Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MIAA Football Top 25: The Start of 2017

There's no question, in our minds, about who should open then year at No. 1.
By SuiteSports Staff

Our preseason rankings of the best MIAA football teams in the state, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 9/5)

1. Everett (Record Last Season: 13-2): The defending D1 state champions lost UConn-bound quarterback Jordan McAfee, but retain a host of elite receivers, including Anthony Norcia and Jason Maitre, who will also lock down the back end of a loaded defense next to national recruit Lewis Cine. 

2. Xaverian (Last Season: 10-2): It’s the start of a new era for the Hawks, with longtime coach Charlie Stevenson stepping down. As always, the powerhouse from Westwood will lean on an elite defense and ride a workhorse running back, likely senior Ikechukwa Irabor.

3. St. John's Prep (Last Season: 9-4): The future is now for an Eagles team that will be absolutely loaded on offense, if quarterback Mike Yarin can recover from an injury sustained last spring.

4. Central Catholic (Last Season: 8-2):
Senior quarterback Bret Edwards and those Raiders who suffered a decisive loss to Everett in the sectional semifinals last season will be thirsting for revenge.

5. BC High (Last Season: 6-4): It will likely be the Danny Abraham show on offense with the Harvard commit looking to carve up defenses once again. The Eagles' back seven is athletic as ever, along with a formidable offensive and defensive line to supplement their grounded style.

6. St. John's (Shrewsbury) (Last Season: 7-3): Opening with Catholic Memorial, Springfield Central and Leominster consecutively should give the Pioneers a good idea of where they stand within the landscape of Massachusetts football.

7. Duxbury (Last Season: 12-1): Without the star trio of QB Bobby Maimaron, WR Ryan Reagan and RB Devin DeMerrit, the Dragons don’t seem as unbeatable as they did last year. Still, with a stout defense and talented offensive line, the defending D2 champs should make another deep run in the state tournament.

8. King Philip (Last Season: 12-0):
Last years’ D1A state championship team was extremely senior-laden, and a lack of experience might prevent another magical run from the Warriors, as they replace their entire starting offensive line.

9. Marshfield (Last Season: 9-3):
After a relative down year, the Rams have reloaded with experienced players at all levels, and will be ready to compete for a Division 2 state title.

10. North Attleborough (Last Season: 8-2): Last season, the Rocketeers hung tough against eventual D1A champion King Philip and D2 champion Duxbury. That experience that will serve QB Chad Peterson and the rest of that team well going forward. 

11. Dartmouth (Last Season: 9-2): As well coached as any team in the state and tough enough to win dogfights down on the South Shore, Dartmouth opens a very challenging non-league schedule with a home game against Central Catholic. 

12. Tewksbury (Last Season: 10-1): Redmen head coach Brian Aylward is cooking up new offensive schemes as we speak, and his defense will be tough to beat with all-star safety Masyn Lorick and cornerback Will Matovu anchoring the back line.

13. Hanover (Last Season: 11-0): After an undefeated campaign and D3 Super Bowl title, the Indians will look to defend their title in what is now termed Division 5. The losses of star lineman Pat Flynn and running back Brad Rogers will be difficult to overcome, but Hanover has made the impossible look easy in pretty much every sport recently.

14. Andover (Last Season: 5-5): The Golden Warriors will need to find a new throwing arm to execute their high-flying offense with E.J. Perry IV at Boston College, but with Cedric Gillette leading a talented WR corps, they shouldn’t have much trouble matching points.

15. Falmouth (Last Season: 13-0): Another accomplished program coming off an unblemished state title run, the Clippers can now butt heads with Hanover in the D5 South tournament.

16. Bridgewater-Raynham (Last Season: 6-4): Snapping Xaverian’s incredible winning streak was a highlight for Dan Buron’s squad, but the Trojans will hope for a better showing down the stretch this fall.

17. Lexington (Last Season: 8-1): A heartbreaking loss to Andover in the opening round of the D1 North state tournament ended their run, but the Minutemen are hopeful with dynamic quarterback Sal Frelick returning this fall.  

18. Reading (Last Season: 8-4): Junior Pat Conroy will look to solidify the Rockets' defense at safety, as Reading looks to rebound from graduating several key pieces, including star quarterback Corey DiLoreto.

19. Springfield Central (Last Season: 7-3): The Golden Eagles lost an incredible tandem in quarterback Tank Walker and WR Coreese Everett, but two-way athlete Chauncy Cogell and speedster Myles Bradley should help this Western Mass power make another run.

20. Stoughton (Last Season: 8-3):
The Knights gave Duxbury a decent run in the state tournament last year, and won’t be backing down from anyone with a more experienced and still-talented roster this season.

21. Millis (Last Season: 10-3): All eyes will be on sophomore uber-recruit Kevin Pyne at both offensive tackle and defensive end, but the Mohawks are well-stocked with size in both trenches, and return star quarterback Bryce Latosek, plus four of their top five receivers from last year's Division 4A state title team.

22. Marblehead (Last Season: 10-1): Middle linebacker Aidan Gillis is one of the best talents in the state and he should lead a Magicians defense that gave up just 11.9 points per game last year.

23. Billerica (Last Season: 9-2): Lefty QB Tom Landry will look to lead a young Indians team that may go through some growing pains, after graduating several seniors that were key in multiple phases of the game.

24. Brockton (Last Season: 5-6): Flush with size up front as per usual, the Boxers hope they can find a running game to support what should be one of the state's most physical defenses.

25. Mansfield (Last Season: 6-3): Whether classified as a big WR or a quick TE, Hunter Ferreira is a matchup nightmare for the opposition and a great weapon for the Hornets.

Last 10 Out:
  Catholic Memorial (7-4), Haverhill (8-4), Holliston (9-2), Lincoln-Sudbury (10-2), Mashpee (12-1), Milton (8-4), Newton North (8-2), Wachusett (8-4), Wellesley (10-1), Westfield (10-2)

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