Nashoba Tech quarterback Vinny Eramo, 17, is a major reason the Vikings are in the playoffs and the talk of the Westford school. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE
Nashoba Tech quarterback Vinny Eramo, 17, is a major reason the Vikings are in the playoffs and the talk of the Westford school. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

WESTFORD -- Angelo Eramo has been keeping tabs on his younger brother from Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

He gets texts messages and sees Facebook posts whenever Vinny Eramo, a senior quarterback, has a big game for the Nashoba Tech football team, which pretty much happens every week.

So Angelo heard all about last Friday night.

That was when Vinny delivered his most text-worthy performance, leading the Vikings to a 49-48 victory over Burncoat after trailing 28-7. Vinny's four-yard touchdown pass, followed by his two-point conversion rush with 50 seconds remaining gave Nashoba Tech the shocking win and solidified the program's first playoff berth in more than a decade.

The Shirley resident threw for 273 yards and six TDs in the contest, and rushed for 90 more yards in an individual display for the ages at NT.

"He's surpassed everything I ever did," said Angelo, who played receiver and defensive back at Nashoba Tech before graduating in 2016. "There's always a little bit of a brother rivalry. But I'm good with it. I love what I'm seeing."

Angelo is home from Camp Lejeune on a break from his service and he was at the Vikings' field on Wednesday watching top-seeded Nashoba Tech (5-3) prepare for Friday's Division 8 Central semifinal at home against No. 4 Lunenburg (4-4).

It's been an improbable turnaround for the Vikings, who had gone quite a long time without experiencing gridiron success.


They lost their final nine games of the 2016 season.

But Vinny has been the driving force behind Nashoba Tech's resurgence, thriving under second-year head coach James Creed, who is also the school's athletic director. Vinny has racked up 945 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, and he's thrown for over 1,200 yards and 16 TDs. He's also a standout safety on the defense and is ranked academically in the top 25 in his class.

"It's always helpful when you have one of the better players on the field, and we have that in Vinny," said Creed. "It makes things a lot easier from a coach's perspective. He's a leader on both sides of the ball. He makes big plays for us, but the biggest thing is the other kids believe in him. They follow him when things are tough, like last week against Burncoat.

"That was huge. We knew if we won we were in the playoffs, and if we lost probably not, and it was Senior Night. The kids know we had been a dormant program for a while."

Vinny's athletic prowess is well known around Nashoba Tech. Folks will tell you his best sport is baseball, where he plays catcher and undoubtedly has the ability to play at the next level. He's also a productive small forward on the Vikings' basketball team. He knows the type of athletes who roam the hallways at NT, and believed back in August there was enough football talent to make some noise this year.

"As seniors, we all knew we wanted to do something special in our final season," said Vinny, sporting a bushy haircut that hasn't seen a trim since February. "We knew it was doable. It feels good to finally get us in (the playoffs). Hopefully, it'll help build us a program that can get in there consistently now.

"Everyone bought into the program -- everyone believes in it now. Last year was a little iffy, but this year everyone knows they need to work hard in practice, not just show up to the games."

Opponents have certainly keyed on Vinny this season, well aware of his ability as a runner and passer. But he says he watches a ton of game film and that has helped him immensely in hi ability to read a defense.

"That's what the great ones do -- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning. When I'm laying in bed, I just pull out my phone and watch film," said Vinny. "I had a lot of interceptions last year, but not nearly as many this year."

Vinny and Angelo played together for one season in 2015, when Vinny was a sophomore and Angelo was a senior. Both played receiver that season, with Angelo serving as the deep threat and Vinny as the top target over the middle and on short passes.

Back then, it didn't seem likely that Vinny would become a quarterback, let alone one of the best QBs in the area.

"We had a big senior class, so the team lost a lot when we graduated," said Angelo. "I didn't know where Vinny was going to play after I left, but I never thought it would be quarterback."

Smart decision by the Vikings.

Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone