By Michael Muldoon
Winning a Super Bowl or being named a Pro Bowler? No, that isn't enough to earn Eagle-Tribune Football Player of the Decade honors.
Neither is being a college All-American or winning a high school championship or two or three.
Getting wooed by big-time colleges? That isn't necessarily enough either.
Setting all-time area marks? Sorry.
What North Andover's Andrew Foote (offense) and Central Catholic's Andrew Regan (defense) did was dominate on local gridirons nearly every fall weekend for three straight years.
Foote is the most prolific running back in area history and Regan was a two-way menace in the trenches, the sole three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star lineman in the 40-year history of our all-star teams.
Zak DeOssie, Phillips Academy
The two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star from North Andover threw for 2,953 yards and 26 TDs his final two seasons. Three-sport star was Eagle-Tribune Athlete of the Year as a senior. "He has a cannon arm and a quick release. He can go up top with anybody," said Big Blue coach Leon Modeste. DeOssie was an All-American linebacker at Brown and is in his fourth year as long snapper/reserve linebacker with the New York Giants. He has won a Super Bowl and has been named to a Pro Bowl.
Tommy Beaton, Pentucket
Led the Sachems to a 25-7 record as a three-year starter. Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star and named Eagle-Tribune Athlete of the Year as a senior three-sport star. Despite playing in Wing-T offense, threw for 1,991 yards and 23 TDs and also scored 19 TDs. Had record-setting baseball career at Bates, where he also earned all-conference honors in football.
Mike Pierce, Andover
Followed up terrific junior season (1,304 yards, 13 TD passes) with historic senior campaign (2,179 yards, 20 TD passes). Kicked seven field goals as a senior. Powerful 203-pounder with surprising speed. Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Threw for 2,629 yards and 21 TDs as St. Anselm's last fall.
Kyle Harrington, Timberlane
The 2001 Eagle-Tribune Offensive MVP used his 6-3, 220-pound frame to trample overmatched defenders. Bench pressed 360 pounds. Carried 38 times for 187 yards and two TDs in 2001 Division 1 state title game win over Bishop Guertin. Had career marks of 3,082 yards and 46 TDs. Earned scholarship to UMass, where he was a two-year starting fullback despite numerous injuries.
Andrew Foote, North Andover
One of three two-time Eagle-Tribune Football MVPs in the 23-year history of the award. Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Among the most prolific backs in state history with 4,549 rushing yards and 75 overall TDs. Knights coach John Rafferty said, "Even though he's been every (defender's) target every game for a long time, he's been unflappable." Won the Bishop Award as Eagle-Tribune Athlete of the Year as a senior. Played one year of football at Springfield.
Bruce Vieira, Pelham
More than lived up to his Bruce Almighty nickname. Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star and four-time All-Division 5 honoree. The 5-7, 175-pounder scored area record 81 TDs, smashing the great Matt Jordan's 14-year-old mark of 76. Rushed for an estimated 3,957 yards. Led Pythons to 22 straight wins and back-to-back Division 5 titles. A captain-elect as a sophomore at Curry College, where he scored 2 TDs last fall.
MIKE LEAVITT, CENTRAL
One of 14 three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Stars in the 40-year history of the award for football. Set Raiders' career rushing mark with 3,598 yards, according to coach Chuck Adamopoulos. Scored 44 career TDs. Quad-captain of the victorious North squad in the Shriners game. Played one year at Bryant. Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star wrestler with a 143-20 record.
Bobby Vardaro, Phillips
Our region has never produced anybody quite like the 6-5, 307-pounder from North Reading. Boston College didn't even know who he was until stumbling across his junior year game tape and soon after he was one of their top recruits. The punishing two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star benches 365 pounds and was ranked the No. 36 offensive tackle in the country. He could see early playing time at BC.
Chris Shannon, Phillips
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Towering 6-5, 290-pounder from Andover. Back in 2006, then 20th-year coach Leon Modeste called him "the best tackle we've ever had." Chose Duke over Maryland and UConn. Was ranked No. 7 player in Massachusetts. Now a reserve lineman for the Blue Devils.
Chris Stringfellow, Londonderry
At 6-0, 265 pounds, the two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star was light enough on his feet to also play goalie in lacrosse and hockey. He also scored four goals as a senior in lacrosse. "He has quick feet and is very strong," said Londonderry coach Tom Sawyer of his All-Star center. Had 70 tackles as a senior.
Matt Fiore, Pentucket
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star was Cape Ann League Lineman of the Year as a senior. Four-year letterman and three-year starter. At 6-1, 229 pounds, agile enough to play some tight end and fullback. Just as dominant on defense. Made 19 tackles last fall at Plymouth State. Three-year lacrosse starter in high school.
Juan Olivo, Greater Lawrence
Small-school star with talent that couldn't be overlooked. Bull-strong 6-1, 260-pounder. Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Had jaw-dropping 16-tackle game in 2007 EMass 3A Super Bowl. Somerville coach Harry Marchetti, who is an assistant principal at Greater Lawrence, said, "He'd start for me in a heartbeat. He'd start for Everett. He'd start for Xaverian."
Buddy Farnham, Andover
Andover has had a who's who of receivers but nobody quite like Farnham. Rewrote school record books with 20 interceptions, 154 catches and 2,664 receiving yards for his career. Totalled 32 TDs, 21 through the air. Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Four-year starter. New England Player of the Year (all divisions) last year at Brown. Signed free agent contract with Patriots.
Demetri Brown, Lawrence
At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, the two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star was one tough cover. Caught 34 passes for 617 yards and eight TDs as a senior and 37 for 613 yards and eight more scores as a junior. He also kicked PATs. The three-year starter was All-Cape Ann League as a sophomore when he caught 28 passes for 512 yards.
Sean Lynch, Salem
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star combined soft hands, good size (6-2, 210 pounds as a senior), intensity and agility (he played defensive back at times). As a senior he caught 15 passes, the biggest the game winner in overtime vs. Memorial. Had five TD catches as a junior for the run-oriented Blue Devils. Earned scholarship to UNH, where he gained a reputation as a punishing blocker and reliable long snapper.
Ben Proulx, Pinkerton
A natural pass rusher, the two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star lived in enemy backfields. The 6-2, 205-pounder had 16 tackles for a loss as a senior. Honorable mention All-Division 1 as a sophomore. "He has been a serious impact player since he was a sophomore," said coach Brian O'Reilly. Earned scholarship to Sacred Heart. Eagle-Tribune All-Star for Division 1 state champion basketball team.
Andrew Regan, Central
Impossible to move at 5-10, 266 pounds. Made the Super 26 All-State team as a senior, when he was MVC Defensive Player of the Year. Had 88 tackles and eight sacks that year. First three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star lineman in the 40-year history of the award. Earned comparisons to Central Hall of Famers Sean and Brendan Finneran. Eagle-Tribune All-Star wrestler. Recorded 48 tackles last year for Bryant.
Josh Lane, Pinkerton
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star and our defensive MVP in 2007 when he led the Astros to their third straight Division 1 title. Powerhouse in the weight room. Brian O'Reilly had high praise for the 6-2, 275-pounder: "He's the best lineman we've ever had. Of those 11 full scholarship kids we've had, four were linemen, and he's the best." Earned scholarship to UNH but only played one year.
Fola Aiyeku, Methuen
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Impressively built 6-1, 210-pounder. Combined speed (4.6 40) and strength (bench-pressed 270 pounds). "He was notorious for laying licks on people," said Rangers assistant Glen Gearin. Had 10 sacks as a junior. Played one year at UMass and later played semi-pro with the Mill City Maulers.
Pat Halligan, Salem
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star won the Bishop Award as a junior as region's top three-sport athlete. The intimidating 230-pounder had 88 tackles and scored 15 TDs as a senior. Earned the nickname "The Hammer." Never even played football until his junior year! Disappointed a lot of football, hockey and baseball coaches by not playing college sports. Graduated from UNH in the spring.
Matt Zahoruiko, North Andover
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. As a senior led the Knights with 93 tackles and didn't give up a sack all season. Three-year, two-way starter. As a senior scored 14 goals in hockey and was a baseball tri-captain. He was co-Defensive MVP in the Northeast-10 last fall with a Bentley school record 123 tackles.
Chris Morales, Central
A bruising 6-2, 237-pounder, Morales was a load as a fullback/linebacker/defensive end. As a senior he recorded 73 tackles and nine sacks. Three-year starter. Notched 8.5 sacks as a junior. Nimble enough to be an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in basketball, too. A returning starter on the defensive line at Delaware.
Chris Scharon, Salem
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Led New Hampshire with 10 tackles in Shrine game win over Vermont. "He's definitely one of the best linebackers I've coached in all my years," said Jack Gati, who has been coaching since 1978. Three-year starter. At 6-2, 210 pounds was a sprinter in track. Started 1 1/2 years at fullback for Division 1 Buffalo.
Zack Lattrell, Central
Last fall was The Eagle-Tribune Defensive MVP and this spring was named the Bishop Award winner as the region's top three-sport athlete. All-Scholastic linebacker made 142 tackles as a senior. "He's as physical and rugged as any kid you're going to find," said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. "He has great speed and runs from sideline to sideline." Is playing football at Brown.
Joe Esposito, Georgetown
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star and our 2008 Defensive MVP for his work as a playmaking shutdown cornerback. Posted historic quadruple-double-double: more than a 1,000 yards rushing and passing in both his junior and senior seasons. Few if any signal-callers in state history can match that feat. Had career totals of 35 TD passes, 47 TDs scored and 340 points.
Jeff Molesso, Haverhill
Three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star was an All-Scholastic as a senior, when he led the Hillies to their best record in 28 years. Had 17 career interceptions. Also a fine basketball player (MVC All-Star) and track athlete (EMass Class A javelin champ). Was a three-year all-conference player at Bentley, where he had 14 career interceptions.
Brian Griffiths, Pentucket
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star defensive back and our 2001 Defensive MVP. Cape Ann League MVP and an All-Scholastic. Started on three straight CAL championship teams. Also a standout receiver and kicker. Eagle-Tribune All-Star in track and averaged 11.5 points a game as a senior in basketball. Played football at Worcester State.
T.J. Pare, Haverhill
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star in both basketball and football. Combined for 130 tackles and nine interceptions in his final two seasons. Jet-quick 5-8, 165-pounder. Central hoop speedster Carlos Brown said of him, "I'm not used to playing anyone as quick as I am." Was one of the area's top scholar-athletes. Recent graduate of Florida State.
Nate Adames, Greater Lawrence
Eagle-Tribune All-Star defensive back as a junior and our Offensive MVP as a senior. Led by Adames, the Reggies rebounded from a 1-20 two-year stretch in 2004-05 to 12-1 EMass Division 3A Super Bowl champs in 2007. Smashed the area record with 2,643 rushing yards to go with 37 TDs in 2007. Picked off five passes as a junior. He was second-team All-Worcester Area last fall at Anna Maria.