After a season in which his team was blown out, were competitive but gave up big plays and struggled against more-established programs, Belmont High School’s first-year Head Coach Yann Kumin was able Friday night, Oct. 31, to look at the big scoreboard at Medford’s Hormel Field announcing that his Belmont High School Football team was now a winner on the field.
After falling behind at the half, 14-7 – “We had some serious hiccups early,” Kumin said – the Marauders (1-7) demonstrated a season’s worth of persistence and effort as they surged for 28 unanswered points to win its first game in nearly two years, 35-20, over Medford High (1-7).
“This is the most amazing feeling in the world. I’m so happy to experience this with these guys, to do it in Belmont. It’s the first of many more to come,” said Kumin after the Halloween night game.
Led by sophomore quarterback Cal Christofori, Belmont rode a stellar night from senior running back and co-captain Max Jones who rushed for three touchdowns as the defense owned the second half, giving up its only touchdown with a minute left in the game.
“We got down in the first half but at the half we said to each other, ‘This is the one. We are not losing this one’,” said Christofori after the game.
“For us who have been here this entire time, and waiting this long, it’s an incredible experience,” Christofori said.
“We got this first win, and now we are rolling,” he said.
As the clock ran down to zero, the joy of accomplishing their first program win resulted in an explosion of emotions. While rarely at a loss for words – always encouraging his team to believe in the coaching and their teammates – “Coach Q” could only hug his assistant coaches (Dave Pereira, Brendan Bonn, Brian Shea, Hakeem Barge, Dick Quigley and Leo Harrington) and players who continuously bellowed their praise for their teammates.
When his assistant coaches presented Kumin the game ball for what is his first win as a high school coach, the 30-year-old had tears in his eyes as his team surrounded him in a boisterous celebration.
“It’s a tribute to these guys,” he said, waving his arm to the players still on the field enjoying the victory. “We are a family in the truest sense of the word. We live and breathe and work and practice for each other.”
“Coming to practice with the adversity that’s facing them and just keep working to get better. I said it a couple of weeks ago; I’m not sure I would have been able to do that in high school. I’m crying right now with absolute pride for this team,” he said.
As the Marauders gathered to leave, the Belmont supporters – mostly parents – stormed the field to greet the coaches and team.
It was only as Kumin was steps from the buses to take the team home did a few players decided to give their coach the traditional “Gatorade shower.”
“I’m a little moist,” said Coach Q, as the players cheered.