As if coach John McDonough and the winless Boston Latin Wolfpack needed a reminder about what a disappointing season this has been, a fan on the Latin sideline chose to take the quiet moments before the coin flip to voice his displeasure with the job the coaching staff has done.
That fan was nowhere to be found after Latin (1-10) finished off an impressive 33-6 win over Boston English yesterday at Harvard Stadium in the 121st meeting of the nation's oldest continuous Thanksgiving rivalry.
Latin took a 19-0 lead into halftime thanks to scoring runs by Darian Walker and Pat Cronin, who also added a 45-yard touchdown grab on a second-and-22 play that summarized the day for the Wolfpack: a lot of penalties and a lot more offense.
"The offense has been a problem all year," said McDonough. "We have a bad tendency to go backward."
English (3-8) came out strong in the second half, scoring on an eight-play, 61-yard drive capped by a 6-yard dash by Lamar Hartgrove.
Latin responded with a drive that covered 65 yards and ate up 7:35. The drive proved fruitful when Walker added the second of his three TD runs.
The Latin rushing attack was led by Walker, Cronin, and Greg Morris, but the real stars of the game may have been the offensive linemen, led by Dual County League All-Star Dan Duggan.
"The O-line did a good job today," said Walker. "It was real easy to get into the end zone."
Duggan, whom McDonough described as "consistent all year," pointed to the instability on the line as a probable reason for the season-long offensive struggles.
"All year we've had trouble," he said. "We haven't really had the same five guys on the line at all, but this week we took it personal."
Latin received a strong game on both sides of the ball from quarterback/safety Naoise MacDowell, who had a fourth-quarter interception and batted away three other passes.
"We had a very good week of practice," he said. "The coaches really did a great job of scouting."
Being winless didn't temper Latin's enthusiasm. McDonough and his players understood the importance of winning the Thanksgiving game.
"I have a great deal of respect for coach [Keith] Parker and English," said McDonough. "But as I told them, 'I'm not concerned with English, I'm concerned about us.' "
"We knew it was a big game and we gave it everything we had," said senior running back Ryan England. "At reunions, they don't talk about records, they talk about what you did against English."