Monday, August 28, 2017

MIAA Football Camp Road Trip: The Bridgewater-Raynham Trojans

By Tom Joyce (@TomyJoyceSports)

BRIDGEWATER - Win the league title, make the playoffs, and then win the Division 2 South playoff bracket.

If the Bridgewater-Raynham High football team is able to achieve those three clearly defined goals, they will consider 2017 a successful year.

“Those are our goals every year,” head coach Dan Buron said. “As a coach, I’m just making sure we get better from week to week. We’ve got a good nucleus of kids coming back, so we have high expectations this year.”

Since the MIAA football playoff structure was changed to a state-wide bracket in 2013, the Trojans have won at least one playoff game every year, but they have not won their respective bracket. Last year, they went 7-4 and fell to eventual Division 1A state champion King Philip, 33-27, in the south final.

This year, the Trojans will be led by senior captains Bryce Shaw, Corey Sullivan, James Hanafin and DeVante Greaves. Shaw, a US Naval Academy commit, led the team in tackles at middle linebacker last season, and had over 500 rushing yards. Shaw, along with Greaves, a running back and defensive end, are the team’s top two-way players.

Hanafin recorded 98 tackles as an outside linebacker last season, and Sullivan is back in his second year as the team’s quarterback, and third year as a varsity player.

Senior offensive lineman Connor Donovan and junior tight end Jeff Ciccio will also be major contributors to the team’s offense.

The Trojans expect to be strong defensively. Senior corner Joey D’Emilia and strong safety Dan Taylor, who was also a valuable kick returner last season, are back again after limiting what their opponents could do through the air last season.

Buron also said he expects juniors Shane Fries, Alex Weiler, Eddie Woodbury and Jadyn Rosario to be key pieces of the team’s defense.

“We’ve got a lot of good depth,” Buron said. “But we’ve got to figure out what we’re doing with it, and we’ll go from there.”

The Trojans are part of the Old Colony League and, although the league used to be large, it now only includes three teams. Their two league opponents are Dartmouth (9-2 last season) and Barnstable (5-6 last season).

Due to that unique dynamic, the Trojans are forced to schedule more regular season non-league games than most teams across the state. For that reason, they open their season at the reigning Div. 2 (now Div. 3) state champion, Duxbury. One week later, the Trojans face reigning Division 1 state champion Xaverian, whom they defeated last season.

Buron said he thinks having some tougher regular season competition will help prepare his team for the postseason.

“It’s two-fold,” he said. “Being in a small league we’re forced to play more non-league games and because of our success, we have to go out and find tougher competition. I’m fine with that, because it tells you how well your team is doing. I believe in playing the best because, when you get to the playoffs, everyone is good and you want experience in those tight ballgames. You’re only going to get better from doing that.”

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