By Hector Longo
---- — Mike Geaslen thought back to his freshman year at Andover High and remembered that Thanksgiving morning.
“Beating Central Catholic, that day, coach (E.J.) Perry’s first season, you could tell it was pretty special,” Geaslen said.
Geaslen’s uniform and role have changed dramatically in three years. He’s now a senior starting quarterback at St. John’s Prep in Danvers. But as he put it last Friday night after a 40-21 win over Central Catholic at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, “Yeah, it’s still pretty amazing, definitely still special.”
Geaslen, in his first year starting at QB, has the Prep off to a 2-1 start, which is good for a No. 4 ranking statewide.
It can be a pressure-packed position, but Geaslen says he’s taking it all in stride.
“I enjoy it, I mean big games, big crowds every week,” he said. “It’s exactly where I want to be.”
In beating the Raiders last week, Geaslen played the perfect complement to Maryland-bound running sensation Johnny Thomas (29 carries, 232 yards, 3 TDS).
The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder hit six of his 10 passes for 97 yards, including the game-clinching 35-yard TD bomb to Logan Mahoney midway through the fourth quarter.
“You know, we’ve put a lot on Mike’s shoulders, and he’s really come through for us,” Prep coach Jim O’Leary said. “He’s done a nice job, moving the team, throwing and running the football. And he’s been an excellent leader for us.”
Ironically, on the biggest play of the game last week — the TD to Mahoney — O’Leary and his QB shared a difference of opinions.
“Coach was yelling at me to throw to the other side where we had (three receivers), but my receiver on the left, Logan Mahoney, had 1-on-1 with no safety help,” Geaslen said. “He gave me the signal and made a great move up the field. I just hit him.”
Geaslen and the Prep will continue what will hopefully be a march to the newly formed state playoffs.
To do that, they’ll need a successful run through the always-tough Catholic Conference.
And, of course, the upcoming baseball season is also in the back of the mind for the catcher, who is bound for Northeastern University. St. John’s is looking to erase the disappointment of losing in the 2013 Division 1 North title game to Billerica.
“Growing up, I never really thought about beating Central in football, I always figured I’d make my mark in baseball,” said Geaslen, whose older sister, Tameka, was a field hockey standout at AHS and now plays at Northeastern. “But I have to admit, this one feels pretty good.”