Medford quarterback Reggie Thelemaque sprinted for the end zone early and often in the Mustangs' 35-22 victory over Revere Friday night. The 6-foot-2, 205 pound Thelemaque rushed 19 times for 126 yards and three scores to bring his teamís record on the season to 2-0, eclipsing Medfordís win total for the last three seasons combined. The three-year varsity starter sat down with the Globe for our second edition of First & 10 to talk about Medford football, the San Francisco 49ers, and all-you-can-eat steak.
You and the guys notched your first win since 2011 last week against North Quincy. This week, you earned your first set of back-to-back wins since 2009. This must be a pretty exciting time for you guys, right?
I think itís just a credit to all the hard work from the players and the coaches, definitely the coaches. Coaches tell us what to do, players are starting to click and do their jobs. Once everyone does their job, thatís how we keep getting better.
What guides a turnaround like this Ė from a team that was 0-10 last year to a team that has started 2-0 this year? Is it commitment? Coaching? Camaraderie?
I think itís all mental. Thereís definitely a different philosophy on this team this year. People have finally bought into the program, and now that everyoneís bought in and everyoneís excited, itís just a mental factor. Now that we have the mental, we can get the physical going, and once we have the physical, once we have both of those things together, I think this team can be dangerous this year.
Former assistant coach Jason Nascimento took over Week 4 of last season as the interim head coach. This year, with him being the official head coach, what does he bring to this team?
Coach J is an amazing coach. He works harder than anyone Iíve ever seen in my life. Football is basically his life. Last year, he got us in the middle of the season, and even though we didnít win those games, he set us on the right path for this year. Now that heís in full control, thereís just something special about him. He knows everything. Basically, if we do what he tells us to do, weíre going to come out on top. Heís an amazing coach, and the rest of the coaching staff as well.
Okay, letís talk about some fun stuff. You scored three touchdowns last weekend against Revere. Running back Malik McLean scored one. Running back Xavier Gibson scored one. Who is the best runner out of you three?
[Laughs] I donít know. I think all of us are indebted to the linemen. Whenever they open up the hole, we all do our thing.
Alright, alright, but if I set up cones for a 40-yard dash tomorrow, who is going to have the best 40-time?
The 40 would definitely be Xavier Gibson followed by Malik, then me, definitely.
What other sports do you play? And if you donít play other sports here at Medford, what do you do outside of school and outside of football?
For these past two years, as Iíve gotten to the older part of my high school career, Iíve started lifting a lot in the offseason by myself and throwing passes with my wide receivers when we can meet up alone and stuff. I ran a little track [hurdles], and this year I intend, after the football season, to play some lacrosse. Definitely as I started my high school career I was focused on football, and hopefully itís going to pay off this year.
What would you say drives you? Whether itís in the classroom or on the football field.
From an athleteís standpoint, I definitely think that staying active is not only fun, but contrary to popular belief, where people think it may make it harder on school, I think it makes it easier. If you stay active you know you have to do this homework tonight because you donít have much time. If youíre lackadaisical and you come home at three, you might take a nap, watch some TV, and homework might not get done, so I definitely think it keeps you in check with what you have to do academically.
What would you say your favorite class is?
Definitely anything science, I love it. I like my psychology class. Science, I like how, instead of math and algebra where itís just a bunch of numbers, science is really connected to the real world. Same with psychology, you can apply it to the real world and use it as a real-world skill. Thatís the kind of person I am. Iím a very hands-on, real-world skills kind of person.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Iíd definitely go with RGIII [Robert Griffin III] of the Redskins. Sometimes we run some of that offense, some of the formations, so I like to mirror him a little bit.
If you take a look at all the major championship finals out there, whether itís the Stanley Cup Finals, the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the Olympics; if you could go to the championship final of one event, what would it be?
Definitely the Super Bowl to watch the San Francisco 49ers.
Are you a big 49ers fan?
Who is your favorite 49er?
Iíd have to say Colin Kaepernick.
Whereís the best place to eat in Medford?
Iíve got you with this one: Oasis Brazilian restaurant. Itís amazing. Chicken wrapped in bacon. All the steak you can eat for $14.99. Unlimited everything. Itís a manís [paradise]. I go there whenever I can.
When you open up your iPhone, who are your Top-5 artists?
Iíd definitely go for Tupac, Biggie, sprinkle in a little Jay-Z in there. When Iím trying to mellow out, some Brian McKnight and Keith Sweat.
Have you given a thought to what youíre going to go after high school?
I have very big aspirations to definitely go play college football. I would love to play for Merrimack or Stonehill. Those are my dream schools to play at. Iím definitely curious to see where football will take me this year and hopefully my team will have a great year.
What would you like to major in?
Iíd like to major in criminal justice and minor in either forensics or Spanish. Iíd like to go into law enforcement, but Iím not sure which one yet. Preferably DEA, but weíll see what happens.
This new playoff format is the talk of the state. Has that new playoff seeding ever come up with the team?
Making the playoffs is definitely a very large goal of ours this year. My goal this year is, not only do I want to make the playoffs, because that would be nice, but we want to set this program on the right track for after I leave. We want this to be a stepping-stone for next year as well. We definitely donít want to be a one-and-done. We want to build a dynasty. We would definitely like to go to the playoffs, but we just need to keep going up. The playoffs are on our mind, but winning every game is even more on our mind.
As a final question, Medford has only had two winning seasons in the last 25 years. They went 5-4-1 in 1997 and 6-4 in 1990. At 2-0, you guys would feasibly only have to win four more games to have a winning season. What do you think a winning season would mean for the program, for you guys as seniors, and just your overall thoughts on potentially finishing the season above .500?
For myself, the seniors, and all the captains, that would probably be a memory that weíd hold on to for the rest of our lives. Weíd love to be the team that was remembered instead of forgotten like other teams in the 35 years of Medford football. We can do it this year, and thatís what is really keeping us on our seat right now and keeping us working hard every day because we know that we have the potential we just have to work hard.
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 fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.