The Bates College football team had quite a few locals on the roster leading the Bobcats to a 4-4 season after getting off to a slow start. Former St. John’s Prep center James Fagan, who was a key member of the Super Bowl championship team two years ago, switched his position to right guard.

The reason for the change was because senior captain Larry Guinee of Peabody was the starting center. Fagan started all eight games.

“It doesn’t matter to me where I play as long as I’m on the field helping the team,” said Fagan, who is from Lynnfield. “I may move back to center next season when Guinee is gone. I saw some garbage time as a freshman so it was nice being able to contribute more. When you are a senior in high school there is so much pressure to pick the right school. Bates is a great combination of people and academics. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”

Another former Eagle, Sean Lovett, is also a Bobcat. Lovett is a freshman lineman, and this was a learning year for him. Two other sophomores are already making major contributions. Trevor Lyons, former star at Hamilton-Wenham is a defensive back who made 27 tackles and Masconomet’s Sean Antonuccio is a defensive lineman. Antonuccio was named to the NESCAC All Academic team. Marblehead senior Josh Freedland had a great year at linebacker and made 24 tackles while Magician alum Brian Daly is a freshman wide receiver.

“Trevor is one of my roommates, and also one of the best cornerbacks in the league,” said Fagan. “I went against him in middle school, and he was a stud then, making plays on both sides of the ball. Antonuccio also had a very good year on the defensive line. They are going to be big for our team for the next two years. Lovett will put on some weight and compete for a starting position.

“Freedland (24 tackles) did an outstanding job for us. Our senior class was talented, and we should have had an even better record. We lost a couple of close games we should have won,” said Fagan, who touched on the Bobcats finishing the season strong after a tough start.

“Starting out we were 1-4,but we didn’t hang our heads. We hung in there and turned things around. Bates football was the doormat of NESCAC for a while, but the last couple of years things are turning in the right direction. The team went 5-3 two years ago with the best record in school history, and then we were 4-4 my freshman year.”

The players had a short break over Thanksgiving, but on Monday morning were back in the weight room getting ready for next season. For the third year in a row the Bobcats won the CBB (Colby, Bowdoin, Bates) Maine championship.

“We only had one win with the Colby game coming up, but that was great motivation. We beat Colby, and then finished up strong with wins over Bowdoin and Hamilton,” said Fagan, who is an economics major. “We got to relax a bit before getting back to lifting.Before I went to Bates everybody warned me about the weather in Maine. It’s true there’s a lot of snow and cold, but you don’t realize how long the winters are until you live through one. March comes around and there’s lots of snow. Then April comes and there’s still snow on the ground.We don’t get much spring up here, but you get used to it.”

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Doug Garabedian of Salem had a terrific soccer career at Connecticut College, and was equally impressive in the classroom. The former Bishop Fenwick scoring leader switched to defense in college and started all four years for the Camels. He was recently selected to the NESCAC All Academic soccer team for the third year in a row. Garabedian is an economics major with a 3.4 GPA.

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Sharyn Longo has stepped down as the Danvers High girls’ indoor track coach after nine years at the helm. Boys’ coach John Norris is now in charge of both squads. Longo will stay busy officiating NEC and CAL track meets.

“I’ll also do a couple of college meets,” she said. “Between officiating and coaching Salem State men’s and women’s cross country I’ll have plenty to do, but I will miss the girls. I always enjoyed coaching them, and look forward to seeing them at meets.”

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Jean DePlacido is a correspondent for The Salem News. You can contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com.

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