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Thursday, August 8, 2013
Summer Snapshot: Lowell Red Raiders

By Brendan Hall

This is the third installment in our "Summer Snapshot" series, checking in with some of Massachusetts' top teams leading into the MIAA football preseason. To see all of our Summer Snapshots, CLICK HERE.

One could argue Lowell was one of the better teams sitting at home after Thanksgiving with no playoff berth last fall, winning six of its final seven games with a potent offense that really hit its groove from October on. This fall, the Red Raiders should be one of the more fascinating, high-powered offenses to watch -- up there with Natick, St. John's (Shrewsbury) and the like -- returning a deep receiving corps led by All-State candidate Jack Galvin.

In the newly-aligned MIAA State Championship format, some are projecting Lowell as a dark horse in the elite Division 1. Can they continue last season's momentum for an historic 2013? We checked in with the Raiders yesterday afternoon at Cawley Stadium, as part of a photo shoot for our annual preseason gallery, which will be available later this month on ESPNBoston.com.

LOWELL AT A GLANCE
Coach: John Florence (Third season, 15-7 overall)
Last Season: 9-2
Final ESPN Boston Rank: NR ("Last 10 out")
Returning Starters: 12 (five offense, seven defense)
Key Losses: QB Cam Latta, WR/DB Alex Kasirye, WR Anthony Consolo, OL Callen Vail, OL Andres Bolivar, DB Ricky Rosado
Key Returnees: Sr. WR/LB Jack Galvin, Sr. OL/DE Alex Quintero, Sr. RB Ndeiiva Mason, Sr. WR/DB Keagan Latta, Jr. LB Shyheim Cullen, Jr. LB Nicolau Coury, Sr. WR Tom Smith, Sr. WR/DB Michael Holder, Sr. LB Musa Mansaray, Jr. OL/DL Angel Brito
Overview: Behind a high-powered offense returning some of the state's finest skill players, many are pegging the Red Raiders as a favorite in the Merrimack Valley Conference, and potentially a dark horse in the newly-aligned Division 1 North. After a 21-0 shutout loss to Tewksbury in Week 4 last season, Lowell won six of its final seven games -- including an upset of MVC champ Andover -- and lit up the scoreboard along the way, averaging 387 yards of offense and nearly 39 points per game. The biggest hole to fill will be at quarterback, but Lawrence Academy transfer Brian Dolan appears capable of taking the reigns. The Raiders ran one of the more unique offenses in 2012, utilizing pistol sets with layered routes and packaging screens on the backside of zone read plays. That gave way to a breakout season for Galvin (72 catches, 916 yards, 10 TD), who should lead one of the region's deepest receiving corps along with Latta, Bryant, Smith, Cullen, and scatback Mason. Defensively, there is athleticism abound. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Quintero (15 sacks) is a difficult matchup with his speed rush moves and low center of gravity, while Coury and Cullen are bound for breakout campaigns at linebacker after combining for 122 tackles (16 for loss) and 8.5 sacks in 2012. Overall, this is a team that can score points in a hurry, and could play spoiler in a D1 North where St. John's Prep and Everett are the presumed favorites.

Here @ Cawley Stadium with @Thorpe_Says for photo shoot w/ Lowell Red Raiders. Full gallery later this month pic.twitter.com/umUqo6bVys

— Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN) August 7, 2013

pic.twitter.com/uzPhrZbOoa

— Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN) August 7, 2013

Lowell QB @Brian_Dolan12 shows us his "Uncle Rico" pose pic.twitter.com/rW4BIT29iq

— Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN) August 7, 2013