Jay N. Miller
MARSHFIELD – Despite a late start to the season, a compressed schedule and a new set of rules generated by the pandemic, the Marshfield High men’s football team managed to make their 2020 season one of the best in recent history , with a 10-2-2 overall record and advance to the Patriot Cup final. There was some frustration as they felt they had played well in every aspect of this league championship tilt except for the goals scored as they lost a nail to Hingham, 2-1.
The Rams have seven or eight senior graduates from last year’s squad to replace, but hopes are high that they can continue to fight for the top echelon of the Patriot League and the Rive region teams. -South. The 2020 squad has placed five players in the Patriot League All-Star squad, but the only one returning is senior Harry Cooley.
“We lost some real quality players because of graduation,” admitted Marshfield High coach Paul Turner. “But we also have a lot of talented players coming back, and with the training going on, I feel good about this year’s squad. I think we will be competitive in every game, although we probably won’t knock anyone down. Our team morale is very good and our players are very focused to start the season on a good note. ”
Among the talented Rams who graduated – and with, at last count, six of them now playing college football – was Patriot League MVP Owen Madden as well as premier goaltender plan Jack Price, who scored six shutouts in 2020. Nolun Pina, Logan Burns and Colby Lauria were among the other key players who graduated.
“We have a lot to replace,” Turner said. “Jack Price of course started every game in goal for us last year, but now we have junior Eamon Hume, who has played really well the last two years on the JV squad. He has done well. work for us so far, he looks good.in training, and we are confident he will be a reliable goalkeeper for us. Our four full-backs look pretty solid, where we have six or seven players in the line. for those starting roles, so I think we’ll have a good defense. ”
“We’re going to be the type of team, just like last year, where scoring goals is always a problem,” said Turner. “Last year no scorer has ever totaled many goals, and it was very spread out. This year we will look to seniors Luke Twomey and Liam Evans, who came to preseason camp in style. form, and juniors Cody Holbert, who seemed very sharp in our preseason training, to lead the way.
“Again, I don’t think we’ll be a superstar team, but we’ll be tough to beat. ”
Last year’s rule changes, primarily designed to eliminate unnecessary contact between players, have required some tweaking, and the return to “normal” football rules is welcomed by most coaches and players.
“The funny thing is that while we talked about the rule changes as something to deal with last year, I actually think they helped us out a bit,” said Turner. “We weren’t a great team, nor a very physical team, last year, and so the rules limiting contact probably helped us. But this year we have some great guys on the squad, so I think that returning to regular football rules will be something that will also work to our advantage. ”
The return to a more or less normal season also means the Rams can play against teams beyond their Keenan division bubble, and even schedule non-league games to help them prepare for their eventual playoff run.
“The Patriot League is a very competitive league, both inside and outside the Keenan Division,” said Turner. “Year after year, not a single game on your Patriot League schedule is a ‘giveaway’, and there’s a lot of parity. Beyond the league, I don’t like taking easy games; though you are good enough for the playoffs, you should be able to beat good teams. I like local rivalries. This kind of games is a fun event. Lots of kids know each other in club leagues and the like, and when we can do these games under the lights, we always have a good, enthusiastic crowd. ”
Another aspect of the emergence of the pandemic world is the return of crowds, crowds at full capacity, for events such as local soccer clashes, and Marshfield High Stadium is surely one of the best venues to the region for these.
“We are all hoping that the numbers will stay low and that we can play our games in the stadium, with normal crowds,” said Turner. “My daughter plays volleyball and she knows how difficult it is for an athlete playing with a mask. We all hope we get past that and not have to come back, so fingers crossed this season can be a lot more normal. ”
The Rams’ season opener will be on September 9 when they host Pembroke and then travel to Duxbury on September 11. As usual, the Patriot League schedule puts them directly into the top echelon of local football programs.
“Pembroke were a very good team last year so we expect it to be a tough first game,” said Turner. “And then, Duxbury two days later, a program the story of which speaks for itself, so you have to be good to go.”