Despite the muggy late August air, the Boston Latin football team was finishing up another tough preseason practice three weeks ago at Clemente Field with a conclusion appropriate for football: some dreaded conditioning, or as the players call it, sprints.
The boys were separated into lines to take turns darting from sideline to sideline.
While most of the players were quiet while catching their breath, three players in particular were vocalizing the importance of finishing strong in practice and how it would translate during games.
Those players were senior captains Pat Fahy and Roy Bahnam, along with fellow senior Jack O’Toole, and at that point, these friends and teammates were fighting for the quarterback position.
But now two games into the Wolfpack’s season, a healthy Bahnam has emerged as the starter under center, Fahy as the running back, and O’Toole as a receiver. And they’ve led the Wolfpack to two impressive victories that match their total from last year.
“We had a rough season last year,” Bahnam said. “But we’ve got a lot of young talent that’s stepping up and who’ve worked hard in the offseason. We’ve definitely improved.”
Last year Latin struggled when Bahnam was injured in the fourth week, and ended up finishing 2-9. Fahy stepped in for Bahnam and excelled when rushing the football, but struggled slightly with passing.
“It definitely wasn’t something I expected to do,” Fahy said. “I didn’t think of myself as a natural quarterback, but it ended up working out well for the most part because we ran a lot of options that confused the defense. Maybe sometime this year we’ll mix me in for some quarterback plays to mix up the defense.”
However, It doesn’t look as if Fahy will be getting many reps at quarterback, because he’s dominating as Latin’s premier back. He had four touchdowns in the home opener against Brookline while leading the Wolfpack to a 34-14 win.
Bahnam also threw for a touchdown against Brookline, a 22-yard strike to senior wide receiver Mike Parham.
The following week, it was Bahnam’s turn to shine when he tossed four touchdown passes against North Quincy in a 44-30 win. O’Toole was a red zone threat against North Quincy, as he converted a critical 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.
Coach John McDonough cites returning players as one of the Wolfpack’s strongest assets this year.
“Our line, both offensively and defensively, are all veterans,” McDonough said. “Everybody’s back and they all played together last year. So we’re definitely good up front, too.”
And although the friendly competition at quarterback is now over, things look to have worked out perfectly for Fahy, Bahnam, O’Toole, and the rest of the Wolfpack squad.
“Pat did a great job for me last year, backing me up,” Bahnam said. “I hope I stay healthy this year and am able to start every game. At least my least expectation is to make it to the playoffs, I mean; it’s always the goal to win every game we can. We just need to continue to execute.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.