As much as time passes, things don’t change much at Bridgewater-Raynham.
The faces and numbers change year to year, but the same mentality runs through the Trojans’ ranks. They’re tough-nosed football players, many of whom play on both sides of the ball. It’s a concurrent theme during Dan Buron’s 20 years at B-R’s helm.
That tenure’s also included plenty of playoff appearances. After an absence last year, the Trojans again will be vying for an Old Colony League championship. Albeit, B-R is now faced with a de facto two-game playoff series to gain entry to the postseason, but with a loaded Barnstable squad returning and a retooled Dartmouth ready to battle, the Trojans face the real possibility that they could end the season with the dubious distinction of being among the state’s best teams not to play past Thanksgiving.
B-R’s seniors are determined not to let that happen again.
“It comes down to leadership,” Trojans senior captain Kevin Johnston said. “But we’ve been focused since day one this year. We have some veterans and some young talent coming back, but everyone’s committed to doing everything they have to do.”
The Trojans lost a bit of their heart and soul from last season with the graduation of talented backfield duo Branden Morin and Nick Schlatz. More than the carries or the defensive presence they provided, Johnston cited them as “role models,” giving a blue print to this year’s seniors.
That continuity of leadership has been another hallmark of B-R’s success and this year’s edition is no exception.
For the last two seasons, Ryan Murphy has spent the majority of the fall nursing two separate meniscus injuries. He vividly remembers the day of his first injury, playing with B-R’s junior varsity squad as a sophomore. After suffering a tear in a game against Marshfield, Murphy took the long road back, working through rehabilitation and returning last year. He went back to square one after suffering a second tear and seeing his junior year shortened by injury.
That’s all the motivation Murphy needs for 2012.
“I can’t wait, I’ve worked so hard to come back,” he said. “You look forward to your senior season for three years, we’ve worked nonstop to try and get to that point where we know we’re good as we can be. That’s what kept me going during therapy and workouts.”
All that’s left is kickoff.
“This year means everything,” senior captain Kevin Wadsworth said. “To win the OCL this year, that would just be the cherry on top for my high school career.”
BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM AT A GLANCE
Coach: Dan Buron (20th season, 149-59-2)
Key Returnees: Kevin Johnston, Sr. TE/DE, 5-11, 200; Dan Noviello, Sr. TE/DE, 6-1, 200; Joe MacInnis, Sr. OL/DL, 6-2, 260; Kevin Wadsworth, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 190; Ryan Scripter, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 180; Arcel Armstead, Jr. RB/LB, 5-10, 180; Jordan Cohen Sr. QB, 5-11, 160.
Strengths: Size, physicality and experience on offensive and defensive line.
Weaknesses: Lack of game experience at offensive skill positions.
Outlook: Another staple of B-R football has been its offensive line. But typically the Trojans have got it done with below average size, a further credit to the coaching staff. However, this year, B-R has size to boot with senior left tackle Joe MacInnis providing size the Trojans haven’t had since the days of Marc Colombo. The question is who will be running behind that hulking line. It could be more a back-by-committee approach for B-R this season with Arcel Armstead looking for a breakout year. B-R’s defense will be fueled by a pair of twin terrors at end. Johnston and fellow senior Dan Noviello feed off of each other as pass rushers.