Winnacunnet football family reunion at Cawley Stadium in Lowell

HAMPTON – Jack Hogan, just two days after his 18th birthday, will walk alongside his fellow senior captains on the Winnacunnet High School football team and head to midfield of Cawley Memorial Stadium in Lowell, Massachusetts ahead of Thanksgiving morning’s game against Lowell High School. 

For Hogan, a two-stay starting lineman for Winnacunnet, standing at midfield for the pre-game coin toss against the Lowell Red Raiders at Cawley Stadium will be an extra special moment not only for him, but for his family.  

Edward Cawley, who the stadium is named after, is Hogan’s great-great-grand uncle on his mother’s side. Cawley was a three-sport standout at Lowell High School from 1909 to 1912, starring in football, track and baseball. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 71.  

Winnacunnet's Jack Hogan (71) and Jake Fredericks (66) bring down Bishop Guertin's Ethan Labbe as Brooks Connors comes to assist during a Division I football game this season at Stellos Stadium in Nashua.

“I am pretty excited,” said Hogan, who didn’t know the history of the stadium until his grandmother shared the family lineage with him after it was announced last Friday afternoon that Winnacunnet would step in for Haverhill (Mass.) High School and play Lowell on Thanksgiving morning. “All my family is excited.” 

Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. 

Lowell High School's football stadium was dedicated and renamed Edward D., Cawley Memorial Stadium in a ceremony on October 30, 1966 prior to Lowell’s annual game against Keith Academy game.

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Winnacunnet High School senior Jack Hogan is the great, great grand nephew of Edward Cawley. Hogan will play his final high school football game on Thanksgiving morning against Lowell High School at Edward D. Cawley Memorial Stadium. Cawley, a 1912 graduate of Lowell, was a three-sport star at the Massachusetts high school.

“This is just another bonus to an unexpected good thing for us,” Winnacunnet head football coach Ryan Francoeur said. “Jack is a great kid for us, and a great captain. I am happy this will make the day a little bit more special for everybody, especially his family.” 

“Normally, Jack and his dad would go to Newburyport, Amesbury or Triton to see a game on Thanksgiving,” said Katie Hogan, Jack’s mom. “So when this game developed, and then it was against Lowell at Cawley Stadium, it just became a thing. The family is all excited. We’re all going to the game together.” 

From left, high school senior photos of Stephen Begley, Jack Hogan, and Eddie Begley. Stephen graduated from Peabody (Mass.) High School in 1967, Eddie graduated from Peabody in 1970, and Jack will graduate from Winnacunnet High School next June. Both Stephen and Eddie will be at Thursday's Thanksgiving morning football game between Winnacunnet and Lowell (Mass.) High School. The game will be played at Edward D. Cawley Memorial Stadium, named after an uncle of all three pictured.

Stadium dedicated in Cawley’s name in 1966

The stadium was dedicated in Cawley’s honor and was named Edward D., Cawley Memorial Stadium in a ceremony on Oct. 30, 1966 prior to Lowell’s annual game against Keith Academy. Cawley captained the Lowell football and baseball teams in 1912, and later went on to play football at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. 

Late in that 1966 season, Peabody High School played Lowell High School. Two of Cawley’s great nephews were in the game: Kenny Green was the captain for Lowell, and Stephen Begley, Hogan’s great uncle, was a captain for Peabody. Begley, who now lives in Middleton, Massachusetts, will be at Thursday’s game. 

Winnacunnet High School senior  Jack Hogan hugs his mom, Katie, after Winnacunnet's last game, a 20-14 against Manchester Central at GIll Stadium. This was supposed to be Winnacunnet's final game of the season before the opportunity to play Lowell (Mass.) High School on Thanksgiving morning came up.

“(This Thursday) will be historic,” said Begley, a 1967 graduate of Peabody High School who was a guard and linebacker for the school’s football team. “I think it will be a great honor for (Jack) and the whole family. The family will be well represented. I am really looking forward to seeing Jack play.” 

Steven’s younger brother, Eddie Begley, also was a captain for Peabody High School during his playing days. He, like Jack will 53 years later, played his final high school game at Cawley Stadium in 1969. Eddie, a 1970 graduate of Peabody, attended all of Winnacunnet’s 10 games this season, and drove to his winter home in Florida after Winnacunnet’s last game, a 20-14 win at Manchester Central. 

Once he learned Winnacunnet had one more game, against Lowell at Cawley Stadium, Eddie immediately booked a flight to Boston. He will return to Florida on Friday. 

Winnacunnet High School senior Jack Hogan with his grandfather, Gerry Burrell, after Winnacunnet's Senior Night game against Londonderry on October 21.

“You can’t make this stuff up, you know what I mean,” a jubilant Eddie said from his Florida home Monday morning ahead of his Wednesday afternoon flight. “It’s unbelievable, this is a big deal for our family. Our family’s roots go back to Lowell, and now Jack gets to play on a field that is named after one of his great uncles, and where two of his other great uncles played; it’s unbelievable.” 

Winnacunnet High School senior football captain Jack Hogan stands with his dad, Steve, after Winnacunnet's Senior Night game against Londonderry on October 21.

Katie Hogan, a niece of Stephen and Eddie Begley, said this turn of events has the immediate and extended family excited for an unexpected final high school football game for Jack at a stadium that is special to the entire family. 

“The circumstances how this came together is so unlikely,” Katie said. “We’re so excited and people are moving mountains to get here and make sure we’re all together to watch the game and enjoy watching Jack play at Cawley Stadium.” 

Katie expects anywhere from 15 to 20 family members to arrive for the game. 

“Anybody who knows the Cawleys, and who has heard about this game has contacted us to make sure Jack knows he’s related to (Edward Cawley),” Katie said. “Everybody’s just so excited.” 

Gerry Burrell sits along the cardboard cutout of his grandson Jack Hogan during Winnacunnet's Senior Night game against Londonderry on October 21.

Eddie texted his brother once news of the game came about. 

“Uncle Eddie has been at every single game, and every practice, this season for Jack,” Katie said. “He wasn’t going to miss this game. He texted (Stephen), and said this is ‘Legendary, we have to go.’” 

Jack’s maternal grandfather, Gerry Burrell, is also flying from his Florida home after watching the entire Winnacunnet regular season, and driving to Florida after the Central game.  

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