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Press Box

Nick Abramo

Sunday, July 8, 2001

Classification needs to
be done right

IF state football organizers ever decide to take action on classification, it would be prudent for them to be careful, take their time and do it right.

The worst thing that could happen is if they rush to a decision and come up with some watered-down, unworkable mess.

The first step might be to research the statewide programs from across the country and pull the best ideas from some of the well-run systems.

State championships in two or three divisions would raise the level of fan interest and be an all-around boost in excitement, too.

The kids deserve it, and smaller schools (or schools that don't necessarily draw the top talent) deserve to play for a reachable state title.

It's amazing the amount of people from this sports staff, past and present, with ties to the Boston area.

Star-Bulletin reporter Al Chase grew up there, and reporter Dave Reardon spent part of his childhood there, as did assistant sports editor Sjarif Goldstein.

Former reporter Pat Bigold grew up near Beantown, and former columnist Bill Kwon, although he never lived there, adopted the Boston Red Sox as his team a long time ago before switching his allegiance -- along with his boy Roger Clemens -- to the New York Yankees.

Yup, you guessed it. I'm originally from there, too. From Marlboro, like the cigarette.

Speaking of Boston, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was featured in Sports Illustrated's special summer double issue.

He grew up in Northboro, the town next to Marlboro.

Although he retired from pro baseball in 1983, Fidrych (and not many people know this) played briefly for the Marlboro Orioles men's league team in 1988.

Just couldn't kick that baseball habit.

The most heralded football player from the Boston area is a fella by the name of Doug Flutie (from Natick, two towns over).

Yup, he won the Heisman. He threw the "Hail Mary" pass. He was also the most dominant player in the Canadian Football League for most of the 1990s.

And he's not done yet.

After getting a raw deal the past two years from Wade Phillips in Buffalo, he's moved to a place where the sun shines a little brighter --San Diego.

You may be thinking he's just clinging to life in the NFL.

But watch out. Flutie is resilient and driven, and he has always been a winner.

San Diego already has a pretty good defense, and if first-round draft pick LaDainian Tomlinson proves himself in the backfield, the Chargers are a good bet to make the playoffs.

The University of Hawaii football team should be able to rebound from its off-year this fall.

With the graduation of James Fenderson, the starting running back spot will be crucial.

The team needs someone like Fenderson to step up and rattle off the five- and six-yard gains to keep defenses honest against UH's potent run-and-shoot.

Quarterback Tim Chang proved he's a capable leader and a make-it-happen player, the core of the solid offensive line is back, and the dropped-pass syndrome was probably just a Y2K bug -- ancient history.

Defense (and running back) will make or break the Rainb ... er, ahem, almost forgot, Warriors.

Nick Abramo can be reached at

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