EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 1, 2014

Year End Awards: Vonleh, Coughlin named Athletes of the Year


Although Moira (it’s pronounced Maura) had dreamt about it for years, the metric sign threw her off. She didn’t even know it was six feet. Now she knows 1.83 meters is six feet. And it’s awesome.

She attributed the ignorance to “a blonde moment.”

In the future, she’ll know. And there could be more personal bests. Her coach estimated she cleared the bar by a whopping three inches.

Story of the Year

Scarlet Knights stood by their coach

It never passed the smell test. John Rafferty was being fired? And the disingenuous administration was lamely reciting a tired mantra.

“We can’t comment on personnel decisions,” said Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson.

What a way to treat the very successful North Andover football coach (81-49 record in 12 seasons), who took over a struggling program plagued by discipline problems and rebuilt it from the ground up.

Captains-elect Tom Stabile, Collin Couillard and Matt Iannone appeared before the School Committee and eloquently, passionately and maturely stated their case.

It proved to be a compelling case. Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to hide behind mantras and avoid answering the tough questions on why he was being fired.

Stabile pointedly asked, “If he (Rafferty) doesn’t understand, then who does?”

The captains and “Team Raff”, as his legion of supporters became known, eventually won out and Rafferty got his job back.

Boys Game of the Year

It doesn’t get bigger than Everett

The most storied program in the state? That’s easy. It’s Everett High football.

In 22 years under legendary coach John DiBiaso, the Crimson Tide had won 19 straight league titles, made 14 Super Bowls, won 10 of them, and boasted a 219-23 record.

The national rankings and big-time scholarships had become commonplace.

This is what Central Catholic was taking on in the Division 1 North title game when the once-beaten Raiders traveled to Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium on Nov. 16 to take on the once-beaten Crimson Tide.

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