Moscatel a leader at Southern Conn.
Tom Godek , the first-year head coach of the Southern Connecticut State University football program, calls John Moscatel “the Patriot’’ because of his Lexington roots.
“I did it because John’s like the Patriot militia, always ready to go and do his best,’’ said Godek of the 6-foot, 205-pound Moscatel, who led the Northeast-10 Conference in rushing average (107 yards per game) in a breakout junior season last fall. “And we want him with the football as much as possible.’’
Last year, Moscatel ranked seventh in Division 2 in all-purpose yards (202.7 per game), and his 10 rushing touchdowns ranked third in the NE-10.
“It was an amazing turnaround, especially after I missed the end of my sophomore season with an ankle injury. It was the first time I’ve ever been over 1,000 yards,’’ said Moscatel, who thanked the school’s former head coach, Rich Cavanaugh , who recently retired after 29 years, “for trusting me the way I always wanted to be trusted with the football.’’
Moscatel, also a threat as a receiver/return man, turned to a familiar face after that 2012 season — longtime Boston University strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle.
“My father and three uncles went to BU, my older brother, Jake, just graduated and played hockey there, and my late grandfather, Anthony Moscatello, was director of BU’s photo services,’’ said Moscatel.
“We still see his sports pictures displayed at Walter Brown and Agganis Arena.’’
He and his brother worked out at Boyle’s facility in Woburn after his sophomore year, and again this summer.
“I’m stronger and faster, I’m more confident, and my mindset is different than before I was hurt,’’ he said.
The offensive coordinator under Cavanaugh for 13 years, Godek recruited Moscatel out of Bridgton Academy. He saw a player with great vision and really good speed.
“He’s very deceptive and sets up his blocks well, and he has the ability to make a play on his own,’’ said Godek.
“I saw him then against the Yale JV, and I was impressed because he carried himself well in all situations, and covered the defensive backfield from north to south and east to west,’’ said Godek. “Here, he’s become a leader who competes hard and takes the younger players under his wing.’’
Moscatel, who also played hockey and lacrosse at Lexington High, was remembered by Bill Tighe, his football coach in Lexington, as a player with natural athletic ability who could play halfback, defensive back and fill in at quarterback when needed.
“He had nowhere to go but up because of that talent,’’ said Tighe, now 90 years old and an assistant coach at Stoneham High.
Moscatel took a roundabout route to Southern Connecticut, which opens its season Saturday at Gannon University.
“I had actually chosen to go to another Northeast-10 school but it didn’t pan out, and by the time I spoke to Coach Godek, he said the roster was full,’’ said Moscatel, who subsequently took time off from school and worked as a landscaper. Raking, digging, and planting trees kept him in shape. He enrolled at Southern Connecticut in January 2011.
A preseason All-American this fall, Moscatel said the accolades are nice, “but honors don’t win football games; it’s the plays you make to help your team. I like having the ball in my hands as a runner and receiver and I love being a kick returner because I can try to help in a lot of ways.”
The Owls were 3-8 a year ago, “but we were in just about every game,” he added. “We’re predicted to be seventh in the conference, but I think our opponents will be in for a surprise.’’
Newton’s Gracia Leydon Mahoney captured a bronze medal in the mixed international team diving competition last week at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. The Stanford University freshman, paired with Ukraine’s Pylyp Tkachenko, each totaling three dives from both the 3-meter and 10-meter boards. Earlier in the Youth Games, the Newton North High grad finished fourth in the women’s 3-meter springboard and eighth in the 10 meters. A member of the USA Diving Junior Elite Performance Squad, Leydon Mahoney moved from Newton to Durham, N.C., in her sophomore year to train with Drew Johansen at Durham Academy. . .
Belmont High graduate Becca Moore, a junior midfielder on the Bentley University field hockey team, has been named a tri-captain. She has played in every game for the Falcons the past two seasons. “Becca can change a game with her leadership and tenacity,’’ said Bentley coach Jessica Spencer .