SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 21, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: New book chronicles Beverly sports

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — There’s a great stocking stuffer for all Panther fans looking for something special. Joel Richardson has a new book out which is available now called Beverly Athletics Fall 2013. It is available by mail order on Amazon for $15 including tax, and after the new year will also be at Beverly High and Todd’s Sporting Goods.

Richardson, a former track star at Beverly High and Williams College, came up with the idea because the Panthers always have such good teams, and he felt the book would make a nice remembrance for the athletes. He picked the right season to feature because Beverly had some outstanding teams and plenty of exciting athletes to feature.

“Fortunately, Mike Rollins was already taking an encyclopedic number of photos of these teams, so I hooked up with him to choose from his collection,” said Richardson. “I think I got some great shots. There are color pictures of each team as well as a team photo that (AD) James Coffey and Linda Zambouras provided.”

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Nick Marraffa of Danvers has been accepted early decision at Wesleyan University, and the St. John’s Prep inside linebacker intends to play football there. Nick’s father, Bob, was a star on the gridiron for the Eagles when Fred Glatz was the coach, and his two older brothers played for Jim O’Leary. Bob graduated in 2008 and went on to play at Hobart. The following year Jack got his diploma and decided to attend Union although he didn’t play there.

“Both my parents went to Wesleyan, and at first I didn’t want to go there for that reason, but after visiting last summer I knew that was my first choice. It has one of the nicest campuses around, and I really liked the coaches. I always knew I wanted to play at a NESCAC school. Tufts and Middlebury were also on my list. I’m not sure what I want to study yet. I’ll figure that out later but I’m very happy to know where I’m going to be,” said Nick Marraffa.

Marraffa works just as hard in the classroom as on the athletic field. He has an impressive 4.2 grade point average on a scale of 5.0. He used to play hockey and lacrosse, but football has always been his main sport and the last two years he has focused all his attention on becoming a better player.

“Nick is a program kid, who came up through the ranks,” said O’Leary. “He comes from a St. John’s family and is the youngest of three brothers. He probably played the most, but they were all nice kids, who worked very hard. Some players get discouraged, and don’t stick it out, but Nick was always ready when the opportunity came.

“He studied film every day, and was the leader on defense for us. People looked up to him at middle linebacker, and he made the calls. He has shown marked improvement over the years. Nick is a quiet kid, but he had to speak up because of the position he plays and the responsibilities that come with it. He’s somebody we could always rely on to go out and do his job.”

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Nelson DeSilvestre, former long time Beverly track coach, assisted Jay Smith at Bishop Fenwick last year. Smith stepped down before the indoor track season began, and DeSilvestre was contemplating doing the same when he received a great opportunity. He has been hired as co-head coach for Manchester-Essex indoor track.

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Corey Jean-Jacques, former St. John’s Prep football and wrestling star, has been named All New England Prep School Lineman of the Year. He played a key role in Avon Old Farms 7-2 season. The Winged Beavers went to the Arthur Valicenti championship bowl game, losing to Suffield Academy, 50-42.

Jean-Jacques, who is from Haverhill, was named a NEPSAC all-star. He was a starting tackle on last year’s Prep Super Bowl championship squad.

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Jean DePlacido’s column appears every Saturday in The Salem News. You can contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com