By STEVE KRAUSE
Today we present the 27 best football players on the North Shore: the 71st Item Football All-Star Team.
This year’s team features players from two teams that advanced to the state championship games in their respective divisions: Marblehead in 2A and St. Mary’s in 3A.
There are six returnees from last year’s team — Matt Andreas of Danvers, Chris Zuffante of Winthrop, Steffan Gravely of Lynn Tech, Abraham Toe and Liam Reddy of St. Mary’s and Jake Doherty of Peabody.
The Item All-Stars are selected by the Item sports staff with input from coaches of teams covered by The Item.
The team will be honored at the Item All-Star Dinner, Thursday at 6 p.m. at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead. Ticket orders can be placed through the end of today, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Item Building, 110 Munroe St., Lynn.
No tickets will be sold at the door unless reserved by today by calling 781-593-7700 x1229 or by emailing email@example.com.
Former Swampscott High star Dick Jauron, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the 2001 NFL Coach of the Year, will be the featured speaker. The dinner will also honor five major award winners, including the Item/Agganis Foundation Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
Also honored will be the Peter Gamage Coach of the Year, named for the late publisher of The Item; the William F. Connell Student-Athlete Award, named for the late William F. Connell; and the Edward H. Cahill Player of the Year Award, named for the late sports editor of The Item.
CORY BRIGHT, Bishop Fenwick — Sophomore … 2-time Catholic Central League All-Star … passed for 1,234 yards and 11 TDs and was 78-for-172 … ran for 783 yards and scored nine TDs … has accounted for 40 TDs in two years.
DREW GALLY, Marblehead — Senior … passed for 1,641 yards and 20 TDs on 128-for-195 throwing … also ran for 611 yards and seven touchdowns … signal-caller helped steer team to the Division 2A Super Bowl … also a pitcher for the baseball team.
MATT LAURIA, Classical — Senior … captain … Northeastern Conference football and baseball All-Star … accounted for for 12 touchdowns … ran for more than 700 yards and passed for more than 300 … had 68 tackles, two sacks and an interception.
MATT ANDREAS, Danvers — Senior captain … NEC/North MVP .. had 1,207 yards on 188 carries as well as 10 touchdowns … had 23 receptions for 231 yards and a TD … had 41 tackles on defense and an interception … helped lead the Falcons to a 9-2 season … also a catcher for the baseball team.
CALVIN JOHNSON, St. Mary’s — Junior … Catholic Central League MVP … Ran for 1,255 yards on 114 carries … had 24 rushing touchdowns and seven more receiving to lead Spartans to the Division 3A Super bowl … had nine 2-point conversions … had 40 tackles, three for losses … had three interceptions and scored one defensive touchdown.
JAASON LOPEZ, Marblehead — Senior … rushed for 947 yards on 133 carries, and scored 13 touchdowns, to help lead the Magicians to the Division 2A Super Bowl … also caught 22 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
MARCUS RIVERA, Classical — Senior captain … NEC football and track all-star … Ran for more than 500 yards despite missing four games … scored seven touchdowns, including an electrifying 83-yard kick return to propel the Rams to a win over English on Thanksgiving.
VICTOR RIVERA, Revere — Senior … ran for 1,665 yards and seven TDs … returned two kicks for touchdowns and caught two TD passes for a total of 11 … had 2,710 career rushing yards.
CHRISTIAN SANFILIPPO, Gloucester — Senior … rushed for 2,004 yards and scored 26 TDs … set a Gloucester career rushing record of 3,517 … also set a single-game rushing record of 296 yards.
LOUIS ELLIS, Lynnfield — Senior … caught 37 passes for 438 yards and 13 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion … had 45 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks.
SEAN LAHRIZI, Swampscott — Senior … was half of a potent passing combination for the Big Blue with quarterback Colin Frary … caught 43 passes for nearly 600 yards, and went over the 100-yard mark three times, including a Division 3 playoff game against Triton … also scored nine touchdowns … also the team’s kicker and had a game-winning field goal in Week 1 against English.
DECLAN BURT, St. John’s Prep — Senior … as a tight end caught 12 passes for 133 yards, but his real value, said coach Brian St. Pierre said, “was as good a blocker at his position as there was in the Catholic Conference.” As a defensive end, he had eight sacks and eight tackles for losses.
FRANK PERRY, Lynn English — Senior captain, two-way lineman … played every down both on offense and defense … fierce competitor, leader on and off the field … had 58 tackles, 10 for losses, and six sacks.
CAM WILLIAMSON, Saugus — Senior two-way lineman … 2-year captain … top-rated lineman on the team … leading tackler for the Sachems this season … injuries forced him into being a running back for three games, and he ran for 250 yards.
HUNTER BROWN, St. John’s Prep — Senior … had 53 tackles and seven sacks as the Eagles finished at 7-4, and allowed only seven points to Division 1 state runner-up Xaverian … coach Brian St. Pierre said “he was the most dominant defensive lineman in every game we played in.”
BO MILLETT, Marblehead — Senior … captain … defensive force for the Magicians, who made the Division 2A Super Bowl … had 68 tackles, 23 for losses … on offense he started three games at tight end and caught three passes.
LIAM REDDY, St. Mary’s — Senior … had 42 solo tackles and 18 assisted for a total of 60 … had seven sacks and 15 tackles for losses … had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery … leader on a team that finished with an 11-1 record (including the Division 3A Super Bowl) … also an outstanding blocker … starter since his freshman year … CCL Lineman of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
MIKE STELLATO, Lynnfield — Senior two-way lineman helped Pioneers to a 6-2 finish after an 0-2 start … had 60 tackles and two sacks … also recovered a fumble … achieved every lineman’s dream when, as the punter, he handled a high snap and threw a pass during a game … his father, Mike, is a former coach at St. Mary’s, Danvers and Chelsea.
HUGH CALICE, Beverly — Senior captain … led team in tackles, averaging more than eight per game … also picked off two passes … averaged more than six yards per carry as a back and ran for six touchdowns … excellent blocker despite being consistently double-teamed … helped lead Panthers to the Division 2 North championship.
ISAIAH CASHWELL-DOE, Bishop Fenwick — Junior … CCL All-Star … ran for 1,053 yards and 11 TDs on 133 carries and caught 16 passes for 212 yards and three TDs … led team in rushing and scoring.
AIDEN GILLIS, Marblehead — Junior … helped provide the defensive backbone for the Magicians as they marched to the Division 2A Super Bowl with 113 tackles, one interception and three sacks.
STEFFAN GRAVELY, Lynn Tech — Junior … had 42 tackles and five interceptions … 3-time Commonwealth Conference All-Star and second in MVP voting … ran for 1,079 yards … scored 20 touchdowns and 130 points … was third in Division 4 scoring.
JOEY SILVESTRI, St. Mary’s — Senior … had 36 solo tackles, 29 assisted, for a total of 65 … had eight tackles for losses, an interception and three fumble recoveries … 4-year starter … 2015-2016 CCL All-Star … backbone of team that made the Division 3A Super Bowl.
JAKE DOHERTY, Peabody — Senior captain … had 86 tackles and two interceptions … ran for 513 yards on 102 carries and eight TDs … caught 20 passes for 275 yards and four TDs.
JUSTIN FAIA, Marblehead — Senior … made sure opponents didn’t go deep on his team too often, as his nine interceptions led the team … on offense, he caught 22 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
OSCAR LOPEZ, Revere — Senior … had 655 yards rushing and three TDs on 78 carries to help the Patriots win six or their last seven games … caught 42 passes for 612 yards and nine TDs … had 73 tackles, two interceptions and three sacks … has 79 career catches for 1,180 yards.
CHRIS ZUFFANTE, Winthrop — Senior … two-way player starred both ways. Passed for 572 yards and four touchdowns … had 53 tackles on defense, 30 solo and 23 assisted.
Steve Krause can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.