- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Luke Catarius’ senior season didn’t go as planned. Coming off a Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl championship season with his BC High teammates as a junior, the Eagles linebacker and fullback held high expectations for 2012.
Yet, his final campaign got off a rough start when he suffered an ankle fracture during a preseason scrimmage against Mansfield. It forced Catarius to miss the Eagles’ first seven games of the season.
“It was tough because every year since freshman year everyone’s like senior year is when everyone’s going to come together,” Catarius said Wednesday at the school’s Morrissey Blvd. campus, “and obviously we had big shoes to fill from [the 2011] team. We wanted to repeat. I got hurt, a couple other guys got banged up, too, and it all went down hill from there.”
BC High had a revolving door of injuries through the first half of the season and they struggled to gain momentum, finishing with a 4-6 record.
But Wednesday was National Letter of Intent signing day and Catarius joined 10 of his football teammates who are going on to play football at the college level for a ceremony held for the families and friends of the Eagles athletes.
While 2012 might have been a season of unrealized potential, the Eagles seniors will leave nothing behind.
“Going to BC High, you understand that an education is what gets you far in life,” said wide receiver Lincoln Collins, who signed to FCS power Villanova. “In looking for colleges, we did the same thing. We’re all setting ourselves up for life outside of football.”
Looking on during the gathering was Eagles head coach Joe Gaff, a longtime Eagles assistant coach who assumed the program’s reigns for the first time in the fall. Gaff held Catarius up as an example to younger athletes. It would’ve been easy for the injured player to pack it for the rest of the season. Instead, Catarius stuck to his strict rehabilitation regiment and made his return to the field while putting in some extra work in the library to work his way into Princeton.
“He took his frustration and turned it into action,” Gaff said of Catarius, who originally committed to Bryant University before switching to Princeton in January. “He knew what he had to do to get into the Ivys. He needed a certain test score, so he went in and studied every day and he got himself mentally prepared.
“He did a tremendous job. It shows what kind of competitor he is.”
On a day that marks a milestone for many families across the nation, Gaff’s class headed the notion that Wednesday was but a transitional day.
Eagles offensive tackle Jack McDonald signed his Letter to Virginia before a large group of family members – most of whom were donning the Cavaliers’ navy blue and orange colors.
“Football’s going to end sometime, whether that’s two years, four years from now, or even if you’re lucky enough to make it to the NFL,” the Eagles captain said. “It’s going to happen sometime. You need that education for when it does end. I think that’s what all of us have found.”
Those BC High seniors pursuing collegiate football careers are:
Jackson Bockhorst - Tufts
Luke Catarius – Princeton
Lincoln Collins – Villanova
Skyler Evans – Mass Maritime Academy
Jaleel Johnson – Merrimack
Tim Johnson – Sacred Heart
Jack McDonald - Virginia
Mark McGuire – Holy Cross
Pat O’Hearne – John Carroll
Brandon Owens – Byrant
Mike Roberts - Colby