The Ipswich Tigers have a brand new look on the football field — and first-year head coach Greg Brotherton hopes it will create lots of scoring chances for his team.
After running the Wing-T for many years, Ipswich is switching to a spread offense. Brotherton is encouraged by the fact that while the Tigers aren’t big, they do have size at running back and linebacker.
“I’m a Wing-T guy; I love it and that’s what Ipswich used when I played here,” said Brotherton, who saw action for legendary coach Jack Welch on the Tigers’ 1991 state championship team. He was formerly the team’s defensive coordinator and served in that capacity at Lynn English for the past five years.
“If I thought I could run the Wing-T now I probably would, but we need a fresh start. That’s why we’re bringing in a fast-paced offense that will allow more people to touch the ball. This year we’re a bit smaller than usual, but we do have a few athletes that can run and catch the ball. I’ve been in the spread offensive at English, and (Swampscott head coach) Steve Dembowski helped me out with it.”
Brotherton, whose team had 54 players try out, said he’ll also speed up the game by using a no-huddle offense at times.
Returning skill players include senior captain Derek Chamberlain, who was the leading rusher as a junior with close to 800 yards and 8 TDs. Quarterback Kyle Blomster, who threw for 484 yards and four touchdowns, is also back along with one of the leading receivers, Nate Glaster. Junior Eddie Flaherty will be another favorite target of Blomster’s at inside receiver.
“We have some good athletes back,” said Brotherton, a police officer in Lynn. “We only have one starting lineman (junior guard Matt Carey) returning, so we have a lot of holes to fill there. Although we changed our offense, a lot of the blocking schemes are the same.
“We’ve got two good running backs in Chamberlain and (junior) Curtis Levasseur (a junior) that will block for each other. They’re both tough, aggressive, hard-nosed kids. We’ll go with a one-back set and a two-back set and be a run-first team, hoping to use that to open things up with the pass.”
Junior Alek Kuljic figures to see time at tight end, wide receiver and/or H-back, while senior Dave Connolly will anchor the defensive line at nose guard or defensive end. Chris Gregory, with good size and experience, will also be counted on at defensive tackle. Junior Robbie Glavin has had an outstanding camp and will be used both ways at receiver and cornerback.
Chamberlain will be at inside linebacker; Carey and Levasseur are also impressive there, and juniors Corey Elliott and Nick Papa are vying for the other spot. Glaster will start at cornerback while Flaherty is at safety.
“Our junior class is very strong,” said Brotherton, who has Glen Foster and Bill Carey back as assistant coaches. “Enthusiasm and work ethic are our strong points. We’re going to build the program up, and know that’s not going to happen overnight, but we want to get maximum effort from everybody. We’ll be mentally tough with dedication and enthusiasm for the game.”