St. John's Eagles Football '07

Prep reunion brings out the old stories

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Thursday, November, 22 By Jean DePlacido

St. John's Prep has a rich football tradition and on the eve of the Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Xaverian former players and their coaches gathered at the Danversport Yacht Club to renew old friendships in the 100th year of the sport at the Prep.

Four state championship teams were honored | 1966, '67, '82, and '97 while the 1914 National Catholic Championship team was also acknowledged. People are still talking about the 1997 team captained by Brian Lentz, Wayne Lucier, Zack Magliaro, and Brian St. Pierre. Lucier went on to play in the NFL for the Giants and Packers while St. Pierre is still in the league with the Steelers.

"It doesn't seem possible that it has been 10 years since that game," said Magliaro, who went on to star at UMaine and still lives in Beverly.

His team won the Catholic Conference by beating Xaverian, 15-14 in a thriller between two teams that came into the contest undefeated, and went on to capture the Division 1 Super Bowl championship over New Bedford, 25-0. The Eagles were ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 23 in the country that year with a perfect 11-0-0 record.

"I still run into people around Boston College where I work, who remember that game well," said Andy St. Pierre, a 1999 grad who started for the '97 squad and went on to Harvard. "Some of them played for Xaverian in that game."

Paul "Buster" DiVincenzo coached football and baseball at St. John's. He was at the helm for the first undefeated state champion baseball team in 1960 and also the first ever unbeaten football team in 1966. That squad won the Eastern Mass. and Class B state titles with an 8-0-1 mark.

"It is always nice to see my former players and have them remember me," said DiVincenzo. "I love to see them doing well and they tell me about their families. I think we all must have done a good job."

One of DiVincenzo's favorite players, Charlie Gianturco, who graduated in 1968, went on to a 27-year career with the FBI. "I was one of the sons Buster never had," said Gianturco. "He taught me some valuable lessons in life, and I was fortunate to have never lost a high school game."

In Gianturco's senior year, the Eagles went 9-0-0 under coach Fred Glatz, who took over from 1967-'83 and posted a record of 105-41-7. Glatz had another special team in 1982 that won the Catholic Conference and Division 2 Super Bowl with a 9-0-1 record, and featured his two sons, David and Bobby. Mike Thibault had a big touchdown run against Danvers at the beginning of the season, and after playing baseball at Ithaca College came back to coach with Jim O'Leary.

"We only had one tie that year, and it was against BC High," said Thibault, a musician who grew up in Salem and travels all over the Northeast with his group, The Mike Thibault Band. "I remember we beat Whitman-Hanson in the Super Bowl (7-0) at Foxboro Stadium as it was called then. Playing there was a real thrill."

The Prep connection runs through families from father to son.

Buddy Coady, who grew up in Salem, played for the Eagles from 1971-75, and now his son Chris is a freshman playing safety on the varsity. A guard/linebacker, the elder Coady went on to Harvard, and later returned to coach at St. John's. He and teammate Matt Slaven, a cornerback from Beverly (1976) reminisced about the old days along with Kevin Carney (1985), who was coached by Coady. Carney was urged to go to Harvard by Coady, and played linebacker for the Crimson.

"We had our success through the years," said Glatz. "Seeing so many former players is unbelievable. They tell me I haven't changed, but sometimes I don't recognize them until I hear their names. We've been fortunate to have such a good group."

The state championship teams will be honored at a breakfast before today's game, and the team captains of those squads will go out for the coin toss.

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