DANVERS — It was well worth the wait.
The St. John’s Prep football team was honored with new team jackets and impressive Super Bowl rings at their annual banquet Sunday night at the Danversport Yacht Club.
Blue and white balloons decorated every table as players, coaches and parents celebrated the team’s Catholic Conference title and Division 1 Super Bowl victory over Brockton.
“I had some idea what the ring was going to look like, but we never saw the final product,” said senior defensive end Tucker Mathers, who will play for Tufts next year. “It’s the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life. I’m never going to take it off.”
The gold ring featuring a huge blue stone in the middle resembled something suitable for a championship pro team.
“It’s surreal,” said junior middle linebacker Sean Smerczynski. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.
“This banquet is a great way to end the year, but we have to get ready for next season. Right now, we have 45 kids in the weight room every morning.”
Head coach Jim O’Leary had every senior introduce himself at the banquet and say where he was going to college. He also brought up all the members of his large coaching staff to explain what their job was and how long they had been coaching at St. John’s.
“I am very, very proud to be the football coach at St. John’s Prep,” said O’Leary, who picked up his 200th victory this past season when the Eagles blanked Andover in the playoff semifinals. “I’ve been coaching for 41 years (the last 28 as head coach), and I can honestly say it’s never been about the wins and losses — even though we’ve won more than we’ve lost — but always about the players and personal relationships. You have to be a good teammate.”