EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 8, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Konovalchik opts out

After three tough seasons in a row, Alex Konovalchik has resigned as head football at Brooks School. Konovalchik cited the burden of coaching both football and wrestling and the difficulty of competing against schools which do much more recruiting in football than Brooks.

Brooks was 1-7 this past fall after suffering two straight winless seasons and he leaves with an 11-30 record in five years as head man. Brooks had one excellent season under Konovalchik, going 7-2 in 2009 and qualifying for the NE Prep Clark-Francis Bowl.

But standout back Jordan Johnson graduated from that team and headed to Brigham Young University, two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star running back Andy Coke transferred to Andover High, where he enjoyed an outstanding two years, and the Green and White hasn’t been the same since.

“It just got to be too much to do and it (losing) was tough on me,” said Konovalchik. “The program needs a new direction.”

Konovalchik has enjoyed considerable success coaching wrestling and will continue in that role. He has mentored two All-Americans in Kyle Harger and Sean Bilodeau and this year’s team includes stars Andrew Konovalchik, his son, and Nate Gibeley. Next year’s team will include another talented son, Nick Konovalchick.

Looking ahead to the future, Konovalchik left a promising backfield of underclassmen for the next coach in Geoff Fulgione, Chris Cervizzi and Coy Candelario. And his youngest son is also an outstanding football player.

Hillie to the end

Former Haverhill High football player Fred Blaisdell, who was a member of the 1955 state championship team, died last week. A Hillie to the end, he was always proud to have played for Haverhill High and, at his wake, his treasured varsity letter was displayed alongside his remains.

Entertaining fireworks

If you want a good family activity next New Year’s Eve and you like hockey, let me offer a suggestion — take in the annual Dec. 31 Manchester Monarchs home game. Not only is it a good brand of hockey, but the game is followed by the largest indoor fireworks display in New England to help bring in the new year. It’s great entertainment for young and old.

Career-high

Methuen’s Rashidat Agboola continued her outstanding season for Boston University over the weekend, scoring a career-high 25 points as the visiting Terriers (12-3) won their ninth straight game, 45-39 over Hartford.

Holy Cross!

It definitely won’t be ranked this week but the Holy Cross ice hockey team was ranked in the top 20 last week for the first time in recent memory, settling in at No. 20. The Crusaders lost twice this weekend at North Dakota.

NHL hockey anyone?

How much did sports fans miss the NHL season? One has to wonder when you consider a poll taken in Canada two weeks ago. When fans were asked how much they missed professional hockey, 58 percent replied “not at all” or said that they could “care less” about the lockdown.

Rheaume gets scholarship

Salem High senior John Rheaume was awarded the Jon Spohn trophy and scholarship at the Spohn Youth Wrestling tournament Sunday. Rheaume, incidentally is officially Jonathan but, at some point in the last few years, decided that he preferred “John” to “Jon.”

‘The loneliest number’

The Dec. 31 issue of Sports Illustrated included a terrific article on Grinnell College’s Jack Taylor as well as others, in the NBA (only Wilt Chamberlin) and college, who have scored 100 points in a game. It provides an interesting perspective and gives you added respect for Taylor.

Brooks hoop is back

For those wanting to watch entertaining basketball, check out the talented Brooks boys playing at home at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow. Brooks is 6-0 on the year but hasn’t played since Dec. 15, when it defeated Thayer Academy 62-52.