2011 EMASS Football Preview

Find a team by

Div 3A South Coast

Apponequet

  • Last year's record: 9-2
  • Strength: Explosive offense.
  • Concerns: Depth on defense.
  • Coach: Robert Lomp (11th season, 83-26 career.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Apponequet's been at or near the top of the South Coast Conference for nearly a decade, and with numerous experienced, talented athletes back at coach Bob Lomp's disposal, 2011 likely won't be the end of that trend. Senior fullback Nate Michael leads a strong offensive 11 for the Lakers and is more than capable of crushing Apponequet's opponents to the tune of the 20-plus TDs he had last year as he helped the Lakers to a share of the South Coast title. He and senior running back Zack Nanfelt, who had 16 touchdowns as a sophomore before playing soccer in 2010, will give the Lakers the strongest ground game in the conference. Lomp said he expects Michael, also a linebacker, and Nanfelt, also a corner, to be leaders on the Lakers' experienced defense. While his defensive starters should manage to stifle opposing offenses, Lomp's second unit is young, and injuries to key contributors could hamper the Lakers' quest to return to the top of the conference. "We're going to score a lot of points," said Lomp. "We scored a lot the last few years. If our defense comes together, we have a shot to be in the mix."

Bourne

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Strong and experienced linemen.
  • Concerns: Depth, inexperienced quarterback.
  • Coach: John McIntyre (2nd season, 6-5 career)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

While 6-5 is hardly a record to boast about, Bourne's first season under coach John McIntyre was a major turnaround after a series of seasons spent as the conference doormat. Though the Canalmen return some key pieces, enough questions remain that continued ascendance is far from a foregone conclusion. Physical size and strength will prove to be one of the Canalmen's primary assets this season, as McIntyre said his offensive and defensive lines are the most competent, experienced segments of the field. Running back Joe Epps, who was a major part of last year's success is back and will, according to McIntyre, be the engine around which the Canalmen's offense will be built. Drew Girouard, defensive end, tight end and team captain, will also be important, and if Bourne hopes to build on 2010, running backs Marquis Rhodes, Chad Marsh and Jake Achstetter will need to show up every week. Inexperience at key positions, including quarterback, fullback and outside linebacker are among the biggest hurdles Bourne will face as they try to continue last year's momentum.

Dighton-Rehoboth

  • Last year's record: 9-3
  • Strength: Experienced offensive backfield.
  • Concerns: Defensive chemistry and inexperienced defensive line.
  • Coach: Dave Driscoll (31st season, 199-109-6)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 17 lettermen
    • Joe Alexander, TE/DE, Senior, 6-2, 230
    • Adam Benvie, RB/LB, Senior, 6-3, 210
    • Ethan Berry, RB/LB, Senior, 5-9, 185
    • Dan Carroll, G/E, Senior, 6-3, 210
    • Justen Galego, T/T, Senior, 6-0, 230
    • Joshua Gracia, G/LB, Senior, 5-5, 165
    • Mason Hinken, WR/S, Senior, 5-11, 175
    • Jarred Joyal, FB/CB, Senior, 5-8, 140
    • Tyler Lehane, TE/DE, Junior, 6-3, 210
    • Mike Mello, FB/CB, Junior, 5-6, 135
    • Jeff Miller, WR/CB, Senior, 5-9, 155
    • Chuddy Nwachukwu, T, Junior, 6-6, 315
    • Bryan Rocha, FB/CB, Senior, 5-9, 170
    • Andrew Salois, G/LB, Senior, 5-9, 185
    • Jacob Teixeira, G/LB, Junior, 5-8, 175
    • Kyle Terrien, RB/LB, Senior, 5-9, 175
    • Jerry Whitmore, QB/S, Senior, 5-8, 155

Last season, the Falcons railed off eight straight wins after an opening day loss to Somerset, but faltered in the home stretch, settling for conference co-champ status after a Thanksgiving upset at the hands of Seekonk. A week later they again fell to Somerset, this time in the MIAA Division 3 semis. So while their 9-3 finish was the envy of most of the conference, for coach Dave Driscoll, it was a disappointment. This preseason, though, has given Driscoll high hopes. Returning starters and captains Bryan Rocha (fullback/cornerback, and all-scholastic), Adam Benvie (halfback/linebacker) and Ethan Berry (halfback) give the Falcons a strong backfield on both sides of the ball that they'll lean on heavily this season. With a comparably green defensive line, that trio will have to be consistent start to finish if they hope to help the Falcons avoid a repeat of last year's late results. "I hope we can play consistently throughout," said Driscoll. "Last year we kinda fizzled, you don't like to see that. You like to see the building process [throughout the season]."

Greater New Bedford

  • Last year's record: 6-6
  • Strength: Running game, strong linemen.
  • Concerns: Passing game.
  • Coach: Chuck Allaire (5th season, 14-31)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

In years past, Greater New Bedford has gained plenty of yardage and points through the air, thanks to the strong arm of Drew Frenette. Shoddy defense, though, has been costly. Frenette's departure after last season has left a hole at the quarterback position as well as a Bears team looking to reinvent itself. Fortunately, Chuck Allaire has the tools to make some changes. The Bears' top two backs,6-foot 195-pound Tristan Clark and 6-foot 185-pound Cory Ponte will get the bulk of the carries and, by virtue of their size, should have their way with opposing defenses. Clark and Ponte are also key cogs in a heavily-tweaked Bears' defense that Allaire says is his best in five years. Though Greater New Bedford has many of the ingredients for success, the lack of an experienced signal-caller could still prove a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Old Rochester

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Henry Quinlan (8th season, 37-40 career)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Mike Asci, QB, Senior, 6-5, 185
    • Connor Bailey, OL/LB, Senior, 6-0, 205
    • Nolan Bergeron, RB/FS, Sophomore, 6-0, 170
    • Michael Durocher, WR/DB, Senior, 6-1, 155
    • Nick Holt, RB/LB, Senior, 6-0, 175
    • Oliver Lizotte, OL/DL, Senior, 6-0, 265
    • DJ MacDonald, RB/LB, Senior, 5-10, 170
    • Max Risch, WR/DB, Senior, 6-7, 195
    • Chris Roach, OL/LB, Senior, 5-11, 175

While their overall record places them near the bottom of the conference, Old Rochester, which plays a tough non-conference schedule, was a competitive 4-3 in the South Coast last year. While they're not likely to take the title this season, they'll definitely give their opponents a tough contest week after week. The Bulldogs benefit from the size of their QB, 6-foot 4-inch Mike Asci and their wideout 6-foot 6-inch Max Risch, whose height should help them penetrate their opponents' backfield. "Mike can see down the field easily, and we always have a height advantage of the perimeter," said Quinlan. "There's not a lot of 6-5 corners in our league." Running back D.J. MacDonald, also a linebacker, has the speed to make an impact on both sides of the ball. Old Rochester, with just 38 on the varsity roster, lacks the depth to absorb many injuries before it takes a toll on their season.

Seekonk

  • Last year's record: 8-2
  • Strength: Offensive line.
  • Concerns: Size, inexperienced at skill positions.
  • Coach: Jack Whalen (4th season, 19-12 career)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Last season was a tumultuous one for Seekonk, which opened the year with a middling 1-2 record through its first three games before winning eight straight, culminating in a Thanksgiving victory over conference co-champs Dighton-Rehoboth. The poor start still cost the otherwise-talented team a postseason berth, something coach Jack Whalen is hoping to avoid this season. The Warriors' have a pair of strong returners in running back Jack Kane and Michael Braunsdorf, the only all-leaguer from last year's team, who plays defensive end and offensive guard. The offensive linemen, many of whom are three-year starters, should make up for an inexperienced backfield. Other than Kane, the skill positions are also concerns for the Warriors.

Wareham

  • Last year's record: 1-10
  • Strength: Experience at skill positions.
  • Concerns: Tough schedule, youth.
  • Coach: Dan Nault (13th season, 75-59 career)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 16 lettermen
    • Anthony Abbott, RB/DB, Junior, 6-0, 180
    • Darien Fernandez, RB/DB, Junior, 5-9, 180
    • Ashley Filkins, TE/DE, Junior, 5-10, 170
    • Richard Fiorentino, OL/DL, Senior, 6-0, 290
    • Tyler Gomes, TE, Senior, 6-1, 190
    • Stephen Harrison, RB/DB, Senior, 6-0, 180
    • Billy Peterson, P, Senior, 5-11, 145
    • Richard Phillips, RB/DB, Junior, 5-10, 195
    • Angel Rodriguez, OL/DL, Junior, 5-10, 215
    • Quintin Silveira, TE, Junior, 6-7, 215
    • Josh Simmons, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 250
    • Eric Souza, RB/DB, Senior, 5-7, 150
    • Cody Stahmer, SE/DB, Junior, 6-2, 170
    • Tom Sullivan, OL/DL, Senior, 5-9, 190
    • Charles Tranfaglia, RB/LB, Junior, 5-10, 190
    • David Winters, OL/DL, Senior, 5-10, 250

Wareham struggled last season after losing 18 members of a 2009 team that had gone 8-3 and tied for second in the conference. Most of last year's replacements were sophomores and juniors, though, and with another year of growth and experience under their belts, may just surprise opponents expecting more of the same from Wareham. "I think we're going to be much better, I think we're going to be more competitive," said coach Dan Nault. "How competitive we're going to be is basically how well we continue to work hard." Among the biggest changes to this year's edition of the Vikings is a switch from a run-based offense to a spread, receiver-heavy offense. Six-foot-7-inch Quintin Silveira and 6-5 Jeff Houde should have an advantage over most of the defensive backs in the conference. Running backs Charles Transfaglia and Darien Fernandez should also be key contributors. The Vikings will know just how much they've grown by the third week of the season, after three tough battles against New Bedford, Dighton-Rehoboth and Somerset, all of them 2011 playoff veterans.

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