What else can you say about him? Plenty. Day calls him “hands down the best receiver I’ve ever coached”, and while Beverly doesn’t throw often, Flaherty has still managed to haul in 14 career TD passes. His work out of the defensive secondary gets lost in the shuffle, too; Flaherty is among the team’s leading tacklers and takes immense pride in cutting down opposing ballcarriers, anticipating and picking off passes, and wrapping up a ballcarrier before stripping the football loose — as he did during Tuesday night’s semifinal win over Burlington.
Then there are the little things. “Stuff that no one sees,” Flaherty said. “If I make a block that springs one of my teammates for a 60-yard touchdown run, that’s the same to me as if I scored. I take a lot of pride in things like that. I’ll do whatever the coaches need me to do because it’s a team game.”
So what sets Flaherty apart from other physically gifted high schoolers with speed, good hands and a high football IQ? It goes back to those aforementioned little things, like employing the same work ethic during practices, film study and weight sessions as he does during the actual games. It’s knowing not only his own 1/11th on a particular play, but what everyone else (on both teams) should be doing on the same play.
“When we need big yards, Brendan almost always makes the plays,” citing the Panthers’ biggest wins this season (over Masconomet, Marblehead and Burlington) as examples of Flaherty’s best work. “He ran like a man possessed (Tuesday).”
It’s also a burning desire to not accept failure under any circumstances. “I hate to lose more than I like to win,” he admitted, and any of his teammates who have battled — and lost virtually every time to him — in video games such as Madden ‘13, FIFA ‘13, NHL ‘13 or NCAA ‘13 will attest to.