By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
Ryan Clemente, Senior – North Attleboro
Clemente is an imposing force on the offensive and defensive lines for the defending Davenport division champions and Div. 3 Super Bowl runners-up. As both a guard on the offensive line and defensive tackle, Clemente impacted the game on both sides of the ball and helped the Rocketeers control the battle in the trenches. He has the size and power that would be expected from someone in his position but also has quick feet and the athleticism to stay in front of opposing linemen or pick up blitzing linebackers. One of his most impressive traits is the ability to pull from his guard position, combining speed and power to clear the way for the run game. Clemente’s presence in the offensive line, opening up holes for the running game, makes North a favorite to claim a fourth straight league title this fall. Also, if you are into battles at the line of scrimmage, then keep the Sept. 28 game with Milford circled, as Clemente and North take on the Hawks and their heavily-recruited lineman Kevin Pyne.
Justin Cote, Senior – Attleboro
The Bombardiers will have a lot of offense to try and account for after the graduation of Cam Furtado and Elvin Sam, and Cote is one of the players that will try to keep the Attleboro offense clicking this season. Cote is listed as a wide receiver but was used in a number of ways by head coach Mike Strachan last fall, scoring five touchdowns on the ground and catching four others, and that versatility causes matchup problems for opposing defenses that are trying to keep tabs on him. He is quick with a low center of gravity that makes it hard for defenders to corral him and Cote showed that he can also fight for the extra yards when needed. Whether out of the backfield or split out wide, expect Attleboro to find ways to get the ball in his hands often and let him make big plays.
Liam Foley, Senior – Foxboro
Foley started last season splitting time with Devin Hassett and this year will take over the full-time job at starting quarterback, trying to get the Warriors back to the top of the Davenport division for the first time in three seasons. Foley tossed a pair of touchdown passes last year, and he will be asked to build on that experience to lead the Foxboro offense this fall. The Warriors typically focus on the ground game first, but Foley has shown that he can make plays downfield and has a strong arm that allows him to make quick, accurate throws. He can also keep the ball and, like Hassett last year, get crucial yards when necessary. Foxboro was very close to getting back on top in the league last fall, and Foley will be hoping to step in and get the offense going for the Warriors.
Johnny Hagan, Junior – Canton
The Bulldogs were a young team last fall, and that experience will be critical for Canton to make a push for the state tournament. One of the players that will benefit from a year on varsity is Hagan. The junior quarterback tossed four touchdown passes last year and ran for two others, showing flashes of the dynamic, all-around game that earned him the starting role as a sophomore. Canton typically keeps the ball on the ground, but the graduation of Alec Ragusa could open the offense up more for Hagan to have the ball in his hands. He has the toughness and strength to grind out yards in the ground game and showed good accuracy throwing while on the run. His ability to make plays outside the pocket gives the Bulldogs additional options offensively, but it will be his improved decision-making after a year under center that could propel the young Bulldogs up the league standings.
Sean Lehane, Senior – Milford
Milford senior Sean Lehane made a big impact for the Scarlet Hawks last season. As the kicker, he was a game changer for both the offense and the defense. His kicking power and accuracy gives Milford a shot at points from spots on the field that other offenses don’t have. And on top of that, extra points aren’t always a sure thing at this level so Lehane gives the Hawks stability and confidence there. When it comes to helping the defense, his deep kickoffs and punts can help Milford dominate the field position battle. Lehane will also try to give the Hawks a boost while on offense as the senior will see time as a wide receiver. He’s shown what he can do with his feet so it will be interesting to see how he can help the Hawks’ offense with his hands.
Noah Leonard, Senior – Taunton
Two years removed from being named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Taunton senior quarterback Noah Leonard is now in his third season under center for the Tigers and a veteran in the system installed by third-year head coach Brad Sidwell. Leonard helped Taunton achieve a winning record last fall, despite his touchdown total dropping from 14 as a sophomore to 11 as a junior. With a cadre of returning receivers and plenty of size on the line, Leonard has the chance to be in complete control of the offense this year, continuing to develop as a runner (six touchdowns on the ground last year) to complement his accuracy out of the pocket. The Tigers will be hoping to build on the momentum of a three-game win streak to close out 2017 and if Leonard can keep the Taunton offense moving, and avoid turnovers, then another trip to the postseason could be in the cards.
Sean Leonard, Senior – Franklin
Sean Leonard emerged as one of the top targets for Franklin quarterback Jake Noviello last fall and was one of the top big-play receivers in the league in his second season as a starter. Leonard had 36 catches for 561 yards as a junior and caught eight touchdowns. Capable of making plays down the sidelines with his speed, Leonard is also a threat through the middle, forcing defenses to cover that space and providing a tough matchup for coverage schemes by lining up in multiple positions. This season, Franklin may look to get the ball into Leonard’s hands in a variety of ways to take advantage of his playmaking ability while also using him as a good edge blocker to allow the ground game to flourish. With Noviello gone, the QB position is up for grabs this fall but Leonard will remain a player that the Panthers will look for as often as possible to keep the offense clicking.
Brendan McHugh, Senior – North Attleboro
North Attleboro’s offense is going to look a little different this season without three-year starter Chad Peterson under center, but the Rocketeers will have plenty of weapons for the next quarterback to utilize, including the multi-talented McHugh. One of North’s most dangerous weapons during its run to a third straight league title and the Div. 3 Super Bowl, McHugh rushed for 641 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for more than 300 yards and another three touchdowns. His speed to get to the edge and ability to turn upfield on a dime made North’s jet sweep effective even when teams knew it was coming. McHugh also has great hands and was able to find seams in the secondary either in the middle of the field or down the sidelines. The Rocketeers do not mind grinding out long drives, but McHugh gave them the capability for big plays on every snap and that will be a key this fall for the Davenport division favorites.
Kevin Pyne, Junior – Milford
One of the most highly-recruited players in New England has made his way to the Hockomock League this season and will be an imposing addition to the Milford offensive line. Pyne is listed at 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds and has been a dominant force for Millis, helping that program continue its dominance in the lower divisions. With a number of Div. I college offers in his pocket, including the likes of Michigan and Boston College, Pyne will present a unique challenge for a league that has prided itself on the strength of its defenses. Coaches will surely be targeting pass rushes away from Pyne and will face the daunting task of trying to get around him to tackle the ball carrier. With quick feet, strength, and good balance, Pyne will be a wall that teams will have to try and maneuver to get into the Milford backfield and should give Milford more options on the offensive side of the ball to try and make a run at a league title and a return to the postseason.
Damani Scott, Senior – Mansfield
Mansfield will be gunning for a return to the top of the Kelley-Rex division this season and the Hornets have a number of skilled players back to make it happen, including Scott. The senior signal caller will be in his second season as the full-time starter, after finishing fourth in the league with 12 touchdown passes last year. Scott has a big arm and great vision downfield to find receivers that other quarterbacks might have missed. Even with the graduation of record-setting receiver Hunter Ferreira, Scott will have plenty of weapons to take advantage of, particularly out of the backfield, and as he continues to get more comfortable in the pocket the Hornets offense will get increasingly dynamic. Expectations are typically high at Alumni Field this season and those expectations are further fueled by Scott’s experience and talent in running head coach Mike Redding’s balanced offense. Mansfield will be tested early and, as usual, the Sept. 28 game against King Philip is already circled as the biggest test for Scott and the Hornets in the league.