Locals help St. Paul’s School football keep rolling

  • Weare’s Parker McQuarrie (No. 10) and the St. Paul’s School football team gather on the sideline during their game against Proctor Academy on Oct. 12 in Concord. McQuarrie, who has committed to UCLA, was 10-for-15 passing for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the game as the Big Red won, 20-13, to improve to 4-0 and push its winning streak to 14 games. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Weare’s Parker McQuarrie (right) looks downfield during an Oct. 12 football game against Proctor Academy in Concord. McQuarrie, a senior at St. Paul’s School who has committed to play college ball at UCLA, was 10-for-15 passing for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the game as the Big Red won, 20-13, to improve to 4-0 and push its winning streak to 14 games. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • St. Paul’s School senior Joey Corcoran stretches for extra yards during an Oct. 12 game against Proctor Academy in Concord. Corcoran, who has committed to play at the University of New Hampshire, has scored five touchdowns this season (three receiving, one rushing and one on a punt return) as St. Paul’s has started the season 4-0, pushing it’s winning streak to 14 games. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bow’s Thomas MacEachron drops into coverage during the Ken Hollingsworth Bowl against Pingree School last November in Concord. MacEachron is now a senior and three-year starter at linebacker for the Big Red, which is 4-0 and riding a 14-game winning streak. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Concord’s Nate Vandersea kicks for the St. Paul’s School football team on Oct. 12 against Proctor Academy. Vandersea was a freshman at Concord High last year, but he transferred to St. Paul’s this year and is playing for his father, Big Red head coach Craig Vandersea. St. Paul’s has started this season 4-0 and is riding a 14-game winning streak. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 10/17/2019 10:54:36 PM
Modified: 10/17/2019 10:54:25 PM

Last season was historic for the St. Paul’s School football team. The Big Red went to a New England Preparatory School Athletic Council bowl game for the first time since 1989, and after beating Pingree School, 16-6, in the Ken Hollingsworth Bowl, St. Paul’s also posted its first undefeated record (8-0) since 1989.

This fall it’s been more of the same for the Big Red. After last week’s 20-13 win against Proctor Academy, the team is 4-0 and riding a 14-game winning streak.

“We’ve been very fortunate here the last couple of years,” said Craig Vandersea, who took over as St. Paul’s head football coach in 2008. “I’ve had the best quarterback I’ve ever coached here (Parker McQuarrie), the top wide receiver (Joey Corcoran) and the top running back (Malcolm Bussey) all playing on the same team. You’re lucky if you have one guy like that in your career, but to have all three of them on the same team for two years in a row is incredible, and it’s the reason we’ve won 14 games in a row.”

The 6-foot-7 McQuarrie transferred from John Stark two years ago and is headed to UCLA next year to play for Manchester native and former University of New Hampshire coach Chip Kelly. McQuarrie missed the first game of this season with shoulder soreness, but he’s started the three games since and is 21-for-32 passing for 330 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Last week against Proctor Academy he went 10-for-15 for 145 yards and three touchdowns in a 20-13 win.

“Parker is really starting to hit his groove, last week was a big week for him,” Vandersea said. “This year he has a better understanding of our offense and his skill is just unbelievable, he projects to really be something else. But he’s all about the team, he’s not about his own statistics. He knows we’re a balanced offense, and we know when we need to throw, we usually have a great opportunity to get a completion with Parker throwing it.”

Especially if he’s throwing it to Corcoran, a Montreal native who has committed to play at UNH next year. This season Corcoran (6-2, 188 pounds) has scored five touchdowns for the Big Red – three receiving, one rushing and one on a punt return – and he has two interceptions.

“(Corcoran) is a force. He’s the best player I’ve ever coached here and he is one of the best athletes we have. He was up for Player of the Year in our league last year and his production is just unbelievable,” Vandersea said. “Parker has all that ability, but Joey is the kid who you pick first in gym class. I think the UNH coaches are going to be fighting over him to see if he’s going to play offense or defense for them.”

Most teams with a passing combination like McQuarrie to Corcoran would do nothing but throw, but having Bussey makes it easy for St. Paul’s to be balanced. The 5-11, 196-pound junior from Nova Scotia, Canada, has a menacing blend of speed and power that he’s used to gain 562 yards and score eight touchdowns on 41 carries this season, an average of 13.7 yards per rush.

“He’s the best running back in our league now and he was the best running back in our league last year, too,” Vandersea said.

Two of the Big Red’s defensive leaders have local connections – Bow’s Thomas MacEachron and Concord’s Max Van Fleet. MacEachron is a three-year starter at inside linebacker and is being looked at by some Ivy League schools.

“He’s having a phenomenal senior year. Just last week he had 11 tackles, and he’s playing tight end and h-back for us and just making our offense really roll,” Vandersea said of MacEachron. “Brown is very interested in him. I think he’s going to be right on the bubble. Hopefully an Ivy will offer him, but if not, hopefully he’ll end up somewhere like an Amherst or Bowdoin or Colby.”

Van Fleet, a junior, just transferred to St. Paul’s from Concord High this year. His sports priority coming in was lacrosse, but Vandersea has been impressed with him on the football field.

“He has been a leader on our defense at defensive end and has been a sack machine for us,” Vandersea said. “He has a chance to be one of the better players at that position that we’ve had. I know he’s a very good lacrosse player, but he doesn’t realize with his frame and how he plays, he’s a college-level football player.”

There’s one more local kid making things happen at St. Paul’s – freshman Nate Vandersea, the coach’s son. Vandersea was a freshman at Concord High last year but transferred to St. Paul’s this year and reclassified, just like McQuarrie, MacEachron and Van Fleet did. Vandersea is handling the place-kicking duties for the Big Red and has also seen time as both a receiver (one touchdown catch) and a defensive back (one interception). He is also a talented baseball player and will get to play for his dad (an assistant baseball coach at St. Paul’s) in the spring, as well.

“It was a tough decision, we love Concord High, my daughter (Brenna) went there for four years and was captain of the volleyball team. But this was an opportunity to be able to coach (Nate) in two sports, and the baseball part of it and having that extra year there was big,” the elder Vandersea said. “But we go to the Concord High games and a lot of those guys come and see us play, too.”

This week they’ll have to travel to New Hampton to see the Big Red face New Hampton School, which is 3-1.

“They have a great tradition, they’re a physical team and they have a really good running game,” Vandersea said. “We know that’s going to be a tough game up there.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)


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