Two consecutive seasons with 13-0 records, the longest winning streak in the state, and a pair of Super Bowl titles is certainly something to be proud of. But Duxbury HS football Coach Dave Maimaron sounds more like Bill Bellichick when discussing if his Dragon football team can keep it up.
“Our goal right now is to beat Bridgewater-Raynham and be 1-0,” said Maimaron, when discussing whether or not this year’s squad can duplicate the recent success of his program. “Replacing nine college-level athletes from last year’s class will be very challenging in trying to replace the contributions they made over the past few years. There is no doubt there will be a drop off in the talent level. But because of the success we have had the past few years, our kids expect to win.”
With the graduation of QB Matt O’Keefe (35 TD passes) and his stable of talented wide receivers, Duxbury will be hard pressed to duplicate the passing attack that had defensive backs at wits end trying to stay in coverage.
But when a program has been as successful as Maimaron’s, it uses its talent in whatever way necessary to achieve positive results.
Duxbury’s winning ways started long before O’Keefe and his classmates’ undefeated streak put Duxbury football on the map as a Massachusetts power. In Maimaron’s seven seasons at the helm of the Dragons’ program, he has guided them to a 76-10 record, five Patriot League division titles, and four undefeated (13-0) Super Bowl seasons.
A track record like that seems to have instilled a winning attitude in Maimaron’s troops, and when expectations are already in place, it relieves the Duxbury coach of trying to create a mindset that can be hard to establish.
This year’s Duxbury team will depend far more on the running game than in previous years.
“After our first week of practice our offensive line is really coming together,” said Maimaron. “They have been doing a great job and senior captain Jon Hurvitz has made impressive gains in the off-season and I think you’ll see our running game improved since last season.”
While Maimaron realizes his talent level took a hit with graduation, he’s not about to kiss off the passing game quite yet.
“Junior Sean McCarthy and sophomore Liam Stauss are our QBs right now and as long as they keep improving we should be okay back there. The one big problem we have is that co-captain Joe Guilfoile is the only experienced receiver we have out there.”
While Duxbury may not be blessed with a Brady/Welker passing tandem, the Dragons’ offensive line should create gaping holes for Hurvitz and junior Khai Perry to do significant damage.
Hurvitz had an impressive performance in the opening-season scrimmage with Cohasset, running behind a huge offensive line led by senior guard Rob Kosharek (6’6”/270), who his coach calls the leader of that group.
Kosharek has plenty of company up front when it comes to matching his size, with juniors Grant Kramer (6’3”/230) and Jack Herlihy (6’5”/225) manning the tackle slots, along with senior Winston Schrom (6’2”/245) at the other guard position and senior captain C.J. LoConte (5’10/190) at center.
While Duxbury offense got most of the notoriety last year, it was the defense that made beating the Dragons a near impossibility.
Maimaron was hoping that his defense would lead the way this year, but two key veteran starters (Henry Narlee and Owen Gray) defected to private school, slightly hampering a defense that will be led by returning senior tackle Mark Trudeau (6’0”/250). Trudeau will be flanked by senior Mike Klein (6’0”/245) and senior Chris Bertoni (6’0”/200) in the middle with Perry and sophomore Hunter Marston (6’0”/190) manning the end positions.
That quintet up front will be backed by a linebacking corps led by senior captain Marshall McCarthy (6’0”/195), who recovered from a severe knee injury his sophomore season to have a strong junior campaign. Junior Marcus Urann (5’10”/185) and sophomore Aidan Pilon (5’11”/170) will join McCarthy to solidify the linebacking situation.
The secondary is still in a state of flux, but Maimaron is looking for Hurvitz to take over one spot, while Wesley Quinzani, Drew Hadley, and Shane Sullivan are getting a thorough look-see.
Marston and Mike Calendar are getting a chance to show their stuff as punters, while senior Tucker Hannon returns for kick-off and field goal duties where he excelled last season.
“Because of our strength and conditioning program, we have a lot of kids in this program that would play and start on other high school teams,” said Maimaron. “But there have been a lot of coaching changes in the league this year, and even Quincy won an Under Amour passing camp tournament this summer. That is something they have never done before, so I’d say the gap between us and the other teams in the league won’t be as big as it’s been the past few years.”
While the schedule will include non-league games with Bridgewater-Raynham, Plymouth North, Xaverian, New Bedford, and Marshfield, it all boils down to how the Dragons do in the Patriot League.
“To get a shot at the Super Bowl you have to win your league,” said Maimaron. “With the grinding type schedule we have, we’re trying to keep the two-platoon system we had last year so the kids don’t wear down so much. We’re still trying out different combinations and hope we can continue to use the system that has been so successful for us.”
After last night’s scrimmage with Weymouth, the Dragons will end their pre-season schedule on Friday night when they travel to Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury to take on the Scarlet Knights.
Duxbury will open its 2012 season on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 8, at Bridgewater-Raynham at 4 p.m.