Monthly Archives: November 2009

Last chance for Coach Parker

After 30 years at the helm of English High's football team, Keith Parker will coach his final English-Latin Thanksgiving Day football game on Thursday at Harvard Stadium. Photo by Patrick O'Connor.

By Justin A. Rice

Keith Parker was 10 years old when he first saw Boston English High and Boston Latin School meet on the gridiron. The Reading native watched the broadcast on his black and white television, but the oldest continuing high school football rivalry sparked a fire in the coach that would color the rest of his life.

“In those days there were 30- 40,000 fans in the stands,” Boston English High’s 65-year-old coach recalled last week. “I said ‘Boy what a great venue.’ I didn’t know the word venue at the time but I thought ‘What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“Here I am so many years later, I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a great tradition for 33 years — three as an assistant and 30 as a head coach.”

After Boston English (3-7) and Boston Latin (2-7) meet on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Harvard Stadium for the 123rd time, Parker will call it quits — leaving on his own terms despite calls for his resignation that reverberated louder than whispers the last few seasons.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Parker (141-168-5), who retired as a physical education teacher at English last year. “It’s the end of a run. I enjoyed every minute of it but it’s time to move on and step aside and let somebody else take a shot at doing what they have to do to try to beat Boston Latin and everyone else on the schedule.”

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Sousa takes on Southie one last time

Eastie coach John Sousa addresses his team before his final Thanksgiving Day game. Photo by Patrick O'Connor

By Patrick O’Connor

The 92nd matchup between the East Boston football team and South Boston High takes place on Thanksgiving morning at White Stadium. Kick-off time is 9:30 a.m.

For East Boston coach John Sousa, the Turkey Day game will be his last as ends a fifteen year career as head coach. A 1968 graduate of East Boston High, he was captain of the football team in his senior year. His record from 1994 to the present stands at 117-44.  In 2004, he led the Jets to a Division 3A Super Bowl win and an undefeated season at 12-0.

In 2007, the Jets advanced to the superbowl, losing to Greater Lawrence, 19-6 in zero temperatures at Gillette Stadium and ending the season at 11-1.

This year, East Boston is back in form at 8-1 and clinched the North division title on November 13 with a 29-0 win over Madison Park.  The Jets are play-off bound after the Thanksgiving Day game and await finding out their opponent.

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White Stadium overhaul unlikely

By Justin A. Rice

Today’s announcement that Northeastern University is terminating its football program means that rumblings over the last two years that the school was going to renovate White Stadium in Franklin Park and play home games there is unlikely.

“I’m not saying it was just talk,” Boston Public Schools athletic director Ken Still said Monday of rumors that NEU would play at White. “[NEU] did a lot of investigating but what came out of it I wasn’t privy to. Engineers, the vice president, upper echelon people, they did check with us over a two-year period about what it would look like, what it would cost. That was on their plate.”

But Still said he was not disappointed about the news because he was not counting on Northeastern leaving its current home field, Parsons Field in Brookline, where Brookline High also plays.

“No, if that’s what comes about it comes about,” he said. “If not we’ll move on. I can’t settle all my eggs into one basket.”

Still, Still was among the folks whose jaw dropped this morning when they picked up their Globe to learn the news.

“Honestly the first I heard of it was when came to work today,” he said. “It’s very hard to give up on football, that’s the main course for most school’s existence.”

At a news conference on Monday, NEU athletic director Peter Roby said he was not comfortable spending the necessary money to improve the school’s facilities to put them on par with the rest of the Colonial Athletic Association.

“It’s not about what we’re currently doing,’’ he said. “It’s what we need to do to go forward. It’s going to require multiple millions of dollars on an ongoing basis for us to be successful.’

“It requires a lot of money to improve those things we need to improve to compete. Parsons Field is not appropriate for the level we are trying to play, and to continue to play without the appropriate amenities is not appropriate and I was not willing to recommend the kind of investment [we needed] to make that happen.’’

 

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Overhaul Endangers 14 Boston Public Schools 

Click here to read story I wrote for Boston24.com about the new five-year plan Superintendent Carol Johnson presented at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting:

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Eastie rolls on

Eastie

The East Boston Jets celebrate their North Division title with a 29-0 win over Madison Park on Friday, Nov. 13. The Jets are 8-1 and off to the post season. Photo by Patrick O'Connor

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Latin Academy’s season goes South

LatinVball1

Junior Christina Joseph leaps to smack the ball on Tuesday against Newton South. Photo by Bernard Leipzig

By Justin A. Rice

DORCHESTER — Even though the Latin Academy Girls’ volleyball team won the second set against Newton South on Tuesday afternoon in their own gymnasium, the Lions still had the momentum going into the third round of play.

“They did have the momentum going into the third game and we couldn’t pull it off,” first year coach Phuong Cao said after the 3-1 loss in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 Central/East tournament.

After dropping the first game 25-21 against their No. 6-seeded opponent, third-seeded Latin Academy (15-6) lost to their suburban counterpart 20-12 in the second set before the Lions roared back to win the third set 25-6.

“I tried to call timeout early [in the third game] but we just couldn’t get it back,” Cao said. “They seemed tired in that third game.”

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A league of her own

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Dorchester native Gaby Cruzado is the only girl playing in South Boston's football program.

By Justin A. Rice

SOUTH BOSTON — Toward the end of a recent South Boston High football practice at Moakley Field, JV coach Emmerson Phillips scolded a player chatting with his girlfriend while he stood on the sideline.

“Tell her to go have a seat,” the coach yelled across the field to the player. “No girls here, this is football practice. No cheerleaders.”

A moment earlier Phillips was shouting at Gaby Cruzado, a junior strong safety on his JV team, after she blew her assignment on a long pass completion.

“Gaby!” he hollered, throwing his arms up in the air.

“I gotcha,” the 5-foot-6-inch, 125-pound female football player shouted back, putting her coach at ease.

To Phillips, Cruzado is not a girl or even one of the guys; she’s simply an athlete, a football player.

“She’s an athlete, that’s what it is,” said Phillips, 32, explaining how the first-year player has adjusted to her new sport so quickly. “She’s an athlete. She can play the sport. She might not be the best but she can play the sport no matter what.”

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