HHS Grad, Former Coach Arriaga Plans to Bring Back Semi-Pro Football With Haverhill ‘Hitmen’

Former Hillie Jeremiah Arriaga (right) serves as defensive coordinator for the new semi-pro city team "Haverhill Hitmen." (Courtesy photograph)

Next summer, there will be a new football team practicing on the Trinity Stadium turf: The semi-pro Haverhill Hitmen. Organized by city native Jeremiah Arriaga and several sports buff pals, the New England Football League team hosts a kickoff meeting this Saturday, March 2 at 1 p.m. at downtown’s Barking Dog, with Arriaga giving WHAV a sneak preview of what to expect.

Haverhill Hitmen plan to take part in the New England Football League.

Paramount for Arriaga is to keep the Hillie pride going on and off the field as semi-pro play resumes in the city after a 15-year hiatus.

“We’re looking to provide a sense of community,” Arriaga said. “Haverhill’s big on football. I hear stories of my grandparents talking about when they were in high school and there would be people sitting on the walls of the stadium because the stands were full. The unity we can build and provide here is a big goal for us.”

To that end, the team has vowed to bleed brown and gold in all that they do. Arriaga, a veteran member of the New England Football League’s Amesbury-based team, has already signed several former Haverhill and Whittier Tech players to one- and two-year contracts, with additional spots available. New England Football League Hall of Famer Emilio Colon serves as head coach for the adults-only team, with Arriaga calling shots from the sidelines as defensive coordinator.

“We decided we’re not going to wear anything but Haverhill across our chests. That’s the area we want to represent and where we’re looking to build an atmosphere in,” he told WHAV. “We want people of all ages to be able to come out and enjoy football for a night.”

The group is also seeking sponsors, game day volunteers and community outreach staff, Arriaga said. For more information, reach out to the Haverhill Hitmen on Facebook.

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