It was recently announced that five Hockomock football players have been selected by the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association to take part in the annual Shriners All-Star Classic on Saturday, June 18 at Cawley Stadium in Lowell.
The five players are Nick Morrison of North Attleboro, Kyle Murphy of Attleboro, Jake Ragusa of Canton, Austin Ryan of Foxboro, and Josh Schafer of Mansfield.
The annual all-star game pits graduating high school seniors from teams in the North and the South and raises money for the Shriner’s Hospital in Boston. Through the years, the MHSFCA has donated more than $1 million through its all-star game.
The players were nominated by their coaches and then selected by the coaching staffs that were elected by the MHSFCA to run the game. The South team will be coached by Northbridge head coach Ken LaChapelle, who also coached the team in 1999.
North Attleboro coach Don Johnson said of Morrison, who was named the Kelley-Rex MVP and is planning on raising $2,000 for the Shriners, “Nick Mo had a great senior year for us and was a big part of our championship season. He is the next in line in a long list of Red Rocketeers that have played in the Shriners game…I’m sure there will be a nice contingent of family, friends and teammates who will make the trek to cheer him on.”
Johnson knows all about the Shriners All-Star Classic, as he and Mansfield coach Mike Redding both represented North Attleboro in the first game in 1979, which was held at Boston College.
Redding said of Schafer, “Josh was one of our most dedicated players and a great leader for our team. He improved so much over the course of the last four years and being selected for the Shriner’s is a great reward for his commitment and his great play over the last two years for us.”
Redding added that Schafer was selected for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award, which recognized his work on the field, in the classroom, and for his community service. Schafer will be joined at the may banquet by Foxboro senior Connor Downs.
Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli praised Ryan for joining the “long line” of Warriors who will play in the Shriners’ game. He added, “he will proudly represent, not only his outstanding skills and gamemanship, but also, his tight-knit fellow Foxboro teammates and the Hockomock League. Austin takes great pride in playing for such a wonderful cause…We are so very proud of him as a student/athlete, but most importantly, as a caring young man.”
Murphy was a three-year starter and a two-year captain for the Bombardiers and Attleboro coach Mike Strachan credited the senior lineman’s work in the off-season and in the weight room for getting him to this point.
Strachan said, “Kyle is truly a gifted athlete and even a better person. Kyle has been a solid leader for us on and off the field the last two years and his leadership will be missed.
Ragusa, a three-year player for Canton, was named the Davenport MVP and the HockomockSports.com Player of the Year for the Bulldogs this past fall and now can add the Shriners’ game to those honors. He will also be continuing a program and a family legacy when he takes the field in June.
Ragusa’s father Doug also played in the Shriners’ game in 1986.
Canton coach Dave Bohane said of Ragusa, “Jake made big plays at big moments for us this season…He is probably our most decorated player with the various awards he has picked up, which include the Hockomock Davenport MVP, as well as being named to the [MHSFCA] Super 26 Team.”
The Shriners All-Star Classic will be held on June 18. For more information, visit http://www.mhsfca.net/shriner-classic.html.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.