South future looking bright.
"For all intents and purposes, we have a junior varsity team playing against varsity teams,'' South coach Jerry Snay. "We are starting 14-year-olds against 18-year-olds, and several of our upperclassmen never played football before, so we lack experience. The kids are working hard, but we are asking a lot of them to have to face kids who have years of experience and a lot of strength and weight on them.''
And the schedule has not been kind to the Colonels, who have lost to Maynard, St. Bernard's and Holy Name -- teams with a combined 7-2 record -- and face 3-0 Doherty this weekend. Things ease a bit from there, as South faces Murdock (0-3), Burncoat (0-3) and Oakmont (1-2) before the playoff reseeding.
"We knew coming in we were not going to win many games,'' Snay said. "We have talked with the kids and the parents about what this year was about -- a chance for the kids to play, learn, and improve. We figure if we can win two or three games, that would be a great season. The goal really is to learn and improve as the season goes on.
"We won't be a good team this year, but we feel we can be a good team in the future. This year is the building block for that, and that's how we are all viewing this season.''
Snay lauded the play of freshmen tailbacks Jordan Barber and Miguel Moronta as well as freshman fullback Augustus Geneyan for their play thus far, as well as first-year seniors Nana Onoka-Marfo and Kwasi Bandoh.
Sophomore Felix Estrada had been sharing time with senior Jaquale Welds at quarterback; however the combination of the need for the athletic Welds at other positions for his big-play capabilities and the solid play of Estrada may lead to the sophomore getting more snaps as the season progresses.
"The kids are working hard, but they are raw,'' Snay said. "The enthusiasm is there, and the effort is there, and we know the other things will get there if we keep up those two.''
SPM features varied attack
One thing is for certain when defenses face St. Peter-Marian: it will be virtually impossible to try and key on just one guy in an attempt to stop the Guardians' offense.
Through its first three wins (over Wachusett, Grafton, and Shrewsbury), the Guardians have demonstrated they are multifaceted on offense, and if you key on one guy, someone else can and will beat you.
Senior Noah Burke, who has turned in several highlight reel plays during his time at SPM, continues to garner attention from opposing defenses, and rightfully so. Burke has caught 11 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown from quarterbacks Tyis Boykin and sophomore Seamus Leary, who have shared time under center. However, Burke is certainly not SPM's lone weapon.
Senior Dan Henrickson leads the team with 15 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns, while Steve Albert, Trevor Lynga and Boykin also are threats on offense.
Henrickson, Burke, and Boykin each had six catches in a 34-32 win over Shrewsbury last week, while Albert also had a pair of big receptionss.
"If you ask Seamus who his favorite receiver is, he will say the open one,'' SPM coach Tom Henrickson said. "Our kids have been incredibly unselfish. They work as a team and want each other to be successful. They sacrifice for one another, and that's what makes us go.''
The weapons are not limited to guys catching the football. Running backs Isaiah Soucy (301 yards rushing) and sophomore Anthony Baldino have also contributed.
Henrickson points to Saturday's win over the Colonials as an example of this team-first attitude. Late in the game, as SPM was driving for the eventual winning TD, Boykin told the staff that he would be better served as a decoy, tying up two defenders so Burke would get one-on-one coverage.
Dan Henrickson added the same thing, and the Guardians ended up hitting Burke for a big play.
"It's a positive, team-first attitude here,'' Henrikson said. "The kids push each other so we can improve as a team.''
What made Saturday's win over Shrewsbury even more special was it marked SPM's first home game on its newly completed home field. Henrickson thanked everyone who was involved in the fundraising, building and planning for the field, saying it was a great moment for St-Peter-Marian athletics.
Contact Steve Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org.