The Blitz Was on Dibiaso in Shriners Game

Everett’s Jonathan DiBiaso threw a touchdown pass in the Shriners Football Game but a blitzing, all-out defensive effort kept the state’s all-time leading quarterback in check Friday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

So for the first time in 26 games, DiBiaso and Everett teammates Nick Stanfield and Vondell Langston were on the losing side as the North fell to the South, 15-12.

There was one minor problem, though. Shriners Game rules prohibit blitzing and as one prominent coach [and it was not Jon’s father, legendary Crimson Tide mentor John DiBiaso, or any of the North coaches] said, “They [the South] were blitzing the whole night.”

In fact, following the North’s final play from scrimmage in which DiBiaso was sacked for the seventh time, the referees huddled to determine whether they should grant the North offense a fourth down do-over. But after considerable debate, the ball was turned over to the South team on downs. The officiating controversy should in no way detract from the outstanding work of the Shriners who staged a tremendous athletic event each year for the benefit of the Shriners Hospitals for Children. It’s been a first-class attraction for many years and Shriners officials make sure that the student-athletes and their families enjoy all the festivities and recognize the charitable work that is the focus of this game.

Though he probably would have liked to have pulled Notre Dame-bound Everett lineman John Montelus out of the stands to help his team, Jonathan DiBiaso never alluded to the blitzing in his post-game remarks.

“It was so much fun competing in this game and getting the opportunity to play football again with Nick and Vondell,” said DiBiaso. “The South defense played very well and I give them credit. I’ve always recognized what an honor it would be to compete in the Shriners Game and I’m grateful to have been given that opportunity. The Shriners do a fantastic job and I’m pleased that the Everett players contributed in a small way to help the Shriners raise funds for this charity.”

DiBiaso will join Langston and Ralph Jonathas in the annual Harry Agganis Football Classic on June 29 at Manning Field in Lynn. DiBiaso will coach the North All-Stars.

Joe DeRoeve named Pope John hockey coach

Joe DeRoeve has been named the head hockey coach of Pope John XXIII High School boys hockey team.

Athletic Director Shawn Thornton made the announcement at a press conference Friday that DeRoeve will be leading the program that will also include a cooperative arrangement with Malden High School. Since 2008 Pope John has had a cooperative arrangement with St. Clement of Somerville.

“I’m excited to be at Pope John and to have the Malden players working with us as well,” said DeRoeve, who resides in Charlestown with his wife and two young children. “I look forward to starting a program at Pope John and setting a foundation for the future.”

DeRoeve, 38, has been the coach in the Massachusetts U-18 and U-16 Tier 1 select program for the past ten years. He was an assistant coach at Medford High School for two years.  He played hockey at Malden Catholic from 1989 to 1992 and at Stonehill College from 1992 to 1996.

By day, DeRoeve is a full-time global systems manager for a downtown Boston investment firm.

The new mentor is confident that he can build a winning program at Pope John. “We’re trying to get a handle on how many players we’re going to have. But I’ve already told the returning players that they will be pushed to compete but first and foremost they have to be committed to their family and school and then hockey. The winning is not necessarily the essential part of this, but hockey being an extension of their education is. The wins and losses will come but the commitment to the student athletes’ character and development at Pope John is the focus of what we’re trying to do.”

Pope John will compete in the Catholic Central Small League with Lowell Catholic, St. Bernard’s, St. Joseph Academy, and Marian. The team’s home venue will be the Porrazzo Skating Rink in East Boston. Joseph Hurley and Tommy DeRosa will be the assistant coaches on the Pope John staff.

“I feel our school has hired a great coach,” said Thornton. “Our short-term goal is to get the numbers up there and then be a competitive program in the league and Division 3 in years to come. As long as we can graduate these players in to successful men, that’s the long-term goal and I think that can be achieved.”

Pope John hockey players Brendan Woodworth, a junior, and Michael DeRosa, a senior, welcomed DeRoeve to the school.

“I’m really excited about next season,” said Woodworth. “Mr. DeRoeve seems like a really nice guy and I think we’ll have a fun season next year.

“I’m enthusiastic about the new leadership because last year wasn’t really our best year,” said DeRosa. “I’m happy we’re getting a hockey program at Pope John because this is what we’ve been striving for awhile to do. I look forward to playing hockey for our new coach.”

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