COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Brockton’s Aaron Monteiro bound for another bowl game – Sports – The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA

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The Boston College junior left tackle will take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium against Iowa on Wednesday.

CHESTNUT HILL – He has started 29 of the past 30 Boston College football games, a reliable fixture at left offensive tackle.

Aaron Monteiro of Brockton nearly had that run interrupted this season, however, when he suffered a right ankle injury against second-ranked Clemson on Sept. 23.

The 6-foot-7 junior was taken off the field on a cart during the second half, and his status for the next game against Central Michigan was up in the air.

But when the Eagles faced the Chippewas on Sept. 30, there was Monteiro in his usual spot on the offensive line.

“I wasn’t sure (about returning),’’ said Monteiro. “I was just attacking my treatment, attacking my rehab to get back and I was ready to play, so I just went in and played.

“I hold that near and dear. That’s one thing I pride myself on. I don’t want to miss a game unless I completely have to. I like to come out here and work hard for the guys next to me because they work hard and I don’t want to let any of them down.’’

The former Brockton High School standout has gone from earning a starting spot as a true freshman midway through the 2015 season to a fixture on the line.

And Monteiro has helped BC reach a bowl game for the second year in a row.

The Eagles (7-5) will play Iowa (7-5) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday (5:15 p.m., TV: ESPN).

Monteiro appeared headed for a red-shirt year in ’15, but with BC struggling, he got the call during the second half of a loss at top-ranked Clemson, the fifth game of the season.

He started the final five games that year and 12-of-13 games in 2016, missing only the game against Clemson due to an injury.

The Eagles’ offense has improved this season, averaging 387 yards with 224.2 on the ground, and the line has had a lot to do with that success.

“I’m trying to be more consistent with how I play, how I run and pass block,’’ said Monteiro, a former Enterprise All-Scholastic. “I come out here with a good attitude every day and I come out here to work.

“I feel like I’m a little more consistent now, but I still want to get better each and every day.’’

The play of Monteiro has been noticed by the players he protects and opens holes for.

“I love Aaron,’’ said quarterback Darius Wade. “He got thrown into the fire and started as a true freshman and has just continually improved.

“He’s one of the older guys on the line, someone the young guys kind of look to for guidance and he’s a big force.’’

Running back AJ Dillon, who is the ACC rookie of the year, has gained 1,432 yards, the second-highest total by a freshman in the conference and the most by a BC player.

“He’s tremendous,’’ said Dillon of Monteiro. “I didn’t really know him coming into this year, but we’ve established a really great relationship over the last couple of months. Him and the entire offensive line kept working and just get better every week.’’

BC got off to a 2-4 start this season before turning the season around with road wins over Louisville and Virginia in October.

That sent the Eagles on a path to another bowl game appearance, just when it looked like the season was slipping away.

“That’s just how we are,’’ said Monteiro of the turnaround. “We come to practice, work hard every day and we’re finally starting to bear fruit from the hard work that we put in through the offseason and the growing pains of the season.’’

Monteiro spent last Christmas in Detroit where the Eagles defeated Maryland, 36-30, on Dec. 26 in the Quick Lane Bowl.

One year later, Monteiro will get to play at Yankee Stadium in the same season that BC had a game against Connecticut at Fenway Park.

“I kind of have to not like (the Yankees) because I’m a Red Sox fan, but it’s going to be cool playing there,’’ he said. “The stadium is very nice and I’m looking forward to a lot of good experience and hopefully a win.

“We always try to work hard, make a bowl game and send our seniors off right. They deserve it. They’re the ones who lead us and the ones we work for.

“It was a lot of fun playing in a bowl game last year. We did a lot of team bonding experiences. Went out to Christmas dinner. It was a fun experience with my teammates.’’



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