Win would leave Bancroft and Pembroke thankful
Before Bob Bancroft gets to the Thanksgiving dinner table, a tasty morsel may await him tomorrow morning: career win No. 200.
The longtime Whitman-Hanson leader took over at Pembroke in 2009 following an eight-year absence from coaching. His winning ways have rubbed off on the Titans, who are 9-0 as they prepare to host Silver Lake in the regular-season finale tomorrow. If Pembroke is victorious, Bancroft will become the latest member of the 200-win club.
Ask Bancroft about the milestone, however, and he will tell you he has a different number in his sights.
“We’re looking to get to 10,’’ he said. “I think it would be kind of cool for the kids to have the memory of going 10-0. That’s what would make it enjoyable for me, to sit back and watch the kids enjoy what they’ve accomplished.’’
The mighty Titans already have achieved plenty this season, including the school’s first ever playoff berth by virtue of clinching the Patriot League’s Fisher Division. For a program built in 2004 and coming off a 5-5 mark last year, the run truly has been unprecedented.
“We actually played in a lot of big games last year,’’ said Bancroft, whose Titans could have won the league crown last November by beating Scituate. “A big reason for our success is we have guys who were put in those spots last season and learned how to handle them, so that this year if we faced adversity, they had the experience and confidence to come back or finish a game. I think that’s very important in high school sports.’’
An augmented defense has been instrumental in Pembroke’s success. After surrendering 24.1 points per game in 2010, the Titans cut the number in half, allowing only 12.1, including a shutout at Hanover in October. Bancroft said the perimeter defense has improved drastically, but the heart is 6-foot-5-inch senior lineman Dan McCourt, whom Bancroft said has “a relentless motor.’’
Offensively, the Titans have relied on back Jon Hooper, who is second in touchdowns in Division 3 with 16. The 6-1 senior, who has scored in every game, teams in the backfield with senior Tom Castanha, a transfer from Silver Lake who has scored six times himself.
Senior quarterback Luke Nagle (six touchdown passes) also earned praise from his coach.
“He’s very calm, very efficient, and gets key first downs and makes plays for us when we need them,’’ Bancroft said.
Regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, Pembroke has a date in the Division 3 semifinals with the Hockomock’s Davenport victor. The excitement of postseason play is on the minds of the Titans, but tomorrow’s meeting with the Lakers holds significance, too. Pembroke is 0-5 against its Thanksgiving rival.
“I’ve asked the kids to focus on Silver Lake, and if they have to focus on this game, then I have to as well,’’ Bancroft said. “It will leave a sour taste if we lose this one.’’