2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Greater Boston

Cambridge

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Senior leadership; team speed.
  • Concerns: Depth; adjusting to new systems.
  • Coach: Ryan Saulnier (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Falcons were a bit of a surprise last season, finishing second in the GBL with a 3-1 league record and putting a scare into Everett during the teams' only meeting. This fall they are looking to build off that success under the direction of a new coach Ryan Saulnier. He says he is excited with the direction of the program. "The staff and players did a great job working the halls trying to attract new players and retain players who may have taken some time away from the sport," said Saulnier. "But with a new staff and new systems, there is a learning curve for everyone, coaches included. Some players have taken quickly to the schemes while others are still developing a comfort level." Last year's starting quarterback, David Maaghul, who led Division 1A in touchdown passes (31), moved on to Salisbury School in Connecticut. Senior Cameron McMillian will take over. Seniors Elijah Booker (WR/CB) and Shaq Anderson (WR/RB) are big-time playmakers.

Everett

  • Last year's record: 11-1
  • Strength: Defensive experience.
  • Concerns: Offensive inexperience.
  • Coach: John DiBiaso (32nd season, 259-67)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Everett heads into the season in search of its fourth straight Super Bowl title, but accomplishing such a feat will not be easy. The Crimson Tide lost all five starters from last year's offensive line, including former All-Scholastic John Montelus (Notre Dame). Coach John DiBiaso will also have to replace All-Scholastic wide receiver Jakarrie Washington (Wisconsin), as well as WR/RB Jalen Felix, and WR/K Gilly DeSouza. "We're a work in progress," said DiBiaso. "We have so many young guys, we've just got to rep them up." Senior Raheem Wingard, who was the Tide's quarterback for much of last season's second half, and senior Pat Long have taken the most reps at the position during camp. Defensively, the Tide returns a number of starters, including senior linebackers Angel Duarte and C.J. Parvelus. The heavily recruited Lubern Figaro will anchor the secondary.

Malden

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Offensive line; defensive speed.
  • Concerns: Offseason injuries.
  • Coach: Joe Pappagallo (5th season, 19-22)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Golden Tornadoes finished third in the GBL a year ago, and with nearly the entire starting defense returning coach Joe Pappagallo is expecting good things for the upcoming season. Some offseason injuries on defense have been "disheartening," according to Pappagallo, but he said the team's goal is still to make the playoffs. "We have a lot of good athletes. We're coming in with depth and experience, but we need to build skill." The coach anticipates big things from offensive linemen Matt Delaney, a senior captain, and junior Josh Bessey, as well as senior running back Ray Sainristil. "He's a special athlete," said Pappagallo of Sainristil, who rushed for 12 touchdowns last season. "We have to ride those legs. Give him space and he's going to have one heck of a year."

Medford

  • Last year's record: 0-10
  • Strength: Senior leadership; Skill positions
  • Concerns: Transition to new offense; depth of offensive and defensive lines
  • Coach: Jason Nascimento (2nd season, 0-7)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Jason Nascimento is entering his first full season as head coach of the Mustangs and said that his inaugural training camp has gone well. "Camp's been good. The kids bonded well," said Nascimento, referring to the team's trip to New Hampshire. After going without a win last season, the Mustangs will rely heavily on the senior class. "The entire senior class, we've challenged them. We need them to have a major impact and a lot of them came in in good shape," said Nascimento. Medford is transitioning to a new spread/hurry-up offense, and while Nascimento said it will take time to get everyone on the same page, he still expects good things from a number of players on that side of the ball. Senior quarterback Reggie Thelemaque headlines the offense, while sophomore WR Myles Olivier, and juniors Jose Lopes (WR) and Xavier Gibson (RB) could also have an impact.

Somerville

  • Last year's record: 1-9
  • Strength: Experience; skill positions.
  • Concerns: Lack of depth.
  • Coach: Tony Gulla (2nd season, 36-46)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Highlanders coach Tony Gulla has reasons to be optimistic. The program has grown from 52 players a year ago to 70 this fall, and of those 70, 32 are returning lettermen. But the increase is mostly in the freshmen class, leaving Gulla with no choice but to start sophomores and juniors at many key positions. "We're not in any position to say we're ready to win the league," said Gulla. "We'll take it one game at a time and focus on winning our first game." One impact upperclassmen that the Highlanders will lean on is quarterback Phoenix Huertas. Huertas was fourth in Division 1A last season with 11 touchdown passes. The senior is poised to get plenty of protection from his offensive line with seniors Steven Lamisere (6-3, 305 pounds) and Sergio Rodriguez (6-2, 250) blocking in front of him.

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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