Last fall, the Swampscott High football squad had one of the most potent offenses in the North Shore, averaging 31.7 points per game and eclipsing 40 points in four of their seven wins.
A year later, 14 players from that club have graduated. So while head coach Bob Serino admits this summer has required a bit more coaching, he still feels confident heading into September.
"There's been a lot of teaching going on in the first couple of weeks," said Serino. "But things have been going great so far. We started out a little slow in our first scrimmage, but are getting the concepts down and started to look a lot better after we got our feet."
The veteran head coach cited the offensive line as a major point of emphasis for Swampscott during camp. Senior captain Jake Batram, who Serino said has had "an unbelievable offseason", is the only returning starter on the O-line.
"The guys we're looking at played really well at the JV level and also played a little D-line for us (on the varsity) last year," said Serino. "The guys are definitely talented and are grasping the concepts; we're just working on not hesitating."
Seniors Anton Vasquez, Nick Flint, Andy Rosa and junior Tyler Marshall are all expected to see significant time on the offensive line for the Big Blue.
Swampscott also needs to fill the shoes of quarterback Colin Frary. Last year's signal caller tossed 33 touchdowns, threw for nearly 2,500 yards and rushed for an additional three scores.
Nevertheless, Serino still feels his offene can put up big numbers and doesn't figure to see much of a dropoff from 2017.
"We should be right on queue with last year's production," said Serino. "We have a strong group of athletic receivers who saw the field a lot last year. (Juniors) Manny Teshowa, Jonathan Oriakhi and Arturo Vasquez have a lot of pure firepower speed and can make a lot of guys miss. Honestly, I think our team speed has improved from last year."
"We are also going to have sophomore Graham Inzana under center," continued Serino. "We aren't concerned with him; he could've started for us (at QB) last year if we needed him to. He's also got Jake (Bartram, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound center) looking out for him on the O-line. He's got a good arm and should have a big season for us."
As for the Big Blue defense, Serino couldn't contain his excitement when discussing his linebacking core. Juniors Oriakhi, Dylan January and Nick Reiser are all returning starters ready to the season started sooner rather than later.
"We have a great group of kids here who have the chance to do big things," said Serino. "They all have great speed and can get to the ball quickly, but they're also strong and extremely physical. They were all on the field together last year, so they understand how the defense operates and have been working extremely here at camp."
BIG BLUE BROWSINGS
Last year’s record: 7-4 (Lost to Watertown in Division 5 North quarterfinals)
Head coach: Bob Serino (4th season, 15-18)
Team captains: Jake Bartram, Sr., OL/DL; Connor Lynch, Sr., WR/LB; Andy Rosa, Sr., OL/DL; Jonathan Oriakhi, Jr., DB/WR; Dylan January, Jr., RB/LB.
Top returning rusher: Dylan January (41 rushes, 203 yards, 4 TD)
Top returning passer: Emmanuel Toshewa (1-for-2, 18 yards, 0 TD)
Top returning receiver: Emanuel Toshewa (30 catches, 382 yards, 4 TD)
Last league title: 2008 (Northeastern Conference Small champions)
Did You Know?: Swampscott is one of four Northeastern Conference football teams (along with Beverly, Marblehead and Gloucester) who have played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, having defeated Medfield (22-6) for a 2007 Super Bowl title there.
(does not include MIAA playoff games)
Date Opponent Time
Sept. at Greater Lawrence noon
Sept. 14 at Triton 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Winthrop 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 Salem noon
Oct. 6 at Lynn English 2 p.m.
Oct. 13 Revere noon
Oct. 19 at Saugus 7 p.m.
Nov. 22 Marblehead 10 a.m.