2012 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 2A Bay State

Milton

  • Last year's record: 1-10
  • Strength: Youthful experience on offense.
  • Concerns: Defensive backs.
  • Coach: Jim Bowes (4th season, 6-27)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Liam Collins, QB, 2014, 5-8, 165
    • Andrew Hutch, DT/TE, 2013, 6-1, 225
    • Zack Mazzarella, OT, 2014, 6-2, 241
    • Connor Regan, LB, 2013, 6-0, 220
    • Ryan Rizzo, WR/DB, 2013, 5-11, 180
    • Kevin Sampson, OT, 2014, 6-0, 210

The Wildcats once again went through some growing pains during a one-win campaign a season ago. The good news is that the "Irish Connection" of quarterback Liam Collins (eight touchdown passes)and receiver Colin O'Brien (three TD receptions), now both juniors, return with some fantastic on-the-job training under their belt. Another set of juniors, Zack Mazzarella and Kevin Sampson, will also be vital to the offensive success as they man the tackle positions, both excellent blockers in the passing and rushing game. Senior tight end Andrew Hutch could also serve as a nice target for Collins and should also be a concern for the opposing offensive lines when he steps into his defensive tackle role. Behind Hutch, senior Connor Regan provides the pop from the linebacking corps. As this group continues to mature and gain vital experience, the Wildcats could find themselves sneaking up on a few teams.

Natick

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on both lines.
  • Coach: Mark Mortarelli (3rd season, 14-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 11 lettermen
    • Mike Abbruzzese, DB, 2014, 5-11, 165
    • Robby Beauseleil, OL/DL, 2013, 6-0, 285
    • Andrew Boynton, WR, 2014, 5-8, 155
    • Ross Brayman, DE/TE, 2013, 6-3, 195
    • Brian Dunlap, WR, 2015, 5-11, 170
    • Mike Dunlap, LB, 2013, 6-0, 190
    • Troy Flutie, QB, 2014, 6-0, 175
    • Zach Hilger, LB/RB, 2013, 5-10, 195
    • Alex Hilger, WR/DB, 2014, 6-2, 165
    • Nick Lee, RB, 2013, 5-10, 190
    • Jack Lowell, LB/RB, 2013, 5-10, 195

The Red & Blue improved once again under the guidance of Mark Mortarelli, who finds himself in a inverse situation from a year ago. No longer are his offense and defensive lines the strength of this team. Now the onus is on the skill positions where Troy Flutie (2,100 yards, 21 touchdown passes) and Brian Dunlap (69 receptions, 1,100 yards) look to build on the successes of a season ago. Dunlap was a force as a breakout freshman star at receiver, catching 14 touchdown passes en route to a 110-point season. Alex Hilger, Andrew Boynton, and Nick Lee will also be viable options for Flutie and the offense. On the defensive side of the ball returning linebackers Mike Dunlap, Jack Lowell, and Zack Hilger may be forced to make up for any lapses up front, but this unit is more than capable of stuffing the gaps. Defensive backs Alex Hilger and Mike Abbruzzese provide ample experience to combat against any passing attack. In total, the Red & Blue return 21 lettermen towards their quest of claiming a Bay State Herget crown. "We had a great offseason and return some key players on both sides of the ball," said Mortarelli. "We hope to add to the things we did offensively last year and play solid defense."

Norwood

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Deep sill position group, veterans along the offensive and defensive line.
  • Concerns: Experience especially at the skill positions
  • Coach: John Sarianides (3rd season, 10-12.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 8 lettermen
    • Sean Callahan, WR/SS, 2013, 6-0, 190
    • Jon Ciavattone, OT/DE, 2013, 6-2, 230
    • Dan DiTomasso, DL/OL, 2013, 6-1, 225
    • Pat Foley, LB, 2013, 5-10, 205
    • Lonnie Garrison, FB/DE, 2013, 5-11, 200
    • T.J. George, DB, 2013, 5-11, 175
    • Ryan Igoe, RB, 2013, 5-6, 155
    • John Nardelli, QB/SS, 2013, 5-9, 160

Coach John Sarianides finally got the Mustangs over the hump after a back-to-back 3-8 campaigns. They will no longer be viewed as the "dark horse" that Sarianides pegged them as a year ago. Now confident and capable, Norwood will look to improve on last season's success, yet will have to do so with a work-in-progress offense. The Mustangs lost their top five scorers from a year ago, so someone will need to step up and spark that offense. It could very well could be Ryan Igoe, whose speed and quickness is elusive enough out of the backfield to make things happen. The offensive and defensive lines will gain a lot from the return of Jon Ciavattone, and senior linebacker Pat Foley will spearhead the defense in the middle. " We have a good senior class and we're going to be leaning on them to lead our football team in 2012. "As always, our goal is to compete for the Bay State Herget title and a playoff spot," said Sariandies. "We feel we have the pieces in place in be in the hunt. We really challenged ourselves with our scrimmages so we'll see where we stand by the first weekend in October. As a staff, we really like our team"

Walpole

  • Last year's record: 9-3
  • Strength: Leadership in seniors.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on lines and in secondary.
  • Coach: Barry Greener (4th season, 29-6)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Chris Collins, DE/TE, 2013, 6-4, 260
    • Dave Driscoll, LB/OL, 2013, 6-0, 190
    • Ryan Finn, LB, 2013, 5-11, 180
    • Cam Hanley, LB/RB, 2013, 5-10, 210
    • P.J. Hayes, WR, 2013, 5-10, 170
    • Ricky Ordway, OL/DL, 2013, 6-0, 260
    • Mike Rando, RB/DB, 2013, 5-10, 180
    • Steve Thulin, RB/LB, 2013, 5-9, 190
    • Brad Webber, DB, 2013, 6-3, 195

A fourth straight Bay State Herget title is the initial goal for the Rebels, but the return of an experienced core of players makes them think that bigger and better things are possible. The return of running back Mike Rando and speedy receiver P.J. Hayes, who both suffered early-season ACL tears last season, will provide a big boost to an already solid offense. Sizeable tight end/defensive end Chris Collins will cause fits for defenses and offenses alike and captain Ricky Ordway will plug holes on both sides of the line. Fellow senior captains Cam Hanley and Steve Thulin will anchor the linebacking core with a furious, hard-hitting style that will make offenses think twice about running plays in their direction. A 46-20 loss to Dennis-Yarmouth in last year's Division 2A playoffs will serve as motivation for this year's Walpole team to go deeper. Coach Barry Greener will certainly have the tools to get the job done.

Wellesley

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Offensive line, receiving corps.
  • Concerns: Overall depth.
  • Coach: Jesse Davis (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 12 lettermen
    • Will Adams, RB/FS, 2013, 5-11, 175
    • Isaac Blake, TE/ILB, 2013, 6-3, 220
    • Will Dario, RB/OLB, 2013, 5-11, 185
    • Matt Dziama, WR/CB, 2013, 5-11, 175
    • Dan Farina, C/DT, 2013, 6-1, 240
    • Ned Holmes, WR/FS, 2013, 6-1, 170
    • Jared Melanson, T/DE, 2013, 6-1, 225
    • Tucker Morgan, WR/CB, 2013, 6-1, 185
    • Brian Pederson, T/DE, 2014, 6-3, 255
    • Chris Sarni, QB/CB, 2013, 5-11, 175
    • Ben Wardwell, G/DT, 2013, 6-0, 210
    • Zack Zeytoonjian, G/DT, 2013, 6-1, 220

After 10 seasons at the helm, Bill Tracey steps aside as coach of the Raiders. Replacing him is Wellesley alum and wrestling coach Jesse Davis, who is more than familiar with the program having served as defensive coordinator under Tracey and team captain as a senior in 1998. Dan Farina, Will Dario, and Isaac Blake will captain a crew that will rely heavily on the versatility of their veteran two-way players. Dario and Will Adams will handle the workload from the offensive backfield while Chris Sarni steps in as the signal caller for the Raiders. Ned Holmes, Tucker Morgan, and Matt Dziama will not only provide Sarni with some experienced options at receiver, they will also roam the defensive backfield with equal intensity. Farina anchors both lines and is flanked by seniors Zach Zeytoonjian, Jared Melanson, and Ben Wardwell to help solidify one of the more qualified core of linemen in the league. "We've had a good offseason," said Davis. "This year we will rely heavily on our seniors to lead us on and off the field."

3 games to watch

Sept
7
Everett at Leominster

The Crimson Tide take a 25-game winning streak into this game against the reigning CMass Division 1 Super Bowl champs.

Oct
12

With Troy Flutie and company on one side and Ozzy Colarusso on the other side, all signs point to a great, high-scoring game.

Nov
10
Cathedral at Pope John

A rematch of the game that decided the Central Catholic Small winner in 2011. Cathedral won, 16-12, and went on to the Super Bowl.

Preseason Top 20

Rank Team Last year
1 Everett 13-0
2 BC High 10-3
3 Xaverian 6-5
4 St. John's Prep 4-6
5 Barnstable 7-5
6 Bridgewater-Raynham 9-2
7 Duxbury 13-0
8 King Philip 9-2
9 Natick 9-2
10 Walpole 9-3
11 Weymouth 9-2
12 Brockton 5-6
13 Mashpee 13-0
14 Reading 8-4
15 Andover 7-4
16 Needham 9-4
17 Mansfield 9-2
18 Central Catholic 6-5
19 Westford 6-5
20 Beverly 7-4