O’Bryant Tigers now in a league of champions
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This is a story of struggle and perseverance leading to championship glory.
The Tigers of John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, by their 36-6 victory over Boston Latin Academy, wrapped up the Boston City League City Championship football title. The Tigers thus completed an 8-2 season, 3-0 in the Boston North league, under coach Kevin Gadson.
Gadson took over the role of head football coach at O’Bryant back in 2008. He has mentored hundreds of players during his tenure, always emphasizing discipline and respect for themselves and others.
During a recent interview, Gadson expressed his views on his team’s championship season.
“The challenges following Covid-19, coupled with the pressure of social media influence, put a tremendous strain on the minds of young people — particularly today’s student-athletes,” Gadson said. “They are bombarded with so much information that they need help to gauge what is important and what should be ignored. As a coach, I try to prepare my players for the many challenges that affect them on and off the field.”
The coach said the championship season is a story of a team that refused to quit. The team suffered back-to-back losing seasons, 1-9 and 4-6, following the Covid-19 pandemic, Gadson added.
“Several players quit, while the hardcore nucleus stayed strong and together,” he said. “They refused to quit and have gained a special pride that only champions can feel. I told them that this season is something you will remember for the rest of your lives.”
Gadson credits his “nine excellent assistant coaches” for the team’s rise from the ashes of defeat to their current position at the top of the championship mountain.
“No single person achieves this type of success without a dedicated group to back them up,” he said.
The ultimate star player of this team is Montavius Zollarcoffer, a 5-foot-8, 140-pound do-everything performer. Zollarcoffer scored 23 touchdowns in 10 games, including five touchdowns in the championship game, and also starred on defense. Another bright star on the team is quarterback Keyshon Wright, a junior who rose from third-string signal-caller to starter after two other quarterbacks quit the team.
Gadson said both players were leaders of a group of dedicated, hard-working young men that showed what can be accomplished when you stick together.
“That kind of dedication and determination to succeed, despite all obstacles, is what clearly defined this championship team throughout this season,” he said.
The team accepted the motto of “hard work and discipline at all times” and the result is a championship team.
Gadson said many students and adults could learn vital lessons from this team, including to never quit no matter how difficult things get.
“Sacrificing for others and hanging tough when things don’t go your way are principles that my coaching staff and I have instilled into the minds of our players,” Gadson added. “They have taken these lessons to heart and now see their value.”
These young men have brought honor to their school. While they have worn the Tigers uniform with great pride, they must also know the legacy of John D. O’Bryant, one of Boston’s most outstanding educators, whose name appears on the school.