EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 22, 2013

Gridiron Memories: The Conway family's brilliant legacy

Gridiron Memories
Michael Muldoon

---- — The Conway clan is synonymous with Haverhill High football.

Pat, Mike and Dan Conway were all All-Scholastics.

“Globe and Herald,” Dan said proudly from his San Diego home, which is only a few miles away from Mike’s home in Rancho Santa Fe.

He said his father, Dan Sr. (HHS ‘35), was an All-Scholastic for the Hillies, too.

“It was a dream come true having your brothers as your heroes,” said Dan, a 1977 graduate who is much younger than Mike (HHS ‘56) and Pat (‘61). “I had a lot to live up to and I knew that every day.”

Dan was more than up to the challenge. He said by the time he graduated he could have gone to virtually any top football program in the country including Notre Dame and USC.

Dan had only recently turned 15 when he played his first game as a sophomore.

“It was against Beverly,” he began. “The pass was behind me. I jumped up and caught it and eluded 4-5 guys. I was shocked I made the play and I think it shocked a lot of the players. (Senior) Ernie Samaras said, ‘There is a party tonight and you can come to it!’”

According to a 1990 story, Dan, who was 6-3, 195 pounds as a senior, scored 37 TDs and 248 points in his career with the Brown and Gold. Both were then third all-time in school history. Recent grad Chance Brady broke most of the school records.

Dan then starred at BC, where he racked up 2,004 career rushing yards and 21 rushing TDs. He’s the last Hillie to earn a 1-A football scholarship.

“I played for Harry Mac (McNamara) as a freshman and he was fantastic,” said Conway, who signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills but a serious eye injury ended his NFL hopes. “All the coaches were: Joe Carven, Otto (John Ottaviani), Dick Maguire, Joe Hart. It was so much fun playing for them.”

Mike, an end who scored 44 points, and future Notre Dame starting signal-caller Don White teamed to lead the 7-0-1 1955 Hillie squad, which was coached by Paul Ryan. Mike then played at Princeton.

Pat, who scored 17 TDs as a senior, was an All-Ivy defensive back at Harvard, where he was teammate with a talented offensive lineman by the name of Tommy Lee Jones, the famous actor.

In the 1990 football program, longtime Haverhill athlete/coach/AD John Ottaviani wrote a piece on the 100-year history of Haverhill football.

He wrote, “Among contemporary players, the Conway brothers stand out.”

Dan was a top sprinter in high school but rarely lifted until college. Then he got hooked. He benched 405 pounds on his 50th birthday.

5 years ago: Salem puts a beating on memorial

Salem set a modern school points record (from 1965 on) in a 65-20 dismantling of Memorial. It was so bad for the visitors that they fumbled in their own end zone with no time remaining and Salem’s Chris Hale recovered for the score. Chris Najem carried nine times for 150 yards and three TDs and Matt Cannone completed two passes, for scores of 51 and 42 yards to Cory Lavallee. ... BC High, the No. 3 team in EMass., topped Andover, 38-14. Ryan Peek (92 kickoff return) and Sean Ehlbeck (12 pass) scored for AHS. ... Juan “Bamboo” Olivo and Brian Rivera combined for 15 tackles but Greater Lawrence fell to Groton-Dunstable 16-0. ... 6-6, 270-pound lineman Brennan Williams (now with the Houston Texans) and QB A.J. Doyle (UMass starter) led Catholic Memorial on a late scoring drive and a 28-21 win over upset-minded Haverhill. Noel Figuereo (11 carries, 169 yards, 2 TDs) led the Brown and Gold. ... Joe McLaughlin scored on runs of 97 and 60 yards and Londonderry beat Concord 33-12. ...

Ramon Heredia (3 TD passes, 2 to Demitri Brown) and Lawrence KO’d Newburyport, 37-23. Future Merrimack great Joe Clancy (3 TD passes) led the Clippers. ... Pinkerton scored 27 points in seven minutes in a 34-13 win over West. Eric Guinto rushed for three TDs in the 27-0 barrage. ... Derek Furey followed up his 340-yard, 5-TD game the previous week with 196 yards and two TDs. He led Timberlane over Merrimack 20-8. ... Bryan Trickett scored first on a 2-yard run and added the conversion rush but it was all Narragansett after that in a 27-8 win over Whittier. ... Brendon Felder, the godson of ex-76ers great Andrew Toney, was the “Central Strangler” as St. John’s beat the Raiders 28-16. Felder, who now plays at Pitt, had three TDs to offset a TD run and 129 passing yards from Shain Jowett. ... Freshman Brandon Walsh threw two TD passes to Chris Buco but North Andover lost to Amesbury 37-20. ... Chris Modlish (127 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and Pentucket manhandled Greater Lowell 46-0.

15 years ago: Beshara, Rangers rout Danvers

Brad Beshara rushed for 156 yards and scored three TDs in Methuen’s 37-6 romp over Danvers. ... Angelo Urena (22-107, 1 TD) and QB Scott Sicard (TD) powered Lawrence in a 14-0 whitewashing of Dracut. ... Chris Frithsen and George Lopez scored for North Reading in a 35-13 loss at Newburyport. ... Josh Owen carried 16 times for 87 yards and a TD but Pelham fell to Franklin 40-15. ... Pentucket trailed Wilmington 14-0 after three quarters but posted a 20-14 upset win on a 50-yard pass from Erich Schlitt (7 for 13, 167 yards) to Adam Patten with 40 seconds left. ... Concord blanked Pinkerton, 19-0, the first time the Astros were shut out in nine years. ... Derek Gibbs threw for 115 yards and scored the lone TD for Timberlane in a 19-6 loss to Exeter. ... Defending EMass. Division 6B Super Bowl champ North Shore shaded Whittier 14-12. Jon Turrisi and Tom Diaz scored for the Cats.

Rick Johnson scored a TD and threw a 4-yard TD pass to Pat Murnane as Andover beat North Andover 20-6. Panos Voulgaris scored for the Knights. .... Niall Murphy fired a 69-yard TD strike to Phil Joncas with 2:21 left and rambled for a 54-yard score a minute later as Central Catholic beat St. John’s 34-20. ... Nate Gatchell’s 161 rushing yards and Brad Dick’s three TDs lifted Georgetown past Lynn Tech 34-12. ... Bo Morales rushed for 128 yards and scored two TDs as Greater Lawrence blanked Chelsea 16-0. ... Their Thanksgiving series now a thing of the past, Salem drubbed Haverhill, 50-16, in an early-season Rte. 97 matchup. The 50 points were the most scored against a Haverhill team in at least 15 years. Montrez Payton (14 carries, 137 yards) scored three times. Haverhill’s Sean Sughrue threw for 141 yards including a 20-yard TD pass to Adam Gagne. Ironically, Gagne was the head coach for Salem High last season.

35 years ago: Hulking soucie carries Lawrence

Jim Moran and massive 6-2, 260-pound junior Joe Soucie led Lawrence over Austin Prep 21-0. Reserve quarterback Dave Ball scored a touchdown and set up two others as Georgetown beat Cathedral 20-8. ... Bob David scored the only touchdown and Mike Sprout also starred as Whittier blanked Tyngsboro 6-0. ... Central Catholic quarterback Mike Lefebvre threw three touchdowns and Ed Hanley ran for 124 yards in a 34-12 win over Greater Lawrence. ... North Andover slipped past Methuen 13-12 on Paul Willis’ 10-yard TD pass late in the third quarter.

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E-mail Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MullyET.

Contribute information

If you have an interesting anecdote, a story idea or an old football picture, you can contact Michael Muldoon at 978-946-2312 or mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

Tribune 25 Football Players

Football players who were honored among The Eagle-Tribune’s top 25 athletes of the century.

Rank Name School Comment

2. Bill Quinlan Lawrence ‘51 9 years in NFL

6. Gene Goodreault Haverhill ‘37 College Football Hall of Famer

7. Ray Preston Lawrence ‘71 Syracuse All-American

8. Rob Konrad St. John’s ‘95/No. Andover Wore famed No. 44 at Syracuse

10. Ryan Mihalko Pinkerton ‘87 Two-sport High School All-American

16. Steve Doig North Reading ‘78 3rd round draft pick

17. Dave Rozumek Lawrence ‘72 From walk-on to NFL

19. Glenn Verrette Andover ‘76 Holy Cross Hall of Famer

21. Jeff Baker Methuen ‘85 Legendary hurdler started for BC

24. James Perry Malden Cath. ‘96/Andover Threw Ivy League record 74 TD passes

25. Jack Moynihan Central ‘57 Drafted by N.Y. Giants