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Dana Parello’s pass was perfect. From 10 yards away, the Waltham High senior quarterback hit his target, junior Aidan Stanowicz, who leaped in the end zone, juggled the ball, then snared it before it hit the ground for a touchdown.
The explosion of cheers from Hawks players on the sideline sounded like those of a cold Friday night in November, not a Wednesday afternoon in August.
Even during a preseason scrimmage against Lexington last week, there was a heightened sense of urgency for Waltham to perform. The state’s new playoff system for high school football rewards teams that start strong, and the Hawks hoped to be in midseason form two weeks before hosting their opener with Newton North.