Boston High School: Eric Olson

Video: Long-snapping trick shots at BB&N

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
9:43
PM ET
BB&N football seniors Nick DiChiara and Eric Olson pass along a video compilation of the former pulling off various "trick shots" from the long-snapper position.

Watch as the Colgate-bound senior pulls off several feats, including one from stands at Harvard Stadium, with the help of a few friends -- namely, Olson (who himself is bound for Northwestern as an offensive tackle) and baseball outfielder Rhett Wiseman (a projected top-five round draft pick for next month).

Is this the real thing? Olson claims the video is "100 percent real". Either way, there's some nice camera work involved here.

Here is the video:



ESPN Boston Prep All-State Team

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
6:26
PM ET
Last week we unveiled our second annual MIAA All-State Team. Today, we're unveiled our second annual Prep All-State Team, limited to schools competing under the NEPSAC umbrella.

OFFENSE

QB - Tate Jozokos, Jr., Governor's Academy
RB - Chris Coady, Sr., BB&N
RB - Abner Logan Jr., Sr., Dexter
OL - Eric Olson, Sr., BB&N
OL - Robert Perdoni, Sr., Belmont Hill
OL - Shane Donovan, Sr., Thayer Academy
OL - Costa Toubekis, Jr., Dexter
OL - Billy Oldach, Sr., Rivers
TE - Brendan O'Neil, Jr., BB&N
WR - Bryan Viera, Jr., Thayer Academy
WR - Bryson Gilbert-Bono, Sr., Middlesex

DEFENSE

DL - Dan Connaughton, Sr., BB&N
DL - Tucker Oniskey, Sr., Governor's Academy
DL - Sam Caldwell, Jr., Groton
LB - Kirk Ryder, Sr., Governor's Academy
LB - Jack Connolly, Sr., St Sebastian's
LB - Nick DiChiara, Sr., BB&N
LB - Nick Antonucci, Jr., Pingree
DB - Kenny Abragye-Adinka, Sr., Pingree
DB - Sam Davis, Sr., Governor's Academy
DB - Kendall Dardy-Jones, Jr., St Sebastian's
DB - Richard Bradley, Jr., St Paul's

Scouts Inc. player rankings updated

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
11:52
AM ET
ESPN Scouts Inc. has updated its player rankings in its football recruiting database, and there is a new No. 1 at the top. Catholic Memorial athlete Armani Reeves, a Penn State commit, has been named the state's new top prospect for the Class of 2012, and it's a well-deserved spot based on the returns this year so far. Reeves -- who, along with CM teammates Cam Williams and A.J. Doyle were named to the ESPNU 150 Watch List earlier this year -- has 11 touchdowns in four different ways thus far for the 5-1 Knights, who are ranked No. 9 this week in our statewide MIAA Top 25 poll.

You can view the full database rankings by clicking here.

Here's how the new Top 10 looks, with college commitment in parentheses:



1. Armani Reeves, ATH, Catholic Memorial (Penn State)
2. Cam Williams, LB, Catholic Memorial (Penn State)
3. Abner Logan Jr., ATH, Dexter
4. Canaan Severin, ATH, Worcester Academy (Virginia)
5. Eric Olson, OT, BB&N (Northwestern)
6. Jameson McShea, TE, BC High (Temple)
7. Vondell Langston, RB/LB, Everett
8. Tim Joy, LB, Chelmsford (Boston College)
9. Jason Sylva, LB, Tabor Academy (UConn)
10. Preston Cooper, RB, BC High


Chalk Talk: BB&N's John Papas

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
10:00
PM ET
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Its 2-2 start this season notwithstanding, few ISL teams can lay claim to the kind of run that Buckingham, Browne & Nichols has been on the last few years, with three NEPSAC Bowl championships in the last five seasons headed into 2011.

With two Division 1 linemen in Eric Olson (Northwestern) and Dan Connaughton (undecided), a Duke lacrosse-bound quarterback in Chris Coady, and a junior tight end on the rise in Brendan O'Neil, the Knights are sure to be a tough out the rest of the way through the prep school slate.

Head coach John Papas let us into his office on the Cambridge campus following practice Tuesday night, where he showed us some of his power principles, and the keys to his passing attack.

Part 1:




Part 2:


With new face under center, all eyes on BB&N

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
11:29
AM ET
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- All eyes will be on the Buckingham, Browne & Nichols football team when it opens its season Friday against Belmont Hill. At its afternoon practice Tuesday, even the hawk perched atop the Nicholas Athletic Center swooped down to get a closer look.

Such is the case when you’ve won three of the last five NEPSAC Super Bowls like the Knights have.

“Our success is great for our program, but our kids know everyone circles us on their schedule and everyone wants a piece of us, but that comes with success,” said head coach John Papas.

A potential pitfall of success is not only sustaining it, but a team allowing the success to go to its head and lose the desire to keep working towards a repeat. Papas was quick to jump on his team in the preseason to make sure that didn’t happen.

“They needed a little bit of a tongue lashing at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We have a lot of kids that have got a lot of press. They had to be talked about that press clippings don’t win championships. But they’ve responded. Since that first week, we really have progressed every day.”

One of those players is 6-6, 270-pound offensive tackle Eric Olson, who fielded multiple Division 1 scholarship offers before verbally committing to Northwestern over the summer. Another is Dan Connaugton, Olson’s 6-3, 275-pound linemate, who is mulling over some Division 1 college football options.

Those two are part of a returning offensive line unit that will be in charge of protecting Chris Coady, who is making the transition from running back to quarterback. The senior played quarterback for two years at St. John’s Prep, after which he transferred to BB&N and switched to running back a season ago. He went on to break the single-season school rushing record, when he notched over 1,800 yards on the ground.

He will replace Eric Bertino, who graduated last year. Bertino lead the ISL with 24 touchdown passes in 2009. Papas said switching Coady back to quarterback was an easy decision.

“It was a no-brainer," Papas said. "He’s an outstanding athlete at 6-3, 225 pounds. He’s a 365-pound bench press kid, plus he’s tough, smart, and he can throw and run. The decision (to put him there) was purely because he’s so athletic and bright."

Coady wasn’t initially excited about the position switch, but has changed his mind over time.

“I just grew to love running back so much,” he said. “I had a blast playing running back last year, so I didn’t really want to leave that, but I’m happy I did now. It’s getting easier and easier every time we scrimmage and practice, with making the reads and throwing the ball.”

It was an adjustment for Coady to get his timing and throwing mechanics back, but he feels he worked enough in the offseason to make sure he didn’t come into practices behind the 8-ball.

“I threw a lot with two of my buddies from Winchester over the summer,” he said. “We went down to a field in Winchester and I was throwing at least three times a week with them, just going through routes and trying to get my motion back, and trying to shorten my motion.”

The hardest parts of handling the position change for Coady have been learning how to read defenses again and knowing where everyone in the offense needs to be, not just himself. When he played running back, he felt he only had to know his responsibility on a particular play, whether it was running a route or finding a running lane. Now, he has to be aware of what everyone is doing on a particular play.

With Coady under center, who will step up to replace his 1,800 rushing yards? It won’t be one particular person.

“We’re really strong at running back,” said Papas. “Nick DiChiara, Willie Peoples, and A.J. Grassa will be a running back by committee. We’ve lost no one on the offensive line so that will help. Hopefully, with Chris being the quarterback, it will add another dimension.”

Because Coady is such a gifted runner, the BB&N offense will feature more option-type plays, allowing him to get out of the pocket and keep the defense guessing. However, its offensive principles will stay the same.

“We’ll run multiple formations,” said Papas. “We’ll run and pass. We’ve always used multiple formations and been multi-dimensional. Our style of football is, we’re going to try to run the ball until they put guys in the box to stop it, and then when they do that we’ll throw it.”

Even though it has not lost as many players to graduation as it has in the past, BB&N is still unsure of how the changes they’ve made will play out for them. One thing is certain: everyone in the ISL will be watching them like hawks.


BB&N AT A GLANCE
Coach: John Papas (55-14)
Last Year: 8-1, won NEPSAC Bowl
Key Returnees: Chris Coady, Sr. QB, 6-3, 220 lbs; Junior Arroyo, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 173 lbs; Adam Bakopolus, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 171 lbs; Dan Connaugton, Sr. OL/DT, 6-3, 265 lbs; Julian Correa, Sr. OL/DT, 5-9, 185 lbs; Nick DiChiara, Sr. WR/FB/LB, 6-1, 203 lbs; Liam Flahive, Sr. RB/DB, RB/DB, 5-8, 171 lbs; Mike Henske, Sr. OL/DE, 6-5, 223 lbs; Cal Halloway, Sr. WR/TE/LB, 6-2, 187 lbs; Ben Kimball, Sr. RB/LB, 5-10, 170 lbs; Chad Kohler, Sr. WR/LB, 6-2, 171 lbs; Chris Mackey, Sr. OL/DT, 6-4, 222 lbs; Ralph Malin, Sr. PK/DT, 5-9, 230 lbs; Eric Olson, Sr. OL/DE, 6-6, 270 lbs; Rhett Wiseman, Sr. WR/DB, 6-1, 180 lbs; Danny Zhang, Sr. WR/DB, 5-8, 134 lbs; Brendan O’Neil, Jr. TE/DE, 6-5, 212 lbs; Willie Peoples, Jr. WR/DB, 6-0, 178 lbs; A.J. Grassa, Jr. RB/DB, 5-10, 176 lbs; Connor Coady, So. OL/DT, 6-0, 215 lbs; Mike McCaffrey, So. WR/DB, 5-7, 148 lbs
Strengths: Experience, Offensive and Defensive Line, Running Game
Weaknesses: How will Coady adjust to playing QB in the ISL after switching to running back for a year? How do they replace his 1,800 rushing yards?
Outlook: This team is coming off its third NEPSAC Bowl victory in the past five years, so success is expected. With that comes the metaphorical bullseye on its back because every team will be trying its hardest to knock off the defending league champion. The biggest question going into the season is how Chris Coady will make the adjustment from running back to quarterback at the ISL level. However, he played the position his first two years at St. John’s Prep, so it will only be a matter of time before he gets readjusted to the intricacies of the position. It also doesn’t hurt that all five members of the offensive line that helped him achieve 1,800 yards on the ground are returning. The talent is certainly there, so if BB&N can survive teams’ best games each week, they could be adding another trophy at the end of the season.

Olson on N'Western: 'It just felt like the right fit'

June, 24, 2011
6/24/11
8:05
PM ET
Buckingham, Browne & Nichols offensive tackle Eric Olson, the state's No. 2 prospect, spoke with ESPNBoston.com tonight and shared a little more insight into the verbal commitment he issued last night to Northwestern University.

Last night, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Sudbury resident made three different phone calls to the Wildcats -- first to head coach Pat Fitzgerald, then to superbacks coach Bob Heffner and offensive line coach Adam Cushing -- issuing his verbal commitment after heavily deliberating between Michigan, Virginia and Boston College. For Olson, who most recently took an unofficial visit on May 21, it was the best mix both on and off the field.

"It just felt like the right fit," he said by phone. "When I visited there, coach Fitzgerald gave an unbelievable presentation on players' futures, and how they care not only about their football careers but what they do in the future. He said Northwestern is not a four-year decision, it's a 40-year decision.

"They have so many connections all over Chicago, coupled with the fact that they're competitive in the Big Ten, coach Fitz just signed a 10-year deal, they've been to a bowl game three years in a row, coupled with the fact that you can get a good degree at such a great place. It was the right fit."

Like most incoming offensive lineman, Olson expects to redshirt the 2012 season; but with the Wildcats graduating eight tackles over the next two seasons, it's possible Olson could get on the field early into his college career.

Olson will continue his four-days-per-week, three-hours-per-session summer training program at the Woburn-based Athletic Evolution training facility, but the Wildcats coaching staff want him to keep a slim frame to maximize his athleticism. Fitzgerald likes the way Olson could fit in his no-huddle, spread-oriented attack, with the ability to block and hook players out in space.

"They say they don’t do conditioning in practice, because they cover it during team periods," Olson said. "It's so uptempo."

Besides, Olson originally transferred into the Cambridge campus two years ago as a basketball prospect. So did he ever think in this, his third year of organized football, he'd be making this kind of a decision?

"Oh my God no," he laughed. "Seriously, it's pretty unbelievable."

EAGLES OFFER JOY

Chelmsford linebacker Tim Joy received a scholarship offer earlier today from Boston College after participating in the third session of its football camp, a source close to the situation told ESPNBoston.com.

Joy recorded 131 tackles (13 for loss) to go with two sacks and three interceptions for the 6-5 Lions, and was named to ESPNBoston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team. He reportedly ran a hand-timed, 4.72-second 40-yard dash today in the rain.

Joy has also been receiving varied interest from UConn, Maryland, Duke, Nebraska and Miami (Fla.). The Eagles have been courting Joy for some time now, and are believed to be his top choice.

BB&N's Eric Olson commits to Northwestern

June, 24, 2011
6/24/11
3:42
PM ET
ESPNU has confirmed that Buckingham, Browne & Nichols offensive tackle Eric Olson has verbally committed to Northwestern for the fall of 2012.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Sudbury resident is the No. 2 ranked prospect in Massachusetts. He was also considering Boston College, Michigan, Duke, Virginia, UConn and UMass at the time of his commitment.

Scouts Inc's current evaluation on Olson reads as follows:



Olson displays the explosion and playing strength necessary to dominate as a run blocker against his present level of opposition. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. We see some lower body stiffness however his balance and agility still allow him to play on his feet in space; from a three point stance this prospect comes off the ball low and hard demonstrating the ability to get immediate push when single and double team blocking. We like his initial quickness, fit and pad level; his solid blocking base and persistent leg drive allow him to sustain. Flashes the foot quickness necessary to gain leverage on shaded defensive linemen and we feel he has the ability to consistently get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders. This guy has the athletic and physical tools to make all the required run blocks at the next level of play. His arm length and quick hands should be assets in pass protection; flashes good initial set quickness showing the ability to slide and play flat footed. Will need to improve his bend and overall base; plays to tall and straight legged at times, leaning in instead of using his arm length. All areas of hand use will need refinement including punch and location. This is a tough customer who finishes with the nasty attitude we look for when evaluating offensive linemen. Olson may need some time and perhaps a red shirt year to add bulk to his frame while polishing his technical skills; once accomplished he should have a long and productive career at the BCS level of play.


Checking in with BB&N's Olson

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
3:21
PM ET
ESPN's Roger Brown checks in today on his recruiting blog with Buckingham, Browne & Nichols offensive lineman Eric Olson, who came to the Cambridge prep school as a basketball player but will likely leave next spring as one of New England's premier offensive tackles.

Olson, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound junior who transferred from Lincoln-Sudbury following his sophomore year, has scholarship offers from Boston College, UConn, Duke, UMass, Virginia and Wake Forest. He told Brown he also hears regularly from Michigan, Northwestern and Stanford.

He told Brown he is trying to set up visits with Michigan and Northwestern for this weekend. A decision is likely to come before the start of his senior season for the Knights this fall.

BB&N head coach John Papas also told Brown that Stanford "is supposed to visit the school in April."

"He's an incredible athlete for an offensive lineman," Papas told Brown. "He came to us as a basketball player. He was skinny and extremely raw, but I think he's become one of the best linemen on the East Coast."

For more recruiting updates on New England's top high school football talent, be sure to check out Brown's blog.

ESPNBoston's All-ISL football team

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
6:07
PM ET
Offense
QB – Eric Bertino, Sr., BB&N
QB – Charlie Storey, Sr., Milton Academy
QB – Shaquor Sandiford, Jr., Rivers
RB – Ben Patrick, Sr., Rivers
RB – Chris Coady, Jr., BB&N
RB – Anthony Knight, Sr., Lawrence Academy
FB – Tommy Kelly, Sr., Nobles
TE – Josh Rivers, Sr., Roxbury Latin
OL – Jeff Winthrop, Sr., St. Paul’s
OL – Max Ricci, Sr., Lawrence Academy
OL – Eric Olson, Jr., BB&N
OL – Paul Nwokeji, Sr., Thayer
OL – A.J. Walsh, Sr., Rivers
WR – Taariq Allen, Sr., Rivers
WR – Marcus Grant, Sr., Lawrence Academy

Defense
DL – Tyler Cardoze, Sr., Lawrence Academy
DL – John Bergantino, Sr., Belmont Hill
DL – Dan Connaughton, Jr., BB&N
DL – Ryan Welch, Sr., Lawrence Academy
LB – Dan Giovacchini, Sr., Lawrence Academy
LB – Peter Savarese, Sr., BB&N
LB – Brian Bowser, Jr., Belmont Hill
LB – Nick DiChiara, Jr., BB&N
DB – Mike Orloff, Sr., Lawrence Academy
DB – Brian Strachan, Sr., St. Sebastian’s
DB – Joe Giandomenico, Sr., Roxbury Latin
DB – Ben Ticknor, Sr., Milton Academy

BB&N controls St. Sebastian's attack

October, 2, 2010
10/02/10
6:02
PM ET


NEEDHAM, Mass. -- The Buckingham Browne and Nichols Knights shut down a talented St. Sebastian’s offense on Saturday in Needham. The Knights used a solid defense and a hard-nosed running attack to lead them to a convincing 28-6 victory over the Arrows.

“The kids played great,” BB&N coach John Pappas said about his defense. “We had to make an adjustment right away. We came out and we were ready to play a 4-3, and shifted into a three-man line and did some blitzes … but the interceptions -- Rhett Wiseman’s interception, Willy People’s interception, Pete Savarese’s interception -- those were all big plays for us.”

The BB&N defense intercepted St. Sebastian’s Brian Strachan three times, but -- more importantly -- converted two of those turnovers into touchdowns. Strachan struggled to throw the deep ball because of a very balanced BB&N secondary.

“Because our offensive line are all first-years playing varsity football, [Strachan] has held us together and he has to make plays but every team knows that so they gear themselves to stop him,” said St. Sebastian’s coach Robert Souza.

Strachan finished the game 10 of 19 for 112 yards with three interceptions.

BB&N’s Chris Coady stood out at safety for the Knights but also shined on offense. Coady ran the ball 25 times for 149 yards and one touchdown, and also had two receptions for 24 yards including a 14-yard touchdown catch.

“They couldn’t tackle him,” said quarterback Eric Bertino. “He’s a big guy so he’s really a kind of dynamic kid and would just get six or seven yards a carry and it makes my job pretty easy.”

“He is the epitome of a football player,” said Pappas of Coady. “He ran the ball well, had a another great reception on a touchdown … but he was great. He hit the holes the way he was supposed to.”

Coady credited the results to his offensive line.

“They did awesome,” Coady said. “We just beat them up physically and it was just really easy for me to hit the holes.”

On the offensive line, the Knights were led by Eric Olson, Dan Connaughton and Mike Henske, but also had solid contributions from Chris Mackey and freshman Connor Coady. The line gave Bertino enough time, and kept him off the ground for the entire game.

“It was the best I’ve ever seen them play,” said Bertino about the group. “Last week, against Belmont Hill, they had a good front so it was kind of tough, but they had a great week of practice though so they were all fired up.”

Bertino managed the game well and ended up completing 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

“They were good, but part of it is that we’re young,” Souza said of St. Sebastian’s struggles. “We had a couple of sophomores and freshman out there playing but that is a pretty mature team and we had a hard time matching up --up front -- and that just made it difficult.”

B - 0 14 7 7 -- 25

S - 0 0 0 6 -- 6

B - Peter Savarese 7 run (Ralph Malin kick)

B - Chris Coady 14 catch from Eric Bertino (Malin kick)

B - Coady 10 run (Malin kick)

B - Sam Kimball 12 catch from Bertino (Malin kick)

S - Dillon Ecclesine 9 run (kick failed)

BB&N looks to reload for another ISL run

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
2:29
PM ET
The Buckingham, Browne & Nichols football program has been a powerhouse under coach John Papas since he took over eight years ago, as the Knights have won and won big — especially lately — losing just three times in the last four years.

Their average margin of victory over that span has been 24.5 points, with most of the scoring done in the first half before Papas takes his starters out for the second.

But this fall, BB&N comes in having lost the majority of its starters – and five Division I athletes – from a team that lost to Lawrence Academy last season, 28-26, denying the Knights an undefeated season and a shot at a NEPSAC bowl berth. In other words, the perception around the ISL is that BB&N is in for a down year, and teams are lining up for their chance to even the score.

“Our kids have to realize that a lot of people that want to get back at us,” Papas said. “[Schools around the league] pretty much think that there’s nothing left. I think we have a bull’s eye on our chest. There’s a lot of payback they want to get. We’ve got to take on all comers right now. We’ve done a lot of punching the last few years. They want to punch us now.”

While BB&N will only have three seniors and will be short on experience, there is going to be enough talent on this team to weather the haymakers the rest of the league will be throwing its way.

Eric Bertino (an ISL-leading 24 TD passes in 2009), a returning starter at quarterback, fullback/outside linebacker Peter Savarese (an ISL leading seven TD receptions in ’09) and newcomer to the sport James Diblaisi, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound hockey player who will play defensive end, make up that small but talented senior class.

Papas raves about Diblaisi’s potential and compares him to Blake Barker, who held several BCS offers last year before committing to Harvard.

“This is his first year of organized football, but I’ll tell you what, he’s been unbelievable in preseason scrimmages,” Papas said of Diblaisi, a Winchester native. “He plays with a flat back and is really tough off the edge. He really has the chance to be a Division I football player if he matures.”

Papas, who previously coached in the college ranks for 13 years at Tufts, Harvard and Bentley, knows a thing or two about sending players onto the next level. In his tenure at BB&N, 31 of his former players have gone on to play college football. There are currently seven ex-Knights on Ivy League rosters, the most of any school in the country, according to Papas.

“We’ve been able to attract a lot of kids that want a first-rate education at an urban prep school,” Papas said of the Cambridge institution that is just a stone’s throw away from Harvard Square. “It’s unique in that you don’t have to board, it’s co-ed and in Cambridge. There are a lot of kids that have come looking for that education and football experience.”

Two new additions to the program are juniors Chris Coady and Dan Connaughton, who transferred in from St. John’s Prep and Lincoln-Sudbury, respectively. Coady, who is also a tremendous lacrosse player, will take over at tailback and outside linebacker, while Connaughton will be a two-way tackle. Both players are receiving early interest from Boston College.

Another junior, Nick DiChiara, younger brother of Mike, a former Knight quarterback who is now at Cornell, will start at middle linebacker and is one of the team’s few returning starters.

Papas believes classmate Eric Olson, a 6-foot, 6-and-one-half-inch, 255-pound offensive tackle, may end up being the most highly sought-after recruit of the bunch, as he is already receiving early interest from BC, Stanford and Notre Dame.

“He’s got great feet,” Papas said. “He plays basketball, as well. He’s just kind of figuring it out. He’s a late bloomer in football.”

Papas’ two starting cornerbacks, junior Rhett Weisman and sophomore Willie Peoples, probably won’t play football in college, but are both Division I athletes. Weisman, Mansfield native, will play baseball at Vanderbilt, while Peoples, who hails from Cambridge, is a budding tennis star.

“He’s a ridiculous tennis player, unbelievable,” Papas said of Peoples, “and he’s out there banging with us.”

While everyone around the league will be focused on a Lawrence team that already has four BCS-committed players, Papas insists his team is focused solely on Saturday’s opener at Belmont Hill. The Hillers, who were the league’s premier program in the years leading up to the emergence of BB&N and Lawrence, had beaten their neighbors 21 consecutive times before the Knights won the last three meetings.

“They have a great tradition and great players as well,” Papas said of Belmont Hill. “If you ask our kids, the biggest game they circle is Belmont Hill.”

It’s safe to say that there are plenty of school’s that have BB&N circled, as well.

BB&N AT A GLANCE
2009 record: 7-1
Coach: John Papas (47-13)
Players to watch: Eric Bertino, Sr., QB, 6-1, 200; Chris Coady, Jr., RB/OLB, 6-2 , 220; Dan Connaughton, Jr., OT/DT, 6-3, 265; Nick DiChiara, Jr., MLB, 6-0, 205; Eric Olson, Jr., OT, 6-6 , 255; Rhett Weisman, Jr., CB, 6-1, 180; Willie Peoples, So., CB, 6-0, 175; James Diblaisi, Sr., DE, 6-6, 225; Peter Savarese, Sr., FB/OLB, 5-10, 190.
Strengths: Line play, experience at QB, linebackers.
Weaknesses: Inexperience.
Outlook: The Knights were decimated by graduation, losing five Division I athletes off a team that only lost to a loaded Lawrence Academy squad last fall. Although Papas’ charges will be breaking in a lot of new starters, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare, as a bevy of highly-touted juniors are in the fold to restock the roster. Papas likes what he sees up front on both sides of the ball, and the Knights should be strong enough there to control the line of scrimmage against most of the teams on their schedule. Bertino returns at quarterback, and he will be giving most of his handoffs to Coady, a transfer from St. John’s Prep that is getting major interest in both football and lacrosse. Savarese led the ISL in touchdown receptions a year ago, as Papas likes to use a power run game to set up the play-action pass. The defense operates out of a 4-3 cover two base, and Papas thinks he has one of the best groups of linebackers in Eastern Mass. in Coady, DiChiara and Savarese. Lawrence comes in as the heavy favorite in the ISL, but despite their inexperience, it would be a mistake to dismiss the Knights and their upcoming talent.

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