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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL | PREPS

NEPSAC bowl win was a breakthrough for coach Randdy Lindsey and his Rivers football program

The Rivers School celebrates a long-awaited first NEPSAC bowl victory, 27-9, over Canterbury (Conn.).Rivers School

Rivers School football coach Randdy Lindsey knew if he was going to take the Red Wings further than they had gone before, the team was going to have to bond like a family.

Now, at the end of his third season, Lindsey watched Rivers earn the program’s first NEPSAC Bowl victory with a group that bought in.

The Red Wings returned to the Moose Curtis Bowl after a loss last season, breaking through with a 27-9 victory over visiting Canterbury (Conn.) Saturday in Weston. Lindsey’s sons, Kalyl and Amir, teamed up for three touchdown receptions for the Red Wings (8-1).

“It was awesome,” Randdy Lindsey said. “Any dad that’s in my situation that has their kids play for them, they want to have that deeper connection with their sons. We have the same mind-set and we can do this together.”

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Kalyl, a senior, is committed to play football at Brown.

“That’s amazing,” the elder Lindsey said. “As a Black dad, to say that my Black son is going to go to an Ivy league school and get a great education and make more money than me, doing it the right way.”

Amir, a junior, is a member of the Rivers basketball team that won the Class B tournament last season, but like his brother, also plays receiver and safety.

“It’s fun to see my boys happy,” Lindsey said. “It’s fun to see that we can talk about things outside of just school like football, and relationships with friends, and life. Football made that happen. That’s why I think it’s one of the best things in the world.”

Junior quarterback Max Stevelman (6 for 9, 149 yards) had three touchdown passes, with classmate Greg Canning providing the fourth touchdown on a 58-yard interception return.

“Max is a key part of what we accomplished,” Lindsey said. “He wants to understand football. He wants to be the guy who has the highest level of football IQ. That’s who he is as a young man.”

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Rivers earned a bowl appearance in 2010, but lost in the final seconds to Pingree when a blocked field goal was returned 82 yards for a score. Last year, Rivers lost to Dexter Southfield, 46-35, in the Curtis Bowl.

“It was going to be hard work,” Lindsey said. “If you want to be the way you envision your life to be, you have to work harder than anybody else.”

▪ After a 1-7 finish last season, the players at Brooks knew there was more potential to unearth if they played for each other. Their 8-1 season this year culminated with a 21-12 victory over St. Sebastian’s in the Dave Coratti Bowl.

“In the offseason, talking with kids, they recognized that they had the ability, the talent to perform much better than they did last year,” Brooks coach Pat Foley said. “You could see the mindset change.”

Brooks excelled with the run game: junior Darnell Pierre racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and senior quarterback Michael Wolfendale (155 rushing yards in the Coratti Bowl) was always a threat to take off. Both scored in the first half against St. Sebastian’s, along with senior Nomar Tejada’s pick-6.

In February, last year’s freshman kicker, Preston Settles, tragically passed away after going into cardiac arrest in a basketball game. It unified the team.

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“It was incredibly hard for the team, for the school, for his family, of course,” Foley said. “On the sideline, when [players] were looking for motivation, his name came up. He was with us all year.”

▪ Early in Jason Swepson’s tenure as coach, Lawrence Academy forfeited games for not having enough players. In his fifth season, the Spartans completed the turnaround with a 7-2 record and a 21-20 win over Dexter Southfield in the Todd Marble Bowl.

“When it was finally over, all I thought about was a handful of seniors that have been here for four years,” Swepson said. “They’ve seen the lows of the low and got a chance to experience the highs of the high.”

Junior Michael Landolfi of Hanover passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran in a 10-yard score to take the lead with two minutes left. Dexter responded with a touchdown. After missing a tying extra point, they recovered an onside kick and lined up for a potential game-winning field goal. That’s when junior Dom Selvitelli came up with the winning block.

“He’s had success all year blocking some, he dug down deep and found the will to get one more,” Swepson said. “He’s been a great two-way player for us all year long. He’s got a bright future in front of him at the next level.”


AJ Traub can be reached at aj.traub@globe.com.