2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 4A Boston South

Brighton

  • Last year's record: 7-2
  • Strength: Offensive and defensive lines.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: James Philip (13th season, 37-70-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 1 lettermen
    • Joshua Gaston, OE, Senior, 6-2, 170

Although the team didn't repeat with another perfect season, last year Brighton was still superb. The Bengals will be a green team this year, but Philip hopes to build upon quarterback Jonathan Rosa. "He’s a 10th grader, so he lacks the experience that our quarterbacks in the past have had," Philip explained. "He looks great in practice ... but I’ll expect he’ll make mistakes." Brighton should have a strong defensive line, and Philip believes building up the team’s defense will lead to championships.

Burke

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Senior leadership, skill positions.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Rice (9th season, 30-58)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • Rasheem Blackwell, TE/LB, Sophomore
    • Steven Dolce, OL/DL, Sophomore
    • Elias Nahme, OL/DL, Senior
    • Bryan Wilkenson, OL/DL, Junior

With eight returning starters and an unwavering work ethic, the Bulldogs have a positive attitude heading into the season that stems from strong senior leadership. The team returns junior quarterback Addonis Dottin, who Rice believes can only improve with the experience gained last year. The coach also hopes to add depth to both the offensive and defensive lines.

Dorchester

  • Last year's record: 5-5
  • Strength: Senior leadership, size.
  • Concerns: Skill positions.
  • Coach: Richard Moran (5th season, 15-22)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 1 lettermen
    • Johnny Bonnie, DT, Junior, 5-6, 273

The Bears hit a snag when would-be quarterback Daniel James transferred out of Dorchester High and left the position up in the air. But although Moran said his starting roster isn’t yet set in stone, he said having some size in the offensive line and a strong set of running backs will be Dorchester’s strong suit this season. Looking toward the future, Moran hopes to gain a level of consistency with the junior varsity program to continue to build talent after graduating five returning starters from last season.

Hyde Park

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Quarterback, experience.
  • Concerns: Defense.
  • Coach: Adilson Cardoso (2nd season, 2-9)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 2 lettermen
    • Jessie Noel, WR, Junior, 5-8, 155
    • Sean Smith, QB, Senior, 5-9, 210

In his third year, Sean Smith should continue to settle into the quarterback position for Hyde Park, and Cardoso said Smith has spent the summer working on his strength and accuracy. But the Blue Stars have more than just Smith to feel confident about. “This is the best product in a few years that Hyde Park is putting out there,” Cardoso said of his arsenal of returning starters. But the Blue Stars will have to work on defense, possibly losing two defensive ends in senior Dequan Washington and junior Michael Mark this season – a position Cardoso calls “very disciplined” and “hard to teach.” Key additions to the offense are brothers Robin and Robinson Cyprien, a wide receiver and running back, respectively.

Latin Academy

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Offensive line, defense.
  • Concerns: Injuries.
  • Coach: Rocco Zizza (2nd season, 3-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 3 lettermen
    • Thomas Fernandes, TE/DE, Sophomore
    • Brian Goff, OL/DL, Sophomore
    • Holden Pierre, RB/DB, Junior

Although 3-8 last season, the Dragons took three of their last five games behind quarterback Justin Miles and hope to carry that momentum into this season. Latin Academy returns its entire offensive line and Zizza expects the running game to take off with Cuong Nguyen and Ohimai Aisiku, whom Zizza called a key newcomer. The Dragons should continue to have a dominant defense. However, one of the main goals of the season is to maintain a level of play against quality competition without getting hurt.

O'Bryant

  • Last year's record: 10-1
  • Strength: Work ethic.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: Kevin Gadson (2nd season, 10-1)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 3 lettermen
    • Charles Brown, CB/QB, Senior, 5-11, 160
    • Dennis Desmond, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 185
    • Conway King, RB, Senior, 5-8, 170

Star quarterback Josh Carrington has left the building for O’Bryant, and unfortunately so did 16 other seniors. Either Charles Brown or George Hooker look to fill Carrington’s shoes, and Gadson knows he has his work cut out for him. “We have a lot of underclassmen, we’re going to be a young team and very inexperienced, but we’re going to just work and rebuild and try and develop them to their highest potential,” the second-year coach said. Gadson trusts his coaching staff will help develop another high caliber team and also a playbook that will work to the strengths of the newcomers.

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.