Expectations are high for the Bishop Fenwick football team — and this group of Crusaders wouldn’t want it any other way.
Experience and leadership are high on the team’s list of strengths due in large part to the fact that most of Fenwick’s key players are heading into their second, third and even fourth year starting. But further examination of this team shows that its bond began forming well before the fall of 2010, when this group of seniors walked through the Fenwick doors.
Three of the team’s five captains — Nick Bona, Charlie Maistrellis and Eric Razney — have been close friends for as long as they can remember. For a public school team, that wouldn’t be unusual. But at Fenwick, which has players from Melrose to Newburyport, that lifelong friendship could pay dividends on the field this fall, starting Saturday in the season opener at Hamilton-Wenham (1 p.m.).
“We’ve been going to school together since St. John’s (of Peabody), probably preschool. It’s been awhile,” Bona, a starting quarterback and linebacker, said. “We didn’t start playing football together until sixth grade. Definitely one of the main reasons we went to Fenwick was that we all wanted to play together.”
Officially, the trio didn’t hit the gridiron together until eighth grade. Bona moved to Peabody when he was in the second grade, but started playing football in Salem when he was 7 years old. When he was in the sixth grade he started playing for Peabody Pop Warner, along with Razney.
Maistrellis got his feet wet with the sport by playing flag football, then joined Pop Warner in the eighth grade. He fell in the love with the sport instantly.
Bona and Maistrellis each earned starting spots in Fenwick’s defensive backfield when they were freshmen.