Dartmouth High football prepares for full fall schedule
It’s been nearly two years since crosstown rivals Dartmouth High and Bishop Stang faced off on the football field.
During that last face-off in 2019, the Spartans bested the Indians 21-14.
Senior Quarterback Will Kelly— who was a sophomore during that last matchup — and his teammates still remember that loss and are eagerly awaiting to get back when the season kicks off Sept. 10 at Memorial Stadium.
“This is kind of like a revenge tour,” Kelly said with a laugh.
So far, Kelly said the team has been gelling as they near the season kick off.
“Things have been pretty good, we’re really starting to hit our groove,” he said. “It’ll be great to finally have people in the stands to see us play — that’ll be an incredible atmosphere.”
Due to the pandemic, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors voted last year to delay high-risk sports for Covid transmission like football to a “Fall II” season that began in February of this year.
Under the social distancing rules set by the school district, spectators were very limited at Memorial Stadium.
“It was definitely different,” Kelly said. “The only people there were mostly around the fence.”
As fall football returns to the actual fall, the game itself will be pretty much the same as it was before the pandemic.
Players can once again huddle and no longer need to mask up on the football field.
“It’s pretty much regular football,” Kelly said. “It’s a nice break from everything.”
There will also be a full schedule with both conference and non-conference games, Head Coach Rick White noted.
The Indians had a few of its varsity starters graduate after last year, but White has high expectations for this year’s squad, noting that there are 14 seniors returning from last year’s team.
“We definitely have some experience this year,” White said.
This year’s senior captains include: Will Kelly, Patrick Crane, Ethan Marques, Josh Miller, and Baron Dutra.
The team also has more players on its roster to fill in some of last year’s gaps and add more depth to others.
“A lot of guys this year — it’s nice,” the coach said. “We’ve even got 26 freshmen.”
The main thing White is hoping to bolster ahead of the season is the Indians’ special teams.
“One of our issues last year was guys having to play both ways and special teams,” he said. “It’s always important to have guys to give our starters a break — now we have some guys to fill that.”