Scrimmage slants: Marshfield vs. BC High vs. North Attleborough

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. -- So much for easing into things.

This may have been only the third day of full contact permitted by the MIAA, but the three teams gathered for the tri-scrimmage at Beaupre Field this afternoon had no reservations about repeatedly lowering the boom. Between Marshfield, Boston College High, and host North Attleborough, there was plenty of pop coming out of the pads.

BC High was the only team to score on the afternoon, though the low scoring may have had a bit to do with the strict eight-play limit on each offensive drive. And while the Rams and Red Rocketeers came away a few players less (Marshfield with two injuries, the Rocketeers one), it was a mostly satisfying afternoon for all the parties involved.

A few observations:

-- BC High's defensive line was the unit that stuck out most this afternoon. Not only were they big, but they were physical and more than held their own, even with the absence of Division 1 prospect Obum Obukwelu (groin). In the Eagles' first series against the Rocketeers, North Attleborough struggled to move the ball and was forced to try the air (they ended up completing two passes). This unit, led by senior defensive tackle Gabe Seksay and junior defensive ends Alex Way and Jameson McShea, should be exciting to watch in 2010.

"I think we have a number of guys besides Obum who can play defensively," BC head coach Jon Bartlett said. "We're going to be alot faster defensively, I think, than last year -- up front, but linebackers as well."

Cracked North head coach Don Johnson, "Man, they're big. I wish we could have a couple of those guys."

-- Scary moment at the end of the scrimmage, when defensive tackle Mike Riley went down with a serious injury to his right leg. Two ambulances pulled up on the track, and an IV was even brought out. Initial diagnosis is that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore broke the lower part of his right leg, near the ankle, and will be out for a while.

"I feel bad, his sophomore year gets taken away by a broken leg," head coach Lou Silva said. "Real nice kid."

-- With just three starters back from last fall's Division 2A Super Bowl champion squad, the Rams have many new faces in new places. But look for fullback/defensive tackle Tom Pomella to make some waves in the Atlantic Coast League. The thick-bodied high school wrestler's low center of gravity allows him to get leverage on guys who might outweigh him at the point of attack, and offensively he'll work in a tailback/fullback role in Silva's multi-dimensional Wing-T offense.

Silva's teams are always fun to watch, even in down years, because of the way he deploys his skill position players at such a variety of different spots in the backfield. One of the more interesting players to watch out of that bunch should be junior speedster Brian May, who lined up at tailback but occasionally took jet-sweep handoffs out of the flanker spot.

"We're going to be relying on him alot," Silva said of May, who also plays linebacker. "He is one of our faster kids. The kid doesn't come off the field, he's just a tough kid. He's got some potential."

-- North Attleborough sputtered a bit in moving the ball downfield, but that may be the byproduct of breaking in so many new lineman. One guy they can count on is senior Bobby Richman -- he wore No. 75 today, but the Rocketeers roster suggests he may occasionally switch jersey numbers and line up in an h-back role -- but there were alot of rotations on the line today.

"We're taking a look at some seniors on the offensive line that we're putting in there to show they can do the job," Johnson said. "We also have some good underclassmen that can play, so that should create some good competition on the line."

-- BC's trenchmen were fairly impressive, but watch out for the linebackers too. There's a bit of a youth movement amongst the four spots -- six kids will generally be in the rotation, although senior Mike Gaffney is a constant -- but it's not as much of a green movement as one might be led to believe.

"We're very young this year, but we like our young players," Bartlett said.