Norton Football Looks To Make It Two Straight
Lancers want to follow up big win last week with another one on Saturday.
With its first division game looming next week, the Norton High football team will look for its second victory of the season when the Lancers travel up to Reading to face Austin Prep in a non-league game on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Norton is coming off a heart-stopping 20-19 victory over Division 2A opponent Falmouth last Friday night, a game that was not decided until the final 30 seconds.
“It was a great win, but we love them all,” said third-year Norton head coach Ted Currle. “I look back to Medway (23-14 in 2010 season opener at home) as probably the biggest win we have had since I’ve been the head coach.”
The Lancers will face an Austin Prep team this week that has had a tremendous tradition under 19-year head coach Bill Maradei, who has won 135 games with the Cougars. Two years ago, Austin Prep finished 10-3 and won the Division 3A title, dismantling a very good Holliston team in the Division 3A Super Bowl, 38-15, at Gillette Stadium.
However, Austin Prep was only 6-5 a year ago, despite a 14-member senior class. This year the Cougars are part of Division 4 as is Norton. The Cougars compete in the Catholic Central League’s Large Division with Archbishop Williams, Arlington Catholic, Bishop Fenwick, Cardinal Spellman and St. Mary’s. Saturday will be the season opener for Austin Prep as the Cougars had their first game with Cathedral last week cancelled.
“Their coach seems to win every year,” said Currle. “They are a young team, but they are very good. They look solid on film. These first two weeks, we have a chance to play two very good opponents. We will see where we are as a team after these two games.”
For the second consecutive week, the Lancers will face an opponent that specializes in running the ball. Senior captain and quarterback Joe Barry directs the double-wing offense. Barry, who is six-feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, is returning for his second season as the starter behind center. Junior Nick Vitale (5-7, 160) is the top running option and is joined in the backfield by Dan Arena, Andrew Fonzi and Jay Deschene.
“It is a power running offense,” said Currle. “It is really difficult to stop if they are stronger and bigger than you. They have been running it forever. They run misdirection and power. Their play action off of it is really good. It is a proven system. It is not easy to stop. You have to be disciplined. If you aren’t, they can break some big plays.”
The Austin Prep defense could pose problems for the Lancers, led by senior captain and standout lineman Mark Maradei, who is 5-11 and 280 pounds. Maradei, the son of the head coach and a three-year starter, is also a star on the offensive line for the Cougars.
“They have a big nose guard (Maradei), who will be tough to move,” said Currle. “He is really big and is very good. Their defense gets up the field quick. They run a 5-2 with two deep. We will have to attack them differently than we did Falmouth. We have a good plan in place. We just have to execute it. We have to execute our offense.”
Next week Norton will begin its inaugural campaign in the Tri-Valley League’s Small School Division when the Lancers host the combined team from Millis and Hopedale on Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. at Adams Field.
“Before we play Millis next week, we want to be much crisper on offense,” said Currle. “On defense, we have to continue to get better with our tackling. The kids also really need to stay focused on their individual jobs on the field.”