After a rocky start to the season, the Bishop Hendricken freshman football team would finish strong and top rival La Salle 28-0 to win the state championship at Johnston High.
The two clubs met earlier this season, with the Rams pulling off the 18-0 shutout win. However, it would be the Hawks in the rematch that would cruise to the victory. Hendricken freshman head coach Jon Stringfellow felt that intensity was the biggest difference between the two meetings.
“We lost our first game 18-0 and really didn’t have a shot to compete against them. (The difference) was the energy in which they played with. At the beginning of the season they were a little sluggish, lacking any real kind of emotion. (La Salle) scored first in the first game which kind of took the wind out of our sails, but we scored first this time and took the wind out of theirs. That got our kids excited,” said Stringfellow.
The early loss to La Salle also helped the Hawks find their way on the field for the rest of the season.
“After the first La Salle game we had to go back to the playbook and adjust to what our strengths were. That first game really helped show us what we needed to improve on,” said Stringfellow.
Brandyn Durand led the way for the Hawks, racking up three touchdowns in the win. He would haul in two touchdown passes, one from David Lynch and another from Sensere Fernandes. He would also rush for a touchdown.
Teighan Jeremy would also rush for a score to help secure the 28-0 win.
Stringfellow was proud of the team’s improvements throughout the year, especially considering the development of the team’s chemistry.
“Obviously there are different concerns at Hendricken in terms of making them come together because they are coming from different areas and don’t know a lot about each other. That is always the challenge at the beginning of the season, but They learn how to to play with and trust each other. Developing that trust helps the team get better as the season goes on and helps create confidence in each other,” said Stringfellow.
The varsity team also won the state title a couple of weeks back, securing the school’s eighth championship in nine years. Stringfellow believes that the freshman talent will be more than ready to compete when their numbers are called at the next level.
“It’s nice, we run a separate program from the varsity team which allows us to prepare our players for that next level. They learn how to win and be successful which carries up to the next level, and that becomes the culture,” said Stringfellow. “This team needs a good group of mentors and the sophomore and junior class has a lot of them. With guys like Tom and Nic Comella, Angel Sanchez, Jake Picard, they have a dedication to working hard and love the game of football and that will carry over to these kids.”