Mantie takes reins as BC High embarks on daunting season

For the most part, the first day of practice for BC High’s football program went as scripted Friday evening. As a slight breeze slowed along Morrissey Boulevard, players had a spring in their step, excited for a new season.

However, there were some noteworthy contrasts to the opening of their pandemic-abbreviated campaign earlier in 2021. First of all, and thankfully at that, there wasn’t a layer of snow covering the turf at James Cotter Field. But most notably, the Eagles were welcoming their newest head coach, Ed Mantie.

Unlike most years, where one may have a wider window to decide whether or not to take a coaching job elsewhere, Mantie had to make haste on choosing whether to follow through on his latest challenge. Having just concluded his fourth season at Framingham in early April, Mantie was left little time to think about what was ahead. Rather than hesitate, he leaped at the chance to coach in the Catholic Conference.

“It was an opportunity that came about,” Mantie said. “And it was one that I didn’t want to pass up. The opportunity to coach at a school like this, with the faith that they have, the mission statement that they have, it’s really something that hits home with me. The opportunity to coach kids that are what we consider to be the best of the best in Massachusetts was a great opportunity.”

Mantie was officially named BC High’s newest football coach on July 1. He replaces Jonathan Brillo, who stepped down this past spring to spend more time with his family.

After finishing 2-3 during the Fall II era a few months back, BC High suffered a few losses from its leadership core to graduation. However, the Eagles will return countless seniors from last season, including senior Johnny Garrett.

Garrett, an offensive tackle, recently committed to Virginia Tech in June, and will look to provide some protection up front for the Eagles.

“I feel like we’ve lost a lot of guys the last year,” said Garrett. “We’ve got a lot of new guys coming up. You could say that we don’t have as much talent as we might have had in recent years, but I feel like our energy and attitude is going to be nothing like the teams before. We’re just going to come out, fly around, just make some big hits. I think we will be great.”

As for other players to watch, many are expecting senior wideout Ben Evee to emerge once again for the Eagles this fall. Senior tight end Patrick Gill will look to make some key plays as well.

BC High will have to march through one of the most daunting schedules in the commonwealth this upcoming season. First, the Eagles will open with a battle Sept. 10 against a perennial heavyweight from the Hockomock League ranks, King Philip. One week later, they will play host to highly-touted quarterback prospect William Watson and his teammates from Springfield Central.

Later on, BC High will welcome Canisius (N.Y.) for an out-of-state tilt on Oct. 2, then begin its Catholic Conference slate of games with a matchup against Xaverian on Oct. 8. From there, it is one major obstacle after the next, as the Eagles will take on St. John’s (Shrewsbury), St. John’s Prep and Malden Catholic in consecutive weeks to cap things prior to the state playoffs. Then, BC High would face Catholic Memorial for their annual Thanksgiving Day affair on Nov. 25.

There may be some pressure, to say the least. However, Mantie knew exactly what he was signing up for.

“From my standpoint, I want to challenge myself as much as I possibly can, and to coach at the highest level that I possibly can,” Mantie said. “Certainly, being here at BC High is going to give me the opportunity to do that.”

Read More