2011 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 4 Commonwealth (Large)

Greater Lawrence

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Defense and running game
  • Concerns: Depth, replacing Joe Pizzuto at running back
  • Coach: Tony Sarkis (6th season, 41-35 career record.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Reggies have had a well-balanced running game over that last few seasons thanks to Joe Pizzuto. But with Pizzuto graduated, who do the Reggies turn to to carry the load? Senior Nick Sosa is one candidate and will also anchor the Reggies' defense. Yamarco Guzman appears to be the man under center but look for his impact to be on the defensive side of the ball as a ball hawking, speedy, cornerback.

Lynn Tech

  • Last year's record: 1-9
  • Strength: Character and work ethic.
  • Concerns: Experience.
  • Coach: James Runner (2nd season, 1-9)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Runner is enters his second season after an eventful first year. After being forced to forfeit their first two games of the season, Lynn Tech kept going on the downward spiral. A rejuvenated group lead by senior Pedro Martinez and junior Kennedy Gomez look to turn things around for the Tigers as Runner continues to establish the fundamentals. "That's the fastest way to get better," said Runner.

Northeast

  • Last year's record: 11-2
  • Strength: Hard work, team chemistry.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at the QB position, replacing All-Scholastic lineman.
  • Coach: Don Heres (6th season, 33-26)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 10 lettermen
    • Alejandro Arrano, OL, Junior
    • Ian Bagby, LB, Senior
    • Kenny Bartolo, RB/LB, Junior
    • Jerel Hickerson, OL/DL, Senior, 6-1, 245
    • Andrew Horgan, LB, Senior
    • Jonathan Hughes, DB, Senior, 5-10, 185
    • David Mahoney, QB, Senior
    • Bobby Novello, RB/DB, Senior
    • CJ Pettigrew, OL, Senior
    • Paul Scott, DB, Senior

Winning a league title for two consecuitve years isn't easy. Neither is winning the Div. 4A Super Bowl for two consecutive years, but the Northeast Knights have made all that look easy. Coach Heres has single-handedly turned this school into a hot bed for winning the past few years, but with the loss of All-Scholastic defensive lineman and Commonwealth Small co-MVP J.P. O'Connell, who anchored a monstrous defensive line, the Knights will be tested on their way to a three-peat. With Northeast moving up to the Commonwealth Large, one interesting storyline will be Northeast's battle with reigning Large champion Shawsheen.

Shawsheen

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Team attitude, enthusiasm, and versatility.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Albert Costabile (20th season, 126-78)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Rams are looking to build some continuity in their program as they look to repeat as Division 4 Super Bowl champions. Coach Al Costabile lost a group of seniors to graduation who led the Billerica school to its first ever Super Bowl title. Depth may become an issue but with an attitude cemented from a season ago, the Rams are poised for another run at the postseason.

Whittier

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Skilled at prime positions; Offensive line.
  • Concerns: Replacing leadership.
  • Coach: Kevin Bradley (11th season, 82-31 career record.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

It's all about getting off on the right foot for coach Kevin Bradley. The Wildcats are a perennial offensive juggernaut that are two years removed from a Super Bowl victory. Last fall they were not able to dig themselves out of an early hole. "If we win in the early going we will be dangerous," said Bradley. The strength is undoubtedly the offensive line which is anchored by a duo of seniors, Rudy Ortiz and Ryan Tragakis. Their work up front will make everyone else's job easier.

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