SAUGUS — Sean Driscoll reflected upon his first season as St. Mary’s High football coach Wednesday night, commending his players for persevering through some trying conditions.
“New coach, and a lot of early-season injuries, including two right off the bat,” he said at the team’s banquet at Rosaria’s Restaurant. “If there were ever a reason for these kids to lie back and quit. But they didn’t do that. They stepped up. And I am very proud of them for that.”
Driscoll pointed to a mid-season dip in which the Spartans lost to both Archbishop Williams at home and then to Mashpee, the team that had defeated them the previous fall and kept them out of the Division 7 Super Bowl.
“We got it back together and ended up going to Gillette Stadium at the end of the season,” he said.
Driscoll took over this past season for Matt Durgin, who stepped down after a highly successful tenure at the school.
He also talked about Jalen Echevarria, who joined the team this past fall as a senior, and who took home the Spartan Award signifying the most valuable player.
“I knew about him,” Driscoll said. “I’d read about him. At first, we tried him out at quarterback. We knew he was athletic.”
However, both Driscoll and Echevarria — a 1,000-point scorer in basketball — agreed he’d be better off at running back, and ended up with 1,205 yards, 16 rushing TDs and five more receiving, and led the team to the Super Bowl.
Driscoll also talked of how unusual it was for an offensive lineman — D.J. DiCenso — to be the offensive MVP.
Other major award winners were George Freeman, defensive MVP; Jack Maguire, ironman; Connor Donohue and Eni Falayi, Arthur McManus Leadership Award; Mark Niboh and Mathias Haley, John Miller Coaches Award; Kevin Foley, Father John Dillon Day Commitment Award; Zion Davis, scout player of the year; Zach Barden and Alec Colacetti, rookies of the year; Duy Tran, 12th player; Derek O’Leary, unsung hero; Brendan Laundry, special teams.
Student athlete awards went to Graham Richman, Colin Martin, Chris Rancon, Maguire and Colacitti.
Driscoll also presented $250 scholarships to Patrick Henry and Bobby Reynolds, who suffered injuries this season, in memory of his late father.