Sports

January 7, 2011
By

-by Kevin Kelly

Honor Roll Call

The following students have achieved Honor Roll status:  St. Sebastian School of Needham – Christopher Sullivan; Mt. St. Joseph Academy – Aislinn Carrier;  Arlington Catholic – Danielle Kelley;  Malden Catholic – Yu (Jacky) Wang, Brendan Collier; St. Joseph Elementary School of Medford – Nolan Arbuckle, Ryan Arbuckle, Ronan Carrier, Brennan Carrier, Patrick Kelly and Jeffrey Wang.

More winter sports “roll call”

HOCKEY:  Everett High School – Ryan Considine and Reardan Sweeney;  Arlington Catholic High School – Brendan Cantin;  Brewster Academy – Aaron Titcomb;  East Boston High School – Jimmy Libby.  BASKETBALL:  St. Joseph of Medford Elementary School – Allison McIntosh, Jeffrey Wang, Patrick Kelly.

Help keep me in the “loop”

If you know of a “Townie” who is participating in a sport or recreational activity (elementary school, high school, college, or otherwise), please E-Mail me atbunkerhillbillie@aol.com with the information and/or photographs and I will be sure to include them in a column.  I’d also love to hear about any honor roll students or scholar athletes, or just about any story which would recognize the accomplishments of past and present “Townies.”

“Townies” sports update

Dennis and Callahan move over.  Looking to put your 2-cents worth in about the “hot” topics of the day?  Long-time coach Robbie McIntosh hosts a “Coaches Corner” sports radio show at www.unregularsports.com everyMonday night from 7:00-8:00 PM.  Listeners are encouraged to call the show at 617-606-4122 and voice their opinions…In hockey action, defenseman Matthew Grzelcyk tallied an assist as the United States (Under-17) overwhelmed Finland 5-2 at Winnipeg, Manitoba…Sophomore forward Kevin Flanagan (goal, assist) and co-captain Joe Codair (assist) provided the offense and freshman back-liner Connor Sullivan dished out several devastating checks as St. Clements edged Nashoba Tech 3-2…Hats off to Boston Latin high-scoring winger Conal Lynch on his selection to the Boston Herald Division II “Dream Team.”  Lynch also scored 3 goals and added an assist as Boston Latin (4-0-0) beat Sandwich by a score of 5-3…Ryan DeRosa (3 goals, 2 assists) and Michael Clough (4 assists) have helped Latin Academy jump out to a 4-1-0 start…Newly transferred winger Aaron Titcomb has 4 goals and 10 assists in his first eight games for Brewster Academy…Kudos to the Girls U-14 Townies, who captured the 2010 Mayors Cup with a dominating 5-0 victory over Parkway.  Nichole Woods (goal), Jacqueline Sindoris (goal), Danielle Kelley (2 goals) and Rose Sullivan (goal) helped their team pile up a 33-6 shots-on-net advantage while the defense put the clamps on any Parkway forays…On the basketball court, Charlestown High School (4-0) is off to a fantastic start an seems primed to make a run at the Boston City League title…Mt. St. Joseph Academy (JV) center Kiersten Kelly scored 10 points in her team’s 26-20 victory over Minuteman…Forward Patrick Kelly hit the game-winning shot with 12 seconds left as St. Joseph of Medford (7-0) toppled previously unbeaten Chevrus School in a 25-24 nail-biter…Congratulations to Charlestown High School football players Jose Montanez, Mark Accino and Bobby Leslie for their selection as Boston City League All Stars.

The evolution of “Townies” football

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, kids from the various corners of Charlestown formed teams (e.g. Arrows, Crusaders, St. Catherine’s, Washies) that competed for football bragging rights.  It was an activity that scores of youngsters yearned to be part of and many in the community would flock to “The Oily” and other sandlots to watch their neighbors pulverize each other with reckless abandon.

With the advent of World War II, the participants from this “greatest generation” went from the football field to the battlefield in an unwavering response to their country’s “call to arms.”  After the war, a group of “Townies” put together a team and entered the Junior City League (JCL) with the hopes of winning the championship and advancing to the Boston Park League.  During this post-war era, football was primarily defense-oriented and the games were extremely grueling and hard-hitting.

In the 1950 JCL championship game, the Charlestown Townies upset the heavily-favored Roxbury Eagles to advance into the Boston Park League.  Players on that team included John O’Connell, Franny McGee, Joe Wilkins, “Skippy” Woods, “Red” Charbonnier, Bob Stafford, Ed Stafford, Joe Scanlon, Jack Wallace, Louie Batas, Jack Fleming, George Crawford, Ed Keating, Joe McDonald, Frank Gill, Andy Gill, Jake Dowd, Tom Birmingham, James Mahan, Ed Mahan and Jack O’Callahan.

As had been done before without reservation, however, the players would again put football on the back burner in order to serve their country, this time in the Korean War.  A new group of football “Townies” emerged after the war and began to form a legacy in the Boston Park League as a ferocious, blue-collar (albeit rag-tag) outfit.  Oftentimes, the starters would exchange helmets during a game with their substitutes because there wasn’t enough equipment to go around.  The players competed for the pure delight of it and their level of fun was measured by the number of missing teeth or the amount of adhesive tape.  Also, the Boston Park League was evolving into an immensely popular entity over which fierce rivalries developed between the City’s neighborhood teams.

By the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Charlestown Townies were firmly established as an unstoppable force in the Park League and they would embark on a historic championship run.  Under the tutelage of Coach Jack “The Barber” Luiselli, who would motivate his players by threatening to cut off their post-game beer supply, the Townies notched four straight titles and posted an impressive 30-6 record.  Crowds in excess of 17,000 would attend the championship games and Pat “Cuddles” Considine, Billy Goggin, Tom Beckwith, Bob “Pots” O’Neil, Billy Coyman, Harry Festa, Walter “Shorty” Sullivan, Paul Troy, “Razz” Murray, Fran Doherty and “Crash” McNeil became the talk of the town.

Legions of fans took to loitering outside Luiselli’s barber shop to get a glimpse of their heroes and Bill “Nippy” Nolan, in particular, became synonymous with the team’s success.  The formidable halfback, one the Park League’s most dominant players, was heavily recruited by opposing teams with offers of free dentures and $50 per game.  Also, in an effort to ease the tension at team meetings, Nolan would crouch down then jump as high as he could, smashing his head into the ceiling tiles inside Luiselli’s barber shop.

As the 1970’s brought about the proliferation of technological activities, the popularity and lure of Park League Football began to diminish.  Teams also utilized recruitment to obtain players from outside their community further lessening the rivalry appeal.  The Townies, nevertheless, continued to flourish.  Home-grown players such as Dennis Mahoney, Jim “Chippa” Godding, Chet Ferrera, Quinny Sullivan, Mike Nigro, John Murphy, John Lee, Gerry McCormack, Pat Sweeney, John Houlihan, Mike Connolly and Timmy McLaughlin spearheaded the Townies to a dominant decade of championship football.

In 1986, the Charlestown Townies took the leap from the Boston Park League into the highly competitive, semi-professional Eastern Football League (EFL).  During their early years in the EFL, the McCarthy brothers, Joe and Jeff, helped re-establish the Townies legacy of blue-collar toughness.  Joe played 13 years and was the league MVP in 1986, while Jeff, who holds several EFL records, starred on the gridiron a whopping 21 years and played in three championship games.  After retiring in 2005, Jeff helped coach the Townies in two other championship games, winning one.  Other members of the 1980’s team included locals Vinnie D’Angelo, Joe Jackson, John Killoran, Scott Gezil, Pat Locke, Jim “Jimbo” Murphy, Billy Durette, Bobby Allen, Eddie Codair, Danny Ryan, Bruce Perry, Leo Boucher, Stephen Butler and Mike Charbonnier.

Today, the Jon Jones-led Charlestown Townies, who captured the title in 2008, are one of the elite teams in the EFL and boast several former standout college players, as well as some NFL hopefuls.