EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 10, 2013

Sports in a Minute

David Willis
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Chasing Jim G

Methuen linebacker Johnny Maginnis, who was featured two weeks ago in The Eagle-Tribune, is on pace this winter to break the Rangers’ school record in the pentathlon in indoor track.

According to Methuen track coach Roger Fuller, Maginnis is projected to score 2,990 total points in the competition, which combines 55 hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 1,000 meters.

Who currently holds the record? Former Eagle-Tribune sportswriter and page designer Jim Giarrusso, who set the mark of 2,938 for the Rangers in the year 2000. Second on the list is 2012 Olympic javelin thrower Sean Furey, who scored 2,789 also in 2000.

Like Maginnis, both Furey and Giarrusso played football.

Bird watching

Now in my 11th year covering high school football for The Eagle-Tribune, and prior to that playing four years at Pentucket and attending games as a kid, I have seen some pretty strange things around the high school gridiron.

But last Saturday was a first for sure.

A fan at Whittier’s matchup with Northeast arrived with a parrot on her shoulder. No reports if it spoke, but it sure squawked a lot and did not fly away.

Griffin up next?

Through five games this season, Houston Texans rookie tight end Ryan Griffin of Londonderry does not yet have an NFL catch. But it could be coming soon.

The Texans took a major hit when they lost Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels for 3-6 weeks with a broken leg.

Thus, Griffin has now been promoted to the No. 2 tight end spot and ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli projects him as a possible breakout player given the new opportunity. The former Lancers star has played primarily special teams so far.

Murphy rules

Speaking of former Londonderry stars playing professional sports, former two-time Eagle--Tribune girls hoops Player of the Year Stefanie Murphy is lighting it up overseas.

The ex-Boston College standout has scored 45 points in three games for MBK Ruzomb (Slovakia) of the Middle European League, which kicked off its season two weeks ago. Murphy’s best performance was a 23-point, 11 rebound day against Novi Zagreb last Wednesday.

McCarthy back

A week after being demoted, Andover’s John McCarthy has been recalled by the San Jose Sharks. It marks the fourth season in which he has played at least one game in the NHL. His career-best is 37 games two years ago.

Hazelton a Red Raider?

Central Catholic legend Scott Hazelton is reportedly one of three candidates for the Lowell High varsity boys basketball head coaching job.

Hazelton most recently coached Bishop Guertin girls hoops to back-to-back state titles. He was hired as an assistant coach at UMass Lowell this summer, but left shortly after.

Longtime Red Raiders coach Scott Boyle stepped down last season after years of conflicts with school officials.

Kicking’s key

Every season, we are reminded how important a placekicker who can reliably kick extra points is to a high school team. Look at the difference Andover’s Ryan Payne made in a season-opening win over North Andover.

Concord-Carlisle found a kicker they could count on this season in a very unlikely place — the girls soccer team.

Abigail Ojemann is the team’s varsity kicker, and was 5 for 5 on extra points in its win over Lexington.