The North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie football program is no stranger to having a team small in numbers.
The Division 6 Bulldogs are certainly lacking in depth this fall, but if the Bulldogs’ key players stay healthy, they look poised for a big campaign.
Running backs Dan Bailey (190 pounds), Ross Murphy (190 lbs.) and fullback Mike Nueremberg (220 lbs.) give veteran head coach Paul Worth the biggest backfield in recent memory and should work well with the team’s ground-and-pound, ball-control offense.
“Having our starting tailback (Murphy, who gained 995 yards last fall) returning is an enormous help. We know what he can do and as a senior he looks like he’s going to have a super year,” said Worth.
“Danny Bailey is our wingback and he looks like he’ll have a great year, too, and Nueremberg is athletic as all heck. It’s the biggest backfield I’ve ever had. What that means, I don’t know. But we’re excited. “
Ian LeFavour was the backup quarterback last season and will step into the starter’s role this fall. His passing options will be Jordanny Sanchez and Andrew Gallione, but for the most part the Bulldogs will look to keep the ball on the ground.
“We’re going to line up in the I-set most of the time and run the ball. We want to hold onto it, keep the ball out of the other team’s hands and control the clock,” said Worth.
John Sabbio is the lone veteran on the offensive line; his leadership will be key for the group as a whole. Swampscott native Bryan Raustad will be the center and one of three sophomores starting on the line for the Bulldogs.
North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie debuts a new defense this season as Worth decided to switch to a 4-3 front with Bailey (middle), Murphy and Nueremberg (both outside) as the three linebackers. Bailey, in particular, was a beast for the Bulldogs a year ago, tackling anything and everything near him.
Sabbio and Brent Campbell will be the defensive tackles; both come in around 260 pounds. Sanchez and Gallione are on the ends, but with Sabbio and Campbell’s size up the middle it should free up Bailey to make some easy tackles.
Most importantly to Worth, every kid on the roster seems extremely coachable.
“The kids take to the coaching. They listen and have a high football IQ,” said Worth. “But depth is definitely going be a problem. One, two or three kids go down and we could be in trouble.”