Fall is a pretty intense time for any high school principal.
A new class of kids, a new year of challenges, the job of getting the school back up to speed after a summer of restoration.
But for Old Rochester Regional’s Mike Devoll, this particular fall has been more of a whirlwind than most – much of it swirling around the athletic fields and facilities on the Mattapoisett campus.
“It’s been crazy, yeah,” he said on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s been a very successful season, very exciting.”
The design of a new Bulldog logo and #WEareOR slogan have come at a great time, with the school on pace to surpass last year’s region-best winning percentage.
The logo was done by Chuck Lord, who is a Tri-Towner and designer in addition to his work as chief operating officer at New Bedford’s Ahead, Inc.
“It’s a great way to build some school spirit,” Devoll said. “We had found we were using like thirteen different logos, none of which were trademarked. And it was a real collaborative effort.
“I think the ‘Aha’ moment came when we saw the first draft. The designer had surveyed us, and we had surveyed the community…. I had just kind of said, ‘I don’t care what it looks like, as long as it’s ours.’ And then when we saw it, there were a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in the room. We want a well-rounded school, and a well-rounded student experience.”
And winning a lot of games is nice, too.
“It’s good as a principal. Winning’s good for business,” Devoll said. “Kids are happy, and I think it’s easier for them to stay focused when things are going well. But there’s a lot to be learned when they’re not going well.”
Devoll also coaches boys’ soccer, and as he spoke Tuesday afternoon, he was looking ahead to a South quarterfinal playoff matchup.
“I love being able to get outside in the afternoon and connect with students in a different way,” he said.
With all of the fall teams qualifying for the postseason, the school has had playoff fever –including a Friday showdown for the football team. Led by record-setting back Harry Smith, ORR hosts Middleboro in the Division 6 South finals, the first time ORR has advanced this far since 2013.
Devoll knows it’ll be a special event in Mattapoisett under the Friday night lights.
“It’s kind of the event sport for us – football and drama club – those are our big events,” he said. “They draw the community together. It’s a pretty big deal and a great event for the whole community. We have plenty of staff on site, we have the venue, plenty of capacity for people, so we welcome it. We’re not intimidated by big crowds. We want the community to be there.”
At Old Colony, the season turned a bit cruel as the temperatures dropped.
The football suffered a couple of unexpected setbacks, first a 27-8 loss to Sacred Heart to eliminate the Cougars from the Division 6 playoffs, then a 28-0 loss the following week to Monomoy.
Old Colony now will focus on the vocational tournament and the traditional Thanksgiving week matchup with Tri-County (November 22).
A great season for the Old Colony volleyball team (Mayflower title) ended with a playoff loss to Case, and the boys’ soccer team saw the same fate in defeat against Carver.
The Cougars will hold a Sports Awards night on November 20 to honor the best of their cross-country, soccer, and golf teams.
One of Old Colony’s best recent alumni, soccer star Paul Soucy, had the game-winning goal for Westfield State in a MASCAC tournament semifinal win. Soucy has two goals and two assists on the season, but he has seen his playing time increase during his entire freshman year at Westfield.
Two Tabor Academy graduates recently completed long journeys to play in the National Hockey League after long amateur careers. Jaycob Megna was called up to play for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks five years after he was drafted in 2012.
“It’s everything,” Megna was quoted as saying in the Orange County Register. “The whole experience. You’re playing against guys you see on TV every night and you find yourself lined up against them. It’s special.”
To the north, Tabor alum Will O’Neil capped an 11-year minor league stint by being signed to play for the Philadelphia Flyers.
On campus, Aly Hussein cruised to a win in the ISL boys’ cross country championships, while the football squad broke through with a 34-7 win over St. George’s.
By Jonathan Comey