DANVERS — There have been times during the preseason when members of the Danvers High football team have been stretching out before practice — and the chirping begins.
“Guys might starting saying stuff about how good we are or something like that,” said captain Alex Grant, a 17-year-old fullback and linebacker, “and all Coach (Sean) Rogers has to do is say, ‘You guys were 4-7 last year and had one win the year before that.’ It really gets our motor going, a reminder that we have to keep proving ourselves.”
For now, the Falcons are perfectly contend to be thought of as also-rans within the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 2 structure, an afterthought behind the Beverlys, Marbleheads and Swampscotts of the world. In a perfect world, they’d much rather build momentum week by week, sneaking up on teams and beating them before their opponents know what hit them.
“There’s depth and talent on this team,” added lineman Joe Manson, another captain. “We need to come out strong, continue to stay focused and let our play show what we can do.”
In describing just how much of a swing his Falcons could face this fall, head coach Sean Rogers says “we could go 11-0, or we could go 0-11.” Neither scenario is likely to happen, but a few breaks here or there — or consequently, some key injuries or major breakdowns in terms of penalties and discipline — could very well determine whether the Blue-and-White trend upwards this season or fall into a downward sprial.
“We have some experience, but most of it came on special teams or as a substitute,” said Rogers, whose team must replace its starting quarterback, tailback, fullback, center, tight end and one offensive tackle from last year’s squad. “For us to be successful, we have to be physical. That means setting the tone physically early on and staying that way throughout. That, and holding teams to less than 20 points a game.