SAUGUS — Last year the Saugus football team put together a season to be proud of. Under interim head coach Mike Mabee, the Sachems earned a spot in the Division 5 North tournament and won the quarterfinal at Weston before dropping the semifinal to Amesbury.
But now it’s time to hit the reset button with a promising roster under new coach Steve Cummings in 2019.
“My expectation is to get better every day,” Cummings said. “I’m their fourth coach in four years. That’s four different learning curves. That’s a challenge. I just want our team to pick up on the technical stuff. Our motto each day has kind of been, ‘we’re doing this well now let’s focus on something new,’ and just building on that.”
The Sachems return talent on both sides of the ball starting with running back/safety Marvens Jean, tight end/linebacker Bruno Auzec and running back/linebacker Christian Correia, all senior captains.
“All those guys play a huge part on both sides of the ball,” Cummings said. “It helps when implementing new stuff so it’s been great. In the time before I got here they showed some great leadership getting everyone in the weight room and staying focused. They really got the offseason going. When I came in they were already hungry for a routine.
“They help relay messages to guys,” Cummings added. “They’ve been vital to help getting acclimated. Then we have Zach Kesbia who tore his ACL during lacrosse season, but he’s still taking on that leadership role off the field as a captain. He’s like another coach. We’re trying to make the best out of a bad situation.”
But with a small senior class the Sachems will need some younger players to step up, especially on the offensive line.
“Jack McPhee and Edlyn Dos Santos are going to have to step up on the line,” Cummings said. “We don’t have a single senior lineman without Zach so it’s on those two to lead that group.”
Sal Franco is also expected to get some carries in the backfield and will add to the linebacker depth while Javier Martinez plays key roles at receiver and cornerback.
Junior quarterback Mason Nickolas will be crucial in helping the offense click.
“Mason saw a lot of time last year,” Cummings said. “With that experience, he’s been key in executing and learning our new offensive system.”
The Sachems kick off the season at Bedford Friday (4).
“Before we get a chance to look at (Bedford) on tape it’ll be hard to plan specifically,” Cummings said. “I want to see us make a game plan where we think we can be the most successful. These kids work hard, if we can show up to a Tuesday practice like it’s a Friday game we’ll be OK. Most of the gripes we have are about technique, effort is never something that’s not there.”
9/13 – at Bedford (4)
9/20 – at Winthrop (7)
9/28 – vs. Marblehead (11)
10/5 – vs. Revere (11)
10/11 – at Salem (7)
10/19 – vs. Engish (11)
10/25 – at Classical (7)
11/28 – vs. Peabody (10)