2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 2 Merrimack Valley (Small)

Dracut

  • Last year's record: 11-2
  • Strength: Speed and Athleticism are two areas where Dracut will be strong. The Middies will also benefit from senior leadership and big game experience.
  • Concerns: The Middies main concern is depth at all positions, especially along the interior line.
  • Coach: Jeff Moore (2nd season, 11-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 21 lettermen
    • James Acosta, OL, Senior, 6-0, 330
    • Ryan Bishop, LB/OT, Senior, 5-11, 205
    • Kevin Bishop, RB/DB, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • Adam Bispham, OL/DT, Senior, 5-11, 220
    • Greg Brody, DB/WR, Junior, 6-0, 175
    • Tyler Caravoulias, OL/DT, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Dylan Elliott, DB/WR, Senior, 5-8, 165
    • Jared Gauthier, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 165
    • Keith Hamel, RB/DB, Junior, 5-11, 190
    • Mike Kochanowski, OL/DT, Senior, 5-10, 215
    • Jake Malandrino, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Chris Malonis, WR/DB, Junior, 5-11, 160
    • Seth Monbleau, LB/TE, Junior, 6-1, 190
    • Tyler Monette, OT/DE, Senior, 6-2, 225
    • Anthony Morin, DT/C, Senior, 5-11, 220
    • David Parent, RB/DB, Senior, 5-7, 180
    • Rakeem Shepherd, RB/DB, Senior, 5-11, 195
    • Matt Silva, QB/DB, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • Rob Staub, DE/OT, Senior, 6-3, 235
    • Tom Szymanski, TE/LB, Senior, 6-2, 215
    • John Vance, LB/C, Junior, 6-0, 190

Jeff Moore's first season at the helm of Dracut couldn't have gone any better. He coached the Middies to an 11-2 record and a Super Bowl victory. This season, Dracut moves from Division 1A to Division 2 and has to counter the loss of one-man wrecking crew Matt Grimard. To offset some of Grimard's production, Moore will rely on his skill players. "We are going to try and sprinkle the ball around," said Moore. Who will be doing the sprinkling of the ball to the skill players is yet to be determined. Junior Matt Silva and Senior Rakeem Shepherd have both taken snaps under center during practice and both could be utilized in games. With the talent at the skill positions, some of the offensive philosophy has also changed for the Middies. "Last year, we were a strong and powerful team," said Moore. "This year, we have a lot more speed."

Haverhill

  • Last year's record: 1-10
  • Strength: After years of inexperienced teams, coach Tim Briggs can finally say that senior leadership is a team strength.
  • Concerns: But depth and the ability to handle injuries is still a concern.
  • Coach: Tim Briggs (4th season, 6-27)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Aaron Bard, OL, Senior, 5-9, 200
    • Tim Campbell, LB, Junior, 6-0, 175
    • Zack Cox, WR, Senior, 6-1, 180
    • Tim Englehart, OL/DL, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Blaine Goia, DB/KR, Sophomore, 6-0, 170
    • Roberto Jimenez, DB, Junior, 5-8, 160
    • Mac Milewiski, LB, Junior, 5-10, 200
    • Miles Miller, FB/DL, Senior, 5-10, 200
    • Tito Morel, LB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Malcolm Novello, RB/DB, Junior, 6-0, 170
    • Tim Nutter, QB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 175
    • Brett Pettis, TE/DL, Junior, 6-2, 220
    • Kyle Sullivan, OT, Senior, 6-1, 235
    • Ben Tufts, C, Senior, 5-9, 200

The 2008 season was one marred by injuries. Briggs hopes that if his team can stay healthy, they can compete in the Merrimack Valley Small. One player he is hoping will provide an example on and off the field is Kyle Sullivan. Sullivan, a 6-1, 235-pound tackle, was an all-league player last season and will anchor the offensive line for the Hillies. He will be protecting quarterback Tim Nutter. Nutter is a converted wide receiver and never took a snap in a game situation until mid-way through last season. "He was kind of thrown into [playing quarterback] last year," said Briggs. "He was one of our best receivers until he moved to quarterback." Nutter is an exceptional athlete and is very dangerous with his legs.

Lawrence

  • Last year's record: 3-8 (due to forfeits)
  • Strength: Skill positions; team speed and athleticism.
  • Concerns: Inexperience along the lines.
  • Coach: Mike Yameen (5th season, 9-35)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 17 lettermen
    • Remie Acosta, DB, Senior, 5-9, 140
    • Harvey Blanco, FB, Senior, 5-6, 170
    • Michael Calzetta, WR/DB, Senior, 6-5, 200
    • Nick Elwell, QB/DB, Senior, 6-3, 180
    • Diego Guerero, DB, Senior, 5-8, 150
    • Ricardo Lopez, LB, Senior, 5-6, 180
    • Steve Mannion, OL/LB, Junior, 5-8, 200
    • Eric Molina, LB, Senior, 5-8, 205
    • Devin Montanez, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 170
    • Francis Nova, DB, Senior, 5-8, 170
    • Luis Polanco, OL/DL, Senior, 5-11, 260
    • Christian Reyes, WR, Senior, 5-8, 160
    • Danny Rivera, DB, Senior, 5-11, 170
    • Juan Rodriguez, LB, Junior, 5-9, 190
    • Juan Silvestri, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 300
    • Darius Timmons, DE, Senior, 6-2, 185
    • Melvin Torres, LB, Senior, 5-8, 185

Coach Mike Yameen can see some fun times on the horizon for Lancer fans. "We are going to be an exciting team and be fun to watch this year," said Yameen. Lawrence has a lot of talented athletes that Yameen hopes will provide wins. Michael Calzetta returns at wide receiver to lead the offense. At 6-5, Calzetta is a big target but he also possesses tremendous speed. Throwing the ball to Calzetta will be Nick Elwell. Yameen believes his team will shine on the defensive side of the ball. "We aren't that big but we are very fast," said Yameen. Yameen hopes his defense uses their speed to get after the quarterback. Also, Yameen believes that his defensive backs will be a team strength and an overall goal for the defense is to force offenses into passing situations.

Methuen

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: The system in place.
  • Concerns: Youth and inexperience.
  • Coach: Pat Graham (3rd season, 9-13)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Cal Carrol, QB, Junior, 5-11, 185
    • Steve Dizazzo, OL, Junior, 6-2, 240
    • Jason Doyle, DE, Junior, 6-0, 210
    • Aaron Ferreira, OL, Senior, 6-0, 270
    • Jeff McAndrew, DB, Junior, 6-1, 185
    • Joe McCarthy, LB, Junior, 6-0, 190
    • Pat O'Leary, DE, Senior, 5-11, 185
    • Sean Whittaker, OL, Junior, 6-0, 265
    • Nick Wright, DB, Senior, 5-9, 170

In his second season at the helm of Methuen, Pat Graham led the Rangers to a 7-4 record and a victory over Dracut on Thanksgiving. This year, Graham has to go about reloading the Rangers after only five starters return. Graham also has to overcome the loss of the Bartlett twins who were Methuen's main threats last season. "We will use a few different guys to help replace the production," said Graham. "We will become more of a quarterback-oriented team." Starting at quarterback this year will be junior Cal Carrol. "Cal runs the offense well," said Graham. "He will have to distribute the ball and not make mistakes."

Tewksbury

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Skill players.
  • Concerns: Team depth and inexperience along the offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Brian Aylward (13th season, 66-59-1)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 8 lettermen
    • Mike Altavesta, C/LB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Anthony Arcari, HB/DB, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • Ryan Bibber, WR/DB, Junior, 5-11, 175
    • Sean Connolly, QB/DB, Junior, 6-0, 165
    • Mike Fiorentino, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 195
    • David Gallotto, FB/LB, Junior, 5-10, 195
    • Nick LaCascia, HB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 170
    • Chris Legerstrom, HB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 165

After a frustrating 3-8 season in 2008, Aylward is looking for his team to get better each week and take the season one game at a time. One hurdle that he will face is replacing running back Joel Altavesta, who was the Redmen's most potent offensive threat last year. "We are not going to replace [Altavesta's] production with just one guy," said Aylward. "We are going to use a number of guys to combat the loss of production." One player that Aylward expects to break out is quarterback Sean Connolly. Connolly started seven games last year and threw for over 700 yards and five scores. Aylward also expects captains Mike Altavesta (L/LB) and Mike Fiorentino (OL/DL) to lead the team. "We are going to ask them to do a lot on both sides of the ball," Aylward said about his captains.

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.