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Merrimack Valley Conference football capsules

August 28, 2008
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ANDOVER
Coach: Ken Maglio (13th year, 67-60-2).
Last year's record: 8-3.
Playing surface: Turf.
Football website: aps1.net/ahs/Sports/sports.htm.
Returning starters (6): Mike Ardagna, DL 5-9, 287, Sr.; Andrew Lebowitz, DL 5-11, 275, Sr.; Steven LaFortune, FB/LB, 6-0, 216, Sr.; Sean Ehlbeck, TE, 6-0, 184, Sr., Erik Geffken, OL/LB, 6-1, 204, Sr.; Yogi Layne, WR/DB, 6-2, 178, Sr.
Returning letter winners (24): Ryan Peek, WR, 5-10, 168, Sr.; Jon Hennessy, QB/FS, 5-10, 168, Jr.; Philip Giguere, OL, 6-0, 230 OL, Sr.; Matt Washburn, WR/DB, 6-4, 182, Sr.; Chris McConnell, WR, 5-7, 164, Jr.; Tucker Devine, RB/DB, 5-10, 172, Sr.; Vinny Christiano, LB, 5-7, 177, Sr.; Gianni Miceli, OL, 6-2, 222, Sr.; Josh Devine, TE/LS, 6-1, 195, Sr.; Stephen Moore, OL, 6-6, 279, Sr.; Matt Newton, DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.; Nick Enxing, RB/LB, 5-11, 178, Jr.; Alex Fortune, RB/LB, 5-9, 167, Jr.; Craig Hornung, DB, 6-1, 181, Jr.; Jimmy Johnson, WR/LB, 5-11, 184, Jr.; Jake Lebowitz, DL, 5-11, 218, Jr.; C.J. Leary, LB, 5-11, 203, Jr.; Christian Lightner, DB, 6-0, 162, Jr.; Peter Theodorou, DL, 5-9, 213, Jr.; Coulton Ross, DL, 5-10, 205, Jr.; Kristofer Reimer, TE/DL, 6-2, 218, Jr.; Jake Ponti, WR/DB, 6-2, 170, Jr.; Matt Murray, DL/PK, 5-11, 184, Jr.; Timothy Duffy, OL, 6-0, 223, Jr.
Strength: Athleticism.
Concerns: Youth.
Outlook: Maglio, now in his 13th year at Andover, cites his team's athletic ability and depth as one of its biggest advantages this season, but inexperience at the varsity level could hurt the squad. "We're ok on defense, but we're young on offense," he said. Quarterback John Hennisy, a junior, missed half of last season after dislocating his elbow in a JV game but looks to make a strong comeback in 2008. keep an eye on running back Chris McConnell, who is a state champion in the 40-yard dash, currently clocking at 4.3 seconds.

BILLERICA
Coach: Peter Flynn (19th year, 118-75).
Last year's record: 8-3.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=tunawarrior.
Returning starters (14): James Sorenson, SB/CB, 5-11, 175, Sr.; Kerrick Kerry, OL/DL, 6-2, 310, Sr.; Matt Langill, OL/LB, 5-11, 198, Sr.; Danny O'Connor, OL/DL, 6-2, 235, Sr.; Greg Orekoya, RB/DB, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Kyle Raymond, OL/DL, 6-1, 210, Sr.; Shawn Riccio, OL/DL, 6-3, 325, Sr.; Brian Roche, DL, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Matt Cataldo, OL/DL, 6-2, 250, Sr.; Clyde Carmant, DL, 6-3, 240, Jr.; Phil Heck, LB, 5-11, 195, Jr.; Bryan Higgins, RB/LB, 5-11, 198, Jr.; Jimmy Holland, OLB/RB, 6-3, 205, Jr.; James Roth, DE, 6-3, 220, Jr.
Returning letter winners (5): Sean Dougherty, OL-DL, 6-5, 230, Jr.; Brendan Gallahue, LB, 5-11, 185, Jr.; Sean Liberty, DB, 5-11, 175, Jr.; Brian Milo, LB, 5-11, 175, Jr.; Lachey Ross, DE, 6-2, 210, Jr.
Strength: Speed and size.
Concerns: Kicking game
Outlook: After a successful 8-3 campaign last season, Flynn is optimistic about his team's chances of contending for the title in the Merrimack Valley this season. "Our kids came back in great condition, and they're executing right now like it's the third week of the season," he said after the first week of practice. Look out for slot-back and receiver Jimmy Holland, a junior who has Division 1A schools talking. The race for the starting quarterback job is heating up, with Wayne Boles and freshman Nick Laspada both looking great in practice. Flynn is concerned, however, that the team has yet to find a field goal kicker.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Coach: Chuck Adamopulos (12th year 77-41).
Last year's record: 5-6.
Playing surface: Artificial turf.
Football website: centralcatholic.net/ath_football.jsp.
Returning starters (11): Walter Gillis, OT/DT, 6-1, 275, Sr.; Zak Adamopolis, TE/DE, 6-1, 220, Sr.; Dan Canneff, OT/DT, 6-1, 285, Sr.; John DiBitetto, WR/DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.; Jimmy Haddad, G/LB, 6-0, 195, Sr.; Michael Garcia, OT/DE, 6-3, 240, Sr.; Nygil Nelson, WR/DB, 6-1, 160, Sr.; Shain Jowett, QB/DB, 6-3, 180, Sr.; Matt LaFrance, G/DT, 5-11, 220, Sr.; Mike Amaral, RB/LB, 5-10, 175, Jr.; Zack Lattrell, RB/LB, 6-0, 200, Jr.
Returning letter winners (12): Brendan Walsh, WR/DB, 6-4, 195, Sr.; Matt Smith, G/LB, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Andy Scott, RB/DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.; Jimmy Nguyen, WR/DB, 5-6, 150, Sr.; Pat Guidi, C/DT, 5-9, 235, Sr.; Billy Condurelli, WR/DB, 5-9, 160, Jr.; Andrew Buckley, QB/LB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Andrew Guyer, WR/LB, 5-11, 185, Sr.; Chris Berganti, WR/DB, 6-2, 185, Jr.; Andrew Ouellette, QB/DB, 6-1, 168, Jr.; Tommy Lecroix, RB/DB, 5-9, 160, Jr.; Zac Borrelli, TE/LB, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Strength: Strong senior class, three-year starter at quarterback.
Concerns: Inexperience in the backfield.
Outlook: The key for Central Catholic will be to stay healthy this year after being riddled with injuries for much of last season. "The injury bug hurt us last year," Adamopulos said. "We don't have as much depth as we usually have, but if we can stay healthy, we can be in the race." Fortunately, though, senior quarterback Shain Jowett is nothing if not experienced: this season will be his third as the starting signal-caller. "He's the leader on the team," Adamopulos said, "and this is the year that people are going to see big things out of him."

CHELMSFORD
Coach: Bruce Rich (13th year, 96-37-2).
Last year's record: 12-1.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: MIAA.net.
Returning starters (13): Peter Bradley, DT, 6-0, 240, Sr.; David Brown, S, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Christian Carey, TE, 6-0, 210, Sr.; Andrew Carpenter, WR, 6-0, 175, Sr.; Aaron Everleigh, DB/QB, 6-0, 190, Sr.; Brandon Freschette, DT/C, 6-0, 235, Sr.; Tim Mathews, G, 6-1, 250, Sr.; Joe Columbo, RB, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Kevin Perrault, RB, 5-11, 220, Sr.; Evan Sheridan, RB/DB, 5-11, 185, Sr.; John Vilare, G, 6-1, 230, Sr.; Nate Basler, LB, 5-11, 200, Sr.; Eric Arnold, DT, 6-0, 235, Jr.
Returning letter winners (17): Michael Crafts, QB, 6-3, 200, Sr.; Anthony Bordini, DE, 6-0, 190, Sr.; Bob Dupont, G, 6-1, 265, Sr.; Kevin Fleming, DB, 5-9, 155, Sr.; John Gennaro, DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Michael Joyce, OT, 6-3, 230, Sr.; Dan McGrath, G, 6-0, 230, Sr.; Ryan Pivonka, DE, 6-0, 200, Sr.; Ryan Rivard, OT, 6-3, 245, Sr.; Brett Sayers, DT, 5-11, 200, Sr.; Matt Silva, DT, 6-0, 200, Sr.; John Waszak, WR, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Pat Webber, WR, 5-7, 155, Sr.; Shane Webber, DB, 5-7, 155, Sr.; Matt Hayes, DB, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Mike Aronian, WR, 5-10, 160, Jr.; Matt Whippen, TE, 6-2, 215, Jr.
Strengths: Defense.
Concerns: Inexperience on offense.
Outlook: The reigning Division 1A Super Bowl champs are looking for a repeat performance this season, but they aren't feeling any pressure. "We always set our goals high, and we always look to win the championship," Rich said. "It's just a matter of how hard the kids work in the offseason." Offensive inexperience may hurt a team that graduated 25 seniors from last year's championship squad, but, according to Rich, most players don't make varsity until at least their junior season, and maybe even their senior season. One unique component of the Chelmsford team is that most players practice on offense or on defense, rarely both - the only exceptions are standouts Evan Sheridan and Aaron Everleigh, whom Rich dubs the "best players on the team." One player gone from this year's starting lineup is the Globe's Division 1A Player of the Year and Bruce's son, Tim, who graduated.

DRACUT
Coach: Jeff Moore (first year).
Last year's record: 6-5.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: dhssports.org
Returning starters (14): Andrew Sutherland, OT/DE, 6-0, 215, Sr.; Anthony Morin, OG/NG, 5-10, 215, Jr.; Jeff Richard, C/NG, 5-10, 235, Sr.; James Midgley, OG/NG, 6-0, 285, Sr.; Tyler Monette, OT/DE, 6-2, 225, Sr.; Matt Grimard, QB/LB, 6-5, 235, Sr.; Jonathan Rivera, RB/LB, 5-9, 190, Sr.; Jared Gouthier, WR/FS, 5-11, 160, Jr.; Jordan Murphy, TE/LB, 6-2, 230, Sr.; Craig Lussier, WR/LB, 6-1, 195, Sr.; Rakeem Shepherd, WR/CB, 5-11, 185, Jr.; Tom Szymanski, 6-1, 210, LB/TE, Jr.; Chris Bent, LB/TE, 6-2, 200, Sr.; Stephen Reardon, CB/WR, 5-10, 160, Sr.
Returning letter winners (15): James Acosta, NG/OG, 5-11, 310, Jr.; Josh Bedard, OG/DE, 5-10, 185, Jr.; Ryan Bishop, QB/LB, 5-10, 185, Jr.; Adam Bispham, OG/NG, 5-10, 180, Jr.; Ryan Diffenbacher, WR/LB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Matt Doyle, FS/WR, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Dylan Elliot, WR/CB, 5-9, 150, Jr.; Hiraldo Garcia, OG/NG, 5-9, 210, Jr.; Mike Kohanowski, OG/NG, 5-9, 210, Jr.; Jake Malandrino, WR/CB, 5-11, 160, Jr.; David Parent, WR/CB, 5-8, 155, Jr.; Akash Patel, WR//CB, 5-9, 150, Jr.; Bob Staub, OT/DE, 6-2, 230, Jr.; Chris Thiel, OG/NG, 5-10, 220, Sr.; Kyle Wiggins, LB/WR, 6-1, 210, Sr.
Strength: Senior leadership, experience.
Weakness: Depth on offensive line and defensive line.
Outlook: Although Moore is new to Dracut, replacing Patrick Murphy, he was on the school's coaching staff from 2004 to 2006, so the transition - for him and for his players - won't be too difficult. "Coaching here is like an old hat," Moore said. "I know the kids well, and I thought it was a good fit." And Moore won't be allowing himself any learning curve: with almost all the starters returning from last year's squad, his expectations are high. Quarterback Matt Grimard should make a splash this season with lots of options in the passing game. "We have six or seven skill kids he can throw to," Moore said, "and they all have great hands. They can pitch in and make some plays."

HAVERHILL
Coach: Tim Briggs (third year, 5-17).
Last year's record: 1-10.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: haverhill-ps.org.
Returning starters (8): Alex Aguirre, OL, 6-1, 200, Sr.; Nick Bouchard, DL, 5-8, 215, Sr.; Noel Figuereo, RB, 5-7, 150, Sr.; Tito Morel, LB, 5-10, 180, Jr.; Evan Pare, WR-DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Kyle Sullivan, OL-LB, 6-1, 230, Jr.; Danny Triplett, RB-DE, 5-11, 220, Sr.; Isiah Ocasio, QB-DB, 6-0, 170, Sr.
Returning letter winners: None.
Strength: Attitude
Concerns: Youth, league, schedule.
Outlook: After a tough campaign last season, Briggs' squad's biggest obstacle might be their own minds. "We need to focus on the little things to be successful, forget about the past, and look to the next play," Briggs said. "We have to keep our heads up, be positive, and learn the game." Having a healthy Danny Triplett won't hurt Haverill this season. The running back, who has played 3-4 games in each of the last two years, has been consistently plagued by shoulder and knee problems. Quarterback Isiah Ocasio, a black belt in karate, will boost the team's athleticism. "He's a guy who can jump, run, and do a little bit of everything," Briggs said. "We run some option, so he can carry, plus he's got a good arm." Overall, the big test for Haverill will be overcoming its youth in a tough conference.

LOWELL
Coach: Al Pare (second year).
Last year's record: 2-9.
Playing surface: Artificial turf.
Football website: lhs.lowell.k12.ma.us.
Returning starters (30): Sean McKenzie, WR, 5-8, 145, Sr.; Timothy McLeod, QB, 5-10, 150, Sr.; Ambruse Carter, RB, 5-10, 170, Sr.; Paul Feeley, FB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Christian Ramirez, RB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Matt Koerber, WR, 6-0, 172, Sr.; David Som, OL, 5-6, 190, Sr.; Kevin Colon, OL, 5-11, 245, Sr.; Zack Monteer, OL, 5-11, 185, Sr.; Bryan Gudewich, OL, 5-9, 175, Sr.; Brian Gallagher, TE, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Ken Bonin, WR, 5-8, 125, Sr.; Brian Smith, DB, 5-10, 150, Sr.; Melvin Mah, B, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Anthony Gentles, DB, 5-10, 170, Sr.; Joe Healy, LB, 6-1, 165, Sr.; Julian Scott, CB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Nick Bedard, LB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Chris Callery, LB, 5-10, 175, Sr.; Stanley Waithima, LB, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Brian Vigeant, DB, 5-10, 130, Sr.; Matt Shanley, LB, 5-9, 155, Sr.; Chirag Zaver, DB, 5-9, 175, Sr.; Kevin Coutu, DL, 5-10, 250, Sr.; Ibraheem Khadar, DE, 6-2, 180, Sr.; Eli Sanchez, DL, 5-8, 210, Sr.; Joey Morris, DL, 5-6, 175, Sr.; Bob Cerovac, DL, 5-6, 165, Sr; Gregory Stemn, DL, 5-9, 207, Sr.; Anthony Calderan, 5-5, 203, Sr.
Returning letter winners (20): Brett Noonan, LB, 6-3, 190, Jr.; Shane Walsh, DB, 5-10, 150, Jr; Rodolfo Martin, DB, 5-5, 130, Jr.; Jose Fuentess, LB, 5-6, 200, Jr.; Frank McCarthy, DB, 5-11, 145, Jr.; Christian McCarthy, DB, 5-7, 125, Sr; William Choate, DB, 5-9, 175, Jr.; Luis Ortiz, DL, 5-9, 156, Jr.; Laquan Miles, DL, 6-3, 245, Jr.; Gami Martnez, DL, 5-11, 230, Jr.; Westley Saovant, DB 5-6, 155, Jr.; Ralph Moura, RB, 5-8, 155, Jr.; Thirago Silva, RB, 5-7, 150, Jr.; Todd Cresta, WR, 5-6, 130, Jr.; Max Regan, OL, 6-2, 225, Jr.; Ryan Davila, OL, 6-4, 350, Jr.; Chris Cerovac, OL, 5-8, 150, Jr.; KiKi Louis, WR, 5-10, 185, Jr.; Chris Horne, OL, 6-2, 200, Jr.; Matt Kelleher, WR, 5-10, 160, Jr.
Strengths: Defensive backfield.
Concerns: Getting off to a good start.
Outlook: Al Pare is looking forward to coaching a team that should be much improved from last year's 2-9 squad. "We're going to be a lot stronger and a lot more physical than we were last year," he said. After much hard work this offseason, including weight-lifting and learning plays, Lowell's inexperience should give way to talent. "We'll be a lot better off later than we will be early in the season," Pare said. Last year's backup tailback, Ambruce Carter, will be thrust into the limelight this season, but it will be a welcome transition: after a weightlifting and track regimen in the offseason, he is more than ready.

METHUEN
Coach: Patrick Graham (second year).
Last year's record: 2-9.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: Methuenfootball.com.
Returning starters (12): Joenrry Acosta, R, 6-1, 170 Sr; Brian Baez, OL, 5-11, 250, Sr.; Matt Bartlett, QB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Mike Bartlett, RB, 5-11, 170, Sr.; Sean Cairns, LB, 5-10, 197, Sr.; Matt Gordon, LB, 6-0, 182, Sr.; Josue Henriquez, DE, 6-1, 200, Sr.; Nate Krikorian, FS, 5-7, 165, Sr.; Justin Marsan, SS, 5-11, 190, Sr.; Pat Phillion, R, 5-9, 150, Sr.; Oscar Rosario, DB, 5-9, 168, Sr.; Domin Thompson, LB, 5-8, 180, Sr.
Returning letter winners (12): Mike Berndston, SS, 5-9, 162, Jr.; Alex Collins, OL, 6-2, 191, Jr.; Ryan Dizoglio, OL, 5-10, 215, Jr.; Aaron Ferreira, OL, 5-11, 266, Jr.; Mike Lussier, DL, 6-1, 180, Jr.; John McCarthy, LB, 5-11, 192, Jr.; Shawn McCarthy, OL, 5-6, 248, Jr.; Michael Norcia, DL, 6-0, 160, Jr.; Patrick O'Leary, LB, 5-10, 185, Jr.; Matt Piccardi, OL, 6-2, 207, Jr.; Alex Sheppard, R, 6-2, 160, Jr.; Nick Wright, DB, 5-11, 165, Jr.
Strength: Skill positions.
Weakness: Both lines.
Outlook: Graham remains optimistic about his team's chances in the MVC after a tough year last time around. "We should be improved," he said. "Our strength will be our skill positions, but our question mark will be our defensive and offensive lines." The bright spots for Methuen will likely come from Justin Marsan, a safety who was one of the team leaders in tackles last year, and Mike Bartlett, last year's leading rusher who amassed about 700 yards. Twin brother Matt, the quarterback, should also show improvements according to Graham, who said, "We're expecting [the twins] to have breakout years."

TEWKSBURY
Coach: Brian Aylward (12th season 63-51-1).
Last year's record: 9-2.
Playing surface: Grass.
Football website: tewksbury.mec.edu/TMHS/athletics.html.
Returning starters (5): Joe Gulino, G-DT, 6-2, 255, Sr.; Joel Altavesta, RB-LB, 5-9, 185, Sr.; Chase Bartrum,C-DT, 6-2, 260, Sr.; Justin Griffin, OT-DT, 6-0, 235, Sr.; Matt Bailey LB-TE, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Returning letter winners (4): Ron Wallace, FS/QB, 5-10, 195, Sr.; David Manory, FB/DE, 5-11, 215; Sean Tessicini, TE/DE, 6-0, 195, Sr.; Donald Berube, HB/LB, 5-10, 180, Sr.
Strength: Experience on offensive line and kicking game.
Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback and defensive backfield.
Outlook: One of the biggest struggles for this season's Redmen will be replacing the graduating seniors. Coming off a 9-2 campaign, Aylward will look to returning captains Joe Gulino, Joel Altavesta, Matt Bailey, and Chase Bartrum to instill some consistency in this year's squad. Gulino, last season's Merrimack Valley Conference's Lineman of the Year, has looked very good in the preseason and has already been offered a full scholarship to Bryant University. Aylward's offensive line will provide much-needed experience and size. The quarterback situation is unclear, with Ron Wallace and newcomers Sean Teel and Sean Connoly all splitting time.

Compiled by Jessica Isner

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