2013 EMASS Football Preview

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Tri-Valley - Large

Holliston

  • Last year's record: 7-4
  • Strength: Speed, experience at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Todd Kiley (11th season, (84-30))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Following three straight Tri-Valley Large titles from 2009 to 2011, Holliston is looking to reclaim the TVL's top spot after dropping the title match to Westwood last Thanksgiving. Holliston returns many of the offensive weapons that drove the Panthers to the highest points-per-game total in Division 3 last fall (30.4), but will have to replace TVL Large MVP Max Athy at quarterback (1,300 yards rushing, 19 total touchdowns). Under center, the Panthers will rotate between juniors Joe Bellomo and Nick Athy. Alex Mitchell, a 5-9 sophomore, will man the backfield as well as a defensive end position. Juniors John do Carmo (tight end and linebacker in 2012) and Connor Lefevra have worked hard in the offseason to prepare for stints along the offensive line, one of the places where the Panthers have concerns entering the season. "We've got some younger guys, so three or four kids are playing in different roles for us," said Kiley. "They're unselfish kids who came to us in the offseason recognizing we needed certain help in certain areas."

Hopkinton

  • Last year's record: 9-2
  • Strength: Experienced linebackers; special teams.
  • Concerns: Inexperience on offense; size on offensive and defensive lines.
  • Coach: Jim Girard (4th season, (25-8))
  • Playing surface: Grass
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

There has been very little standing in the way of Hopkinton and a playoff berth over the past two seasons, as the Hillers have rattled off a 19-3 record and averaged over 30 points per contest. The only issue is that all three losses have come in league play, falling to Holliston for their lone loss in 2011, and dropping to Holliston and Westwood last fall. This season, the Hillers will spend the first part of the season gaining an identity on offense, as Hopkinton returns only two starters on offense. Junior Patrick Ryan will quarterback the offense, taking the place of Hank Rudden, who tied Mike Pecina for the program's single-season record for passing touchdowns (18) in 2012. Jake Lehman (offensive line) and Ryan Bohlin (linebacker) were three-year starters the Hillers will have to replace as well. Outside the numbers, coach Jim Girard thinks senior wideout Luke Moschini could be a threat to opposing secondaries after getting stronger and faster during the offseason. "We know we're young," said Girard, "so it'll take a little longer for us to get going, for kids to figure out positions and what to do. It might be slow going at first but our goal is to compete, be aggressive on defense, take chances on offense, and be disciplined. It's going to be about taking care of the football."

Medfield

  • Last year's record: 4-7
  • Strength: Good depth at the skill positions.
  • Concerns: Many first-year varsity starters.
  • Coach: Erik Ormberg (3rd season, (6-16))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Things appear to be looking up for Medfield, a team looking for its first conference victory since 2010 and first winning season since 2008. The Warriors have entered camp in peak condition, according to third-year coach Erik Ormberg, a variable he hopes will help his team in the long run. Two-way starter Tommy Sears will be back under center, and his ability to both stand in the pocket and run with the ball could greatly benefit the Warrior offense. Junior Matt Patry, who was injured part of last season, could be poised for a breakout year at the split end position, while tight end Alex Wong has had a great preseason. The backfield will have to replace the offense of graduated running back Ryan Spillane, but a group of five backs will all be fighting for carries - senior Ross Bovarnick, juniors Griffin Melina, Zach Demello, and Josh Hirschfeld, and sophomore George Sawan. Linebacker Joe Davanage, who missed games last fall with an illness, should alleviate the loss of Tri-Valley Large All-Star Arthur D'Angelo, an outside linebacker who Ormberg called "one of the best defensive players I've ever coached." "One of our goals this year is we want to be .500 or better in the TVL large," said Ormberg. It's a very competitive division, but we know if we want to be in the discussion in this new playoff system, we need a couple of wins within our league."

Medway

  • Last year's record: 5-6
  • Strength: Experience; senior leadership.
  • Concerns: Depth.
  • Coach: Dave McSweeney (6th season, (40-15))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

In Dave McSweeney's first three seasons with Medway, the Mustangs steamrolled the opposition en route to a 29-4 record, but losses in conference play failed to earn the schools first-ever playoff berth. Following the first sub-.500 season of the McSweeney era, Medway returns a seasoned group of 29 seniors, most of whom have been within the program since freshman year. With the return of Tri-Valley Large All-Star Anthony Parchesky (just under 1,700 yards rushing) and the emergence of quarterback Andrew Henry at the tail end of last fall, the Mustang backfield appears strong. Senior Tim Huffam will be a player to watch at the tight end and middle linebacker positions, while all eyes will surely be on the offensive and defensive lines this season. Led by 6-4, 285-pound Kevin Sheehan and 6-5, 290-pound Lafayette-commit Cam Smith, the O-line should be a destructive force on defense and should open holes for Parchesky. "Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs," said McSweeney, "and you can't make the playoffs unless you take care of business every week."

Westwood

  • Last year's record: 8-4
  • Strength: Familiarity with offensive and defensive systems; offensive line.
  • Concerns: Youth and inexperience with the junior class.
  • Coach: Ed Mantie (3rd season, (16-7))
  • Playing surface: Artificial turf
  • Schedule: Complete list of games

Westwood was finally able to reach the Tri-Valley Large peak in 2012, rolling three-time defending champion Holliston by a score of 42-14 on Thanksgiving Day for the Wolverines' first title since 2004. Xaverian transfer Joe Ghanem could prove an important addition along the defensive line and at tight end, especially with the loss of All-Star Nick Antonellis. Fellow All-Star Bo Berluti (13 receiving touchdowns) returns to the high-powered offense, and will spend time both at wide receiver and quarterback, sharing duties under center with newcomer Will Jessup. The duo will look to replace the offense created by Bo's older brother, Alex. Experience along the offensive line should do wonders for whoever is taking snaps. "This year might be more dynamic with both kids being quarterback and both being receiver," said Mantie. "It present different challenges for the defense. They're different styles of quarterback. With the no-huddle [offense], it should be a little tough to adjust on the fly. We like the flexibility it presents our offense."

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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