2012 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 1A CAL/NEC (Division 1)

Lynn Classical

  • Last year's record: 4-6
  • Strength: Defense, running game.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on offensive line.
  • Coach: Tim Phelps (5th season, 5th season, 24-18)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Said coach Tim Phelps, "If we can't run the ball, we're in trouble." The Rams will operate out of the double-wing offense behind small, speedy quarterback Jordan Brown. At 5 feet 8 inches, 150 pounds, the junior spent last year at safety, but will lead the rushing attack with a pair of junior backs, Brad Scuzzarella and Justin Avery. Scuzzarella is another guy who thrives off quickness, at just 5-6, 160 pounds, and he'll act as more of a scat back. Avery, meanwhile, is a powerful fullback at 6-1, 200 pounds. The offensive line is new, but there's some size, enough to give Phelps hope that his team can score points to support its experienced defense.

Lynn English

  • Last year's record: 9-3
  • Strength: Size, speed.
  • Concerns: Offensive line.
  • Coach: Peter Holey (5th season, 31-13)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 2 lettermen
    • Josh Batista, 2013
    • Chris Tinkham, 2014

Those hoping to topple Lynn English will first have to stop its blazing-fast wide receiver, senior Josh Bautista. Bautista was clocked running a sub-4.4 40-yard dash at an independent combine this summer and Bulldogs coach Peter Holey summed up his offensive game plan by saying, "We need to get the ball in his hands." Holey will again run the spread offense, opting to go with junior quarterback Chris Lessard, a hard runner who can throw when he needs to. Flanking Bautista will be a pair of sophomore receivers, Lucas Harris and Kyle O'Connor, who can also make plays. Now if Holey can get his offensive line - which includes five players over 200 pounds, and three over 275 - clicking, the Bulldogs could be a dangerous team.

Masconomet

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Team speed, defensive line.
  • Concerns: Inexperience in secondary.
  • Coach: James Pugh (24th season, 153-102.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Chieftains had quite the turnaround last year, going 7-4 after winning just two games in 2010. And with the return of senior offensive lineman Sean Antonuccio, the 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound machine that coach Jim Pugh called the strongest player Masconomet has seen in 25 years, this should be another competitive squad. The offense will run through a pair of running backs, including three-year starter Dylan Mann and junior Michael Tivinis. Senior Chris Schleer has impressed in the battle at quarterback. Senior kicker Casey Tines may be one of the best in the state.

Peabody

  • Last year's record: 5-5
  • Strength: Athleticism, speed.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: Scott Wlasuk (5th season, 17-26)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Out goes the graduated running back Nat Gaye (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons) and three-year quarterback Jason Hiou. There are just three returning starters and a whole lot of sophomores. But coach Scott Wlasuk will hand the keys over to his son, Cody, a 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound junior quarterback who split time on the junior varsity last year. The younger Wlasuk will run a pistol spread offense that can no longer rely on Gaye, forcing the wide receivers to play a more involved role. It may be a rebuilding year in Peabody, but with a father-son duo and a young, speedy team, there should at least be some excitement.

Revere

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on offensive line, lack of depth.
  • Coach: Lou Cicatelli (11th season, 31-66.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Patriots began last season 5-1 but lost their last five games, four within the division. "This is a tough league," said coach Lou Cicatelli. The Patriots are just trying to see where they fit, and it might end up being right in the middle. Cicatelli will try to optimize the pistol spread option offense, which involves a triple-option play designed to include four or five receivers on the field. It seems to be the perfect design for Revere, which returns the speedy senior quarterback Joe Ritchie, junior tailback Tommy Portrait (who scored seven touchdowns a year ago despite playing behind All-Star Drew Lauria), and second-year receiver Kyle Gotham. The offensive line is young (three sophomores), but if they can learn fast enough - and the defense can pull it all together - the Patriots could give teams trouble.

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