Football: 2017 Davenport Division Preview

2017 Davenport Football Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Davenport Football Preview

Canton

2016 Record: 3-8
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Bohane

Key/Returning Players: Brendan Albert, Jr., LB; Alec Ragusa, Sr., FB/LB; Jude Albert, Sr., OL/LB; Kearvens Theodore, Sr., OL/DL; Chris Benjamin, Sr., OL/DL; Tony Harris, Sr., SE/DB; Johnny Hagan, Soph., QB; Kyle Fitzgerald, Soph., FS; Ben Seaman, Jr., LB; Gersom Rivera, Soph., RB; Jack Connolly, Soph., OL/DL; Christian Walker, Sr., TE;

Outlook: The Bulldogs have a solid handful of experienced players back this season and will be looking to mix in a good amount of youth during the 2017 season.

While Canton will have plenty of seniors on the field, head coach Dave Bohane expects a good mix of juniors and even sophomores to get plenty of playing time. The youth starts under center as sophomore Johnny Hagan takes over as the team’s starting quarterback. He’ll have two big targets to work with in Tony Harris and Christian Walker as well as a versatile backfield that features Alec Ragusa and Gersom Rivera.

On the defensive side of the ball, a group of experienced linebackers, including Ragusa, Jude Albert, Brendan Albert and Ben Seamen will anchor the Bulldogs. Kearvens Theodore will be a big piece on the defensive line, alongside Chris Benjamin and Jack Connolly. Sophomore Kyle Fitzgerald will take on the responsibility of being a starting safety but will have plenty of experience in the secondary with seniors Cordell Smith and Marquise Montes manning the corners.

“Getting off to a good start is always important, and equally important is those later weeks,” Bohane said. “We have to keep bodies fresh and keep ourselves in a position to make playoffs. It’s a tough league, everyone we play will be a really good football team. We’re young but athletic and competitive, and I think that will make a difference.”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 5-6
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Teddy Maher, Sr., SS/WR; Phil Dure, Sr., CB/WR; Louis Piccolo, Sr., FS; Devin Hassett, Sr., QB/SE/FS; Jake Addeche, Sr., WR/CB; Patrick Kaveny, Sr., DE; Mike Henri, Sr., RB/SS; Matt Pond, Sr., LB; Mike Luong, Jr., RB; Matt Suess, Sr., OL/DL; Anthony Capachietti, Sr., RB; Hunter Williams, Jr., OL; Andrew Longa, Jr., OL; Kade Treannie, Sr., OL.

Outlook: Foxboro is looking to ride the strength of a deep senior class to get back to the playoffs after missing out a season ago and also get back into the Davenport division title hunt after winning it two years ago.

The Warriors boast 35 seniors and have a handful of experienced juniors that are back after winning five games last season. Under center, senior Devin Hassett and junior Liam Foley are both in the running to take snaps. Hassett is also an option to catch the ball, giving the Warriors some flexibility on the offensive end. A strength that Foxboro will rely on on the offensive side of the ball is their playmaking ability at the skill positions. The Warriors boast multiple capable ball carriers (Mike Henri, Mike Luong, Anthony Capachietti) and pass catchers (Teddy Maher, Phil Dure, Jake Addeche) that can make things happen. Seniors Matt Suess and Kade Treannie and juniors Hunter Williams and Andrew Longa will see time on the offensive line.

Defensively, Foxboro will be looking to improve after giving up just over 29 points per game against division opponents a year ago. The Warriors will be relying on quickness and an aggressive demeanor to make plays on the defense end. Louis Piccolo, Maher, Hassett, Addeche and Henri are all likely candidates to see time in the secondary while Pat Kaveny (defensive end) and Matt Pond (linebacker) will lead the front seven.

“Chemistry amongst 35 seniors and a return to ‘old school Foxboro football’ will personify the 2017 season,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli.

Milford

2016 Record: 6-5
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Anthony Vizakis

Key/Returning Players: Ryan O’Toole, Sr., RB; Matt Curran, Sr., QB; Patrick Brogioli, Sr., OL/DL; Tyler Joyce, Sr., TE/DE; Cullen Burns, Sr., OL/DL; Kayden Kelley, Sr., WR/CB; Will Pointer, Sr., RB/LB; Shapel Feaster, Jr., RB/CB; Matt Annantuonio, Sr., RB/CB; David Abbatinozzi, Sr., OL/DL; Brendan White, Jr., TE/S; Josh Ligor, Jr., OL/DL; Chris Rivera, Sr., RB/LB; Jacob Eosco, Sr., OL/DL.

Outlook: First year head coach Anthony Vizakis is looking to the past as he begins his first season with the Scarlet Hawks. Vizakis is hoping the 2017 Hawks will pull from the tradition of the program as they look to get back to the playoffs once again this year.

It will certainly be a challenge as Milford graduated some of the most talented players in the league, from all different parts of the field. One constant is that the Hawks return quarterback Matt Curran for his senior year. Another familiarity for Curran will be running back Ryan O’Toole, who saw a lot of time last year alongside Blake Hill in the backfield. Receiver Kayden Kelley and tight end Tyler Joyce are also back after getting plenty of reps on the offensive end as well. Seniors Patrick Brogioli and Cullen Burns are two returning starters from the Hawks’ offensive line.

Defensively, the Scarlet Hawks will be looking to continue what they did in 2016, allowing just a shade over 17 points per game. While it was impressive that Milford allowed just 28 points total against Sharon, Canton and Foxboro, the Hawks will need to make a leap to try and halt the offensive firepower of North Attleboro and Stoughton. It will start up front with a tough line and then an athletic group of linebackers. Will Pointer and Chris Rivera will be two of those linebackers while Shapel Feaster and Matt Annantuonio will join Brendan White as members of the secondary.

“Milford football prides itself on the tradition of having ​​physically, and mentally tough football players,” Vizakis said. “That tradition is alive and well, and the energy and intensity coming out of our locker room and onto the practice field thus far has been infectious.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 9-2 (Davenport Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Final
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Chad Peterson, Sr., QB/P; Zach DeMattio, Sr., RB/LB; Sam Bullock, Sr. OL/DL; Brad White, Sr. OL/DL; Mario Bresko, Sr., SE/DB; Ryan Clemente, Jr., OL/DL.

Outlook: With two straight league titles under its belt, North Attleboro isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon. With record-breaking quarterback Chad Peterson back under center for his senior season, the Rocketeers look to be the early favorite for another Davenport title.

After two straight impressive season, Peterson will look to lead this year’s Rocketeers to their second straight Davenport title and another deep run in the playoffs. While playmakers Bobby Mylod and Nick Rajotte are gone, Peterson will have running backs Zach DeMattio and Adam Eberle to work with and receivers Mario Bresko, Omar Jasseh and Ryan Gaumond when he drops back to throw. Junior Ryan Clemente already has a year’s experience under his belt and could be one of the most dominant lineman in the league this season. Sam Bullock, Brad White, John Bradley, Geoff Wilson, Jack Puccio, Aidan Harding and Joe Larkin will all be options alongside Clemente on the offensive line.

One of the biggest reasons for North’s success a year ago was its very impressive defense, which allowed just under 12 points per game (Hockomock League best). Big Red will have to replace some big names and might have to overcome some inexperience early on, but head coach Don Johnson notes there is good competition among the front seven and secondary. Bresko is one player that has experience in the secondary while DeMattio (linebacker) and Bullock (defensive tackle) will anchor the front seven.

“The team has worked hard in the offseason,” Johnson said. “We are confident that our strong scrimmage schedule (Marshfield, Braintree and Bridgewater-Raynham), and a Week 1 non-league game versus defending D2 Super Bowl champion King Philip, will help us prepare for the ultra-competitive Hockomock League schedule.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 6-5
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Morse

Key/Returning Players: Austin Dodes, Sr., WR/DB; Drew Naisuler, Sr., TE/DE; Coleman Loftus, Jr., OL/DL; Chris Gong, Jr., WR/DB; Sam Spencer, Jr., TE/LB; Aaron Strong, Jr., RB/LB; Jeremy Ruskin, Jr., QB.

Outlook: The 2017 version of the Sharon Eagles might be on the young side, but head coach Dave Morse is hoping that youth injects some energy into his squad.

The Eagles started and finished the 2016 season strongly, going 3-0 to begin and then closing with a win over Hopkinton and then a Thanksgiving Day win over rival Oliver Ames to finish over .500. Now, the Eagles will be trying to repeat that success while improving their league record. Junior Jeremy Ruskin is back under center after taking over late in the season last fall and will have senior Austin Dodes and tight end Drew Naisuler available as pass catching options. Junior Aaron Strong saw some carries last year and will likely be a feature back this season.

Defensively, the Eagles were one of the stingiest units in the entire league (just over 18 PPG). The Eagles held six of their 11 opponents under 14 points per game. Junior Coleman Loftus is a returning starter and a two-way lineman for the Eagles while junior linebacker Sam Spencer will look to make an impact this season. Chris Gong joins Dodes and Strong in the secondary while Naisuler will be a part of the Eagles’ front seven.

“It has been a pleasure coaching this group and seeing them make progress,” Morse said. “Despite being the youngest team I have coached, their commitment is refreshing and they motivate me to help them succeed.”

Stoughton

2016 Record: 8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Evan Gibb, Jr., QB; Jason Joseph, Sr., DE/TE; Justin Ly, Sr., FB/LB; Colin Sanda, Sr., WR/DB; Ruben Gonzalez, Sr., WR/RB/DB; Alex Sjoquist, Sr., RB/DB; Paul Feeney, Sr., OL/DL; Anthony Burke, Sr., OL/DL.

Outlook: The Black Knights have had a strong stretch of success over the past couple of seasons and will try to continue that in 2017, despite graduating a very memorable senior class last season.

Gone are playmakers Ryan Sullivan and Izon Swain-Price, as well as linemen Lino Azul and Andrew Iverson and a handful of terrific role players. But, one key returning piece is junior quarterback Evan Gibb. Gibb took over early on during his sophomore season and looked very comfortable in his role. Now he will have to be a leader of the offensive unit. Justin Ly was the third member of Stoughton’s three-headed rushing attack a year ago and will likely be one of the team’s feature backs. Ly is a tough runner that can get yards up the middle but also has speed to get to the outside. Alex Sjoquist will likely also get carries while experienced receivers Colin Sanda and Ruben Gonzalez should see increased roles in 2017.

The Knights are well known for their defense during the successful stretch. While there will be a lot of new faces in new places, the Knights are relying on improved speed to go along with their strength. Jason Joseph is back after a solid junior campaign to lead the defensive line along with Paul Feeney, while Ly is joined by Anthony Burke as linebackers. Sanda, Gonzalez and Sjoquist will all see time in the secondary for Stoughton.

“We’re replacing so many kids from last year,” Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said. “We hope to be ready without a lot of experience. We hope to compete and be healthy.”

HockomockSports.com Chat: Fall 2017 Preseason

Editor’s Note: We’ll be hosting our first Fall preseason chat right here on Wednesday, August 30th at 8PM. Both of HockomockSports.com’s editors Ryan Lanigan and Josh Perry will be participating and fielding questions for all Fall sports. We ask for users to think of creative, insightful questions. Questions/comments that have a negative tone or focus will not be posted or responded too. The chat window will appear roughly around 8PM so check back then.

Live Blog HockomockSports.com Fall 2017 Preseason Chat

Trio Of Hock Teams Make MSTCA XC Preseason Poll

Hockomock Cross Country

By HockomockSports.com Staff

One annual sign that the new school year is upon us is the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association releasing its preseason poll for the upcoming cross country season.

This year, three Hockomock teams are ranked. Both the Franklin and Sharon girls squad are inside the top 20 in the Girls Large School Poll while the Mansfield boys team placed inside the top 10 in the Boys Large School rankings.

Mansfield is ranked seventh in the poll and the Hornets are the favorites to take home the Kelley-Rex division title. The Hornets have dominated the cross country courses for the past decade and a half – winning every single Kelley-Rex title since the league split in 2010 and having won a league title for every year dating back to 2003. Junior Patrick Heavey is one of the top runners back for the Hornets after finishing second at the league championships a year ago. Seniors Kevin Crawford and Collin Rice had top 20 finishes at Hocks a year ago as well.

On the girls side, Franklin comes in at 14th while Sharon is ranked 19th. The Panthers won back-to-back division titles in 2015 and 2016, and with defending Hockomock League MVP Nicole Clermont and classmate Katherine Hartnett (first and second respectively at Hock championships) back for their senior seasons, Franklin is in a good position to go for the three-peat. Ella Gutkowski also finished in the top 20, giving Franklin a trio of top runners in the league.

Sharon senior Ariadne Tolay was a top 10 finisher at Hocks a year ago and will look to lead the Eagles back to a division title. Sharon won the Davenport in 2015 but North Attleboro claimed the title a year ago. Senior Maria Gieg, a Hockomock League All Star, crossed the line 11th overall at Hocks last year and will give the Eagles a solid 1-2 punch.

The Hockomock League will kick off its cross country season with a jamboree on September 5th at Borderland State Park.

Field Dedicated to Longtime Foxboro Football Coach

Foxboro Football
Foxboro football coach Jack Martinelli addressed the crowd at a ceremony renaming the Ahern Middle School field in his honor. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – The crowd filed into their seats in the bleachers at the Ahern Middle School field on Sunday morning, including players in uniform, while friends, family, and speakers filled out the seats in front of the podium at midfield. When the crowd was settled, Foxboro fire trucks and police cruisers pulled in behind the bleachers with sirens blaring, providing an honorary motorcade to deliver the man of the hour.

Foxboro football coach Jack Martinelli, who will kick off his 36th season in charge when the Warriors travel to Hingham on Sept. 8, walked onto the grass field that he has called home for more than three decades and received a standing ovation from current and former players, town and state officials, fellow coaches, parents, alumni, and administrators who were all on hand to honor Martinelli’s contributions on and off the gridiron.

Sunday’s ceremony dedicated the field at Ahern in the longtime coach’s honor, renaming it Jack Martinelli Field to confirm the legacy of success that he has brought to the Foxboro football program and also, as the speakers all noted, his positive impact on more than 3,000 Warriors that have played for him.

“In 1982, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime,” Martinelli said. “With longtime friends and Norwood assistants Joe Mooney and Joe Smith…we embarked on a journey that has run the gamut of football emotions.

“Today’s generous honor really belongs to some 3,000 tough and hard-nosed Foxboro young men that always combined working class traditions with white-collar skills that had a passion for the game and always played with such unity, focus, and determined resolve.We grew together as coaches and players and shared the various responsibilities in victory and defeat.”

Martinelli has won 261 games in his time at Foxboro, which ranks him 10th in the state for career victories according to an article from the Boston Herald. He has won 11 Hockomock League titles and taken the Warriors to eight Super Bowls, winning four of them (the last one in 2006, which was also his 200th career win).

Mansfield coach Mike Redding spoke about his 30-year rivalry with Martinelli.
In addition, Martinelli, who came to Foxboro from Norwood High, has coached in the annual Shriner’s Game three times and twice was named the New England Patriots Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

When he took over the program in 1982, Martinelli had fewer than 30 players on the roster, but grew quickly into one of the largest programs in the Hockomock. Despite decreasing enrollment at the high school, which has made Foxboro one of the smallest schools in the league, the Warriors have more than 90 players on this fall’s roster

Longtime assistant coach Michael Bordieri, who was also a player when Martinelli was hired, recalled, “We only had 29 returning players from the year before and I remember we were all anxious and unsure of what to expect from our new coach. We came into the first meeting unsure…but I remember exactly how we felt as a team when we were leaving – confident, capable, and excited to play for coach.”

“Here we are 35 years later and although the record speaks for itself,” Bordieri continued, “it’s the relationship with players that matters most to coach.”

One of Martinelli’s longtime rivals also came to speak about his impact. Mansfield coach Mike Redding is beginning his 30th season in charge of the Hornets and he relishes the opportunity to face Martinelli each fall on Thanksgiving morning. He called the Mansfield – Foxboro rivalry “the best in the state of Massachusetts.”

“It’s not the banners and the rings,” Redding said, “it’s what he did for the players in the Foxboro uniforms…You will be a better young man having played for Jack Martinelli and when you get to be a senior you will be ready to play the best football of your life.

“I can say on behalf of all the coaches in our league that we have been simply amazed that, despite declining enrollment at Foxboro High, we still have to face 90-95 guys in blue and gold who compete at the highest level every single year.”

A person with a unique perspective on the influence that Martinelli has on the sideline is Jim Artz. A former Foxboro player, who was on the 1987 Super Bowl-winning team, Artz went on to join the Warriors coaching staff as an assistant and then faced Foxboro as an opponent while the head coach at Oliver Ames.

Artz said, “Coach genuinely cared for each of us in a way that we could feel the support and belief he had in us. He always gave sound advice and showed there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

He continued, “To a player he trusted and believed that if given the opportunity his players would rise to the occasion…It’s a tremendous feeling to know the guy in charge believes in you and will always support you. I tell people that didn’t play for Foxboro about why they have been so good for so long and for me it was his players would always run through a wall for him.”

Former Foxboro player and OA coach Jim Artz spoke about his relationship with Coach Martinelli.
Another former player who provided the assembled crowd with unique insight into Martinelli’s career was Tom Nalen, a member of the 1987 and 1988 Super Bowl champion teams who went on to a successful collegiate career at Boston College and played 14 seasons with the Denver Broncos (winning two Super Bowls and being named to the Pro Bowl five times).

Even with the high level of coaching he received, Nalen credited Martinelli with teaching him the lessons that led to a professional career. He explained, “I’ve been around a lot of good coaches and they all have these positive attributes and just the combination of them – he’s the only one who had them.”

A sign for the scoreboard was revealed that bears the new field’s name and a banner was unveiled on the back side of the bleachers that can be viewed by all spectators entering the field. It was a fitting tribute to a coach that built the Foxboro program into a perennial power and who shows no signs of slowing down as he passes the midway point of his fourth decade at the helm.

“He is Foxboro,” Nalen insisted. “A guy from Milton, came to us from Norwood, lives in Holliston, but he’s Foxboro. He’s the guy. It ain’t Tom Brady; it’s Coach Martinelli.”

The Warriors will play their first game at Jack Martinelli Field on Sept. 15 against King Philip.

Schlierf Selected As New Sharon Athletic Director

Nick Schlierf

ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – New Sharon athletic director Dr. Nicholas Schlierf is bringing a bevy of experience from New York to the campus of Sharon High School, officially starting later this month.

He takes over for Bill Martin, who stepped down after taking the same job at Andover High School.

Schlierf, who was announced as the new Eagles’ AD earlier this week in a release from principal Jose Libano, has held numerous athletic positions as well as administrative roles over the past 20 years. Most recently, Schlierf has served as athletic director and assistant principal for nearly a decade at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, New York.

Mercy High School has roughly 700 students while Sharon has just over 1,000 students.

“Nick did a really nice job answering the questions we peppered him with, his references were impeccable, and I’m certain that he’ll be an excellent fit for Sharon and the Hockomock League,” Libano told HockomockSports.com.

Schlierf has family ties to Massachusetts and came across the vacant Sharon job while looking to move to the area. Schlierf was one of three finalists selected from nearly 50 applicants. Twelve candidates were brought in for interviews by a 15-member screening committee comprised of student-athletes, parents, coaches and staff. The three finalists visited Sharon earlier this month for a public interview.

“The whole town, it reminds me a lot of where I grew up (Williamsville, New York),” Schlierf said. “Everyone is so friendly, they are willing to take their shirt off their back for you, people are going out of their way to make me feel at home.”

Prior to his stint at Mercy High School, Schlierf was a varsity soccer coach, assistant principal and then principal at Northstar Christian Academy. He has three kids and was heavily involved in youth sports and travel soccer.

“Sharon is an ideal fit for me,” Schlierf said, noting that Mercy and Sharon have almost all of the same sports, including sailing. “Walking into the school feels like home already. Between my admin background and my love for sports, it’s important to know its not always about the wins and losses. It’s about focusing on the positive experiences, and the role of coaches in that experience.

“I found my niche being an athletic director. It’s been like a breath of fresh air to feel so welcome. I met some of the staff already, and they have been so friendly. I’m looking forward to getting started on what will be a tremendous experience and homecoming for my family.”

Schlierf will complete his move to the area in the near future and will begin full time July 20th.

2017 HockomockSports.com Boys Lacrosse Awards

North Attleboro boys lacrosse
North Attleboro’s Zach McGowan (left) is defended by King Philip’s Conor Khung in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

Click here for the 2017 HockomockSports.com Boys Lacrosse Awards.