Division 1A: Westford Aims to Continue Success
At the beginning of each season it is a safe bet to assume Acton-Boxboro and Lincoln-Sudbury would duke it out for the Dual County (Large) title.
However, last season another player entered the ring. Westford swooped in and won the league title and nearly pulled off an upset of Gloucester in the first round of the MIAA playoffs.
This season, the Grey Ghosts expect to be back in the hunt for a DCL (Large) title.
The Grey Ghosts return a handful of offensive weapons from last year’s squad that averaged more than 30 points per game. Patrick Dugan returns at quarterback. He threw for 25 touchdowns last season. 17 of those touchdowns went to Mark Cornelius, who is also returning. Mark Hennessy and Zach Ingalls return in the backfield. The two combined for 1700 rushing yards a year ago.
“It’s not just talent that is coming back but also a lot of leadership,” said coach Rich McKenna.
Elsewhere in Division 1A, Gloucester looks to be the favorite again in the Northeastern (Large) Conference. Nipping at its heels are Lynn English and its high-flying offense and Lynn Classical.
In the Bay State Carey, Weymouth and Framingham lead the pack. In the Old Colony League, the race is a toss up between Taunton, Bridgewater-Raynham and Barnstable.
Ch-Ch-Changes in Division 2
Last year, teams in Division 2 were top heavy with senior talent. Scott McCummings of Natick, Matt Carini and Nick Colson of Franklin, Tino Perrina, Ryan Pollock and Stanley Andre of Reading and the list goes on.
This year, all the big names have graduated, leaving the races for league titles up for grabs.
“The entire division is wide open,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “There are no clear cut favorites in any league. It’s anybody’s guess as to who makes the playoffs.”
In the Bay State Herget, Walpole and Natick seem destined to battle for the title yet again. Natick returns Liam Porter to anchor the offensive line and Andrew Siden to anchor the defensive line. Walpole returns Dave Conroy at linebacker and watch out for Kenny Woods at running back. Wellesley could also sneak into the race behind the power running of Michael Janey.
In the Middlesex League, Reading has reloaded. The offense shouldn’t skip a beat with dual threat Brian Bourque taking the helm. Wakefield and Burlington should also be threats in the Middlesex race.
Like every season, the Hockomock League is wide open. Mansfield doesn’t have the size it usually has but is more athletic than usual. King Philip has two horses in Chris Cacciola and Charles Ruffin to hitch its offense up to. North Attleboro is always a tough opponent.
In the Merrimack Valley (Small) the race is between Dracut and Methuen. Methuen returns a host of players on offense, including quarterback Cal Carroll. Dracut was hit hard by graduation but with Matt Silva under center, the Middies are always a threat.
Division 2A: Super Bowl Hangover for Marshfield?
A popular theory in the NFL is that after a team wins the Super Bowl, it will experience a hangover the next season.
Last season, Marshfield won the Division 2A Super Bowl after three unsuccessful tries the previous three years.
According to coach Lou Silva, there will be no hangover for the Rams.
“We only return three starters from last year’s team,” said Silva. “They can’t rely on experience from last year. They want to prove that they are just as good as last year’s team.”
One player who Silva believes can help the team stay out of a post-Super Bowl funk is running back/nose guard Tom Pomella.
“Tom has the ability to elevate the play of those around him,” Silva said. “He is a hard nose player and a leader by example. He always goes full speed.”
In the race for the Atlantic Coast League crown, Marshfield will have to contend with Falmouth and its speedy offense.
The Cape Ann (Large) looks to be wide open after Masconomet graduated Evan Bunker and Chris Splinter. North Andover and Wilmington both have legitimate shots at toppling Masco.
In the Patriot Keenan, Duxbury returns a ton of talent but will have to replace running back Bobby Murphy and offensive lineman Aaron Kramer. The Dragons will have to keep their eye on an always dangerous Hingham squad.
The Dual County (Small) is a toss-up. Weston and Wayland hope to get back to the top of the league after a down year while Bedford and Concord-Carlisle hope to stay at the top of the heap.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.