MMA ready to bowl them over
September 1, 2010
Coming off a much improved 3-7 season in 2009, this year's Buccaneers welcome back 14 starters and 35 letter-winners and will be buoyed by a veteran offensive line and talented running backs corps, which should translate into a productive rushing attack.
“Our main strength is our offensive line and skilled position players, especially running back and wide receiver,” said sixth-year MMA head coach Jeremy Cameron, the 2009 New England Football Conference Bogan Division Coach of the Year.
MMA begins the 2010 campaign tomorrow when it travels to Throggs Neck, N.Y., to take on SUNY-New York Maritime. Kickoff for the fourth annual Chowder Bowl at Reinhold Field is 7 p.m.
The Buccaneers have yet to beat New York Maritime in three previous Chowder Bowl meetings. Last season, the Privateers posted a 31-14 win over the Buccaneers before 1,718 spectators at Clean Harbors Stadium.
The teams combined for 754 total yards in this high-scoring contest. MMA outgained the Privateers by a 429-325 margin and rushed for 281 on the ground while the visitors ran for 216 yards.
In 2008, the Privateers posted a 24-14 victory in Throggs Neck, N.Y., and also won the inaugural Chowder Bowl in '07 with a 10-6 win in Buzzards Bay.
“New York Maritime is hard to simulate (in practice) because they run out of the wishbone,” Cameron said. “Only one other opponent (Maine Maritime) runs the wishbone and we don't play them until later this season. We'll need to take advantage of opportunities on both sides of the ball and limit our mistakes.”
The Bucs will be led by junior Nathan Sherr, a former Austin Prep standout and UConn transfer from 2008, who rushed for 190 yards and a 66-yard touchdown in last year's loss to N.Y. Maritime.
Sherr rushed for a school-record 325 yards and three TDs in a 49-27 victory over MIT. He led NCAA Division III rushers (174.7 ypg) before suffering a knee injury last season and appears to be fully recovered.
He will be joined in the backfield by Matt White and former Dennis-Yarmouth standout Barry Reopell (South Dennis), who'll also be involved in the return game.
Cory Antunes will start at quarterback tomorrow against the Privateers while freshmen Michael Stanton and Patrick Viencek should see action behind center this season.
The Bucs will look to a deep receiving corps led by NEFC Bogan Rookie of the Year Jonathan Emond, who caught 38 passes for 656 yards and seven scores as a freshman. He will be joined by Kyle Rowe, Michael Tanner and flankers Jacob Pollock and Mike Belmore (Dennis), a D-Y grad.
MMA's offense will revolve around a veteran line led by five returning starters in tri-captain center Max Whitney (5-11, 260 pounds), Chris Dintino of Mashpee (6-1, 285) and Colin Giles (6-2, 275) at guard, and Lenny Simmons (6-2, 278) and Samuel Jackson (6-2, 240) at tackle.
On the other side of the ball, there is considerably less experience, but All-NEFC safety Andy Hirko and linebacker Mike Bois (75 tackles in '09) will provide the leadership.
Top players along the defensive front appear to be Kevin Griffin (6-4, 240), Peter Avitabile (6-0, 250) of Sagamore Beach and James Hutchinson (6-2, 215), while the linebacker corps is led by Bois and Charles Sykes (53 stops in '09).
Other than Hirko, the MMA secondary lacks experience, but does feature talented underclassmen Eddy Ramos, Michael Sylvia and versatile freshman Stefan Gustafson, a former Plymouth South standout who'll be featured in the return game.
Talented 6-3, 200-pound junior Walter Butler of Bourne may be a wild-card performer on both sides of the ball at either strong safety or tight end.
Freshman Brandon Rodrigues will be the place-kicker, while Jarad Horey will handle the punting chores.
MMA should be involved in plenty of high-scoring contests again and if the youthful defense can progress quickly, the Bucs should continue to improve in 2010.