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Gridiron Success Means Stepping Up

Captain Connor Scott ’10 is the only returning starter on this year’s roster. Head Coach Michael Silipo will be working overtime with coaches Nicholas Albertson, Chip Davis, and Mark Ott to rebuild the team and prepare them for the tough season ahead.

“Injuries have plagued the team a little bit during preseason,” Scott said, “so I cannot say anything for sure, but we did some good things during our scrimmages against Andover and Cushing.”

With a new roster comes a new strategy to winning. This year, according to Scott, Coach Silipo plans to “air it out.” This means using new offensive game plans, such as four wide receivers instead of the I-formation the team ran last year. No matter what the strategy may be, Coach Silipo preaches one motto: “The biggest game is the next one.” The team will focus on their opponent of each week and nothing else.

Despite a very new group of varsity players, many of them have formed good relationships from previous years on the jv team. When asked about the team’s chemistry, Nic Mahaney ’12 replied, “It won’t be a big deal. Every team goes through the process of getting to know each other; it’s just one of the things a team has to do.”

One potential new contributor, Mac Roy Jackson ’11, dominated the competition at the jv level last year as the team’s starting running back. “I am looking forward to seeing how he does. He will be making a huge difference for the team this season,” said Scott of the junior.

The team picked up a behemoth post graduate, left tackle Ted Barett who “will be beating up opponents,” according to Scott. Along with Barett, the team will need players like Drew Patenaude ’10 and Jeff Van Oot ’12 to dominate on the offensive line.

“Our game plan this year will revolve around throwing the ball, and so much of that depends on the play of our offensive line,” said Cyrus Wittig ’10. “With Conner and Trevor Wheeler ’10 on the outside, I have no doubt we can throw the ball; it’s just a matter of whether the line is able to provide protection.”

On the defensive side, post-graduates Harley Brown ’10, Charlie Bueneman ’10, and Brendan Gallagher ’10, will all have a huge impact.
“Harley is a very physical defensive end who has a nose for the ball,” said Wittig when discussing the playmakers on defense. “Charlie and Brendan both have a natural feel for the game. Once they fully understand our defensive scheme, they will be hard to stop,” Wittig continued.

In reference to returning varsity player John Zurlo ’10, “He is going to be a factor on the offensive line, and I think he is definitely capable of filling the big shoes Jim Forrey ’09 left behind at defensive end,” Scott enthused.

The team is chomping at the bit to start the season. Only time will tell which players step up. “We have the bodies to compete, it is just a matter of developing the toughness it takes to play football,” said Coach Silipo in a recent speech to the team.

According to Scott, “Our biggest challenge coming into the year was getting a team together as fast as possible, and I have no doubt we have done that. We’re ready. I cannot wait for the season to get underway.”