SWAMPSCOTT– After graduating a large portion of last season’s roster, the Swampscott football team will look to a group of underclassmen to lead the way in 2018.
“We had 14 seniors last year and now we only have six seniors,” Big Blue coach Bobby Serino said. “Our junior players are really picking it up for us this year.”
Last year Swampscott finished the season at 7-4. The Big Blue qualified for the Division 5 North state tournament but fell to Watertown, 31-27, in the quarterfinal round. This year’s team is eager to take another step forward.
“The expectations for us are to get one or two more wins than last year and just keep getting better,” Serino said. “The kids put a lot of time into this offseason and we are looking to get back into the playoffs, get out of the first round and continue on a championship run.”
Among the juniors helping lead the Big Blue this season are captains Dylan January and Jonathan Oriakhi.
“Jonathan will be an inside slot receiver and play outside linebacker for us,” Serino said. “He played all of last year on both sides of the ball for us so he brings a lot of experience.
“Dylan also has experience and plays middle linebacker and running back,” Serino said. “But we will also be putting him outside as slot receiver in our offense.”
Senior captain Jake Bartram will also help lead Swampscott as the team’s most experienced offensive lineman.
“Jake’s our leader on the line at center and has started for three years for us,” Serino said. “Along with him, most of our receiving core is back this season.
“We have two great wide outs with Andrew Augustin (sophomore) and Arturo Vasquez (junior) at that position,” Serino added. “They both have great speed after running track in the offseason and hitting the weight room. We also have junior wide receiver Zach Palmer who came up and joined the team this year.”
The Big Blue’s experienced group of receivers has had a great offseason, including 7v7 tournament success.
“We had a great 7v7 season,” Serino said. “We got better every day. Some players can’t be available for every tournament and there were more and more kids that stepped up for us this offseason.”
Serino and the Big Blue are preparing for a competitive Northeastern Conference this season. They expect a battle from English when the two teams meet Oct. 6 (Week 5) for the Blydell Cup.
“Saugus does a great job and will be tough,” Serino said. “Salem’s always a tough team, Winthrop has had a ton of young guys. But for us the team to beat is our next door neighbors at Lynn English.
“They’re very well coached and have some great athletes,” Serino said of the Bulldogs. “We went to the last play with them in a 7v7 tournament in Marblehead and they beat us by a conversion. We’re looking forward to that challenge.”
Swampscott begins the season at home against Greater Lawrence Saturday afternoon (12).
“We have a game against Greater Lawrence then we follow up with Triton the next week,” Serino said. “We want to take this season one game at a time. Greater Lawrence is a hard hitting team and I’m hoping we can execute and everyone stays healthy throughout camp.
“We’ve been putting in the work during practices and scrimmages,” Serino added. “We have done well preparing for the season.”