In Beverly High’s offensive scheme, formation shifts are a big part of the equation. At any time before the football is snapped both guards, tackles, a tight end and even a wideout could be changing where and how they line up before they set themselves, all in an attempt to cross up their opponents.
The only guy in the trenches who never has to worry about where to go in this gridiron version of music chairs is Nate Higgins -- and that’s just fine with him.
“The coaches like to joke with me that all I have to do is wait for the play to start and snap the football without a mistake,” chuckled Higgins, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound center for the Panthers. He’s one of 17 seniors who will play their final game for Beverly Thanksgiving morning at Bertram Field when they meet host Salem High in the two schools’ 115th meeting.
“I really like playing center; you just do your job without much scrutiny and you get to hit someone on every play.”
Along with fellow trenchmen Zach Duguid, Jimmy Kastrinakis, Jared Paris, Sean Winston, Chris Faust, Sam Mulumba and James Aaron, Higgins has been part of a unit that has allowed the Panthers to run for 3,282 yards in 10 games this fall, an average of better than seven-and-a-half yards per carry.
Leading that group is fellow senior Isaiah White, who takes 1,619 rushing yards into Thursday’s game. With 30 more yards, he’ll become Beverly High’s all-time single-season rushing leader.
“I really want to beat Salem on their home field and end (my career) with a win. That, plus Isaiah breaking the record,” said the 18-year-old Higgins. “And if I could help open up the hole where he got the record-breaking run, that’d be really satisfying.”