One of the main objectives for the Salem High football team to remember this season is this:
Forget about last year.
After a 1-9 campaign in 2011, the Witches are forging full speed ahead, ready to better themselves and make huge improvements on the gridiron this fall.
Despite losing some key players, the core of Scott Connolly’s team remains intact. That’s one of the team’s biggest strengths heading into tonight’s season opener against visiting Peabody.
“We have mostly everybody back from last year, so they’ve been through it before: wins, losses, everything,” said Connolly, beginning his ninth season as the Witches’ head coach. “We had a lot of young guys who played last year, but now they go into it and they’re experienced.”
Connolly will look to a pair of senior quarterbacks to charge his offense: Christian Dunston and Billy Muse. Dunston carried the majority of the load last year as the team’s leading rusher (552 yards, 2 TDs) and leading passer (58-for-123, 810 yards, 8 TDs). The two are expected to split time as the signal caller with their quick thinking and athletic ability.
”Christian is so versatile,” Connolly said. “There’s just so many other things we can do with him.”
Dunston, wideout Ben Kapnis and two-way linemen Alex Veloukas and Jared Louf-Woods were named this year’s captains.
”I really couldn’t ask for better leaders on the field or in the locker room,” Connolly said. “That’s one of the aspects that’s been great about this team: solid leadership.”
Kapnis is back as the Witches’ leading receiver with 13 catches, 285 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. He’ll be joined by fellow classmate Ben Sattiewhite in Salem’s two-receiver set.
“Kapnis is 6-foot-2, and Sattiewhite is about 6-3,” Connolly said, “so we have two big receivers out there. Two big targets for Christian or Billy to find.”