SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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June 26, 2013

Guerrero ready for one final go on the gridiron in tomorrow's Agganis Classic

He’ll pull on his shoulder pads, strap on his helmet and ready himself for battle on the gridiron one final time tomorrow night.

After that, whenever Casey Guerrero readies himself for battle on the field, he’ll do so without pads or a helmet — but he’ll be subject to just as much physicality and brute force as during his football days.

The Middleton resident, who is suting up for the North squad in tomorrow’s 52nd annual Harry Agganis All-Star Football Classic (7 p.m.) at Manning Field in Lynn, will be playing organized football for the last time. He’ll be headed off to college at West Virginia University in two months, where his sport of choice will be rugby.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman from Masconomet Regional, on playing his football finale tomorrow night. “The practices have been great, meeting guys from other towns and messing around with them. And certainly, it’s nice to be honored and play in a game like this.

“Rugby has a lot of similarities with football. I’m in the pack in the second row, and that’s pretty much all legs and drive forward — our scrum against their scrum, just like playing on the line (in football). And the tight bond you develop with the guys is a lot alike, too.”

A two-way tackle that his teammates called ‘Chief’, Guerrero was one of the leaders on the line that guided Masconomet to the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 1 championship last fall. Tomorrow night, he’ll take his spot at left tackle for the North.

“He’s a very good athlete,” said Masconomet head coach Jim Pugh, “but because of his size and weight, he’s always played the line. But Casey’s got great feet and hands and has a lot of talent.

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