2013 EMASS Football Preview

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South Shore - Large

Abington

  • Last year's record: 13-0
  • Strength: Experience on the offensive and defensive line.
  • Concerns: Trying to find backups.
  • Coach: James Kelliher (40th season, 222-172-10)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Coming off an undefeated 2012 season that was capped by a Division 4 Super Bowl win, the Green Wave have wiped the slate clean and are focusing on 2013. "[2012] was great, but it's a new season with new challenges," coach Jim Kelliher said. "You really can't think too much about last year." The Green Wave returns senior running back Matt Kilmain, who racked up 417 yards alone in the 2012 postseason. Joining Kilmain in the backfield are seniors Jason Halpin, Alex Tempesta, and Al Freeman, and the depth has Kelliher optimistic. "They've had a good preseason and it looks like we can depend on them," Kelliher said. Who will hand the ball off to those running backs has yet to be determined, as the quarterback job is still up for grabs between juniors Josh Riordan and Bryan Dwyer. Senior captain Pat Whelan will anchor the offensive and defensive lines, where Abington should excel. On the offensive front, Whelan will be lining up next to a mix of Jon Aprile, Steve Manning, center Joe Tosone, Sam Malafronte, Scott Jansen, Luca Cerasani, and Brian O'Donovan. Aprile, Manning, Tosone, Cerasani, and O'Donovan will all be key parts of the defensive line as well. Kelliher noted a group of defensive backs and wide receivers who he's been impressed with during camp, which includes Aidan Cawley, Brendan Glavin, DeAndre Hilton-Kardoza, Vinny Picardi, and Javin Vincelette.

East Bridgewater

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Depth
  • Concerns: Who is going to step up on offense?
  • Coach: Shawn Tarpey (9th season, 45-40-1.)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

While parts of the South Shore League are undergoing transitions, East Bridgewater is trying to capitalize on the continuity that it brings into the 2013 season. "Things are going well," coach Shawn Tarpey said. "They're running our offense well and we're playing strong on defense." Senior James Shea is an offensive weapon for the Vikings at wide receiver and running back, and can do "a little bit of everything," Tarpey said. Owen Harrington and Sean Pierce are in competition for snaps at running back, and the starting quarterback has yet to be determined as well. Mike Kelly and Ryan Graham are the candidates for the starting role, which Tarpey hoped would be decided by Week One. Seniors Chris Stanton and Blake Henderson are both back from injuries last year and will be key contributors at outside linebacker. Tarpey called Abington the team to beat, and East Bridgewater will have a key game against the Green Wave in Week Seven, right before the playoffs are decided.

Norwell

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Returning experience; numbers and depth
  • Concerns: Learning a whole new system and trying to catch up quickly
  • Coach: Jim Connor (1st season, 8th overall, 27-39)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

New coach Jim Connor is trying to change the culture in the Norwell football program, and he's happy with how his team has responded so far. There are 70 players in the program, compared to the less than 40 remaining at the end of last season. This fall, Connor is hoping his five seniors will step up and spark the turnaround. Those five seniors are Aaron Hartford, George Williams, Anthony Wood-Cassella, Mike Ross, and Greg Cammaratta. "I'm looking for these guys to play a significant role for us," Connor said. "We're as good they will take us." Hartford will line up at tight end and serve as a big target for new quarterback Kris Kellaway, who started at cornerback last year. Kellaway has been thrown into the fire but is hungry to learn more, Connor said. He'll have experienced help in the backfield, as Ross and juniors Dave Talanian and Dan Hilson will carry the load at halfback. Wood-Cassella and Cammaratta will be key linebackers, while Williams will anchor the lines at defensive tackle and center. "The kids have been really buying in to the system," Connor said. "I'm very pleased with that so far."

Randolph

  • Last year's record: 3-8.
  • Strength: Speed, offensively and defensively
  • Concerns: Inexperience.
  • Coach: Keith Ford (1st season)
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

It is a brand new start for Randolph this fall, in all facets of the program. With a new coaching staff, a new field, new uniforms, and a new conference, there is "a new atmosphere and a new mindset," said first-year coach Keith Ford, previously the offensive line coach at Curry. One mainstay is junior quarterback Brent White, who will look to lead the Blue Devil offense. The 6-foot, 225-pound captain is the emotional leader of the team, and his arm will be relied upon heavily. Senior captain Emmanuel Neal is a "big-hit" guy, and he will be joined by Kris Depina, Darius Banks, and sophomore captain Fabian Thanes as key linebackers. The fourth captain is junior Willie Pittman, who will provide some size up front on the offensive and defensive lines. "There are a lot of new faces in the program," Ford said. "Guys are hungry. We're really excited."

Rockland

  • Last year's record: 3-8
  • Strength: Experience.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Brian Kelliher (2nd season, 3-8)
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

The Bulldogs went through some growing pains last year, but they return 12 players who were starting as sophomores and juniors. Senior fullback Andy Reardon is healthy after missing time last season, and coach Brian Kelliher is expecting big things from him. "We're counting on him to carry the load," Kelliher said. Reardon is joined in the backfield by senior running back Colin Aylward, who started there last season. At quarterback, Joey Reardon returns as a junior after an offseason of strong development. "I'm expecting a lot from Joey," Kelliher said. John Kamande is back at middle linebacker and Kelliher said he'll be counting a lot on Kamande and fellow junior linebacker Liam Ball to lead Rockland's defense. Seniors Ethan Rooney and Joe Rizzotto and juniors Jason Cameron and Fabiano Rosa return on the offensive line. Though there is strong experience returning, Kelliher said the team won't be getting ahead of itself. "We're just focusing on one week at a time, one day at a time," Kelliher said.

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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