Anton George is a man of few words. Perhaps that’s the way he likes it. Or perhaps it’s because he grew up the sixth of nine siblings.
“Ashton, Alton, Auston, Allston, Aslynne, then there’s me, Aldon, Aidan, Ailon,” George said before he took the field for Monday’s practice as the Foxboro High football team continued to put together preparations before hosting Mansfield on Thanksgiving morning.
“I can’t remember a time where there wasn’t a George on the team,” Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli said. “They’ve been good to us.”
Having brothers come through the Warrior program means the current defensive end has witnessed a great deal of Foxboro-Mansfield on Thanksgiving Day.
Anton was in eighth grade when his older brother Allston, a 2016 FHS graduate, came away with a key interception to help the Warriors rally for a 13-12 victory over the Hornets in the 2015 edition.
Anton will take the field on Thursday along with his younger brother, Aldon, who is a sophomore lineman in the program. He has benefited from playing alongside a sibling much like Allston ‘16, a senior football player at UMass-Dartmouth, Auston ‘15 and Alton ‘12.
“I’ve heard stories from other people about how my brother got the pick and all that,” Anton said, adding that Allston, despite coming up with a play that will live on in Foxboro-Mansfield history, doesn’t really brag about it.
The mild-mannered Anton, however, is hoping to create a few stories of his own on Thursday. And he’s in a prime position.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive end is one of the most talented players the Warriors have. He’s helped propel the Foxboro defense into one of the best in the league as the Warriors enter Thursday having allowed merely 12.8 points per game.
His play speaks volumes. The two-year starter is second on the team in tackles (85) behind only linebacker Mike Sheehan (99). He has eight tackles for loss and three sacks all while contributing four fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles.
“I try to find my advantages with speed ‘cause I’m a fast kid, but I’m big too so people don’t think I’m that fast,” Anton said. “I just try to keep the quarterback contained, pressure him.”
Anton is rarely, if ever, taken off the field for the Foxboro defense. He brings a relentless pursuit off the right edge, best depicted as teams quite literally run away from him. But that doesn’t matter because his ability is not limited to making tackles in the backfield. He can run from the right to the left, or beat the ball carrier to a spot down field as well.
“I’m going to say he’s best when plays are away from him,” Martinelli said. “Anything towards him outside, and you notice people don’t do it, is because he can shut anything off. He’s got such a stride and wingspan and quickness that he can get off blocks.
“They’ll block him with a wing and tight end, or try and hook him with a tackle, but he can get off a block better than any kid I think we’ve had,” Martinelli said.
Anton’s production helps others out too. Fellow defensive end Jonathan Moses has 62 tackles (13 for loss) and a team-high seven sacks with two forced fumbles. Defensive tackle Austin Read has contributed 58 tackles (12 for loss) and four sacks. They’re a three-headed fixture on the Warrior defensive line, while adding in the contributions of Caleb Mitchell (20 tackles), Troy Osbourne (eight tackles) and nose tackle Trent Rennie if the Warriors use their five-man defensive front.
“We all like to hit, we all like to play defense. We trust each other and that’s why we play good together,” said Anton, who finished his junior year with a noteworthy 62 tackles, four sacks along with one forced and one recovered fumble. “Our outlook is just playing as hard as we can, staying low.”
Playing hard is one of the biggest aspects Anton said he wanted to bring to the 2019 Warriors. He also said he wanted to “show kids you can play without (trash) talking and all that.” It’s part of the quiet, unassuming nature he has showcased.
A good performance on Thanksgiving, however, will have people talking for all the right reasons.