The slogan on the back of the Gloucester football team’s practice T-shirts reads, “Success is not given, it’s earned.”
The Fishermen have started the journey to earn their success in the 2019 season — and it starts a new era with a new head coach.
Dan O’Connor, a 34-year-old, takes over as the team's head coach from Tony Zerilli, who coached the Fishermen from 2011-18.
“The energy and the hard work are there right now,” O'Connor said. “I’m a new coach and I do a few things a little differently, so there’s definitely a learning curve with all of us. But we’re all working hard right now to be where we need to be.”
O’Connor is a new but familiar face to the program.
A 2003 Gloucester High graduate, he played for former coaches Paul Ingram and Terry Silva. O'Connor was also an assistant under Ingram and then under Zerilli for the 2011 season. He was most recently an assistant coach at KIPP Academy in Lynn.
On the field, Gloucester is going to be working in a lot of new starters while playing an extremely difficult regular season schedule. The Fishermen have the opening week off and start the season on Friday, September 13 at Revere (7 p.m.).
When Gloucester takes the field, it will be breaking in new starters at 16 of 22 positions on the field, including nine spots on offense.
Two of those spots are taken up by senior captain Ben Renales. He is returning at both tight end and on the defensive line and was the team’s leading receiver last fall with 241 yards. Fellow senior captain Lawrence Scola returns to the starting defense and he saw action on the offensive line last spring.
Gloucester’s third captain is running back and defensive back Jacob Enos, who figured to play a role as a junior in 2018 but missed the vast majority of the season with an injury.
Seniors Daylon Lark and Harry Marshall are also returning.
Lark is the team’s leading returning rusher with 517 yards on the ground last season, he also starts in the defensive secondary.
Marshall returns at linebacker and also got some carries in the offensive backfield last spring.
Last year's record: 9-3 (Division 4 North champs, lost in Division 4 State semifinals)
Head coach: Dan O'Connor (1st season, 0-0)
Team captains: Jacob Enos, Sr. RB/DB; Ben Renales, Sr. TE/DE; Lawrence Scola, Sr. OL/LB.
Leading returning rusher: Daylon Lark (56 carries, 517 yards, 5 TDs)
Leading returning passer: None
Leading returning receiver: Renales (15 catches, 241 yards, 1 TD)
Did you know?: First-year head coach Dan O'Connor has ties to the last four GHS head coaches. He coached with Tony Zerilli, coached and played for Paul Ingram, played for Terry Silva and coached with Gerry Hart.