Despite the one blemish, these Haverhill boys became part of school history, taking the regional title and sending three players into the NFL, including Milt Morin, a first-round pick with the Cleveland Browns out of UMass/Amherst and the consensus “greatest football athlete in school history.”
Those in the know call it the “best football team in school history,” corroborated by School Head Michael Cooper and Athletic Director Matt Lawlor.
In a letter to the players, Cooper reached out to the trio for distinguishing themselves as outstanding contributors to athletics while attending the academy.
“You have continued to exemplify the core values of the Brewster principal of respect, integrity and service in your personal and professional lives,” he wrote.
After graduating from Brewster in 1962, the trio went its separate ways after returning to their city. Two entered the military.
Owens proceeded to Boston College, the same school his stepdad Gene Goodreault became an All-American after leading his Eagles to the 1941 Sugar Bowl title.
Owens worked for Pentucket Shoe and Star Paper Company and compiled one of the largest music collections in the city. Suffice it to say, the Owens family built up a proud legacy at Haverhill High through their respective generations.
“Jimmy also excelled at baseball, but football was his top sport,” recalled Thornton. “He was well-respected by his teammates as a halfback — modest, humble, yet tough and durable.”
Fenlon was an offensive guard and now lives in Rochester, N.H, where he works as a contractor. He, too, played baseball for the Hillies, described by Thornton as an “unsung hero” type. The Fenlon family made a huge impact for generations at Sacred Hearts School.
Thornton played both offense and defense at Brewster, alternating between wide receiver and cornerback. His cross country and track exploits at Haverhill High were carried to the gridiron.