Put the cover on the pool and break out the pumpkin lattes. High school football starts this weekend with all four Lynn teams springing into action.
The big news during the off-season was the changing of the guard at English High. Head coach Peter Holey stepped down after seven years and former English High quarterback Chris Carroll stepped up to fill the role. Carroll, who also played at Bentley University, will make his head coaching debut Saturday against Swampscott at Blocksidge Field (noon).
The game will pit two new coaches against one another. Bob Serino took over for Steve Dembowski, who coached the Big Blue for 21 years. Dembowski is now coaching at Milton High.
“I have a lot of respect for Swampscott and their program,” Carroll said. “It should be an exciting opening game.”
The Bulldogs are coming off a 3-8 season. Among the key players to graduate from that team were quarterback and three-year starter Lucas Harris and running back Stevie Collins. Both were captains. This year’s captains are senior DaeKwon Shepard, a running back and strong safety, and Jeremy Garcia, an offensive tackle and defensive end.
“We’re looking for big things from him (Shepard). He’s a playmaker and an excellent strong safety,” Carroll said, adding that Garcia has great leadership ability and will serve as an anchor on both the offensive and defensive line.
Other players to watch include senior receivers Brett Holey and Tyler Story, as well as junior wide receiver and defensive back Johnny Kosmas. Sophomore offensive and defensive tackle Emil Rossi should also have an impact. Carroll has two players, junior J.C. Gonzales and freshman Matt Severance battling it out for the quarterback job.
Carroll said the first few weeks have been challenging as the players try to learn a new offense and defense, he said they’ve been working diligently to get it down.
One of the other games local football fans probably have circled on their schedules falls on Week 2 (Friday, Sept. 18 at Manning Field, 7:30 p.m.) when English plays St. Mary’s.
“I can’t remember the last time English and St. Mary’s played,” Carroll said. “That should generate a lot of excitement.”
Classical at Gloucester (Friday, 7)
The Rams qualified for the playoffs last season, but got bounced in the first round and ended up finishing the season 3-7. The year ended on a high note, however, when Classical defeated English in a thriller.
“That kind of gets the whole school re-energized,” Classical coach Tim Phelps said.
The Rams lost a couple of key players to graduation in Devon Creighton and Micah Dublin. Creighton was a four-year starter who excelled on defense and at running back. He was a three-year all-conference player. Dublin ran for about 1,500 yards.
Phelps has some talent returning beginning with Matt Lauria at quarterback.
“He’s going to be a big piece,” Phelps said.
Senior captain Dan Maria will get some carries and see time at linebacker. Phelps has four guys getting reps during the preseason, giving him some options. The receiving corps includes Jakell Brown and Chandler Laguerre and the defensive line will feature all-conference player Renzo Pappaterra, who Phelps said has been getting some college looks. Maria, Laguerre and Pappaterra are the captains.
The Rams scrimmaged powerhouse Everet
t last Friday night and although Classical lost, 14-0, Phelps was fairly happy with the defensive effort.
“We moved the ball relatively well, but we didn’t punch it in,” he said. “We have some question marks, but no more than any other season. I think we have a shot at making some noise, but we’ve got to fill in the blanks.