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Plagued by challenges during the pandemic, the Northeasts football team has remained resilient




I was surprised because that’s not my normal position, and I’m not really built to be a lineman, said Sousa, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder from Melrose.

I was pretty sure I could play tackles, it was just a matter of learning before the game. To be honest, I was pretty nervous, but I did my best to turn the nerves into anger so that I could play the best I could.

Sousa and the rest of the offensive line played with a lot of force on Friday night, paving the way for Coughlin and his teammates to rush to 230 meters in a 22-20 win at Wakefield High.

Senior Trevor Tango posted 69 rushing yards and scored on a decisive 2-point conversion, fullback Izzy Lainez got into a starting roll and piled 54 rush yards with a 3 yard touchdown, and CJ Moriconi moved from backup to a featured role as yet another option in Northeasts Wing-T’s attack.

We’ve got a lot of people moving, I’ll tell you that, said Heres, who has coached at Northeast for 25 years and is in his 15th year as the head coach.

Every day passes by and we were busy with the cards being handed out to us. It takes a lot to play now, but the kids out there find a way and get the best out of it. They love the sport, they love the school and they represent us very well.

As a vocational school, Northeast faces challenges to secure practice time and get students from multiple cities to the field during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At least 15 players have opted out of the season due to those difficulties and three assistant coaches have missed practice time in the past week for various reasons.

But Heres and his group made no excuses, and after coming back from a 22-14 deficit at the top of Essex Tech, 30-22, in the final minutes, last Friday, took down the defending Commonwealth champions with three sophomores the hit .

One of the only good things coming out of COVID is resilience, Heres said. People have found ways to get things done. These kids have proven that and every time they were down and out they eventually come back.

We were a vocational school and we have that lunch-bucket mentality. We just work hard. And since day one, I’ve been telling the kids that I don’t care if you’re a senior or freshman, the kid who plays the hardest gets to play.

Northeast lives by the motto MAD, which stands for Motivated, Aggressive and Determined.

Sousa’s older brother, Anthony, lived by that credo when he played fullback in vocational school before graduating in 2017, and now the sophomore is trying to live up to that legacy by working his tail off no matter what position his team needs.

I have not looked [at the film] still, but I know I have to work a lot, Sousa said. I could have played better, but I gave everything I had. I will certainly strive to be a starter for the rest of the year. Nothing is final, and there are a lot of people with potential, so it will work hard to keep my position.

The phrase new normal carries some extra weight in Stoughton.

The Black Knights kicked off their season with two games at the brand new Veterans Memorial Stadium, built on the site of the old Stoughton High School. Seniors broke into the field for the first real home games of their career, and coach Greg Burke could see the exuberance.

I could see how excited they were, he said. It was like a birthday party, or a first baby [being] born. They were just so happy to be on the new turf.

Stoughton has not had a home edge since 2016, while the school and field underwent a makeover. The Burkes squad has used their new base and some fierce defense to take home wins against Oliver Ames (29-7 on March 12) and Foxboro (21-7 on Friday).

I am very happy [about] where we’re defensive, but the kids ticked off that we’ve even given up two touchdowns, Burke said.

Burke adds that part of a strong defense is attacking the tempo. The running duo of twins Christopher and Christian Ais led a controlling Stoughton attack and combined seven total touchdowns for four of the teams. Both senior captains continue their football careers at the University of New Haven. Burke is delighted to have one last season with the brothers.

They want the ball at the end of the game, he said. Like in basketball like Larry Bird. And that’s an incredible sign. We are lucky.

Jack Ford took in a few long TD passes in Lynnfield’s 13-7 Cape Ann comeback win over Newburyport on Saturday. But Pioneer’s defense was immense with some game-saving plays. Twice Lynnfield denied Newburyport at the goal line and quit quarterback John Sullivan as time went on in the first half. And then, with 25 seconds to go, when Sullivan threw laterally Jake Buontempo, but linebacker John Berquis previously made the first hit Riley Spencer participated.

It was a big grind, said Lynnfield coach Pat LamustaThe defense was impressive and we ended up with enough points to get it done. The goal line is god! It was just nice to see the work of the week paying off. I am very happy with the defense, very happy

Bakari Mitchell also had a highlight reel interception, jump a route to wrestle the ball away Trevor WardBakaris’s interception was just impressively athletic, the coach said. Anytime the ball is in his vicinity, it can be a problem for the opposing team. Defensive lineman Sam Gazit also forced a fumble.

Rockland broke Abington’s 12-game win streak with a 17-14 victory Saturday morning at Hingham High. It’s the Bulldogs’ 18th victory in their last 19 games dating back to the 2018 consolation rounds.

Duxbury kicker Pines Sullivan made four extra points and a 37-yard field goal in a 37-0 Patriot win over Silver Lake.

Correspondents Ethan Fuller and Cam Kerry also contributed.

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