Football is the cornerstone of friendship for Old Rochester students

By Tanner Harding | Sep 27, 2017
Photo by: Tanner Harding Ryon Thomas, Dylon Thomas, Mitchell Higgins, Jared Achorn and Ryan Quinlan throw their arms around each other for a photo.

Mattapoisett — “He’s the funny one, he’s the smart one,” Mitchell Higgins said, pointing to his friends, who sat with him around a dining room table.

“No, I’m the smart one!” Ryan Quinlan interjected, correcting his lifelong friend.

“And I’m the one who always wants to fight someone,” Jared Achorn said, laughing.

Higgins, Quinlan, Achorn and Ryon and Dylon Thomas have been friends for close to ten years. The boys met as five-year-olds playing on the Tiny Mites team as part of Old Rochester's Pop Warner football league.

All the boys went to elementary school together in Mattapoisett except for Achorn, who attended Rochester Memorial School. Throughout the years, the group has grown and learned together.

“We’re all the same in some ways, and all different in others,” Higgins explained.

Their dedication to their team and their friendship is one of the things they have in common.

These days, the friends are tackling a new challenge together – high school.

The group is now playing on the Old Rochester Regional High School freshman football team, and credit their friendship and experience for the chemistry and success they have on the field.

“It’s fun, especially because we’ve had that bond,” Achorn said.

“It made the transition a lot easier,” Higgins added.

Most of their conversations flow this way – one friend starting a thought, and another finishing it.

“Being teammates is different than just being friends with someone from school,” Achorn said, before Higgins elaborated. “We hang out at school, then go to practice and hang out.”

One of their favorite football (and friendship) memories is playing at Gillette Stadium together in their youth football days.

“We played during the halftime of a Patriots game,” Higgins said. “It was really fun.”

The Old Rochester Youth Football team might be what brought the friends together in the first place, but these their shared interests go beyond the pigskin.

“We like to play pick-up basketball,” Higgins said. “We always find something to do. In the winter we go sledding and play football in the snow. We watch movies.”

It's not all sunshine for the friends. When a group of five teenage boys spend all their time together at school, after school, and on the weekends, tensions are bound to rise from time to time.

“We’re competitive with each other,” Higgins said. “We fight and then ten minutes later we’re boys again.”

“Yeah,” Quinlan jumped in, “We fight and then a second later we’re laughing.”


Ryan Quinlan, Dylon Thomas, Mitchell Higgins and Ryon Thomas. (Courtesy of: Kim Gioioso)
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