Georgetown Royals Football '07

Bryan Eaton, Staff Photographer

Georgetown seniors responsible for football team's success

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It doesn't take long for Georgetown senior Nadjee Harrigan to pinpoint the difference in the school's football team over the past three seasons.

Having started his football career as a sophomore under coach Paul Swaim, Harrigan played on an average 2005 team that finished 5-5 | two wins shy of a playoff berth. "Every game was a measuring stick," Harrigan said. "We didn't know if we were getting better."

Two years later, the Royals (8-1, 4-0) are in control of their own playoff destiny with one game to play | a Thanksgiving morning showdown with Commonwealth Conference Small rival Manchester Essex (8-2, 3-1).

But Harrigan doesn't need to use Thursday's game as evidence that the program is improving under second-year coach Matt Bouchard.

He's known that for some time.

"For two years, we've consistently raised our intensity," Harrigan said. "Rain or shine, we're practicing every day until 5:30 p.m., and then we're hitting the sleds. That's Coach Bouchard's style. We play until the last whistle." Georgetown has a cast of four seniors set to play until the final whistle of their high school careers. Captain Jeff Rollins, who started playing for the high school team in seventh-grade, has played under four head coaches | Jack Donovan (2002), Greg Brotherton (2003), Swain (2004-05) and Bouchard (2006-07). Fellow senior Jay Nemeroff joined the team in eighth-grade. Brandon Wade put on the pads one year before Harrigan as a freshman.

Bouchard believes his four seniors are as responsible for building a winning program as anyone.

"We're a team that doesn't solely rely on one person," Bouchard said. "To establish that philosophy, you need leaders in place to reinforce that. We have 11 guys on the field buying into it, and that's because we have four seniors driving it home."

Georgetown's recent coaching turnover, which brought four head coaches to Georgetown in a five-year span, made it difficult to establish an identity as a program. The seniors agree that, under Bouchard, there is no longer a question as to what type of team they'd like to become.

"It's been like night and day," Wade said. "We've learned things about football we never knew existed. Now we know we want to compete for a playoff berth, and we've done it. And we don't have to rely on anyone else to lose. It's always good when you only have to rely on yourself."

That would be a change from last season when Manchester Essex had already clinched the conference title prior to the Thanksgiving showdown. Regardless, the Royals gave their best effort in the last game at Joseph M. Hyland Field in Manchester, pulling off a 28-27 upset against the Hornets' first-team offense and defense.

That victory seemed to jump-start the Royals this season. Reaping the benefits of a year-plus of Bouchard's commitment to the weight-room and a spread offense, the locals are 8-1 and 4-0 in the CCS.

"The program has been on the upswing," Rollins said. "I feel that we are building each year. It feels really good to know we'll leave the program as its still progressing."

Nemeroff is quick to clarify that the Royal seniors aren't ready to leave the program in good hands just yet.

"Not everyone gets to end their senior year by going to the playoffs," Nemeroff said. "That's the plan for us."

1 Story Comments

1         JFG

As a local sports official, we appreciate a team like Georgetown. They are well-mannered, well-coached, and tough football players. Good luck this Thursday!

Report! #1 11/20/2007 03:30 PM