Mallard: St. Bernard’s Football Team is Doing More with Less
On a busy day, with full attendance from both students and faculty, one would be challenged to find 200 people at St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School.
The Harvard Street building that houses the school leaves some breathing room.
But year in and year out, at least in recent history, the Bernardians been formidable on the football field. Taking into account the enrollment numbers, which hover around 150 students total at the school, and the success of the St. B’s football team is astounding.
Not only are they competitive every season, the group that St. B’s puts out on the gridiron finds a way to be in contention for a Central Mass. championship seemingly every year.
It’s astounding. The Bernardians do more with less -- at least in the sense of school enrollment -- every single season.
Being able to put together a group of 35 to 50 student-athletes to make up a football team when pulling from a school that size should do nothing but hinder a program. But head coach Tom Bingham and his staff do a great job of putting the Bernardians in a position to succeed on the field.
And much like Bingham is quick to do, give credit to the players. They lay it all on the line for the team.
In years past -- which we’ll get to in a moment -- an injury to any key player would nearly cripple the Bernardians. Not so this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball: St. B’s boasts an embarrassment of riches in the backfield, with no less than four running backs (Xavier Marty, Walter Morales, Dom Valera, Max Bigelow) who could easily be the lone featured threat for a squad, if not for their dedication to the team.
Toss in a mobile quarterback with a strong arm (Domenic Cuevas) and strong pass-catchers (Dazeen Figueroa, Valera) and it’s a recipe for trouble for opposing defenses.
What a luxury for Bingham and his crew. The team has won no fewer than five regular-season games in each of the last five years, including this one. And in most of those seasons, there was no depth with which to work.
Last year, the Bernardians were 5-3 and reached the Central Mass. semifinals. The year prior, it was a 7-1 team that fell in the sectional final.
In 2015, the Bernardians went 8-0, grabbed the Central Mass. Division 6 title and went all the way to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium before falling to Mashpee. And a year prior, St. Bernard’s was 6-1 and a Central Mass. semifinalist.
When the Bernardians square off with top-seeded Lunenburg -- an exceptionally talented team in its own right -- on Saturday morning with the CMass. Division 8 title on the line, anything can happen.
But there’s no doubt that the Bernardians belong on Doyle Field, taking a shot at Central Mass. crown. They’ve been there before and have done it with less.
Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter @n_mallard.