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.”

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’s Yiadom primed for big senior season for Boston College football

From the moment he stepped foot on Boston College‘s campus, Isaac Yiadom has done his part for the Eagles.

That part may get significantly larger this season, however, as the former Doherty Memorial star has been getting talked up by national media, and perhaps more importantly, by fifth-year BC head coach Steve Addazio.

Ever since Addazio mentioned that Yiadom had the potential to be an all-conference player in an interview with ESPN, Yiadom’s name has come up a lot more in talks about the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference, and college football in general.

But to the Worcester native, that’s all just noise.

Wachusett alum Tyler Catalina’s journey toward an NFL roster spot

[UPDATE: According to reports and social media, Tyler Catalina has secured a spot on the Washington Redskins’ initial 53-man roster. This story was first published on Aug. 23.]

It seems unthinkable that after playing at two high schools, two colleges, going undrafted and switching positions, Tyler Catalina has a legitimate chance to earn an NFL roster spot.

But that’s just where the Wachusett Regional alum currently finds himself, playing guard for the Washington Redskins, and running with the backups during the team’s preseason games. Along the way, Catalina has been doubted at every step, and yet here he is, perhaps only a solid preseason performance away from being an NFL player.

“He definitely took the scenic route, that’s for sure,” Catalina’s brother Tony jokes.

Twitter / Tony Catalina

Tyler Catalina signs his contract as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Redskins.

“I’ve played in so many systems, on so many teams, that I think I can adjust to anything at this point,” Catalina said of his first few weeks in the NFL. “It just is what it is. I’ve got to keep working and showing the coaches I can handle anything they throw at me.”