Belmont Football Wins First Middlesex League Title In 59 Years Defeating Reading, 28-21; Wellesley Next In Sweet 16 On Saturday

Photo: Belmont senior co-captain Austin Lasseter celebrates the Marauders’ 28-21 victory

When Belmont High’s senior Brian Logan intercepted a fourth down pass by Reading Memorial’s QB Jack Murphy with 46 seconds remaining, 59 years of frustrations and lean years were rendered moot as the Belmont High Football Marauders captured its first Middlesex League title since 1964 by defeating the Rockets, 28-21, on Seniors Night at Harris Field.

“It’s just fantastic winning the league title against a tremendous team with a great championship pedigree. I’m just in shock.,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian McCray, soaking wet after taking a Gatorade bath under the Friday Night Lights, Oct. 27. The historic season has seen Belmont (5-3, 3-1 in the league) defeat Liberty League powerhouses Woburn and Reading – the Rockets for the first time in 17 years – as well as Winchester, whose only blemish in its 6-1 season is to the Marauders.

With the victory, Belmont secured a Sweet 16 playoff spot in the MIAA Division 2 tournament as the 10 seed and will meet another league champion, Wellesley High, on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. at Wellesley High School.

It was a game where Belmont’s offense showed its ability to strike with the long ball and grind out possessions on offense coupled with an opportunistic defense led by senior co-captains Bryce Hubbard and Ryan Halloran which stopped the Rockets three times inside the red zone with a fumble and interception – both in the end zone – while stoning Reading on a fourth down and one late in the final quarter.

“We just don’t quit,” said McCray. That’s one thing our team has done all year. Even in games when it’s not close. We kept preaching that all year. Good things happen to guys who don’t quit.”

For Logan, who over the season has become the league’s most dangerous long ball threat, the victory was won six months earlier.

“We always knew we could do it,” said Logan about winning a title after such a long draught. “We woke up at 6 a.m. every single day in the summer. We were [at Harris Field] twice a day, seven to eight hours a day. We knew all that would pay off.”

Late in the first half, Logan was helped off the field after being sandwiched on a reception. But he would miss a single series before joining his teammates in the huddle.

“I was getting banged up, but I had no other choice but to play on seniors night with a chance to win the title. I had to get back on the field,” said Logan.

It was an evening with a fast start for Belmont. On the first play from scrimmage, senior QB Jayden Arno found Logan striding down the right sideline for a 59 yard touchdown to give Belmont a 7-0 lead after 19 seconds.

But Reading, which has had a uncharacteristically average season at 2-6, would come back on first offensive series by running straight ahead up the middle in a cloud of dust resulting in senior running back Andrew Jackvony.

Belmont’s attack was having its hands full against Reading’s imposing defensive line made the more so when captain and all-star running back Adrien Gurung saw limited time due to a nagging injury sustained in practice.

On its second series, Reading marched down the field deep into Belmont’s zone. But on first and goal at the Belmont five, the ball popped forward into the end zone and recovered by the Marauders for a touchback. Belmont would take the ball over midfield when on a designed running play, Arno sucurred by the first wall of resistance and took it 46-yards to the house to up Belmont’s advantage to 14-7 early in the second quarter.

From the kickoff, Reading would march down the field where on 3rd and 10 from the 19, Murphy sprinted right and found Brady Comenos alone in the end zone to tied the game at 14-14 with 9:28 remaining in the half. The Rockets would stop Belmont on a three and out and reach Belmont’s 15 but would be stopped on a fourth-down attempt.

It was the Marauders’ turn to take the ball down field highlighted by a 26 yard rumble by senior running back Jayden Rodriguez setting up a Aron to Hubbard 16 yard touchdown connection with 43 seconds left in the half for a 21-14 lead.

Yet despite its record, one could not count Reading out as they quickly headed down field to threaten scoring again early in the third quarter. But on a 3rd and 8 from the 12 yard line, sophomore Casey Regan – who was awarded the defensive “sledgehammer” for his outstanding effort for the entire game – out muscled the Rocket receiver to grab the interception in the back of the end zone at the 7:30 mark.

Into the fourth quarter, Reading would tied the score, 21-21, with nine minutes left to play, then stopping Belmont and getting the ball at the 45 yard line. The Rockets would take four minutes off the clock with less than three minutes in the game where they found themselves facing a 4th and 1 from the 44. But a Murphy run – which was successful just four plays before – was stopped in its tracks as Sclafani and senior Jadyah Chauvet dropped Murphy for a loss.

With the ball on Belmont’s 36 with 2:31 on the clock, Arno would twice evade the pass rush and high tailed to the Rocket 28. The next play Arno used his right arm to sling a spot on throw into the waiting arms of Logan who waltzed into the end zone for a 28-21 lead with 84 ticks left as the all-purpose senior co-captain Austin Lasseter nailed his fourth point after.

Reading would go quietly as Regan broke up a 15 yard attempt by Murphy just before Logan’s take away.

With the team’s spot in the tournament secure, McCray will continue to “get after it” in practice.

“That will put us in the right state of mine going forward,” he said.

‘Today Is A Celebration For You’: Dedication of The Belmont Middle And High School [VIDEO]

Photo: Dedicating the new Belmont Middle and High School

One thousand, six hundred and eight days. That’s the distance of time from May 2019, when the official groundbreaking for Belmont’s newest school took place in the parking lot of what was then the High School, to this past weekend in October 2023, when the town came together again, this time to celebrate the official dedication of the newly-completed Belmont Middle and High School.

The numbers say a lot about the new school: $295 million – $212 million raised from taxpayers – to construct a 450,000 square foot 7th to 12th-grade campus and renovate the existing field house and pool, with four new athletic fields, 200 plus parking spaces, and nearly 2,000 solar panels, as it houses 2,200 students.

Bill Lovallo

But for Bill Lovallo, who headed the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee since its inception, the number that stands out – besides the 166 public meetings the building committee held – will be the students who will benefit from learning in Belmont’s state-of-the-art for more than a half-century.

“Today, we celebrate the name Belmont Middle and High School. Two schools coming together under one roof for the first time in Belmont,” Lovallo said to the assembled officials from the town, schools, and state legislature, along with members of the building committee and the community who gathered in the school’s auditorium/theater.

“A place to learn, to grow individually and together in knowledge and maturity. To be curious and ask questions, to be safe, to take challenges, to go places never expected, to be thoughtful and caring of others,” he said.

Bill Lovallo, chair of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee, on an construction tour of the high school wing.

While the rainy conditions tamped down the number of participants, those who attended Saturday’s celebration had the opportunity to explore which, until recently, was one of the largest public school projects in the state that committee member Bob McLaughlin proudly foretold, “is on time and budget.”

As host, Lovallo highlighted the numerous committees, volunteers, and firms who had a hand in building the schools, with special recognition for Building Committee Vice Chair Pat Brusch, who has been involved as a member of three school building committees and the chair of the Chenery committee three decades ago.

“You are a steady hand in an erratic project environment,” he said. “You give unselfishly of your time and talents and Belmont is better for it.”

Others praised were the architectural firm Perkins+Will and the general contractor Skanska, which kept the project on an aggressive schedule despite the onset of Covid-19, which shut down most other construction projects.

State Rep. Dave Rogers noted hearing from Lovallo and others. “you just realize what an amazing team effort … [and] the importance of collaboration.” That included when the public insisted on the importance of solar power and cost increases forced some painful value engineering.

While compromising and having to make hard decisions ends in no one getting their way all the time, “Yet you have to keep working together,” which resulted in a first-class structure that Rogers said rivals many buildings at the state’s public universities and colleges.

School Committee Chair Meghan Moriarty believed L Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is the perfect analogy for the day’s celebration. On entering Oz, Dorothy is given special glasses so as not to be blinded by the city’s brilliance. It was later she discovers it was the glasses that gave the city its dazzling green appearance.

Dorothy learns “Oz is really special … is because of the relationships, how important community is,” said Moriarty. The brilliance of the open design and the learning spaces of the new school with a commitment to the needs of students now and in the future is “how this building is actually transforming the culture of teaching and learning in Belmont.”

Remembering his first day of high school in 2021, Belmont High Junior Class President Mark Brazilian spoke of the awe “how spectacular [the school] was and how lucky I was to be able to go to school and learning in such a new and state of the art school.”

“I’m certain that students are using these facilities to their fullest and I, along with the entire student body, are very thankful for all that this new school offers.”

Lovallo made a point several times to thank the community as a whole for taking on the burden of financing the project.

“Citizens of Belmont, we can’t thank you enough for your vote of confidence in 2018 when in overwhelming numbers, you endorsed this project saying ‘Yes. We need this. It is right for Belmont … [b]ecause this community is committed to investing in our future, particularly the future involving our children.”

“Today is a celebration for you,” he said.

Virtual Community Forum On Risks Of Vaping Set For Monday, Oct. 23 At 7PM

Photo: Vaping (photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Belmont Wellness Coalition is presenting a virtual community forum on vaping this Monday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. The discussion will highlight vaping trends- cannabis and nicotine – and promote prevention strategies.

The link to register for the forum can be found here.

Leading the discussion will be Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist, Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

In 2019, more than half of Massachusetts high school students reported using e-cigarettes at least once, a rate six times higher than adults. One in eight high schoolers has vaped nationwide in the past 30 days.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. According to a 2022 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

Moving Forward: Community Preservation Invite Proposals To Submit Final Application For Funding, 3 Will Be Early Off-Cycle Decisions

Photo: A new paint job for the Homer House, just one of eight proposals submitted to the Community Preservation Committee that were approved for final applications

It was moving day last week at the Community Preservation Commiittee as eight proposals were approved to submit final applications. A final CPC decision will be made on Jan. 10, 2024.

At its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 11, Chair Elizabeth Dionne said the CPA has approximately $3 million to distribute for projects involving recreation/open spaces, housing and preservation. The Community Preservation Act, adopted by Belmont voters in 2010, is financed by property tax surcharges and annual distributions received from the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund.

The CPA will present the applications it approves in January to a vote before the annual Town Meeting in May 2024. Due to the “urgent need for funding,” three of the eight proposals will be presented as “off-cycle” applications which will be voted at the Special Town Meeting in early November.

The projects which will proceed to a final application are:

The off-cycle proposals are:

Of the projects two of the requests are connected by a single project. First, an engineering study for a proposed revitalization of the playground and activity areas at the Chenery Upper Elementary School for $105,000.

The study dove tails into the second, more substantial request of $1 million for the actual construction of the Chenery “complex.” Recreation Department Director Brendan Fitts told the committee this request will be an initial cost “guestimate” for the project in the $3 million range.

“What we are doing is setting aside some funding for [the reconstruction] now,” said Fitts.

“This is a high priority project,” said Dionne, saying parents, the PTA, and school officials have been clambering for an overhaul of the thread worn recreation area. “And I hope it’s only $3 million,” said Dionne whose worried there could be some “inflation” that’s being baked into the project.

In what Dionne called “starting something that I think could be a tremendous benefit for the town and its employees,” $250,000 is being asked by the town would be used to sow the seeds of increasing affordable housing directed towards assisting town employees to live in the community which they work.

“The number one reason we’ve been losing [employees] is the commute. It’s not that I don’t want to work here” said Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, but many are living west of Route 128 while municipal salaries can not support purchasing a home or to pay rents.

But rather than use this fund to purchase a property outright, Dionne envisions the fund being an annual CPC allocation approved by Town Meeting that would be used by developers to free up capital to build multi-unit residential projects in which some units would be dedicated to town employees. Belmont will be following in the footsteps of municipalities in California and in nearby Nantucket which are securing town employee housing in partnership with builders.

On the affordable living front, the Belmont Housing Trust is applying for $250,000 for the purpose of creating more affordable housing in town by investing in new developments prompted by the anticipated approval of the MBTA Communities Multifamily Zoning law. Belmont will have the ability to invest in new projects in exchange for more affordability or deeper affordability as the Trust funds projects, either through financing the development or subsidizing the operating costs.

The Belmont Woman’s Club is seeking through the HDC $99,000 to paint the exterior of the Homer House on Pleasant Street opposite Town Hall as part of its long-term renovation of the historic house.

Of the off-cycle proposals, a initial proposal of $160,000 from the Historic District Commission will make significant roof and repairs to the School Administration building on Pleasant Street. “People are putting out buckets out [when it rains]” with the damage reportedly in the superintendent’s office due to deficiencies in the roof’s flashings and gutters causing internal damage, according to Gabriel Distler, staff planner for the HDC.

Along with the roof, other time sensitive items include shoring up the main retaining wall at Town Hall while there is a need for a redesign of the commuter rail pedestrian tunnel connecting the Winn Brook neighborhood with the new Belmont Middle and High School and Concord Avenue after the MBTA and Massachusetts Department of Transportation reversed an earlier design decision to now allow a less expensive tunnel.

“I think the one thing that everyone in town agrees on is that the tunnel is really important,” said Dionne. “And if we don’t fund this [proposal], we can’t get to the design drawings that we need for [federal] funding, it delays this decades long process.

Last Minute Goal Gives Belmont Field Hockey 3-2 Comeback Victory Over Ranked Winchester

Photo: The ball from Lola Rocci passes the outstretched foot of Winchester’s goalie Molly Hillier giving Belmont a 3-2 win in the final 64 seconds. 

Senior co-captain Lola Rocci’s shot from seven meters out eluded the outstretched foot of Winchester goalie Molly Hillier for the game-winning goal with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter giving Belmont High School Field Hockey a double comeback victory over ranked Winchester, 3-2, at Harris Field on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 13.

The victory extends Belmont’s winning streak to nine games and raises its overall record to 11-2. The Red and Black (9-3), ranked 11th in the Boston Globe Top 20, dropped its second consecutive game, losing to national powerhouse Watertown, 7-0.

“I think going into the game, we knew that we were pretty evenly matched, so it was ‘the’ game for us. This is one of the big games because these are the teams we’ll meet in the tourament,” said Rocci.

In a game in which Belmont held the possession advantage and outshot Winchester, the Marauders entered the fourth quarter trailing 2-1, having surrendered once from in close and the other from distance off a penalty corner. Those goals were sandwiched between sophomore MacKenzie Clarke’s first of her brace.

In the deciding fourth quarter, Belmont would keep Winchester bottled up on their end of the pitch. A little more than five minutes in, Clarke rocketed a second backhand tomahawk shot past Hillier.

“That side was mostly open so I just went there. And both went in,” said Clarke who leads the team in goals this season with 17.

The winning goal started with Winchester’s attention directed at Clarke with time winding down. As two players shadowed her and the goalie came out to shorten the angle, Clarke passed to senior Mia Ferrari on her right, who one-timed it to Rossi. Rossi won a close-in challenge for the ball and nutmegged a defender who was partially screening Hillier. Rossi’s push shot snuck by the goalie’s left foot for the winning goal.

“Honestly I think this one was pretty lucky. It was good because this one was on the ground and she’s really good especially when shots are high,” said Rocci.

The Red and Black had one final opportunity with a penalty corner with no time remaining but Belmont sent the ball beyond the scoring circle for the win.

Belmont’s next two games are on Monday and Tuesday beginning with a repeat fixture at Winchester.

“So we go into it with the same energy and momentum while keeping up the tempo,” said Rocci of Winchester.

Tuesday’s encounter with the co-ed Rockets will be Belmont’s chance to revenge its only Middlesex Liberty Division defeat this season.

“In that game [a 3-0 home loss], we had a lot of opportunities we just didn’t capitalize on them,” said Clarke. “So going into the game, we know their goalie is very good, so we have to pull around and shoot so the goalie won’t just get straight shots.”

Performing Arts Company’s 2023-4 Season Gets Underway With ‘Broadway Night,’ Oct. 13, 14

Photo: Nicole Thoma singing “History of Wrong Guys” on Broadway Night, 2015

BROADWAY NIGHT 2023, the Performing Arts Company’s annual evening of musical theater cabaret, will take place Oct. 13 and 14, at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Middle and High School Main Theater.


Advance Ticket Purchase online recommended. Some tickets will be available at the theater 30 minutes before each performance.

Broadway Night kicks off the theater season at Belmont High. Students perform classic show tunes and contemporary work from new musical theater composers in an evening of song, dance and storytelling. ​This year, the show features more than 40 solo, duet and group performers, with a mix of humor, heart, romance and high-energy fun, plus a dance number

Broadway Night represents the core mission of the PAC, with an emphasis on showcasing student work. The performers have selected, staged and rehearsed the songs almost entirely on their own, In addition, the lighting design is done entirely by students, and the show ends with a finale song featuring the entire company

Belmont Fire Department Open House Set For Sat., Oct. 28

Photo: Belmont Fire Department headquarters

The Belmont Fire Department invites you to join them for an Open House Event at Fire Department Head Quarters on Saturday, Oct. 28, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The event is free and is sure to be fun. There will be demonstrations, hands-on activities, actual firefighter equipment, and many fire-safety education opportunities. Pizza and soda will also be available. 

Your Invitation: Dedication Ceremony For Completed Belmont Middle/High School Sat., Oct. 21

Photo: The dedication of the completed Belmont Middle And High School will be on Saturday, Oct. 21

The Belmont Public Schools is inviting the town community to attend the dedication ceremony of the completed Belmont Middle and High School taking place on Saturday, Oct. 21.

The ceremony consists of a formal dedication program, an opportunity to view the new learning spaces and a tour the new BMHS Campus. The event will begin at the schools’ Auditorium at 11 a.m., where the district will thank the many partners who helped create the state-of-the-art school.

There will be an Open House from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., where members of the Belmont community will be able to see the student learning spaces.

In anticipation of high attendance for the event, the district requests attendees walk or car pool to the ceremony if possible and obey all campus, street and parking restrictions.

Fast And Furious: 3 TDs In First 9 Minutes, Stellar D Sees Belmont Football Dispatch Lexington, 36-7

Photo: Belmont High Senior Brian Logan in the clear scoring his second TD reception in Belmont’s 37-7 victory over Lexington

Three touchdowns in the first eight minutes by the offense coupled with a second strong performance by the its defense culminated in one of the most complete victories in head coach Brian McCray’s tenure as Belmont High football dismissed Lexington High, 36-7, under the Friday Night Lights at Harris Field on Oct. 6.

Belmont QB Jayden Arno on the move

The victory sends Belmont top of the Middlesex League Liberty Divison table at 2-0, 3-2 overall, with a Saturday, Oct. 14 encounter with Arlington. Kickoff will be at noon.

The first quarter couldn’t have been a dream start for the Marauders as it recovered the squib kickoff that eluded the Minutemen return team. On the second play co-captains connected as senior QB Jayden Arno dropped the ball to fellow senior Brian Logan on a sideline route to give Belmont a 7-0 lead after a mere 36 seconds.

Belmont sophomore defensive back Casey Regan returning the interception

On the Minuteman’s first offensive play, sophomore defensive back Casey Regan intercepted Lexington QB Adam O’Shaughnessy to give Belmont the ball on Lexington’s 38-yard line. On the next play, Belmont senior running back Adrien Gurung took the ball up the gut and didn’t stop until he crossed into the end zone for the Marauders’ second TD in the opening minute. An Arno to senior Max Corneilus two-point conversion upped the lead to 15-0.

After the Marauder defense stifled the Lexington offense to a three and out, Belmont took over near its goal line. Returning to a strategy of grinding out yards that wore down Winchester in its previous game, Belmont took six minutes off the clock with its running attack highlighted by an Arno to Logan 15 yard pass deep in Belmont territory. And it would be through the air that produced the Marauders’ third touchdown of the quarter as Arno once again found Logan on a slant in the middle of the field that allowed the big receiver to stride 46 yards into the end zone to give Belmont’s a 22-0 advantage with 3:27 left in the first.

Belmont senior RB Adrien Gurung (#1)

Lexington’s offensive highlight of the night came on their next possession as RB William Marcin took a swing pass from O’Shaughnessy, turned the corner and waived goodbye for a 65 yard TD.

But Belmont would go on its second long drive of the half ending with Gurung’s four yard burst off the right side of the line for the touchdown that gave Belmont a 29-7 half time lead. The single high point of the second half came in the fourth quarter where Arno’s scrambled 36 yard for his longest ground gain of the night and the touchdown that provided the 36-7 final.

Dress Up In Your Costume Best For FBE Halloween Apple Run 5K

Photo: Scary run through Belmont on Oct. 29

With a new date and route all with a holiday theme, the Foundation for Belmont Education’s Apple Run 5K is not just about how fast you run but do you have the best costume?

The 2023 5K Apple Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, with the shorter 2K race starting at 10:45 a.m.

Now being held on the weekend before Halloween, the annual road race that benefits improving educational opportunities for students and teachers at the Belmont Public Schools is expecting its share of ghouls, ghosts, and Marvel superheroes racing through the streets of town.

There will be exciting and fun new prize categories for this year’s Halloween Apple Run, including awarding prizes for Best Individual Costume and Best Team Costume and the fastest runner in age groups and fastest team! A complete list of prizes can be found here. So get working on those costumes!

The first 400 registrants receive our limited edition 2023 Apple Run t-shirt! Register today to reserve one: they’re almost all gone!

Volunteers are needed! Is running not in the cards? We need lots of help to organize and run this amazing community race. Click here to sign up and help out.

The race sponsors are Cityside Subaru of Belmont (PLATINUM SPONSOR), Belmont Orthodontics (RESULTS SPONSOR), Belmont Youth Activities, and D.A.R.E. Inc. (BIB SPONSOR), and East Cambridge Savings Bank (WATER TABLE SPONSOR)

You can find more information about the FBE, and the FBE Apple Run 2023 at this website.