2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 4 Commonwealth (Large)

Greater Lawrence

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Offensive line, linebackers and secondary.
  • Concerns: Staying motivated.
  • Coach: Tony Sarkis (4th season, 26-28)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 15 lettermen
    • Jeffrey Balb, OT, Junior
    • Luis Beras, OT, Senior
    • Miguel Biaz, DT/OG, Senior
    • Randall Gigliotti, C, Senior
    • Jaun-Carlos Gomez, QB, Junior
    • Lewis Mendoza, S, Senior
    • Paul Menjivar, KR, Junior
    • Anthony Ocasio, WR/CB, Senior
    • Jaun Olivio, DT/OG, Senior
    • Marlon Orellana, DT/OT, Junior
    • Joseph Pizzuto, RB/LB, Junior
    • Angel Rivera, LB/FB, Senior
    • Jose Sanchez, DE, Senior
    • Brian Sealy, CB, Junior
    • Nick Sosa, FB/LB, Sophomore

Coach Sarkis believes the largest obstacle for his team is staying motivated during a long season. If it can, he believes the Reggies will do fine. If CAC Large All-Star Juan Olivio can continue his strong play and even improve on his 99 tackles he provided last year at defensive tackle, it may be tough for other teams to do damage against the Reggies.

Greater Lowell

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Experience of returning seniors and a talented group of sophomores at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: The offensive line needs to be rebuilt after returning only two starters from last season.
  • Coach: Dennis Murphy (29th season, 179-95-3)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 15 lettermen
    • Greg Balamotis, QB/DB, Senior
    • Josh Bard, WR, Senior
    • Ryan Bethal, FB/WR, Junior
    • Victor Cabrera, T, Senior
    • Greg Fuller, LB, Senior
    • Bill Fuller, RB, Senior
    • Jonathen Hickey, FB/LB, Senior
    • Dan LeClair, OT, Sophomore
    • Andy Marais, WR, Senior
    • Travis Perry, RB, Junior
    • Chris Pousland, QB/DB, Senior
    • Chris Puzzo, RB, Junior
    • Pat Reilley, WR/DB, Junior
    • Josh Reynoso, C, Senior
    • Jose Rivera, RB/DB, Junior

The outlook for the Gryphons is a good one. With lots of young talent at the skill positions coach Dennis Murphy is optimistic and eager to start the season to show just how hungry his team is after wining only two games, and finishing last in the league last season. "the only place to go is up" said Murphy. A stickler for a strong derfense, Murphy's first task is to improve a defense that gave up 28.4 ppg last fall.

Lynn Tech

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Quarterback and running back.
  • Concerns: Young offensive line with lack of game experience.
  • Coach: Gary Sverker (18th season, 86-90-2)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Joe Brady, TE/LB, Senior
    • Stephan Caisse, RB/DB, Senior
    • Leroy Davis, DB, Junior
    • Donald Deon, LB/RB, Junior
    • Pedro Martinez, RB, Sophomore
    • David Movers, C, Senior
    • Ryan Murphy, RB, Senior
    • Dustin Rooney, QB/DB, Senior
    • Richie Warren, DB/QB, Senior
    • Sunny Yon, RB/LB, Senior

Starting the season with a few non-league games may be the right remedy for coach Sverker's young offensive lineman. Sverker is also "very optimistic" that his young team will be ready for any challenges based on what he's seen so far this preseason. Although their coach is seeing promise in his younger players, the nucleus of returning starters may be the key for Lynn Tech this season.

Shawsheen

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Team attitude and enthusiasm, along with the returning experience (13 starters).
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Albert Costabile (18th season, 112-69)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Dylan Allen, OG, Senior
    • Derek Bent, TE/DE, Senior
    • Ryan Cassidy, LB, Junior
    • Andrew Companeschi, TE/DE, Senior
    • Devin Connearney, FB/LB, Senior
    • Nick Danas, PK, Senior
    • Cory Foss, RB, Senior, 5-7, 135
    • Bob Greenwood, WR, Junior
    • Ryan Hunt, RB/DB, Senior
    • Tyler Martin, WR/DB, Senior
    • Bill Reynolds, C, Senior
    • Mike Roy, FB/DL, Senior
    • Derek Steen, WR, Senior
    • Kevin White, DB/QB

Depth is an issue for most teams, but for a team with a huge sophomore class like Shawsheen, it may be an even greater challenge. Though the team is fairly young and in the process of rebuilding, Shawsheen still returns 13 starters, most notably senior tailback Cory Foss who finished last season with more than 1,000 yard rushing and a team-leading 10 touchdowns. It might be a lot to suggest a potential league title, but led by Foss, the Rams will cause problems in the Commonwealth.

Whittier

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Defensive Experience, and power at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: All previous starting offensive lineman graduated, as well as their top running back.
  • Coach: Kevin Bradley (9th season, 65-25)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Nate Allen, RB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 225
    • Mark Asemota, RB, Junior, 5-10, 180
    • Jeremy Bell, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 160
    • Paul Buccos, RB/DB, Junior, 5-7, 160
    • Isidro Estrada, RB/LB, Senior, 5-8, 170
    • Nick Ferreira, Senior, 6-2, 195
    • Corey Gallo, OL/DL, Junior, 5-10, 220
    • Ralph Hancock, TE/LB, Senior, 6-4, 225
    • Donald Leighton, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • Shawn Mahoney, RB/DB, Senior, 5-10, 175
    • Steve Surette, WR, Senior, 6-0, 175
    • Tyler Thistlewood, RB/LB, Junior

Over the past four years, Whittier has made the Super Bowl three times and has taken home the championship once. Although Whittier has been a force in the past, it was dealt a huge blow this offseason with the loss of all five starting offensive lineman and league MVP Brian Trickett (RB). Despite the multitude of losses, Coach Bradley is excited about the power he has at the skill positions. Another area that Bradley will rely on his team's defensive experience. Bradley hopes the combination of the two will help lead to wins.

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.