2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Hockomock - Kelley-Rex

Attleboro

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Getting everyone on the same page in new system.
  • Coach: Michael Strachan (1st season, Michael Strachan (1st season.))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Attleboro gets a much-needed fresh start with Michael Strachan taking over as head coach for the Blue Bombardiers. Attleboro finished 0-5 in league play last year, but Strachan is bringing a professional football pedigree with his five years of experience playing quarterback in the European Football League. Strachan, the former Framingham State coach, wants his team to be disciplined and full of energy, while showcasing multiple fronts and formations. But that could lead to a difficult transition. "When you have a completely new system, it can be a challenge for any team," Strachan said. "We want to eliminate mental errors." Strachan is no stranger to the Hockomock as he was a 1986 graduate at North Attleboro.

Franklin

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Depth at skill positions.
  • Concerns: Handling physical teams and developing younger players.
  • Coach: Brad Sidwell (17th season, Brad Sidwell (17th season, 104-80-3.))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Franklin rebounded from a tough 2011 campaign to finish 7-4 last year, but still only managed a fourth-place finish in the Hockomock (Kelley-Rex) league. But coach Brad Sidwell's Panthers bring back a slew of players on both sides of the ball, including all-Hockomock running back and defensive back Bobby Dellorco. "He's not a very big guy," Sidwell said, "but he's very explosive and he's always around the ball making plays." Franklin also boasts an experienced linebacking core of senior Chris Roche and junior Colton Cardinal, as the Panthers gear up for their first season after moving from Division 2 to Division 1.

King Philip

  • Last year's record: 10-1
  • Strength: Experience.
  • Concerns: Revamped offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Brian Lee (9th season, Brian Lee (9th season, 52-34.))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

King Philip coach Brian Lee's squad brings back all its playmakers on the offensive side, including seniors Joey Johnston at the tailback spot, Brett McEvoy at tight end and John Dillon under center. But the Warriors look drastically different up front with senior right guard Mike Cook as the only returning starter on either line from a team that finished tied for first in the Hockomock (Kelley-Rex) league. "When you lose four out of five starters on the O-line and your whole D-line, you're concerned about it," Lee said. But Lee also likes what he sees out of his first units on both sides of the ball, and KP will likely be in the thick of the Hockomock playoff picture as October wraps up.

Mansfield

  • Last year's record: 8-5
  • Strength: Speed and experience at skill positions.
  • Concerns: Size and experience on both offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Mike Redding (26th season, 26th season, 202-66-2.)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Mansfield appears destined for another deep playoff run, as the Hornets bring back 11 starters from last year's squad that fell to Reading in the Division 2 Super Bowl. Senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski has a very familiar cast of weapons at his disposal with the receiving core and backfield largely remaining intact from a year ago, headlined by senior receiver Brendan Hill. But injuries and player discipline cases will keep Mansfield from being at full strength to start the season, and coach Mike Redding is eyeing the start of October as the point when his team will begin to reach its potential. "We may be three or four weeks away from being a very good football team," Redding said.

North Attleborough

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Versatility and depth at running back.
  • Concerns: New faces on offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Don Johnson (5th season, Don Johnson (5th season, 35-9.))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

A lot of turnover for North Attleboro this season as the Red Rocketeers only bring back five starters from a year ago. Seniors Jack Blase, Matt D'Attilio, and Mike Lambert round out a deep backfield, which coach Don Johnson said will "give us good balance and allow us to throw and run the ball." Senior offensive tackle Evan Sweeney anchors an inexperienced offensive line, but Johnson hopes that the new players up front can mature quickly. "We're not going to be as big as in the past, so we'll have to rely on our athleticism."

Taunton

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Skill players and secondary.
  • Concerns: Brand new offensive line.
  • Coach: Chris Greding (2nd season, Chris Greding (2nd season, 4-7.))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

It's Year 2 for Taunton in the Hockomock League and for coach Chris Greding at the helm. The Tigers welcome back four starters on both sides of the ball, and senior quarterback Kyle Madeira and senior fullback Domingo Jenkins are back to carry the offense. Junior safety Steven Harrison leads the defense, and Greding says he's "expecting him to bring the wood this year on defense." Greding has also been pleased with his team's work in the weight room over the offseason and is ready for another grueling Hockomock schedule. "The Hockomock is full of tough, hard-nosed football," he said. "It's anyone's league at this point."

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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