Meet the T&G Hometeam high school football (defense) Super Team for fall 2023 (2024)

Rich GarvenWorcester Telegram & Gazette

The Central Mass. High School Sports Awards is proud to announcethe player of the year nominees for football (defense). The winners will be announced during the live show on Wednesday, June 26, at the Hanover Theatre.

During the live show, athletes of the year in 31 sports will be honored. In addition, top teams, coachesand overall athletes will be honored as will a CourageAward winner. Nominatedathletes who RSVP will receive a complimentary ticketto the event thanks to sponsors.Details on howadditionaltickets can be obtained will be available soon.

For more information about the show and to opt into email updates,visit its websiteand you can alsofollow it on Facebook.

The Central Mass. High School Sports Awards show is part of the USA TODAY High School Sports Awards, the largest high school sports recognition program in the country. This year, one school from the area will win a $1,000 donation to its school’s athletic department through our School Spirit Contest. Details on how to vote for your school will be coming soon.


Here are the nominees for Hometeam Defensive Football Player of the Year:

Cooper Ackerman

Shrewsbury High

Senior, Defensive Line

Ackerman was once again an active, athletic, dominant and disruptive defender while on his way to a second straight T&G Super Team selection. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound end collected 47 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles as the Colonials finished 6-5. Offensively, this two-year captain was deployed at tight end and was a devastating blocker who made five receptions for 197 yards (39.4 average) and two touchdowns. The most memorable moment of the season for this MHSFCA Super 26 all-state player came in Week 3 when the visiting Colonials rallied to defeat St. John’s, 13-10, to make it back-to-back wins over their rivals. Ackerman will continue his academic and football careers at the University of Connecticut on a full athletic scholarship. He is the son of Stephanie and Robert Ackerman of Shrewsbury.

Aidan Blood

Uxbridge High

Senior, Linebacker

It was a record-setting, memory-making season for the ages for Blood and the Spartans as, in his most memorable moment of the season, they won the Division 7 state championship at Gillette Stadium to cap a 13-0 campaign. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, a MHSFCA D7 all-state selection, was the linchpin of a D that allowed a miserly 10.6 points per game, racking up a Central Mass.-leading 122½ tackles to go with 5½ sacks — one of which he turned into a 70-yard touchdown return — 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and an interception. Blood also caught 15 passes for 316 yards (21.1 average) and four TDs from the tight end position. An accomplished guitarist, Blood plans to continue his football career and major in applied exercise science in college. He is the son of Jody and Matt Blood of Uxbridge.

Ron Burton III

St. John's High

Senior, Linebacker

Whether it was meeting a runner head-on or dropping into coverage, Burton made his physical and dynamic presence felt as the Pioneers advanced to the Division 1 state tournament. The 6-foot, 190-pounder, a Catholic Conference all-star, collected 35 tackles, including 5½ for a loss, 5 sacks and 5 passes defensed against a schedule rated the second-most difficult in D1. Offensively, this reserve running back averaged 4 yards a carry, caught three passes and scored a touchdown. Among Burton’s many memorable moments this season was the camaraderie, pride and joy the team exhibited on the bus ride home from New Hampshire following a win over Exeter. While undecided about where he’ll attend college, Burton plans to major in criminology. He is the son of Iliana and Ron Burton Jr. of Hubbardston.

Nathan Cook

Auburn High

Senior, Linebacker

Cook was a sideline-to-sideline defender who helped the Rockets overcome two losses — by four points — in their first two games to earn a return trip to the Division 5 state tournament and finish 7-4 for the second straight season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder recorded 96 tackles, four sacks, an interception and a safety while recovering three fumbles for a unit that held six opponents to 14 points or less. Offensively, the rugged running back parlayed 153 carries into 927 yards (6.1 average) and 14 touchdowns. Cook, whose athletic pursuits also include basketball, lacrosse and rugby, scored two TDs, including one in overtime, in the Rockets’ 23-31 win over Swampscott. That was his most memorable moment of the season. He is the son of Melissa and Chris Cook of Auburn.

Garrett Giorgio

Hudson High

Junior, Linebacker

Giorgio was a leader on and off the field as the Hawks advanced to the Division 6 state semifinals and finished 9-3 to make it back-to-back nine-win seasons. The 6-foot, 180-pounder, a MHSFCA D6 all-state selection, collected 93 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries for a unit that held six opponents to 14 points or less. Offensively, the versatile Giorgio was deployed at running back and receiver, averaging 5.8 yards a carry while rushing for 565 yards and four touchdowns and catching 25 passes for 372 yards and five TDs. His most memorable moment of the season came in the finale, a 41-0 win over rival Marlborough at the Morgan Bowl. He is the son of Maureen Campbell and John Giorgio of Hudson.

Joe Marino

Westborough High

Senior, Defensive Line

It was a season three years in the making as Marino spearheaded the resurgent Rangers to an 8-3 record and their first trip to the Division 3 state tournament. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder, a D3 MHSFCA all-state pick, was versatile, lining up inside and on the edge, and explosive while collecting 63 tackles, including 31 for a loss, 14 quarterback pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries while forcing a fumble. Marino, a three-sport captain — he also plays basketball and baseball — lined up at center on offense. He considers his most memorable moment of the season to be a 29-27, double-overtime victory over Marlborough that clinched the Mid-Wach B championship. Marino will continue his football career at St. Anselm College, where he plans to major in criminal justice. He is the son of Corrie and Peter Marino of Westborough.

Jamie “JJ” McNamara

West Boylston High

Senior, Defensive Line

It was another stupendously successful season for McNamara, a two-time T&G Super Team selection who helped the Lions go 13-0 and win back-to-back state championship. The 6-foot, 200-pound end was stout and elusive while collecting 35 tackles and five sacks for a stingy D that surrendered 28 points with the varsity on the field. Offensively, he rushed for 983 yards and 14 touchdowns on 93 carries (10.6 average). McNamara, who attends Tahanto Regional, helped the Lions compile a 38-4 record over his four varsity seasons. This MHSFCA Division 8 all-state pick considers his most memorable moment of the season to be the celebration that ensued after the Lions’ 41-7 win over Carver in the D8 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. While still exploring his college options, McNamara plans to major in business. He is the son of Heather and Jamie McNamara of Clinton.

Jake O'Brien

West Boylston High

Senior, Defensive Line

It was twice as nice for O’Brien, who was selected to the T&G Super Team for the second straight season after leading the Lions to their second consecutive Super Bowl championship. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound tackle consistently muddied the middle and pressured the pocket while collecting 51 tackles, including 13 for a loss, and seven sacks while forcing two fumbles. This three-year, two-year starter was deployed at guard for an offense that averaged a Central Mass.-leading 44.2 points. O’Brien, a D8 MHSFCA all-state pick, considers the Lions’ 41-7 win over Carver in the Division 8 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium to cap a 13-0 campaign and capture back-to-back state titles for the first time in program history to be his most memorable moment of the season. While still undecided about where he’ll attend college, O’Brien plans to major in forensic psychology and business. He is the son of Rebecca and David O’Brien of West Boylston.

Axel Ramos

Clinton High

Senior, Defensive Back

Ramos’ fourth and final season as a starter was one to remember as the Gaels advanced to the Division 7 state semifinals while on their way to a 7-5 record. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound cornerback recorded 44½ tackles and an interception for a defense that surrendered 14 total points through the first two rounds of postseason play. Offensively, the swift and elusive running back rushed for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns on 94 carries (10.7 average) and caught 14 passes for 286 yards and two TDs. The Gaels’ run to the final four for the first time in program history was this MHSFCA D7 all-state selection’s most memorable moment of the season. Ramos, whose hobbies include cooking, golfing and reading, is still contemplating his college choices, but plans to major in sports psychology. He is the son of Mitzie and Joel Ramos of Clinton.

Juan Reynolds

Doherty High

Senior, Defensive Back

Reynolds used his size, speed and smarts to lock down opposing receivers as the Highlanders went 8-3 while reclaiming the Inter-High championship and advancing to the Division 3 state tournament for the first time. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback collected 29 tackles, two interceptions and a sack for a unit that held six opponents to seven points or less. Offensively, the playmaking receiver, a MHSFCA D3 all-state pick, hauled in 22 passes for 352 yards (16.0 average) and five touchdowns and added 171 yards rushing and two TDs on eight carries (21.4). Reynolds, whose other athletic interests include snowboarding and track & field, considers his most memorable moment of the season to be beating double coverage for a 53-yard TD reception in a win over rival South. He is the son of Tiana Fisher and Stephen Reynolds of Worcester.

Ben Roerden

Uxbridge High

Senior, Defensive Line

Roerden regularly made himself at home in the opposing team’s backfield for a shutdown defense that helped propel the Spartans to a 13-0 record and the Division 7 state championship. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound end exploded off the ball to rack up 12½ sacks, a total that ranked second in Central Mass., and made 55 tackles while forcing two fumbles. Roerden was a playmaker on special teams, as well, blocking two punts and recovering an onside kick. Defeating Amesbury, 42-14, in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium was the most memorable moment of the season for this MHSFCA D7 all-state selection. Roerden plans to pursue a collegiate path in which he’ll major in animal science and become a large animal veterinarian. He is the son of Laura and Doug Roerden of Uxbridge.

Wesley Williams

Grafton High

Senior, Defensive Back

Williams was a three-phase contributor as the Gators went 9-3 and made their third consecutive appearance in the Division 4 state semifinals. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound DB made 44 tackles, including two for a loss, and two interceptions for a unit that allowed a Central Mass.-low 8.4 points per game. Offensively, he displayed his vast skill set with 16 receptions, 18 rushes and 14 kick/punt returns for a total of 786 yards and seven touchdowns. Williams’ most memorable moment of the season came in a 21-0, first-round tournament win over South when he returned a kickoff 81 yards for a TD and made a late interception to seal the outcome. Williams, a MHSFCA D4 all-state pick, is undecided on where he’ll attend college, but plans to major in exercise science with the career goal of becoming an athletic trainer. He is the son of Nadira and William Williams of Grafton.

Honorable Mention (Division 5-8)

Division 5

Brayden Auger, Worcester Tech

Dale Boudreau, Valley Tech

Alex Burgos, Valley Tech

Connor Burson, North Middlesex

Tyler Clare, Valley Tech

Ian Clayton, Auburn

Matt Gagin, Valley Tech

Jackson Hendley, North Middlesex

Tyler Kohler, Auburn

Korbin Larsen, Groton-Dunstable

Corey Mills, North Middlesex

Matt Piper, North Middlesex

Michael Reardon, North Middlesex

Jose Sanchez, Worcester Tech

Casey Shrauser, Auburn

Adam Transen, Valley Tech

Caden Woolfrey, Groton-Dunstable

Misael Velez, Worcester Tech

Nick Whitlock, Valley Tech

Division 6

Jack Byrnes, Nipmuc

Matt Chatterton, Bay Path

Sam Curtis, Oakmont

Alex DeRobert, Maynard

Liam Dorr, Nipmuc

Joe Edie, Hudson

Harris fa*gan, Oakmont

Brandon Figueiredo, Hudson

Dylan Gallo, Maynard

Ed Guertin, Quabbin

Kalvin Gomez, Maynard

Dan Heisler, Nipmuc

Tavin Hirsh, Maynard

Jaxon Kelly, Quabbin

Malaki Kimiti, Maynard

Liam Lawton, Maynard

Jake Leazott, Quabbin

Logan Letourneau, Bay Path

Logan Luz, Hudson

Brady Marcoux, Bay Path

Matteo Mastrototaro, Bay Path

Chaim Mazzola, Oakmont

Owen Nanartowich, Hudson

Luke Salvadore, Quabbin

Dom Schuff, Bay Path

Anthony Skillings, Maynard

Cam Yates, Hudson

Division 7

Brendan Bernard, Clinton

Nick Brooks, Littleton

Alex Butler, Gardner

Evans Cesaire, Gardner

Kellen Clarkson, Oxford

Connor Cox, Clinton

Trevon Croce, Tyngsborough

Alex Doucette, Gardner

Luke Esposito, Uxbridge

Gavin Familia, Tyngsborough

Alex Figueroa, Gardner

Robert Fisher, Oxford

Ethan Frisch, Clinton

Steven Gauthier, Murdock

Bryce Goulet, Tyngsborough

Tim Guilmette, Tyngsborough

Jake Hannes, Tyngsborough

Tedi Hunt, Littleton

Camden LaChapelle, Uxbridge

Cole Latour, Tyngsborough

Cookie Leger, Gardner

Angel Lopez, Clinton

Hunter Matson, Lunenburg

Dilade McCoy, Littleton

Zach Milner, Littleton

Joe Nicosia, Tyngsborough

Alex Panneton, Tyngsborough

Matt Phillips, Clinton

Antonio Romano, Lunenburg

Jack Smith, Lunenburg

Ayden Sparrow, Gardner

Doherian Wells, Gardner

Division 8

Jeff Alisaukas, Murdock

George Andrianopoulos, Millbury

Jake Arcand, West Boylston

Salvi Bilotta, St. Bernard's

Edwin Blas, Abby Kelley

J.T. Bresnahan, Ayer-Shirley

Jackson Caramanica, West Boylston

Quinn Carlson, St. Bernard's

Michael Casavant, Narragansett

Daniel Castillo, Southbridge

Dustin Cumberland, Blackstone-Millville

Gavin Delgado, Sutton

Nathan Depappa, Millbury

Matt Direnzo, Leicester

Bryce Douglas, Quaboag

Landon Dulmaine, Sutton

Josh Farrell, Sutton

Nori Febles, North

Luke Foley, West Boylston

James Gauntlett, Ayer-Shirley

Luis Gonzalez, Southbridge

Cam Goodrich, David Prouty

Mason Griffiths, Leicester

Aidan Hamilton, West Boylston

Corey Henderson, Narragansett

Dylan Hendrickson, North

NayJean Holley, Bartlett

Logan Josti, David Prouty

Kameen Kelly Jr., North

Brennett Kissi, Abby Kelley

Logan Lashua, Narragansett

Jayden Le, Abby Kelley

Kaeden McCullough, Narragansett

Jesse Musher, North

Kwondon Obison, Ayer-Shirley

Anthony Phillipo, Millbury

Josh Ramirez, Bartlett

Joey Pineyro, Narragansett

Ryan Richmond, St. Paul

John Ruas, West Boylston

Hunter Senior, Leicester

Brian Smith, West Boylston

Ray Thomas, Narragansett

John Walsh Karam, St. Paul

Tyler Withers, Quaboag

Meet the T&G Hometeam high school football (defense) Super Team for fall 2023 (2024)
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