By Steve Freker
In just one season, Malden High School football junior captain Jerry Mervil has emerged as one of the top players in Eastern Mass.
Just this week Mervil, along with teammate Raushad Moore, senior captain, was named First Team All-Conference in the Northeastern Conference’s (NEC) North Division, a first for Golden Tornado players in their second year in the NEC.
Mervil, a 5-9, 185 rocket, was a two-way starter all year for Malden and led the Tornados is nearly every key statistical category on both sides of the ball. As a free safety, he recorded five interceptions, including a “Pick 6” for a 23-yard touchdown against Peabody. He also returned a fumble 27 yards for a TD in the season opener against Melrose.
Offensively, Mervil’s 10 touchdowns led the Tornados did his over 300 yards both rushing and receiving.
Mervil was named a game captain following a sensational two-way game against Peabody a third of the way into this season and he just kept that “C” tacked on his jersey for the rest of the season, as he continued to show leadership and top-shelf performances.
He played his first two high schools seasons on the other side of town at Malden Catholic, but transferred to Malden High School over the summer and is now entrenched as the “go-to” player on both sides of the ball for the Tornados. Mervil will have a lot of eyes on him as the key man to a Tornado team which returns 18-of-22 starters on both sides of the ball.
He already is on the radar of a number of college recruiters and has sat with coaches of several New England college football programs in just this first week of the high school offseason. The future is bright for this Tornado standout.
The worst-to-first season for Pope John XXIII Tigers football of Everett culminates in a Division 8 Super Bowl appearance on Saturday at Gillette Stadium with a 9:00 a.m. matchup with St. Bernard’s from Central Mass.
Pope John last appeared in the Super Bowl in 1998 while its been since 1997 for St. Bernard’s, so both of these teams are ending “Super” appearance droughts.
St. Bernard’s won the 1997 Division 6A Super Bowl, 39-18 over Madison Park and have not appeared since. Pope John’s one and only appearance also resulted in a victory, 14-6 over Marian High School in the 1998 Division 6 Super Bowl.
First-year Pope John head coach and athletic director Paul Sobolewski has led a dramatic turnaround in football, which saw Pope John drop the sport entirely after the departure of former head coach Brian Vaughan and then resurrect it last year.
For the past two seasons Sobolewski had coached winning seasons at Cathedral High School in Boston, after stops in Georgetown and Winchester. A number of Cathedral players transferred to Pope John along with Coach Sobolewski and have contributed to the big season.
Those who can’t get out to Gillette for the opening slate at 9:00 a.m. can see it on NBC Sports Boston. Kraft Sports Productions will produce the television broadcast, which will air all of Saturday’s games on NBC Sports Boston, except for the 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. games, which will be broadcast on NECN. The games will also be simulcast on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Additionally, Saturday’s games will be streaming on Patriots.com.
The Malden High School football team has a big “shout out” and thank you to Breakaway Sports Lounge and restaurant on Route 1 for providing a sumptuous and seemingly endless spread of delectable food for the Tornado Football Team and Cheerleaders Thanksgiving Eve Team Dinner which was held at the Irish American Club Hall on West Street November 21.
The meal was donated by Breakaway, whose owner Joe Crowley is legendary in his generosity in Malden and other communities, with both the Route 1 Danvers spot and of course, Pisa Pizza on Pearl St. in Malden. The Tornado football team also is the beneficiary of a special team rate when it orders up a round of pizza for the players. At last count? Malden football consumed over 100 pizzas this fall down at the Stadium on a number of nights combined.
Another big thanks goes out to Bobby McVicar, Malden High Class of 1985, another remarkably generous individual and close friend of Crowley’s, who helped coordinate the Thanksgiving team dinner arrangements with Malden High Director of Athletics Charlie Conefrey.
Congratulations to Saugus High seniors Todd Tringale and Jackson Stanton on their recent letter of intent signings to pursue college baseball careers.
Tringale, a 6-2, 195 fire baller, inked a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to accept a Division 1 baseball scholarship from UMass-Amherst.
Stanton, a 5-11, 185 catcher, will be playing his college baseball at St. Joseph College of Maine.
I was fortunate enough to have both coached these two excellent college prospects when they were freshman performing on the Saugus High Varsity Baseball team in 2016 and also to have helped advise and guide them on their paths to the next level. Tringale is the first Division 1 baseball scholarship player in Saugus High history.
A UMass alum myself, I have continued to maintain a great relationship with Minuteman Athletics. When I formerly served as Malden Catholic head baseball coach from 2000-2012, we sent no less than 11 players to UMass-Amherst on Division 1 baseball scholarships, two of them who advanced to the professional ranks (Nick Serino, Washington Nationals, 2009), Pete Copa, Los Angeles Angels, 2011).
The present UMass baseball coaching staff of head coach Matt Reynolds and pitching coach/recruiting coordinator saw Tringale perform at several college prospect exposure events I coordinated and were thrilled to get Todd into the Minuteman fold. Stanton also was seen at several events by SJM Head Coach Will Sanborn prior to his commitment.
Congratulations and good luck to both Sachems, next spring in their final high school seasons and in the future as collegiate standouts.