Boston High School: Andrew Crane

All-ISL football team

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
4:33
PM ET
The Independent School League today announced its All-ISL football team for this season

Coaches or league representatives, across all fall sports, are encouraged send their league All-Star lists to editors Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com) and Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com):

Belmont Hill
Evan Chaletzky, Jr. WR/K
Eric Gustafson, Sr. DB
Harry Kraft, Jr. QB
Joe LaLiberte, Sr. OL
Greg Plumb, Sr. RB

Brooks
Chris Cervizzi, Jr. RB
Geoff Fulgione, Sr. LB
Andrew Konovalchik, Sr. DB

BB&N
Patrick Champagnie, Sr. DB
Frankie Williams, Sr. RB
Dante Papas, Sr. LB
Matt Bonazzolli, Sr. RB
Connor Coady, Sr. OG
Mike McCaffrey, Sr. WR

Governor's Academy
Jesse Gwozdz, Sr. RB
Bug Carper, Sr. LB
Mark Hoffman, Sr. OL
James Leary, Sr. OL
Tyler Harrington, Jr. OL
Brandon Lopez, Jr. RB
Tommy Vailas, Sr. QB

Groton
Austin Stern, Sr. LB
John Beatty, Soph. RB

Lawrence Academy
Andrew Crane, Sr. DL
Kyle Howes, Sr. FS
Chris Garrison, Jr. WR
Austin Luckey, Jr. FB
Rocco Daigneault, Sr. LB

Middlesex School
Hasani Figueroa, Sr. RB
Charlie Owen, Sr. LB
George Morris, Jr. LB
Sam Carlin, Jr. LB

Milton Academy
Drew Jacobs, Sr. RB
Anthony Scurto, Sr. QB
Matt Morin, Sr. LB
Bobby Gilmore, Jr. OL
Peter Graves, Sr. DL
Luke MacDonald, Sr. LB
Justin Yoon, Jr. K

Noble & Greenough
Alex Beach, Sr. DL
Ryan Vultaggio, Sr. QB
John McCarthy, Sr. DB
Martin Williams, Soph. DT
John Keally, Sr. LB
Teddy Strzetelski, Jr. DE

Roxbuty Latin
Mark Goldstein, Sr. OL
Duncan Finigan, Sr. OL
Sean Lowrie, Jr. WR
Kevin Cohee, Sr. TE

St. George's
Sage Hill, Sr. RB
Jonathan Lumley, Jr. WR

St. Paul's
David Smith, Sr. WR
John Bews, Jr. TE
Colin Sequiera, Sr. QB

St. Sebastian's
Connor Strachan, Sr. LB
Dan Fulham, Sr. DE
Will Kenny, Sr. OL
Joe Kearney, Sr. DB
John McNamara, Sr. DL

Thayer Academy
Quentin Hall, Sr. OL
Jack Becker, Sr. QB

Sanctions almost behind, LA turning the corner

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
3:39
PM ET
GROTON, Mass. -- Paul Zukauskas, the third year coach at Lawrence Academy, prefers to weigh in on the positives within his football program instead of dark cloud that still lingers from a checkered past.

The Spartans begin ISL play on Saturday at 1 p.m., traveling to defending two-time league champion Governor’s Academy. This game is one in a many steps taken by the Spartans in their efforts to distance themselves from the negativity that has embedded them from a couple of years back.

But the attitude throughout the team has remained the same. The outlook is to build off of last year’s 6-2 campaign and continue to move forward in a positive manner.

“You constantly want to improve but ultimately it’s up to the kids,” said Zukauskas. “It’s not about me and my program. It’s about the kids and in particular our seniors and their leadership. I'm not a big believer of going 8-0 as a goal. I'm more of a believer of us being as good as we can be. That's the goal everytime we go out to practice. There is an urgency here to get better and that's what we preach.”

Because of the sanctions levied against them in 2011 by the ISL after finding significant evidence of violations committed within the program which included wrongful funding to student-athletes and improper off-season practices, LA begins its third and final year under these sanctions. Among the penalties handed down includes a banishment to partake in any postseason NEPSAC Bowls this season, even if the Spartans should qualify.

In 2011 it was revealed that the football program, under the direction of then head coach Mike Taylor, committed infractions during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the same two years LA won ISL titles. At the time, the ISL kept the violations quiet but it was later revealed by former school headmaster Scott Wiggins that funding was provided to student-athletes that went beyond their demonstrated need. He also said the team performed off-season summer training sessions -- a violation according to ISL rules. In addition to the three-year bowl ban, the Spartans were also stripped of their two ISL championships. The conflict eventually would lead to the resignations of Taylor, Wiggins and former athletic director Kathy Noble.

The memories of these transgressions are nothing more than a forgone conclusion by the present day Spartans. They are well-aware of what transpired and the penalties which accompanied them yet they say it means nothing. Right now the only thing that matters is playing football and making the most out of the 2013 season.

“We really have no control over what happened in the past but we can control this season,” said senior lineman and co-captain Andrew Crane. “That is all we are focusing on. We just want to go out and be the best we can be.”

Zukauskas -- a former BC High and Boston College standout, who spent five seasons in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers -- walked into a program at the height of turmoil. Nevertheless, Zukauskas has kept a positive attitude throughout and continues to maintain a strong belief that things will turn around. In his first season, Zukauskas finished 3-5 before the success of last year.

“There is so much opportunity here to do something special and that's the way we are looking at it,” he said. “If we can compete and be as good as we can then what a great message we are sending to everybody that despite the adversity we're still as good as we can be. Yes we want to play in a NEPSAC Bowl again soon but what is even better is to have this adversity we are currently under and be able to overcome it.”

LA remains primed to improve upon last season’s success. The Spartans return a number of veteran players, most-notably at the skill positions. They are led by senior quarterback Kyle Howes, junior receivers Chris Garrison, Austin Luckey and tight end Kyle Gillem-Hughes. Junior Nick Schutz and freshman AJ Dillon are expected to carry much of the load at running back. The Spartans are also well-stacked up front. Along with Crane, others anchoring the line include seniors Rocco Daigneault , Cornelius Griffith, Will Blundo, along with juniors Islambek Mussayev, Craig Waldie and David Pyne.

“We return a lot of starters and have some talented new kids who have come in,” Crane said. “Coming into this year we seem much-more focused and there is a lot of enthusiasm. We are all conditioned and ready to go.”

Adds Daigneault, also a co-captain, “We’ve bonded as a family here. At the start of pre-season we spent a lot of time together and grew together. We are a real tight-knit group ready to play some football.”

While depth in some areas remains a concern, it may ring no louder than on defense. LA graduated two of its top defensive backs -- Jalen Myrie and Darrien Myers a year ago. However a defense, ranked second in the ISL last year, is far from being gutted. Luckey, who also plays linebacker, was the Spartans leading tackler a year ago. Sophomore linebacker Jake Cassidy is also expected to make an impact. Howes, another co-captain playing safety along with Schutz at defensive back, will lead the secondary.

Perhaps the biggest intangible so far has been attitude. The Spartans contend they are thoroughly focused and determined to bring the program back to the elite status.

“Everyone comes to practice more concentrated than any other team I’ve ever been around,” said Howes. “Everyone is totally focused. We have film and white board sessions and everyone comes with notebook in hand ready to learn.”

LAWRENCE ACADEMY AT A GLANCE
Head Coach: Paul Zukauskas (3rd year, 9-7)
Last Year: 6-2
Key Returners: Sr. OL/DL Andrew Crane (6-1, 270), Sr. OL/DL Rocco Daigneault (6-1, 230), Sr. QB/S Kyle Howes (6-3, 200), Sr. OL/DL Cornelius Griffith (6-1, 220), Sr. OL/LB Will Blundo (5-10, 205), Jr. WR/LB Chris Garrison (6-3, 217), Jr. FB/WR/LB Austin Luckey (6-1, 210), Jr. RB/DB Nick Schutz (6-0, 185), Jr. TE/DL Kyle Gillen-Hughes (6-2, 210), Jr. OL/DL Craig Waldie (6-2, 210), Jr. OL/DL Islambek Mussayev (6-4, 240).
Top Newcomers: Jr. OL/DL David Pyne (6-3, 285), Soph. LB Jake Cassidy (5-10, 170), Fr. RB A.J. Dillon (6-0, 205)
Outlook: The Spartans have enough talent to remain in the upper-echelon of the ISL standings throughout the season. LA primary strength will be its offensive and defensive line, both rock solid and spearheaded by by Crane, Daigneault and Milford High transfer Pyne. This wall should open up large spaces for RBs Schutz and newcomer Dillon, and give Howes enough time to stand in the pocket, find his receivers and pick apart opposing defenses. Defense will be the big question early on with the departures of DBs Myrie and Myers. Howes and Schutz are expected to take control of the secondary but will get much-needed help from LBs Luckey, Blundo, Garrison and Cassidy. Despite not being eligible for postseason play because of the sanctions handed down in 2011, LA remains highly-optimistic that the program has moved beyond the issues which occurred in 2009 and 2010 under former coach Mike Taylor.

Guertin prepares for Mass. bout with No. 8 CM

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
2:27
PM ET
NASHUA, N.H. — As if the challenge isn't already immense, the fact Bishop Guertin drubbed Catholic Memorial a year ago makes beating the Bay State squad a second time doubly difficult.

“They are going to be out for revenge,” BG senior quarterback Steve Cuipa said without the slightest hint of a smile during Tuesday's rain-soaked practice behind the high school.

Riding a state-best 20-game win streak and ranked No. 3 in New Hampshire, the Cardinals certainly don't expect Friday's 7 p.m. rematch in West Roxbury to resemble last October's laugher. BG blasted Catholic Memorial, 52-13, at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.

The Knights, currently ranked eighth in the ESPNBoston.com Mass. Top 25, haven't forgotten. Their 121 yards of total offense were dwarfed by BG's 450.

“The results last year weren't very pleasing to our side,” CM head coach Alex Campea said by phone. “There's no mincing words. They took it to us pretty good on offense, defense and special teams. If that's a motivating factor, that's a good thing.”

BG – last year's runaway No. 1 team in New Hampshire – scored the game's first 24 points. The rout helped cement the '09 squad among the Granite State's four greatest single-season teams in the schoolboy football playoff era (1972-present). Guertin joined Manchester Memorial (1972), Derry's Pinkerton Academy (1985) and Manchester Central (2004).

But the group Guertin (4-0, 3-0 Div. II) brings into this game bares little resemblance to last year's undefeated Division II champion. Thirty-four seniors graduated from the title team. For that matter, CM (3-0) also features several new faces.

The signal callers, however, are back.

A.J. Doyle leads CM's spread offense. The 6-foot 3-inch, 220-pound junior connected with wideout Armani Reeves for a game-winning 67-yard touchdown in CM's season opener against Lynn Classical.

Cuipa guides Guertin's spread-option attack. The 6-foot-2, 178-pounder threw for 198 yards and three TDs in BG's Week 1 rout at Salem. He also rushed for 51 yards.

Quarterbacks aside, BG's linebackers versus Catholic Memorial's multiple playmakers may be the most pivotal matchup.

Senior Jim Kemos, junior Nolan Cornell and sophomore Andrew Crane are BG's second-level stoppers. The trio is tough on plays between the tackles. But can it prevent junior running backs Donovan Henry and William Earl, along with Reeves, from making plays in the open field?

“They are big and they are fast,” BG head coach Tony Johnson said of the Knights. “If these kids get into space … we'll be chasing a lot of people.”

Campea's focus is making sure momentum this season continues to build for Catholic Memorial. His team last year left Nashua with its first loss in five games. CM went 1-4 after the Guertin game, the four losses coming against league rivals in the super-competitive Catholic Conference.

“We're going to be ready to go,” Campea said. “We're always excited about playing on Friday night. We're always excited about playing at home. That doesn't change when the opponent is a non-league opponent.

“There's a memory of how we didn't perform (last year),” Campea added. “But I want them thinking about how we need to perform.”

Catholic Memorial, though, isn't the only team prepared to make a point.

“This, to me, is as big a game as we're ever going to have,” said Johnson, who feels BG is representing New Hampshire's 57 schools fielding varsity football teams. “We all feel pretty compelled to make sure that people realize that this brand of football is pretty good. And despite the fact we're only 45 miles north of Boston, we do have a very talented group of kids in the state of New Hampshire.”

Or, as Cuipa said during Tuesday's downpour: “We want to go down there, play our best and win.”

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News and UnionLeader.com. He has been the high schools reporter for football and lacrosse since joining the statewide newspaper in 2006. A graduate of Syracuse University (2000), he wrote about the state's football history for an exhibit at The Hall at Patriot Place. The Bedford, N.H., native has covered the Little League World Series, NCAA men's lacrosse championships, UNH athletics and New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com.

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