2012 EMASS Football Preview

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Div B ISL

BB&N

  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Tradition, toughness.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Papas (10th season, 64-14 at BB&N)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

BB&N will try to continue its winning ways, but they enter this season with less experience and lower squad numbers. Despite having a small team, players like Brendan O'Neil (Wake Forrest commit), Willie Peoples, and Matt Rega will lead this tough team. And although he has yet to take a varsity snap, Papas says any BB&N success will be a direct result of his sophomore quarterback Cole O'Connor.

Belmont Hill

  • Last year's record: 7-2
  • Strength: Leadership from seniors.
  • Concerns: Many new starters on the offensive line.
  • Coach: Chris Butler (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

With a new coach and a difficult schedule, Belmont Hill will look to its seniors for leadeship. Matt Gustafson will lead the defense as middle linebacker and also see some carries at running back. Belmont Hill also has other two-way players such as Michael Leary, Danny Wanger, Dewey Jarvis, and even Petros Davos who will be competing for the starting quarterback position.

Brooks

  • Last year's record: 0-8
  • Strength: Strength and size on offensive line.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.
  • Coach: Alex Konovalchik (5th season, 10-23)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

After a tough couple of seasons, Brooks is planning on working hard toward greater success under fifth-year head coach Alex Konovalchik. They have an explosive option game with quick, talented running backs like John Vailas, Chris Cervizzi, Justin Freeman, Geoff Fulgion and Jalen Martinez. Konovalchik says sophomore quarterback Coy Candelario is emerging as both a run and pass threat, and will be protected by a talented offensive line.

Governor's Academy

  • Last year's record: 9-0
  • Strength: Leadership from captains.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Jim O'Leary (2nd season, 9-0)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 8 lettermen
    • David Adams, LB, 2015
    • Lucas Bombardier, DB, 2013
    • Andrew Carper, LB
    • Jesse Gwozdz, RB, 2014
    • Tate Jozokos, QB, 2013
    • James Leary, DL, 2013
    • Ryan Macri, LB, 2013, 6-1, 225
    • Elijah Morrissey, RB, 2013
    • Colin Smith, TE, 2013, 6-4, 215
    • Austin Smith, RB, 2013

Governor's Academy graduated 11 seniors last year after going undefeated and winning the Jack Etter Bowl. Filling those voids will be a challenge for O'Leary. "We will need some of our younger players to step into the fire and help on both sides of the ball," O'Leary said. However, with four senior captains, including reigning ISL MVP Tate Jozokos, expect the Govs to be a tough team in the ISL once again.

Groton

  • Last year's record: 6-2
  • Strength: Very athletic team in several areas.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: John Lyons (14th season, N/A)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • Joe Gentile, G/LB, 2014
    • Devan Malhotra, OT/DT, 2013
    • Mike Somerby, RB/DB, 2013
    • Austin Stern, G/LB, 2014

Groton is loaded with youth after graduating a veteran class that produced a 6-2 record. Lyons is looking for seniors Adam Hardej and Francisco Fernandez to lead the defense, while Matt Borghi and Tom Santinelli provide some continuity on the offensive line. Groton was 3-0 on the road last fall, an impressive feat in the ISL.

Lawrence Academy

  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Leadership.
  • Concerns: Tough competition in league.
  • Coach: Paul Zukauskas (2nd season, 3-5)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Marcus Backlin, FB/LB, 2013, 5-10, 250
    • Andrew Crane, OL/DL, 2014, 6-, 270
    • Rocco Daigneault, OL/DL, 2013, 6-1, 230
    • Brian Dolan, QB/DB, 2014, 6-1, 180
    • Steven Drury, FB/LB, 2013, 5-11, 185
    • Kyle Howes, QB/DB, 2014, 6-2, 180
    • Darrien Myers, WR/DB, 2013, 5-10, 175

In year two for the former BC High and Boston College standout, Zukauskas will look to captains Marcus Backlin, Steven Drury and Darrien Myers for leadership. Up front, Lawrence Academy will be lead by Andrew Crane, who was an All-League player last season as well as an All-American wrestler. The Spartans are excited by three sophomores: Chris Garrison, Austin Lackey and Nick Schutz that will help at the skill positions on both sides of the ball. Kyle Howes and Brian Dolan are competing for the starting quarterback role.

Middlesex

  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Talented, experienced group of skill players.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.
  • Coach: Joe Lang (17th season, Overall record: 164-145-6; at Middlesex: 75-50-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • James Burr, FB/LB, 2015
    • Sam Carlin, RB/LB, 2015
    • Andrew Matos, RB/DB, 2013, 5-7, 150
    • Charlie Owen, WR/LB, 2014

Lang put a lot of emphasis on his three captains Nick Andonian, Nick Widen, and Rob Zawada, to lead this year's team. Andonian is returning for his fourth year as starting quarterback. Widen, the tall, speedy wideout, will be a challenge for opposing defenses. Lang also expects Zawada, who led Middlesex in tackles last year, to have a similar impact this season on defense.

Milton Academy

  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Experience of returners.
  • Concerns: Defending home turf.
  • Coach: Kevin MacDonald (17th season, Overall record: 181-82-5; at Milton Academy: 82-40-3)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Henry Hays, FB/LB, 2013, 5-9, 189
    • James Oliver, TE/LB, 2013, 5-10, 195
    • Sean Sylva, RB/LB, 2014, 6-, 195
    • Nelson Thomas, WR/DB, 2014, 6-1, 180
    • Jack Urquhart, WR/DB, 2014, 6-2, 180
    • Tristan Zeman, WR/DB, 2013, 5-11, 165

Milton Academy has 18 returning starters, half of which are seniors, that hope to contend for a title in a very strong, competitive league. MacDonald's older guys will help Milton Academy try to bounce back from last year's 3-5 season. Milton Academy was 0-4 at home last fall, a record that MacDonald would love to turn around this fall.

Nobles

  • Last year's record: 2-6
  • Strength: Size.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: Bob Moore (9th season, 33-32-1)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The 2012 Bulldogs gained momentum at the end of last season by winning its last two games. With eight new starters on offense and five on defense, the competition for positions has been strong in the preseason. And despite having a small senior class, Moore says that his seniors bring impressive leadership to the team which will help the younger players adapt this year.

Rivers

  • Last year's record: 4-4
  • Strength: Skill players.
  • Concerns: Ability of young players to fill the many positions opened by graduation.
  • Coach: Dan Keohane (2nd season, Overall record: 4-4)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Andrew Chang, DB/WR, 2015, 5-8, 155
    • Jonah Chates, DB/WR, 2015, 5-9, 145
    • Daniel Corcoran, LB/RB, 2013, 5-10, 165
    • Thomas Corcoran, LB/RB, 2015, 5-9, 165
    • Patrick El Khoury, DL/OL, 2015, 6-2, 210
    • Dozier Gardner, LB/OL, 2015, 5-9, 165
    • Joseph Hestor, DL/OL, 2013, 5-9, 230
    • Lazaro Mitjens, DB/QB, 2015, 5-11, 185
    • Benjamin Pasculano, DB/WR, 2015, 5-9, 150

Rivers returns many players this year such as Carlin Haymon, Brendan Gates, Montrez Williams and Tyler Swartz. They also have a solid group of two-way players returning as well. As for the rest of the roster spots, Keohane says he's looking for new, young players to fill those positions this fall.

Roxbury Latin

  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Skill positions and special teams.
  • Concerns: Young group of linemen.
  • Coach: Patrick Ross (4th season, 14-10)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Roxbury Latin will be lead offensively by Boston College-bound Mackay Lowrie, Sean Myers, and Kevin Cohee. The Foxes graduated the entire offensive and defensive lines, but Ross says that his young guys have molded into a cohesive unit this preseason. Ross is also looking for major contributions from up-and-coming sophomores Sean Lowrie, Alex Abelite and Steven Daley. Lowrie led the ISL with 12 touchdown passes last fall.

St. George's

  • Last year's record: 2-6
  • Strength: Many returning starters.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Mackay (29th season, 85-135-7)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Despite the 2-6 record last season, the Dragons are optimistic heading into this year with 15 returning starters. With such an experienced offensive line, St. George will re-install a Wing-T offense this fall which has been effective for them in the past. The Dragons have many two-way players, but Mackay hopes that the outstanding leadership from his captains could help them achieve their goal of finishing near the top of the ISL.

St. Mark's

  • Last year's record: 0-8
  • Strength: Experienced senior class.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Campanale (5th season, 5-27)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

St. Mark's is poised to come on strong in the 2012 campaign behind some veterans such as Mark Upton, who set the school record for tackles as a junior. Campanale says running back/linebacker Zach Twitchell is also another player to watch, running behind an offensive line anchored by Matt Golding. St. Mark's is enthusiastic about younger players rising into important positions like sophomore quarterback Logan Lee.

St. Paul's

  • Last year's record: 4-4
  • Strength: Offensive and defensive lines.
  • Concerns: New quarterback, wide receivers.
  • Coach: Craig Vandersea (5th season, 12-20)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Although St. Paul's graduated seven starters on defense, they still have a solid defensive line and linebacking core. Senior defensive tackle Jonathan Eustache will anchor the line, alongside Kobby Adu-Diawuo and Michael O'Doherty. Coach Vandersea says one of his keys to success is to run the ball behind a strong offensive line that is returning four of five starters from last year.

St. Sebastian's

  • Last year's record: 6-2
  • Strength: Returning starters.
  • Concerns: Tough early schedule.
  • Coach: Bob Souza (35th season, 145-104-9)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Brendan Daly, Patrick Healy, and Brian O' Malley will anchor an Arrows' offense that is returning nine starters from last year, four of which are on the offensive line. St. Sebastian's also has a very experience group on defense with seven returning starters. But Souza knows that the very competitive ISL isn't going to be easy. "We open with Nobles, BB&N, Milton, and Belmont Hill so we will be tested early by the iron of the league," said Souza.

Thayer

  • Last year's record: 4-4
  • Strength: Skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at linebacker.
  • Coach: Jeff Toussaint (9th season, 32-32-1)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 6 lettermen
    • Jordan Allen, WR/DB, 2015, 6-1, 175
    • Matt Campos, RB/DB, 2014, 5-7, 160
    • Matt Clayton, OL/DL, 2014, 6-3, 240
    • Brendan Ford, WR/DB, 2014, 5-11, 175
    • Stephen Gorson, FB/LB, 2014, 5-8, 180
    • Conor O'Brien, TE/LB, 2014, 6-5, 180

Many familiar faces greeted Toussaint for the first practice as Thayer returns most of its skill position starters from their 2011 team. Junior quarterback Jack Becker will lead the way, and he has a good group of receivers and tight ends to work with. The offensive line, anchored by left tackle Quentin Hall and center Brian Shoyer, is returning all but one player from last fall.

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