FRAMINGHAM – This has not been a conventional football season for the Framingham High squad.
Even before the season started, there were concerns the team may never play a game.
Almost all of the football coaches, including head coach Gary Doherty, were placed on administrative leave in August and the program was under investigation due to turf burns after a practice at Phil Read Field.
That controversy brought the team together. The captains had a meeting to fight for their coaches and their season.
“We can’t let one incident get rid of all the hard work we put into this year,” said captain Anthony Parisi, at that meeting.
“We can’t let it dictate our season,” said captain Mike Stournaras at that meeting.
“It’s just a minor setback to what is going to be a good season,” said captain Jared Brockway. “I know it is going to be a good season, because we have the talent, the dedication, and we have the pride, and because we believe in what we can do. We believe when this season gets going. When we finally face another team we will be alright. Because we have that mentality.”
That mental toughness has been needed this season.
The Flyers are 1-10 headed into the annual Thanksgiving game against rival Natick High School.
Thursday’s 10 a.m. battle at Bowditch Field will be the 111th Thanksgiving game between the two towns. Natick leads rivalry on Turkey Day 74-32-5.
The traditional Natick vs Framingham game was first played in 1904 with Framingham shuting out Natick 34-0, but lately the wins have all been Natick.
Natick enters the game with an 8-2 record this season.
But Framingham is better than its 1-9 record, according to captains Will Mellusi and Jared Brockway.
“We lost 6 games by less than one touchdown. We controlled the game against the league champions, Newton North, but lost because of one score at the end,” said Mellusi. “Little things have killed us whether it’s been an injury or a mistake. I’m disappointed in our record, but I am proud to be a captain of this team, because we have come together, faced challenges and the whole team gave their best effort. We have had leaders rise and players that have shown incredible resiliency in difficult times. People have stepped up to the plate. After our quarterback got hurt in the first game, freshman quarterback Jack Beverly came up and played the remainder of the season, doing a better job than anyone could have asked.”
“Our team showed a lot of potential this year. We had to work through a variety of adversities and it brought us together. From losing our starting QB week 1 to losing several close games, we’ve been resilient. We missed the playoffs by 1 game,” said Brockway.
Mellusi said the “season did not go the way that we wanted, however it did show potential that we haven’t seen in years past.”
Last year, the Flyers ended the season 2-9. The year before, the Flyers were winless, under head coach Doherty.
Thursday will be the final high school game for the seniors, including Brockway and Mellusi.
“I wouldn’t pick any other team to be a part of. It’s surreal that Thursday is my final high school football game. All of the seniors have worked so hard for 11 months to play for 48 more minutes,” said Brockway. “It’s an honor to represent Framingham on Thanksgiving day, and we hope to bring the trophy back to this town.”
Framingham High football has five captain this season. They are Marcus Elysee, Brcockway, Mellusi, Parisi, and Stournaras.
- The annual football pep rally will be held at Framingham High’s gym for students today, Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m. It is closed to the public.
- Tonight, Nov. 23 at 6:30 the community is invited to a pep rally and bonfire at Bowditch field. Click here for more details. The Framingham High cheerleaders, who finished fourth in the state and qualified for nationals, will also perform.
- Thanksgiving Day at 9:30 a.m. at Bowditch Field – seniors on the football team and the cheerleading squad will be honored in a ceremony with their parents.
- Kick off at Bowditch Field is at 10 a.m. Admission is $10 adults $5 students.
- At halftime, seniors in the award-winning marching band will be honored.
- After the game will be the presentation of the Elks trophy.