Coach: Brian Jezewski (6th year)
Last year: 6-5
Key returnees: Dominic Traversa, Sr. FB/MLB; Chad Shade, Jr. QB/DB; Kyle Shade, Sr. RB/DB; Devon Tucker, Jr. RB/DB; Alex Teichert, Sr. RB/DB; Gio Vega, Sr. OL/DL; Aaron Weeks, Sr. OL/OLB; Evan Bossio, Jr. WR/DB.
Jezewski and the Generals are looking to take the next step in the rebuilding process and get to the state tournament this year.
Leading the way is a massive group of 16 seniors. Jezewski said about 10 of those will start with the rest seeing "serious time."
"It's nice not starting from scratch for once," Jezewski said. "They're doing the stuff that the coaches usually need to do, keeping [the younger kids] in line, making sure they're on the same page. "The experience is invaluable."
It would seem the juniors and sophomores would have a tough time finding their way onto the field, but that would be incorrect.
Jezewski said the junior class, which is about 11 strong, will certainly see time. As for the sophomores, a few have starting roles. Pittsfield will again run a triple-option attack led by Chad Shade, the junior quarterback. He has improved his ball-handling skills and shows a deft touch throwing the ball.
The Generals have some speedy outside backs in Tucker, Teichert and Kyle Shade (who has not been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion last fall), while Traversa is a bruising fullback who can be very tough to bring down.
PHS has adjusted its offensive line this year, moving an athlete like Weeks to play in the trenches. A year ago, he was a receiver. Also new to the offensive line are sophomores Shane Cronin (right tackle) and Austin Houghtaling (center).
"They're doing a great job," Jezewski said. "Some seniors got banged up early. They stepped up and have done a tremendous job the last week replacing some older kids."
Defensively, the Pittsfield offensive backfield makes for a pretty good group of defensive backs. But it all starts with Traversa at middle linebacker. He led the Generals with 145 tackles in 2012. Houghtaling joins him as the other linebacker in the 5-2 scheme. Pittsfield does have some work to do on defense. The Generals graduated their entire line, which had been together for the last few years. That means the group that takes over this year has taken it on the chin from the now-graduated group for a few seasons.
"The nice thing is we're going to fill those spots again with three seniors [Gio Vega, Mike Smith and Codey Plankey] who got some time last year," Jezewski said.
The Generals will host Boston's Burke High School again this year. The Generals beat the Bulldogs 18-12, last year. In that game, Pittsfield's Tucker ran a pair of kickoffs back for touchdowns.