Stepping out of character a bit this week in this column’s intro, I would like to pay a brief tribute to photographer Don Young who passed away earlier this week at age 84.
There was none better and that is not a pandering, local-bias compliment. He did shoot years ago for the Boston Herald so his talent was known for years. We were very lucky to have him at the DTC when Don chose to become a freelancer. If you were a local athlete in the 1970s, ’80s or ’90s, most likely Don Young took your picture.
Don’s brillance was very apparent in these pages back then when the local sports world was in black & white during booming times in the newspaper industry. There was no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You waited for your afternoon paper and cut out the clips for your scrapbook. I guarantee Don Young had captured the moment at its best of you carrying or shooting a ball, shooting a puck, or throwing a pitch.
As good of a photographer he was, he was also a better guy: kind, generous and willing to do whatever he could to make an editor’s or writer’s job easier. He never turned down an assignment. It was commonplace for Don to be shooting assignments basically every hour of the day, sports and news. He had the police scanner on 24 hours a day and lived in the dark room. And all while taking care of his aging parents in the process way back in the day.
He has not shot photos in nearly 20 years but when you are that good, time does not forget you.
Here are the games we care about.
Lexington at Woburn, Friday, 7 p.m. — Coach Jack Belcher is not giving up hope that somehow his team can earn a home game in the upcoming Division 2 North playoffs. Right now the Wu is in sixth place as part of a five-team log jam of 2-3 teams. There are still two games left in the qualifying period.
Looking ahead, Woburn at 2-3 has seemingly winnable games against 1-4 Lexington and 1-3 Belmont (next Friday). So no sweat, right?
If this was the Wu in the first three weeks then “yes.” But, unfortunately thanks to injuries, a younger team is getting even younger. While that is great for the future, in the present that poses some problems.
Lexington is giving up nearly 30 points per game, but due to these injuries, I don’t see how Woburn can generate that type of offense to win this game.
Lexington QB Mason Hatfield, leading the typical quarterback-dominant Minuteman attack, will be a concern for Woburn tonight.
Reminder, we have corectly picked the outcome of the last 14 Woburn games and 18 of the last 19.
Lexington 20, Woburn 14
Reading at Winchester, Friday, 7:15 p.m. — A 7:15 start? Is there a pre-game show on local cable holding up kickoff? What gives?
Actually, Winchester coach Wally Dembowski wants the extra warm-up time as there is a Winchester boys soccer game on the field in front of this Liberty Division showdown. The Sachem coach wants to make sure soccer has cleared out in time for the full football warmup.
This is perhaps unbeaten Winchester’s biggest game in likely nearly 30 years as it looks for its first Middlesex League football title since that 1990 Super Bowl-winning squad.
For 0-1-8-6-7, which habitually is involved in big games, it is a typical Friday night with an upstart opponent trying to shoot down the Rockets.
Reading coach John Fiore and defensive coordinator David Blanchard are defensive geniuses. They can take away what you do best and for Winchester that is the run game with (Touchdown) Tommy Degnan and Jimmy Gibbons. Winchester will need to throw the ball effectively.
Throwing the ball is a forte of Reading with 14-year-old QB James Murphy playing well above his years. Throw in junior RB’s Dan DiMare and Nick Bates and either is capable of rushing for 100 yards.
Think Reading has too many weapons. This should be a real good one.
Reading 27, Winchester 22
Burlington at Melrose, Friday, 7 p.m. — The Red Devils are another team ravaged by injuries and as such their season has taken a 180 after a 3-0 start. And Melrose is not the team to face to try and turn this around against.
Melrose is unbeaten for a reason. Quite simply: it is good everywhere.
Melrose 32, Burlington 12
Last Week: 3-1. Season: 11-6.
(Steve Algeri's picks appear during the high school football season.)