Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Jay Brunelle To Meet Family & Friends In Playoff Tilt

November 7, 2019
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When the final bell rings at Doherty High School, Chris Moriarty shuttles from his day job as a Computer Science teacher at the school in Worcester, Mass., to St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, where he serves as the program’s offensive coordinator.

St. John’s gets out a bit later than Doherty, so Moriarty doesn’t need to be in a rush, but this week, he’s in more of a hurry to get out the door.

Moriarty’s two schools will clash in a Division III Central Mass. semifinal matchup on Friday night.

“It’s my 10th year at Doherty and this is the second time we’ve played them in the playoffs, so it kind of adds to the excitement a little bit,” Moriarty says.

“This week, I’m just keeping my head down and keeping quiet. It should be a very good one. It’s going to be exciting.”

Moriarty is one of four St. John’s assistants who works at Doherty along with Steven Bucciaglia. Bill Feraco and Dan Coonan.

The connections don’t end there either.

Almost a dozen of the players on the field tomorrow night played youth football together for the Worcester Cowboys with a virtual split between the two schools. The team was coached by David Brunelle, the father of 2020 Notre Dame wide receiver commit Jay Brunelle‍.

That Cowboys squad – pictured above with St. John’s players circled in red and Doherty players circled in yellow – won a state championship and came up just short in the New England title game in 2015.

Stephen Brunelle, Jay’s uncle, coaches the Doherty defensive line, which is led by his son, Josh Brunelle. Josh and Jay were two of Cowboy stars while their fathers coached along with their youngest brother, Dan.

“It is definitely something that I look forward to and will always look back on,” Jay Brunelle says of playing with and against his youth teammates. “I learned how to play football with these guys and I made some the most fond memories with them. I look back on some of the most fun times in my life.

“To meet back with them at this point in our lives as seniors in a playoff game on the biggest stage Central Mass football sees is something special. There are so many connections in this game. I think it will be one to remember.”

Brunelle’s younger brother Matt is a sophomore receiver for St. John’s who will also see snaps on Friday.

Moriarty calls Doherty “a really strong team.”

“Their quarterback is excellent,” he says, referring to the Highlanders junior signal-caller Noah Callery, who also quarterbacked that Cowboys squad. “Offensively, they can really put up points. They’ve got a really good quarterback. They can spread the field, they’ve got some receivers and some backs. They’re a very dangerous team.

“Defensively, they don’t give up a ton of points. They’ve got some good cover guys in the secondary. Their d-line gets after the quarterback really well, including Josh Brunelle, who is Jay’s cousin. That’s another whole storyline there. They’ve got some really good linebackers.”

It’ll be Moriarty’s job to help the Pioneers score and Brunelle will always play an important role on that front. The future Irish receiver has 37 catches for 886 yards (23.9-yard average) and eight touchdowns so far this season despite an injury that limited his play in two of his team’s eight games.

“He’s always the focal point to our offense, whether it’s drawing so much coverage that we have to go to other guys, which we’ve done a few games this year,” says Moriarty. “Or, they try to let him do his thing and take everyone else away. We’ve got to figure that out over the first quarter with how they’re playing him.”

If the Highlanders elect to take Brunelle away, they’ll have to deal with Michigan commit Eamonn Dennis, another standout from the Cowboy days.

Regardless, expect St. John’s to find multiple ways to make sure Brunelle can make a serious impact on this one.

Jay Brunelle with his parents and brother, Matt, note the hoodie, following a Central Mass. championship.

 

 
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