2013 EMASS Football Preview

Find a team by

Middlesex - Freedom

Burlington

  • Last year's record: 10-2
  • Strength: Depth.
  • Concerns: Loss of key players from last year's team.
  • Coach: Shawn Maguire (21st season, 128-84-5)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Burlington is coming off a Middlesex (Small) League Championship after posting a 10-1 regular-season record. The Red Devils open their season on Sept. 6 against Billerica and will look to start their season off on a strong note. Burlington lost some key players to graduation, including All-Scholastic running back Marcus Odiah. Look for the Red Devils to look to continue with their high-scoring offensive, despite replacing key players from last season's team.

Melrose

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Running game and defensive experience.
  • Concerns: Inexperience at quarterback.
  • Coach: Tim Morris (20th season, 102-82-4.)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Led by captains Ed Mercer and Mike Diraffaele, Melrose should have a strong running game, a good thing considering the graduation of Bryan Reale, a four-year starter at quarterback. Melrose had the best defense in the Middlesex Freedom last fall and if that trend continues Morris' 20th season could be a good one.

Stoneham

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Skill players, team speed.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on offensive line
  • Coach: Bob Almeida (2nd season, 132-73-1 overall, 7-4 with Stoneham.)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Stoneham lost some key players to graduation including receiver Eric Mooney, five offensive lineman, and quarterback Andrew Cann, who threw 18 touchdown passes for the Spartans last season. Despite some inexperience on the team, coach Bob Almeida has set high goals for the squad this season. "With the new playoff system, it's really important for us to make the playoffs," he said. "Competing for a title and making the playoffs is our No. 1 goal." Almeida noted the team has a sense of urgency to win games and win them early.

Wakefield

  • Last year's record: 8-3
  • Strength: Experienced quarterback, good team leadership.
  • Concerns: Lack of returning starters.
  • Coach: Mike Boyages (17th season, 120-49-3)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Wakefield is building a new football stadium and the team will look to transition from a grass field to artificial turf. The new stadium hasn't yet been completed but the Warriors are hoping to play their home opener on Sept. 20 on the new field. With the new playoff system, Wakefield is going to see more changes this season that just its field. Coach Mike Boyages noted the team will have to play its rival Melrose at least two times and maybe a third should the Warriors make the playoffs.

Watertown

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Experience, work ethic.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: John Cacace (7th season, 33-55)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Watertown has put together four consecutive winning season, and that's the goal coach John Cacace has set for the squad again this season. The Raiders are the smallest team in the league and in order to make the playoffs they'll have to knock off some top teams. Cacace said the difficulty of the team's schedule is their biggest challenge this season. Cacace said the team is still searching for its identity, but is focused on toughness and defense.

Wilmington

  • Last year's record: 2-9
  • Strength: Big linemen, returning running backs.
  • Concerns: Overall depth.
  • Coach: Mike Barry (6th season, 33-21)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Wilmington is coming of its first losing season in 17 years and is looking to rebound. During the offseason, Wilmington built a new field moving from grass to artificial turf. Coach Mike Barry is hoping the new field stirs up some excitement for the Wildcats season, but doesn't think his players will be impacted by the surface. "We've played on it enough visiting other teams and so forth so lately our kids are more used to it," he said. "I am not expecting any major challenges."

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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