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Holliston Defensive About Play

Posted by Andrea Murphy on Oct 03 2004 at 05:00PM PDT
High School Football Notebook By Ryan Canner-O'Mealy / News Sports Correspondent Tuesday, October 5, 2004 Mike Shilalie has done plenty on the field for Holliston this season, helping guide the team to a 3-1 start (its best since 1993) and a 34-21 win over Hopkinton (its first since 1990). But the foundation for Holliston's great play, and that of Shilalie in particular, can be traced back to a preseason scrimmage. "He's a huge part of our team, he's our quiet leader and a captain," second-year Holliston coach Todd Kiley said. "He's not the biggest guy, but he just brings it. "It goes back to our Franklin scrimmage when he laid a hit on someone, and I saw some of the younger kids really feed off that." Kiley thinks that play set the tone for the season, and while Shilalie won't speak for anyone else, he knows it fired him up. "It was on a swing pass and I came up and read it and the kid had his back turned and I hit him pretty good," Shilalie said. "It got me going and I knew then that we were going to have a good year." So far, he's right. The win over the Hillers was more than just another Tri-Valley League triumph for the Panthers. "Obviously, that's a big confidence boost for our kids," Kiley said. "In the offseason we talked about restoring the tradition and beating teams like Hopkinton is big for the program." While the offense put up 34 points on the Hillers, it was Holliston's defense that made it happen. With the score tied 7-7, linebacker Chris Harris intercepted a pass, setting up a Tyler Parrino 6-yard touchdown run. To start the second half, sophomore Pat Fallon forced a fumble, and the Panthers quickly converted, as Parrino hit Shilalie with a 13-yard score. Shilalie then put the finishing touches on the game with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown with 9:49 remaining in the contest, giving the Panthers an insurmountable 34-14 lead. "Our defense has done it all year and we believe that our defense is the heart and soul of our team and we will continue to feed off them," Kiley said. "The No. 1 thing we talk about is winning the turnover battle and we've done that every game." Kiley was wary talking about turnovers, because he didn't want to jinx his team's success, but it seems that the takeaways have been more about skill and preparation than luck. Along with Shilalie is an aggressive group, led by junior middle linebacker Derek Wilson, defensive back Chris Vaillant and two-way lineman Bobby Evers. Together, this quartet gives Kiley talent and the attitude that he's looking for. "When we see one person make a great play, we all want to make a great play," Shilalie said. "It's a total team effort, we just swarm to the football and take pride in being a complete team." So far, they are a complete team. And one that beat Hopkinton, something that no Holliston team since 1990 has been able to say.

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