Football Monday

Coach Jim Bowes shines in Milton’s upset of Walpole

They had to go to the Quincy police station to pick up the 9-millimeter films, but Jack Bowes made sure that he and his son, Jim, watched every second of the previous weekend’s game.

Jack, then the Milton football coach, and Jim, the curious son getting a glimpse into the coaching life, would spend hours in their basement digesting the film, sometimes too much for Jim’s liking.

“I would watch in frustration as he made the reel go back and forth and everybody on the field took their first step about 20 times,” Jim said.


But now, some 30 years later, he understands.

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Jim is the one spending hours watching film in his dad’s old role as the coach at Milton. The attention to detail has paid off, as his Wildcats upset No. 11 Walpole, 26-7, on Friday night for the first time since 2001.

“I was just really happy for the kids,” said Bowes, who took over the program in 2009. “We have some good kids and they studied Walpole well and were ready to play.”

Behind two rushing touchdowns from senior Jonathan Pierre and two touchdown passes from senior Liam Collins, Milton (3-2, 3-0) pulled off the stunner to get past one of the Bay State Conference’s traditional powerhouses.

“We sometimes have a mystique with those teams, especially Walpole and Natick with their tradition of success,” Bowes said. “Sometimes that’s something to get past.”


Bowes isn’t any stranger to the rivalry against teams like Walpole (3-2, 2-1), as he battled against them during his playing days at Milton in the late ’80s. He still remembers a heartbreaker against the Rebels when he was a sophomore in 1986. The Wildcats thought they had won the game and just as everyone started running onto the field, the officials put two seconds back on the clock. With one last play, Walpole’s Matt Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to Adam Shinnick for the 27-26 win.

“It’s a tradition,” Bowes said. “It’s almost like New York — Walpole is everybody’s rivals. It’s a big win when you beat them.”

Jack was still the coach at Milton for that game in 1986 before retiring in 1989, the year that Jim graduated, so he could watch his son play at Holy Cross.

After a battle with Alzheimer’s, Jack died this summer at age 85, but Jim still carries with him lessons he learned from being around his dad and the gridiron while growing up.

“He was a hard worker, but he always emphasized playing a clean game and respect for your opponents,” Bowes said. “That always kind of stuck with me. It’s a constant pressure — a good pressure — to do things the right way.”


The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for Milton, which will face the other Bay State Herget Conference powerhouse, No. 2 Natick (5-0, 3-0), on Friday night. But now that the Wildcats know they can beat the best, they are excited for the next challenge.

“This senior class that I’m working with and these kids that I’ve gotten to work with over the last five years, it’s just unbelievable,” Bowes said. “It’s just really great to watch them play real complete games, which is what we did Friday night.”

A football lifer, Bowes is embracing every second of his dad’s old job — even the film sessions in the basement.

“When he could still talk to me about football, he would ask, ‘Are you watching the movies with the kids? There’s nothing like that,’ ” Bowes said. “I feel tremendously lucky for the great experience I’ve had with the game because my father was involved with it.”

Scoring machine

After beating Kents Hill, 58-0, Saturday, Pingree is averaging a gaudy 49.5 points per game. Understandably, there are a lot of impressive offensive stats for the South Hamilton school, but try this one on: junior kicker Erik Fryer is making close to six extra-point kicks per game.

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