REVERE– With memorable efforts from senior captains like Darius McNeil and Frank Sims, the Revere football team had a season to remember in 2018. The Patriots went 7-4 and won a state tournament game in Division 4 North before ending their season with a win over Thanksgiving Day rival Winthrop.
McNeil, a running back, powered the offense with 1,300 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Sims, a middle linebacker, anchored the defense with 76 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions.
The Revere duo will stick together as McNeil and Sims announced their commitments to play college football at Division III Nichols earlier this week.
“I was heavily recruited by Nichols,” said Sims, a four-year varsity player. “I went down and visited the school. They’re great people, it’s a great atmosphere. I talked to Darius a lot during the process. It just really felt like home when I went down there. I tell everybody that once I went to Nichols, met the coaches and players, they really made me feel like that was the place I needed to be for the next four years.
“There’s only two people in my family that have gone to college,” Sims said. “I’m really excited and grateful to join that club. I can’t thank my coaches and family enough.”
“It was ultimately pretty easy,” McNeil, an Item All-Star and three-year varsity player, said. “Once I knew I wanted to go to Nichols I was sold there. At the beginning of the year, during football season, I didn’t know what school I wanted to go to. With my hard work on and off the field that definitely opened up opportunities. I’m really grateful for that. I have to thank Revere football for installing a great work ethic for me.”
McNeil and Sims will join a Nichols team that went 5-5 last fall, 3-3 against Commonwealth Coast Conference opponents. The Bison went 4-2 at home and ended their season on a high note with a 39-29 win over Curry.
“They told me everything about the program when they came to recruit me,” Sims said. “We’re up and coming. We have a lot of recruits coming in from a lot of different states. We’re all well-connected. I think we’re going to be on the rise for the next few years.”
Sims also considered Fitchburg State, Worcester State, Framingham State and Salve Regina. He plans to major in psychology and minor in sports management. He’s confident he’ll fit in well at Nichols but would like to make improvements before joining the team during the summer.
“No. 1 is definitely weights, weights, weights,” Sims said. “I need to stay committed, no days off and all that. My focus is on football at this point. The biggest thing as an inside linebacker for me is to gain muscle. In college the game changes. I’m ready to compete, always.”
McNeil’s interested in majoring in sports management. During the recruiting process, he also considered committing to Framingham State and Bridgewater State.
“I was looking for a strong work ethic and a great team,” McNeil said. “It seems like they have a great team building at Nichols. They have a great recruiting class this year.
“I think I’ll fit in pretty well,” McNeil said. “It’ll take me a little while to get into the swing of things but once I do I think I’ll be able to step up to the plate.”
McNeil and Sims are looking forward to being teammates for the next four seasons.
“It’s definitely going to be a great experience,” McNeil said. “It’s a dream come true. When we first visited the school we didn’t know what path we would ultimately go. We ended up choosing the same path so it’ll definitely be interesting.”
With his future plans official, Sims now turns his attention to his senior baseball season. He feels the Patriots are in good standing and have what it takes for a good season ahead of them.
“We’re all looking forward to baseball,” Sims said. “My sophomore year we won two games and my freshman year we didn’t win any. Last year we won seven games. We competed with teams like Classical. This year we’re looking at a state tournament spot. We just have to compete every day. It’s tough with the weather and things like that but I think we’ll be a tournament team and a team to watch.”
Likewise, McNeil gears his focus to his senior lacrosse season. He feels the Patriots dedicated themselves during the offseason and are in a good position to compete in the Northeastern Conference.
“We’re definitely going to do well in the NEC,” McNeil said. “We have a number of kids who are returning to the team this season. We’re working hard in practice and we worked hard in the offseason.”