By Mark Colley
More than two decades ago, before Carleton Ravens football was shut down, Scott Boxall and Chris Fahey were teammates. Now, as the rebooted Ravens football program prepares for its ninth season since returning to the field, Carleton will once again see a Boxall and Fahey together on the gridiron.
This time, however, it will be linebacker Ethan Boxall and offensive lineman Noah Fahey, who are graduating from high school this spring and will become second-generation Ravens when they join Carleton this fall.
The pair practiced together with the Carleton Jr. Ravens. They were recruited for their deep knowledge of the game and their inherited knowledge of what it means to be a Raven, according to Josh Sacobie, Carleton’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
“We knew right away they both would have a strong foundation of skills [and] that passion for the game,” Sacobie said.
There are plenty of difficulties of transitioning to playing football at the university level. The training commitment — including rigid schedules for practice and games — combined with academic pursuits can be challenging for first-year student-athletes. Both St. Pius X Catholic High School student Boxall and Holy Trinity Catholic High School student Fahey already have an understanding of those challenges, noted Sacobie.
“I grew up in a football family,” Boxall said in an email. “I started playing when I was seven for the Myers Riders and I stuck with them throughout my entire football career, except for the last year with the Nepean Broncos.”
Scott, Ethan’s dad and head coach of the Nepean Broncos — as well as president of the Myers Riders — said seeing Ethan take the next step was “probably the proudest moment I’ve had,” along with seeing Ethan’s sister get a scholarship to play university soccer out west.
“To have him be able to not just follow in my footsteps because he could’ve gone anywhere, but to actually obtain the goal that he wanted,” Scott said. “To have him be a Raven as well, it’s sentimental obviously because there’s that bond that we’re kind of sharing.”
Ethan, who won a National Capital Amateur Football League title in the oldest youth football age group this past fall with his dad at the Broncos’ coaching helm, will study computer science at Carleton. Scott said the program was a big factor in Ethan’s decision to go to Carleton instead of a few other universities that reached out, including the University of Toronto. Another was his comfort with Carleton, where he has participated in the Jr. Ravens program and worked with the coaches.
Ethan is also familiar with this year’s Ravens recruiting class, including Fahey. Sacobie described Fahey as a big-looking lineman who plays mean and is “very serious” about his work.
Boxall said he was “good teammates” with Fahey from their time with the Jr. Ravens.
“Both of us being Ravens helps to bridge the gap between us and [makes] us closer friends,” Boxall said. “I think it will be fun playing with him. He’s a great football player and I’m glad he’s on my team.”
When Scott Boxall saw former teammate Chris Fahey at signing day for Ethan and Noah, he said he thought, “Oh my god, this is so weird. It wasn’t that long ago that we were there.”
“If [Noah] turns out anything like his dad, he’s gonna be a great guy for years and years and respected by a lot of people,” Scott said.
Ethan’s comfort with Carleton during the recruiting process runs both ways. Sacobie said Boxall and Fahey’s local connection and experience in the Jr. Ravens program is an asset off the field, meaning they’ll go about community work and player coaching opportunities with passion.
“They’re adding much more value to Carleton University and its football program than just making tackles and blocks,” Sacobie said.
This offseason presented challenges for recruiting that Carleton doesn’t normally have. The team moved on from long-time head coach Steve Sumarah in January, naming defensive coordinator Paul-Eddy Saint-Vilien interim head coach before hiring McMaster’s Corey Grant in mid-March.
Sacobie said the turnover “sets you back a little bit” but many of the commits have been on Carleton’s list for years through the Jr. Raven program and strong connections with community clubs.
“Any recruit or committed player we had already had, [Grant] made efforts to reach out and have a conversation with them,” Sacobie said.
The Ravens will open the season against the McMaster Marauders on Aug. 27. For Boxall and Fahey, it will be a step to the next level that’s been decades in the making.
“My ultimate goal is to play tackle football for as long as possible,” Ethan said. “I would like to have a long career that I’m satisfied with before transitioning into the stage of my life without being on the field.”
Read More in our 2022 High School Best Series, presented by Louis-Riel Sports-Études, as we tip our caps to top local student-athletes at:
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