Pictured running for a long gain against St. John's Prep last spring, senior running back Joey Kelcourse figures to serve as Xaverian's bell cow once again in 2021. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Without a postseason, winning the Catholic Conference would have meant everything for Xaverian football last spring after their season was condensed down to just six games.
Following a 4-0 start, the Hawks were one play away from a Catholic Conference championship. Trailing 23-19 with under a minute to play at undefeated Catholic memorial, the Hawks brought the ball down inside the CM 10-yard line. Senior quarterback Mike Berluti lofted up a 50/50 ball to Carlo Crocetti that was intercepted by CM's Devon Marshall in the end zone to seal it. The Knights prevailed by the 23-19 final and clinched the conference championship.
Six months removed from that gut-wrenching defeat over in West Roxbury, Xaverian returns to the gridiron this fall angry and motivated. Leading the charge is senior bell-cow running back Joey Kelcourse.
"That loss is one of our biggest motivators this season," said Kelcourse when asked about the April defeat to CM. "We are fortunate enough to have another chance to play them. It motivates us because we were one step shy of our goal. And it gives us a 'why' to put all the hard work in and fight as a brotherhood."
Along with Kelcourse back at running, the Xaverian offense returns four of five starting offensive lineman: senior BC-committed tackle Jack Funke, junior guard Cole Canty, center Christian Gurney and junior tackle Jon Mould. Returning to anchor Xaverian's receiving corps is senior Carlo Crocetti.
"Obviously, everyone wants to win the state championship," said Kelcourse on his team's general goals for the season. "But, our main goal is always to win the Catholic Conference."
Defensively, the Hawks bring back defensive linemen Aiden Lovelace, Matt DeFeo and Cole Canty. Anthony Busa and Carlo Crocetti both return at safety while Caleb Bell is back at corner.
The Hawks will have a limited amount of time to prepare for the 2021 season after the abbreviated spring season ended just five months ago. However, Kelcourse says he and his teammates were able to use the spring of 2021 as a means of training and staying more focused for the fall.
"The spring season was good because it gave us a lot of time to prepare," said Kelcourse. "Although we weren’t practicing in the spring, we were still working hard each day. Lifting, running, throwing, and just simply trying to get better. The weather of the 'spring season,' which was really late winter, was good because it wasn’t too cold or too warm. This season came quick but still gave us time to train in the offseason."
The Hawks will be tested out of the gates as Xaverian hosts perennial Division I North power Everett on Friday, September 10 at 7 p.m. to open the 2021 season.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.