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High School Football

Swampscott-Marblehead rivals become fast friends as Agganis All-Star football game teammates

North quarterback Cam O'Brien of Swampscott (right) runs past an unidentified South defender on his way to a long first-quarter gain in Wednesday's 60th Agganis All-Star football game at Manning Field in Lynn. The North defeated the South, 49-12.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

LYNN — Only the honor of playing in the 60th Agganis All-Star game together could get Swampscott and Marblehead football players to carpool to Manning Field.

After four years as bitter high school rivals, Swampscott stars Cam O’Brien and Xaviah Bascon drove to Wednesday’s game with Marblehead running back George Percy.

The trio, each of whom won a Super Bowl title in December, teamed up to lead the North squad to a 49-12 victory over the South. It was the largest margin of victory and the highest point total recorded in the game’s 60-year history, surpassing the 43 points the South scored in 1975.


“Right away we clicked, and it was good,” said Bascon, who was voted North MVP after scoring two touchdowns. “You expect you’re going to bump heads. Nah. [Percy] came right in, the only Marblehead kid with five Swampscott kids, and he fit right in right away.”

Xaviah Bascon of Swampscott couldn't quite make the catch on a first-quarter screen pass attempt during Wednesday's game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Bascon picked up right where he left off in the Division 5 Super Bowl, catching two passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, rushing for 45 yards and running a kickoff back 93 yards to stamp out any momentum South had in the second quarter.

“When you have Xaviah Bascon, he’s a playmaker who can make plays from any spot on the field,” said Percy, who ran for a game-high 90 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries. “The line was giving us holes. All of us played a great game.”

For O’Brien, it was a head-swiveling transition from rivals to teammates.

“It’s so weird going from game planning against [Percy] to one day he’s on my team and I’m playing with him,” the burly quarterback said. “I tell everybody he’s one of the hardest hitters. I remember my junior year he ran me over and I saw a little stars.”


The Swampscott-Marblehead rivalry dates back to 1910, when they played the first of 111 Thanksgiving Day matchups. The Magicians won 31-28 this year, despite 101 yards and two touchdowns from Bascon and 151 passing yards from O’Brien.

O’Brien, who will take a gap year before hoping to play college football at the Division 2 or 3 level, threw for 73 yards, and rushed for 45 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 24-yard interception return.

“Being out there with him is always the best,” said Bascon, who will play at Phillips Exeter in the fall. “He’s the most talented kid I’ve ever seen. Being 215 [pounds], playing QB and linebacker, laying sticks and throwing beautiful passes. What an athlete he is. Every snap I get the opportunity to play with him is a blessing.”

The North's John Germano from Wilmington eludes a diving tackle attempt by the South's Younes Maizat from Chelsea.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Percy, who is bound for the Salisbury School, opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown just 90 seconds into the game. Arlington Catholic’s David Rufo hit the first of his seven extra points to put the North up 7-0.

Early in the second quarter, Bascon took a screen pass, broke a couple of tackles and raced 36 yards for a two-score lead. South answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown dive by Lynn English quarterback Jesse Maggs, who was selected to wear No. 33 in honor of Harry Agganis, the former Lynn Classical and Boston University star who was the Red Sox starting first baseman when he died of a pulmonary embolism in 1955 at age 26.


“It’s a big tradition, especially coming from Lynn,” said Maggs, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 133 yards. “Last night I was taking everything in. I had a bunch of great role models at Lynn English and I would come to this game and support them. Now that I’m here, it feels great. It’s hard to put into words.”

After Maggs’ touchdown breathed some life into the South, Bascon squelched their momentum with his 93-yard kickoff return. O’Brien later scored on a 1-yard dive for a three-score lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.

Peabody’s Jordan Tompkins and Ipswich’s David Lonergan added North touchdowns in the second half, while the South got an 8-yard score from KIPP Academy running back Piero Canales, who was named team MVP after finishing with 89 rushing yards on 17 carries. It was the fifth-straight win for North, which was coached by Swampscott’s Bob Serino.

Over the course of 200-plus All-Star games since 1955, the Agganis Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students. Twenty-one students received scholarships in 2022.

The South's Derek Omoregie of Lynn Classical brings down Bascon on a first-quarter play.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Brendan Kurie can be reached at brendan.kurie@globe.com.