Worcester Weekly: Oktoberfest, Worcester State football + more, Sept. 24-30

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 — Architectural Scavenger Hunt, 5-7:30 p.m., Leo’s Ristorante, 11 Leo Turo Way  There are so many new buildings going up in Worcester, it can be easy to forget about the treasure trove of historic, intriguing and captivating old buildings that continue to lend character, culture and rising heating bills to every hilly neighborhood and winding one-way street in the city.

Worcester Weekly: stART on the Street, Clustertruck + more, Sept. 17-23

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Sept. 17 — stART on the Street, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Park Avenue, between Highland and Pleasant streets  If you’re going to bring gridlock to the heart of the city, you might as well do it with hundreds of talented artists, crafters and performers, and a list of activities longer than the backup on Chandler Street. That’s the great thing about stART on the Street — with so many cool things to see and do, for once nobody’s worried about the traffic.

Worcester Weekly: Holy Cross football, preliminary election + more, Sept. 10-16

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Monday, Sept. 11 — Lecture: Government’s Role in Segregation, 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St.  “Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the [United States] and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems.” This is the crux of the argument author Richard Rothstein will discuss, based on his 2017 book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.”

A fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who has written a number of books on race, education and social equality, Rothstein said segregation — more specifically, how it happened — is no mystery; it was forged from the policies (“racially explicit and unconstitutional”) and politics of the mid-20th century. And it will linger until we learn from this history. Free and open to the public.

Doherty’s Tajon Vassar a fast-rising star for the Highlanders

In many ways, Tajon Vassar is a microcosm of the entire Doherty football team.

An overlooked kid who puts in the work, plays both sides of the ball, and is trying to live up to the accomplishments of his older brother, Vassar embodies the traits of many on this year’s hopeful Highlanders.

Now a junior, Vassar still has some things to prove, but after a breakout sophomore campaign much will be expected of the electric running back and defensive back.

“We’re lucky with Tajon, because he’s one of our best players, if not our best player, and he’s also the hardest worker,” Doherty coach Sean Mulcahy said. “You don’t always have that. He works hard, and he’s gotten physically bigger and stronger this offseason, which will obviously help.”

Sound of (Mass) Fury signifies nothing but football for those who just won’t quit

The overwhelming majority of athletes stop playing their favorite sports at the youth, high school or college level. Without a ticket, the bright lights of Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park are out of reach.

There are options, though, for the weekend warriors who just can’t bring themselves to hang up the cleats or tag their dusty old shoulder pads for the next yard sale. And who don’t mind slightly dimmer lighting.

The semi-professional Eastern Football League has provided a competitive oasis for scholastic and collegiate gridiron greats since 1961 — many area fans may remember the long-dominant Marlborough Shamrocks — and for the past several years the Worcester-based Mass Fury have been winning trophies and keeping dreams alive.

St. John’s depth has Pioneers dreaming big in 2017

St. John’s is never short on talent, in any sport.

The Pioneers are coming off another banner athletic year that again saw their teams make deep postseason runs across the board, so it seems almost silly to say that one particular team is loaded.

But, if that word has meaning left on the St. John’s campus in Shrewsbury, it most certainly applies to this year’s football team, which will vie for a state title in the newly aligned Division 3.

While most of the region is bemoaning the losses of generational talents, like Grafton’s Ifeatu Melifonwu, West Boylston’s Cole McCubrey and Leominster’s Noah Gray, the Pioneers are thrilled to welcome back nearly all of their big names from a season ago, starting with highly regarded athlete Hunter Gorgas.

Now a senior, Gorgas holds scholarship offers from Rhode Island, Monmouth and Wagner, but expect things to pick up for the 6-foot-5 defensive end, tight end and wide receiver. After attending summer camps at Boston College, Temple, Syracuse, UConn and others, Gorgas has drawn more Division I Football Bowl Subdivision interest, but has only one thing on his mind this season.

Joe Parello / For Worcester Sun

Hunter Gorgas, second from right, is a talented tight end and defensive end with bright prospects at the college level.

“We have the talent to make it to states,” Gorgas said. “The only goal that everybody on the team has, including myself, is to win states.”

That tunnel vision should serve St. John’s well.

More from the Sun Football Forecast:

  • Local football stars to watch on Saturdays and Sundays |  So, if you want to keep track of the Worcester County boys now playing at football’s highest levels, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a handy list of, and outlook for, every CMass native playing in the NFL and the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
  • Worcester’s Yiadom primed for big senior season at BC |  The Doherty legend’s name has come up a lot more in talks about the best players in the formidable Atlantic Coast Conference. But to senior DB Isaac Yiadom, that’s all just noise. “I don’t really listen to any of that, I just have to keep doing what I always do.”
  • Wachusett’s Tyler Catalina’s journey to an NFL roster spot |  “I’ve got to keep working and showing the coaches I can handle anything they throw at me,” Catalina said in mid-August. Those coaches, it seems, have seen something from the 325-pounder, who has earned a backup role on the Washington Redskins offensive line.

Coach Justin McKay brings tireless work ethic to St. Peter-Marian football

If you had to describe Justin McKay’s days during football season in one word, it would definitely be “long.”

On the Guardians’ first day of camp, McKay had his new players in the meeting room at 1 p.m., on the practice field at 5 p.m., and ready to go home about 7:30.

But there would be little rest for St. Peter-Marian’s football team, as the Guardians were back at it in the school auditorium at 7 a.m. the following morning, playbooks in hand, ready to learn McKay’s offensive and defensive systems.

“We’re trying to make this feel like a college football camp,” McKay said during his first practice at SPM. “We’ve got meetings and practice in the same day, and everything we’re doing, we’re doing like a big-time program. We just got the field painted, we’ve got the music playing, and the kids have brought the energy so far.”

Indeed they had, but that doesn’t mean his captains didn’t notice the extra workload.

“It was intense,” senior captain Matt Dumphy said of the team’s first day. “It was a lot more this year, but we’re ready for it. In the past, we would maybe do four hours on the first day. This year was six or seven, but we’re learning a lot.”

More from the Sun Football Forecast:

  • Local football stars to watch on Saturdays and Sundays |  So, if you want to keep track of the Worcester County boys now playing at football’s highest levels, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a handy list of, and outlook for, every CMass native playing in the NFL and the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
  • Worcester’s Yiadom primed for big senior season at BC |  The Doherty legend’s name has come up a lot more in talks about the best players in the formidable Atlantic Coast Conference. But to senior DB Isaac Yiadom, that’s all just noise. “I don’t really listen to any of that, I just have to keep doing what I always do.”
  • Wachusett’s Tyler Catalina’s journey to an NFL roster spot |  “I’ve got to keep working and showing the coaches I can handle anything they throw at me,” Catalina said in mid-August. Those coaches, it seems, have seen something from the 325-pounder, who has earned a backup role on the Washington Redskins offensive line.

Worcester Weekly: Worcester Pride, SPM football + more, Sept. 3-9

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Road trip!

Sunday, Sept. 3 — Spencer Fair, 8 a.m. [gates open], Spencer Fairground, 48 Smithville Road, Spencer  Oh, the spectacle of the annual country fair! Step right up and win a stuffed animal for your favorite girl or guy. Watch your favorite girl or guy become a stuffed animal — bursting at the seams with corn dogs and cotton candy and all the fried dough. Never, ever leave the fairgrounds without losing a loved one for at least an hour or two. And, oh the manure smell. It’s magical!

Really, it is, and there’s nary a New Englander whose memory banks aren’t flush with childhood recollections drenched in powdered sugar and carnival ride background music.

Worcester-area football stars to watch on Saturdays and Sundays

Central Massachusetts may not be one of the nation’s biggest football factories, but the region does produce its fair share of talent every year.

This season, Worcester County had five players in NFL training camps, including the only player from the commonwealth selected in the 2017 NFL Draft (Grafton High School alum Obi Melifonwu was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round, 56th overall).

On top of that, CMass natives litter rosters of Division I collegiate football programs across the country — including eight set to suit up for UMass-Amherst — and it isn’t far-fetched to believe that some of them could gain national notoriety this season.

So, if you want to keep track of the Worcester County boys now playing at football’s highest levels, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a handy alphabetical list of, and outlook for, every CMass native playing in the NFL and the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

Worcester Weekly: WPI football, POW! WOW! + more, Aug. 27-Sept. 2

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Aug. 27 — 5th annual Worcester Caribbean American Carnival, noon-7 p.m., Institute Park, Salisbury Street and Park Avenue  So, hurricane season is upon us — as the folks in Corpus Christi and coastal Texas are painfully aware — which means a late-summer getaway to the Caribbean is not exactly for the faint of heart. How lucky, then, are Worcester peeps to have a bit of the Caribbean blow into their backyard?

Courtesy worcestercarib.com

The Worcester Caribbean American Carnival — and parade! — returns for its fifth year Sunday, Aug. 37, at Institute Park.