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Gauvin takes the field

Anyone who left Doyle Field early yesterday likely missed the biggest play of the Leominster-Fitchburg game. With a 34-6 victory in hand, coach John Dubzinski sent senior wide receiver Zach Gauvin onto the field for one play. Gauvin lined up on the outside while the Blue Devils ran a simple rushing play for minimal yards. What's so special about that?

Last April, Gauvin's vehicle left the road while he was traveling home from a gathering with Leominster baseball teammates. The single-car accident nearly claimed Gauvin's life.

Gauvin continues to endure hours of physical therapy in hopes of recuperating and returning to the baseball field this spring. He has attended every football practice and game this fall, knowing full well he would never step between the lines on game day.

Until yesterday.

CHRIS FORSBERG

Ipswich remembers top supporters

Ipswich's 7-0 victory over Hamilton-Wenham clinched the program's first league championship in 14 years, but the Generals were hardly the only difficulty Ipswich faced this season.

In a matter of three weeks in October, the Tigers lost three of their most avid supporters when former Ipswich fire chief Mel Bowen, local diner owner Lou Galanis, and longtime Little League coach Tommy Mankos all died.

Bowen, a football star for Ipswich in the 1940s, was lying in a hospital bed days before his death when he received a visit from the Tiger football team, which presented him with a football reading "Number 1 Fan." According to Ipswich coach Ted Flaherty, the gesture inspired emotion despite Bowen's comatose condition. That football rested with Bowen at his wake and funeral.

"This is a football community, and I don't think the players realize just how much of an impact they have," said Flaherty. "There's a lot of appreciation for this program, and it's important that the players learn about social responsibility at the same time that they learn lessons on the field."

JARED PENDAK

A field's finale in Manchester

The traditional game between Manchester-Essex and Georgetown was slated to be the last contest staged on Manchester's Joseph M. Hyland Field. The field, on the site of the new high school, was named in 1965 in honor of Hyland, who has been a fixture on the Manchester local sports scene as a player, coach, athletic director, and newspaperman.

Hyland, still going strong at age 90, was honored in a halftime ceremony for his service to the community, surrounded on the field by two dozen of his children, grand children, and great grand children.

Hyland continues to be appreciated by current members of the Hornets football community.

"I first remember him from the 1980 s when I played here," said coach Mike Athanas. "He came down here every week, and would love to talk football and be with the kids. He brought football into the school and got it rolling. He was dedicated to the town, the school, and the kids."

The Hornets' new field, which is expected to bear Hyland's name, will not be ready until the 2008 campaign, forcing the team to find an alternative home site for next season.

DAN HICKLING

Lynch plays with heavy heart

Georgetown senior receiver/safety Tim Lynch played despite the death of his grandfather Wednesday.

"I was thinking of him every minute I was out there," said Lynch. "It was tough during practice, but if it weren't for these guys [teammates], I still wouldn't be here."

Lynch was able to make two key plays in the Royals' 28-27 upset of Manchester-Essex. The first was a clutch 17-yard reception that led to Georgetown's final touchdown. He also intercepted a pass to halt a promising Manchester-Essex drive.

DAN HICKLING

Good day for the Duggans

Boston Latin's roster includes three Duggans (Max, Dan, and Connor) and there were many more in the stands. The Duggans had a great day on the field, and one member of the Duggan family may have had an even better day in the stands as the winner of more than $300 in the 50-50 raffle. "There's so many Duggans that if you divide it among us all it would be like 10 cents each," said Connor.

DWAYNE DAHLBECK

Trying to bounce back

Trailing Everett, 21-8, and in need of a little kick, Cambridge coach Paul Gonella called for a trick play. On third and 15 from the 50, he had quarterback Ray Doucette throw a short backward pass to Josh Adams that skipped off the ground. Before the defense realized that the play was still live and began pursuing again, Adams heaved the ball down the right sideline to a completely uncovered Jesse Sparks, who had an easy touchdown.

The trick play cut Everett's lead to 21-16, but the Tide ended up winning, 44-22.

"We had a couple plays in there that, if we felt it was close and we needed something, we could go to," said Gonella, who later called for a double-reverse throwback pass that failed.

BRENDAN HALL

Flynn takes home trophy

Foxboro's Dave Flynn has more than the memory of the Warriors' upset win over Mansfield. Flynn was awarded the Vin Igo Most Valuable Player Award, given to the outstanding Foxboro player on Thanksgiving Day. Igo, who died Jan. 19, 2006, was affectionately called "Mr. Foxboro." He served on the Foxboro school board for 47 years and was a reporter for the Foxboro Reporter for 63 years.

Flynn rushed for 87 yards on 12 carries against the Hornets, and recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Warriors' first score. Flynn helped bring to an end Mansfield's three-game win streak over Foxboro.

A.J. Conlon, who had 10 tackles, was given the Don Currivan MVP award for Mansfield, named after the former Hornet who played for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.

MATT FOSTER

Townies have not forgotten Walsh

Kevin Walsh, a former Charlestown football player who died June 24, 2005, at the age of 16, would have played his last game for the Charlestown Townies yesterday. Instead, coach George Farrow and his former classmates have kept him alive in spirit.

"Every day before we start practice, they have a prayer for Kevin," said Farrow of the seniors who will walk across the stage in June without Walsh.

"Every day before we leave the field, we put our fingers up to make the 34 for Kevin Walsh."

The Townies have retired Walsh's jersey in the locker room and also have a mural on their equipment container with the number 34 and messages for Walsh. A memorial scholarship is given in Walsh's honor to a graduating football player.

Charlestown beat Burke, 14-8, yesterday.

COREY J. ALLEN

Focus is on Ferrara

In the beginning of the season, Ben Ferrara was doing everything for Triton: scoring touchdowns, catching touchdowns, and kicking extra points. After a slow midseason, Triton used a more diverse attack, utilizing quarterbacks Matt Emerzin and Jared Wells. Ferrara even stopped kicking all the extra points.

But on Thanksgiving, the team again focused on Ferrara. Pentucket tied the game at 14 in the fourth quarter and forced overtime. Pentucket's Bobby Haskell scored first, but the rush failed. Then Ferrara kept Triton's hopes alive with a 2-yard run, but Triton's rush also failed. That meant a second overtime.

Pentucket tried a pass, and Ferrara was waiting to intercept it. Counting on its momemtum, on its second overtime possession, Triton gave the ball to Ferrara, who plunged into the end zone to lift his team to a 26-20 victory.

MATT TICE

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