Fifth Former Emily Xin was an American football novice until last week. She’d attended a night game at the Guzzo Family Field once, but her knowledge of the game changed when the School’s Communication Office made an appeal to the staff of The Pelican, the student newspaper, for coverage of the Big Red’s championship matchup against Dexter Southfield in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Dave Coratti Bowl. The teams met at Gillette Stadium – home of the 2018-19 Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots – on Friday, November 15. Xin, an aspiring journalist, seized the opportunity and took a crash course on the sport, courtesy of her housemates, 48-hours before kickoff. On game day, she traveled with the team, and paced the sidelines alongside professional journalists to capture the action for The Pelican. With guidance from members of the Communications Office, Xin wrote on a tight deadline – there was a 30-minute window between the end of the game and the departure of the team bus to Concord – from the media room where outlets such as The Providence Journal and The Boston Globe file their stories. The following is Xin’s piece as it appears in the November 22, 2019, issue of The Pelican:
By Emily Xin ’21
The last time St. Paul’s School and Dexter Southfield met on the field was in 2017, during a Family Weekend game on the Guzzo Family Field. The Big Red was victorious, ending the afternoon 35-21. The two teams met again Friday, November 15, on the turf at Gillette Stadium to compete for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Dave Coratti Bowl. Both came in with strong records, with St. Paul’s at 8-0, and Dexter 7-1, having lost just last week to Pingree.
Despite the Big Red controlling the ball for much of the first quarter, it was Dexter on the scoreboard first with a touchdown by Jacob Sawyer at the 4:18 mark in the second quarter. St. Paul’s was quick to answer with an interception at the 1:38 mark, with cornerback Harry Maurovich ’21 running the ball into the end-zone to make the game 7-6. An extra point completion by Nate Vandersea ’22 then set the score to an even 7-7.
St. Paul’s head coach Craig Vandersea credits that play with giving the team the momentum it needed to take on the second half of the game. “That first interception was important to turn the game around,” he said in a later interview.
In the third quarter, UCLA-bound quarterback Parker McQuarrie ’20 made a lateral play to running back Malcom Bussey ’21 for the second Big Red touchdown of the night at 7:53, putting St. Paul’s ahead in the game for the first time. Although Dexter came back at the 4:58 mark with a touchdown to return the game to a tie, St. Paul’s quickly took the lead once again with 31 seconds left, when Bussey ran for his second touchdown of the night, advancing St. Paul’s score 14-21.
Entering the fourth quarter with a lead, St. Paul’s didn’t let up on momentum. Fullback Thomas MacEachron ’20 scored with 6:14 remaining. Then, at 3:26, Bussey made a nearly 80-yard run to score the final touchdown of the night.
The game at Gillette Stadium marked an SPS victory for the second year in a row in a bowl game.