2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Catholic Conference

BC High

  • Last year's record: 4-6
  • Strength: Speed, athleticism
  • Concerns: Offensive line
  • Coach: Joe Gaff (2nd season, 4-6)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Unfortunately for the Eagles, injuries were an issue last season, resulting in a sub-.500 record just one year after winning the Super Bowl in 2011. Senior Luke Catarius, who was sorely missed because of an injury last season, graduated, but a fresh crop of talent is up and coming for the Eagles. Catarius was the heart of the Eagles defense, but this year, keep an eye on senior Steve DiCienzo, who's expected to handle the hard-hitting at linebacker. Gaff employs a pro-style offense based on the ground attack, and Rob Harnais will add some skill to the backfield. Sean Holleran comes in as a first-year starter at quarterback, and it's important he settles in early for the Eagles.

Catholic Memorial

  • Last year's record: 2-8
  • Strength: Good skill players, particularly wide receivers.
  • Concerns: Depth, inexperience.
  • Coach: Alex Campea (10th season, (90-71))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Knights suffered some growing pains last season, but return with a core of young players that received valuable playing time in 2012. Boston College-commit Kevin Bletzer will be the do-all star for Campea, and at 6 feet 2 inches is a sure-target wide receiver and an excellent safety. Junior Mike McNally is going to be counted on to step in at quarterback, and Campea is happy with his development. The looming concern for the Knights is depth. "Our front guys can play, but it's imperative that we stay healthy," Campea said.

Malden Catholic

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Depth at running back and skill positions.
  • Concerns: Overall depth, inexperience.
  • Coach: Jeff Smith (3rd season, 5-16)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Senior quarterback Brendan Tobey, who has started since he was a sophomore, was injured last season and returns to lead the Lancers. Tobey, a dual threat under center, also has a strong supporting cast in the backfield, with backs like Alex Massa and Devin Gauthier. The looming concern for Smith is that his team is inexperienced, resulting in the use of freshmen and sophomores in key positions. But the Lancers dealt with a similar situation last season, and the third-year coach is confident his team can play through the adversity.

St. John's Prep

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Skill positions
  • Concerns: Depth
  • Coach: James O'Leary (30th season, 201-105-2)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Johnathan Thomas rushed for nearly 1,800 yards and had 19 touchdowns for last year's Division 1 Super Bowl champions, and he comes into 2013 as the primary focus for the Eagles - an early favorite in Division 1 North. He made a major impact last season, but also shared touches with Alex Moore, the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. Now that Moore graduated, Thomas is set to shoulder the load and will be running behind a stout offensive line, anchored by Kent Blaeser and Sean Hoey. The Prep is not known for its passing attack, but senior quarterback Mike Geaslen is expected to step in and contribute, and has sharp weapons like Owen Rockett and 6-foot-5 tight end Jake Burt. The Eagles did lose linebacker Sean Smerczynski to Pingree, which is a big blow to the defense. But Thomas will contribute at linebacker, and Michael Fawehinmi provides a veteran presence in the secondary.

Xaverian

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Depth at receiver.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced.
  • Coach: Charlie Stevenson (21st season, 161-59-1)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Xaverian will be looking to retool the defensive line with the graduation of Maurice Hurst, now at Michigan, and pass-rushers like Ray Gobbi and Elijah Jolly. But Shayne Kaminski and Joe Gaziano are returning at linebacker and defensive end, respectively, and should make an impact. Kaminski will also be counted on heavily out of the backfield. The Hawks are looking to replace quarterback Austin DeCarr, and coach Charlie Stevenson said a four-way battle for the quarterback will produce a solid starter. Whoever is under center will have the pleasure of throwing to AJ King and DJ Sperzel - two returning veteran receivers.

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3 games to watch

Sept
6

Duxbury comes in with a 42-game regular-season winning streak, while Abington went 13-0 and won a Div. 4 Super Bowl last year.

Sept
20

This is Dorchester's first home game ever on the newly renovated Roberts Field. LA brings All-Scholastic QB Kyle Dance.

Oct
25
Natick at Walpole

These two preseason Top 10 teams tied for first in the Bay State Herget last year. This game could well decide the title again.

Preseason Top 20

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