2013 EMASS Football Preview

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ISL

BB&N

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Senior class.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Papas (11th season, 67-20.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

BB&N has a strong, fast, and aggressive linebacker group composed of Dante Papas, Connor Campbell, Mike Samko, Tim Grogan, and Matt Bonazzoli. That, coupled with skill players that coach John Papas said has future FCS talent, and BB&N could make some noise in the ISL this year if they can survive another grueling schedule.

Belmont Hill

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Depth at skill positions.
  • Concerns: New offensive line, challenging schedule.
  • Coach: Chris Butler (2nd season, 3-5.)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Belmont Hill brings back a slew of skill players, headlined by Max Gustafson, who anchors the defense at his free safety spot and will play quarterback and receiver on the offensive side. Other notable returners are Greg Plumb (running back, linebacker), Nolan Brennan (linebacker, fullback) and Joey LaLiberte (offensive and defensive line).

Brooks

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 1-7
  • Strength: Backfield.
  • Concerns: Overall depth.
  • Coach: Patrick Foley (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Patrick Foley takes over at Brooks after coaching the last nine years at the college level, most recently at Colgate. Foley, a Newburyport native, inherits a team that struggled in 2012, but Foley likes his supply of running backs, such as junior Coy Candelario, junior Chris Cervizzi and senior Geoff Fulgione.

Governor's Academy

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 9-0
  • Strength: Experienced in the trenches.
  • Concerns: Replacing five all-league players.
  • Coach: Jim O'Leary (3rd season, 18-0.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Governor's Academy faces the difficult task of replacing five all-league players from a year ago, including All-Scholastic Tate Jozokos, leaving it up to young players across many positions to pick up where they left off a year ago in a perfect 9-0 campaign. But coach Jim O'Leary says he's hoping his team matures and progresses over the course of the season as they try to get back atop the ISL standings.

Groton

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 2-6
  • Strength: Experienced core of team.
  • Concerns: Replacing three starters on offensive line.
  • Coach: John Lyons (15th season, 25-76.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

What was a weakness a year ago has turned into a strength for Groton. Coach John Lyons' squad was very inexperienced a year ago as they were forced to replace numerous players on both sides, but now Groton brings back its entire core, including eight returning starters on both sides of the ball.

Lawrence Academy

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 6-2
  • Strength: Physicality on both sides of the ball.
  • Concerns: Replacing most of the secondary.
  • Coach: Paul Zukauskas (3rd season, 9-7.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Paul Zukauskas' team wants to be physical and it will try to do so with four returning starters along the offensive line. led by senior Andrew Crane. Kyle Howes returns at quarterback after completing 70 percent of his passes a year ago, with Chris Garrison at receiver and Nick Schutz and AJ Dillon in the backfield.

Middlesex

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 4-4
  • Strength: Offensive line, running backs and linebackers.
  • Concerns: New quarterback.
  • Coach: Joe Lang (18th season, 79-55-2 at Middlesex; 168-151-6 over all.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Middlesex returns four of five starters on the offensive line for veteran coach Joe Lang, while also featuring a rushing attack of senior Hasani Figueroa (1,053 combined yards in 2012)and junior George Morris. Meanwhile on defense, senior Charlie Owen leads a deep linebacking core.

Milton Academy

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Quarterback and running back positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperience from junior class.
  • Coach: Kevin MacDonald (18th season, 87-40-3 at Milton Academy; 186-86-5 overall.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Quarterback Anthony Scurto returns for his senior season under center as Milton Academy. The Mustangs bring back a deep senior class that will make an impact on both sides of the ball as they try to take the next step in the ISL standings. Opening game against St. Sebastian's will say alot about Milton Academy's fall.

Nobles

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Size on offensive line, athleticism at skill positions.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Bob Moore (10th season, 36-37-1.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Nobles is big up front. Senior linemen Alex Beach (6-2, 240), Elliot Borden (6-6, 245) and Mo Afdhal (6-1, 290) will give the Bulldogs an edge in the trenches in front of senior quarterback Ryan Vultaggio and his cast of weapons on the perimeter.

Rivers

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Skill players.
  • Concerns: Young quarterback.
  • Coach: Dan Keohane (3rd season, 7-9 at Rivers.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Rivers coach Dan Keohane likes his group of offensive weapons, led by senior captains Brendan Gates (receiver), Carlin Hayman (receiver), and Montrez Williams (running back). But a lot will depend on how sophomore quarterback Justin Voghel is able to get the ball to his players on the outside. The offensive line is powered by a group of seniors, and the defense returns seven starters from 2012.

Roxbury Latin

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 6-2
  • Strength: Offensive line, receivers.
  • Concerns: Replacing one of the top quarterbacks in ISL history.
  • Coach: Patrick Ross (5th season, 20-12.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Roxbury Latin brings back a strong nucleus up front with its entire offensive line back from last year's 6-2 team. The quarterback position is up for grabs as Roxbury Latin had an open competition in the preseason to replace record-setting Mackay Lowrie (BC), but coach Patrick Ross hopes an opportunistic defense can help set up short fields for the offense to work with this season.

St. George's

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record:0-8
  • Strength: Skill players.
  • Concerns: Smaller offensive line.
  • Coach: John Mackay (30th season, 85-143-7.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

St. George's brings a quicker, faster squad in 2013 than it did a year ago on a team that finished winless. Coach John Mackay likes his group of skill positions, including quarterback Sage Hill, running back Jorge Melendez, and receiver Jonathan Lumley. Mackay is optimistic that if things fall its way, St. George's could make a big jump in the ISL.

St. Mark's

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 2-6
  • Strength: Experienced core.
  • Concerns: Offensive line.
  • Coach: Chris Young (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Chris Young takes over as coach at St. Mark's after a 2-6 campaign in 2012. Young likes the experience of this group, most of whom are entering their third or fourth years as a starter on the varsity level. Junior quarterback Logan Lee leads the offense, while senior captain Bolaji Ekhator anchors the defensive front.

St. Paul's

  • Division: C
  • Last year's record: 5-3
  • Strength: Experienced offense.
  • Concerns: Secondary, defensive line.
  • Coach: Craig Vandersea (6th season, 17-23.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

St. Paul's brings back a long list of starters on the offensive side, a unit that averaged 30.3 points per game a year ago. Senior David Decotiis will carry the load at running back once again behind a veteran offensive line. Junior inside linebacker Hopper Hillegass is coming off an All-ISL season last year and figures to be the catalyst on defense.

St. Sebastian's

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 9-0
  • Strength: Experience on defense.
  • Concerns: Replacing most of the offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Bob Souza (36th season, 154-104-9.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Boston College recruit Connor Strachan heads into his senior season leading the St. Sebastian's defense from his linebacker spot. Six other starters return on defense as well, though the Arrows are replacing three defensive lineman. But St. Sebastian's figures to be a big-time competitor in the ISL once again. "We expect to be a solid team in a very competitive league," coach Bob Souza said.

Thayer

  • Division: B
  • Last year's record: 3-5
  • Strength: Passing game.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced running game.
  • Coach: Jeff Toussaint (10th season, 35-37-1.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Despite graduating a talented class in 2012, Thayer brings back a strong passing game led by quarterback Jack Becker, receiver Brendan Ford, and tight end Conor O'Brien, with offensive tackle Quentin Hall protecting. Meanwhile, running backs Matt Campos, DeVon King and Declan Donahue will handle the running game. On defense, Jonny Gooding and Stephen Gorson anchor the linebacker position, with safeties Sam Murphy and Billy Argus rounding out the unit.

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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