The event, prior to Saturday’s six MIAA Super Bowls at Gillette, included a breakfast and tour of the stadium. The players also got the chance to listen to Patriots owner Robert Kraft speak during the breakfast portion.
Players and coaches from Everett, Barnstable, Beverly, Natick, Lynnfield, Bishop Feehan, Boston Cathedral, Madison Park, South Hadley, Wahconah, Nashoba, and Shepherd Hill all attended
The biggest game that will be held in Foxborough on Saturday (1:30 p.m.) is the Division 1A rematch between No. 1-ranked Barnstable (11-0) and No. 2 Everett (10-1), which is looking for its third straight Super Bowl title.
Barnstable handed Everett its only loss on Sept. 28, in a rain-soaked, 13-7, double-overtime thriller.
Everett has been waiting for its chance to get “revenge” all season, but Barnstable is ready with motivation of its own.
“It’s tough not to be motivated this time of year,” said Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden. “We’re both playing to win a Super Bowl and our kids are focused and ready just as they are. Whether there’s a revenge factor or not, there’s motivation to play the best and beat the best.”
Everett defensive end Jeff Solouque, who was out with an injury during the first matchup, is excited to get the chance to face Barnstable with his team at full strength.
“This time is new. It’s not gonna rain, there’s no obstacles in the way,” said Solouque. “We took time off and got ready during Thanksgiving, we watched a lot of tape to prepare for this game. Who’s ever more physical wins the game.”
Beverly (12-0) will take on Natick (11-1) in the Division 2A Super Bowl (3:30 p.m.). It will be a matchup between two potent offenses with both the Panthers (36.9) and Redhawks (32.8) - led by quarterback Troy Flutie - averaging over 30 points per game.
Redhawks head coach Mike Mortarelli said his team has to find a way to shut down Beverly’s rushing attack, led by senior Brendan Flaherty.
“They have a great rushing attack,” he said. “So we’re gonna have to be on top of our game tackling. They have a great offense and are well-coached so we’re gonna have to play perfect. They’re undefeated for a reason.”
Flaherty and his teammates are looking to make the most of the opportunity that they have to try and win their second Super Bowl in three years.
“It’s bringing back some memories walking through that tunnel,” said Flaherty. “We just have to make the most of this opportunity. We know they’re good players. We respect their team a lot. We just have to do what we do and everyone do their job and hopefully we make the most of it and play well.
Natick’s senior running back Nick Lee said “Ball-Gate” -- Natick was discovered using an unauthorized ball in the semifinals -- has been a distraction. Natick's victory was upheld because Natick asked a game official for permission to use the ball and received approval.
“But it’s definitely motivation, too, with people saying that we shouldn’t be here. We’re gonna come out fired up,” Lee said.
The one constant storyline at Gillette Stadium on Thursday was how grateful the teams were to be able to take part in the championship breakfast and tour the stadium.
“This is unbelievable,” said Cathedral coach Duane Sigsbury, whose team will take on Madison Park in the Division 4A Super Bowl at 9 a.m. “It’s just a great experience. For the kids to be here at Gillette Stadium is beyond words. We’re looking forward to Saturday.”
Whidden agreed: “It’s fun to be a part of it. I’m proud to be associated with this team. It’s fun for [the players] to have this whole experience and see Bob Kraft come down and talk to them. It’s definitely a privilege and not an opportunity that comes around all the time.”
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.