Breaking the Mold at Mystic Valley

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Anastasia Bessler (#55) makes a tackle for Mystic Valley.

Bessler Named CAC’s First-Ever Female All-Star

By Lorenzo Recupero

Football may be a predominantly male sport, but don’t tell that to one Mystic Valley senior, Anastasia Bessler, who has excelled in the sport regardless of her gender.

A Boston Herald report a year ago accounted for less than 60 female football players in all the high school programs across the state, Anastasia being one of the headliners amongst them. Recently, she was named the Catholic Athletic Conference’s first ever female all-star performer.

As a CAC all-star, Anastasia will be eligible to play in the Shriners All- Star Football Classic played by all the top seniors from eastern and southern Massachusetts each summer for the last 40 years.

“She’s in the trenches with the boys,” said Michael Bessler, Anastasia’s father, a lifelong Everett resident. “A lot of people don’t even know she’s a girl until she takes her helmet off,” said Bessler proudly of his daughter who was already Mystic Valleys first female football player and team captain.

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Pope John Drops High-Powered Finale at Gillette Stadium

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Head Coach Paul Sobolewski is surrounded by his players after Pope John captured the Eastern Mass. Championship.

By Lorenzo Recupero

Behind the tutelage of first year head coach Paul Sobolewski, the 2018 Pope John football team made a name for itself, even with the, 45-36, loss against St. Bernard’s in the MIAA Division 8 Super Bowl last weekend at Gillette Stadium.

The thriller of a game will go down as the second most high-scoring affair in MIAA championship game history, with 81 points dropped combined between the two electrifying teams.

And In the eyes of the man at the helm, the biggest loss in recent program history may actually be setting up the next biggest win.

“[The Super Bowl] loss was more beneficial to the team than the 12 wins,” said Sobolewski, a reasoning that he says stems from a majority of the team being underclassmen, including its leading scorer, sophomore John Smith Howell. “As a program, we will learn a lot more from this,” he said while noting that his players have not left his office since their last game, unable to halt the focus on football ahead of them.

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Razor’s Edge

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The 2018 state super bowl bound Pope John Tigers.

Pope John Makes Final Preparations for Saturday’s Title Game at Gillette Stadium

By Lorenzo Recupero

Pope John High School football players and coaches will be competing in the biggest game of their lives this weekend at Gillette Stadium, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be doing anything any differently. Preparations will go as planned for the Tigers and that means not changing a thing at all.

“[We’ve] practiced all week like it’s any other game. We want to make it like preparing for any other game and not make it bigger than what it is,” said Pope John coach Paul Sobolewski of the team’s preparation for the Division 8 State Championship game against St. Bernard’s at Gillette Stadium Saturday at 9AM.

Sobolewski, who referenced a particularly successful coach around these parts, Bill Belichick, while explaining his decision to do things the same as they have all year even though the stakes are heightened.

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A Roaring Success Story

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Pope John’s Jesus Rivera III (6) celebrates a Tiger touchdown.

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Tigers Continue Storybook Season, Punch Ticket to Super Bowl

By Lorenzo Recupero

There ain’t no rest for the winners – Pope John High School, that is.

The Tigers (11-0) punched themselves a ticket to the school’s first super bowl in 20 years and only the second in school history after knocking out West Bridgewater, 31-14, for the Division 8 Eastern Mass. Championship on Saturday.

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Crimson Tide Will Wrap Up Season on Thanksgiving Morning at Masconomet

Leader Herald Staff Report

Everett is coming off its first appearance ever in the MIAA playoff consolation round, a blowout 48-14 win at Acton-Boxborough. The Crimson Tide, who were upset by Central Catholic, 23-20, in the Div. 1 North semifinals, were led by Michigan commit Mike Sainristil, who caught three passes for 183 yards and three TDs. Eli Auguste caught a 22-yard TD pass and returned an interception 60 yards for a score.

Everett qualified for the post-season for the 18th consecutive year, compiling a 34-8 post-season record in that span and 36-10 overall postseason record since 1996 (24-5 playoffs, 12-5 state final/Super Bowl). The Crimson Tide have won nine of their last 10 postseason games.

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