Youthful Panthers gaining experience, picking up victories

Marlborough – Perspective is ever ything. To some high school football observers, Marlborough High's 2-4 start was just a team having a sub-par year. To Panthers coach Sean Mahoney, it doesn't begin to reveal how good he believes his team is.

"We're young. We graduated 13 seniors off last year's team, which was 7-4," Mahoney said. "We only have five seniors on this year's team and only three are starters.

"We started 0-4, have won our last two, and are two plays away from being 4-2," Mahoney continued. "We lost 15-14 to Wayland and 10-7 to Gardner, a game in which we had two touchdowns called back, one with less than two minutes to play. We're improving every week and I definitely think we're better than our record."

The Panthers are led by seniors Graham Asum, R.J. Byrne and Tyler Gibb. Asum is the starting quarterback, Byrne starts at left guard and defensive end, and Gibb is a first-string linebacker.

Asum and Byrne are two of Marlborough's six captains, along with fellow senior Devonte Brown and juniors A.C. Carter, Adrian Dejesus and Neal Vigeant.

Brown, who would line up at running back and linebacker for the Panthers, suffered a broken leg in the preseason and is out for the season. Carter starts at running back and defensive back, as does Dejesus, while Vigeant is a mainstay on the offensive and defensive lines.

Mahoney said Vigeant and Byrne have really emerged as team leaders this year and have combined to stabilize the offensive line, along with juniors Mike Kahale and Kyle Danehy and sophomore Albert Giroux. Kahale lines up at right tackle, Danehy at right guard, Giroux at center, Byrne at left guard and Vigeant at left tackle.

Only Byrne started up front on offense last season.

Two other players who have emerged this season and taken on more responsible roles in the offense have been wide receivers A.J. Scerra, a junior, and Canaan Severin, a sophomore.

Mahoney said his off ensive philosophy is one of balance with regard to running and passing the ball.

"We try to be balanced," Mahoney said. "Lately we seem to be running the ball better than we did early in the season, but that is attributable to the offensive line getting used to playing together and starting to mesh into a cohesive unit."

Asum leads the way with 460 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries. He has thrown for 258 yards and three touchdowns, having completed 26 of 60 passes.

"When healthy, Graham has played well," Mahoney said.

Dejesus has rushed for 360 yards on 29 carries and scored a touchdown. Carter leads the team with five receptions for 225 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Dejesus leads the Panthers with 29 tackles and a pair of interceptions, Carter has made 27 tackles, Vigeant 24 tackles. The first-team Marlborough defense appears to be hitting its stride: it has not been scored on in the last two weeks.

"When I look at our wins and losses this season," Mahoney said, "I see one constant, and that is when we protect the ball, we win. When we have lost, we have turned the ball over way too much."

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Posted by on Oct 31 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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