2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 3A Cape Ann (Small)

Amesbury

  • Last year's record: 12-1
  • Strength: Running game
  • Concerns: Inexperience
  • Coach: Thom Connors (7th season, 35-42)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Amesbury nearly went undefeated last year, losing just one game to Georgetown by a single point en route to a 40-19 Super Bowl win over Martha's Vineyard. Gone from the Super Bowl-winning team are standouts like Kevin Johnston and Jared Flannigan, but the running game should still manage to put up points for the Indians thanks to returning senior Jesse Burrell, who managed 12 touchdowns and 74 total points as a fullback last season. After last season's dominance (30.5 points per game, 13.5 allowed) it's hard not to imagine the Indians figuring into the Cape Ann Small title chase in 2009.

Georgetown

  • Last year's record: 8-2
  • Strength: Experience
  • Concerns: Depth
  • Coach: Matt Bouchard (4th season, 21-9)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Erik Augustine, FB, Junior, 6-2, 185
    • Chris Bjork, OT/DE, Senior, 6-6, 170
    • Andrew Bulger, WR/LB, Senior, 6-2, 180
    • Derek DePasquale, RB/CB, Junior, 5-8, 155
    • Chris Esposito, FB/LB, Senior, 6-0, 220
    • Eric Gesualdi, OG/DT, Junior, 5-9, 250
    • Tyron Harrigan, QB/FS, Senior, 6-0, 160
    • Tadgh Kavanagh, OT/DT, Senior, 5-9, 185
    • Bryce Moker, WR/DE, 6-4, 185
    • Chris Petro, RB/CB, Junior, 5-7, 155
    • Luke Prescott, WR/CB, Junior, 5-9, 155
    • Nick Salerno, SS, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • Andrew Sinkewicz, LB/OT, Senior, 6-1, 230
    • Michael Wootan, OT/DE, Senior, 5-11, 205

Bouchard is looking for his squad to build off a year in which the Royals went 8-2 and challenged Amesbury for the Cape Ann Small crown. He said a key for his team will be staying healthy, as his front line boasts a great deal of experience. But the lack of depth after that though could put a damper on the 2009 season. "We have kids that have, in some cases, 30 games of varsity experience and then the next group of kids basically have none," he said. Bouchard pointed to a couple of key contributors, fullback/linebacker Chris Esposito, and returning CAL All-Star tackle/linebacker Andrew Sinkewicz, to lead his squad this season. Jamie Spears, who was being groomed as the quarterback, left for St. Mark's, so Tyron Harrigan will be asked to step up and orchestrate the offense.

Hamilton-Wenham

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Quarterback, lines.
  • Concerns: Running back, inexperience.
  • Coach: Andrew Morency (4th season, 13-19)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Mike Desclos, S/RB, Senior, 5-10, 185
    • Andy Duval, QB/DB, Senior, 6-1, 175
    • Dylan Keith, Junior, 6-1, 175
    • Jimmy Love, WR/LB, Junior, 5-10, 175
    • Jake Prince, TE/DE, Junior, 6-3, 190

Morency said he has confidence in his starting quarterback, Andy Duval, who's in his third year under center for the Generals. With a strong line that includes four returning starters, he'll have plenty of opportunity to put Hamilton-Wenham in a position to win. Morency stressed that the team's overall success would hinge on getting the necessary experience for the rest of the team quickly. Paul Littlefield, Shane Jenkins, Nick Vogas, and James Brao comprise the Generals' solid front line.

Ipswich

  • Last year's record: 0-10
  • Strength: Experience, senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Depth, size on lines.
  • Coach: Ted Flaherty (5th season, 27-49)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Nathaniel Bocko, WR/DB, Senior, 5-8, 162
    • John Eldredge, RB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 172
    • Brendan Gallagher, QB/LB, Junior, 5-10, 163
    • Aaron Jeffen, WR/DE, Senior, 6-3, 211
    • Jake LeBlanc, RB/DL, Junior
    • James Riel, RB/DB, Senior, 5-8, 153

It's been a long fall for the Tigers since an 11-2, Division 3A Super Bowl-winning 2006 campaign. Ipswich hasn't won since Dec. 2, 2006 - when they clinched that Super Bowl title with a 7-0 win over Cape Cod Tech - as the Tigers have struggled through 0-11 and 0-10 seasons the past two years. With 10 returning starters, including six seniors, their luck could change this year. Big linemen like 5-foot-9, 226-pound senior Bubba McNeil and 6-foot-1, 211-pound senior Matt Cordes give Ipswich solid protection on offense and good strength on defense.

Lynnfield

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Returning senior class
  • Concerns: Depth
  • Coach: Neal Weidman (2nd season, 3-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Pioneers return a number of players on both offense and defense, and should be able to improve on last year's 3-8 mark with returners like Chris Grassi, who scored nine touchdowns last season, and junior Gino Cohee, who threw three from the quarterback position. Lynnfield's record was also deceptive last season, as they were only outscored by about five points a game. The Pioneers also boast three returning lineman.

Newburyport

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Good senior class, good work ethic, defensively sound.
  • Concerns: Replacing three-year starter at QB, light in numbers on line.
  • Coach: Ed Gaudiano (22nd season, 131-92)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Derek Freeman, TE/DE, Senior
    • John Isabel, TE/LB, Senior
    • Kyle LeBlanc, WR/DB, Senior
    • Matt Mattola, QB/DB, Junior
    • Shea Quill, DE/OT, Senior
    • Andrew Sokol, Junior
    • Nick Welch, DE/TE, Senior
    • Josh Williams, RB/LB, Senior
    • Jon Wright, DB/WR, Junior

Newburyport struggled through a non-league schedule last season that saw the Clippers start 0-5. They managed to turn it around, though, and finished down the stretch 5-1. Now, the prolific Joseph Clancy, who threw the most touchdown passes in Division 3A last year with 22, will have to be replaced. That task will fall on junior Matt Mattola. Gaudiano said two wideouts, Kyle LeBlanc, a senior captain, and Andrew Sokol, a junior, are talented enough to keep the passing game flowing. Derek Freeman will captain a defense with a number of starters returning, and, in all, the Clippers have a total 11 returning starters.

North Reading

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Numbers, work ethic.
  • Concerns: Depth, inexperience.
  • Coach: Jeff Wall (7th season, 28-32)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • John Brooks, QB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 175
    • Mike Kirby, LB, Senior, 5-9, 165
    • Bobby Rosano, RB/DB, Senior
    • Nick Rosano, WR/DB, Junior, 5-9, 165
    • Richard Schaffer, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 165

The Hornets have a young roster this season following a 4-7 showing last season. 2009 will, in a lot of ways, be more about development for Wall's North Reading squad. John Brooks will start at quarterback, and a pair of talented receivers, Richard Schaffer and Nick Rosano, figure to be his main targets. With a young, inexperienced team, coming together quickly and learning on the fly will be key if the Hornets want to find success this year.

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.