Taking the field in Norwell Friday, November 5, the Sandwich High School football team will be going to battle against Norwell High in the first round of the Division 6 state tournament with heavy hearts. Prior to practice on Wednesday afternoon, Coach Matt McLean had deliver bad news to his team.
Defensive coordinator John Napoleon, a full-time substitute teacher at SHS, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning. The coach had fallen ill last week, McLean said.
“That definitely puts a knife through the heart,” McLean said. “We know who we’re playing for on Friday night. Coach Nap would want them to play hard. Practice was hard at first, it took a bit to get them going, but our kids showed really good character.”
Coach Napoleon’s defensive players are going to have their hands full tonight when they take the field at Norwell against a Clippers team that posted a 4-4 record and competed in the tough South Shore League.
SHS finished at 4-2 overall, finishing their season with a 18-0 win against Carver last weekend on the road. Senior Patrick Morin ran for three touchdowns in that victory for the Knights and has been the team’s big play threat all season long.
While Morin will certainly be leaned on against Norwell, Coach McLean said that at this time of the year that everyone needs to step up. “It’s got to be a full team effort,” he said.
Quarterback Brady Carroll has improved throughout the course of the season. When Carroll is on his game he has been a great dual threat for SHS. Carroll tweaked an ankle against Carver but toughed out the game against the Crusaders and should be good to go for tonight’s action.
Norwell has its share of big play threats as well. When the Clippers win they score a lot of points. In their four wins the Clippers have averaged over 28 points per game. In their losses, though, NHS has given up quite a bit. In their four losses they have given up an average of more than 35 points per game.
“We need to be able to control the clock and to make some plays,” McLean said. “Our guys have to be in the right places and finish.”