West Roxbury 32, Boston English 0

Sybertz, Raiders roll

English’s Pena has concussion

Chris Hall of Boston English is caught from behind and brought down by the Raiders’ Steven Ware during the season-opener for both teams yesterday in West Roxbury Chris Hall of Boston English is caught from behind and brought down by the Raiders’ Steven Ware during the season-opener for both teams yesterday in West Roxbury (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
By Lorenzo Recupero
Globe Correspondent / September 11, 2010

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In a game in which new met old, and experienced met inexperienced, it was clear the inexperienced has a lot of ground to make up.

Legendary coach Leo Sybertz returned for his first varsity game after a two-year hiatus from the sideline of West Roxbury and went home with a 32-0 win over Boston English and its rookie coach, Chris Boswell. But the focus after the game wasn’t on the score, but on the visiting sideline. The game was called midway through the fourth quarter after a scary injury to Boston English’s Jonathan Pena that was later diagnosed as a concussion.

For Boswell, he couldn’t have written a tougher story line for his first game.

“It’s just one game, it’s not the end of the world,’’ he said. “We had bad results, now we’re going to go back and work hard and try next time to get some positive results.’’

Not a bad philosophy, considering there were four injuries in his team’s first game, shredding an 18-man cavalry still learning on the fly.

Pena went down with a serious neck injury. Pena was placed on a stretcher and left in an ambulance. Boswell, who joined Pena in the ambulance, said later the diagnosis was a mild concussion that should keep his player out for a couple weeks. But for the most part, according to the coach, Pena was in good spirits and will recover fully.

Another injury was to freshman Cordell Harris, a New Mission student playing for English, who has never played organized football and is a starting outside linebacker. He will miss at least a week according to Boswell.

“We’re a work in progress, and we’re going to keep working,’’ said Boswell. As a young team, progress is imminent for the Blue & Blue, but with only 18 players on the roster, and 15 having never played a varsity game in their lives, things got a little ugly last night — and early.

Junior running back Daquain Philips kicked off Sybertz’s return with a loud bang, stampeding for 46 yards into the end zone on the opening drive. From there, it was all Raiders throughout the half.

With a plethora of speedy athletic backs, West Roxbury capitalized against its younger opponent, dashing downfield for more than 230 yards rushing. In fact, the Raiders never attempted a pass all game. Minutes before the end of the first quarter, Philips once again ran wild on the defense, scoring again on a 56-yard bolt down the middle. He failed on a two-point rush, lifting his team to a 14-0 first quarter lead. Philips finished the game with 140 yards on the ground on only six carries, and two touchdowns with a pair of two-point conversions.

The second quarter provided much of the same. This time it was senior Laguane Bradham scoring on a 45-yard rush, capped off by Philips’s second 2-point conversion. Up 22-0, the Raiders’ backfield just wouldn’t let up, as junior quarterback Muller Mirville spun to the outside and ran 10 yards for a touchdown and then rushed in the conversion for another two points. A forced safety for the Blue & Blue on the ensuing drive left the battered team down, 32-0, at the half.

Sybertz (203-104-7) offered his prayers to the injured Pena, but was also excited about the big win upon his return, an important one considering it was the team’s first game of the season. Of his first win in two years, Sybertz had this to say: “It was very good. These are my people, and this is where I belong.’’