BEVERLY — There’s a big question still unanswered as the Beverly Panthers get ready to open up the 2017 football season.
It’s certain that Beverly will be at Manning Field this Saturday afternoon, but who will be under center is still not a done deal, according to Panthers coach Andrew Morency.
“We’ve got two talented, hard-working kids competing for the job and we haven’t made a decision on who the starter is just yet, both kids have looked really good in the pre-season,” the coach said.
Morency is referring to senior Nick Berry and junior Ryan Barror, who both are looking to catch the coaching staff’s eyes with the opener against the Bulldogs just a few days away, September 9, with a 2 p.m. kickoff.
“I think that we have a really good core group of talented players, hard-working players, we’ve got good numbers out for the team. The kids have come out and really worked hard and we feel like we had an excellent pre-season,” Morency said. “It was a very tough pre-season schedule, we scrimmaged Tewksbury and looked good. Overall we like where we’re at heading into the English game.”
Whoever gets picked to QB the team will have a very big offensive line in front of him. Tackles Caeden Hale, William Shaw and Paul Ofiesh, as well as guards William Shaw and Ben Ames are all north of 225 pounds.
“We do have some new guys in key positions for us this year, and as I said, they are all working extremely hard to create their own identity on this football team,” Morency said. “We like what we’ve seen so far and we’re certainly optimistic about this season.”
The coach said that the defense is a shade ahead of the offense as far as being ready to go this Saturday.
“I think that defensively we’re a little ahead of the offense, we’re really getting tight and coming together on defense,” Morency said. “Offensively we’ve been playing a little generically in the pre-season to see exactly what we have, to see the kids compete for spots and how the offense pans out as a group.”
“Defensively we’ve been really happy with how are number ones have played, our first group has really been pretty stingy,” Morency said. “The offense is coming along pretty well, a lot of guys are looking to make their mark on offense and fill up a couple of positions that are open this season.”
Morency said he’s been very happy with Tyler Geary and Bobby Adams, two of his tight ends that also line up at defensive end for the Panthers.
“Geary and Adams have looked good for us, and Chris McAlpine has looked strong at fullback, he also plays some defensive end for us,” Morency said. “With McAlpine and tailback Ameer Alshrafi at tailback we have some talent in the backfield. As I said, the defense is a little ahead of the offense so far, but we’ve been pretty pleased with what we’ve seen from the kids so far, we like what’s going on on the field.”
After Saturday’s opener against t Lynn English, Beverly will play a huge road game on Friday night, September 15 in Gloucester. The Panthers home opener at Hurd Stadium is set for Saturday, September 23, with Malden providing the opposition.