Thursday, August 25, 2011
No. 18 Weymouth will speed up its pace
By Tom Layman
WEYMOUTH, Mass. -- When opposing teams in the Bay State Conference line up against Weymouth this season, opposing coaches might scratch their heads and wonder just exactly who is playing in those maroon and gold jerseys on the other side of the field.
The trademark elements of a smash mouth, grind-it-out kind of offense will still be rooted in Weymouth, but this season the Wildcats will deploy speed, athleticism and maybe a little bit of surprise on their quest for a second-straight undefeated regular season.
“We are going to try and spread the field a little bit more with the athleticism we have,” said head coach Kevin Mackin, whose team added non-league opponent Gloucester to the schedule during week three. “We still have elements of our power game in there and we are very confident.”
The change in philosophy isn’t necessarily viewed as a need to get away from the old system. In fact, the old style worked just fine for Weymouth in the Bay State Carey Division, as it has won four of the last five titles.
It’s more of a change to fit the personnel that Mackin can deploy on a weekly basis.
Ozzie Colarusso is back for his junior season as a “Mr. Everything” for the Wildcats offense. He can split out wide, play in the slot, or come out of the backfield to create havoc on opposing defenses.
Last season, the younger Colarusso broke the 100-point barrier and finished with 16 total touchdowns on the season. He may have been the best-kept-secret last season for Weymouth, but this year, the Wildcats will have to do a good job of mixing it up to continue his upward climb.
“I like to be able to mix it up and be able to help the team as much as possible,” said Colarusso. “I try to get the ball as much as possible and make things happen.”
Khary Bailey-Smith isn’t a secret at all in Eastern Mass., and he’s very tough to hide on the football field. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, the senior wide-out will be looking to exceed his 50 catches last season in the newer style of offense.
“We can stretch the defense,” said Bailey-Smith, who is an All-State champion in the high jump. “We still have people that can power up the middle, but now with a spread people have to respect (the outside threat).”
Added Mackin: “I’m sure teams are going to be aware of Khari and maybe gameplan a little bit. We have some ways of trying to get him the football. He’s certainly going to make his plays and if people worry about him too much then we have other guys who can step up.”
The last piece, and maybe most important, will be Cam McLevedge’s ability to step in and guide the offense through this transition. McLevedge has seen plenty varsity time on the defensive side of the ball, but this will be his first go-around as the quarterback of the Wildcats.
McLevedge showed off a strong arm in the windy conditions in the first day of training camp for Weymouth on Wednesday, and he will rely heavily on his two offensive playmakers.
“Khary and Ozzie are good weapons to have,” said McLevedge. “Any quarterback would be lucky to have them and I have that opportunity to play with these two great players. They are great athletes and they can go get the ball wherever I throw it.”
McLevedge, as well as fullback John Hachey, will be responsible for adding a little bit of that old Weymouth-power to compliment the skill position players on the outside as well.
“I want to bring the hammer,” said McLevedge. “I want to go hard, so I can deliver that message to the defense that I’m not going to go down easy just because I’m a quarterback.”
That sentiment is just proof, that while the style may change, the old Weymouth mentality never goes away.
WEYMOUTH AT A GLANCE
Coach: Kevin Mackin (Sixth year, 44-25)
Last Year: 11-1 (Lost in Division 1A playoffs)
Key Returnees: Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr. WR/S, 6-2, 185 lbs (50 catches, 900 yards, 8 TD, 4 defensive touchdowns); Ozzie Colarusso, Jr. RB/DB, 5-11, 175 lbs. (16 total touchdown, 11 interceptions); Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB/OLB, 6-1, 200 lbs.; John Hachey, Sr. RB/ILB 6-0, 190 lbs.; Shawn Whouley, Sr. DB, 5-9, 160 lbs.; Tim Harrington, Sr. G/DT, 6-4, 280 lbs.
Strengths: Speed and playmaking ability at the skill positions, experienced defensive backfield.
Weaknesses: Experience on the offensive and defensive lines.
Outlook: The Bay State Carey division will most likely run through Weymouth again this season, meaning the final game of the season with Walpole could bring another chapter to this long-standing rivalry between the league rivals. A perfect season might not be in the cards again for Weymouth, with a tough third game against a stout Gloucester team on the road. The big question will be if Tim Harrington can gather an inexperienced offensive line, which lost all of it’s starters from last season, and give the skilled Wildcats offensive players a chance to run the new offensive system. Expect to see some more downfield action with Khary Bailey-Smith opening up the underneath routes for Ozzie Colarusso and company. Weymouth will still leave people bruised and battered, but expect to see a higher-octane, aerial assault as a solid compliment.