The St. John’s Prep Eagles of Danvers took home the Eastern Mass. Div. 1 football championship with a decisive 48-28 victory over the Brockton Boxers at Bentley University on Saturday, Dec. 1. The victory marked the seventh appearance for St. John's in the championship game and the third time the Prep has claimed the state title. The Eagles also won the title in 1982 and 1997 under Coach Jim O’Leary.
Six Prep football players from Hamilton-Wenham, most of whom played for the Hamilton-Wenham Generals Youth Football program, played important roles in the memorable 11-1 season.
Freshman quarterback Cameron Collins was one of only a handful of freshmen to crack the varsity squad. Senior offensive lineman James McClellan was part of a powerful offensive unit that averaged almost 30 points per game. Senior wide rreceiver Danny Johnson, sidelined for the entire season by injury, coached the freshman team and assisted the varsity offensive coordinator during game days. Junior safety Andrew Johnson, Danny’s younger brother, saw varsity action in several games and came up with a big interception against Malden Catholic. Junior Linebacker Dom Pizzano contributed on the kickoff squad with several open field tackles and a forced fumble against Central Catholic. Pizzano also served as a backup to the two starting inside linebackers; his older brother, senior RJ Pizzano and junior Sean Smerczynski of Topsfield.
The St. John’s Prep defense was the No. 1 ranked defense in Eastern Mass. Division 1, giving up only 9 points per game as well as shutting out both Xavierian High School on Thanksgiving Day and Andover High School, the No. 1 offense in Division 1, in the first round of the playoffs.
”Hamilton-Wenham Generals Youth Football is very proud of the St John’s Prep team and their successful season ending with a State Championship," said Doug Smith, outgoing Hamilton-Wenham Generals Youth Football Commissioner. "Hamilton-Wenham was well represented with quite a few players on the Prep’s team coming out of the Generals Youth Football Program."
Smith also congratulated Generals Youth Football graduate and senior linebacker Ryan Macri on the Governor’s Academy football team that won the Independent School League title.
"Hamilton-Wenham Youth Football has had a history of preparing and developing successful football players that have moved on to excellent high school and college programs, Smith said. "Congratulations St. John’s on a season that will hold a special place in your lives forever.”
- Submitted by Doug Smith and Rudolph Pizzano.