Hall of Famers are supposed to be magical from the get-go.
That was hardly with the case with then-North Andover High sophomore quarterback John Routhier back in September of 1992.
“It was very, very nerve-racking,” recalled Routhier, who’ll be inducted into the Johnson High-North Andover High Hall of Fame on April 27. “Coach (Mike) Cavanaugh could be pretty demanding. It was the first play at the 1(yard line) vs. Triton. I audibled to a play which wasn’t even possible! I fumbled the ball and Triton recovered for the TD. I didn’t start off very promising.”
He made up for that a hundred-fold, capped off by his senior year leading the Scarlet Knights to their first perfect season in 54 years.
It gets better. His grandfathers, Paul Routhier Sr. and Leo Lafond Sr., were both on that undefeated 1940 team.
It gets better still. John follows his father, Paul Jr., and his 89-year-old grandfather, Paul Sr., into the Hall.
“It feels pretty good,” said John. “My grandfather is probably happier and prouder than anyone. It’s pretty neat. He really wanted it to happen while he was still alive.”
His family should know how to properly celebrate. The former All-Scholastic QB estimates between Routhiers and Lafonds, he must have 10 relatives in the Hall. That includes his cousin Stacey Lafond Caravella, who also will be inducted on the 27th.
He reeled off his father, grandfather, Stacey, Bill Lafond, Paul Lafond (not one but two of them!), Leo Lafond, Bill Iminski and Bill McEvoy as relatives in the Hall. And he said he may have forgot a couple.
With that sort of tradition, there was no chance he’d go to any other school.
Or was there?
At that time, North Andover had cut funding for sports. Football become a political football.