SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

August 19, 2013

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

(Continued)

Ipswich could improve under new coach Greg Brotherton and Hamilton-Wenham will have to get used to life without Trevor Lyons, though the return of running back Cam Macri should help ease that transition. Beyond the immediate area, its easy to like Triton and Lynnfield in the Division 4 North section. Winthrop, always tough under coach Sean Driscoll, could be a surprise team once the tournament begind as well.

It seems the most difficult thing about D4 will be qualifying, because of the increased number of teams that don’t. There will be good teams that don’t squeak in.

In Division 5, the Catholic Central League appears to have a leg up on the competition. I figure the two best teams on paper coming in are Bishop Fenwick and St. Mary’s; another rendition of last year’s classic something football fans can salivate over. With Rufus Rushins and Nick Bona as foundational pieces, it feels like the Crusaders are primed for a run at their first Super Bowl in a decade.

North Shore Tech is the entry in Division 6 North, and the 19 teams along with these are some of the usual suspects for Bulldogs fans: Chelsea, Mystic Valley, Minuteman, etc. Coach Paul Worth has done a fine job keeping his team in the mix since he returned to the sidelines and this year should be no different.

Once a team wins its sectional, they’ll face the winner of the South in Division 2, 4, 5 and 6, before advancing to the state final against a team from Western or Central Mass. In the case of D3 and D1, the Super Bowl would be against a South opponent.

So much can change between today and Halloween, roughly when the playoffs begin, that these predictions might mean nothing. Still, it feels great to know that the time to make them is finally here.

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Matt Williams is the assistant sports editor of The Salem News. You can contact him at MWilliams@Salemnews.com, 978-338-2669 and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN.

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