SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

August 19, 2013

On Football: What to expect as football teams strap on the helmets

(Continued)

A playoff berth might be a reach for Peabody, but it isn’t impossible. For this year at least, you have to imagine the Tanners will measure themselves on competitiveness, however.

There are no area teams in D2 North, though Lynn Classical and Lynn English are out of the Northeastern Conference.

Division 3 Northeast is loaded with the North Shore, however. Defending Super Bowl champion Beverly would also like to go back to back, but the Panthers are rebuilding the offensive line and looking for depth behind lead running back Isaiah White. Excellent defense has been a Panther staple under Dan Bauer and that should continue and help any growing pains for the Wing-T without Brendan Flaherty and Kenny Pierce.

The biggest challenger should be Masconomet, a team with a dynamic offensive one-two punch in Mac Cashin and Mike Tivinis. The Chieftains are always strong, disciplined and well-conditioned, and back in the Cape Ann League look like a playoff lock. Marblehead should also be in the mix.

There are just 12 teams in D3 Northeast, with eight of them making the playoffs. Those numbers gives teams like Salem and Danvers hope for making the postseason for the first time in some time. Salem returns a lot of speed and Danvers appears to have all kinds of offensive skill. Both teams will need to be more consistent to contend for the sectional crown. Don’t overlook Gloucester, either, especially if the Fisherman stay healthy.

Tewksbury could contend, especially coming from the rugged Merrimack Valley Conference, but the preseason prediction here is Masconomet against Beverly for the D3 Northeast crown in November.

Division 4 is similarly loaded, but just eight of 16 teams will qualify for the tournament. That could put a team like Swampscott, playing a fairly difficult schedule, at a disadvantage. Stil, the Big Blue are playing against like-sized teams, so if they get into the bracket they should be very dangerous as QB Brendan McDonald gets his feet wet.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Sports Special
Sports podcasts
Northeast Sports
Comments Tracker
Facebook
Sports Special