2009 EMASS Football Preview

Find a team by

Div 1 Big Three

Brockton

  • Last year's record: 9-4
  • Strength: Defensive experience, secondary.
  • Concerns: Offensive inexperience.
  • Coach: Peter Colombo (6th season, 48-14)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • Greg Hilliard, DE/TE, Sophomore, 6-2, 180
    • Albert Louis-Jean, DB/WR, Junior, 6-2, 180
    • Sam Previte, QB, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Marquis Weaver, LB, Senior, 6-2, 185

For a team just yards away from hoisting the Division 1 championship last year, one would expect Brockton to be a virtual lock to make another Super Bowl. However, the annual roster turnovers in high school football have left the perennial contenders with more than a few holes to fill. While the Boxers return the majority of a vicious defense that carried them to Gillette Stadium, coach Peter Colombo finds himself with only three returning starters on offense. One of the players not suiting up is former running back Khalil James-Offley, Division 1's second-leading scorer last year. Taking his spot in the backfield will be his cousin, Treyvaughn Offley, who Colombo says is "similar in stature and style to Khalil." Returning quarterback Sam Previte has a better arm than Brockton's run-first, run-second, run-some-more offense would suggest. With Khalil's departure and Previte's experience, Colombo sees his team being a bit more offensively balanced, but will not shy away from the physical style of play that has defined Brockton this decade. Defensively, Brockton has the potential to be the state's stingiest team. The astoundingly deep group is highlighted by junior cornerback Albert Louis-Jean, who is already being courted by Division 1 schools, including an offer from Boston College. Dominique Williams, Greg Hilliard, and Marquis Weaver are other roadblocks opposing teams will be hard-pressed to succeed against. "Our first goal, as is every year, is to win the Big Three," said Colombo. "We play a great schedule, it's always a grind. We hope to be in the hunt come playoff time."

Durfee

  • Last year's record: 0-10
  • Strength: Running back depth.
  • Concerns: Line experience.
  • Coach: Dave Morgado (2nd season, 0-10 with Durfee, 69-76-3 overall)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Coach Dave Morgado had a difficult first season in charge of the Hilltoppers. Durfee finished 0-10, scoring the least points of any Division 1 team and allowing more points than all but one. With a sea of problems to address, Morgado still keeps things in perspective. "We're just hoping to take a few steps forward," he said. "The kids have been great and worked hard." Two bright spots are the captains, Aaron Correia and Tomas Rubio. Correia started at running back last season for Durfee and is a threat to make a big play at any time. Rubio, the Hilltoppers' lone returning offensive lineman, is expected to consistently clear the way for Correia and his fellow backs, Brett Duarte and Ryan Alves. Morgado believes that the defense will come along on its on, and hopes his offense follows suit as they continue to digest the system. "A lot of defense is just being agressive and willing to do what you are told," he said. "We start putting in the offense first, because it seems that is what comes in last."

New Bedford

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Speed, attitude.
  • Concerns: Special teams focus.
  • Coach: Dennis Golden (5th season, 37-54)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Danny DePina, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 165
    • Xavier Dixon, RB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 190
    • Greg Finn, WR/DB, Senior, 5-7, 155
    • Claude Gomes, WR/K, Senior, 6-1, 170
    • Jon Gomes, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 175
    • Phito Gondre, RB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 160
    • Nate Lewis, QB, Junior, 5-10, 175
    • Dan Okolski, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Quinn Perry, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Mario Pires, RB/DB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Stanson Roach, OL/DL, Senior, 6-8, 265
    • Justin St. Pierre, WR/K, Junior, 5-10, 190

More than any other division, the Big Three separates the haves from the have-nots. The Whalers enter this season hoping to establish themselves as legitimate threats to Brockton's Big Three monopoly. Coach Dennis Golden believes that his team will need to "win more consistently" in order to take the next step. He could be referring to last year's 3-8 campaign, when New Bedford won its first two and stayed out of the 'W' column until the season finale. "It's odd being in a three-team league," said Golden, "but I think we take every game seriously." New Bedford lost Ian Desrosiers, who scored 10 touchdowns last year, to graduation. To fill the void, Golden will turn to his skill players who are, in a word, fast. Returning starting receiver Jon Gomes and running backs Phito Gondre and Jon Williams all had strong showings in the state's indoor track & field meet, with Gomes and Gondre finishing third in the 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash, respectively, while Williams won the long jump. One big (and we mean big) name to keep an eye on is returning starting lineman Stanson Roach, a 6-8, 265-pounder who plays both ways.

10 games to watch

Sep
11

BC High has won both times they met in the past year, including last season's nail-biting Super Bowl.

Sep
11

Walpole hopes to put a tumultuous off-season in the rearview mirror as they start their 2009 campaign.

Sep
17

In an interesting non-league match-up, Hurd Stadium in Beverly will host its first-ever night football game.