Itâ€™s such an intriguing overall matchup that the fact that two of Hall of Fame coach Tony Fucilloâ€™s former assistants â€“ Winthropâ€™s Jon Cadigan and St. Maryâ€™s Sean Driscoll â€“ will be coaching against each other Friday night at Miller Field for the first time may not be the No. 1 storyline.
David Brown Jr., who was a junior bench assistant when his father, Winthrop Police Officer David Brown Sr., coached the Vikings to the 2011 boys basketball state championship, will be making his return to Winthrop as the featured back on Sean Driscollâ€™s No.-1 ranked St. Maryâ€™s High School football team.
David Jr. is the real deal, and his high school athletic career has been nothing short of sensational. He is the reigning Boston Globe Division 6 Player of the Year and a Boston Herald All-Scholastic in football and a Globe and Herald All-Scholastic in basketball.
And oh yeah, David Jr. just happened to lead his fatherâ€™s St. Maryâ€™s basketball team to the Division 3 state championship in March. The 5-foot-9-inch Brown punctuated the Spartansâ€™ title-clinching rout of Watertown with an electrifying dunk that had the St. Maryâ€™s fans rising out of their seats in awe.
But football is Davidâ€™s focus right now and Winthrop coach Jon Cadigan knows his team must contain the Spartansâ€™ running back Friday night before what is expected to be one of the largest crowds at Miller Field in recent years.
â€œItâ€™s David Brown, but itâ€™s also [running back] Derek Koulanges and [wide receiver] Nick Sacco, too â€“ they have some really good skill guys,â€ said Cadigan. â€œI think Brown and Koulanges are really the best 1-2 punch weâ€™re going to see all year. David has the combination of being fast and athletic, but heâ€™s also very strong. I think heâ€™s a total, complete football player. Heâ€™ll play offense and defense. Heâ€™s the reigning Division 6 Player of the Year for a reason, and it certainly shows up on film.â€
Fond Memories of Winthrop
David Brown Jr., sat on the TD Garden bench when Winthrop won the state basketball title in 2011.
â€œI was six years old,â€ recalled David Brown, who is now 17. â€œWhen my father was coaching, I was always on the bench. It was a great season to be a part of.â€
Making those times even more memorable was that Davidâ€™s grandfather, Lynn high school and Texas college football legend Pete Pedro Sr., was also a big supporter of the Vikings during that era.
This will be David Brown Jr.â€™s first trip back to Winthrop as a high school athlete. He is excited about the game and knows that the Winthrop football tradition is special.
â€œI hear thereâ€™s going to be a big crowd,â€ said David. â€œI like those games when the crowdâ€™s intense. I know Winthrop is a really good team. Their coach coaches them well. Their defense gets to the football. They also have an excellent quarterback and some really good running backs.â€
Brown is also one of the premier defensive backs in the state. He has 14 interceptions in his career with one return for a touchdown (versus Medway in the 2021 playoffs). As a kickoff and punt returner, Brown is in a class by himself and many opponents purposely choose to keep the ball out of his hands.
Brown understands the significance the game has to his coach, Sean Driscoll.
â€œWe want to get a win because we know heâ€™s the parks and recreation director and next summer theyâ€™ll be talking about this game a lot,â€ said David.
Cadigan Versus Driscoll
Jon Cadigan realizes the coaching matchup against Driscoll is also very interesting for the two former Viking players and Tony Fucillo-staffmates.
â€œSean was always somebody who was pretty special in my life and in my coaching career,â€ said Cadigan. â€œI remember when I was 24 years-old and Coach Fucillo just retired, and Sean got the job. I asked Sean if he were going to call the defenses again, and he said, â€˜no, youâ€™re the defensive coordinator. At 24, I was appreciative of the opportunity at the time. Looking back, I canâ€™t thank him enough for what heâ€™s done for me coaching-wise over the years, giving me the opportunity to be the defensive coordinator on his staff for a long time.â€
Sean Driscoll played Winthrop High football, coached Winthrop High football, and now he returns as the head coach of St. Maryâ€™s High School football team.
â€œI was the head coach for 12 years and I was on the staff for over 20 years,â€ said Driscoll. â€œWeâ€™re excited about the game. Every week is a new challenge, and I think this challenge is going to be big for the simple fact that they do some stuff offensively. They have some big running backs, and you can see how they competed with Stoneham. They probably could have won that game if a couple of breaks went their way. Weâ€™re going to have our hands full.â€
Driscoll said he remembers David Brown Jr. as a junior assistant on his fatherâ€™s basketball coaching staff.
â€œI remember being in the Winthrop gymnasium and he would always be shooting hoops,â€ said Driscoll. â€œI think his family is excited about this game. His father has a history in Winthrop, between working as an officer in the Police Department and being a former basketball coach here. Seeing his son coming over to play Winthrop is going to be a special day for the family.â€