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September 3, 2010

Best of the Best

Bondelevitch turned Swampscott into a football dynasty unmatched in North Shore annals

Swampscott High football coaching legend Stan Bondelevitch had a flair for the dramatic.

Virtually anyone who wore a Big Blue uniform on Bondelevitch's watch from 1953-76 and again from 1983-86 can recount his fiery and emotional locker room speeches. They've become part of the Big Blue lore.

"He made the best pregame speeches of any coach I've ever had for any sport that I ever played — at any level," said Billy Adams, who played for Bondelevitch from 1965-67 before moving on to college ball at Holy Cross and then the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.

But to this day, there seems to be some dispute about what happened in the late stages of one of the most dramatic wins in Swampscott history, when Mike Lynch kicked a field goal in 1969 to beat arch-rival Marblehead, 15-14, capping the Big Blue's third straight 9-0 season.

Peter Beatrice, who was the quarterback for the Big Blue that day, recalled that Marblehead didn't mount any kind of threat after it fell behind by a point, and thus Swampscott had a chance to put it away with another touchdown. But Bondelevitch wouldn't hear of it, according to Beatrice.

"It was only a one-point game," said Beatrice. "We were in the heat of the moment and I thought we could score again and put it out of reach. But Bondy said, 'You don't want to do that.' We looked at him like he was out of his mind."

Dick Lynch of Swampscott, who was a loyal assistant to Bondelevitch from 1954-73, remembers the ending differently.

"There wasn't enough time for us to score and we didn't even try," said Lynch. "From what I can remember, we were just content to run out the clock."

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