All Independent School League football coaches agree upon this: there is a great deal of uncertainty heading into the season.
COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 ISL/Prep football season. Given that, hope springs eternal for the schools as they trot out on the field this Saturday to play a meaningful game for the first time since November 2019.
BB&N should be one of the teams to beat in the ISL. Arizona-bound linebacker Tyler Martin has been a starter since the eighth grader. Tom Porell and Ty Harding will be two-way starters at wide receiver and defensive back, while Shane Hanafin returns at quarterback. Hanafin’s younger brother, Ronan, will join Porell and Harding in the secondary.
The offensive line will be keyed by Nick Ciaffoni, Thaddeus Foote, Declan Pflaumer and James Staknis. Other key players figure to be Jake Berglund (LB/FB), Isaiah Kacyvenski (WR/DB), Jay Kulkarni (LB/HB), Brian Brennan (OL/DL), Jack Kelley (LB/WR), Brett Elliott (TE/DE) along with Westford transfer Bo Maccormack (RB/DB).
If you’re looking for a team capable of bouncing back, look no further than Lawrence Academy, which struggled with numbers in 2019. Notre Dame-bound lineman Ty Chan leads an offensive line that includes stalwarts Hollis Dirstine and Ryan O’Connor. Ryan Puglisi is a sophomore quarterback many feel is destined for stardom, while tight end Matt Ragan has pledged to play on at Boston College.
Milton Academy will be in the hunt once again as 11 starters return. Luke Thorbahn and Jackson Smith are the top running backs, Duncan MacDonald, Jack Wilson and Dan Rosenberg are the key offensive linemen.
The linebacking corps should be solid as Sam Jaffe and Jack Crowley are back along with defensive backs Erich Clarke, Ben Waterman and Mathias Fowler. Jacob Holtschlag will be the starter at quarterback.
Belmont Hill will be solid in the trenches with Nolan Parchesky, Calogero LoGrasso and Jack Henderson back on the line. Michael Ahonen (DB), Harry Lodge (DE) and Sean Egan (LB) are expected to be leaders on defense along with Brian Gallucci (DB). Albert McField and Bert Greene are expected to share the running back duties, while Matt Martines will be one of the better kickers in the ISL.
Governor’s will look to linebackers Matt Shaw and Huriel Calice as well as quarterback Tristan Aboud.
Middlesex won the Mark Conroy Bowl in 2019 and leftovers from that team include three-year lineman Nick DeBruin, Kevin Ma and Peter Sleeper. Quarterback Cam Fries has a veteran group of receivers led by Mark Conde, Liam Connor, Nate Crozier and Eon Morrissey. Liam Connor is one of the top kickers in the state.
St. Sebastian’s will lean on captains Ryan Donovan (OL/DL), Ben Frisoli (WR/DB), Cormac Wright (WR/DB) and speedy Zion Simmons (WR/RB/DB). Quarterback Braeden Donovan will run the show and work behind a line keyed by John Cox and Kristian Nordby as well as Donovan.
Noble & Greenough will rely on OG/DT Cam Charron (Yale commit), FB/LB Jake Bollin, WR/DB Matt Travisano and WR/DB Joey Duggan. Tabor will be young thus RB Javar Williams, WR/LB Brock Mozoki, LB Mikey Croteau and SS Hector Perez are expected to shoulder a bigger load.
Brooks returns QB/DB Michael Wolfendale, WR/DB Rayden Waweru, WR/DB Fru Nkimbeng and linemen Jack O’Brien and Dave Thomson. Groton should be solid in the skill positions as QB Patrick Eldredge, TE Henry Jamison, RB Christopher Kadri, FB Bensen Han and WR Logan Taylor are back along with linemen Forest Nelson and Luke Romano.
Roxbury Latin has linebackers Luke DeVito and James Birch back, while Aidan Brooks is a three-year starter at quarterback. There is depth in the skill positions with Harry Lonergan, Angus Leary and Birch at running back, while Chris Weitzel, Antonio Morales and Charlie Clough are the top receivers. Thayer Academy has the heavily recruited Okunlola brothers, Samson (OT/DT) and Samuel (DE/TE) back along with RB/LB Dylan McDonough.
St. George’s featues several experienced players on both sides of the ball, led by WR/DB Alpha Barry, Sr., OL/DL Fritz Nottebohm, OL/DE Bilal Khan, LB Daimien Garcia, WR/DB Bryce Ferrell, OL/DL Jeremy Martinez, C Conor Weeks, LB Rejos Neopaney, RB/LB Diego McCray, RB/LB Jesse Guay and WR/DB Garrett Gray. Rivers returns a quartet of starters from 2019 in OL/DL Samuel Lyons, OL/DL Daniel Shanley, WR/DB Kalyl Lindsey and TE/DL Brendan Poirier.
St. Mark’s went through a winless campaign in 2019 and will be looking to TE/LB Zaki Williams, FS Brendan Peters, WR/SS Grady St. John and LB/OL Dwayne Hinds to turn things around. In addition, OL/DL Liam Groh, RB/LB Robert Dooley, RB/LB Levi McAllister and WR/DB Si Jones are expected to play major roles.
Among the local schools competing in the Evergreen League, Dexter Southfield should have one of the top offensive lines around with West Virginia commit Sully Weidman, Netinho Olivieri and Liam Andrews leading the way. Derik Nelson and Mason Hatfield will be the featured backs, while Jack Keleher is a returning two-way starter at tight end and defensive end.
Pingree will look to two-way lineman Nico Mangano and defensive back Jack Feeks as returning starters. QB/FS Hunter Weidman and QB/DE Alex Theriault are two more to watch.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tristan Aboud, Sr., QB, Governors; Michael Ahonen, Sr., WR/DB, Belmont Hill; Liam Andrews, So., OL/DL, Dexter Southfield; Alpha Barry, Sr., WR/DB, St. George’s; Jake Bollin, Sr., RB/LB, Noble & Greenough; Aidan Brooks, Sr., QB, Roxbury Latin; Huriel Calice, Sr., LB, Governor’s; Cam Charron, Sr., OL/DL, Noble & Greenough; Nick Ciaffoni, Sr., OL/DL, BB&N; Jackson Conners-McCarthy, Jr., WR/LB, Brooks;Jack Crowley, Jr., LB, Milton Academy; Luke DeVito, Sr., OL/LB, Roxbury Latin; Ryan Donovan, Sr., OL/DL, St. Sebastian’s; Joey Duggan, Jr., WR/DB, Noble & Greenough; Thaddeus Foote. Sr., OL/DL, BB&N; Ben Frisoli, Sr., WR/DB, St. Sebastian’s; Daimien Garcia, Sr., LB. St. George’s; Ronan Hanafin, Jr., WR, BB&N; Shane Hanafin, Sr., QB, BB&N; Ty Harding, Sr., WR, BB&N; Mason Hatfield, Sr., RB/DB, Dexter Southfield; Dwayne Hinds, Sr., LB, St. Mark’s, Sam Jaffe, Sr., LB, Milton Academy; Henry Jamison, Sr., TE/LB, Groton; Christopher Kadri, Sr., RB/DB, Groton; Jack Keleher, Sr., TE/DE, Dexter Southfield; Kalyl Lindsey, Sr., DB, Rivers; Harry Lodge, Sr., DE/TE, Belmont Hill; Calogero LoGrasso, Sr. OL/DL, Belmont Hill; Samuel Lyons, Sr., OL/DL, Rivers; Duncan MacDonald, Sr., OL, Milton Academy; Tyler Martin, Sr., LB, BB&N; Matt Martines, Sr., PK, Belmont Hill; Dylan McDonough, Sr., RB/LB, Thayer; Brock Mozoki, Jr., LB, Tabor; Derik Nelson, Sr., RB, Dexter Southfield; Samson Okunlola, Jr., OT/DT, Thayer; Samuel Okunlola, Jr., DE/TE, Thayer; Netinho Olivieri, Sr., OL/DL, Dexter Southfield; Declan Pflaumer, Sr., OL/DL, BB&N; Brendan Poirier, Jr., TE/DL, Rivers; Thomas Porell, Sr., WR, BB&N; Daniel Shanley, Sr., OL/DL, Rivers; Matt Shaw, Jr., LB, Governor’s Academy; Zion Simmons, Jr., RB/WR/DB, St. Sebastian’s; Jackson Smith, Sr., LB, Milton Academy; Logan Taylor, Sr, WR, Groton; Luke Thorbahn, Sr., RB, Milton Academy; Matt Travisano, Sr., WR/DB, Noble & Greenough; Sully Weidman, Sr., OL/DL, Dexter Southfield; Javar Williams, Sr., RB, Tabor; Zaki Williams, Sr., TE, St. Mark’s; Jack Wilson, Sr., OL/DL, Milton Academy; Cormac Wright, Sr., WR/DB, St. Sebastian’s