Old Colony football had itself a memorable regular season in 2017, finishing as the Mayflower Athletic Conference Small Vocational Division Champions under head coach Brandon Mendez, and winning the league for the first time in 20 years.
Though they were bounced in the first round of the MIAA Division 8 South Sectional Tournament in a 20-8 loss to Sacred Heart, the Cougars continued to make major strides under Mendez, also tying the school record with eight wins on the year.
But that season won’t be easy to replicate. Especially not when the Cougars graduated nine seniors, including Brad Plisseyand Jarred Gagne, who were both major fixtures in Old Colony’s offense.
“All nine seniors played both sides of the ball, the whole game,” Mendez said. “They all played both ways, so it’s a substantial amount of guys to replace.” Mendez continued, “We expect to be competitive this year and expect to continue to be competitive going forward.”
Still, Mendez does have a few players back from 2017.
Mitchell Wilsonwas a strong linebacker for the Cougars in 2017 and is expected to be the same. He’s also making the move from tight end to running back, where he’s expected to be the featured piece.
The Cougars also have Matt Bumpusback, who emerged as the team’s quarterback in 2017. Working primarily as a running quarterback, Bumpus won’t just line up behind center in 2018. He’ll be taking on other roles within the offense with Kyle Scholz, also emerging as an option at the quarterback position.
“I think they’re both going to have some chances to run and throw,” Mendez said. “Scholz is a big, athletic kid. He worked really hard in the off-season to get bigger and faster. …
“Bumpus is a proven guy for us,” Mendez continued. “Bumpus will put his head down and pick up the extra couple yards, not that Scholz is afraid to do that because he’s impressed us with that kind of stuff so far.”
Mendez said he doesn’t foresee either player “coming off the field on the offensive side of the ball very often.”
“We want to play to each of their strengths,” said Mendez.
Scholz provides Mendez with an arm for the first time since Jack Murphywas the quarterback in 2016. That will likely open up a few new wrinkles in the offense, but it’s hard to imagine the Cougars offense without a dominant ground game.
“It’s a very similar base (offense) to what we’ve done in the past,” Mendez said. “But we are doing some different things with it. A little more focus on play-action.”
Mendez said, with Murphy, the team was pass-heavy, 50-50, 60-40 pass to run.
“Last year we were 80-20 run to pass,” said Mendez. “We’re going to balance back out a little bit more.
“But because we’ve established a power run game, we feel we should focus a little more on play-action. Moving some guys around in motion should help us create some matchups and try to find the areas to exploit.”
Old Colony still expects teams like Blue Hills, Upper Cape, and South Shore to create problems for varying reasons. But the Cougars fully expect they’ll finish towards the top of the Mayflower Small Vocational Division standings.
“We have a lot of young talent,” Wilson said. “If we can get it all together and find a way to use it the right way, we should be all set.”
As for Cougars volleyball, the team is also coming off a Mayflower Athletic Conference title-winning season. Though they did lose setter Mikayla Murrayto graduation, the Cougars are returning junior middle hitter Kat Kirbyand junior setter Jordyn Dexter, who’s expected to fill Murray’s shoes.
The Cougars also have returning seniors Allyson Bertoldo, Hannah L’Heureux, Lauren Patnaude, Mackenzie Vieira, and Tori Santos. Old Colony has also added senior Lauren McGowan, juniors Molly Lankowski, Hope Bagnell, and Lauryn Macomber, and sophomore Savannah Halle.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar