2012 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 5 Mayflower (Small)

Holbrook

  • Last year's record: 6-2
  • Strength: High scoring offense.
  • Concerns: Stopping the other team's offense, defensive inexperience.
  • Coach: Fran Cass (8th season, 31-34)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

After a 6-2 campaign last season, the high flying Bulldogs look capable of repeating last season's success. The staring quarterback position is currently up for grabs between sophomore Lucas Currier and Tom Manning (what a name for a quarterback, right?). However, with seniors Marc Peorges (WR), Ben Riordan (RB), and Dan MacQuarrie (FB) all back, the offense shouldn't take too long to gel no matter who ends up starting under center. The biggest challenge this season for Holbrook/Avon will be on the defensive side of the ball. "Our guys tend to get more excited about offense and sometimes don't show the kind of effort I'd like to see on the other end of the ball," said coach Fran Cass. "We're a little inexperienced on defense and our success will depend on if we can stop opposing teams offenses." Watch out for senior wide receiver, George Durett. At 6-foot-1, 160-pounds, Durett is almost always one of the most athletic kids on the field. His break-away speed and leaping ability make him a dangerous target downfield.

Nantucket

  • Last year's record: 10-2
  • Strength: They know how to win, skill positions
  • Concerns: Depth, playing with a target on their backs
  • Coach: Bill Manchester (2nd season, 10-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Rest assured there will be a target on the Whaler's backs this season. Fresh off winning the Division 5 Superbowl in coach Bill Manchester's first year at the helm, Nantucket is hoping to reload and make a run at repeating. "It's more of a reloading year than a rebuilding year," said Manchester, whose team graduated 13 seniors. "Some of these kids need to learn how to play at the varsity level, but their's no doubting that there's skill there." The Whalers graduated eight starters on defense and seven on offense, including quarterback and Division 5 Player of the Year, Taylor Hughes. Junior Bryan Depass has been tabbed as Hughes' successor under center and at 6-feet, 195-pounds, he's certainly athletic enough. "It's been a good collective effort to make up for the numbers put up by Hughes (1,000-plus yards both passing and rushing, 19 touchdowns) that we're losing," said Manchester. Terrell Correla, a 6-foot-7-inch tight end who's verbally committed to UMass next year is worth the boat ride to see. "He did a great job hitting the weight room in the offseason," said Manchester of the 280-punder. "He's got great hands and puts a ton of pressure on opposing defenses. He's a nice weapon to have." Five of the Whalers final six games are league games, with the other coming against Martha's Vineyard, who they haven't defeated since 2002. "We'd love to repeat," said Manchester, "but it's going to be tough."

Old Colony

  • Last year's record: 2-8
  • Strength: Depth at skill positions, experience on defense, leadership.
  • Concerns: Depth on offensive line.
  • Coach: Paul Guilbeault (2nd season, 2-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Cougars went 0-5 in the Mayflower League last season, scoring a league-low 14 points per game, while allowing 26.7 per contest. However, Guilbeault is entering his second season and hoping that both he and the team have learned from last season's experience. Returning along with Guilbeault are the Cougars' top running back, receiver, and defender in Alex Buckley, Kevin Blais and Brett Aguiar. In all, Old Colony is returning 14 starters and it would appear a turnaround season is possible.

South Shore Voc-Tech

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Running game.
  • Concerns: Depth and inexperience on defense.
  • Coach: Derek Mariani (14th season, 84-63-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

When quarterback Jake Petruzzelli chose not to return this season it was a blow to Mariani and the Vikings, but not one they couldn't recover from. South Shore simply redefined its offense to suit the players that were coming back. "We're not going to pass the ball like we did last season," said Mariani referring to Petruzzelli's 10 touchdown passes. "But we're going to still have a pretty solid offense and what will hopefully be a good running attack." The Vikings have moved junior Joe Draicchio over from running back to under center and he's already shown flashes of being able to handle the position this preseason. "He certainly has the ability to throw," said Mariani. "It's just going to come down to his reads and his ability to feel conformable in the pocket." Draicchio should have ample protection with Ray McEachem (5-foot-6, 175-pounds), Mike DaSilva (6-foot-4, 260-pounds) and Mitchell Kearney (6-foot-2, 300-pounds) all back on the line. Running back Andy Beckwith (5-foot-4, 145-pounds) is back after scoring 10 touchdowns as a junior and should have plenty of holes to run through with that line towering over him. "We're hoping that we can move the ball on the ground and keep our offense fresh," said Mariani. Anchoring the Viking's defense will be tackles Jonathan Murphy and Alex Fahie, both of which are back from strong campaigns last season and possess above average speed. "They really make our defense what it is," said Mariani. "They're able to occupy the line and free up our linebackers to make plays."

Upper Cape

  • Last year's record: 2-8
  • Strength: Returning starters at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Depth on both sides of the line.
  • Coach: Mike Hernon (2nd season, 2-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

In his second season at the helm, Hernon is returning 10 starters to what's shaping up to be an experienced Rams squad. All the skill position players are back, starting with senior quarterback Edgar Eldredge. "Edgar's what made our offense go last year," said Hernon. "He's not your typical three-step drop quarterback. He does a lot with his feet, but this offseason he's worked hard to become a more complete player." Junior running back Liam Kanaley is currently day-to-day with a concussion, but it expected to contribute heavily this season said Hernon, who admitted that things this preseason are going much more smoothly with a full season under his coaching belt. If you make it out to a Rams game this season, don't blink when junior RB/WR Jon Durmont touches the ball. His 40-yard dash has been clocked at 4.4 seconds. When Upper Cape's looking for quick offense, he's where they go. "I see no reason that we can't compete for the league title this year," said Hernon. "We don't play a league game until mid-October and it's all about staying healthy and coming together at the right time."

West Bridgewater

  • Last year's record: 2-8
  • Strength: Experienced linemen.
  • Concerns: Depth everywhere but the line.
  • Coach: Bill Panos (27th season, (unavailable))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Wildcats went from 9-1 in 2010 to 2-8 last season. Safe to say they'll finish somewhere in between those two marks this year. Senior captain Chris Cormier is back for his second season as West Bridgewater's starting quarterback and has looked good according to Panos. "He knows the system, is a good passer, has great speed and has improved 200-percent from where he was at this point last season," said Panos, who was particularly impressed with Cormier's improved technique and judgment." Three-year starter, Zach Harris, is set to see time at the fullback and linebacker positions this season and considering coach Panos calls him the team's "biggest and strongest player," that probably should worry a few teams. Junior Jordan Ames, who had a breakout season last year, is the odds on favorite to repeat as the team's leader in tackles. However, the player to really watch this season is junior running back Aaron Pearson. "Yes, he's our top running back," said Panos, "but we also plan to spread him out wide too and take advantage of his speed and excellent hands." Pearson is also the Wildcats starting free safety and, according to Panos, has shown a knack for "coving up our mistakes in position."

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