Woburn’s Justin Flores looks forward to the challenge of maintaining the winning tradition as the Tide’s new head coach
By Joe McConnell
As the days are getting shorter and summer vacations are coming to an end, it’s that time of year to dread the inevitable of returning to the daily work grind. Another indication that the fall season will soon be upon us is the sight of high school athletes getting ready for their respective campaigns.
In Everett, much of the fall sports attention will once again be placed on the football team as it begins another new era after coach Rob DiLoreto resigned earlier this year. The Everett native had just completed his third year on the job and seemingly had the program back on track to a return of Super Bowl glory after compiling a 20-3 record that led to three straight Greater Boston League titles. But behind the scenes internal “circumstances” caused him to leave his “dream job.”
The Everett School Committee chose Justin Flores, a Woburn native, as his successor on July 1, and he has been playing catch up ever since to get to know his players, so everybody would be on the same page once camp opened up last Friday, Aug. 18. “With the limited amount of time we have had together, we were just focused on getting a lifting and running program established to set the culture,” said Flores. “We didn’t participate in any 7-on-7 leagues this summer, because we didn’t have an offense or defense established or taught at the time.”
But there is no shortage of players for the new coach to work with this year. “We have 80-plus players in the program,” he said. “But we have been limited in what we can do during the first couple of days, because of statewide rules. We have, however, still maximized everything we can do at this stage from individual to full-team [workouts].”
Breaking the players down by classes, Flores has 28 seniors, 16 juniors and 21 sophomores currently on the varsity squad. “All positions are currently wide open,” he said, “and I have already been impressed by a number of players, including Pedro Rodrigues, Domenic Papa and Jayden Prophete.”
Prophete, Papa and Rodrigues are three of the team’s captains, along with Christian Zamor and Aidan Duclos. They are all seniors.
Flores likes what he sees from his skilled position players, and he considers them to be the team’s strength, not to mention his linebackers and running backs. The lone weakness might be depth along both the offensive and defensive lines.
The first-year Everett coach has scheduled two scrimmages: against Mansfield on Aug. 29 and host Peabody on Sept 1. The Crimson Tide will then definitely hit the ground running when they face perennial Division 1 Super Bowl contender Xaverian to open up the regular season on its Westwood campus on Friday, Sept. 8, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Something about Flores
The new Everett High football coach started playing the sport at the age of eight in the Woburn Pop Warner League. He then continued on to Woburn High School before spending a postgraduate year at Tilton Academy in New Hampshire. He then played for four years at the University of Maine – from 2011-15. During those four falls, the Black Bears qualified for the playoffs twice, while also winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2013.
Flores got into coaching because he wanted to help young men develop on and off the field, plus he never really wanted to leave the game when his playing career was over. Before Everett, he was at Bentley in 2016 as its running back coach. He then coached at his college alma mater from 2017-22, first teaching the running backs the finer points of the game. The Black Bears won the conference in 2017 before advancing to the national semifinals. He was then promoted to wide receiver coach and recruiting coordinator.
He came to Everett because it’s a historical job that gets the support of the city in general after decades of winning. He definitely considers this job to be a new challenge at a different level, and that was also a big part in his decision-making process. During the day away from the gridiron, he will be a member of the Everett Public School staff.