2011 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 2A CAL/NEC (Division 2)

Beverly

  • Last year's record: 6-7
  • Strength: Depth at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Experience on the lines.
  • Coach: Dan Bauer (9th season, 49-38 career record)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 15 lettermen
    • Dan Abate, RB/DB, Junior, 5-7, 160
    • Marc Babcock, OG/DL, Junior, 5-9, 225
    • Dan Brown, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 160
    • Rob Cattell, OT/DE, Junior, 6-3, 185
    • Mike Dooling, OT/DT, Junior, 5-11, 220
    • Brendan Flaherty, RB/DB, Junior, 6-1, 185
    • Mark Giles, TE/LB, Senior, 5-11, 185
    • Zach Hall, OT/LB, Junior, 6-1, 205
    • Brendan McGee, WR/DB, Junior, 6-0, 155
    • Kenny Pierce, RB/DB, Junior, 5-8, 155
    • Nick Quartarone, RB/LB, Senior, 5-10, 212
    • Dave Rollins, QB/DB, Junior, 6-0, 160
    • Ryan Shipp, WR/DB, Junior, 5-8, 145
    • Blake Sullivan, WR/LB, Senior, 6-0, 165
    • Nick Theriault, RB/DB, Senior, 5-7, 185

After dropping their first five games of the season last year the Panthers seemingly came from nowhere to take the Division 3 Super Bowl title. But after sweeping through the NEC Small, no one should have been surprised and certainly no one will be this season as all eyes will be on the defending champs to see if they can do it again. This season the Panthers will rely on their skill, a stark contrast from a year ago when their size and might on the lines helped pave the road to the Promised Land. Only one starting lineman, junior Marc Babcock, returns for the Panthers. The crowded offensive backfield will be led by junior running back Brendan Flaherty who had a breakout season with 15 rushing TDs and 5 receiving TDs a year ago. Nick Theriault and Mark Giles, both 2010 NEC All-Stars, will provide key contributions on both sides of the ball. The 2010 NEC Small champs will look to repeat the feat in the newly formed NEC/CAL Division 2. They will once again start the year with a tough non-conference schedule, facing the likes of Concord-Carlisle, Lynn English and Lynn Classical, all teams that defeated the Panthers at the beginning of last season.

Danvers

  • Last year's record: 1-9
  • Strength: Senior leadership, depth in the backfield.
  • Concerns: Installing a new quarterback.
  • Coach: Sean Rogers (2nd season, 1-9 career record)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Michael Connors, OL/DT, Senior, 6-0, 210
    • Tyler Dorra, RB/LB, Senior, 5-9, 190
    • Scott Hovey, LB, Senior, 6-2, 205
    • Joe Manson, DT, Junior, 6-2, 255
    • Connor Morrison, OG/DE, Junior, 6-0, 215
    • Paul Nicolo, DB, Senior, 6-1, 195
    • Jake Palazola, RB/LB, Senior, 6-1, 215
    • Steven St. Pierre, RB/DB, Senior
    • Alex Valles, RB/DB, Sophomore, 6-0, 175
    • Nick Valles, RB/LB, Senior, 5-11, 200

Coach Sean Rogers made it through his first season, a self-professed "bridge season," with hopes of a quick turnaround for the Falcons. There is no reason to think otherwise given the senior leadership on both sides of the ball. The defense will be anchored by senior captains Michael Connors, Paul Nicolo, and Scott Hovey. On offense, Danvers is loaded in the backfield with five legitimate options, headed up by seniors Tyler Dorra, captain Nick Valles and Steven St. Pierre. Ultimately, Rogers knows that it is tantamount for his team to hit the ground running. "We want to come out of the blocks flying and build momentum," said Rogers. "Last season we had a tendency to fall behind quickly in games. We found ourselves in a hole far too often and it was tough to come back from. So our main goal this season will be to jump on top early." Another aspect of the Falcons that will need to be on a fast track will be the quarterback position, where they will have a brand new starter for the third straight season.

Gloucester

  • Last year's record: 13-0
  • Strength: Winning tradition, work ethic, attitude.
  • Concerns: Size and depth on lines.
  • Coach: Tony Zerilli (1st season, 1st season, 0-0)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 21 lettermen
    • George Black, TE/DE, Junior, 6-0, 160
    • Chris Burke, LB/TE, Senior, 6-2, 200
    • Steve Cardone, OG/LB, Junior, 5-8, 150
    • Carlo Cracchiolo, RB/LB, Junior, 5-7, 140
    • Hayden Foley, OG/DT, Junior, 5-9, 195
    • Marc Giacalone, RB/LB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Daniel Gonzales, OG/DE, Senior, 6-0, 190
    • Lorenzo Gonzales, FB/LB, Junior, 5-8, 155
    • Joe Harmon, RB/LB, Senior, 5-8, 150
    • Mark Horgan, FB/LB, Junior, 5-8, 150
    • Tyler Ingersoll, OT/DT, Junior, 6-3, 280
    • Kyle Lucido, LB/RB, Senior, 5-8, 180
    • Santo Parisi, WR/LB, Junior, 5-7, 150
    • Zach Smith, RB/S, Junior, 6-0, 170
    • Vinny Spairani, WR/LB, Senior, 6-0, 140
    • D.J. Sudbay, WR/S, Junior, 5-10, 170
    • Matt Taormina, TE/DE, Senior, 6-1, 165
    • Lenny Taormina, QB/S, Junior, 5-10, 150
    • Austin Titus, OG/DE, Junior, 5-10, 165
    • Alex Webb, WR/LB, Junior, 6-1, 175
    • Josh Zubricki, OG, Senior, 5-6, 165

New head coach Tony Zerilli will have a pressure-filled campaign with expectations abound as he replaces legendary coach Paul Ingram. The Fishermen are coming off of back-to-back Super Bowl titles and are currently in the midst of 26-game winning streak. Throw in the loss of 22 seniors, including Jordan Shairs and his 31 touchdowns last season, and you can almost hear the pot boiling. The defending Division 1A Super Bowl champs will have a whole new slate of league opponents, albeit very familiar foes, as they slide to the NEC/CAL Division 2. Senior Joe Harmon and junior Mark Horgan should gain the bulk of the load on the ground and Lenny Taormina is in line to inherit the quarterback duties. Daniel Gonzales and Matt Taormina will provide senior leadership on the defensive lines and seniors Marc Giacalone and Kyle Lucido bring experience to the linebacking unit. After a season when the Fisherman scored 33.9 points per game and only allowed 10, there may be some growing pains. But if they can maintain within their own conference they could make the experience a little less painful. However they will be wearing a target all season long and every opponent will be gunning extra hard to halt that win streak and to take out the defending champs.

Marblehead

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Strong senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.
  • Coach: Jim Rudloff (3rd season, 15-9 career record)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Tyler Bates, CB, Junior, 5-11, 215
    • Bing Bial, WR/DB, Senior, 5-9, 175
    • Phil Coughlin, WR/DB, Senior, 6-3, 190
    • Colton Dana, TE, Senior, 6-1, 205
    • Oliver Gregory, LB, Senior, 5-11, 180
    • Joel Katz, G/LB, Senior, 5-9, 195
    • Kyle McCormack, DL, Junior, 5-11, 225
    • Jeff Peras, OL/DT, Senior, 6-4, 230
    • Will Quigley, RB/DB, Senior, 6-1, 200
    • Nick Schmidt, DB, Senior, 5-10, 200

The Magicians will be looking to bounce back after a sub-par 2010 season and with a strong senior class they have aspirations of being in the playoff hunt. "We are going to surprise some people," said third-year coach Jim Rudloff. Marblehead looks to be strongest in the offensive and defensive backfields and their linebacking core will play a key role in stopping opponents. Running back Will Quigley returns to lead the offense after his 18 touchdown outburst in 2010. Phil Coughlin, Bing Bial, Nick Schmidt and Quigley provide a solid core of returning defensive backs while Joel Katz, Oliver Gregory and Tyler Bates return to the linebacking unit. Many of the other positions have been up for grabs, including the quarterback spot which has been a two-man battle during pre-season. "We have a ton of competition at a lot of positions and that has helped these guys push each other and give it their all," said Rudloff. "Being competitive in practice helps us get strong every week because these kids are fighting for jobs where in the past positions may have been set in stone."

Salem

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Returning all starters on offensive and defensive lines; size.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at the skill positions.
  • Coach: Scott Connolly (8th season, 28-49 career record)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Brendan Broderick, LB/FB, Junior, 6-0, 210
    • Fernando Cabrera, TE/DE, Senior, 6-2, 225
    • Christian Dunston, QB, Junior, 5-11, 165
    • Cameron Harvey, C/DT, Junior, 6-0, 260
    • Wilson Jimenez, OG/DT, Junior, 6-0, 230
    • Jared Louf, OT/DT, Junior, 6-3, 260
    • Nick Paine, S/WR, Senior, 5-11, 175
    • Tommy Shute, OT/DT, Senior, 6-0, 250
    • Alex Veloukas, OG/DE, Junior, 6-1, 215

The Witches' five starting linemen from a year ago all return to plug both the offensive and defensive fronts. Senior Tommy Shute will captain the crew from the tackle positions while juniors Jared Louf, Wilson Jimenez, Cameron Harvey and Alex Veloukas fill the gaps. "It's the first time in my tenure that I've had all of my starting lineman return," said head coach Scott Connolly. "It's great security to have that." Gone, however are the experienced offensive weapons that scored an average of 22 points per game last year. Junior quarterback Christian Dunston will get a crack at trying to replace two-year starter Brad Skeffington. Dunston will be aided by the protection of his line which should allow time for plays to develop and hopefully aid in a quicker development at all of the skill spots. Senior Nick Paine and junior Brendan Broderick will provide experience in the defensive backfield. The Witches move into the new NEC/CAL Division 2 this year and the schedule has put all the emphasis on the season's second half, with non-conference games holding no weight in the post-season race. "It will be tough to keep the kids focused in light of the new alignment," said coach Connolly. "The challenge will be keeping them motivated so that we are not just getting started in October when the games mean more."

Swampscott

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Attitude, work habits and passing game.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at running back and depth.
  • Coach: Steve Dembowski (13th season, 92-45 career record)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 18 lettermen
    • Michael Bagarella, OL, Senior
    • A.J. Baker, WR, Senior, 6-0, 170
    • David Carrasco, LB, Junior
    • Joe DeSalvo, WR/LB, Senior
    • Ethan Forman, LB, Senior
    • Sam Gold, OL, Senior, 6-0, 193
    • Gabe Golden, WR/LB, Junior
    • Zach Kalapinski, LB/OT, Senior, 5-11, 188
    • Aidan Lang, LB, Senior, 6-1, 175
    • Mark Lausier, OL/LB, Senior, 5-11, 185
    • Nick Meninno, WR/DB, Senior
    • Evan Rhodes, LB, Senior
    • Josh Rothwell, WR/LB, Junior
    • Patrick Sheehan, OL/DL, Senior
    • Richard Sullivan, WR/LB, Senior, 6-0, 178
    • Michael Walsh, QB/FS, Senior, 6-2, 200
    • Michael Wynne, DT, Senior, 6-4, 222
    • Adbi Yusuf, OL, Senior, 6-3, 220

Coach Stephen Dembowski heads into his 13th season at the helm of the Big Blue and his squad is hungry to make it a memorable one, with solid playoff hopes thanks to a potent passing attack and balanced defense. Quarterback Michael Walsh, the 2010 Offensive MVP of the NEC Small, returns to guide the offense after a breakout season in which he had 3,000 total yards of offense. Wide receiver A.J. Baker, who has racked up 100 receptions over the last two seasons, will serve as Walsh's number one option from a stacked receiving core. Walsh should also benefit from time in the pocket with the return of four offensive linemen. Returning to the defensive side of the ball will be seniors Michael Wynne, Zach Kalapinski, Aidan Lang and Richard Sullivan. On the Special Teams, Baker and Sullivan will handle return duties while the kicking positions remain undecided at this point with sophomore Aiden Brawley holding an edge in the place kicker competition. "They have shown tremendous dedication in the off-season and are hungry to reach the post-season this year," said coach Dembowski.

3 games to watch

Sept
24

The Crimson Tide visit the Eagles in Week 3 for a rematch of last season’s Division 1 Super Bowl.

Oct
14

Marshfeld handed the Atlantic Coast League champs their only loss last season and this one could decide the league title again.

Nov
11
North Attleborough at Mansfield

Coaches Don Johnson and Mike Redding — former teammates at North Attleboro and Holy Cross — face off after each led their teams to impressive 10-1 seasons last fall.

Preseason Top 20

Rank Team Last year
1 Everett 12-0
2 Duxbury 13-0
3 BC High 6-4
4 Catholic Memorial 5-5
5 Brockton 8-3
6 Xaverian 8-3
7 Mansfield 12-1
8 St. John's Prep 8-5
9 Bridgewater-Raynham 10-3
10 Andover 8-4
11 Dracut 8-4
12 Weymouth 11-1
13 Concord-Carlisle 10-3
14 Dennis-Yarmouth 10-2
15 Lincoln-Sudbury 8-4
16 Reading 12-1
17 Gloucester 13-0
18 North Andover 10-2
19 Billerica 5-6
20 Chelmsford 7-4