SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 30, 2012

Beverly's Best

Flaherty hopes to end his career with second Super Bowl crown tomorrow

BEVERLY — All Roger Day could do was shake his head and chuckle.

Describe Brendan Flaherty to some who has never seen the mercurial Beverly High captain play before, the team’s offensive coordinator was asked.

“The best way to put it,” said Day, a veteran of 35 years coaching high school football, “is that he’s like a weapon you can use any time, against anyone — for anything you need. Anything.”

No one who has ever watched the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Flaherty ply his trade on the gridiron would ever disagree.

Flaherty will play the final game of his brilliant high school career tomorrow afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough as he and the Beverly Panthers take on Natick High School for the Division 2A Eastern Mass. Super Bowl championship.

The Panthers won’t only be looking for their second Super Bowl championship in three seasons — Flaherty had two touchdown receptions as a sophomore when the Orange-and-Black defeated Somerset for the 2010 title at Gillette — but are also aiming to finish 13-0 and thus become the greatest team in the 122-year history of Beverly High football.

“It’s truly hard to believe this is it, his last (high school) game,” said Tim Flaherty, Brendan’s father and a former Beverly High Class of 1985 gridiron star in his own right. “Brendan reminds me a lot of my late father Lenny (who played at Boston College) in that he’s a quiet, confident leader who knows what he wants at all times.”

Flaherty had perhaps the signature game of his high school career Tuesday in a 34-21 playoff semifinal triumph at Burlington High, rushing for 251 yards on just 13 carries while scoring four touchdowns. He also had a 44-yard punt return in which he broke approximately eight tackles in what Day termed “the absolute, no-question play that turned the game around for us.”

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