Like most teams around the state, the Hingham football program has had to get creative to keep things fresh.
Whether it’s mentally or physically, the Harbormen coaching staff has done everything they possibly can to make sure the squad is ready to go if they’re given the green light in just about four weeks.
“My high school coach who actually got me into coaching, and he’s now our quarterback coach, Bob Noble has been amazing,” head coach Mark Nutley. “He’s retired now from teaching and he just loves using Hudl. He’s constantly sending out little quizzes for the kids whether it’s the O-line or skill guys. Every week he’ll send out video clips of our passing game, our run game and then he’ll follow it up with quizzes and stuff like that.
“For a long time we’d post video workout challenges and the kids would have to share themselves doing it, so utilizing the internet has been huge for us as coaches. It sounds simple but it’s been a huge factor in us trying to stay ready.”
The Harbormen were lucky enough to be one of the programs that got some work in during the summer and then the fall, but they might be the only program that got to give the team a special “Friday Night Lights” moment back when nothing but bad news was rolling in, just in case there aren’t any in February or March.
“The first or second week of November, we did a Friday Night Flag Football tournament,” Nutley explained. “The linemen played against each other, the skill guys played against each other and it was a lot of fun. We were able to get a few parents in to see it, so it was a great way to kind of have one of those Friday Night Lights moments they were missing out on, it was almost a little spring game for them.”
This year’s captains, Charlie Crean, John O’Connor and Dan Hannon have done all they could to make sure Hingham is ready to go as soon as possible.
“Our team has kept a similar workout schedule as we had in the summer,” said Hannon. “Getting stronger and being in the best shape we can helps us stay motivated and confident before the season starts. It’s important to hold people accountable as a captain, so I’ve made sure that teammates know we need to keep training and improving before the season starts.”
“These times have been tough for everyone,” added O’Connor. “The motivation to workout and to get better comes from within, and at the end of the day it comes down to which team wants it more.”
With teams like Whitman-Hanson, Plymouth North, Duxbury and Marshfield on the schedule, there’s no time for players or coaches wearing red to worry about whether or not everyone is all in mentally. Any fears fans of the program may have about motivation not being there with no postseason to look forward to have nothing to worry about, the Harbormen are ready to go.
“Obviously the season is not what we had in mind, but at least we are getting a chance to go out there and compete,” said Crean. “The mindset will be to treat every game like a playoff game, we have very few games this year and with COVID very present in our community, so we never know when the league could call the season quits.”
“Our mentality for every game will be same and we will play our hearts out for all four quarters no matter the opponent,” added O’Connor. “We are going to treat every game as if it’s a playoff game. Our motivation, like I said before, has to come from within and we need to come together to play as one team.”
Along with the three captains, Nutley also mentioned Pat Petrillo (DB/RB), Matt Lahiff (WR/K/MLB), Dylan Pierce (QB), Liam Collins (DL) and Cooper Estes (DB/WR) are all going to be confuted on to help lead Hingham into its tough Patriot League schedule.
“It should be a fun, interesting year for us,” said Nutley. “We love what we have coming back and feel like we can have a great defensive line as well. If you look at the teams in the NFL playoffs, a disruptive d-line is key, and we feel like we can have one this season. As a whole, we’re really excited to see these kids go out there and perform at a high level.”
Interesting is probably the perfect way to describe what the entire “Fall II” experience is going to be like. Playoffs or no playoffs, a year after earning the No. 1 seed in their section before bowing out against rival Duxbury, the Harbormen are hell bent on making this season one of the greatest in program history.
“The goals for our team this season is to make this season matter as much as any other year,” said Hannon. “We also want to win every game, and with a shorter season, we could definitely go undefeated. Our team will be motivated to beat all of the teams in the Patriot League, and we would be satisfied with our season if we accomplished that.”