EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 8, 2013

Beloved Du embraces role on Raiders

By David Willis and Hector Longo, sports@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — FOXBORO — As Central Catholic celebrated its Division 1 Super Bowl title last night, no Raider was more emotional than senior reserve lineman Kuiye “Will” Du.

“We are really champions!” said Du. “This is just amazing, to do it with these guys.”

Football truly was more than a sport for Du.

A native of China, Du was in America attending Central Catholic the last two years as part of the school’s International Student program. He decided to play football for fun, and it proved to be a life-changing experience.

“The last two years have been the best of my life,” said Du. “I have learned so much from my teammates and I have been so empowered by it. I really feel like I was a part of this and I loved it.”

Almost denied

An overzealous security guard adamantly tried to deny a Central Catholic supporter access to the postgame trophy ceremony.

That “fan” was none other than AD Ernie DiFiore.

The longtime football coach and AD was having none of it, simply because he did not have a press wrist band. He quickly talked his way in.

Touching moment

After the game, a red-headed Raider had a tear in his eye.

That Raider was senior receiver Ryan Etter.

Etter is allowed a tear or two in such an emotional moment, especially with the ride he’s endured. He had two fingers crushed this summer in a weight-training accident and almost saw his season wiped away.

Rich could have been richer

Central basketball coach Rick Nault, the head fist-pumper, was on the sidelines.

Even with Tyler Nelson nursing a wrist injury, the Raiders are one of the teams to beat in the state.

But yesterday’s state title victory gave the Raider boss to think, “What if?”

As in “what if D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Cody Demers and Mike Milano all stayed with basketball?”

Nault said, “You know they all played freshmen for us, and they were all pretty good. As much as we could have used them, I’m just excited for all of them, and the way things have turned out.”

Nault will welcome rugged Raider linebacker Nick Boes to the hardwood this week.

Coaching presence

An impressive list of coaches were at Gillette Stadium to watch Chuck Adamopoulos and Central take home the title.

Included in the stands were Pentucket coach Steve Hayden, Adamopoulos’ lifelong friend, and the entire Sachem coaching staff including Chuck’s high school coach, Tom Flaherty. Also there was Adamopoulos’ longtime neighbor, St. John’s Prep coach Jim O’Leary, whose team handed Central its only loss of the season.

Don’t mess with Chuck

A Gatorade bath for the head coach may be a tradition, but Adamopoulos strictly outlawed the act.

One man working the sidelines during the game was another Adamopoulos, Chuck’s son and former Eagle-Tribune All-Star Zak Adamopoulos.

Central-Xaverian II

The MIAA ran about 45 minutes late on their schedule. Central and Xaverian kicked off at 4:15 p.m.

That suited Central Catholic hockey coach Mike Jankowski just fine.

“I’m just pulling into a parking spot,” the coach said as the team took the Gillette turf.

Why was Jankowski late?

His Raiders had just finished a 1 p.m. scrimmage with of all teams, Xaverian, up at the Valley Forum in South Lawrence.

“Just a coincidence this year, but we play it every year,” said Jankowski. “We won, hopefully it’s a good omen for the football team.”

It turned out to be as the Raiders made it a double win.

The hockey team includes offensive linemen Brad Marggraf and Dan MacDonald.

Relive the action

For lots of video highlights and interviews from Central Catholic’s Super Bowl victory, visit eagletribune.com/sports.