FRANKLIN — Neither a loss to Hockomock League rival King Philip nor the need for social distancing could dampen Wednesday night’s celebration marking 50 seasons for Fran Bositis as the varsity boys’ soccer team at Franklin High.
“It’s an incredible surprise party,” Bositis said. “I only wish we could’ve won today . . . I had no idea [of the ceremony]. My wife [Christine] is really good, and so is everybody else, at keeping secrets."
Bositis was honored by the Franklin soccer community at Pisini Stadium after the Panthers' dropped a 4-1 decision to KP.
In turn, he deflected attention away from himself and toward multiple generations of players to come through his program since he arrived in town in the fall of 1971 as a physical education major out of the University of Massachusetts, where he had played lacrosse. In high school, the Worcester native was a football/lacrosse standout at St. John’s Shrewsbury.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic limited turnout, the ceremony was still well-attended by Franklin boys' soccer alumni from every era of Bositis’s half century as coach.
Kirk Simon, a 1976 graduate of Franklin High and a member of the lone squad Bositis coached to an Eastern Mass. title, noted that he and about 15 of his teammates went on to play soccer in college thanks in part to inspiration Bositis provided them.
“You should be proud of the success you’ve had on the field, and even more proud of the success you’ve had in helping to mold and inspire these people along the way,” Simon said.
Joe Gruseck, a 1984 Franklin grad and the current head coach of the Dover-Sherborn boys' soccer team, said Bositis instilled a sense of accountability, dedication and commitment. Gruseck also noted the sense of camaraderie among Panthers of all ages, many of whom continue to play soccer with one another.
“It didn’t matter what decade you played in, if you went to Franklin, you knew the style,” Gruseck said.
Joe Griffith, whose son, Aidan, is on the current team at Franklin, spoke on behalf of the 1990s alumni. Chris Schmidt, an assistant under Bositis for 12 years before becoming athletic director at Nipmuc Regional, represented the 2000s, while Freddie Beckmann, a 2018 graduate-turned-assistant coach, represented the 2010s.
“Seeing him coach, from a players' perspective, I actually thought he was crazy at some points with some of the things he’d say or do,” said Beckmann, a goalie at Regis College in Weston the last two seasons. “Now, being his assistant, I see there’s a method to his madness and it shows results.”
Ben Moccia, Tyler Powderly and Terry O’Neill, captains of the 2020 team, also spoke at the event in honor of Bositis, who retired from teaching physical education in Franklin in 2009.
“I know from personal experience he treats every practice and every game with a clear passion that rubs off on all of his players,” O’Neill said.
Talking earlier this fall about his tenure at Franklin, Bositis said, "It’s a privilege to coach here, there is tremendous support from the community,” Bositis said. “We have great kids, and great youth programs.”
Bishop Feehan 4, Archbishop Williams 2 — Tate Demond knocked in a rebound at the beginning of the fourth quarter for the go-ahead goal in the Catholic Central win for host Feehan.
Greater Lowell 6, Innovation Academy 2 — Sophomore Sam Sultani and freshman Luiggi Ferreira each netted a pair of goals to pace the visiting Gryphons (3-2) in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
Mansfield 2, Taunton 0 — Junior Sagar Koul netted a pair of goals in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets (2-1) earn the Hockomock League road win.
Marshfield 4, Plymouth North 1 — Colby Lauria, Jack Mitchelson, Logan Burns, and Matt Bilodeau scored for the visiting Rams (3-0) in the Patriot League win.
Sandwich 1, Falmouth 0 — Matthew DiGiacomo scored off a deflection with 10 minutes left to lift the host Blue Knights (2-1) in the Cape & Islands win.
Wayland 1, Bedford 0 — Zach Campana netted the lone goal for the Warriors in the Dual County League win.
Brockton 17, Dartmouth 42 — Caleb Deane placed first overall, followed by Nick O’Connell (2nd), Mamadu Tchamo (3rd), and Aaron Corlette (5th) for the Boxers.
Brookline 26, Wellesley 31 — Senior Drew Donahue set a course record on the new layout at Lars Anderson Park, completing the 2.8-mile course in 15:06 for the host Warriors in the Bay State Conference win. The course has been essentially reversed.
North Andover 15, Andover 49 — Freshman Luke McGillivray took first place with a time of 16:09.1 and the Scarlet Knights (2-0) had the top six finishers en route to the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Plymouth South 20, Quincy/North Quincy 35 — Senior captain Pat Clarke paced the field with a 14:09 as the Panthers (2-0) won the Patriot League matchup.
Brockton 19, Dartmouth 41 — The Boxers took four of the first five spots, led by overall winner Sarah Bullock. She was followed by Nicole Dunbury (2nd), Anya Rizzo (4th), and Ashley Goncalves (5th).
North Andover 16, Andover 45 — Senior Courtney Dalke crossed the line first and the Scarlet Knights (2-0) took the top four spots in the Merrimack Valley matchup.
Silver Lake 15, Duxbury 49 — Summer Bejerano and Samantha Faherty tied for first with a time of 17:58 on the 2.68 mile course for the host Lakers (2-1).
Wellesley 24, Brookline 37 — Freshman Lily Jin finished second in her first varsity race as the Raiders (2-0) claimed the Bay State Conference win.
Weymouth 16, Walpole 43 — Eighth-grader Ella Bates finished first with a time of 17:14 as the Wildcats (2-0) stayed undefeated with the Bay State Conference win.
Braintree 3, Milton 1 — Callie Burchill, Kate Silvia, and Bridget Lee each scored for the visiting Wamps in the Bay State Conference win.
Lincoln-Sudbury 3, Westford 1 — Kenyon College commit Sarah Molloy netted a hat trick for the Warriors (3-0) in the Dual County League win.
Sandwich 3, Dennis-Yarmouth 0 — Junior Paige Hawkins tallied two goals as the Blue Knights (3-0) stayed undefeated with the Cape & Islands win.
Sturgis East 2, St. John Paul II 1 — Sophomore Kyra Cole scored the winning goal with six minutes to go as the Storm (1-1-1) earned their first win of the season in the Cape and Islands matchup.
Weston 7, Newton South 1 — Senior captain Jackie Goode registered her third hat trick of the season and fellow captain Maya Malenfant had four assists for the unbeaten Wildcats (5-0) in the Dual County League win.
Bishop Stang 171, Bishop Feehan 157 — Freshman Matt Costello (4-over-par 40) was the medalist for the Spartans in their Catholic Central win at the Country Club of New Bedford. Senior Paul Zeller and sophomores Redmond Podkowa and Kyle Farias had 41s.
Bridgewater-Raynham 90, New Bedford 77 — Senior Kyle Wilcox (25 points) carded a 2-over-par 38 for the Trojans (6-0) at Old Scotland Links.
Canton 148, Sharon 173 — Mike Leonetti (2-under-par 34) and Nate MacDonald (34) paced the visiting Bulldogs to the Hockomock League win.
Duxbury 248, Hingham 250 — Andrew Curley fired an even-par-36 for the Dragons in the Patriot League win at South Shore Country Club.
Marblehead 40.5, Salem 31.5 — Ben Weed finished his round with a pair of birdies to help the Magicians (2-1) pull out the Northeastern Conference win.
Medfield 239, Norwood 248 — Senior captain Henry Reilly fired a 2-over-par 37 to lead the Warriors (3-4) to the Tri-Valley League win at Ponkapoag Golf Course.
Newburyport 136, Amesbury 72 — Andrew Cullen (32 points) was the medalist for the undefeated Clippers (8-0) in the Cape Ann League win.
Norton 261, Bellingham 279 — Medalist Jack McParland (40) paced the Blackhawks to the Tri-Valley League win at New England Country Club.
Oliver Ames 160, Foxborough 153 — Senior Logan Domenico and junior Jake Kaplan each shot 1-over-par 37s to help the Tigers (5-0) stay undefeated at Easton Country Club.
Pembroke 249, Hanover 253 — Junior Luke Merlan (3-over-par 38) and seniors Colin Mulhern and Delaney Miller (41) led the Titans (7-1) to the Patriot League win at Harmon Country Club.
Plymouth North 266, Whitman-Hanson 278 — Senior Rob Cooney (5-over-par 40) was the medalist for the Eagles (5-3) in the Patriot League win at Plymouth Country Club.
Plymouth South 252, North Quincy 277 — Nolan Skaggs was the medalist with a 3-over-par 38 for the Panthers at Furnace Brook Golf Club.
Scituate 256, Quincy 292 — Austin Ryan fired a 2-under-par 35 at Widows Walk to pace the Sailors (7-1) to the Patriot League win.
Shawsheen 133, Greater Lowell 40 — The host Rams (6-0) followed the lead of Liam Milne (41) to the Commonwealth win at Patriot Golf Course.
St. John’s Prep 226, Xaverian 227 — Spencer Dumas carded a 3-under-par 36 for the host Hawks at Brookmeadow Country Club, but the Eagles prevailed in the Catholic Conference match on a seventh score tiebreaker after the two squads were tied, 226-226. Xaverian’s Joey Lenane and Prep’s Aidan LeBlanc and Brendan O’Holleran each fired 35s.
Wellesley 109, Brookline 70 — Colby Sanville shot a 1-over-par 36 to lead the Raiders to the Bay State Conference win at the Brookline Golf Club at Putterham.
West Bridgewater 83, Dartmouth 78 — Sophomore Tyler Bisbee carded a 3-over-par 39 for the Wildcats (5-3) at West Bridgewater Country Club.
Weston 107, Boston Latin 81 — Senior captain Jacob Finard fired a 1-under-par 33 at William Devine Golf Club to lead the Wildcats in the Dual County League victory.
Franklin 2, King Philip 0 — Erin Quaile and Anya Zub scored as the visiting Panthers (3-0) recorded the Hockomock League shutout for the 14th time in their last 15 regular-season games.
Hingham 6, Duxbury 0 — Junior Ava Maguire netted a pair of goals and Kelsey Tarby set up a pair as the Harborwomen (3-0-1) pulled away for the Patriot League victory over host Duxbury.
Ipswich 2, Triton 1 — Olivia Novello finished a cross from Colby Filosa in the final minute to lift the host Tigers (3-2) to the Cape Ann League win.
Newton South 6, Weston 3 — Junior Grace Penna and sophomore Maddy Genser netted two goals apiece for visiting Lions (5-0) in the Dual County League win.
North Reading 2, Rockport 1 — Maddie DiNapoli netted the winner in the final minute to lift the visiting Hornets (3-1) to the Cape Ann League win.
West Bridgewater 8, Durfee 3 — Kylie Fuller recorded the first four goals of the match as the host Wildcats (1-2) cruised to the win on senior day.
Whitman-Hanson 5, Silver Lake 2 — Olivia Bergen, Kelsee Wozniak, and Kayla Cassidy each netted second-half goals to help the host Panthers (3-0-1) pull away in the Patriot League win.
Staff writer Craig Larson also contributed to this story.