Amherst Regional captains get first taste of Gillette Stadium at Super Bowl championship breakfast

  • Amherst Regional football captains, from left, Geoff Doyle, Jack Nagy, CJ Woodfine-Holmes and J.B. Mills sit in the Gillette Stadium seasts just outside the Putna Club on Wednesday for the MIAA football championship breakfast. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Jack Nagy, right, and CJ Woodfine-Holmes look at Gillete Stadium’s field Wednesday during the MIAA football championship breakfast. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSK—

  • Amherst Regional football captains, from left, Geoff Doyle, J.B. Mills, Jack Nagy and CJ Woodfine-Holmes discuss the upcoming coin toss at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday for the MIAA football championship breakfast. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 12/4/2019 3:03:37 PM

FOXBOROUGH — CJ Woodfine-Holmes and Jack Nagy gazed at the field through the club level suite’s floor-length windows. It wasn’t the first time either of them saw Gillette Stadium in person, but it was their first time looking at it through this lens.

Woodfine-Holmes, Nagy and fellow senior captains J.B. Mills and Geoff Doyle attended the MIAA Football Championship breakfast Wednesday at the home of the New England Patriots with Hurricanes coach Chris Ehorn Jr. Amherst (11-0) face Swampscott (9-3) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Division 5 Super Bowl.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Woodfine-Holmes said. “It’s not gonna feel real until the whistle blows to start the game.”

Wednesday’s event began with a full breakfast buffet spread in the Putnam Club. Amherst and Swampscott were seated at the same table, as were all eight pairs of opponents in this weekend’s state championship slate.

“I was not really a fan,” said Doyle, who was injured against Ludlow and hasn’t played much since because of it. “It was strange to sit with them before we played them.”

After some awkward introductions and initial silence, the teams broke the ice by talking about snow. How much did Amherst get? How about in Swampscott? What’s Amherst like? How is Swampscott? And so on.

“I usually don’t like to fraternize with the enemy too much,” Mills said. “I did talk to those guys, they’re good guys. Obviously not going to like them for the 40 minutes on the field.”

At least the food impressed. There was a plethora of fruit, protein and carb options.

“You can’t really find Tapatio anywhere, so it was nice that they had that,” Doyle said.

Ehorn admitted he ate too much. Nagy tried to carry a plate with him to the post-meal information session where MIAA officials detailed the expectations and plans for game day.

“They’re not messing around here,” Nagy said.

Former Patriot and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, who presents the Patriots High School Coach of the Week during the regular season, addressed the teams before the coin flip to decide home and away teams. This wasn’t the coin toss to determine who gets the ball for the game Saturday, just a matter uniform procedure.

When the Hurricanes realized there was going to be a coin flip, they huddled in their chairs. Heads or tails? Most of the flips before Amherst went tails. Mills called heads.

“Everyone knows that J.B. speaks when it’s a coin flip. There was some disagreement on heads or tails, but J.B. made his choice and failed miserably,” Ehorn joked.

Amherst lost the flip but got the side it wanted. The Hurricanes will be the away team Saturday and wear white jerseys with maroon pants.

After the coin flip the teams broke out for media availability and photos with the MIAA banners. It got them used to being around the stadium seeing things they’re used to viewing through a television screen.

“It normalizes it a little bit,” Mills said. “It is a state championship game, we’ve got to treat it like any other football game and expect to win and prepare like we would any other Friday or Saturday.

Ehorn loved the opportunity for his team and reminded them of what being there represented.

“I’m always for the extra curricular stuff that comes along with things like this. This is a fantastic opportunity for student athletes in high school,” he said. ” It shows the he hard work in the offseason actually pays off. They know you don’t just get to show up to something like this. You need to work for it.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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