High School Football
FOXBORO — It was mid-July, the Raiders were pumping iron, preparing for their season, when I ran into Central Catholic running backs coach Nelson Ovalles.
“Watch out for us,” Ovalles said. “We’re the team to beat.”
I sloughed it off as foolish optimism. “Where’s the flash? Where’s the big-play guy? Where’s the highlight-maker?”
Right there, Ovalles pointed proudly into the weight room at a muscular, 207-pound sculpture of a young man, D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie.
I chuckled and gave Ovalles a slightly positive, “We’ll see,” and chuckled as I thought under my breath, “That kid plays safety, and he’s not Troy Polamalu good.”
Yesterday, Ovalles found me early, right after Drummond-Mayrie put on a Gillette Stadium show, rolling up 119 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries as Central dominated Xaverian for the Division 1 Super Bowl championship, 34-17.
“How’s that for flash!” he laughed, and it wasn’t under his breath either.
The UNH-bound “safety” skipped past, ran away for an exclamation point and steamrolled a Hawk or two in a dozen of the most dynamic dashes in Raider history.
“My cousin (Kevin Fritschey) played here in 2007 and ever since then, I have wanted to see what it’s like,” said Drummond-Mayrie, who had only 503 yards and nine TDs on the ground during the season as he shared carries with Markus Edmunds and Mike Balsamo.
“This is my last game ever (for Central), and it being here, I wasn’t about to hold anything back.”
Currently, the only scholarship player on the Raider roster, Drummond-Mayrie dominated the season in quiet ways. Xaverian found out yesterday what plenty of past Central foes learned the hard way as he slammed into the fray from his safety spot with reckless abandoned and snuffed out the Hawks’ option-run game.
But Drummond-Mayrie admitted he was feeling a bit of heat, to make something happen.
“You know, our other co-captain has been making plays for us to win every week,” laughed Drummond Mayrie. “I guess I was thinking this is my time.”
The scores came on runs of 8, 52 and 13 yards. And let’s just say the folks up in Durham will be replaying the 52-yarder on his highlight video for months to come.
Mayrie busted through the line on a dive — he called it, “Just another great read by Mike Milano into a huge hole.” — and had one defensive back to beat.
“I got yelled at once before, so ...”
So he laid the smack down and planted the would-be tackler, running away from the rest with a burst that earns free rides.
Not bad for a would-be Raider hoop player.
“He was one of those kids, played on the Lawrence Boys Club travel team, big and athletic, and we were excited about having him in,” said Raider hoop coach Rick Nault. “He played for us as a freshman, but that was it. You could see from the beginning his heart was in football.”
Nault couldn’t dare hold a grudge about losing a star. He had as big a hug as any for No. 4 as the Raiders celebrated on the Gillette concourse postgame.
“As great an athlete as he is, he’s a better kid,” said the coach. “And I don’t think you’ll find a person at Central who would disagree.”
Drummond-Mayrie was the hero for the day, talking to anyone who would listen postgame. In this case, as Nault affirmed, the good guy saved the best for last.
“I can’t think of a better way to go out,” he said. “It’s a day we’ll never forget.”