EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 2, 2012

Windham's Breton fired up for semis

Football Friday Hector Longo
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — WINDHAM — An “A-B” student in the classroom, Zach Breton has picked up a couple lessons on the gridiron after 10 years in the game of football.

“A playoff win is one of the best feelings there is. And when you lose, it’s in the playoffs, it’s like you let your brothersdown,” said the senior, who with his Windham High mates will face Trinity of Manchester in the Division 4 state semifinals tomorrow (1 p.m.) at Gill Stadium.

He’s also figured it out that all those years of blood, sweat and tears comes to an abrupt halt very soon.

“One day or eight days, this most likely is it for me,” said the 5-foot-10, 175-pound offensive guard/defensive lineman.” As a senior, this is it. Go big or go home.”

Breton hopes to attend UNH next fall, where he’s looking at the communications field.

But he and the Jags, who went 7-2, have plenty of time to worry about the long term.

All thoughts right now are on Trinity, a team that throttled the Jags in the regular season finale Friday night.

Breton and his muscle-bound teammates in the trenches took the defeat personally.

“They’re a good team, and they played very well,” said Breton, who played volleyball last year and is looking to step up from JV to varsity in hoop this winter. “But that one was all on us. If we are going to turn it around, we need to have that extra push up front. We have to execute and do our jobs.”

Getting the job done was a consistent happening for Windham’s offense throughout the regular season. The Jaguars averaged 39.9 points a game in 2012.

“Again, we like to think it all starts with us,” said Breton, who starts up front with left tackle Danny Russo, center Pat Stap, right guard Colin Lagos and right tackle Connor Golden. “Our line has a lot of pride. We get that push, get the team rolling.”

Windham has the playoff experience, having only lost three players from last year’s Division 5 finalist team.

But with the 42-7 loss to Trinity so fresh in their minds, you have to wonder if the Jags have what it takes.

“The kids are more hungry right now than I’ve seen all season,” said coach Bill Raycraft. “We just had a practice at Rivier College that might have been our best practice all season.”

Raycraft says he played it pretty close to the vest a week ago, resting a couple dinged up starters. And when it looked like Trinity took charge, he continued the early exodus of starters.

“We changed things around, and I thought it to be enough of a game-plan to get the win,” said Raycraft. “Once we saw we weren’t going to have our way, that was it.”

The coach and his players say they are more than ready, willing and able.

“We just don’t want to see it end after building a foundation here,” said Breton. “We’re just not ready to let it end.”

NH Division 4 state semifinal Saturday, 1 p.m., at Gill Stadium, Manchester, NH Trinity (8-1) vs. Windham (7-2) FAB 5 1. Andover 8-0 2. Central Catholic 7-1 3. Pinkerton 8-1 4. Haverhill 6-2 5. Windham 7-2 Honorable mention: North Reading (6-1), Greater Lawrence (6-2), Whittier (6-2)