IPSWICH — It’s a new year and a new offensive system this fall for the Ipswich High football team. But that doesn’t mean the Tigers plan to change anything about their trademark toughness and intensity.
It’s a good thing, too, because the Tigers open by hosting a North Reading team that’s always up for some smashmouth football tomorrow night at Jack Welch Stadium (7 p.m.).
“When you go against North Reading, it’s always about who is the tougher team,” said senior linebacker/running back Derek Chamberlain, one of three IHS captains. “Ipswich was known for old school football. We know we won’t be the bigger team against North Reading — but we’re hoping to show we’re the tougher team.”
It’ll be the first game as head coach for Ipswich’s Greg Brotherton, who took over the program after the Tigers went 2-9 last fall. The Hornets went 8-2 and came within a touchdown of the playoffs when they lost to rival Lynnfield on Thanksgiving. Last year’s records don’t tell the entire story of how these teams stack up, however: Ipswich battled North Reading all the way in a 15-13 setback a year ago.
In fact, each of Ipswich’s last three games last year were losses by five points or fewer. That, and a summer spent working out, has the returning players optimistic and excited to get on the field in games that count.
“It’s really opening my eyes the way all the guys have been working and flying around,” said Nate Glaster, another senior captain. “Everyone’s up beat this year. We’re loving it out here (in practice).”
The challenge for Ipswich will be containing North Reading’s single wing rushing attack, a rarity in modern football. The Hornets graduated their lead back, Carl Lipani (31 TDs a year ago) but expect to have plenty of ballcarriers to fill the void.