Talented Griffin Key Lineman For Holliston Eleven
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Holliston High’s Patrick Griffin has all the attributes to repeat as a Tri Valley League all-star lineman this season.
A senior, the 6-foot, 280-pound guard-tackle helped the Panthers capture a piece of the TVL Large Division championship at the conclusion of the pandemic-shortened campaign last April. And, as a sophomore, he became an immediate starter and a prime contributor as Holliston battled gallantly in the playoffs before bowing to Swampscott.
Todd Kiley, Holliston’s ultra-successful head coach, has a long list of traits that make Griffin a valuable asset, both on offense and defense.
“Patrick is aggressive, has a high football IQ, is extremely strong and he’s got good speed and quickness for his size,’’ Kiley emphasized. “A phenomenal run blocker, his athleticism enables him to move people. A team-oriented kid who leads by example, he’s a throw-back, old-school type of lineman. But, most of all, he’s quiet and humble.’’
That quiet and humble nature no doubt can be attributed to the positions he plays. Linemen rarely get noticed, hardly are publicized but so often compete at a high level with little or no fanfare.
“What’s important is that my teammates and coaches know what kind of effort and results linemen get,’’ Griffin said. “Guards and tackles don’t get much publicity in the media but that comes from the positions we play. As a captain this year, I’ll lead by example and by being supportive instead of being vocal.’’
Humble and quiet, however, will still define Griffin and it’s those qualities that show when he reveals his goals for his final season, which gets underway on Sept. 10 against Old Rochester at home.
“My team goals are for us to develop solid team chemistry and to win the Large Division title again,’’ Griffin noted. “We’ve got talent and if we work hard, we can be in the mix to compete for a Super Bowl. My individual goals include being physically and mentally ready for all challenges, to repeat as a league all-star and to win the Large Division’s Lineman of the Year Award.’’
What makes the 17-year-old Griffin so capable on both sides of the ball are his strength and his aggressive style. “I use my strength and aggressive nature to get off the line quickly, whether I’m blocking on offense or in pursuit on defense,’’ he said. “At guard, the key is to get low on blocks, and at tackle on defense it’s imperative to rely on strength to get past opposing linemen.’’
More comfortable at guard, Griffin enjoys that role because “it’s exciting to be part of a group that’s scoring points.’’
A fabulous team player, the Holliston native says his most memorable game was a 27-14 victory over Canton in the playoffs when he started as sophomore. That triumph gave the Panthers the Division 6 South title before they were eliminated by Swampscott.
“I had a good game, blocked effectively, and opened a hole for Tristan Benson to score a touchdown in the third quarter,’’ Griffin recalled. “The game was tied at halftime but we pulled away in the late stages. The contest was billed as a showdown between the two best teams in the division but Swampscott eventually won the Super Bowl.’’
Always quick to give credit elsewhere, Griffin has immense respect for Kiley and also for top-notch teammates.
“Coach Kiley really knows how to connect with players,’’ he emphasized. “He’s a terrific motivator who stresses basics and he knows how to get the job done.’’
Three teammates Griffin admires are seniors Robert Payne (tackle), Danny Nash (wide receiver) and Chris Delponte (linebacker). “Robert is strong, athletic and aggressive,’’ he said. “Danny is shifty, fast and a good play-maker, and Chris is quick, aggressive, works hard and is a good decision-maker.’’
Acutely aware that Holliston can compete for the Large Division title, Griffin knows what’s needed and whom to be aware of.
“It’ll take hard work and everyone has to be on the same page,’’ he specified. “The talent is there. Two teams who’ll be contending are Norwood and Ashland. They’ve got experienced players back and they’ve got tradition. Ashland will be looking for revenge because we beat them last season.’’
A good student, Griffin has yet to zero in on a destination for college. “I’m not sure what school I’ll attend or what I’ll major in, but I would like to play either Division 2 or Division 3 football,’’ he said. “If I have a good senior year, I’m hoping to hear from some colleges.’’
Kiley believes Griffin can play at the Division 2 level and, because of his size and strength, sees him being converted to a center.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that focuses on winning, Griffin firmly believes that if he’s reaching his potential, remains optimistic and banks on mental and physical toughness, then success will be the end product.
Football provides an opportunity to learn valuable life lessons and Griffin has learned his share. “Football builds character and it strengthens your work ethic,’’ he offered. “I’ve learned how to be a good leader and a good teammate. And, sports often help to overcome adversity.’’
Covid-19 presented challenges last spring but Griffin and his teammates handled the tests admirably.
Patrick Griffin, at left, outmaneuvers an opponent, in middle photo he’s blocking from his guard slot, and at right he takes a break before practice. Photos Courtesy of KEN ROBINSON (kbrphoto.com
“We were grateful to have a season,’’ he said. “There were changes and restrictions but we adjusted well. We played only half the games we usually do but this season we’re eager to have a regular schedule. I’m excited to get back to Friday night football and to have the opportunity to bond more with teammates. I’m hopeful that vaccinations will continue to play a big role in returning to normal.’’
Calling his mother (JoEllen Doyle) a role model for her support and encouragement, Griffin also rates his former line coach, Jim Perry, as a vital cog in his success. “Coach Perry has been very helpful and very instructive,’’ he said.
Griffin has had his share of success with the Panthers. And, he’s more than happy to credit his teammates and coaches for his selection as a TVL all-star.
“My coaches and teammates are the ones who made that happen,’’ he emphasized. “The accomplishment is a tribute to hard work but it takes others to make it happen. I was honored to be chosen as a junior.’’
Patrick Griffin may be an old-school, throw-back player, but he also personifies and defines what it takes to be a team-oriented competitor.