We did it for basketball, now we’re doing it for football.To commemorate his 50th season on the high school football beat, Buddy Thomas has sifted through the archives and come up with another 20-for-50 series. Over the next 10 weeks, Buddy will reveal the 20 players from each of the nine area schools (Apponequet, Bishop Stang, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Greater New Bedford Regional Voc-Tech/New Bedford Voke, New Bedford High, Old Colony, Old Rochester and Wareham) who have left a lasting impression on the veteran scribe since he began covering the sport in 1966. Like the basketball series, only players Buddy covered (from 1966 through the present) are eligible.The series will begin on Sunday and will feature a different school every Sunday throughout the high school football season, culminating with Buddy’s all-time 20 For 50 list.The history books are loaded with big-time teams that helped put, and keep, New Bedford on the high school football map. From the early days of Tarzan Torres and Clarry Haskell, to when Bobby Watkins played his way into a scholarship to Ohio State that eventually led to a professional career with the Chicago Bears and Cardinals, New Bedford has had more than its share of talented football players. Over the last 50 years, other names have been added to the list cementing their positions in the tradition-rich history of New Bedford football. Here are a few of those names as we present our 20 For 50 New Bedford High roster.No. 1 JoJo Goodine (90s)His statistics as a freshman were those of a better-than-average veteran — a bushel of rushing yards and five trips to the end zone, including two in a victory over Thanksgiving Day rival Durfee. His sophomore season was even more impressive as he tied for the team lead in touchdowns (with Sharik Mendes) with nine and led the Whalers in rushing, including a 215-yard effort (and a touchdown) in a 29-24 loss to powerful Xaverian. But, for the 5-foot-9 169-pounder, the best was yet to come. As a junior in 1993, he helped lead the Whalers to the first of back-to-back Div. 1 Super Bowl titles by rushing for for well over 1, 000 yards and a school-record 27 regular-season touchdowns. Seven times he scored multiple touchdowns, including a school single-season record six in a 55-22 rout of Xavier High of Connecticut. A year late JoJo capped his high school career with a carbon-copy effort. He tied his regular-season record for touchdowns with 27 and, for the second straight postseason game, scored a touchdown that helped the Whalers win a Super Bowl. He ended his career by finding the end zone in 18 of his last 20 regular-season games, scoring a school-record 68 regular-season touchdowns and becoming the school’s all-time rushing leader. When opponents had the ball, JoJo remained on the field as a cornerback in the Whalers’ secondary and was rewarded for his outstanding play by being named winner of the Otto Graham Achievement Award as the area’s outstanding senior football player. JoJo accepted a football scholarship from the University of New Hampshire, but later transferred to UMass Dartmouth.No. 2 Rudy Bulgar (90s)The quarterback was the triggerman of what arguably were the school’s two most explosive football teams in the last half-century. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder stepped in under center as the starting quarterback in 1993, leading the Whalers to an 8-1-1 record and the first of back-to-back Big 3 titles and Div. 1 State Super Bowl championships. In that ‘93 season, the junior signal-caller threw eight touchdown passes and ran for five scores, establishing himself among the top quarterbacks of his era. As a senior he vaulted to the top spot on that list by throwing 15 scoring strikes and directing what proved to be one of the most prolific offenses in the state as New Bedford rolled through a perfect 10-0 regular season en route to repeat Big 3 and Super Bowl titles. With Rudy calling the shots, the Whalers were a combined 18-1-1 in his two seasons under center and those two seasons helped launch a streak of five consecutive winning seasons at New Bedford in which the teams were a combined 38-10-2 against regular-season competition. Bulgar, who earned All-Scholastic honors in both football and baseball and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals, went on to play football at the University of Rhode Island.No. 3 Dante Balestracci (90s)He made an impression in his freshman year when he showed the ability to catch and block out of the end position. As a senior, he was the team’s starting quarterback and was hitting receivers in the end zone to the tune of 15 touchdowns, and running for five more scores, to spark the 1999 team to a record of 8-2 and a spot in the postseason Super Bowl. But, as impressive as his offensive skills may have been, they were obscured by his talents on the defensive side of the football where the 6-foot-3, 200-plus pounder didn’t just hit people, he destroyed them from his linebacker position. Quick, agile and super-strong, Balestracci had no defensive weakness and his prowess on the field and in the classroom eventually landed him at Harvard, where he earned multiple All-Ivy League honors as a linebacker and became the second player from New Bedford to be named team captain.No. 4 Mark Sullivan (70s)At 6-foot-4, 228 pounds, Sullivan was big and bad (as in really good bad). He was the Superman of offensive linemen in the early and mid-1970s. The Crimson tackle was strong and quick and his run-blocking and pass protection ranked second to none. Defensively, he was just as tough. In a word, Sully was dominating and became a huge apple in the eyes of college recruiters from coast to coast. Ohio State eventually took the deepest bite and Sullivan went on to see plenty of playing time with the Buckeyes later in the decade.No. 5 Chris Gomes (90s)The four-year starter at linebacker and three-time Standard-Times All-Star selection ranks right up there with the top linebackers in school history. He took center stage as a senior, capping his football career by winning the Otto Graham Achievement Award as the area’s outstanding senior football player. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Gomes led the Whalers in tackles for three straight seasons, with 30 solo tackles and 90 assists coming in his senior season alone. Offensively, he was used sparingly, but was on the field as a guard or tackle whenever New Bedford pushed the ball close to the opposing end zone.No. 6 Dana Burgo (80s)In 1985, his performance out of the backfield was eye-popping. Touchdown runs of 15, 5 and 13 yards in a 27-14 victory over Somerset; scoring scampers of 34, 31, 64, 6 and 19 yards in a 47-21 pasting of Coyle-Cassidy and 17 other touchdowns in-between and after. Twenty-five total trips to the end zone on the strength of 1, 600-plus yards — both school records — earning the Whalers a trip to the Super Bowl. It was the fitting end to an outstanding football career for the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder who had even better credentials in the sport of track and field where he was a perennial All-Star selection and — in some cases, a record-setter — in the long jump, high jump and 100-yard dash. In both the 400 yard and meter events he was a consistent point-getter as well. In summary: where legs were the driving force to success nobody was more successful than this guy.No. 7 Gary Benoit (80s)He went from a pretty successful running back in a not-very-successful season in 1980 to the top back in a highly-successful season the following year and graduated as one of the very best running backs in school history. In that 1981 season, Benoit found the end zone at least once in all 10 games on his way to 17 touchdowns and more than 1, 100 rushing yards, lifting coach Bob Liljedahl’s team to a record of 7-3 and earning himself a spot on The Standard-Times All-Star team. One of his more memorable games came in a late-season 28-16 victory over Attleboro when he rushed for 197 yards and scored three touchdowns. He followed up that effort by scoring three more touchdowns in a 42-7 Thanksgiving Day rout of Durfee in his final high school game. Benoit went on to have a very good football career at Northeastern.No. 8 Kasey Cabral (70s)At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds Cabral was a two-way terror for coach Bruce MacPherson’s Crimson teams from 1973 through 1975. A staple on both the offensive and defensive lines, Cabral was a two-time Standard-Times All-Star selection (both as a defensive end). Extremely quick, Cabral was the anchor of a defense ranked among the strongest and most punishing in the Southeastern Massachusetts Conference. He also played a key role in the offensive line where his strength was run blocking. But most of his headlines were earned by his play on the defensive side, and it was that strength that earned Kasey a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin where he played defensive tackle as a freshman and, later, the middle guard position.No. 9 Jeff Correia (90s)He was a four-year member of the varsity and for three of those seasons ranked as the finest receiver around. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder was credited with 21 touchdown receptions in his star-studded career, six coming in his first full season as a starter to help spark a 9-1 record in 1990. There wasn’t a defensive back capable of stopping the New Bedford burner in single-coverage or running him down if he was foolish enough to let Correia get behind him. Not just an offensive stud, the man known as “FuFu” also played in the defensive secondary where he led the 1992 team in interceptions. He also returned punts and kickoffs.No. 10 Wayne Souza (70s)He was Mr. Everything in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Souza followed up a two-touchdown effort the year before with eight trips to the end zone to share the team lead with Jeff Medina as the Crimson finished with a record of 7-3. His 48 points led the team that season but the 6-foot-2 senior quarterback/running back was more than just an offensive threat. He also handled the punting duties and was arguably the premier kicker in the Southeastern Massachusetts Conference, and he was outstanding on the defensive end. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin where he was a starter in the Badgers’ secondary as a sophomore. Tragically, Souza lost his life in a drowning accident the following offseason.No. 11 Brian Rounseville (70s) He was a standout on both sides of the football. An end on offense, the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder was the “go-to” receiver as a senior and caught several clutch passes from quarterback Larry Livramento in a 29-6 victory over city rival New Bedford Vocational. In that same game, Rounseville’s key sack ended a Vocational drive and helped earn him Player of the Week honors in The Standard-Times. Brian was a hard-nosed player at whatever position he played and went on to enjoy a nice collegiate football career at Springfield before being enshrined in the New Bedford Gridiron Club’s Hall of Fame.No. 12 Todd Soares (80s/90s)He threw 29 touchdown passes in his four seasons as quarterback of the team and New Bedford never had a losing season with Soares under center. As a freshman, in 1987, he threw three scoring strikes before being injured four games into the season (6-4). The following year, he threw just one TD pass while sharing time with Mike Stott as the Whalers finished 7-2-1. Over his final two seasons under center, Soares owned the spotlight. In his junior year, the 6-foot-1 gunslinger threw nine scoring strikes — including a trio in back-to-back victories over Bishop Feehan and Dartmouth — to lead New Bedford to 7-2-1 record. In his senior season, Soares ended his career by throwing the final two of his 16 touchdown passes in a 42-6 demolishing of Durfee on Thanksgiving Day. And, oh, by the way, Soares could run a little bit too, proving that by adding seven career touchdowns with his feet.No. 13 Clarence Brooks (60s)He was called “The Big Hit” during his All-Star playing days in the late 1960s, and no player enjoyed the physical contact of football than this two-way lineman. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder played center and tackle on offense and end on defense. He didn’t just block people, he ran them over, and as a pass protector he was in a class by himself. His strength on defense was rushing the quarterback and with his combined talent he was considered among the finest two-way performers in this end of the state.No. 14 Tom Farias (60s)He was a better baseball player (good enough to sign a contract with the Red Sox) but his legacy on the football field will forever be defined by one play in his sophomore season of 1966. It came on the final play of the Thanksgiving Day Classic at Durfee when his touchdown pass to Carl Loria gave the visitors a 20-14 victory in what is still called by many the greatest game in the history of the storied holiday rivalry. It was the final of three touchdown passes thrown in the game by the 15-year-old, who had assumed the starting quarterback position just five games previously and had thrown six scoring strikes going into the finale in Fall River. Farias was a top-flight quarterback and a good high school basketball player in his four years of high school, but it was his play on the baseball diamond that earned him a scholarship to AIC where he graduated as arguably the best pitcher in school history. He later played briefly in the Red Sox minor league system.No. 15 Mark Correia (70s)This outstanding two-way lineman was the lead blocker for the strong running teams of 1977 and ‘78 that featured Tad Morris as the lead back and was a highly-regarded tackle on a defense that helped pave the way to 6-4 and 9-1 seasons, respectively. At 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, Correia was virtually unmovable on defense, while on offense he was quick and strong enough to hold back hard-charging defenders. He earned Standard-Times All-Star honors in both his junior and senior seasons.No. 16 Mark DeBrito (90s)A possession receiver who wasn’t afraid to go over the middle to make a catch and was a sure-handed receiver on the 1995 team that passed its way to an impressive 8-2 record. Although he wasn’t blessed with blazing speed, DeBrito ran precise routes and had magnet-like hands that hauled in five touchdown passes from quarterback Angelo DeBortoli through the first three games before defenses adjusted by double-teaming him. DeBrito caught one more touchdown pass that season and hauled in a pair of 2-point conversion passes, including what proved to be the difference in a 14-12 victory over Brockton.No. 17 Lee Harriman (70s)An outstanding three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball), Lee was among the top-ranked quarterbacks of the early 1970s, punctuating his prowess on the gridiron early in his senior season (1971) when the 6-foot-4 gunslinger threw touchdown passes of 38, 14, 8 and 20 yards, passed for a pair of conversion points and ran in for two more points in a 42-0 rout of Bishop Stang. That athletic ability earned him a football scholarship to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he played end and was considered the team’s best receiver in his junior season. In April of 1976, the undrafted Harriman signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns and, although he failed to make the team, proved just how athletic a football player he was.No. 18 Wayne Pitts (60s)Standing just 5-foot-8 and weighing a mere 155 pounds, Pitts was characterized in a newspaper article as “pound for pound perhaps the best all-around player in the area.” As a running back he was quick, tough, elusive and had a nose for the end zone. He also kicked extra points and field goals (barefooted) and starred in the defensive backfield, especially in the 1968 season when his talent and leadership ability paved the way to a 7-0-1 record. Wayne was an All-Scholastic selection in both football and baseball. An outstanding student, Pitts turned those athletic and scholastic talents into a productive four years at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.No. 19 Freddy Gomes (60s)Regarded as the team’s top pass receiver of the decade, the little speedster capped his high school football career be being named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the 1969 season — a season that saw him catch four touchdown passes against Boston Tech and author a 22-point outburst that included three touchdown receptions and a pair of conversion passes in a win over Lawrence Central Catholic. Quick feet, perfect routes and soft hands was the combination that turned Fast Freddy into an Eastern Massachusetts All-Scholastic selection in both Boston newspapers and earned him a spot on The Standard-Times All-Scholastic team and eventual induction into the school’s Gridiron Club Hall of Fame.No. 20 Dave Reynolds (60s/70s)As a sophomore, in 1969, he was the starting left halfback and led the team in rushing. A year later he was even more impressive as he amassed more than 1, 200 yards in eight games (just under 150 yards a game) and led the team in touchdowns with 20 including all three in a 21-8 victory over Durfee on Thanksgiving Day. He was on the threshold of greatness again in his senior year with four touchdowns under his belt heading into the third game of the season when a devastating knee injury cut short the career of one of the finest running backs to wear the New Bedford uniform. When completely healthy, Reynolds was as good as any back anywhere.A few others who deserve mentionDon Girouard (60s), Carl Loria (60s), Alan Zexter (60s), Mike Shea (60s), Mike Oliveira (60s/70s), Tom Goodine (70s), Bruce Foucart (70s), Mike Stott (80s), Angelo DeBertoli (90s), John Seed (90s), Darrell Oliveira (90s), Kevin Rudolph (90s), Sharik Mendes (90s), Chandler Debrosse (00s).
Interesting facts:Dartmouth High School is a four-year public high school located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
As of the 2007/08 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,264 students and 78.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 16.1.