One could forgive Xaverian coach Al Fornaro if he requested an Everett scorecard to see who is coaching the Crimson Tide.
For the third time in his seven years at the helm, Fornaro will lead the Hawks into the season opener Friday night (7:30 at the Hawk Bowl) against an Everett team with a new coach in Justin Flores.
“Certainly it is easier when you go up against a team whose coach has been there for a while because you do know a lot of their tendencies,” Fornaro said. “We know (Flores) comes in having coached in college and he has a new staff. We did exchange tapes so we’ll see what we can pick up from there.”
While Flores’ coaching resume is primarily at the college ranks, he knows how big the annual Everett-Xaverian game is. What he is trying to do is make sure the game doesn’t get too big for his younger players.
“We’ve been telling the kids to treat this like it’s just another game,” said Flores, who spent six years coaching at the University of Maine. “We don’t want the highs to be too high and the lows too low.”
In last year’s meeting, Xaverian was able to so what it wanted on offense en route to a 49-19 victory. Henry Hasselbeck made the most of his first start at Xaverian, throwing for 226 yards and three touchdowns, including a 44-yarder to Jonathan Monteiro to get the ball rolling.
“We just can’t let Xaverian get the big plays like they did last year,” Flores said. “They’ve got a good offensive line and good skill players, so we have to be able to come up with big stops on defense.”
One of the big questions for Everett was who would be replacing All-Scholastic Karmarri Ellerbe at quarterback and the answer is Carlos Rodriquez. He will have the benefit of throwing to a receiving corps led by BC-bound standout Christian Zamor.
In other top matchups this weekend, Brockton and Barnstable will be competing for the inaugural Copeland Cup Friday night at Marciano Stadium. The cup is named for Copeland Automotive owner Todd Copeland, who refers to both places as his hometowns. In addition to the Cup, each school’s athletic department will receive $5,000.
Central Catholic travels to Springfield Central in one of the better nonleague Div. 1 matchups in recent years. Methuen is at Lincoln-Sudbury in an early showdown of top 10 programs, while defending Div. 1 state champion St. John’s Prep visits Marshfield.
Jim Kelliher begins his 50th and final season as head coach at Abington with a tough early test against visiting Cohasset. Milton is at Scituate, while King Philip hosts Walpole.