Football looks to playoffs

“Seniors up front,” players and coaches yelled as they lined up to shake hands with the opposition after a 28-7 victory over the Bosco Tech Tigers at Ted Slavin Field during Senior Night last Friday.

Though seniors only fill nine of the 22 slots on the starting lineup, their presence was visible as the Wolverines pulled to a comfortable lead and those who normally stay on the bench got their moment to shine.

Josh Lloyd ’08 and Stephen Jackson ’08 both saw action during the last remaining minutes of the game. Their substitutions into the game put all eligible seniors on the field at the same time.

“It’s your time to shine, Josh,” fans yelled at Lloyd from the stands. “Unleash number 50!”

Lloyd has played JV ever since he started playing Wolverine football. Up until Friday, he stood on the sidelines during varsity games. This was until the seniors in the stands had their say, and Coach Vic Eumont answered the call, putting in Lloyd at tight end on a punt in the last remaining minutes of the game. Lloyd downed the punt, pinning the Tigers deep in their own territory. Jackson, a backup running back, was subbed in as punt returner later in the game.

“It’s good when the whole school has your back,” Lloyd said. “But winning is the first priority.”

The game was a must-win for the Wolverines, who have their backs to the wall in the Del-Rey league after suffering two league losses to St. Bernard last month and Serra at Homecoming two weeks ago.One more loss would eliminate them from playoff contention, and a win this Friday at Bishop Montgomery would bring them within reach of playoffs. But even that is not a surething. A win would lead to a coin toss, which the Wolverines have a two-thirds chance of winning.

“You can’t win a coin flip by preparation,” defensive tackle Ross Gruber ’08 said. “If we keep playing hard, we’ll make some noise come decision time though.”

Terhon O’Neal ’09 ran for two touchdowns on the night, with the first touchdown in the first quarter on a long run. The Tigers answered back in the second quarter with an 80-yard touchdown pass, spurring frantic emotions on the Wolverine sideline.

“We struggled early,” Eumont said. “This team thought they could beat us, but we made some big plays in the end.”

Gruber and fellow senior defensive lineman Jakarri Hamlin ’08 combined in a defensive attack that kept Bosco quarterback Adrian Rodriguez in check all game. The Tigers lost a fumble, leading to a Wolverine drive which was capped off by a two yard touchdown run by O’Neal to end the half with momentum.

Quarterback Sean Berman ’09 controlled the second half, completing two giant touchdown passes to Corey Vann ’09 and Jackson Ligouri ’10 for 57 and 40 yards, respectively.  The two late scores pulled the Wolverines away from Bosco’s hopes for an upset.

“Sean [Berman] is pressing hard because he really wants to do well,” Eumont said of the young quarterback. “He improves every week.”

A win next week will likely mean their season will continue into the playoffs; however, it is unsure whether they will get to play another game at Slavin.

Friday’s bout against the Bishop Montgomery Knights marks the last regular season game of the year for both teams. The Knights’ lone win this season comes from a victory against Bosco Tech in October.