2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Patriot - Fisher

Hanover

  • Last year's record: 2-8
  • Strength: Leadership of the senior class.
  • Concerns: Depth and size of junior class.
  • Coach: Chris Landolfi (1st season, 0-0)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Chris Landolfi spent nine seasons building as defensive coordinator in Duxbury, helping to build the Dragons into a perennial football power. Now with his first head coaching job, Landolfi hopes to bring his winning ways to Hanover, who failed to win a conference game last fall. One of the biggest wildcards for the Indians could be senior quarterback Dean Prouty, who has committed to Merrimack College on a lacrosse scholarship. Prouty didn't take many snaps under center last season behind league All-Star Ryan Bennett, but Landolfi views him as a tough-nosed, intelligent leader who can be mobile in the pocket. Fellow senior Chris Rosinski, who has been getting interest from local college football programs, should prove to be an explosive, two-way player for the Indians as both a tight end and a defensive end. Depth is a concern for Landolfi, who brings 14 seniors and only 10 juniors into the 2013 season, but the attitude and work ethic of his senior class has never been a worry. "They're pretty skilled," said Landolfi. "All together, they're just good leaders. They worked hard all offseason. They've done everything we've asked. They've been great setting an example for the younger kids." Freshman Matt Hughes (6-1, 220) should make an immediate impact at offensive guard, while fellow freshman Patrick Flynn (6-2, 205) will provide stability as a backup on the offensive line.

Middleborough

  • Last year's record: 6-4
  • Strength: Veteran skill players on offense; seasoned secondary.
  • Concerns: Leadership, 11 graduating seniors.
  • Coach: Pat Kingman (3rd season, (8-13))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Sachems took a giant step forward in 2012, locking up the program's first winning season since the team was an independent school in 2005. Though they lost 11 seniors, the Sachems have plenty of role players returning to be excited about. Junior Cody DiBiase will take over under center, and has both the arm and the speed to be a dual-threat quarterback. Fellow junior Casey Tucker will line up behind DiBiase in the backfield, while Taylor Frazier and Lucas Poteau will line up at wide receiver and slot receiver, respectively. The Sachem linebacking core takes a hit with the loss of four-year starter Alex Allioth (142 tackles in 2012), but a solid defensive line should keep opposing offenses honest.

North Quincy

  • Last year's record: 3-7
  • Strength: Experience at running back.
  • Concerns: Depth and overall youth.
  • Coach: Mark Nutley (1st season, 0-0)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

After previously serving as North Quincy's defensive coordinator and special teams coach, coach Mark Nutley is eager to guide the Red Raiders to their first winning season since 2010. The offense will be without former quarterback Andrew Minton and starting center Matt Deagle, but the Red Raiders return a dynamic duo of Patriot Fisher All-Stars to platoon their backfield. Led by seniors Antoine Allen (over 1,350 yards rushing) and Eddie Guinto (980 rushing yards), North Quincy will look to capitalize on plenty of two-back sets in its new offense. Nutley thinks there could be some serious potential in junior offensive lineman Nick Manning as well as senior defensive lineman Chris Clare, who was banged up last fall. The number of upperclassmen on the roster is still a concern for Nutley, but with a group of 20-plus sophomores filling in the 52-man squad, he knows this is an opportunity for young players to not only get valuable playing time, but get acclimated with his new system. "We're starting everything brand new," said Nutley. "Our offense is completely different. Our defense is completely different. Our whole numbering system is different. It's a whole new package for these guys."

Pembroke

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Passing game.
  • Concerns: Experience in the backfield.
  • Coach: Robert Bancroft (31st season, (210-106-6))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

As two-time defending Patriot Fisher champions, Pembroke begins the 2013 campaign carrying the league's biggest target. A three-peat won't be easy for the Titans, something coach Bob Bancroft acknowledges, especially with tough competition to start the season. Pembroke's greatest loss this season is that of offensive tackle Austin Graham, a glaring hole Bancroft expects to fill with juniors Drew CaraDonna (6-4, 225) and Alec Scroggins (6-5, 265). The Titans will also have to replace nearly 1,600 yards of offense generated by last season's four-back set, all of whom graduated. "(Junior) Kyle Horn and (senior) Ryan Sheehan are letter winners, but didn't get a lot of time last year," said Bancroft. "We're hoping they will fall into our tradition of having solid running backs." What Pembroke lacks in the running game they make up for in the passing game. Fisher All-Star quarterback Cory Brandon (1,400 yards, 13 touchdowns) is back under center and will be flanked by receivers Adam Litchfield and Matt Benting and tight ends Ken Blasser and Alec Frizzell. Receivers Nick Burns and Tommy Johnson add depth to an offense already loaded with potential.

Scituate

  • Last year's record: 6-5
  • Strength: Athleticism on offense.
  • Concerns: New scheme on defense.
  • Coach: Herb Devine (6th season, (36-19))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

With only two losses in league play since jumping from Patriot Keenan to Patriot Fisher, Scituate has developed into a perennial contender under sixth-year coach Herb Devine. For the Sailors, everything begins on offense. When former quarterback Mike Stewart went down with an injury last fall, Christian Brady, then a sophomore, stepped in and gained valuable snaps under center, time that should serve him well this season. Behind Stewart and Brady, 5-9 junior Dawayne Kirton exploded for 1,500 rushing yards and well over 2,000 all-purpose yards last fall, and Devine believes he could be in line for a spectacular senior season as well. Fellow senior wideout Noma Okundaye (6-3, 190 pounds) should be a dynamic player on both sides of the ball, and has the ability to burn secondaries who pay too much attention to Kirton. On the other side of the ball, Okundaye will quarterback a defense that will surely go through growing pains as it acclimates to a new defensive scheme, something that Divine said will be a learning process early in the season. "Our experience on offense with our athleticism and the return of our skill players should be a strength for us," said Devine. "Going into the season, [offense] will be the side of the ball we count on early, and hopefully the defense can get some good reps in practice and scrimmages and get ready to play." The biggest loss along the line will be that of lineman John Foster (Cornell), but the Sailors may have found his heir apparent in junior Devin McCarthy. At 6-2, 330 pounds, McCarthy has the size and the speed to be a dominant piece of the Sailors' defensive line for the next two seasons.

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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