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Maroun: Westwood football has the dudes

8310 - Pictured making a tackle on Medfield's James Wilder last spring, Antonio Maroun (1) and Joe Shaevitz (3) will look to continue to be key cogs of Westwood High football's defense in 2021. Photos by Mike Flanagan.

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

In 2019, many Massachusetts high schools were forced to reschedule football games from Friday nights to Friday and Saturday afternoons in order to accommodate the state's EEE/West Nile Virus guidelines. While nonideal for the sake and awe of "Friday night lights," a full season was still able to be had. Westwood finished 2019 with a record of 3-7.

The entire 2020 high school football season was pushed back from the fall to a condensed spring schedule with no playoffs and no fans allowed due to COVID. Some athletes even chose not to participate in Fall II athletics, like football, and instead focused on training for spring sports such as baseball and lacrosse. Westwood finished the 2021 spring season 0-4.

With life beginning to return to normal, it's time for the boys from Westwood to finally get the real varsity football experience. The season will start on time, with Friday night lights, with playoffs, without masks, and with students packing the bleachers at Flahive Field to cheer on their classmates.

Leading Westwood High football in 2021 are four co-captains: senior linebacker Mark Homsy, junior quarterback Brendan Donegan, senior running back George Maroun and junior slot receiver/defensive back Antonio Maroun.

As a junior last spring, George Maroun emerged as a dominant force for Westwood between the trenches as the team's starting running back. As a senior captain in 2021, Maroun says he looks forward to finally getting the full high school football experience for the first time since his freshman year.

"I can’t wait for that 'Friday night lights' atmosphere," said Maroun. "The last time I played Friday night lights was freshman year because we weren’t able to play at night during my sophomore year due to EEE. [We are] just excited to get back into things, [I have] been working since last season non-stop, and we've got a great group of guys who have been doing the same."

Going 0-4 certainly was not the ideal result that George Maroun and his teammates had in mind when they found out they were going to be allowed to play football last spring. The silver-lining of a winless season is that the Wolverines will enter this 2021 fall season angry and motivated to turn the tide.

"It’s a motivation to execute," said Maroun on using Westwood's spring 2021 record to the team's advantage. "We have the skill and dudes to win. We just need to practice repetition and execution to make those key game-winning plays and go on those game-winning drives. I’m confident in our team and our new coaches. Hard work is most important thing if you want different results, and I believe we are putting that in."

With spring football ending in April, it will be a quick turnaround for Massachusetts high school football players in 2021. Instead of getting their normal eight months off to recover and train from December to August, it'll be a quick, three-month turnaround from the end of 2021 spring season to the start of the 2021 fall season. While this obviously adds its set of new challenges, George Maroun and his teammates are actually enjoying the quick turnaround. Maroun says that this college-like football schedule, with both spring and fall football, has allowed he and his teammates to stay conditioned and focused.

"Honestly, it’s kind of nice. Football is still fresh in my mind, and conditioning has been has been easier if you’ve stayed consistent with it since April. The hardest part of the offseason is waiting so long. So this year we definitely jumped right back into the weight room and on the field, and I couldn’t be more excited to get started again."

Westwood will open the 2021 season on the road at Dedham on September 10 at 7 p.m.

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

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