Boston High School: Carnell

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
2:00
PM ET
At the risk of pilfering a line from Charles Dickens’ immortal novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” the 2010 football season was the best of times and the worst of times for Hendricken High coach Keith Croft.

Rhode IslandCroft, who was voted the Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year by Words Unlimited (the state-wide organization of sports writers, sportscasters and sports publicists), guided the Hawks to their first Division I Super Bowl championship in 15 years – and went undefeated (13-0) in the process (Hendricken edged Portsmouth, 20-17, for the title).

The worst of times occurred on November 6, when his son, Caden (who was born on July 4), underwent surgery to have a shunt implanted in the back of his head – because the infant was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition where the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord doesn’t drain properly and creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

Fortunately for Croft and his wife Kerri, the operation was successful and young Caden may be on the sideline (okay, in the stands) as his dad tries to coach Hendricken to another Super Bowl crown.

If the Hawks do repeat, it will be due in large part to two facts:
  • They return a pair of First Team All-State selections in senior wide receiver / defensive back Ryan Brannigan and senior offensive tackle Max Heintzleman.
  • They also will suit up 21 seniors, many of whom saw significant playing time last season.

Brannigan invariably figured prominently in all-purpose yardage since he caught 14 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns and also carried the ball 64 times for 327 yards and one score.

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