Gaudiano entered this season with another player on the roster with varsity experience at quarterback in Drew Bourdeau, who started the first five games last season before Wile returned from a torn labrum. Still, the coach slotted Shay at quarterback after seeing him dominate on the lacrosse field.
“It’s definitely related,” Gaudiano said. “Seeing the confidence he got on the lacrosse field as a sophomore was a factor. But playing varsity lacrosse is different from varsity football. Very rarely do you take a freshman to play varsity football. For him to come in as a junior is equivalent. He’s had two years of preparation for this.”
When asked if he thinks he’ll be nervous before the opener, Shay answers quickly, “Yeah.”
“Lacrosse games are my only varsity experience, and we don’t get that crowd,” Shay said. “This should be pretty exciting. Football is definitely the biggest sport around this town. Lacrosse doesn’t get the same glory or attention. I’d say I’m more nervous for football than lacrosse.”
The good news for Shay is the Clippers are opening a week later than normal. They had their bye in Week 1, giving the first-year starter an extra week to prepare.
“The bye week is definitely a good thing,” Shay said. “I’m hoping to put on a good show. I’m really excited.”
The Clippers’ Quarterback Tradition
Name: Joe Clancy
Years started: 2006-08
High school: Broke NHS passing records for single-season yards and TDs.
College: Led nation in passing yards per game last season at Merrimack College.
Name: Ryan O’Connor
Years started: 2009-10
High school: Had 2-0 record on Thanksgiving, won state title in baseball.
College: Member of Bentley University baseball team’s pitching rotation.
Name: Connor Wile
Years started: 2011-12
High school: Broke Clancy’s passing records for yards as a junior in 2011.
College: Starting his freshman year at UNH, not playing a sport.
Name: Michael Shay
Year started: 2013
High school: Will start at quarterback for first time tomorrow at Lynnfield.