PEABODY — With eight returning starters and an abundance of depth on both sides of the ball, the pieces appear to be in place for the Bishop Fenwick football team.
Fenwick’s quest for a fifth Super Bowl title began at Donaldson Field last Friday with a 35-14 victory over defending Division 6 Super Bowl Stoneham, a team that eliminated Fenwick’s playoff run in 2018.
“We have so many returning players, eight players who either started or saw significant time on the field, and that might be as many as we have ever had,” said coach Dave Woods. “The kids have been phenomenal. They worked hard in the off-season and are about as healthy as you expect to be.”
Fenwick got back to its winning ways last year, finishing 9-2 and winning another Catholic Central League title. The Crusaders crushed Greater Lowell 55-0 in the opening round of the Division 6 playoffs only to be routed by the Spartans, 48-20, in the semifinal.
Fenwick lost only six seniors to graduation, but it still has some big shoes to fill, having lost five CCL all-stars, including the Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, Tom MacDonald, who’s now playing at Assumption.
“We are still trying to plug two big holes on the left side of the offensive line,” said Woods. “Our strength is our depth, definitely with the skill kids, but we’re not too deep in the offensive line.”
The good news is the Crusaders return CCL all-stars in MVP David Cifuentes, a running back/kicker and the conference’s leading scorer, Holy Cross-bound running back/linebacker Joe Rivers, junior quarterback/linebacker Chrys Wilson and junior lineman Matt Juneau.
Wilson and sophomore Jason Romans return at quarterback.
“Both have got a lot of experience and have had great preseasons,” said Woods.”I don’t know if we will be going with both of them or one of them, we have to figure that out as we go. They pretty much split time last year when Cory (Bright) was injured.”
Juniors Tucker Destino, a tailback, slot backs Angel Martinez and Rivers while receivers Jordan Maurice and Stefano Fabiano also return.
Wilson, junior Andrew Wilson and Rivers lead the linebackers.
Juneau and senior Dan McGrath are back at defensive tackles, while junior Ethan Gonzalez returns at defensive end. Junior Jimmy Espinal and senior TJ Hazard will see action on both lines.
Jake Miano returns at safety. Maurice and Fabiano return as defensive backs.
Miano, Hazard, Chrys Wilson and Juneau will serve as captains.
Fenwick renews a Thanksgiving rivalry with Malden Catholic, which will host the game Nov. 27 (6).
“We played them (MC) last year and played them for six years back in the mid 2000’s on Thanksgiving,” Woods said. “It’s a great matchup as we are very similar schools with similar philosophies. It’s good for us to play against the big boys.”
Fenwick’s next game is Saturday at Hamilton-Wenham (1).