Whalers Complete Scrimmage Against North Reading
David Creed •
Photography by David Creed
Senior wideout Sean Murphy paced the Whalers with several catches Saturday afternoon in Nantucket’s scrimmage against North Reading at Vito Capizzo Stadium. The starters on each side got a pair of series before the coaching staff's moved down the depth chart to give each player a look.
Murphy understands that with the departure of last year's lead skill players such Justin Bloise, who was at Saturday's scrimmage, and Makai Bodden, more will be asked of players such as himself, junior Jayquan Francis, seniors Kareem Maxwell and Griffin Fox, and other skill players for Nantucket to make up that production.
“The boys came out firing,” Murphy said. “We are here to show that we aren’t just a Div. 7 program. No more 7-3, 6-4 seasons. We are going to win. The boys are ready. We got Kareem, Ian Williams, Jeremy Caspe, Carlos Aguilar, Aidan, and so many more. I’ve never seen the program so strong.”
Murphy said his approach to this season hasn't changed from even with the added pressure. He said he learned a lot about leadership and preparation from players such as Bloise and Bodden
The Whalers allowed a touchdown to North Reading’s first team, but defensive coordinator Mark Willett was pleased with how his team performed.
“I liked the way they flew around with helmets to the ball,” he said. “There were a couple of blown assignments but at least they blew them fast. They were moving fast and being aggressive. I liked what I saw a lot.”
The Whalers were without a pair of starting defensive tackles, and Willett said players such as Francis and Maxwell are so athletic that they will only improve as the season goes along.
Francis and Maxwell both ran the ball well, with Francis in particular breaking off a long outside run down the right sideline that ended with a violent collision during the first team’s second drive. The lone Whaler touchdown was scored by Aidon Ranney from Aguilar. Head coach Tim Psaradelis said it was great to get his players reps against an opposing club.
“I think they held their own and did well,” he said. “We have some significant positions where these guys are going against an opponent for the first time, particularly offensive line where there are so many responsibilities and things happen so fast. There were big question marks as to how they would handle it but their technique was pretty good.”
Psaradelis said his team will need to work on the speed of their technique and execution, but his team’s overall execution of the system exceeded his expectations.
Willett said the message to their team defensively is to focus on the small things. He wants them looking at the right reads, right keys, not get caught up in every single play and to just keep playing their style in order to improve that technique and form good habits.
"It will be great to sit with the guys on Monday and go over the film," Willett said.
The Whalers will have a scrimmage against Tech Boston Friday, September 2, at 11 a.m. in Dorchester.