2009 EMASS Football Preview

Find a team by

Div 2 Middlesex (Large)

Belmont

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Experience at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Kevin Gildea (5th season, 20-23)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Christian Backus, DE, Junior
    • Joe Canina, OL, Senior
    • Brain Conneely, OL, Senior
    • Vinny Cortina, QB, Senior, 5-11, 175
    • Garrett Cunningham, DE, Senior
    • Nick Martone, RB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Andrew McCracken, LB, Senior
    • Joe Montiero, LB, Junior
    • Marcus Papas, WR/DB, Senior
    • Mike Wynott, WR, Senior

After posting a 5-6 record last season, Coach Gildea is excited for the upcoming season. “I am really excited to see the seniors play this year,” said Gildea. “They have really become leaders on the field.” One of those seniors is quarterback Vinny Cortina. Cortina hurled 15 touchdown passes last year and is expected to do more of the same this year. “Vinny dedicated his time in the off-season to football,” said Gildea. “He is motivated and really understands the offense.” Two receivers that Cortina will look for down the field in Belmont’s spread offense are Mike Wynott and Marcus Papas. On defense, the Marauders will use their speed to their advantage. “We have speed and assignment based defense,” said Gildea. “The players on defense will have to be in the right places for us to succeed.”

Lexington

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Athleticism.
  • Concerns: Offensive line.
  • Coach: Bill Tighe (59th season, at Lexington (34 years): 177-172-3; Overall Record:257-222-3)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 15 lettermen
    • Myles Adley, QB, Senior
    • Charles Blackett, OL, Senior
    • Kurtis Blettner, OL, Senior
    • Dean Coen, OL, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Peter Crampton, DE, Senior
    • Ben Curley, DB, Senior
    • Steven Dooley, LB, Senior
    • Derek Embry, TE, Senior
    • Patrick Haverty, DB, Senior
    • Matt Martel, HB, Senior
    • Jeremy Moss, DB/RB, Senior, 6-2, 185
    • Kaylin Pina, DB, Senior
    • James Simmons, OL, Senior
    • Matthew Wentzell, WR/DB, Senior, 6-2, 180
    • Andrew Zack, TE/LB, Senior, 6-1, 210

Bill Tighe, the oldest head coach in the country, enters his 34th season holding the reigns at Lexington High. Tighe hopes his team can improve upon last year's 4-7 record. To do that, Tighe knows that he needs improvement from his offensive line. "The offensive line is always the toughest part to get going," said Tighe. 6-4, 245-pound James Simmons will anchor the line and Tighe believes that Simmons will be coveted by college programs in the near future. Tighe is also impressed with the collection of athletes the Minutemen have. Tighe's main offensive philosophy will be to get the ball to his best athletes. "Myles Adley, our quarterback may be one of the best in the league," said Tighe. Tighe also praised safety Matt Wentzell and running back Jeremy Moss. Tighe hopes his veteran team can compete and help lead Lexington to the top of the Middlesex League.

Reading

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Experience, commitment and running backs.
  • Concerns: Depth and the defensive line
  • Coach: John Fiore (6th season, 30-23)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Stanley Andre, QB, Senior, 6-2, 233
    • Dan Bourque, OL, Senior, 6-3, 203
    • James Collins, OL, Senior, 6-1, 246
    • Matt Connery, OL/DL, Senior, 5-10, 205
    • Ross DiMattei, LB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Marc D'Agostino, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 162
    • Andrew Edson, OL/DE, Senior, 6-1, 235
    • Sean Gildea, WR, Senior, 6-0, 173
    • Larry Gilligan, DB, Senior, 5-9, 184
    • Brendan LeBlanc, TE/DE, Senior, 6-2, 178
    • Mike Lopez, OL, Senior, 5-11, 227
    • Pat Mahoney, WR/CB, Senior, 5-7, 155
    • Tino Perrina, RB/DB, Senior, 5-11, 196
    • Ryan Pollock, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 180

Reading hopes to rebound after a frustrating 20-12 loss to Walpole in the playoffs last season. Expectations are extremely high for the Rockets due to their performance last season. The good news for coach John Fiore is that he returns running backs Tino Perrina and Ryan Pollock along with quarterback Stanley Andre. Perrina broke the school scoring record last year before getting injured. While injured, Pollock stepped into the starting roll of running back and the Rockets didn't miss a beat. This year, Fiore will utilize the spread offense but run as much as possible. The Rockets also return a slew of offensive lineman who should clear paths for the running backs and allow time in the pocket for Andre. Defensively, there are some questions on the line, but Pollock will anchor the backfield at the strong safety position for the third straight year.

Winchester

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Skill Positions and speed.
  • Concerns: Depth and inexperience on the offensive line.
  • Coach: Paul Sobolewski (4th season, 16-17)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 20 lettermen
    • Tom Calvaretta, LB, Junior
    • Joey Cleary, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • Matt Cleary, DB, Junior
    • Owen Davis, DE/TE, Senior, 6-2, 220
    • Eric Ebbott, OL, Senior, 6-3, 235
    • Michael Greco, TE/LB, Senior
    • Chris Haffenreffer, DB, Senior
    • Alex Kohn, LB, Junior
    • Eddie Morton, DL, Junior
    • Rich Mpanga, RB, Junior
    • Andrew Nicastro, Rb, Senior
    • Pat Norris, OL, Junior, 5-9, 190
    • Sam Novicki, OL/LB, Senior, 6-0, 205
    • Paul Nowell, LB, Senior, 5-10, 190
    • Brandon Nowell, LB, Junior, 6-0, 180
    • Rob Pontrelli, OL/DL, Junior
    • Kyle Signor, OL/DL, Senior
    • Jay Sprague, QB, Senior
    • David Thomann, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • John Williams, DL, Senior

Coach Sobolewski is hoping that Winchester’s first Turkey Day victory against Woburn in 10 years will be a springboard for a successful 2009 campaign. Last season, the Sachems were bit severely by the injury bug. By week eight, 18 players had more than just bumps and bruises. The Winchester offense is geared around the team’s speed. “You have to be fast when you don’t have a big line,” said Sobolewski. “We want to get the ball to our skill players and let them get to the edge.” The Sachem defense is also centered on speed. “You have to go after the other team,” said Sobolewski. “You have to keep the opponent on their toes.” Two players Sobolewski singled out as players to watch are running backs Rich Mpanga and PJ Hickey. Mpanga, a junior, is a back who has tremendous speed and is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. Hickey, a transfer from Belmont Hill, is more of a grinder. Winchester will play all home games except for its Thanksgiving game at Woburn High due to construction.

Woburn

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Skill Players and team attitude.
  • Concerns: Overall depth, especially on the offensive line.
  • Coach: Rocky Nelson (24th season, 161-84)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Joe Angelo, OL/DL, Senior, 6-3, 275
    • Justin Flores, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Bill Gilgun, DE/P, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Nick Lund, TE, Junior, 6-7, 220
    • Chris Magaro, DE, Senior, 5-9, 175
    • Felipe Maia, OL/DL, Senior, 5-11, 245
    • Ryan McLaughlin, LB, Senior, 5-9, 175
    • Brian Murray, QB, Senior, 6-2, 175
    • Mike Spector, FB/LB, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • Matt Taylor, DE, Senior, 5-11, 200
    • Zack Thomas, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 180
    • Tyler Valentin, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 165

After years at or near the top of the Middlesex League, Woburn suffered through a transition year last season. This year, coach Rocky Nelson believes the experience gained last season will help restore Woburn to its competitive form. One player who can help do that is senior Justin Flores. The quarterback/running back was the biggest threat last season and Nelson will try and give him as many touches as possible this year. "Justin is one of the best athletes around," said Nelson. "He is a threat to go the distance every time he gets his hands on the ball. He will carry us." Defensively, Nelson is excited about his line and his defensive backs. "Skill in the defensive backfield is one of our strengths," said Nelson. "I also think we have good size along the defensive front." One area that Nelson wants to sort out is the situation at linebacker. If he can do that, expect Woburn to field a competitive and dangerous team.

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.