|Xaverian Brothers High lineman Maurice Hurst wraps up Brockton quarterback Paul Mroz last Saturday. “Hitting and sacking the quarterback is my favorite part of the game,’’ says Hurst, who is occasionally used on offense too. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)|
Football runs in his blood
Hurst works to improve his game
As Brockton High quarterback Paul Mroz took the snap from his own 18, Maurice Hurst plowed through the line of scrimmage with brute force.
Mroz fumbled the snap and the 6-foot-2, 275-pound Hurst dove on the ball, putting Xaverian Brothers High in excellent field position. Soon after, the result was the Hawks’ first touchdown in a 31-0 victory last Saturday afternoon.
“Hitting and sacking the quarterback is my favorite part of the game,’’ said Hurst, a junior defensive tackle from Canton. “I’ve always loved football.’’ He started playing Pop Warner at age 7, but always played a level higher than usual because of his size.
The game carries a great deal of weight in his family.
His father, also Maurice, recorded 27 interceptions as a starting cornerback in seven seasons with the New England Patriots. Maurice the younger lives with his mother, Nicole Page, who earned a “most improved award’’ as a football player at Canton High and later was a cheerleader for the Patriots. He calls his cousin, Izzy Abraham, a former captain at Canton High who is now a senior fullback for unbeaten Endicott College, his biggest influence when it comes to football.
Over the summer, 16-year-old Mo prepared for this season by attending the Northeast Five Star Showdown in Stamford, Conn., as well as football camps at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston College.
“I practically worked out every day this summer,’’ he said.
From his position in the middle of the line, Hurst has anchored a Hawks defensive unit that has allowed 12 total points through the first three games, in wins over Malden Catholic (14-6), Waltham (42-6), and Brockton.
“Mo brings a huge presence on this team,’’ said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “Having that kind of presence in your face all day long makes the quarterback think. . . . He’s a great run stopper.’’
Although Hurst made just two tackles against Brockton, he was a massive presence. On the Boxers’ first series, on a third and 7 call, Hurst fully extended his arms to bat down a passing attempt by Mroz, forcing a punt. “He hit two knockdowns for the team,’’ said Stevenson. “It helps us a lot on defense.’’
Hurst was double-teamed the entire game, making it more difficult for him to break the line of scrimmage.
“It was pretty frustrating,’’ said Hurst. “I was double-teamed and top-blocked all day. It’s something I’m not used to. That’s just something you have to adjust to.’’
Xaverian defensive coordinator Al Fornaro says that Hurst is the quickest player he has on the line.
“He gets off the ball so fast teams will scheme against him,’’ said Fornaro. “Brockton did a nice job. They had to commit two players to play against him, which allowed other people to play one-on-one and win.’’
Hurst said that he fought through the double teams. “I tried doing whatever I could to get to the ball, spin moves and rips. I just tried to get to the ball the hardest I could,’’ he said.
Senior captain Kevin Painten calls Hurst a motivator.
“He’s such a hard worker,’’ said Painten, a 6-1, 255-pound lineman. “He brings confidence to the defense. He’s strong and powerful, so he’s a big force to play with. I thought it was a good call on Brockton’s part to have him double-teamed. It’s hard to block him with one man.’’ Painten paused, then added: “I wouldn’t want to play against him.’’
Hurst is also emerging as a threat on offense.
“He’ll play fullback,’’ said Fornaro.
“We’ll use him in a set we call Buffalo, which is a big back set. That allows us to go left or right. He can carry the ball. He’s got good feet and soft hands. We’ll exploit that if we have to.’’
On a third and one call in the fourth quarter, Hurst took the pitch from quarterback Chris Calvanese and rumbled 13 yards. “That was the first time I got the ball all year,’’ said Hurst. “I felt really good to run. Our whole team was fired up after that.’’
“He has a great motor and great intensity,’’ said Fornaro. “He carried the ball on the end. He’s 275 pounds and he can bring it. He’s not going to win 100-yard dashes, but he’s very quick off the ball. He’s got football knowledge and football instincts. He’s got a little bit of a mean streak in him, which is good, especially for the defensive side.’’
Hurst said his goal for the season is to win as many games as possible.
“We’re going to play our hardest and try to make it to the Super Bowl,’’ he said. “When we were freshmen, we saw the varsity players make it to the Super Bowl and play their hearts out. I wasn’t playing yet. But that’s something we’d definitely like to repeat.’’
Stoughton slogs out 8-0 win over Mansfield On a rain-soaked night, Stoughton stunned defending Division 2 Super Bowl champion Mansfield High, 8-0, on the strength of a pair of field goals from Alex Fernanedes (26 and 31 yards) and a safety.
“Alex had a big day for us,’’ said coach Greg Burke. Aaron Calixte and Marcus Middleton had interceptions for the Black Knights.
“The kids played great despite the torrential rain. We’ve been struggling the past few years, so it was a big win for us. We were the underdogs, Mansfield is a tough team.’’
Weymouth rolls, 28-0 Weymouth (3-0) remained unbeaten, shutting down defending Division 1A Super Bowl champion Gloucester , 28-0. Ozzie Colarusso started the scoring with a 90-yard punt return. Senior quarterback Cam McLevedge threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior Khary Bailey-Smith, and added a 43-yard TD pass to Colarusso. He also scored from a yard out.
Colleen Casey can be reached at email@example.com.