2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 2 Middlesex (Small)

Burlington

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Toughness and skill players.
  • Concerns: Inexperience. Few have varsity experience.
  • Coach: Shawn Maguire (16th season, 100-67-5)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Zach Carter, OL/DL, Senior, 6-1, 235
    • Tyler Falconer, OL/DE, Senior, 5-10, 205
    • Stefan Gochis, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 175
    • Joe Hoffman, LB/OL, Junior, 5-10, 215
    • Sean Moran, TE/DE, Senior, 6-2, 235
    • Andrew Murkidjanian, WR/DB, Senior, 6-2, 185
    • Dan Murphy, WR/DB, Senior, 6-2, 180
    • Shayne O'Neil, RB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 195
    • Tim Segujja, DL/OL, Senior, 6-1, 225
    • Kyle Shields, FB/LB, Sophomore, 5-9, 205
    • Brian Tait, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Robert Walsh, QB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 175

Burlington will go as far as their inexperience players progress. "We have good pieces," said coach Maguire. "How quick they come along will define how we play." Maguire hopes that his senior leaders can impart their wisdom on the more green players on the team. One player Maguire hopes will have a breakout season is running back Shayne O'Neil. "Shayne is one of the best backs in the Middlesex League," said Maguire. "He is fast and is very physical. He runs mad." Maguire is also looking for Dan Murphy and Sean Moran to be outlets in the passing game. Maguire is also optimistic yet worried about his defense. "We have a very young defense," he said. "They are physical but they still have to gel."

Melrose

  • Last year's record: 8-2
  • Strength: Experience at linebacker
  • Concerns: Inexperience and depth, especially on the lines.
  • Coach: Tim Morris (16th season, 79-62-4)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 18 lettermen
    • Cam Callan, OL, Senior
    • Jason Campbell, LB, Senior, 6-0, 193
    • Chris Doherty, DE, Senior
    • Derek Dortch, DB, Senior
    • Jimmy Fluellen, WR, Senior
    • Will Gardiner, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 172
    • Peter Hanson, WR, Senior
    • Jamie Herrera, LB, Senior
    • Garrett Larsson, K/LB, Senior
    • Jack Moriarty, WR, Senior
    • Tom Murphy, QB, Senior
    • Ben Ouellette, OL, Junior
    • Joe Sasso, LB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Alex Teixeira, DE, Senior
    • John Upton, RB, Senior
    • Pablo Veliz, OL, Senior
    • Matt Williams, OL, Senior
    • Rob Zucchari, Junior

Coach Tim Morris enjoyed an 8-2 season last year. This year, only three starters return and Morris is looking for players to step up. Linebacker Joe Sasso and wide receiver/defensive back Will Gardiner will be relied on to provide senior leadership and tutor the younger players. Sasso will team with Jason Campbell to form a formidable duo at linebacker. Offensively, Morris is looking for Tom Murphy to step in and fill the vacancy at quarterback after Jack Pizzotti graduated. Last season, Pizzotti was Melrose's biggest threat, rushing for 21 touchdowns. While Murphy has some big shoes to fill, Morris is confident that Murphy will play well. "Tom is coming along," said Morris. "He has worked on his mechanics and is getting more and more comfortable every day." Murphy will be expected to run from under center just like Pizzotti did last year. Morris is concerned about his line play due to the fact that he has 0 returning starters in the trenches. "Our lineman really have to develop over the next few weeks," said Morris.

Stoneham

  • Last year's record: 1-10
  • Strength: Speed and athleticism.
  • Concerns: Depth and inexperience.
  • Coach: Dave Wilcox (2nd season, 1-10)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Kris Angelosanto, FB/LB, Senior, 6-0, 225
    • Mike Cocuzzo, RB/LB, Senior, 5-8, 165
    • Michael Greaves, OL/DL, Senior, 6-1, 250
    • Mike LeBrun, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 170
    • John Macone, OL/DL, Senior, 6-2, 250
    • Dave Messuri, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 205
    • Chris Mooney, OL/DL, Junior, 6-2, 265
    • Shaaz Nomani, OL/DL, Senior, 5-10, 240
    • Billy Raczkowski, P/LB, Senior, 5-9, 190
    • Nick Saba, RB/LB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • John Thain, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 170
    • Paul Wilson, QB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 175

After struggling to a 1-10 record in his first year as coach, Wilcox is beginning to see the makings of a competitive team. Wilcox is stressing the one game at a time mentality and his players are buying into it. The Spartans have an intriguing bunch of athletes and skill players. The speed of the team is what Wilcox will rely on to keep Stoneham in games. “We are a team predicated on speed and on defense we want to use that speed to become a ball-hawking defense,” said Wilcox. One of those speedy defensive players is defensive back Paul Wilson. Wilson was one of the stoutest defensive players for the Spartans. This year, however, Wilcox will ask even more of Wilson. Wilcox hopes that Wilson can bring his competitiveness and athleticism to the quarterback spot and lead the team. Another player to watch is Mike LeBrun. Stoneham will use the shifty running back as a receiver and runner in order to get him out in space. One of the biggest concerns for the Spartans is the offensive line. “We have some size at offensive line but we have no depth,” said Wilcox. In order for the Spartans to rise out of the cellar of the Middlesex League, they will have to mask their deficiencies with their athleticism.

Wakefield

  • Last year's record: 8-1
  • Strength: Winning tradition.
  • Concerns: Lack of experience on both sides of the ball.
  • Coach: Mike Boyages (13th season, 90-34-3)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 15 lettermen
    • John Carano, OL/DL, Senior, 6-0, 250
    • Vin DiSciscio, RB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 170
    • Tom Dorney, OL/DL, Senior, 6-0, 225
    • Zach Duffy, QB/DB, Senior, 5-11, 170
    • Chris Galli, OL/LB, Senior, 6-0, 225
    • Nick Haley, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 170
    • Greg Hampton-Boyd, FB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 185
    • Mike Holler, OL/LB, Senior, 6-0, 225
    • Mike Hubbard, OL/DL, Senior, 6-5, 270
    • Matt Lincoff, TE/DE, Senior, 6-2, 225
    • Brendan Looby, WR/DB, Junior, 5-10, 165
    • Jon Puccio, SE/DB, Senior, 6-0, 200
    • Ervin St. Jean, RB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 175
    • Dan Tartarini, OL/DE, Senior, 6-2, 225
    • Shane Taylor, WR/DB, Senior, 6-2, 205

After a successful 8-1 season last year, Wakefield has a lot of holes to fill. 85 percent of the starters last year graduated. Coach Mike Boyages also has to replace the production of Martin Hyppolite, who is playing at UConn. "You can't replace a player like Martin," said Boyages. "We have kids with potential but we aren't going to pigeonhole ourself by relying on one offense. We will feel out what type of team we are." One player who Boyages hopes can have a productive year is wide receiver Shane Taylor. "Shane is our most dynamic player," said Boyages. An area where Wakefield is strong is at linebacker. The Warriors also have some size on the defensive line. "Hopefully our defensive line can clog the holes and that will let our linebackers flow to the ball and make plays."

Watertown

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Offensive skill players.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Cacace (3rd season, 5-17)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Rich Brennan, WR/DB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Morris Centeno, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 240
    • Steven Jewers, OL, Senior, 5-9, 220
    • CJ Logan, QB, Junior, 5-10, 180
    • Nick Mahjoubi, FB/DL, Senior, 6-2, 195
    • Luke McElroy, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 150
    • Steven Miller, DE, Senior, 5-6, 205
    • Bliss Payne, RB, Junior, 5-7, 155
    • Dillon Riley, RB/LB, Senior, 5-6, 160
    • Tyler Romanelli, DB, Junior, 5-8, 135
    • Tyler Spence, OL/LB, Junior, 5-10, 185
    • Scott Stafford, TE/LB, Senior, 5-10, 205

The 2009 season marks Watertown's move back into the Middlesex League. The Red Raiders will play in the Middlesex Small division and any games against the Middlesex Large won't count towards their league record. That said, coach John Cacace thinks his team has the potential to take another step forward in its rebuilding process. Watertown has a solid foundation to their rebuilding in junior quarterback CJ Logan. "CJ is our offensive leader," said Cacace. "He is a dynamic runner and passer and will have to distribute the ball around." Another player Cacace thinks could be a difference maker is running back Bliss Payne. "He is a big time playmaker and very explosive," said Cacace. Cacace also expects his offensive line and secondary to be solid performers this season. The main concern for Cacace is being able to get opponents off the field and get his offense back on.

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.