EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 21, 2012

Rosa carries Lancers to victory

Rosa returns for brilliant high school finale

LAWRENCE — The numbers, 9 of 11 for 134 yards and two TD passes, plus a running touchdown in Lawrence High’s 28-0 Thanksgiving Eve shutout of Salem, dictate that senior Louis Rosa breezed through the final football exam.

If you spent a minute watching the Lancer football season unfold, you’d understand why the kid aced every single week — not on the field but in the hearts and souls of every single one of his teammates.

“Look at Luis, the season he’s gone through and he’s out there, doing what he’s doing, that’s pretty amazing,” said fellow Lancer senior D.J. Gonzalez. “Two TD passes in a win on Senior night. That incredible for him.”

Rosa opened the season as the starting QB but found himself pushed for the job when sophomore Nelson Valerio transferred into Lawrence from Milwaukee.

“That job was mine until I got hurt in the North Andover game,” said Rosa, who stands just 5-foot-6 and weighs 160 pounds. “’Milwaukee’ came in and stepped up. He was excellent, and that was that. He took over. “Losing the job was tough, and I really didn’t know how to deal with it.”

To his credit, Valerio is no slouch. In fact, with an 11 of 18, 149-yard night, he is now the all-time Lawrence, single-season passing yardage leader, finishing at 2,055 yards in the 3-8 campaign.

Still, watching football in his senior season pushed Rosa’s patience over and over again.

“He’s my friend and teammate,” said Rosa, a 3.5 student with a 1,500 on the three-pronged SAT. “I tried to help him as much as I could. And I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished.”

Last night in the victory over winless (0-11) Salem, the Lancer coaching staff was torn. Sure, they felt they owed Rosa a start. But Valerio was chasing the 2,000-yard passing mark, and sitting him would be unfair. So they compromised. “The coaches told me I would start, and how I played would determine how long I played,” said Rosa, noting that was a bit of pressure. “Of course, there was pressure, but after what I’d been through this season, the pressure was nothing.”

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