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The Yankee Express

School sports “wedge season” filled a void

BHS head coach Dane Laboissonniere (right) addresses his team following the win over Southbridge in the postponed Thanksgiving Day football game. He noted that the seniors have the distinction of beating their rival for all four of their high school years. This was his final on-field talk with the team as he has decided to retire. Good luck, coach.

The high school “wedge season” is complete and the MIAA hit a home run by following their plan and they deserve credit. 
The kids got a half season in games played in football, soccer, and field hockey and they gave all of us hope and enthusiasm after COVID-19 that paralyzed us since February 2020. 
The breakout wedge season from COVID was courageous for anyone who was involved in the day-to-day process. Good job to student athletes, coaches, officials, and all frontline staff from ticket collectors, groundskeepers, etc. 
The upper athletic field on Ray Street in Webster was in terrific shape thanks to the work of Ken Pizzetti and his staff. Getting any field ready to play by mid-April during a normal year for baseball and softball is a challenge. Trying to get a football field ready for games in March is unbelievable and Pizzetti pulled it off. Kudos to Pizzetti again. 
A lot of curiosity was spiked from a January story in this space about the removal and disappearance of the grandstands at the Memorial Field in Webster. Safety reasons forbade any further seating in those bleachers and that’s the reason they were disassembled and removed. 
After this “wedge season,” it’s sad to say that public seating isn’t needed anymore. Spectators are non-existent at high school contests. Purchasing public seating for 40 people attending a football game is an economic waste. 
Thanksgiving Day games draw 250 people so what is the sense of purchasing expensive bleachers that have to pass a safety code every year at the town’s expense. 
After a year of being pent-up because of COVID-19, the Bartlett at Southbridge football game on Patriots Day only attracted 200 fans. Sad times in front of us old timers who rarely followed the football as spectators. It was all about what the other players were doing on that specific play. If you don’t understand that, please don’t try. Just ask someone over 60 about blocking and tackling. It’s a lost skill. Colliding into a runningback gets the applause today. 

 Sam Kontoes dives for a first down following this catch from Alex Nunez.  See more photos on the Yankee Xpress Facebook page.

                               Zack Latuga blocking for QB Alex Nunez to get the pass off.

Back to no bleachers and no fans attending games these days it is because iPhones and iPads and live steaming allows any fan to sit at home and watch a high school sporting contest. 
The dinosaurs are fading fast, meaning old school beliefs and traditions do not exist anymore. The millennial era is here to stay. Saw it coming like a tsunami.
Congratulations to the Oxford High School football program as they finished the wedge season at 4-1. That 4-1 record got Head coach Jeff Clarkson and his staff a complimentary breakfast at Carl’s Diner. 
Pirate alum Gordon Cook and head chef at Carl’s will prepare the meal and even deliver the fixings to his old school. Cook is a favorite of this address and learned from the best while at Oxford in the late 70s in the likes of Roger Bacon and the late Joe Moran and also from Paul “the Bear” Brissette who greeted Cook at the front door every morning back in the day. After Cook passed inspection with Brissette, it was on to John Mullen’s classroom for a quick rendition of the Pirate fight song and a lesson on semper fidelis.