BEVERLY — Ask six of the senior leaders on the Beverly High football team what the strength of the 2013 Panthers might be, and they respond almost in unison:
As head coach Dan Bauer’s defending Division 2A champions ride into the new Division 3 Northeast and a realigned Northeastern Conference, their Wing-T offense is looking for some ballcarriers to replace graduated all-stars Brendan Flaherty and Kenny Pierce, and some new blockers.
Any growing pains the Beverly offense might experience should be balanced off by the defense, which was similarly outstanding a year ago and returns plenty of experience in linebackers Sean Winston and Isaiah White.
“The defense should be solid. We have a lot of guys ready to step up and some experience,” said Zach Duguid, a senior defensive end and guard.
Beverly (13-0 a year ago) was very good at getting off the field on third down a year ago. Defensive end/linebacker Sam Mulumba coming off the edge should help that trend continue, and defensive tackle Jared Paris will clog the middle. In the back end, seniors Joey Kozlowski and Jack Morency anchor the secondary.
White, a speedy and rugged senior, ran for 862 yards and six touchdowns a year ago. He’s ready to assume a bigger workload, though the misdirection that makes the Wing-T dangerous dictates that other running backs will emerge as well. Kozlowski (141 yards, two TDs last year) and seniors Steve Negron and Bruno Caetano are some of the leading candidates.
“I’ve talked to Kenny and Brendan a little bit about what it means to be a leader, and I’m going to try to do that,” said White. “The biggest thing for me is to keep doing what works and to come to work hard every day. I want to do whatever is going to help the team win.”