Coach: Bob LeClair (9th year)
Last year: 2-8
Key returnees: Dylan Darling, Sr., RB/LB; Billy Lincoln, Sr., TE/DE; Gustavo Montoya, Jr., OT/DT; Adam LeClair, Jr., OG/LB; Brett Pecor, Jr., FB/LB.
It's McCann Tech football's 50th anniversary this season, and the Hornets should have much more to celebrate than they did in 2012.
Last year was one of lessons for McCann, which graduated much of the 2011 team that went to the Western Mass. Division IV Super Bowl. The 2012 Hornets had just 10 upperclassmen (six seniors, four juniors). They lost three games by seven points or less. In two of those losses, McCann scored the go-ahead points in the fourth quarter, but had them called back because of penalties.
"The inexperience of those kids had led to some growing pains," LeClair said. "We certainly improved as the season went along." This year's team has even fewer seniors, with just three, but a much stronger junior class, which is 14 strong and saw plenty of action last season.
The senior class, though, has what LeClair believes to be one of the biggest plusses the program's had in a long time. That's Billy Lincoln. The tight end and defensive end showed off his skill in a recent scrimmage against Taconic. LeClair said Lincoln pushed the offensive lineman straight into the backfield, completely blowing up the play on three separate occasions.
"This kid will just take away, like [Mount Greylock's] Tyler Picard did, an entire side of the field," LeClair said.
Joining him on the defensive line are juniors Gustavo Montoya and Sterling Hewitt and sophomore Adam Dufur. Dufur will play the other end, while Montoya and Hewitt will anchor the interior linemen spots. The linebacker core is a bit new with junior Adam LeClair in the middle and classmate Zac Fletcher and sophomore Eathan Heller on the outsides. LeClair moves to the standup position after playing as a down-lineman in the past. The move shouldn't prove too difficult as he now gets to see the play develop.
Sophomore Nick Lincoln, who will start at quarterback, will patrol a cornerback spot. Junior Rahmer Vincent will be on the other side and classmate Levi Lawson is at safety.
The defensive side may be the strength, despite six returnees playing in different positions. The offense also has some familiar faces in new locations, but also has some new faces.
The one who will be under the microscope is Lincoln, who takes over under center. He has the not-so-fortunate task of following Mike Chappell and Justin Cote, each good in his own right. What Lincoln has that neither Chappell nor Cote had was what looks to be as strong right offensive line. The combination of LeClair (guard), Montoya (tackle) and Billy Lincoln (tight end) should make picking up five yards on any run pretty much a given for Darling, Lawson and Dufur.