The Green Wave dedicated the season to Kelliher’s late wife, Elaine, who died April 18. They donned yellow patches with her initials, “EFK,” on their uniform tops all season.
The future: Kilmain, the Green Wave’s most powerful weapon, will return; and most importantly, Kelliher intends to be back for his 43d season.
Small School State Vocational Bowl
Blue Hills 26, Minuteman 8
Defining moment of the season: The 10-2 Warriors fell short in their bid for the Mayflower Large title with a 28-26 defeat to Bristol-Plymouth, but coach Ed Catabia points to a 22-16 win over Greater Lawrence on Nov. 9.
“They’re a division up for us,” said Catabia. “The kids really came into their own during a tough, tough game.”
Key play of Bowl: The Mustangs recovered a fumble in the end zone to cut the deficit to six, 14-8, early in the second half, but Blue Hills responded with a 6-yard score from Michael Kelly to widen the lead to 20-8.
Unsung hero: Star Vincent Burton was able to contribute a touchdown, 2-point conversion and 34 rushing yards in his final game before injuring his Achilles tendon and sitting out the second half. Kelly took over, scoring two touchdowns, a 13-yard in the third quarter and a 6-yard score in the fourth.
“Michael Kelly did a superb job, especially in the second half,” said Catabia. “Michael took control and had a great game.”
Stat check: Vincent Burton ended his impeccable career with 650 total points, 90 touchdowns, 55 two-point conversions, and 5,527 rushing yards. This season, he rushed for a school-record 2,193 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He ends his career No. 3 on the state’s all-time career point total list.
Coach Ed Catabia: “It was a complete readjustment year for us,” he said. “We had kids that virtually had no varsity experience. To do what those kids did this year, to go 10-2 was just unbelievable. It’s easy to coach when you have everybody back, when you have all these kids that have all this experience, but when you have kids that have very little experience with a completely new offensive line to go 10-2, that’s a pretty darn good job that those kids did this year.”
The future: The Warriors will graduate 19 seniors, but Catabia is not worried; he is used to dealing with turnover. This year’s squad only had three returning starters.
“These kids come from nine different towns,” said Catabia. “They don’t know each other when they come here. They’ve never played together. I’ve had kids that never put on a football uniform. This was the first time they ever put a football uniform on and we beat some good caliber teams, so it’s pretty remarkable and as coaches we knew we had to take baby steps and teach the kids first.”
Coryn Doncaster can be reached at email@example.com.