2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Merrimack Valley - Division 1

Andover

  • Last year's record: 10-2
  • Strength: Depth at running back, defense
  • Concerns: Replacing quarterback CJ Scarpa.
  • Coach: E.J. Perry (4th season, 25-10)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Andover has to replace many stars from last year's high-powered offense, like quarterback CJ Scarpa and receivers Will Heikkinen and Cam Farnham. But the Golden Warriors return running back Jack Sylvester, who rushed for over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Sylvester is undoubtedly the focus of the offense, as Andover retools the passing attack. Sylvester also starts at safety and will command the defense, which features hard-hitting linebackers Will Eikenberry and Brian Duffy. Eleven starters return from last year, so Andover will have some holes to fill.

Billerica

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Quarterback.
  • Concerns: Depth, inexperience.
  • Coach: Rich McKenna (1st season, (28-17 in five seasons at Westford Academy))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Billerica native Rich McKenna replaced coach Peter Flynn, who retired after 23 seasons. McKenna, who had success at Westford Academy, will attempt to guide the Indians back from a 2-9 campaign last season. Lots of young players contributed last season, especially this year's starting quarterback Jordan Bolarinho. He has a strong arm, and is expected to lead the Indians' offense. "He's a great leader and he's certainly in command," McKenna said. "He's very coachable." The Indians graduated electric wide receiver Matt Clifford, who was a big focus of the offense. The numbers are strong at Billerica, with over 90 kids in the program

Central Catholic

  • Last year's record: 9-2
  • Strength: Depth at skill positions.
  • Concerns: Inexperienced offensive line.
  • Coach: Chuck Adamopolous (17th season, 112-61)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Raiders' season hinges on how well they can fill the holes in their offense line. All five starters graduated from last season, four of which are playing at the collegiate level. They have a great weapon in running back D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie, who will be paired with Michael Balsamo in the backfield, but the challenge will be clearing space for them. Balsamo has started at safety since his freshman year and will help lead the defense, which also lost a multitude of starters. Quarterback Mike Milano returns under center for his junior season.

Chelmsford

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Size on offensive and defensive lines.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at linebacker.
  • Coach: Bruce Rich (18th season, 129-21-2)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Senior running back Jeff D'Auria returns to Chelmsford after scoring 19 touchdowns last season, and he will be joined by most of the offensive line. Other teams in the MVC have holes to fill in the trenches, and Chelmsford holds an advantage with key returners at the guard and tackle positions. Junior Jack Campsmith is returning as starting quarterback. The only concern for Rich is replacing his linebackers, most notably Matt Rabbito. Charlie Calenda will anchor the defensive line, and the Lions will be strong in the defensive backfield with senior safety Todd Dowery.

Lowell

  • Last year's record: 9-2
  • Strength: Skill positions
  • Concerns: Depth on offensive line
  • Coach: John Florence (3rd season, Second season, 15-7)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Lowell is loaded with skill players at the receiver and running back positions. Receiver Jack Galvin had 10 touchdowns and over 900 yards last season, and Ngaiiva Mason and Shy Cullen combine for a strong backfield. The concern will be stocking the offensive line, which graduated all five starters. For the third straight year, Lowell has a new quarterback. Brian Dolan, a 6-foot-1-inch senior from Lawrence Academy, will step in. Lowell gave up 21.7 points per game last season, but the defense looks primed for an improvement with Cullen and Nicolau Coury at linebacker.

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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