if they were postponed because of inclement weather.
“What happens now is we just have to do makeups, people have to adjust their schedule,” Still said. “We do it on a consistent basis because of rain and snow.”
If the work stoppage were to last all week, Still said, it is possible for teams to use alternative transportation to get to games but that could present liability issues, such as in the instance of players driving with coaches.
Still said he has dealt with a week of postponements because of inclement whether but he has never seen anything like a bus driver strike during his 11-year tenure as AD.
Wednesday happens to be Still’s last day on the job. He officially retires Oct. 21 but is taking unused sick days and vacation days until that point. He said he is confident that the district will navigate this crisis just fine without him.
“I don’t know if it was unavoidable or what, but it sure puts a spike in us as far as making sure the games go on and practice goes on,” he said. “I’m sure central office will work through it and come up with the best suggestion for us to continue.
“It will work itself out. That’s all you can do in this job. There are capable people who can piece it together whether I’m here or not.”
Things are looking good for coach Tim Lavin and the Dorchester boys’ soccer team so far this year.
Right now they post an 8-0-1 record and are vying for top dog in the City League with Madison Park, a team they tied two weeks ago, 1-1.
And after an 8-1 victory over English Monday afternoon, the Bear’s are eyeing that city championship.
“We haven’t made it to cities’ since I’ve been here,” coach Tim Lavin said. “So we’ve always been building the program and just trying to improve each year. As a team one of our goals this year is to qualify for cities’, and hopefully to win it.”
Based on his Bear’s well-rounded assault on English, a city championship could very well be in the making. The Bear’s scored three goals in the first three minutes of the game and had six different players score on the day.
“We have a nice group of players who’ve been playing for three or four years,” Lavin said. “So they’ve really had the chance to grow in the program. We’ve still got some players that were with us as freshman that are now seniors, so they definitely use that experience.”
This is Lavin’s tenth season as the Bears coach, and he’s definitely done a good job reaching his players as one of the longer lasting city coaches.
“Coach Lavin’s the coolest coach I’ve ever had,” senior defender Heroldy Limage said. “He’s a great coach.”
Limage also attributed this Bear’s squad’s positive attitude to their success so far.
“We’re more committed,” he said. “Over the summer people started to come and work out in preparation for the season. Plus everyone’s keeping their grades up, which is something we had problems with last year.”
The Bear’s have a study hall session every Wednesday where the players can go and seek help if needed.
On the field, they’re also averaging almost five goals a game this season, while only giving up on average one.
When asked about that thriller against Madison, Limage cited the competition between both teams as excitable.
“That game (against Madison Park) was the hardest for us so far,” he said. “We were up one at the half, but came out flat and they tied it. But we haven’t forgot that one.”
East Boston at Brighton, 3:15 p.m. Monday
Coming off a five-set win against South Boston last week, Brighton is poised to take on a formidable East Boston squad in its home gym.
East Boston is nipping at the heels of Latin Academy in the North Division. It lost the head-to-head match against the Dragons but is still in position to qualify for the city tournament.
Boston International at Charlestown, 3:30 p.m. Monday
Both teams are playing under new coaches and are still looking for their first win of the season.
A win would be a shot in the arm for either program.
Madison Park at O’Bryant, 4 p.m. Friday
Sparks always fly when these neighboring schools meet.
O’Bryant won the first meeting between these squads Oct. 4 by a score of 3-0 and is still riding high after beating English a day later.
But Madison Park keeps getting better and better, and could knock off the Tigers.
O’Bryant sits atop the South Division while Madison Park is in third in the North Division, fighting with East Boston for the second slot in the city tournament.
After scratching out a last-second win against West Roxbury Friday night, Brighton High’s football team is in the catbird seat to qualify for the playoffs out of the City League North Division.
Dexter Andrews, who finished the game with 41 yards rushing on seven carries, caught a 7-yard pass with three seconds on the clock to give Brighton an 18-14 victory.
The win puts Brighton (4-0) in first place in the North Division with a 3-0 division record while West Roxbury (2-2) is in second place with a 2-1 record.
Brighton closes out the season with South Boston (0-4) this week, New Mission (1-3) the following week, and Madison Park (2-2) in the final week. Despite being in the driver's seat, Brighton coach Randolph Abraham was not pleased with how his team played Friday night.
“After tonight, we are really going to take it one day at a time,” Abraham said in an email. “We will not overlook these next three opponents. Every team is improving, and my team needs to wake up and work much harder at practice and games. We are now in first place with a 4-0 record but we must stay healthy, while continuing to push hard at practice.”
Abraham said the game felt like a loss because his team played so poorly. But he also credited West Roxbury’s effort.
“My hat goes off to West Roxbury's coaching staff and their players, who did a wonderful job,” he said. “They played an outstanding game and executed a strong game plan to contain our offense. They controlled the clock most of the night and limited our possessions by successfully executing an onside kick and forcing a fumble later in the game.
“The Raiders played hard-nosed football and kept the Bengal offense off the field by converting several third downs. I was impressed with their fire and ability to get off blocks and make solid tackles in the open field.”
The longest two yards
With 9:41 to play in a victory against Charlestown Friday night, East Boston junior Jose Harry took a handoff on fourth and 2 from the Charlestown 36-yard line and bumped into quarterback Vincent Lepore.
The Townies had just cut it to a one-score game, 24-16, after the Jets had gone into the locker room with a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Despite bumping into Lepore on the handoff, Harry would not be denied what turned out to be the most important 2 yards of the game.
East Boston got the first down and went on to score a touchdown to extend its lead, 30-16 with 7:10 to play in the third quarter.
“Coach always tells us, 'Go hard when you run the ball, just do what you have to do,' ” Harry said after the 38-16 victory. “So I just did it.”
Harry finished with only 8 yards on the day.
“I had a couple fumbles, but my teammates helped me out, the line was good,” he said.
Going into the win, East Boston was 1-3 and clearly struggling to produce offense.
“It’s a big confidence booster, we had a couple bad weeks,” Harry said. “Coach always says ‘Keep your head, do what you can,’ and it paid off in the game. We practice hard.”
On the final play of the East Boston-Charlestown game, Charlestown freshman quarterback Frammy Llevaria went down with a neck injury.
After slamming his head on East Boston’s old-school AstroTurf that lacks padding, he was moving his feet and talking but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The game was actually called about 33 seconds early because Llevaria was still on the ground. He was still down, waiting for an ambulance, when players filed out of the locker room.
On Monday morning Charlestown coach George Munroe said his player just had a stinger and is doing fine.
“He’s perfectly fine,” Munroe said. “He’s fine. It was just a little bit of a stinger.”
The 2013 America SCORES Boston Celebration is being held Thursday at the Boston Center for the Arts starting at 6 p.m.
According to its website, SCORES's mission is to “inspire Boston’s youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and to have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.” These ideals are promoted through various soccer-based activities and programs.
Thursday’s evening in the South End is a celebration of everything SCORES has done for Boston’s at-risk youth. The night will feature performances from SCORES poet-athletes, soccer activities on a turf field, and special guest Jay Heaps, coach of the New England Revolution.
The food served will be inspired dishes from various celebrated soccer countries around the world. This is a 21-plus event.
To purchase tickets, click here.
Madison Park is on top of the City League with a 7-0-1 record. Their only league tie was against a tough Dorchester team two weeks ago.
This week they’ll have another test when they travel to Brockton for a non-league game. Brockton is 7-3 in their league, and are coming off a win against Bridgewater Raynham.
CASH vs. Snowden at White Stadium 3:30 Tuesday
Snowden just beat Charlestown 7-0 at White Stadium, and hopes to continue to produce offensively when they face off against a struggling CASH team.
CASH lost 6-1 to Dorchester, and has yet to have success against any City teams. CASH however did give Randolph a tough match in an non league game in mid September, so don’t count them out for this one.
Brighton vs. Boston International at White Stadium 3:30 Wednesday
Boston International right now is in the top three for the City League, posting a 5-2 record. Their biggest success thus far has been their defense; they are currently allowing less than one goal a game.
Brighton comes to town on Wednesday, and are coming off a tough 6-1 loss to Dorchester.
Snowden vs. CASH at Franklin Field 3:30 Tuesday
Like East Boston, Snowden is also 5-3 and right in contention. Tuesday they play CASH, who they beat to earlier in the season. Expect CASH to try and get revenge on a Snowden team that shut them out late September.
Dorchester vs. West Roxbury at Millennium 3:30 Wednesday
West Roxbury has yet to give up more than two goals in a game this season, and they’re coming off a thriller with Brighton that they won 2-0. Dorchester has had some trouble scoring goals as of late, but the Bears expect to turn it around and break out on Wednesday afternoon.
A traditional power in the Boston City League, East Boston's football team has struggled this year.
But after losing three of its first four games this season, including getting shut out by Latin Academy in the season opener and by rival Madison Park last week, the Jets (2-3) finally got back on track Friday night with a tough 38-16 win against Charlestown at East Boston Stadium.
“We had a great week of practice after last week’s loss, so we’ll have to step up again next week and it’s great to set the tone in this one,” said East Boston senior running back Connor Henry, who rushed for 117 yards and four touchdowns.
“The seniors, we’re all stepping up now, the whole team is getting better and we just have to keep it up the rest of the season. We can’t get too riled up from it. We have to keep calm and play Westie next week.“
The victory didn’t come easily however. After the Jets took a 24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, Charlestown (1-3) got two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter from Donnell Dunn, who finished with 122 yards rushing.
After Dunn’s first touchdown cut the lead to 24-8 with 6:17 to play in the third quarter, Charlestown's 6-foot-4-inch sophomore lineman Brandon Scott blocked East Boston’s punt to give his team the ball on the 11 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
Dunn scored his second touchdown on the next play to make the score 24-16.
“We changed back to an offensive alignment that we knew was going to work,” Charlestown coach George Munroe said. “[Dunne] is our leader for a reason.”
“Yeah we all know as a team so we’re OK.”
On its next drive, East Boston was called offsides and recovered its own fumble twice before it found itself with a fourth and 2 on the Charlestown 36. That’s when junior tight end Jose Harry came up with two huge yards on a handoff up the middle for the first down.
“If we don’t get that, it’s a one touchdown game at that point and it could go either way,” East Boston coach John Parziale said. “It was big to get that and go down and score.
“A win is a win is a win. We needed it bad. Charlestown gave us some fits there, they came back in the second half, I think we fell asleep for awhile and good for Charlestown. They gave it to us, but we came back a little bit in the end.”
Four plays later Henry scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run.
Orlindo Grey, who rushed for 161 yards for the Jets, iced the game with a 91-yard TD run with 3:35 left.
“I was really anxious during the game,” he said. “I had a big break and once I relied on my team I really gave it all. I did it for them. “
Charlestown freshman quarterback Frammy llevaria went down with a neck injury in the final play of the game and was taken to the hospital, but he was moving his feet and talking.
"He'll be OK," Munroe said.
Despite a sloppy game on a wet field at White Stadium, the Kyle Dance Show continued Friday as he led Latin Academy to a 28-0 victory over New Mission.
Latin Academy (5-0) held New Mission (1-3) to less than 70 yards of total offense and made big plays offensively when needed. Coach Rocco Zizza was happy with his team’s win, but thought it could’ve played much better.
“We played sloppy out there,” he said. “Overall we didn’t play too well, but it’s a win.”
Dance scored the first touchdown on an 11-yard run with 4:08 left in the first quarter. Following a successful conversion on a pass to DeVaughn Riley, Latin Academy led, 8-0.
Then on a crucial third and 11 for New Mission, Latin Academy’s Cristian Mojica sacked quarterback Marvin Beswick and forced a punt. Dance then threw a 6-yard scoring strike to running back Chenedu Igbokue.
The Dragons took that 14-0 lead into the half, and wouldn’t give up any points for the rest of the game.
On second and goal from the 6, Dance found Igbokue once again for a short touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. After a New Mission fumble on the ensuing possession, Dance & Co. took over at midfield, but Dance soon exited with a slight knee injury and didn’t return.
Enter freshman John Teehan to fill the big shoes. And on Teehan’s first varsity play from scrimmage, he made it memorable.
Teehan tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Riley, who made an athletic play to snatch the ball out of the air. This proved to be more than enough offense for the Dragons, and Teehan couldn’t hide his excitement afterward.
“They called the play, and I threw the ball into the back corner to DeVaughn,” Teehan said. “He went up and got it for me. I think we’re a good team when we work together like that.”
After the game, New Mission coach Michael Forman addressed both teams at the 50-yard line and said a postgame prayer.
Zizza wasn’t worried about his star quarterback’s status.
“Kyle's OK,” he said. “Taking him out in the third quarter was just a precautionary measure.”
Playing with only nine players, the Charlestown boys’ soccer team left it all on the field Thursday afternoon against Snowden International at White Stadium.
Although the first half was tight, in the end Snowden’s depth pulled through as it prevailed, 7-0, over a gassed Charlestown team.
For the first 40 minutes, the teams were evenly matched. Charlestown (1-4-1) was led early by strong play from Julian Medina, Marvin Mendoza, and Sofet Oboni.
But Snowden (3-6-1) couldn’t be contained for too long.
It wasn’t until the 41st minute that Snowden’s Boubacar Seck scored the game’s first goal, which came off a corner kick. Three minutes later, Snowden struck again when Hernan Urritia scored following a deflection off Charlestown’s goalie.
Snowden took the 2-0 lead into the half, and it wouldn’t surrender a goal for the rest of the game.
“The guys keep believing that they can get better as a team,” Snowden coach Joao Barros said. “My guys hung in there after a tough stretch of losses and they continued to practice and get develop as a team.”
In the second half, Snowden picked up where it left off. Less than a minute in, Gabriel Porter scored for a 3-0 lead.
Then Snowden scored four more times. Freshman Jean Juste Ramsey scored twice, and Bah Ibrahim and Brandon Arteaga each added a goal.
This was Ramsey’s second game back after a collarbone injury.
“My teammates communicated and passed well on my goals,” Ramsey said. “I got hurt against Dorchester, but I’m glad to be back out here. I’m also happy with our overall teamwork today.”
For Barros and Snowden, each game is a steppingstone to improving the program. The Snowden players were also fortunate enough to wear their new jerseys today.
After the game, Barros described his outlook as focusing on long-term development.
“We’re looking at the long-term over here,” he said. “I think we can go from always being the underdog to a much more competitive team in the future.”
The Monday after scoring a school-record six touchdowns in one game, Brighton running back Ricardo Edwards Jr. went into football coach Randolph Abraham’s high-ceilinged office near the front door of the mammoth school building that sits atop a hill like a haunted mansion.
The 19-year-old running back, who leads Division 5 in touchdowns with 12, sat at a round table in front of Abraham’s desk with the game ball from the 44-22 victory against East Boston Sept. 20.
Edwards hasn’t seen his mother since immigrating from Jamaica when he was 12 years old to move in with his father, who was incarcerated shortly after Ricardo arrived in the United States. Football had been the only constant in his life since he moved to America, but it looked as though the game would be at arm's length this year until he called Randolph the day before practice started Aug. 19 to ask if he could come back as a fifth-year senior.
“Last year, I really thought I wasn’t going to play anymore but I knew I would still have to come to school,” said Edwards, who applied for and eventually was granted a waiver by the MIAA to play a fifth season. “So before football started, before the year started, I called Coach and said, ‘Coach, can I please come back and play for you?’
“He said he would name his first-born after me,” Abraham deadpanned.
“I said that,” Edwards said in his low, husky voice, with no hint of sarcasm or a Jamaican accent.
“He will obviously do that,” Abraham joked.
“I’ll keep that, I will,” Edwards said before finally baring some teeth through a grin. “I feel that me coming back to the school and seeing them play without me would hurt me. So I’d rather do whatever it takes for me to play again and that’s what I did.”
That is an amazing sentiment for a person who could not be hurt much more than he has already been so far in his short life.
Only 39 days after being granted the waiver, Edwards scored all six of Brighton’s touchdowns against East Boston, including runs of 70 yards, 50 yards, and 45 yards.
Edwards has logged 600 yards on 40 carries in three games this year and has four 2-point conversions.
“I never thought of it, but it happens,” Edwards said of scoring six touchdowns. “It was good. It was great. The team was right there to enjoy the win that we had on Friday. They just came, everything just opened up, so I just took it.“
Edwards said the 70-yarder was his favorite of the bunch.
“Everything just opened up,” he said. “I split two defenders and it just opened up. It was just good. The hole was right there. The blocking was great. Everything just opened up and I just ran full speed. Untouched.”
Last season, Abraham’s first as head coach, Brighton ran a spread offense that forced Edwards to juke and read blocks. This year, the Bengals are running a pro offense that allows Edwards to run straight up the gut.
“It helped me a lot because it taught me how to be a downhill runner,” Edwards said. “Smash-mouth football, basically. It helped me to run behind my blockers and be able to trust my line.”
Trust has been hard to come by in Edwards’s life.
Born in St. Andrew Parish just outside of Kingston in 1994, Edwards spent most of his childhood living in a Kingston neighborhood called Portmore. He played soccer and ran track while living with his mother, who sold candy outside his school. In Jamaica, Edwards never knew his father, Ricardo Edwards Sr., who he said moved to Boston as a 16-year-old and later moved to Phoenix.
“He was never there when I was born,” Edwards said. “I liked living [in Jamaica] but life was hard, so I didn’t want to stay there. Life out there is different than here.
“It was very different than this. At a young age you were like a grown man.”
Edwards moved to Arizona in 2006 when he was 12 to live with his father and stepmother, Shannon Edwards.
“Basically, to my dad, it didn’t feel like my mom was doing what she had to do, so she didn’t have a choice to keep me or not,” Edwards said.
To this day, Edwards has not been back to Jamaica and has had only limited communication with his mother.
“It hurts, but you have to get through it,” Edwards said. “You have to do what you have to do.”
The week he arrived in Arizona, Edwards said, his father was arrested and subsequently was incarcerated in California, where he remains. Edwards declined to say why his father is in prison.
“I only saw my dad for two days in my life,” Edwards said.
Living in a suburb of Phoenix called Queens Creek with his stepmother and stepbrother and stepsister, Edwards was enrolled in the sixth grade -- a grade behind where he was in Jamaica. He became friends with the quarterback of a local Pop Warner football team and started to play himself about a year later.
“I never used to talk to anybody," he said. "I would just keep to myself, and I started playing football and I started meeting new people and the language started to become natural to me. So I started speaking it. Within a month or two, I was speaking English. Which is a good feeling.”
The language might have come easily to him, but the rules of the sport still escaped the newly minted running back.
“It took me a long time," he said. "I know offsides and all that you are not supposed to do that. Up to this day, I don’t know all the rules.”
Edwards had a great relationship with his younger stepsiblings, whom he calls his brother and sister, but by the time he reached ninth grade, his relationship with his stepmother soured. From prison, his father arranged for a friend from Boston to fly his son to Massachusetts in August of 2010.
Edwards moved into the Mattapan home of his father’s friends the Dowmans, whose son Tre Dowman was a 6-foot-7-inch center on the Brighton basketball team before he graduated in 2012.
Edwards enrolled at Brighton as a sophomore and joined the JV football team, but his transcript from his old school still hadn’t been filed so he couldn’t play in games. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) that was established for him in Arizona to address his learning disabilities also had not been transferred. He was put into large classes and struggled, failing math and history.
“I wasn’t used to the school system and I wasn’t used to being in big classes,” Edwards said. “I liked it here but school was confusing. It was mad loud [in class] and when it’s loud, I can’t hear anything. I can’t concentrate. When people start talking to me, I’m going to talk back. It’s just a habit. Now that I’m in a small class, it’s different.”
Abraham said it took a long time to get Edwards's transcripts and to get him tested for learning disabilities. His IEP was not established at Brighton until his junior year, which meant he could be put into smaller classes that suited his learning style.
Edwards was a backup running back on the varsity team his junior year and carried a 2.14 GPA. But the Dowmans' son moved on to college and Edwards didn’t like how strict the household rules were and how far the home was from school. The Dowmans were not thrilled with how much the 200-pound running back ate. So he moved in with Tre Dowman's uncle, who lives in Roxbury.
Edwards was the starting running back last fall on a team that showed promise but finished the season .500. His living arrangement lasted until March, when Edwards moved in with a female friend in East Boston. His grades slipped, and after his friend moved to Minnesota, he found himself homeless, surfing from sofa to sofa for a few months.
Edwards said he stayed out of trouble during his period of homelessness and was never forced to sleep on the street. But he said the stress took a toll on him and he lost nearly 30 pounds.
“I was just stressing about everything,” he said. “Where I’m going to rest my head at night sometimes and whether I’m going to eat or not.”
Just before school started, Edwards moved in with a friend who attends Madison Park.
Edwards worked out with the Madison Park football team all summer, and because he didn’t take summer school, he still needed to return to Brighton High this year to finish the last four credits to graduate through the school’s credit recovery program.
The day before football practice started, he called Abraham and begged to return to the team. They applied for an MIAA waiver but it was initially denied.
Edwards and Abraham traveled to the MIAA headquarters in Franklin to appeal that decision Sept. 12 and received an email later that day saying that his waiver was granted.
“I really didn’t think I was going to get the waiver,” Edwards said. “It just happened and I was happy. I’m just happy.
"I feel great. I feel good. I feel like I’m striving to be better. When I look back on everything I’ve been through, it’s basically made me the man I am today. “
Edwards has communicated with his mother back in Jamaica more often recently but when asked if he would tell her about his six-touchdown performance, he said she probably wouldn’t understand and think he was talking about soccer.
She might not understand football, but she remains Edwards’s motivation to play his adopted sport and his safe haven.
“I also think about my mom when I play football,” he said. “I think about my brother and sister.”
The Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center has received a $150,000 grant from the Tufts Medical Center.
The grant will be used to expand Sportsmen’s Volley Against Violence initiative, which is a group of programs that aim to engage youth in physical activity, provide them with strong relationships with adults, and build self-esteem.
Founded in 1961, Sportsmen’s was the first African-American nonprofit tennis club in the nation. It is committed to teaching tennis to inner-city Boston youth while positively influencing them both physically and mentally. The club has seven indoor and seven outdoor courts, a clubhouse, classrooms, and a technology center.
The Volley Against Violence initiative includes free tennis every Friday from 6-8 p.m., and free girls and boys leadership development programs every Saturday.
Three games to watch in football this weekend:
New Mission vs. Latin Academy at White Stadium, 3 p.m. Friday
Kyle Dance & Co. continue to dominate the City League. This week they’ll face off against a New Mission squad (1-2) that opened the season with the program's first win ever but since then has dropped games to O’Bryant and Dorchester.
Latin Academy (4-0) beat English, 36-16, last week. Dance threw his ninth touchdown pass of the season while rushing for another. Expect some explosive offense from the Dragons.
Burke vs. Dorchester at Roberts, 3:30 p.m. Friday
A week after a showdown with O’Bryant that was played in tribute to the late Odin Lloyd, Burke (0-3) is still looking for its first win of the season and will play a Dorchester team (2-1) that’s coming off a 40-0 shutout of New Mission. Dorchester’s Johnny Mims scored twice last week.
Despite losing to O'Bryant, 32-16, last week, Burke actually dominated the first half, but it was unable to contain O’Bryant’s offense in the fourth quarter.
West Roxbury vs. Brighton at Saunders Stadium, 6:30 p.m. Friday
After dropping their first game to Latin Academy, the Raiders have rallied back and won their last two, over Madison Park and South Boston. Running backs Michael Obiangwe and Raymon Tejeda played key roles in West Roxbury’s back-to-back wins.
But West Roxbury will have to be especially on its game when it welcomes an undefeated Brighton team (3-0) to Saunders Stadium. Led by quarterback Jalen Apperwhite, Brighton has scored 158 points in three games.
The question here is whether West Roxbury can match the points the Brighton will most likely put on the board.
The East Boston girls’ volleyball team swept away Boston International at South Boston High Wednesday afternoon.
“Their serving was really good today and their defense,” East Boston coach Vanessa Bigby said after her team won, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21).
She also said her 5-2 squad set the ball well.
"Hitting it three times instead of just whacking it over,” she said.
Boston International had a solid team last year but was depleted this year when a handful of players left to join the school’s newly formed girls’ soccer team.
New coach Nylton Andrade took over Boston International (0-5) about three weeks ago when Modesto Gomez had to give up coaching for family reasons.
“We had to recruit most of the girls on the team,” Andrade said. “Most of the girls on the team had never played volleyball before. They just wanted to try something new and they have a good spirit.
“The girls are building on their skills. They were running away from the ball the first couple of games and in a week's time I saw a lot of improvement.
"I think the girls are having fun now. They are actually starting to play like a team, communicating out there. I’m happy. So far so good.”
East Boston, which qualified for the city tournament three years ago, still needs to play both Latin Academy and Madison Park this season and would likely have to pick up a win in one of those matches to make the tournament.
“So hopefully we’ll win those two and I think we’ll be OK," said Bigby. "I’m proud of my girls as always. They always do a good job. They always come fired up.”
East Boston senior cocaptain Clarita Prudencio was encouraged by her squad’s teamwork.
“From the players that were sitting to the players that were starting, they were all cheering us on,” she said. “That was our motivation to win."
The East Boston boys’ soccer team came out firing when it played Latin Academy on an unusually humid October afternoon Wednesday at White Stadium.
Less than a minute into the game, Jets midfielder Eddy Umanzor scored off an assist from Daniel Orrego, opening the floodgates for a 5-0 victory.
“We lost to a better team today,” Latin Academy coach Dennis Allen said. “We need to congratulate them on a well-played game.”
Twenty minutes after Orrego’s strike, forward Sebastian Toro scored the second goal following some nifty dribbling and passing by fellow forward Nelson Moran. Toro scored three of the five Jets goals on the day, while Orrego logged the other two.
“We played a hard game,” Toro said. “On that first goal, I passed the ball to my teammate and we had that give-and-go working, so I shot it into the top right part of the net after I got it back.”
The Jets (5-2) took that 2-0 lead into the half, and came out equally aggressive in the second half. Toro and Orrego continued where they left off and led a relentless offensive surge that kept Latin Academy goalie Lemuel Mills on his toes all afternoon.
Toro scored in the 63d and 83d minutes, while Orrego scored in the 80th. It appeared that Latin Academy (4-4) was feeling the heat, both from the weather and the quickness of the East Boston players.
“I’m disappointed in the first two goals,” Allen said. “They scored on what I like to call 'casual play' from our guys. Those are the kind of things that give games away against the elite teams.”
East Boston coach Lorenzo DiBenedetto first talked about his team's two losses of the season, and how his team improved on some of its shakier aspects Wednesday.
“We lost to Dorchester and International because we didn’t have an effective sniper on the net,” DiBenedetto said. “Those teams also punished us when we made mistakes. Latin Academy let us play our game out there today, and when teams allow us to play our game, we can play with anyone.”
After pulling out a tight five-set match against South Boston Wednesday afternoon on the road, the Brighton girls’ volleyball team is one win shy of matching its victory total from last season.
“And we still have 10 more [matches] left,” second-year coach Briea McDaniels said after beating South Boston, 3-2, in the Knights’ shoebox of a gymnasium. “It’s a very encouraging feeling, it shows my girls that they have the potential and ability to beat some of the better teams, and we just did.
“We split with South Boston; they won one game and we won one game, so we’re on our way.“
The Bengals (3-5) got swept in three sets in the first meeting of the season against South Boston. This time, they fell behind early, too, losing the first set, 25-22, before coming back to win the second, 25-12.
“The thing we had to do was communicate between each other and help each other out and together we were able to help each other out and have each other's backs and get the ball over the net,” Brighton senior Reyna Joint said.
“It feels really great. I feel really proud of them. We came together as a team and go for every ball that we could and hit the ball over the net.”
After losing the third set, 25-14, Brighton tied it at two sets apiece by winning the fourth, 25-15.
In the decisive fifth set, Brighton took a 6-2 lead before South Boston cut it to 7-4. South Boston scored the first 2 points after the teams switched sides to cut Brighton’s lead to 8-6 but Brighton went on a 4-0 run to go up, 12-6.
South Boston could muster only 2 more points the rest of the way as Brighton won the fifth set, 15-8.
“We’re getting better, we’re doing what we need to do now,” McDaniels said. “I’m excited for them, I’m excited. I’m very, very happy. “
McDaniels said she’s always known her team had it in them.
“Just believing in them and teaching them to believe in each other and just trust the process,” she said. “It works.”
On Monday, South Boston (3-4) won a five-setter against Charlestown.
“That would have been exciting,” South Boston coach Mary Linehan said of the prospect of winning two five-setters in one week. “That would have been very exciting but I give the kids credit, we didn’t give up."
“They gave us a good fight. They won, so that’s pretty good. We play [Burke] tomorrow and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow. It’s one of those things; a loss, it’s not the end of the world. We’ll be there tomorrow and hopefully we’ll win it in three tomorrow.“
When informed that South Boston won in five sets earlier in the week, McDaniels said it was the first time her team went the distance.
“Now we can do a five-setter, too,” she said.
The O’Bryant and English girls’ volleyball teams had quite a battle Tuesday afternoon when they faced off in front of a packed crowd in English’s auditorium.
The match went all the way to the fifth set, but O’Bryant improved to 7-1 as it defeated a tough English squad, 3-2 (16-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 15-12).
For coach Gertrude Fisher and her O’Bryant Tigers, the match was all about determination and never giving in despite the odds.
“We made a lot of mistakes out there,” said Fisher. “But we ended up recovering well. This is still definitely a work in progress.”
O’Bryant dropped the first set, 25-16, but came out freshly motivated for the second after Fisher bent her players' ears about keeping at it. The pep talk paid off, and O’Bryant snatched the second set by the same score, 25-16. O’Bryant held tough in the set with some key aces from junior Shayla Newman-Toledo.
English (5-2) opened a 5-1 lead in the third set and took control early. Fisher took a timeout with her squad down 16-11, and it paid off briefly when they cut English’s lead with 4 straight points.
But it was English’s turn to seize the momentum back. Junior Jasmine Allen led a surge by the Eagles and they held on to win, 25-19, for a commanding 2-1 lead in the match.
With her team down and facing defeat, Fisher told her players to stay composed and to believe in themselves.
“Sometimes I have more faith in them then they do,” Fisher said. “They need to know that they themselves can do it.”
And did it they did. The Tigers took the final two sets in thrilling fashion to capture the victory.
Both sets were dominated by junior setter Pham Camly, whose ability to dig spikes and set them up for her fellow Tigers really kept the offense flowing.
“In those last sets, we really started to communicate with each other,” Camly said. “We also stopped making mistakes. My teammates played with a lot of heart today.”
O’Bryant is sitting pretty in the City League standings, with its only loss coming against defending city champ Latin Academy.
Despite the tough loss, coach Hardy Mondesir and his Eagles are still very much in contention, posting an impressive 5-2 overall record.
Mondesir believes his young team should have won but had too many costly mistakes down the stretch.
“We had the momentum,” Mondesir said. “I feel like we gave that one away. We need to work on our serving and setting as a team. And also of course putting the ball where we want it.”
Former Charlestown basketball coach Jack O'Brien takes coaching job at Springfield Central High School
Legendary Charlestown and Salem basketball coach Jack O’Brien has officially taken his basketball prowess to Springfield Central High School starting this winter.
After six years without drawing up inbound plays on his whiteboard, he’s ready to get back on the court.
“I’m definitely excited to be back coaching,” O’Brien said. “Springfield’s a big, urban school and I’ve had some success in that past with that environment.”
O'Brien has had tremendous success since he won his first MIAA state championship with Salem High in 1990. At Salem, he coached future NBA player Eric Brunson.
After taking over Charlestown’s basketball program in 1993, O’Brien proceeded to leave an impact on their program that put him in company with some of the greatest city coaches of all time.
In a six-year span (1999 to 2005) O’Brien and his Townie squad won a stunning five state championships, giving O’Brien six MIAA state championships. O’Brien coached 13 seasons at Charlestown, and at one point during that championship run, his teams captured four straight titles.
But O’Brien says it's the opportunity to interact with players that makes this new endeavor of his all worthwhile.
“I’ve been able to reach success with a lot of kids, and help change their lives,” he said. “I look at Springfield and think there’s no better place for me to go.”
O’Brien, a Medford native, also says he’s going to keep his current physical education job at West Roxbury High school, and isn’t too worried about the longer-than-usual commute.
“Yeah, I’ll be commuting,” he said when asked about his plans. “That’s the hard part, but we (West Roxbury high school) get out at 1:30 so that’ll actually work out fine. It’s an hour and a half ride so I’ll just be jumping on the highway.”
O’Brien is taking over for former coach Mike Labrie. Labrie coached Central for seven seasons, including its 2011 state title season.
“I didn’t want to turn such an opportunity down,” he said. “And now, in practice, I can use the hour and half commute as leverage to tell the kids: I drove an hour and a half to get here!”
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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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.