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High School Super Bowls Notebook

Panthers thrive on inspiration

From Staff Reports / December 6, 2009

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Charlene Larracey stuck herself into the thick of Holliston’s postgame huddle, as she often does, while the Panthers listened to coach Todd Kiley’s words amid sobs. She and linebacker Shane Early, a captain, embraced in a hug silently as Kiley reminded his team what an incredible time this record-breaking season was despite their Super Bowl loss.

Early was a close friend of Larracey’s son, Joey, who died after collapsing in a preseason scrimmage in September 2008. The support from the Holliston community was overwhelming in the weeks following the death, and remains strong today in a variety of ways - moments of silence, helmet decals, vigils, even the “7’’ and “3’’ written on the cheeks of wideout Christian Baker in eye-black.

“Your brother is watching you,’’ an assistant coach told the team following Tuesday night’s win over Cohasset, pointing to the sky.

And yesterday, Joey’s legacy and Charlene’s presence remained inspirational.

“It’s just incredible seeing her here, after all she’s been through,’’ said senior defensive back and tri-captain John McLean. “We did it all for [Joey] this season, and to come to a Super Bowl in his name is an honor.’’

Said Kiley, “That gets you through tough days when you know that they’re being strong (Charlene and husband Jim). Not every day is a great one, there are some days that are tougher than others . . . But [their] strength is what gets you through the day. They are part of our family, and it means a lot to our team to have them around.’’

Historic run
East Boston quarterback Troy Williams pushed his team’s season point total to 402 on his 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Jets never had posted more than 400 points in a season. They finished with 408.

Kicker’s nightmare
One of the division’s best kickers, Xaverian’s Jules Murphy, on the conditions: “My foot just kept getting slammed by the snow and slush out there.’’

No. 12 at Patriot Place
Each winning team in the Super Bowl will have its jerseys hung in Patriot Place. Reading chose a jersey with the number 12. That was the number of coach Mike Boyd when he played for the Rockets. Boyd died this summer from lung cancer and has been an inspiration for the team. When talking about the hanging of Boyd’s number, coach John Fiore said, “We brought Coach Boyd’s jersey to Patriot Place, and that is where it’s supposed to be.’’

Parting thoughts
“I thought it was going to be a 50-48 shootout, but I just wanted to say my boys played with heart, soul, [and] they played their best game of the season. I couldn’t be prouder of them. They did everything they had to do to win,’’ said East Boston coach John Sousa, after his team’s loss to Whittier.