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Monster of a Game: Big Green Calls Fenway Home for a Night

  • Dartmouth College lineman Jake Guidone practices on the Blackman Fields on Nov. 8, 2017. Guidone, a freshman tackle, played at Fenway Park as a high school competitor and will be part of the Big Green's traveling squad tonight when it opposes Brown at Boston's Fenway Park. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College receiver Dylan Mellor catches a pass during a Nov. 2, 2017, practice on Memorial Field The junior from Virginia has caught 16 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College cornerback Danny McManus tackles Cornell's Collin Shaw during the Ivy League teams' Nov. 3, 2017, game at Memorial Field. McManus said numerous family members will be at tonight's game against Brown at Boston's Fenway Park. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • November 1, 2017, Boston, MA: The sun rises as the football field is installed before the 2017 Fenway Gridiron Series presented by Your Call Football at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts Wednesday, November 1, 2017. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)

  • October 24, 2017, Boston, MA: The goal post is installed before the 2017 Fenway Gridiron Series presented by Your Call Football at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts Tuesday, October 24, 2017. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)

  • Dartmouth College freshman football player Jake Guidone.

  • Dartmouth College football assistant coach Sammy McCorkle instructs Nick Tomkins (97), Jack Traynor (51) and Nigel Alexander on the Blackman Fields on Nov. 8, 2017. The Big Green clashes with Ivy League rival Brown tonight at Boston's Fenway Park. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 09, 2017

Hanover — The Dartmouth College and Brown University football teams clash tonight at Boston’s Fenway Park, a new experience for just about everyone involved. Those who have been through it before, however, include Big Green freshmen Jake Guidone and Sam Laurent and the Bears’ Nicholas Allsop, Callum Flanders and Elijah Pierre.

Those five each played for Massachusetts gridiron powerhouse Xaverian Brothers in Westwood, southwest of Boston. Two years ago, the Hawks played their annual Thanksgiving Day game against St. John’s Prep at Fenway, an experience that burns bright in Guidone’s memory.

The Dartmouth rookie remembers lining up with his Xaverian team, which was driving toward the Fenway bullpens in right-center field. Above them loomed the stadium’s enormous video board and on it were the Hawks, waiting for the ball to be spotted.

Guidone admits he shifted his weight slightly while looking at the board, just to see himself in motion on it.

“You were focused on the game, but you also looked around every now and then,” said Guidone, who will be a key backup tonight because injuries have thinned Dartmouth’s depth. “We did our (pregame) warmups in front of the Green Monster and, every now and then, someone would peek inside the door.”

The next week, Xaverian played at Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots, and won the state Division I title. So Guidone’s played in his share of big games. He’s hoping Dartmouth can get ahead by a comfortable margin tonight and allow its backups to see action.

“Everyone’s riled up to do something different,” Guidone said. “Walking in to play at your favorite baseball team’s field is exciting.”

Not expected to play tonight, but possibly back for next week’s season finale against visiting Princeton, is junior defensive tackle Jackson Perry. The Las Vegas product missed most of last year with a knee injury and hurt it again earlier this season. His 6-foot-2, 300-pound presence and athleticism would be welcome in what could be a title-deciding game against the Tigers.

“You’re not going to replace him with one guy,” Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens said of a player who decommitted from Vanderbilt to choose Dartmouth.

Perry, whose booming voice and trash-talking habits make him impossible to ignore, said he partially tore the meniscus in one knee last season and had it repaired. He completely tore the repaired meniscus this year and therefore had it removed via arthroscopic surgery. Now he’s without what webmd.com describes as a “rubbery, C-shape disc that cushions and balances the knee.”

“It was devastating, and I’m kind of left with bone on top of bone,” Perry said. “I got down on myself a lot, but my teammates showed me a lot of love.”

Also hoping to return for the Princeton game is Drew Hunnicutt, who’s caught 10 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns this season and is the first-string kick holder. He’s also been out with a knee injury.

Dartmouth’s chances for victory this season may never be higher than against Brown, which is 2-6 overall and 0-5 in Ivy League play. Word around the circuit is that other than some of Columbia’s woeful squads, the Bears might be the worst Ancient Eight outfit of the last decade. They’ve been outscored, 138-21, during their last four games.

Brown was 4-6 last fall, its first losing season since 2006. That included a three-point victory over Dartmouth in Hanover. The wheels now appear to have come off for 20th-year coach Phil Estes and his troops, however. The Bears are last in a host of league statistics. Receiver Livingstone Harriott spoke to the Bears’ woes in a Brown Daily Herald story last weekend.

“We have a lot of playmakers on offense, and we just need to figure out how to find the ball in better situations,” Harriott said. “Offense is probably the biggest thing we’ve got to focus on. We’ve got to help out our defense, get them off the field and just produce.”

Fenway Park’s football field is aligned with one end zone up against the third-base dugout and the other snug with the bullpens, where the front and dividing walls have been taken down, Dartmouth associate athletic director Drew Galbraith said.

Because there’s so little room along the first-base line, the teams will share one sideline parallel with the Green Monster left field wall, with a 10-yard buffer at midfield. Dartmouth will stand from the 45-yard line down to the 10-yard line at one end, and the Bears will occupy the same stretch at the other end. With that in mind, the Big Green has been practicing substituting personnel and sending signals from a distance.

“It will alter your thinking in terms of getting guys on and getting guys off,” said Teevens, who’s working in an era when it’s not uncommon for five or six players per team to dash on or off the field between plays. “It’s a little bit more of the chess-match mindset.”

Teevens was Boston University’s offensive coordinator during a 1984 game between the Terriers and Grambling (La.) State at Yankee Stadium. Standing near Teevens and calling everything for Grambling was the Tigers’ late head coach, Eddie Robinson, who won 408 games and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Notes: The zany scenario in which all seven Ivy League teams except for Brown finish in a tie for the title remains possible entering the weekend. … Dartmouth last played at Fenway in 1944, when it lost to Notre Dame. The Big Green won its first five games at the park, beating Brown in 1922 and 1923, … Big Green players and coaches sang Happy Birthday to first-year assistant trainer Alyssa Schramm at the end of Monday’s practice. Schramm, a 2013 Michigan State graduate, worked with the University at Buffalo’s football team the past two seasons, following a stint at North Carolina State. After Tuesday’s workout, the Big Green sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game..… Teevens said he was allotted 10 tickets for the contest and left their distribution to his wife, Kirsten, who bought eight more. …

Xaverian Brothers also produced former Dartmouth quarterback and current Rice University athletics administrator Brian Mann. Other members of its 9,000 living alumni include NFL quarterbacks Matt and Tim Hasselbeck and NBA player Dana Barros. … Dartmouth sophomore guard Zach Sammartino, a Pittsburgh product, is the grandson of legendary pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino. … Junior kick holder Jack Katzman, who last week played for the first time in his Dartmouth career, is the son of former Big Green kicker Jim Katzman, a 1989 graduate. Jim and his wife, Sandy, were able to make only one game this season, and it was last week’s contest. … Dartmouth and Brown will each take team photos in front of the Green Monster this morning. … Dartmouth is scheduled to play Princeton at Yankee Stadium in 2019. … The Big Green will dress 68 players tonight, an allowed exemption from the Ivy League’s regular limit of 62 participants.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.