Boston High School: Ed Catabia

Recap: Blue Hills 16, Boston Cathedral 14

December, 3, 2011
WALTHAM, Mass. -- For a minute, it appeared Boston Cathedral had won their first Super Bowl in school history.

Then, there was a flag.

Senior quarterback Matt Owens was flagged for lifting his right pointer finger toward the sky during a fourth-quarter sprint on the 24-yard line of Blue Hills. All the momentum immediately shifted to the Warriors, who escaped with a dramatic, 16-14 victory Saturday at Bentley University.

“On the game being played, we won the game, [but] I give Blue Hills a lot of credit. They’re a great football team, [and] we deserved better,” Boston Cathedral head coach Duane Sigsbury said.

As for Blue Hills head coach Ed Catabia, he appeared more relieved and overjoyed that his team was able to walk off the field with a victory.

“I’ve had these kids in class [since] their sophomore year," Catabia said. "They’re undefeated as freshman [and] we knew that they were a good team.”

Warriors’ senior quarterback John Curran jumpstarted his offense on the team’s first drive with a 45-yard strike to senior Isaiah Teixeira before senior running back Vincent Brown trotted past the Panthers defense for a one yard score on the ensuing possession.

Boston Cathedral responded after an unproductive first quarter with two touchdowns before halftime, as senior quarterback Matt Owens connected with senior teammate Carlos Bermudez on a 44-yard pass, and then ran for a three-yard score.

In the second half, Boston Cathedral produced two critical turnovers, an interception and a fumble, which Blue Hills couldn’t capitalize on. Yet, the Warriors offense did win the time of passion battle, as they finished the final two quarters with 29 plays compared to Boston Cathedral, who had 17.

“We took some time off the clock and that was one of our goals is to take some time off the clock [in the second half],” said Catabia.

“We just wanted [to get a few] first downs, [and] that’s all that mattered,” Warriors quarterback John Curran said. “We weren’t worried about milking the clock, as much as just trying to get in the end zone.”

Blue Hills offense produced Boston Cathedral’s only points of the second half, as they snapped the ball high above their quarterback late in the fourth quarter and out of the end zone before they stopped the Panthers on their final drive of the game, which was an incomplete pass from Owens to Bermudez.

Prior to kick-off, both coaches and captains met to discuss the rules for the game and in that particular meeting, the referees reminded the participants that they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate a touchdown before it was scored.

However, Sigsbury believed that the decision to flag Owens, who did celebrate the potential go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, was the wrong decision, and certainly, it seemed as if he believed the Panthers should have been crowned champions.

“[The game] got taken away from us, and what else can you do,” Sigsbury said. “If you’re going to take away from a kid being excited because he just made the play of his life, shame on you.”

When asked about the touchdown that was revoked, Blue Hills head coach Ed Catabia responded by saying, “We try to play by the rules, and the rule is that there is no celebrating. It was unfortunate for him [and]; it was a great a call. It’s just unfortunate that’s how it turned out.”

Boston Cathedral certainly had chances in the second half to score, but this particular play will certainly be in the back of their minds prior to the start of next years season.

Burton recorded 150 yards on 36 carries, as well as one touchdown, but the biggest offensive series of the game came for the senior running back in the third quarter, as he recorded 13-of-19 plays from the line of scrimmage.

“It was very important [because] we had to keep control of the ball, and let the clock run out, so that we could just eventually win the game,” said Burton, when asked to describe the play call in the third quarter.

When asked to describe the play of Burton, Currant commented by saying, “[He’s] unbelievable player. He’s one of the best backs I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible watching it from after I hand the ball, it’s like watching him make the cuts and hit the defense, and it’s unbelievable.”

What it means to win a championship

After losing last year to Shawsheen Regional Technical High School, both Burton and Curran explained they were overjoyed and happy to end their final season with a championship.

“I [saw] all the hurt in everyone’s eyes when we lost last year,” Burton said. “This year, it meant a lot to us and we knew that I didn’t want to see that feeling in their eyes again, so I know it meant a lot to me to win this game.”

“It’s a dream come true to have another chance to go back to the Super Bowl,” Curran said. “We worked so hard since August [at] captain’s practice, [and] we did everything we could to get back here. We just couldn’t miss the opportunity again. We knew what we had to do.”

Blue Hills– 16-0-0-0--16
Boston Cathedral – 0-12-0-2 --14

First Quarter
BH – Isaiah Teixeira 45-yard pass from John Curran (Vincent Burton run)
BH – Burton one-yard run (Burton run)

Second Quarter
BC – Carlos Bermudez 44-yard pass from Matt Owens (Owens run unsuccessful)
BC – Owens three-yard run (Pass fails)

Fourth Quarter
BH – Safety

Recap: Blue Hills 25, East Boston 22

November, 30, 2011
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- David Neil was sort of messing around at practice Sunday kicking field goals, but Blue Hills coach Ed Catabia liked what he saw and decided to install the sophomore as his team’s field goal kicker - just in case.

As the saying goes, chance favors the prepared mind, and Neil proved his coach a prophet when he delivered a 26-yard boot that cleared the crossbar with 3.7 seconds remaining to give Blue Hills a 25-22 victory over East Boston in a Div. 4A semifinal matchup at Pisini Field.

“He was around 28-30 yards with accuracy,” said Catabia of watching Neil in practice. “We thought we’d just put in just in case we needed and it paid off. East Boston is a great team and we’ve had some great contests over the years. We knew this game could be coming down to who had the ball on the last possession.”

As for Neil, the 6-2, 195-pound offensive end/defensive lineman had never even tried a field goal prior to that Sunday practice.

“I was pretty much thinking, just don’t miss,” Neil said after his game-winner. “I was thinking about all the seniors on my team and how it could be their last game. I wanted to win and give them a chance at the ring.”

“This is actually a dream situation right now,” Neil continued. “I was surprised. I thought we were going to right down the middle or something like that. We don’t normally kick. I just got put in as a kicker the other day and luckily my coach had faith in me to put me in and kick the ball. I didn’t get all of it and was lucky it went in. It was a great relief.”

The buildup to Neil’s game-winner came through a back and forth slugfest on the ground. Neither team made a secret of its intent to run, and both were able to do so with great success.

Blue Hills (11-1) got things started right off the bat, going 61 yards on the game’s opening drive, and ending with a 25-yard touchdown run by Jordan Rotman (9-53 rushing). Eastie (7-4) came right back with a 62-yard march of its own and watched as Davonte Holloway went in from eight yards out. Both teams made their conversion rush tries and the game was tied at 8-8 with 2:03 left in the opening quarter.

Blue Hills muffed the ensuing kickoff, but Rotman got the ball right back with an interception at his own 31. The Warriors alternated carries between Vincent Burton, Isaiah Texeira and Rotman, with Burton (game-high 108 yards) finishing things off by bulling through the middle for a 9-yard TD.

Again, the Jets were in a hole, and again, they dug themselves out of it thanks to their own trio of backs. Holloway, Andre Rickerson (10-63 rushing) and Kyle Jimenez-Fox (10-63 rushing) each took turns rushing the ball and Eastie plowed down to the Warriors 8, where Rickerson finished it off around the left end. Blue Hills was able to tack on another score before the break, however, as Texeira (7-67 rushing) went in from the 7 and the Warriors took a 22-16 lead into halftime.

“Our defense didn’t stop them most of the evening and I told them at halftime, all we need is one stop. If we have one stop we have a viable shot at this game,” Catabia said. “We talked about playing at 100 percent, we talked about giving it all out on the field. We have 22 seniors and I tip my hat to every one of them. they took last year’s experience at the Super Bowl to another level this year and did a hell of a job.

Eastie used all but 36 seconds of the third quarter but got stopped at the Blue Hills 5 when Jean Vital stuffed Rickerson on fourth down. Rather than get down, the Jets forced a fumble that was recovered by Daniel Auch at the Warrior 17, and three plays later, Holloway scored his second touchdown to tie the game at 22-22.

“Our guys don’t quit,” said Eastie coach John Parziale. “It’s just a shame we ran out of time. We are the City champs, we won on Thanksgiving and finished 7-4. We did really well and we’re happy for the kids. But take nothing away from Blue Hills. They are great and I wish them the best in the Super Bowl.”

East Boston (7-4) 8 14 0 6 - 22
Blue Hills (11-1) 8 14 0 3 - 25

BH - Jordan Rotman 25 run (Vincent Burton rush)
EB - Davonte Holloway 8 run (Andre Rickerson rush)
BH - Burton 9 run (Burton rush)
EB - Rickerson 8 run (Rickerson rush)
BH - Isaiah Texeira 8 run (rush failed)
EB - Holloway 10 run (rush failed)
BH - David Neil 26 field goal

Blue Hills' Catabia named Pats Coach of the Week

November, 2, 2011
Blue Hills Regional High School’s Ed Catabia has been named the New England Patriots High School Football Coach of the Week in recognition of his team’s 24-0 victory over Diman Regional High School on Friday, Oct. 28. The win gives Blue Hills Regional a 3-0 league record and puts the team on track for its second consecutive Mayflower League Large title. The Warriors are now 8-0 overall and have posted five shutouts.

[+] EnlargeEd Catabia
Courtesy of New England PatriotsBlue Hills' Ed Catabia was honored as the Patriots coach of the week after a win over Diman Regional put the Warriors at 8-0 and first place in the Mayflower League.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Blue Hills Regional High School’s football program in Catabia’s name in recognition of his Coach of the Week selection.

Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, the team’s executive director of community affairs, visited Coach Catabia and his team on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Blue Hills Regional High School. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the team’s weekly television magazine show, Patriots All Access, which airs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4 on WBZ-TV in Boston and later on

This season marks the 16th year in which the Patriots have joined the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. Tippett oversees the program as part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s commitment to youth football initiatives.

“It was a pleasure to visit with Coach Catabia and his team at practice today,” said Tippett on Tuesday. “The Warriors’ stout defense led the way to victory on Friday night and it’s clear that the team’s success is a direct result of commitment and hard work on the practice field. I am proud to present Coach Catabia and the Blue Hills Regional High School football program with this award and donation.”

At the conclusion of the season, one high school coach will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution toward the school’s football program.

In previous years, Tippett has invited the Coach of the Week and senior captains for a visit to Gillette Stadium, but decided to take the award on the road in 2011 so he could visit the schools that benefit from the program. This year is also the first year the Patriots will accept nominations for High School Coach of the Week. Anyone who knows a high school football coach in New England who has a great week or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to submit a nomination at

Player Perspective: Vincent Burton

November, 2, 2011
Vincent BurtonScott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comBlue Hills junior Vincent Burton has made a name for himself with 48 rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2010 season.

CANTON, Mass. -- After rushing for a school-record 30 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore, Blue Hills running back Vincent Burton has become a name to behold among the lower divisions in Eastern Massachusetts. In spite of his lean frame, he packs a powerful punch, and it shows on the stat sheet with a total of 48 touchdowns to his name since the start of the 2010 season.

He was a catalyst behind the Warriors' 10-2 campaign a year ago, which ended in a loss to Shawsheen Tech in the Division 4 Super Bowl, and is the driving force behind the explosive offense this season for Blue Hills, which sits at 8-0 and atop the Mayflower Large headed into Saturday's pivotal showdown with league rival Tri-County. The Warriors are averaging nearly 35 points per game, have pitched shutouts in all but three contests, and have yet to lose a regular-season game since dropping a season-opening decision to West Bridgewater in 2010.

Still only 16 years old, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Randolph native still has his best days ahead of him. Tuesday afternoon, after head coach Ed Catabia was awarded as the Patriots Coach of the Week, Burton sat down with to discuss his success on the gridiron so far.

Q: You've had 48 touchdowns since the start of your sophomore year (2010), and you've yet to lose a regular-season game in two years. What do you credit for your success?
A: "I credit the offensive line for my success. They do a great job blocking for me, giving me great holes, and I've just got to use them."

Q: Describe your running style for us.
A: "Basically, I try to get as low as possible, and use my power. It's probably my best asset, that's basically it. I use my power to run through the holes. I hit it hard every time."

Q: How hard do you go in workouts?
A: "I go pretty hard, the whole team does. We do the basics, sprint exercises, stuff like that. The coach really tries to push us past the comfort zone, he always says. We do a lot of up-downs, like when we do cadence if we go offsides."

Q: In general, the Mayflower League is pretty run-heavy. How important is line play?
A: "It's very important. It's definitely a very run-based league, so without a line, the team's not very successful. Last year, we had a great line, and the same thing again this year, it's why we have so much success."

Q: Do you see a lot of teams loading up the box on you?
A: "Yeah, especially the last couple games. It's kind of slowing me down. I know sometimes they're putting all 11 in the box now, so it's hard. I've only scored two touchdowns in the last two games, and usually I'm getting like three [per game]. It's something I'm not used to, but as long as we're winning, you know? If that's what happens, then it's alright."

Q: Who's the best player you've faced so far?
A: "Probably James Toles from South Boston. He's a very electrifying player. Power, speed, everything. He has the whole package."

Q: What about best team you've faced?
A: "Probably Shawsheen, from last year in the Super Bowl. They were a defensive powerhouse. I mean, that was something else playing them. It definitely taught us that we had a good team going in, but we just have to work that much harder, and go the extra mile, to win the whole thing."

Q: You've got three games left in the regular season. What's the most important thing you've got to take care of down the stretch here?
A: "We've got to win the league first. We've got Tri-County coming up this week, and Bristol-Plymouth on Thanksgiving. If we don't win those league games, then we're not going to the playoffs, so we have to take care of that. Then Greater Lawrence (Nov. 10), I think it's going to be a testing game, we'll be pushed to our limits. If we can win that game, that would be great for us and our mentality going into the playoffs, considering they're in a higher division."

Q: Where do you see yourself needing improvement most?
A: "Definitely my speed. I know I might not look that big, but I've got the power down. I don't know how, I just do. I think it's basic mechanics from Pop Warner that I learned in the past years. But definitely my speed, I plan on working out a lot and doing a lot of speed exercises in the offseason to get faster."

Q: You mention about your power as a function of your mechanics from Pop Warner. Can you specify?
A: "Basically, running speed, determination, all things I picked up. I played with Albert Louis-Jean from BC (former Brockton star and ESPN Boston All-Stater) during Pop Warner, he played for Randolph. I've played with kids all in higher divisions, Josh Brewster from Brockton, lots of kids like that. Playing with them makes me more successful here, I think."