With the high school football season about to kick off, The Boston Globe offers a look at some of the key players to watch for during the 2012 season.
OZZY COLARUSSO, Weymouth: The All-Scholastic running back/wide receiver/cornerback has the Wildcats poised for another successful season. Colarusso finished his junior year ranked second in Division 1 scoring with 17 touchdowns, 11 of which were receiving. Colarusso also had a big presence on defense, recording 70 tackles and four interceptions en route to a 9-2 record for the Wildcats.
JOHN MONTELUS, Everett: The senior offensive tackle has already committed to Notre Dame. But before heading to South Bend, he’ll be looking for a third straight Super Bowl title with the Crimson Tide. The 6-4, 290-pound Montelus leads arguably the best offensive line in the state which leaves Everett as the team to beat – something that hasn’t been done since 2009. It’s unusual for offensive lineman to get much praise. The hype around Montelus is well deserved.
JON BAKER, Millis-Hopedale: If Everett’s John Montelus and Xaverian’s Maurice Hurst Jr. are labeled the state’s top linemen, then Baker is close behind. The 6-3, 300-pound junior still has a year to go but is already being heavily recruited. Millis-Hopedale finished 10-1 last fall and you don’t have to look far to see why.
VINCENT BURTON, Blue Hills: If you thought Burton was great last year, you were absolutely right. Blue Hills’ speedy running back has led Division 4 for the past two years, rushing for a combined 3,334 yards with 54 touchdowns and 392 points. As a two-time Player of the Year, Burton will be the spark the Warriors need to win another Mayflower championship and try to defend their Super Bowl title.
JARED TAYLOR, Mashpee: When last we saw Taylor, he was running for 306 yards at Gillette Stadium to lead Mashpee to its first ever Division 4 Super Bowl title. Although he was considered the number two back behind Jordan Keli’inui last year, Taylor still scored more than 20 touchdowns on the season. Back with more experience under his belt, the explosive 6-foot running back will be sharing his carries with Malik Lee this season with hopes to win his second title in as many years.
TREVOR LYONS, Hamilton-Wenham: The reigning Division 3A Player of the Year returns as a multiple threat for the defending CAL/NEC Division 3 champions. Last fall he ran for a school record 1,294 yards and 18 touchdowns and threw for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns. The result was the Generals first undefeated season since 1967.
TROY FLUTIE, BRIAN DUNLAP, Natick: Ranked third in Division 2A with 21 touchdowns passes last season, Troy Flutie looks to have similar success running the no-huddle offense for Natick. The skillful quarterback not only contributes through the air, though, he also is a factor in the Red Hawks’ running attack with his ability to scramble and make plays out of the pocket. Nick Lee, a returning 1,000-yard running back, will be crucial to the offense, but the biggest threat Natick brings onto the field is the combination of Flutie and 6-foot, sophomore wide receiver Brian Dunlap. He had a breakthrough freshman year in which he caught 69 passes and scored a division best 14 touchdowns.
MAURICE HURST JR., Xaverian: The Michigan-bound senior is the core of Xaverian’s defensive line, with his quick ability to get through blocking. And not only is the 285-pound defensive tackle a force at disrupting quarterbacks, he also displays his talents on offense as a running back. You heard that right, a 285-pound running back. An absolute nightmare for opposing defenses, the Catholic Conference All-Star finished last season with more than 60 tackles.
DREW BELCHER, Reading: The little brother of four-time swim All-Scholastic Erica Belcher is poised for a big junior year after throwing 13 touchdown passes last fall in a season that produced an 8-3 record and Middlesex Large title. The Rockets are going for their fifth straight league title. And, at 6-3, he’s really not so little.
KYLE DANCE, Latin Academy: Dance, who led Latin Academy in touchdowns with nine, led the Dragons to the Division 5 Super Bowl. He’s quick, big, can scramble and has a good arm. Statistically, he was among the division leaders in all offensive categories, including fourth in touchdown passes with seven. Look for Dance to have a great year as he enters his second full season as starting quarterback.
J.J. DILLON, King Philip: The young quarterback was part of a dynamic offense last year in which he threw 14 touchdown passes. This year, he is the offense. With the loss of All-Scholastic tailback Charles Ruffin, King Philip will certainly throw the ball more, using returning wide receivers Sam McDonald and Joe Cochrane to lead that attack. Dillon is ready to be the commander of this offense and have the Warriors continue to contend in one of the most competitive leagues in the state.
JOSHUA BATISTA, Lynn English: The speedy senior, who was been clocked at a combine this summer breaking the 4.4-second mark in a 40-yard dash, will be a force for the Bulldogs at wide receiver and defensive back. Batista caught eight touchdown passes last season but look for him to have a greater impact for Lynn English this year.
CARL LIPANI, North Reading: The senior running back led Division 3A scoring with 24 touchdowns and 151 points. The workhorse back hopes to show last season was no fluke and lead the Hornets to their first playoff berth since 1979.