2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Dual County - Small

Bedford

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Experience
  • Concerns: Ability to adapt to new playoff system
  • Coach: Jack Belcher (10th season, 55-43)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

In their first season playing home games on turf, the Buccaneers are set to return nine starters on offense as well as defense. "From an 8-3 team, that's a lot of kids back with experience; some of them have been starters since 10th grade," said coach Jack Belcher. Olan Abner (a starter since ninth grade), who rushed for over 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns last season is back at tailback and a prime candidate for postseason honors. "He's a definite possibility to be an All-Scholastic," said Belcher. "He's already getting some 1-AA noise [college] recruiting-wise." Bobby McDonald, a three-year starter at fullback, is also back to help clear some running lanes for Abner. After being the backup quarterback for the past two seasons, the job will now officially belong to senior Joe Zampell. "Joe's had the best arm on the team for three years," said Belcher. "He's an All-Star pitcher. He's got a real strong arm and he had a real good last week of camp. He's what we expected him to be. He just got stuck behind a three-year starter in 10th and 11th grade. We have a lot of confidence in him." A player to keep your eyes on this season is sophomore Kevin Allen, who started at linebacker as a freshman. The Buccaneers won't play at home until the end of September to allow their new turf field to be completed. "In the past few years it's come down to [Wayland, us, and Concord-Carlisle]," said Belcher, "so I wouldn't be surprised if that happens again...If we beat those two in the same year, we tend to win the league."

Boston Latin

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: The line on both sides of the ball.
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: John McDonough (13th season, 33-93)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Replacing Jhalen Bein-Aime, who rushed for 112 yards and two scores on 10 carries in the Wolfpack's Thanksgiving Day win over English, will be tough to replace. Latin will start Roy Bohnan under center this season. He'll hand to ball to Pat Fahy and Duncan McGaff whenever possible. Tight end Peter Honzik, receiver Mike Parham, and linebacker Seb D'Amico are other players to look out for.

Concord-Carlisle

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Experience and leadership on the line.
  • Concerns: Inexperience elsewhere.
  • Coach: Mike Robichaud (5th season, 37-14)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Captains Adrian DiRomualdo, Edward Akubude, and Robert Shapiro are set to anchor the Patriots line this season. They'll be charged with protecting sophomore quarterback Austin Hoey, who has impressed coach Mike Robichaud. "[Hoey's] so far had a really good camp," said the Concord-Carlisle coach. "He's a really smart kid, who is maturing physically as well. Smart, good leader so far, good decision-maker as well." Robichaud said he expects the Patriots to spread the carries around this season between Jeff Adegbe, Andrew Kielar and one other still-to-be-determined back. "There are some guys that are really fighting for that third running back spot right now," Robichaud said. "We've typically been a more run-oriented team and I think those guys will be important for what we're doing back there." Expects junior tight ends Jack Barrett and Will Blumenberg to have increased rolls in this year's offense, with Blumenberg dropping to the slot - and even the backfield - in some formations. One player that's really stood out to the coaching staff this fall has been 6-foot-6-inch junior defensive end Ben Shorey, who after being injured for the majority of last season has come back with something to prove. "Ben just really doubled-down in the offseason on strength training and got himself going," said Robichaud. "So far in the preseason, on both sides of the ball, he's been big for us."

Wayland

  • Last year's record: 9-4
  • Strength: Defense.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Scott Parseghian (13th season, 82-55)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Warriors will be looking to a younger group of players to step up this season after graduating 21 from last year's Super Bowl team. There are nine seniors back and all of them are being expected to play big rolls this time around. "We're just looking for them to step us for their senior years," said coach Scott Parseghian. "And we're trying to fill in the other holes with some juniors and sophomores that have been working hard. I can't say enough about the team's offseason conditions, strength training. They did everything we asked of them to do to get ready for this season." Robert Williams, who finished last season on a roll (rushing for over 500 yards and eight touchdowns in the Wildcat's final three games) is back and is an early All-Scholastic candidate. "If he comes in this year like he ended last year, look out," said Parseghian. "He did have a senior line in front of him last year, that made him look good at times, but he still makes things happen with his natural ability." The most heated preseason positional battle on the Wildcats is at quarterback, where two juniors - Blake Welti and Robert Jones - were at a complete deadlock at the close of August. Also back for his senior season is kicker Eric MacLean, who connected on seven field goals last season (with a long of 48) for Wayland. Replacing middle linebackers Matt Devlin (a Globe All-Scholastic and DCL defensive MVP who is now playing at Union College) and Ben Boschetto (playing for WPI) won't be easy. However junior Andy Carmichael has coach Parseghian more than hopeful. "As a sophomore, if we didn't have [such linebacker depth] last year, this kid would have started," said Parseghian.

Weston

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Experience and senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Ability to play on the road.
  • Coach: Sean Mchugh (3rd season, 5-17)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Weston went from having three seniors last season to having 15 this time around. Which has been exciting for third-year coach Sean McHugh, who is finally seeing a team full of upperclassmen that have come through his system. "It's an experienced group," McHugh said. "We have some depth and there's some senior leadership." Senior Brett Rowe is back under center. The best positional battle on the Wildcats is at running back between Calfred Malcolm, Jeffrey Ivery-Mallard, and Ryan Welby. Weston has yet to win a league game under McHugh's tenure, but given the experience on his roster, there's a possibility they break through this season. This year's captains are Brett Rowe (QB) Deondre Molyneaux (WR/OLB), Greg Fligor (TE/OLB), Blake Fontain (C/ILB) and Blake Asis (OT/DT). The one you can hear yelling from your seat in the stands is probably Fontaine, who has been the most vocal of the group, according to McHugh. "We don't make specific goals for the season," McHugh said. "We just focus on each practice and getting better. We just want to prepare for each opponent as best we can and I think that if we can do that we'll be a very competitive football team."

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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