Blaine Joia is a jack of all trades for the Haverhill football team this year. He is the team's leading receiver, plays safety on defense, and also contributes on special teams as the punter and lead returner. The multiple roles Joia plays is impressive as he is playing football for the first time in two years, after being academically ineligible during his junior year.
"Missing last year was awful," said Joia. "I just love to play with my team. I'll do whatever it takes to play."
The fact that Joia may be the best pure athlete on the Haverhill football team doesn't hurt his case for having such an important role on the team. Joia spent all of the off-season working out to get into football shape, and he helped maintain his physical condition by playing basketball last winter.
That athleticism has been on display several times already on the young season. On opening night against Malden, Joia was able to get behind the defense with a burst of speed and score an 86-yard touchdown that sparked the confidence of the Hillies.
His most athletic play of the season might have come last Friday night. Joia intercepted Lawrence quarterback Nate Baez in the end zone, ran down the right sidelines and completely hurdled Baez while staying in bounds. Joia then showed off more of his speed by juking another Lawrence player en route to a 101-yard touchdown.
"I've always dreamed about hurdling somebody," said Joia. "It's always been my one dream and I finally did it."
The Haverhill Gazette sat down with Joia to discuss his life on and off the field.
You had a tough loss against Lawrence. What do you have to do improve on mistakes made in that game?
Everybody just has to clear their heads. We just need to get everything back together and have everyone keep their minds straight. We don't want Tewksbury to beat us because if they do they win the (MVC Division 2).
What are you trying to accomplish for the rest of the season?
We are looking forward to trying to get a winning season. We seniors want to accomplish the feat of going from 0-11 to 6-5. It would be a huge improvement.
What are your college plans?
I want to be able to go to college for football. I'm looking at going to post-grad at Bridgton Academy. If that doesn't work out, I want to try playing at a junior college.
Who are your inspirations?
My mom. She's the only one who's stuck with me through everything. (Coach Tim O'Connor) is an inspiration to me, too. He helped me get through last year so that I was able to play this year. They keep me on track.
Do you plan on playing basketball again this winter?
No. I just want to focus on staying healthy for football.
Do you think the NBA will play this season?
No. I think they're going to end up canceling the whole season.
Coach Carter. It just inspires me to do better in school, since I had a downfall in school like in the movie.
Favorite TV Show?
"Here Comes The Boom" by Nelly
Favorite Sports Team?
Either the Celtics or the Patriots
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker