EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 29, 2013

The Year of the Knights: A look back at the year in sports

North Andover's unforgettable debut MVC season among scores of memories to cherish

Another memorable year in local sports is in the books.

There were literally hundreds of compelling stories. Here, in no particular order, are my favorites.

Unforgettable year for Knights

What a debut season for North Andover in the Merrimack Valley Conference. You could go on and on and on, but here’s the CliffsNotes version.

The basketball team had one of the greatest years in school history, reaching the Division 2 North final, stunned Central Catholic with a game-ending 33-9 run and sharing MVC title. Football coach John Rafferty fired and after a firestorm of protests is rehired. Legendary coaches Mike McVeigh, Bill Tarbox and Bud McCarthy retired. Danielle Coughlin became the first female wrestler in Massachusetts history to win a state title. Morgan Lumb became the first NA girl to earn a Division 1 basketball scholarship in 35 years and Isaiah Nelsen was the first boy hoopster to earn a scholarship in 38 years.

Nick Oswald rushed for a modern area record 402 yards in a game. A basketball star was blessed not to suffer crippling injuries when his car with four passengers flipped over. Reserve Megan Collins scored with a second left to give North Andover a 45-44 win over Central Catholic, the No. 2 ranked team in EMass., in the Christmas Tourney finals.

Remembering Bill Blood

An emotional overflow crowd packed the Pollard Funeral Home to pay their respects to coach Bill Blood of Methuen, who died in late January at age 63.

There were more well-known local coaches than Blood, but few were any better, or any more devoted or any more versatile.

He coached football, baseball and track and if he needed to coach any other sport, he’d be spending hours at the library poring over videos and books to master that one.

His last coaching job was with Phillips Academy track. An impressive number of Big Blue tracksters were at the funeral. An emotional young girl was sobbing. Blood’s widow, Debra, took her aside and calmly and lovingly instructed her that the best way to keep Bill’s memory alive was to show people the love and concern he always did for his students and athletes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam SNC Minute: Phils lose; Lee set to return Eagles less than a week away from training camp Could Cliff Lee's health affect trade value? McCarthy and Stairs break down the Phillies' loss 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Derek Jeter Respect Ad Delivers Larry’s Notebook: Is Jimmie Johnson Behind the Curve?
Boston Sports
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Curran: Did the Patriots make a mistake by drafting Garoppolo? McAdam: Yankees pitching troubles bad news for Sox negotiations with Lester Curran: Will Pats struggle to find an identity on offense this season? Perry: Lester impressive again in Sox 6-0 win over the Royals 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Players to watch when training camp opens Bruins 1st round pick David Pastrnak signs entry level contract