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Xaverian, Needham football making do together

Needham's Andrew Barnett towers over a pair of Xaverian defenders for a jump-ball on Tuesday during seven-on-sevens. Photo by Mike Flanagan.

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

It's still unknown whether or not high school football will be played this fall in Massachusetts. States such as Texas and Virginia have already cancelled fall sports due to spikes of COVID-19, which does not bode well for the MIAA and Massachusetts high school sports as a whole.

Regardless of whether or not football is played this fall, Xaverian and Needham High School football are doing their best to prepare, all while making do and abiding by social distancing rules. Last Tuesday, members and captains of the two teams met on the baseball field at Xaverian and participated in organized seven-on-sevens.

Needham's offense was led by rising senior quarterback Will McDonald, rising senior wide-out/tight-end Andrew Barnett and rising junior wide-out Edgar Vasquez. Amongst those present for Xaverian were quarterback and rising senior captain Mike Berluti (himself a Westwood native), running back/wide-out Thomas Garland, wide-out Connor Garland, junior tight-end Noah Canty and junior wide-out Jake Gilbert.

"We have no idea what's going to happen," said Berluti. "All we can do is prepare like there is going to be football and hope for the best. Obviously, I want to play with this being my senior year, but it's out of our control."

Vasquez, who burst onto the scene down the stretch of last season as a sophomore, agrees with Berluti and says he hopes they are able to play this football season, but acknowledges that he and his teammates have little control over the matter.

"If it were up to us, we would definitely play this fall," said Vasquez. "We all want to play and we are all really excited about the team we have coming back. There's factors that we have no control over, so hopefully the situation improves and we are able to get back to playing the sport we love."

As far as the seven-on-seven play, both offenses looked well in sync. Xaverian won by a final of 10-6. Hopefully this is not the only time these two teams face-off this year, as a potential matchup in the Division I South playoffs would be very intriguing.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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