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Globe West Sports Notebook

Players add depth to Worcester State

By Marvin Pave
October 7, 2010

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The 1-2 punch of sophomore cornerback Graham Asum and junior linebacker Cameron Jones is a big reason the Worcester State football team (3-2) has won as many games this year as in its previous two seasons combined.

A three-sport athlete at Marlborough High, Asum was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week after his four-interception performance, including one that he took 52 yards for a touchdown, two weeks ago in a 30-18 victory over Westfield State.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Asum also ran back a kickoff 80 yards for a score in a 62-31 loss at defending New England Football Conference champion Maine Maritime last Saturday.

A graduate of Nashoba Regional from Stow, the 5-11, 195-pound Jones has four interceptions in five starts entering Saturday’s home game against Massachusetts Maritime. He is also the team’s long snapper.

“Graham is a tremendous athlete and also our top return guy, and since he’s just a sophomore, we’re really excited about having him for two more seasons. He really set up our offensive drives with those picks against Westfield and he has instincts, speed, and quickness,’’ said Brien Cullen, in his 26th season as head coach of the Lancers. Cullen’s younger brother, Tom, or “Waxie,’’ is head football coach at Milford High.

“I was due for a big game and I had a lot of help from our D-line who put a lot of pressure on their quarterback,’’ said Asum, who added he was “still a bit shocked’’ after his grand theft performance against Westfield.

“When I got here, all I wanted was a chance to start — either offensively or defensively. And while three wins feels pretty good, we know we can keep getting better.’’

Asum, who started at quarterback his senior year at Marlborough, where he was also a league champ in the 100-meter dash, has 13 kickoff returns for 353 yards and a conference-best 27.2 yards average per game. He is joined on the team by freshman receiver/returner Andrew Scerra, who started at QB for Marlborough last season.

Worcester State, which leads the conference with 11 interceptions, includes 16 players with ties to area communities.

Kenny Russell, a 6-2, 215-pound junior wide receiver from Bedford High and a transfer from Fitchburg State who sat out last season with an injury, was the team leader with 25 catches for 327 yards and 5 TDs. “He’s physically dominant and a big find for us, and one of the best receivers in our conference,’’ said Cullen, whose team won one game last year and two in 2008.

Two Shrewsbury High grads are handling the kicking chores — freshman placekicker Eric Perfetti, a soccer player in high school who is playing football for the first time, and punter Alex Blakeslee. Perfetti was the NEFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week after keying a 32-29 win against Nichols with three extra points in as many attempts, a 32-yard field goal and a 51.3 yards average on six kickoffs. Senior captain David Harris of Milford is a superb blocker at tight end.

Other contributors include senior defensive lineman Connor Hogan (Millis High); junior defensive lineman Taylor Santos (Bedford High); and freshman linebacker Nick Doria of Watertown (Arlington Catholic).

Local lacrosse stars at US gathering
A pair of outstanding area lacrosse players, Needham native Sarah Bullard (Duke) and Kristin Igoe (Boston College) of Framingham, will participate in the Stars & Stripes weekend with the US women’s national team Saturday and Sunday at Harvard University.

Bullard prepped at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols and was a second-team All-American last spring as a junior for the Duke University Blue Devils, finishing with 39 goals. Igoe had 35 goals and 11 assists as a junior at BC.

The Stars & Stripes festival will also feature the U-19 women’s national team and the World Cup champion men’s team. To register and for more information on game times and clinics, go to www.uslacrosse.org/starsstripes2010.

Leone ‘played big’ on the diamond
Gerard T. Leone, a former athletic director and football coach at Franklin High who died Sept. 23, had guided the Panthers to the Division 3 Super Bowl title and a 32-game win streak during his tenure there. But he is also remembered as a standout baseball player who captained the Boston University team in 1960. He is enshrined in the halls of fame for the Boston Park League and BU, and played in the Kansas City farm system.

“Jerry was a smaller player who played big,’’ said former Park League opponent Walt Mortimer, now the league’s secretary-treasurer. “He was a hard-nosed second baseman who would sacrifice his body to complete a double play. Did he ever hang in there. And he was a sweet-swinging lefthanded hitter, who sprayed the ball all over the park.’’

Area players return with college squad
The Haverford College men’s soccer team, which is making a run at first place in the Centennial Conference, is heading north from Pennsylvania for games next week at Wheaton and Lasell with three area players on its roster: junior midfielder Tyler Freeman (Weston High), freshman defender Adam Morollo of Belmont (Buckingham, Browne & Nichols), and freshman midfielder David Robinson (Needham High).

The Fords were 5-1-2 overall and 3-0-1 in the conference at midweek.

Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or marvin.pave@ rcn.com.