2012 EMASS Football Preview

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Div 2 Middlesex (Large)

Arlington

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Experience at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on the offensive line.
  • Coach: John Dubzinski (2nd season, 3-8)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Seth Coiley, QB, 2014, 6-0, 180
    • Dan Colombo, FL, 2014, 5-9, 156
    • Andrew Cunningham, DB, 2014, 5-11, 160
    • Mike English, TE, 2013, 6-3, 195
    • Matt Garcia, RB, 2013, 6-2, 215
    • Mike Greco, OG, 2014, 6-0, 215
    • Lucas Hanley, FB, 2014, 5-10, 175
    • Marco Saenz-Grant, DB, 2014, 5-10, 170
    • Lakota Samuels, DT, 2014, 5-8, 265
    • Pascal Schamber, DT, 2014, 6-0, 265
    • Hunter Sleeper, DB, 2013, 5-9, 165
    • Spencer Taylor, OT, 2013, 6-3, 205
    • Thomas Thomas, LB, 2014, 6-1, 185
    • Jayson Witt, RB, 2013, 5-8, 175

Junior Seth Coiley is back at quarterback after starting the final four games last season. Coiley, who stands at 6-feet, 185-pounds, went 2-2 in last year's late season audition, picking up wins over both Winchester and Belmont. Coiley has a good arm, but his strength lies in his versatility and ability to extend plays with his feet. "He's like having a running back under center," said coach John Dubzinski. Lining up behind Coiley this season will be senior running back Matt Garcia. The 6-0, 215-pounder provides a strong physical presence that the Spy Ponders plan to lean heavily on. "Matt's a strong guy," said Dubzinski. "Once he gets moving he's tough to bring down." For the Spy Ponders to have success this season they're going to need an inexperienced offensive line - featuring two sophomores, two juniors, and two seniors - to come together fast. Senior captain Spencer Taylor, who starts at right tackle, will have plenty to teach his fellow line mates. Dubzinski's plan for the season is simple and straightforward, but it's not hard to tell he believes it. "We want to be a good team in September, a great team in October, and a championship team in November," he said.

Belmont

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Experience on the line and at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Matching the effort of opposing teams consistently.
  • Coach: Kevin Gildea (8th season, 34-42)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

After a disappointing campaign last season, the Marauders have lots of potential this time around with three-year starters in quarterback Mike Richardson, running back Alex Nikolaidis), and offensive lineman Brendan Sullivan. "We're expecting a lot from [Richardson]," said coach Kevin Gildea. "We play in a tough league with some good quarterbacks, but Mike's looked more consistent this preseason. He knows we need him to be a playmaker for us, but also to protect the ball." Richardson has grown in each season as a starter for the Marauders. This season, it appears to Gildea that he's put it all together. "He's matured and has learned to pick his spots. He knows that a pass out of bounds isn't a bad play," Gildea said. Behind Richardson is Nikolaidis. He's a big back at 5-10, 185 pounds, and a strong downhill runner. One of the Marauder's strengths this season will be their line play. Senior captains Brendan Sullivan and Alex Cydzik have provided great leadership this preseason. "It's nice to have the size and experience we have on the line," said Gildea. "We haven't had that luxury in the past. I'm looking forward to seeing if they can matchup." The Marauder's emphasis entering this season's training camp has been ball security and getting the defense off the field after third down. Junior Toussaint, a 6-1, 175-pound former rugby player, was convinced to play this season and his athletic ability has Gildea dreaming up ways to put the ball in his hands.

Lexington

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Team speed.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: George Peterson (2nd season, 4-7)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 4 lettermen
    • Xander Erickson, 2013
    • Kevin Li, 2013
    • Sean Phelan, 2013
    • Ryan Wilson, 2013

The Minutemen have a year of running the spread offense under their belt and are hoping to build on that experience. However, having just two returning starters from last season's team isn't going to make things easy on coach George Peterson in his second season at the helm. "I'm much more confident entering this season," said Peterson. "The assistant coaches and I have been able to build up a report with the kids and I think everyone knows what's expected of them this time around." Xander Erickson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior, is set to get the nod under center. All reports are that he's stepped into the role well and showed good leadership. "Xander knows not just his role in the offense, but everyone else's too," said Peterson. "If someone's out of position, or doesn't know the play, he's able to quickly tell them." Stepping into the starting tailback role this season is 5-8, 190-pound, Kevin Li. Li saw considerable time last season as the backup running back. According to Peterson, He's a smart runner who rarely loses yards. He understands where his reads are and is good at hitting a crease. Look out for senior captain Ryan Wilson, who entered camp on a mission. "He's showed up this season with a different mentality," said Peterson of Wilson, who projects to start at wide receiver and free safety. "He's been our most impressive guy in camp and he really earned the honor of being one of the captains." As far as underclassmen go, sophomore Connor Murphy is going to be someone to watch. He's set to see time at both slot receiver and cornerback and his speed athleticism could make him fun to watch as he continues to develop in the program.

Reading

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Experience at skill positions, attitude
  • Concerns: Depth
  • Coach: John Fiore (9th season, 63-28)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 9 lettermen
    • Jared Barros, WR/CB, 2013
    • Drew Belcher, QB, 2014
    • Matthew Comerford, OT, 2013
    • Greg Connery, FS, 2013, 6-1, 179
    • Peter Fodera, OG/NT, 2013
    • Liam Kenneally, RB/K, 2013
    • Ryan Maney, WR, 2013
    • Dylan Swaebe, WR, 2013
    • Alex Valente, TB/CB, 2013, 5-8, 170

Look for the Drew Belcher-Ryan Maney combination in quite a few scoring recaps this season - it should show up a lot. The Rockets, who hope to represent the Middlesex League in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, appear to have one of the states' more prolific offenses assuming they can stay healthy. Belcher, the team's quarterback, is still only a junior and started for the Rockets last season and has only continued to improve, according to coach John Fiore. Maney is back for his senior campaign and hungry to avenge last year's playoff loss to Tewksbury. His speed has stood out in camp so far to Fiore. Keep an eye on 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive lineman Matt Comerford. He's a four-sport varsity athlete and has legitimate Division 1 College potential if he continues to show improvement this season. Coach Fiore said he's been impressed by the preseasons of defensive end's Andrew Bourque and John Donnellan, as well as strong safety, Chris Godwin. Fiore's goal "To improve each week and each day and play our best football of the year each Friday night," isn't exactly ground breaking, but for the better part of this decade, it's worked.

Winchester

  • Last year's record: 1-9
  • Strength: A year with working in the same system, willingness to learn.
  • Concerns: Depth, depth and depth.
  • Coach: Wally Dombowsky (2nd season, 1-9)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games
  • showReturning: 14 lettermen
    • Parker Carey, RB/LB, 2015, 5-7, 176
    • George Casey, WR/DB, 2013, 6-0, 166
    • John Costello, RB/DB, 2013, 5-9, 175
    • Jack Curran, WR/DB, 2013, 5-9, 175
    • Alec Davis, WR/LB, 2013, 5-10, 180
    • Cole King, RB/DL, 2013, 5-6, 173
    • Tim Mangano, QB/DB, 2013, 6-2, 165
    • Cameron McGhee, OL/DL, 2014, 5-10, 218
    • Dan McGurl, OL/DL, 2013, 6-1, 265
    • Joe Ntege, WR/DB, 2013, 5-7, 171
    • Antonio Oquendo-Loftman, OL/DL, 2014, 5-10, 253
    • Michael Thompson, WR/DB, 2013, 6-0, 155
    • Nick Vallas, OL/DL, 2013, 5-8, 252
    • Stefan Zandbergs, TE/DE, 2014, 6-2, 195

After a 1-9 showing last season, there's almost nowhere to go but up in Winchester. For the program to take that step forward, a lot is going to ride on the performance of starting quarterback, Tim Mangano, who lost much of last season due to injuries. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder has been "working all summer to improve," according to second-year coach Wally Dombowsky. "Tim's getting there, he's coming on strong and I'm excited." The Sachems will also have their leading rusher back from last season in Joe Ntege, who will split time in the backfield with John Costello. Dombowsky spoke glowingly of Costello, saying, "He's one of those late blooming guys. He hit a growth spurt in the off season and has really come into his own." The Sachems, who have eight players back with at least some starting experience, plan to carry 10 seniors, 13 juniors, 20 sophomores and potentially three freshmen on the varsity squad. The biggest challenge this season, according to Dombowsky, will be to teach his team how to win. "Last season when we hit a speed bump we really let it toss us off course. This year we need to learn to rebound," he said. "We need to be competitive on each snap of each game. Not to be afraid of failure. Do only our own job within our program and focus on the little details to eliminate the opponent's big plays."

Woburn

  • Last year's record: 6-4
  • Strength: Strong players at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Staying healthy, lack of depth on the lines.
  • Coach: Rocky Nelson (27th season, 175-100)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Tanners ended last season on a three game winning streak and it was no coincidence that it started when Ryan Glavin was made the starting quarterback. He's back behind center this season and has long-time Woburn coach Rocky Nelson pleased with his progress. Senior captain Jared O'Brien will see the bulk of the carries for the Tanners, but expect the 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore Marvin Jean to get carries as well. "Jean has the potential to be an outstanding player in this program," said Nelson, who has seen a few good players in his 27 years as Woburn's coach. The Tanners have three three-year starters as captains this season in Dave Pratt, O'Brien, and A.J. Santiago, but also have some young talent breaking through. Nelson referred to this season's sophomore class as one with outstanding potential. The Tanners won't play a league game until week six and open up with games at Acton-Boxboro and then Billerica. "We hope to be in the mix for the league championship," said Nelson. "Reading is certainly the team to beat, but we try to avoid looking ahead. Our first few games will tell us a lot about where we are and how far we might go this season."

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