Another week, and another great nonleague battle is scheduled for Friday night, as No. 3 BC High travels to No. 7 Acton-Boxboro. Both teams are 2-0 after they each won a pair of games on the road.
"It's going to be a big challenge for us," said Acton-Boxboro coach Bill Maver. "We've scrimmaged them the last few years, so we know they have good size, but we've played teams that were bigger than us before."
The Colonials are coming off a thrilling 26-20 win at Chelmsford, and feature a deep rushing attack. Akeem Mercury and Trevor Jeanson are a talented duo in the backfield, while Jack Souza has also been able to grind out some yardage to set up Jeanson and Mercury. Linemen Ben Fitzer and Robby Ruggiero have been solid on both sides of the ball.
While Maver looks forward to the challenge, he knows there can be cons to loading up the schedule before play begins in the Dual County League.
"I think it really helps your program to have these games early on," said Maver. "It gives the kids perspective on what's going on outside of the league. You just don't want to get beat up, but we tell our kids if you play hard, you won't get hurt."
BC High also opened up with a pair of impressive wins. In Week 1, they trudged through the rain for a 28-7 win at Brockton. The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, anchored by Nnamdi Obukwelu. The offensive line is almost entirely new, save for Obukwelu and guard Pat Moynahan.
"We all worked together in the offseason, lifting weights," said Obukwelu. "We have confidence in each other and trust each other."
It was a sweet win for Obukwelu, a talented senior from Brockton who will most likely be playing in the Ivy League next fall.
"I played against a lot of my friends," said Obukwelu. "It was nice to get the win back home."
BC High also has a potent rushing attack, with Tyler Horan and Kyle Ewanouski leading the way, while quarterback Bill Kiley won't be afraid to air it out if the situation calls for it. In last week's 38-14 win over Andover, Kiley connected with Conor Flaherty for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
"I'm fine with handing the ball off to these guys (Horan and Ewanouski) if that's what it takes for us to win," said Kiley.
The Eagles went 11-1 last season under coach Ron St. George, but in the offseason St. George decided to move on to Cardinal Spellman. The players have had to adjust to a new coaching staff and system, as St. George ran the Wing-T on offense, but the players seem to be handling it well. Making the transition easier was the fact that AD Jon Bartlett took over the coaching reigns. Bartlett served as the freshman coach in the fall of 2005 and coached many of this year's seniors.
"The kids have really handled the adjustment," said Bartlett, who runs a Multiple I formation. "Sometimes we have two backs, other times we'll have three backs, and if we go to the spread, we just have one back out there."
When the coaching job opened up, Bartlett was interested right away. He knew this might be his only shot as there was the possibility that if a young coach was hired, the job might not available for decades.
"That was one of the things I considered," said Bartlett. "Really, what it took was sitting down with my family. I didn't want to feel guilty about the time commitment to the job, but my family was more than 100 percent supportive, so we decided to try it now."
After the win over Brockton, the coaching staff gave Bartlett the game ball for his first varsity win. While appreciative, Bartlett almost seem embarrassed by the gesture, and later that weekend, presented a game ball to former coach Jim Cotter, who was on campus to watch his son play for the freshmen team.
"He's been around so long," said Horan of Cotter. "He's so dedicated to the school, and he always tries to come to our games."
The sight of Cotter around campus has always been a welcome one. Less than two years after he retired, Cotter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's diseas, or ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis], in 2006.
Cotter and his family have established a website to keep his friends, former players, and coaches in touch with him and with each other. Click HERE to check it out.