Pingree School senior Johnnie Spears sat in the James J. Connolly Memorial Stadium stands Friday night in Woburn getting a personal scouting report on Bishop Fenwick as the Crusaders battled Abington in a Division 5 state semifinal football game.
While watching the team Spears and his Highlander teammates will try to dismantle on Thanksgiving morning (10 a.m.) at Fenwick’s Donaldson Field, the Pingree speedster found himself doing something unusual — rooting for the Crusaders.
“They look like the same exact team as us. They have speed and skill, but (also) have a big running back, Rufus (Rushins), which we don’t have. I’m not sure if he’s playing, but this is like a bowl game for us,” Spears said.
“If we beat Bishop Fenwick, that would be great. When I was at the Abington game I was pulling for Bishop Fenwick to win, just so we can try to beat them when they’re undefeated.”
Spears received his wish: Fenwick defeated Abington (35-8), the Crusaders remained unbeaten (11-0), and Pingree (6-2) will get its chance to get some real North Shore notoriety Thursday morning.
A prep school program in only its eighth season of varsity football, will also be playing its first Thanksgiving game.
“We’re excited for that. We lost our last game (56-26 against Dexter) to not be able to go to a bowl game, so we definitely have some fire under us to win (Thursday),” Spears said. “It’s my last high school football game and I don’t want to end on a loss.”
The Highlanders come into the game with the ability to put big numbers on the scoreboard. Pingree has scored more than 50 points in four games this fall, all wins. It also produced 48 points in a six-point loss to New Hampton.
The Highlanders have speed — particularly in Spears, who can (and has) terrorized teams lined up as a receiver or a running back. Sophomore quarterback Griffin Beal also has a strong arm and plenty of other options outside of Spears.