Bernardians, Monty Tech Meet for Bragging Rights
It’s been a long time -- 30 years -- since St. Bernard’s has claimed the title of being the best football team in the city of Fitchburg.
High school football preview
Some could make the argument that the mid-90s Saints teams which played in Eastern Mass. and even won a Super Bowl title at Nickerson Field in 1997 can claim the mythical city championship in that year, but when it comes to head-to-head matchups, the Harvard Streeters hadn’t been able to claim superiority in that department... until this year.
Friday night, they have the chance to claim that mythical title outright when the Bernardians welcome Monty Tech to the Bernardian Bowl. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.
Coming off an impressive 36-18 win over the Red Raiders of Fitchburg High, a team they have faced six times since 1988 and lost five of them, last Friday night, the Blue and Gold face a gritty, talented Bulldogs team coming off a 30-14 defeat at the hands of Bartlett last weekend.
But while the thoughts of being the best team in the ’Burg will certainly dance like sugarplums on Christmas Eve, the Bernardians will have to put that aside once today turns into tonight, and put their hard hats on and go to work against a Monty Tech team that has given them fits in their recent tilts.
“We want to get better next week,” St. Bernard’s coach Tom Bingham said after last Friday night’s game. “That’s what we’re really looking to do, and listen: we played a decent second half last year against Fitchburg, and we went up to Monty Tech and struggled. We barely snuck out of there with a win; (the Bulldogs) played very well last year. I know (Monty Tech coach Anthony Secino) likes his team, and rumor has it they worked really hard this offseason.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Monty Tech. They came here in a playoff game and nearly beat us. We’ve had some really competitive games with Monty Tech the last three or four years, so we’re pretty excited for that opportunity.”
The Bulldogs had played a solid first half against the Indians last Friday, but the adjustments made by Bartlett in the locker room was the difference as it scored four second-half TDs.
But that was last week, and Monty Tech is looking ahead to the Bernies.
“We played hard last week,” Secino said earlier this week. “The result wasn’t what we were looking for, but it was a game until the end. We’re looking forward to the challenge this week of playing at the Bowl. (St. Bernard’s) are well coached and they’re a good team with a lot of skilled kids.
“It’s an inner-city game, and we are looking forward to it.”
At Doyle tonightLeominster will host Westfield, where the Blue Devils will look to get onto the winning side of the ledger against a Bombers team that throttled Ludlow, 39-0, last Friday night.
Westfield gave the Lions all they could handle, between an early special teams touchdown and some hard running by Dakotah Moynihan (163 yards on 16 carries), as well as 7-of-13 out of quarterback Mike Nihill.
The Bombers won’t find the challenge of Leominster as easy, given the Blue Devils’ defensive array.
Fitchburg, too, will look to get on the winning side, and they’ll have to slow down the vaunted double wing of host Shepherd Hill Regional at Carmignani Stadium in Dudley.
“We know it’s going to be a physical battle,” FHS coach Tom DiGeronimo said last weekend. “They’re very physical, they have size up front. They run that (double wing) offense as good as anybody, and our kids, we have to fix some things that are very fixable, and we’ll get after it.”
Important for Fitchburg? The play of their inside linebackers, who will have to be patient with their interior reads: with so much misdirection behind the line of scrimmage in the double wing, the Raiders’ ILBs will have to stay on their toes and be ready to wrap up the instant that maroon jersey comes through the line.
Also on the agenda for Week Two:
Oakmont Regional will host Clinton, Lunenburg will host Gardner, Nashoba hosts Westboro, and Ayer-Shirley hosts Southbridge, all on Friday night.
On Saturday, North Middlesex will host Groton-Dunstable in the Border War at Nashoba Tech beginning at 7 p.m. Both teams are looking for their first win.