Boston School soccer earns a ‘dwelling away from dwelling’ bowl sport at Fenway Park

School Sports activities

BC soccer coach Jeff Hafley threw out the primary pitch at a Crimson Sox sport on Sept. 1, 2022, however he’ll be again at Fenway Park in a extra official capability whereas main the Eagles within the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 28. Barry Chin/Globe Workers

Native soccer followers gained’t must journey far to observe Boston School this vacation season.

The Eagles (6-6) will face Southern Methodist (11-2) within the Wasabi Fenway Bowl at Fenway Park, Thursday, Dec. 28, at 11 a.m. The sport will air on ESPN.

“We’re excited to be staying near dwelling for our college students and followers to get yet another likelihood to see us play,” BC coach Jeff Hafley stated in an announcement. “Boston is a good sports activities city, one which we’re proud to be part of daily, and now we get to be part of the rising custom of postseason soccer in New England.”

Hafley stated it’s an opportunity to play on a discipline in their very own yard and compete in opposition to “one of many prime groups within the nation” and a “future convention rival.”

A win may pay dividends from a recruiting standpoint and assist the Eagles regain momentum after a roller-coaster yr.

BC began the season 1-3, gained 5 straight, then misplaced its closing three regular-season video games. SMU, which can be a part of the Eagles within the Atlantic Coast Convention subsequent yr, is coming off an American Athletic Convention championship conquer Tulane.

That is the primary time the Mustangs have reached 11 wins since 1982. They’ve confronted two Energy 5 faculties this season — Oklahoma and TCU — and misplaced to each, however have overwhelmed each different opponent.

BC and SMU have solely met as soon as, with the Mustangs incomes a 31-29 victory in 1986. They’re slated to conflict once more in 2024 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas and can meet 4 occasions as ACC opponents by way of 2029.

Many on the SMU facet really feel as if the Mustangs had been snubbed from the Fiesta Bowl — a spot undefeated Liberty took as an alternative. Liberty ended up twenty third within the School Soccer Playoff rankings and SMU took twenty fourth; Mustangs coach Rhett Lashlee took umbrage with the pecking order.

“In the event you watched our sport and also you watched the [Liberty] sport on Friday night time, anyone who is aware of soccer couldn’t have deduced something completely different than who would give Oregon the perfect sport,” Lashlee instructed reporters.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco referred to as it “past disappointing” for the Mustangs, who’re in search of their first bowl win since 2012.

“As proud as we had been to have a good time SMU’s first convention championship in practically 40 years final night time, we’re shocked and disenchanted within the School Soccer Playoff committee’s egregious choice to exclude SMU from a New Yr’s Six bowl,” Aresco shared in an announcement.

The Eagles — bowl-eligible for the seventh time in eight seasons — are in search of their first bowl win since 2016, after they outlasted Maryland within the Fast Lane Bowl. They’re additionally hoping to succeed in seven wins for the primary time since 2018.

BC is 18th nationally at 193.5 speeding yards per sport and thirtieth within the nation with 4.59 yards per carry.

The important thing for the Eagles will likely be to ascertain the run early with quarterback Thomas Castellanos (194 carries, 1,132 yards, 11 touchdowns; 178 for 312 passing, 2,146 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs) and operating again Kye Robichaux (150 carries, 702 yards, 7 TDs) whereas sprinkling in sufficient passes to maintain the protection sincere.

Doing so will likely be simpler stated than achieved, although, because the Mustangs enable the Tenth-fewest yards per carry (3.16) and 18th-fewest speeding yards per sport (111.2). Whichever group wins that battle on the bottom could have a robust likelihood to prevail.

Lewis Bond leads BC with 48 catches for 611 yards and 7 scores. Vinny DePalma is the highest tackler (87), and Donovan Ezeiruaku and Neto Okpala every have two sacks.

The Eagles will seemingly be up in opposition to backup quarterback Kevin Jennings after starter Preston Stone (28 TD passes, 6 INTs) broke his left fibula within the regular-season finale in opposition to Navy. 

Jennings, a redshirt sophomore, accomplished 19 of 33 passes for 203 yards, one landing, and two interceptions within the 26-14 win over Tulane.

Jaylan Knighton (128 carries, 734 yards, 7 touchdowns) is the highest menace out of the backfield, and RJ Maryland (34 catches, 518 yards, 7 TDs) is the highest receiver. Kobe Wilson is main the Mustangs with 74 tackles, Elijah Roberts has a team-high 9.5 sacks, and Isaiah Nwokobia has 4 interceptions.

SMU has averaged 40.6 factors per sport, in comparison with 17.4 for its opponents. Opponents have scored 29.5 per contest in opposition to the Eagles, whereas BC averages 25.

That is BC’s first time competing within the Fenway Bowl, which is in its second yr of sport motion following cancellations in 2020 and 2021 for COVID-19 causes.

Boston School referred to as Fenway Park its dwelling discipline for almost all of 21 seasons from 1936 to 1956. BC final performed at Fenway in 2017 because the highway group in a 39-16 win in opposition to Connecticut. In 76 video games performed at Fenway Park, the Eagles are 55-16-5.

BC bowl historical past since 2016

2016: Fast Lane Bowl, in Detroit vs. Maryland; BC gained, 36-30

2017: Pinstripe Bowl, in New York vs. Iowa; Iowa gained, 27-20

2018: First Responder Bowl, in Dallas vs. Boise State, canceled as a consequence of lightning

2019: Birmingham Bowl, in Alabama vs. Cincinnati, delayed as a consequence of lightning; Cincinnati gained, 38-6

2020: BC turns into first group to decide out of bowl sport as a consequence of psychological element of COVID-19

2021: Army Bowl, in Annapolis vs. East Carolina, canceled as a consequence of COVID outbreak

2022: Boston School completed 3-9, didn’t qualify

2023: Fenway Bowl, in Boston vs. SMU; Thursday, Dec. 28, 11 a.m.