D2 North Final: Waltham 34, L-S 7

WALTHAM, Mass. –- Call it exhaustion, or maybe an adrenaline high, but Dana Parello nearly forgot that he still had to play defense.

The Waltham (8-2) two-way star had just returned a Lincoln-Sudbury (6-5) pass into a 100-yard pick six to bring the game to the final score of 34-7—he looked as if he was walking on a cloud on the sideline when his teammates shouted to him.

“Dana, you’re still on D man!”

Parello joined the defense out on the field, just before the snap of the ball. Moments later, he was in the middle of the Hawks’ huddle with the Division 2 North trophy in hand. The Hawks’ quarterback was simply outstanding, throwing for 182 yards, two passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and the interception return at the end of the game.

The stat line doesn’t end there though; Parello also recovered two Lincoln-Sudbury fumbles that gave the Hawks the opportunity to pull away in the second half.

“He’s a competitor, I keep telling him: ‘Dana, you’ve got to live to play another down man.’ He’ll say ‘I got you, I got it,’ it’s tough to contain a kid like that," Waltham coach John Bourque said. "He loves the game, he’s a competitor, he wants to win and he’ll do what he can to make that happen.

“He’s got great instincts; he’s got a great nose for the ball. He can play both sides of the field, can help with the run, and then run around and play QB. He’s just a ball of energy.”

Parello’s go-to man was Brendan Bonadino. Despite suffering from a bruised rib in the second quarter and what Bourque believed to be a fractured collar bone late in the fourth, Bonadino was still able to total 5 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown—coming up with a few key catches that anchored Waltham’s long drives in the second and third quarters.

“Being a competitor, being a senior, the last day on his home field—he wanted to say in there and do the best he could,” Bourque said.

Parello added: “We’ve been playing [together] since Pop Warner, that’s just our thing. He got open today, I’m proud of him. He got a little roughed up, but he hung in there. He’s a hell of a player.”

The game was tied at halftime, the Hawks asserted their power after the half, eating up nearly seven minutes of clock to keep L-S off the field. Parello threw a 43 yard pass to Bonadino to end the third quarter, and found his good friend only moments later to give Waltham the lead on a 24-yard pass—a lead they would hold for good.

“Seeing a team the second time is difficult, it’s about adjusting -- whether it’s at halftime or on the field, because there’s always gonna be wrinkles thrown in," Bourque said. "They came out flying, but I think at the end we wore them down a little bit. We’re a bigger team than them up front, and that takes a toll after awhile.

“Perhaps that’s what happened at the end. It’s always great to beat the perennial league champs, it’s a good feeling.”

Moses Halloway added to the lead in the fourth quarter with a 21-yard run on third down to bring the lead to 27-7. Halloway, Parello, and company will take on Division 2 South champion Mansfield next week, but for now, they’re just focusing on tonight.

“It’s a great way to end it, L-S is the biggest rival we have,” Parello said. “It’s great to finally beat them and get that championship.”