2009 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 3 South Coast

Apponequet

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Skill position depth, winning tradition.
  • Concerns: Depth on offensive line, kicking game.
  • Coach: Robert Lomp (9th season, 66-21)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 13 lettermen
    • Joe Bianchini, RB/DT, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Scott Diniz, OL/DL, Senior, 6-1, 220
    • Tate Doehler, OL/LB, Senior, 6-0, 225
    • Bryan Flanagan, TE/DE, Senior, 6-1, 200
    • Jimmy Gold, OL/DL, Senior, 5-6, 180
    • Myles Greene, OL/DL, Junior, 5-11, 240
    • Matt Hoffman, RB/DB, Junior, 5-11, 180
    • John Hoffman, TE/LB, Junior, 5-11, 190
    • Nick Howarth, OL/DL, Sophomore, 5-10, 180
    • Nick Kennedy, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 165
    • Steve Laraia, RB/DB, Senior, 5-10, 185
    • Nate Michael, RB/LB, Sophomore, 5-8, 165
    • Matt Schell, QB/DB, Junior, 5-8, 150

How exactly does one top an undefeated season? It's not the worst question a team could ask itself but coach Robert Lomp is not too worried - after all, they've had eight winning seasons in a row and they don't plan on stopping that streak anytime soon. "Apponequet has a tradition of winning," said Lomp. "The kids here right now have all witnessed that and that has given them a winning attitude ... they know it's their time now and they're working hard to keep up with previous results." One obstacle in the Lakers way is overcoming the loss of 16 seniors to graduation, including quarterback Mike Winjuski who went 15-0 against SCC opponents in his career. As of now, they only have seven seniors on the roster. According to Lomp, this will be the youngest team he has ever coached in his nine years in Lakeville. Nevertheless, the Lakers see some burgeoning talent amongst their youthful roster including junior quarterback Matt Schell who was the junior varsity QB last season. Amongst his strengths are his ability to throw on the run, his quickness, and elusiveness. "[Winjuski] is going to be tough to replace but Schell separated himself from the rest of the [quarterback] competition right away," said Lomp. "We graduated someone great last year but I'm pleasantly surprised with Schell. He's going to be a different quarterback from Mike and he's going to find his own way to win." Defensively the team will rely on Tate Doehler at middle linebacker to be the leader. He was an all-conference player last season and is a part of a solid line-backing group that Lomp considers the strength of the defense.

Bourne

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Skill positions, speed, and experience.
  • Concerns: Kicking game.
  • Coach: Karl Armstrong (2nd season, 2-9)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Matt Beauregard, FB/LB, Senior, 5-10, 180
    • Zack Chick, LB, Junior
    • Rob Collett, OL/DL, Senior
    • Dino Giancola, OL/LB, Senior
    • Jimmy Halliday, DB, Junior
    • John Kilfoil, DL/OL, Senior
    • Shane Lydon, DL, Senior
    • Billy Lynch, OL, Senior
    • John Page, RB/DB, Junior, 5-10, 175
    • Anthony Picciandra, SP/K, Senior

Of course, winning is the main priority of most football programs but for coach Karl Armstrong, it is crucial that his team win early. Armstrong wants the team to change it's recent history of less-than-stellar seasons and also create a positive attitude that should last throughout the season. "I want us to have success early because if we don't it's easy to think, 'Oh, it's just like last year,'" said Armstrong. He has already seen his team make significant strides since the previous season, however. He sees the team being much more aggressive compared to Canalmen of years past. Much of that physical play can be seen in the offensive line, which will feature all seniors. In fact, Bourne only graduated five seniors this past year so experience at the varsity should not be too much of a problem. The offensive line will create paths for a deep backfield led by senior Matt Beauregard who combines speed with outstanding strength. Behind him is 6-0, 200 lb. sophomore Joe Epps, who Armstrong believes should make a lot of waves in the South Coast Conference this season. Rounding out this talented group are senior running back Chris McNally, a league all-star last year, and junior John Page, who was one of the team's leading rushers. Armstrong also sees a vast improvement in his defense from the previous season where he said "people came out and ran on us at will." Key players will be senior defensive linemen Rob Collett, a conference all-star, and John Kilfoil. A player who Armstrong believes will make an immediate impact on the team is sophomore safety Sam Schrader, who would have started for the team last season if it had not been for a hip injury that ended his season before it began. "He's going to be huge for our defense this year," said Armstrong. "We haven't had a good safety play for us in the last couple of years -- we depend on our safety to make tackles and he could really surprise people."

Case

  • Last year's record: 1-9
  • Strength: Offensive line.
  • Concerns: Lack of experience.
  • Coach: Ryan Moniz (2nd season, 1-9)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Steven Carberry, RB/LB, Junior, 6-1, 175
    • James Franco, RB/DB, Senior, 5-10, 175
    • Craig Garvin, OL/DL, Senior, 5-10, 245
    • Adam Gibeau, OL/DL, Senior, 6-1, 285
    • Zac Sousa, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 165
    • Alex Travers, QB/DB, Senior, 5-10, 165

After only winning one game last season, coach Moniz sees a fire in his team that he believes will lead to a much better record. “They are striving to become a better football team both individually and collectively,” said Moniz. “They already have been responding to adverse situations early on this preseason.” One of the bright spots for this new Cardinals team is their offensive line which will feature three returning starters. Moniz believes the combination of good strength and technique will allow the offensive line to push the entire offense to a high level of play. The offense will feature a strong set of wide receivers with speed and athleticism - Tevin Bienaime and Taylor Furtado — the only starting freshmen on the team. Senior running back James Franco, who tore his ACL in the fifth game of the season last year, will be a welcome addition to the offense. He was the team’s leading rusher in spite of the injury and he has rehabbed much quicker than expected. “It shows a lot about his character,” said Moniz. “He’s going to be valuable for us in our games this season.” The loss of Franco to injury was one of the key injuries in a sub-par 2008 campaign. They also lost another running back to a torn MCL who has since graduated. Moniz believes that the team has a much better chance at staying competitive as they head into the season with a fresh roster and a fresh perspective.

Dighton-Rehoboth

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Team defense.
  • Coach: Dave Driscoll (29th season, 181-103-6)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 7 lettermen
    • Tyler Berry, FB/LB, Senior, 5-6, 190
    • Ryan Bettancourt, HB/FS, Junior, 6-2, 175
    • Shane Caito, RB/LB, Senior, 5-8, 176
    • Brett Crotteau, QB/FS, Senior, 6-2, 185
    • Brian Espinosa, SE/CB, Senior, 5-10, 155
    • Mike Goulden, SE/CB, Senior, 6-3, 185
    • Tom Harrington, Rb/CB, Senior, 5-8, 140

Most high school football coaches will tell you that the key to winning typically depends on the number of seniors on your roster. Luckily for Dighton-Rehoboth, its roster boasts a grand total of 14 seniors — most of whom who have played at the varsity level for at least two years. Coach Dave Driscoll has high hopes for a team that he believes was much better than their previous season record indicates. “I thought we could have won three of the eight games we lost last year with a little better tackling and blocking,” said Driscoll. “We didn’t perform well on the basic fundamentals in football — we need to block better on offense and we need to tackle better on defense.” While the team defense is something that could make or break the season, the Falcons bring back some key components from last year’s offense that could garner some wins. Senior wide receiver Brian Espinosa was an all-league player last season and his speed and his hands could make him a force to be reckoned with this season. Along with seniors Mike Goulden and Tom Harrington, the receiving core is one of the team’s huge strengths. Driscoll also hopes that senior running back Tyler Berry, a hardnosed north-south runner, can also have a strong season. “We hope [Berry’s] the threat up the middle and Espinosa is threat on the outside for opposing defenses,” said Driscoll.

Fairhaven

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Team speed.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Scott Francis (3rd season, 8-13)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Dan Houle, TE/DE, Senior, 6-3, 225
    • Zach LeBlanc, FB/LB, Junior, 5-11, 151
    • Taylor Motta, QB/LB, Senior, 6-2, 185
    • Myles Perron-Sovick, RB/S, Senior, 5-11, 170
    • Eric Stroud, RB/LB, Senior, 5-6, 176

Entering his third year as coach at Fairhaven, Scott Francis believes that this year’s team will make a mark in the South Coast Conference. While the 5-6 overall record may not seem very impressive, the Blue Devils still won five out of their eight league games. “Last year, I still considered the team young,” said Francis. “Mostly juniors or first-year varsity players but we still turned our program around with a 5-3 record in the conference.” In fact, three of their losses were against teams that had a combined 30-3 record, including Division 1 Dartmouth. Francis feels Fairhaven can continue that momentum, especially since it returns seven starters on both offense and defense. One major change in the offense will be the conversion of senior fullback Taylor Motta to quarterback. Last season, he served as the team’s backup quarterback and this year, he is going to take the reigns and lead the offense. “He knows the offense,” said Francis. “He has speed, athleticism and a head for the game. He's the key to our offense in the wishbone formation.” He will be behind a solid offensive line that has four returning starters but Motta might be more of an asset on the defensive side of the ball where he and fellow outside linebacker Eric Stroud stand out amongst a deep group of linebackers.

Greater New Bedford

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Skill positions.
  • Concerns: Strength upfront.
  • Coach: Chuck Allaire (3rd season, 4-18)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 2 lettermen
    • Jordan Burris, RB/S, Senior, 6-0, 165
    • David Silveira, RB/DB, Junior, 5-6, 150

Greater New Bedford coach Chuck Allaire assumed that this year’s team would focus on the running game but that may not be the case. The discovery of 6-0 junior quarterback Drew Frenette has Allaire excited for what the passing game may hold. “Frenette has a very, very quick arm,” said Allaire. “Perhaps the best arm we’ve had since we’ve been here.” On the receiving end of Frenette’s passes will be senior wide out Jordan Burris who Allaire believes is one of the top 10 players in the conference. “He has great hands and he'll break away from the pack when he catches it with his speed,” said Allaire. “Defensively he’ll probably lead the team with tackles too. He's just a pure football player.” Junior running back David Silveira, who played in a handful of varsity games last season, will be the featured back this season and according to Allaire he has gotten himself much stronger in the off season and will be one of the better running backs in the conference. However, the defense will be missing two junior linemen this season due to preseason injuries — James Mellow and Justyn Walker. Allaire hopes that for what they lack in size on the defensive side of the ball, they can make up for in speed.

Old Rochester

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Depth
  • Concerns: Lack of experience on offensive line and defensive line.
  • Coach: Henry Quinlan (6th season, 29-26)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Hunter Black, RB/LB, Senior, 5-10, 195
    • Myles Hubert, RB/LB, Senior, 6-0, 205
    • Zach Millwood, WR/DB, Senior, 6-1, 175
    • Brandon Petty, Rb/LB, Senior, 5-10, 175
    • Mike Sweeney, RB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 175
    • Bryan Teefy, QB, Senior, 5-10, 180

With eleven returning starters, coach Henry Quinlan can safely say that team depth is not much of an issue. In fact, nearly every starter had to face steep competition from the backups during practice and there are several seniors who won't even be starting. Even though this is a junior-heavy roster, Quinlan feels that he has enough talent to perhaps overcome the inexperience and improve upon last season's 7-4 record. "We're starting a lot of juniors but we're bigger than we were last year and stronger," said Quinlan. "You tend to start slow and get better as the year goes on. Already we have gotten better with every practice and scrimmage." One of the positions ripe with talent is the linebacking corps. Three of the linebackers on the team are also team captains. "I think we have very good speed at the linebacker position--probably as good as anyone in the league," said Quinlan. "I think our linebackers as a unit are probably the strongest unit on the team." One player featured in that group is senior Brandon Petty who moved to position after being a defensive back last season. Quinlan believes he is Old Rochester's "best overall player." That being said, the offense also features good depth in the backfield and some playmakers namely in the receiving corps. Senior Zach Midwood, 6-1, and sophomore Max Risch, 6-4, pose a formidable threat to the secondaries of opposing teams because of their height and speed. Quinlan sees the young Risch making a name for himself in the SCC this season.

Seekonk

  • Last year's record: 6-4
  • Strength: Skill position players.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Jack Whalen (2nd season, 6-4)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • D.J. Anderson, WR/DB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Sean Heany, WR/Db, Junior, 5-8, 160
    • Andrew Killian, WR, Junior, 6-1, 185
    • Jake Lyman, QB/LB, Junior, 5-10, 175
    • Kevin Pomerleau, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 170
    • Joe Texeira, RB/LB, Senior, 5-9, 195

In his first season as head coach, Jack Whalen helped lead the team to a 6-4 record. “We’re a young team,” said Whalen. “But that just means that they’re going to get better every week. They’re already coming along real well in the preseason...we think we have the right players in place to beat the other teams.” In order to capitalize on the talent of their skill position players, Whalen is adjusting the offense and will utilize more of a spread offense. The offense will be led by senior wide receiver D.J. Anderson, who not only has great hands but is able to gain yards after the catch. All-conference player Joe Texeira is another player to look out for and in his last year as a Warrior, Whalen expects “big things from him both as a player and a leader.” Like most teams, however, depth will be a huge issue down the road. The team may have a strong group of starting players but the next group of players is still very young, very raw. They lost offensive and defensive linemen Nick Bitsis for the year after he was injured in a July accident. While the injury is a lamentable one, Whalen sees his team using it as extra motivation to do well this season. “Anytime you lose a leader, it hurts but for our kids it’s been a rallying point,” said Whalen. “The players have been pulling for him every day.”

Wareham

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Senior class.
  • Concerns: Inexperience in the offensive line.
  • Coach: Dan Nault (11th season, 66-46)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Marcus Barber, WR/DB, Senior, 6-2, 190
    • E.J. Bennett, Rb/DB, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • Matt Bennett, RB/DB, Senior, 5-7, 160
    • Chris Brown, RB/LB, Senior, 5-6, 170
    • Jon Lydon, QB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Patrick Murphy, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 185
    • Ryan Pina, TE/DE, Senior, 6-3, 200
    • Dylon Pyne, TE/DL, Senior, 6-5, 220
    • Jules Tavares, RB/DB, Senior, 6-2, 190

They did not win the conference title last year, but Wareham is poised to contend for the top spot in the South Coast Conference this year. Wareham graduated 18 seniors but for the Vikings, its just business as usual since they are used to seeing a large group of seniors come and go. One of the changes from last season is the sacrifice of size for quickness. “I think this years team is a much quicker, stronger, and athletic team,” said coach Dan Nault. “We’re definitely not as big as before.” Where the team does have size is in the wide receiver position where they will depend upon 6'3" Ryan Pina and 6'2" Jordan Rezendes. They will be catching passes from returning starter and all-conference quarterback, Jon Lydon, in his second season as signal caller after converting from a tight end. “Lydon had 15 touchdown passes in a running offense so last season was a very good experience for him,” said Nault. With Lydon and running backs Patrick Murphy and E.J. Bennett, Wareham brings back an all-conference backfield. They also bring back their entire secondary from the previous season as well as their defensive ends. The only changes to the defense are in the linebackers and interior defensive line. Even so, Nault believes that this year’s group of replacements could be better than last seasons.

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.