2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 4 Boston North

Boston English

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Running game.
  • Concerns: Inexperience, offensive line.
  • Coach: Keith Parker (30th season, 138-161-5)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • D'Ardick Jones, TE/CB, Senior, 5-8, 160
    • Renso Rojas, OG/DE, Senior, 6-1, 190
    • Issac Velez, OT, Sophomore, 5-10, 215
    • Talen Wornum, C/DT, Junior, 6-0, 250

The Bulldogs will have to rebuild their offensive line this year, with only Talen Wornum returning, but Alex Billenueva will continue his role as quarterback. Parker believes Melvin Booker can help jump start his team as long as he stays healthy. “He just fits the profile of a young man who’s about to blossom,” the veteran coach said of Booker. “As long as he can get some help amongst his friends…Melvin Booker is going to be a big strong running back. How long he lasts really depends on the kind of blocking force we’ve got in front of him.” Parker hopes to add to the team’s roster with incoming freshmen to increase depth.

Charlestown

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Running game.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: George Farro (7th season, 34-29)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

After Stephen Montissol separated his shoulder last season, things looked grim for Charlestown, and now the Townies are still in the hunt for a starting quarterback. Farro expects an offensive shift toward the running game this season with high expectations falling on Bobby Leslie, who has the makings of an all-star season and will need to carry Charlestown for the team to remain competitive. But the Townies’ numbers are down and also face a difficult schedule, playing high caliber teams like Martha’s Vineyard, South Shore, South Boston, and East Boston.

East Boston

  • Last year's record: 5-5
  • Strength: Senior leadership, skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced line.
  • Coach: John Sousa (15th season, 109-43)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Marvin Deparz, RB/LB, Junior
    • Ernesto Figueroa, OT/DT, Junior
    • Jorge Galdamez, RB/LB, Senior
    • Leo Parnell, OG/NT, Junior
    • Tim Roberts, RB/LB, Senior

East Boston only returned two starters last season, but now that Sousa has 11 to work with, he hopes to eliminate the turnovers and poor tackling that had held his team back. Quarterback Troy Williams has a strong arm and command of the offense, but Sousa believes his team leadership will make it feel like “there’s another coach out there.” Although the Jets have a strong nucleus to work with, they have one of the toughest schedules in team history, facing both Amesbury and Brighton on the road.

Madison Park

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Skill positions.
  • Concerns: Running game.
  • Coach: Roosevelt Robinson (16th season, 80-57-1)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Andy Baez, C/DL, Junior, 5-9, 260
    • Demetrius Celstino, OL/DT, Junior, 5-11, 245
    • Nelson Curet, RB/CB, Junior, 5-7, 160
    • Elysander Plaza, QB/S, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • Anthony Skinner, OG/DT, Senior, 5-7, 260

The Cardinals’ strength last season may serve as a weakness this year, after graduating the tandem of DaVaughn Goss and Darrell Hudson that helped carry their offense. Madison Park will still rely on its running game, but Robinson knows he has big shoes to fill and is reworking the playbook. The veteran coach said the Cardinals are usually in a rebuilding phase but is excited to return Khayree Hudson. “He’s young, so we got him at the right age and the right time,” Robinson said of his seasoned quarterback, who he referred to as the young man the coaches are looking to build upon.

South Boston

  • Last year's record: 10-2
  • Strength: Team speed.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: Sean Guthrie (3rd season, 15-7)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

In the absence of running quarterback Derick Willis, South Boston will need Daquan Hill to carry the running game. Hill, who ran for about 650 yards last season, wasn’t the Knights’ go-to weapon last year, but Guthrie hopes he’ll step up to the challenge. South Boston will rely on two arms this season: sophomore Markem Jackson and senior Tom Berry. Jackson brings more athleticism to the Knights, but Berry will provide consistent play calling and leadership. Returning starters Jose Burgos and Luis Martinez have been the heart of the defense in camp, according to Guthrie, but the coach said despite a strong core, the team will have to slow down a lot this season due to an inexperienced roster. “We’re adjusting, and we want to keep things simple with the new guys, because I’d rather have them be efficient in a few things than poor on the whole playbook,” Guthrie said.

West Roxbury

  • Last year's record: 1-8
  • Strength: Defense.
  • Concerns: Staying healthy.
  • Coach: Brian Collins (2nd season, 1-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • Jeff Casseus, T, Senior
    • Michael Hernandez, DB, Senior
    • Daquin Phillips, RB/DB, Sophomore
    • Thomas You, T, Senior

After an injury-plagued season, West Roxbury is looking to rebound in a big way with an aggressive defense that has a lot of depth. On the offensive side, the Raiders won’t be relying on the long ball ­– Collins believes a blend of short passes and a running game will serve as the key to their success. Since moving up from junior varsity, sophomore tailback Daquin Phillips could be the team’s breakout player of the year. “He’ll get a lot of carries for us this year,” Collins said of Phillips. “He’s small, but he’s quick and he’s tough.”

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.