2011 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 3 Patriot (Fisher)

Hanover

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Team speed and senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on defense.
  • Coach: Brian King (4th season, 19-15)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Patrick Connors, Senior
    • Nick Elicone, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Nick Goba, Senior
    • Matt Lane, Senior, 5-9, 160
    • Ryan Wilson, Senior

Junior southpaw Ryan Bennett will be the new quarterback for Hanover. At 5-foot-11, 180-pounds Bennett has a nice balance of arm strength and accuracy. Touch may be an issue early on as he learns to play the position at the varsity level. Bennett will hand the ball off to senior captain Matt Lane, who rushed for just under 900-yards last season. At 5-foot-6, 155-pounds, Lane has good vision and runs downhill according to coach King. Pat Connors will be a jack of all trades on defense for the Indians. At 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, he'll take the majority of snaps at defensive end, but can play almost anywhere. After taking a year off from football, senior Pat Hannigan, who's an All-League lacrosse player, will infuse Hanover with more athleticism at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds. "With each game [Hannigan] seems to get more and more of his timing back. He'll make an impact," said King.

Middleborough

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Enthusiasm and energy.
  • Concerns: Uncertainty at the quarterback position.
  • Coach: Pat Kingman (1st season, 0-0)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 7 lettermen
    • Gregg Barber, RB/C, Senior, 5-11, 162
    • Alex Bean, WR/DB, Junior, 6-0, 150
    • Andrew Card, WR/QB, Junior, 6-2, 183
    • Josh Dyer, OL/DL, Junior, 6-1, 212
    • Alex Ilioth, RB/ILB, Junior, 6-2, 220
    • Derek Kapplinger, RB/ILB, Senior, 5-8, 215
    • Josh Teri, RB/DB, Senior, 5-9, 174

On just the second day of practice the Sachems, who graduated 15 starters from last year's team, lost their quarterback-to-be in Cory Rossi to a torn ACL. However, first-year coach Pat Kingman is optimistic about the season. Freshman Cody DiBiase has impressed in Rossi's absence with his presence in the huddle and calming effect on the team. Given the uncertainty under center, Middleboro will look to change its offense from a pass first style to a more run-oriented offense. The Sachems will utilize a two-headed attack at running back, as senior captain Josh Teri will share carries with junior Christian Bellarocco. Teri is a downhill power runner, while Bellarocco tends to use his quick feet to make cuts and slash away at the defenses. Look for captain Derick Kapplinger to use his experience to help anchor the Sachem defense from his middle linebacker position. "I want to win all 11," said coach Kingman. "I don't know what everyone else expects, but as long as we take care of ourselves, we're going to be okay."

Pembroke

  • Last year's record: 5-5
  • Strength: Overall team strength.
  • Concerns: Offensive line experience.
  • Coach: Robert Bancroft (29th season, 193-101-6)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Titans have six starters back, including quarterback Luke Nagle. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior captain will be relied on heavily. According to coach Bancroft, Nagle has a nice mix of arm strength, accuracy, and touch. He may have to show a quick trigger this season, as the Titans graduated four starters from last year's offensive line. Junior wide out, Tom Johnson will be looking to step up and take over the number-one wide receiver spot, as he battles for targets with Nick Burns, who also happens to be the back-up quarterback. Senior captain Jon Hooper will see the bulk of the carries at running back. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has a chance to be one of the premiere tailbacks in the league according to Bancroft. On the defensive side of the ball Pembroke has six returning starters, including four-year starter, Dan McCourt. At 6-foot-5, 260-pounds he's not easily intimidated, or run past. Look for Silver Lake transfer Tom Castanha to make an immediate impact at middle linebacker. At 6-foot-2, 240, Castanha's been extremely effective this preseason. "Last season we won some games because of our offense," said coach Bancroft. "This season we're looking to have a defense that can do the same."

Quincy

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Strong running game.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Coach: Bill Reardon (4th season, 11-22)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 5 lettermen
    • Reggie Cesar, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 200
    • Keenan Daniels, C, Senior, 6-0, 200
    • Jalen Green, RB/K, Senior
    • Jaquan Harris, Junior
    • Derrick Stone, WR, Junior

The quarterback position is still up for grabs in Quincy. Senior Curran Jorgensen and junior Andrew Schaaf are still "neck-and-neck" according to coach Reardon. One position where there's no conflict is running back. The Presidents will again look to Reggie Cesar. The senior captain is a two-time Patriot All-Star and has the potential to score every time he touches the ball. In 10 games last season Cesar rushed for 883 yards, averaging 11.3 yards-per-attempt. Cesar will again run through holes created by fellow captain Keenan Davis, who anchors the President offensive line. On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots are strong at the corner position with Jalen Green and Jaquan Harris, who both bring excellent athleticism to the team. They also have senior Nick Lepore back to apply pressure on the defensive line. "Going 4-7 last season was frustrating," said coach Reardon. "If we can stay healthy I think we'll look to turn the tables on some teams this season."

Scituate

  • Last year's record: 9-3
  • Strength: Off season work ethic led by the senior leadership and overall team speed.
  • Concerns: Just one returning starter on offense.
  • Coach: Herb Devine (4th season, 24-9)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Senior Lucas Varsano is stepping into the starting quarterback roll after doing so the past two seasons for the junior varsity. Varsano is an excellent athlete with experience at wide receiver as well as running back. Look for his athleticism to help spread the field for the Sailors, whose speed will have to make up for inexperience. Scituate has just one returning starter on offense and four on the defensive side of the ball. Look out for junior defensive end John Foster, last season was essentially a loss for him after concussion issues, but the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder has impressed in preseason play. Coach Devine expects the Sailors to boast a much more aggressive defense, saying, "We would love to have the defense carry us until the offense has a chance to really find itself."

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