Friday, December 10, 2010
Football team gives Carlisle residents a day to remember
The CCHS Patriots football team made its first visit to Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, this past Saturday for the Division 2A Super Bowl state championship. Although the results could have been better – the Duxbury Green Dragons won, 35 to 13 – the Concord-Carlisle athletes gave local attendees an unforgettable experience.
“This was a community event and an experience that people will talk about for years,” said CCHS athletic director Barry Haley. He also noted that it was a great experience for not only the players, but everyone connected with the team: the cheerleaders, members of the band, school faculty, parents and fans.
Haley, who also serves as MIAA president, is aware of how athletics can enrich a high school student’s life. He noted that 60 to 70% of CCHS students participate in athletics. On the stadium “jumbotron” screens, the MIAA showed inspirational clips of former U.S. presidents participating on high school and college athletic teams or, in former President Clinton’s case, in the band.
Metco program yields winners
CCHS star running back George Crann (a junior) and two of the team captains, seniors Jibrail Coy and Ryan Ruiz, all reside in Boston but attend CCHS through the Metco program. Other players on the varsity team residing in Boston include senior Darius Montgomery and juniors Tyquan Culbreath and Anthony West.
Haley explained that CCHS doesn’t recruit players from Boston for the football program. “A majority of the Boston kids start here in the elementary program,” he explained. He acknowledges the particular challenges the kids face at CCHS in making a 5:30 a.m. bus every morning to get to the school in time for classes. After the school day, they attend practice and then catch a 6 p.m. late bus to go home.
“Most of these kids develop a host family out here,” said Haley, “That’s a great connection.” Having a local host family enables the Boston students to stay at the home of a local resident after late games, a school dance or the night before an important test. Haley applauded the diversity and sharing of different perspectives these students bring to the Concord-Carlisle community.
Haley mentioned that when he accepted the job as Athletic Director at CCHS four years ago he’d been warned that he’d find a feeling of “entitlement” here. He said that his experience has been “completely different.” Rather, he has found a place where students excel in academics and athletics through a strong work ethic – they strive to earn their accolades.
As a result, Haley notes that the academically focused school also excels in athletics. He referenced the recent state soccer championship victory, and exceptional performances recently in track and volleyball. Haley added modestly, “I like to think our athletic program offers something of value from 2 to 5 [p.m.].” He thought it a reflection on the school’s overall environment that “in the past 50 years the school has only had three athletic directors and three football coaches.”
A word from coach Belichick
“We all know that, really, the backbone of our game is high school football,” said Belichick, who also highlighted the importance of high school athletics in his talk to the press. “Without high school football, you don’t have college football and you don’t have professional football. I’ll just say that, through the years, of all the kids that we talk to in the draft, in Indianapolis, visits and all that, whenever you ask a kid who had the most influence on them as a person and in his life, it’s usually one of two people: it’s either some family member – a parent or some other family member – or his high school coach.”
Or maybe even your band director. “I think Al Dentino was as thrilled as I was,” said Haley. Prior to leaving CCHS for Gillette, Dentino gave his musicians a pep talk. He noted that in his 30 years at CCHS this was the first time he had brought the band to play at a Superbowl. He discussed the band’s important role in supporting a team, and read a section from The 100-Yard War: Inside the 100-Year-Old Michigan-Ohio State Football Rivalry by Greg Emmanual.
More competitive people who focus only on results may say, “there’s always next year.” For others of us at Gillette on Saturday (many for the first and only time ever), this experience was a once-in a-lifetime chance. ∆
© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito