League champs open at home Sept. 8 against Masco


EXPECT MELROSE senior Rey Guity to collect yards for the Melrose Red Raider football team, which opens at home on Sept. 8 against Masconomet. (file photo)

Published in the August 31, 2017 edition


MELROSE—By now, Melrose High football fans are used to big wins, thrilling comebacks, Super Bowl bids and Thanksgiving trophies. This season, they hope to recapture a few of those things when they begin their season at home next Friday, Sept. 8 against Masconomet.
For the past four seasons, there has never been a better time to be a Red Raider football fan, with some of the most talented teams ever at MHS lighting up Friday nights at Fred Green Field. Coach Morris and his staff have found a way to relaunch, reload, and create competitive teams that prove among the best in their divisions.While its early in the season—and finals rosters have just been finalized—Melrose fans have every right to be optimistic, with good amount of experience returning, a dose of speed and athleticism, and a schedule that has them traveling just twice in the regular season.
“We lost a good amount of seniors, and obviously Mike [Pedrini], but we have a good amount of experience up front, some decent size,” reports Melrose head coach Tim Morris. “We have to work on a lot of things to get better, like rebuilding secondary linebackers, but there has also been some good things early on. Some improvements.”
Of course, the biggest question for the Raiders is: what will their season look like without Mike Pedrini? The highly decorated, do-it-all running back was a scoring machine for Melrose in his three seasons, putting up numbers that may go unmatched for some time. While adjusting without #5 might be difficult for Melrose, it’s certainly not impossible. And coach Morris’ system of rebuilding with incoming seniors has paid off over the last few years. This year, Melrose will rely once again on returning seniors in key positions to keep up Melrose’s winning tradition alive. That includes the quarterback position, open after the graduation of Jack Mays. Expect to see seniors Charlie Stanton and Jack Sullivan earn that top spot.
“It’s been several years since we’ve had a quarterback who wasn’t a senior,” says Morris. “They begin as good understudies who gain experience, and by their senior year they are ready.”
Melrose’s much-acclaimed running game has been manned mostly by Pedrini the last several years. This year, expect to see seniors Rey Guity and Isaac Siede help fill that slot. Both are speedy track athletes who saw playing time in football last season, which can make the transition a smooth one. “We’ll see a lot of Isaac, and Rey we expect to step up and be an every-down back; he’s working hard and already improved his hand work.”
The team will be led by senior co-captains Adam Caffey and fullback Colin Kiernan. Both athletes did a lot for the Raiders last year and now are equipped with senior experience, ready to lead.
Returning players such as Mike Muscarella, Mike Fennell, Gabe Nyland, Mike Sickler, Mike Koytikh, Alex Brincheiro, Drew DiFraia, Cam Rosie, Lou Izzi and Derek DiRaffaele should be good targets for the Red Raider quarterbacks, as well as on defense, while injury to returning player Jack Whitley is a setback for Melrose.
Mike Calvert returns on special teams as kicker along with Chris Cusolito. Promising newcomers, such as Kevin Peete, Jared Karelis, Billy Pesce, Kemar Benoit and Liam Rittenburg could make a difference for the Raiders this season.
Melrose has seen some early scrimmage action against Billerica and will tackle Lynnfield today at 4:00 p.m. at Lynnfield High. Opening night is next Friday at Fred Green Field, a non league game against Masconomet. Kick off time is 7:00 p.m.