NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team hopes to make their final season as a member of the Northeast Football Conference a memorable one when they begin play this fall. UMD has shown continued improvement recently, finishing 5-5 last season, and hopes to break the .500 barrier and contend in the Boyd Division this year.
"We've worked very hard, and we've had a good camp," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "We expect to have a good year."
Senior quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, MA/Essex HS/Saint Anselm) will lead the way for the Corsairs in 2012. "The success of our offense will depend to a great deal on Patrick Orlando," said Robichaud. Orlando led the way in the passing game for UMD last year, completing 75 of 179 passes for 917 yards and six touchdowns, and was also the Corsairs' second leading rusher with 485 yards. Freshmen Mario Rigali (Agawam, MA/Agawam HS) and Liam Cosgrove (Plymouth, MA/Plymouth South HS) will back up Orlando.
Orlando and his crew should have several outstanding targets to throw to. Senior Brendan McNeish (Springfield, MA/Agawam HS/Bridgton Academy) leads the way.
McNeish was named an NCAA Division III Pre-Season Regional All-Star by the USA Football News, being chosen to the Northeast team as a wide receiver. The Corsairs' leading receiver last year with 34 receptions for 451 yards, a 13.3 average yards per catch and four touchdowns, McNeish has caught 68 passes for 838 yards and seven touchdowns during the past two seasons.
Senior Romario Berneche (Everett, MA/Pope John XXIII HS (Mount Ida), sophomores Will McNamara (Stoughton, MA/Stoughton HS) and William Cotter (Beverly, MA/Beverly HS), seniors Nico Irano (East Boston, MA/Boston Latin HS) and Nick Hiou (Peabody, MA/Peabody HS), and freshmen Kelvin Severino (Lawrence, MA/Lawrence HS) and junior Evan McCarrrick (Bridgewater, MA/Bridgewater HS) could all vie for playing time.
Junior running back Jordan Guyton (Canton, MA/Canton HS/Saint Anselm) should step right in as a starter. "Guyton has looked very good," said Robichaud. Freshman Brinston Facey (Randolph, MA/Randolph HS) and senior Larry Gregory (Chelsea, MA/Chelsea HS) should also contribute.
The offensive line should be improved. "They've been working hard all fall," said Robichaud. Sophomore center Zach McKeen (North Easton, MA/Oliver Ames will be joined by sophomore Nick Costa (North Dighton, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth), juniors Anthony Holloway (Boston, MA/Boston Latin) and Mike Thomas (Everett, MA/Everett HS), freshmen James Aloisio (Middleton, MA/Masconomet HS/Bridgton Academy) and Taylor Smith (Winchester, MA/Winchester HS), sophomore Justin Borden (New Bedford, MA/Bristol-Plymouth Regional HS), junior Justin Chartier (Feeding Hills, MA/Agawam/AIC) and freshman Anthony Frometa (Fall River, MA/Diman Regional HS).
Senior Edgar Osols (Summit, NJ/Summit HS), who led UMass Dartmouth in scoring with 51 points while averaging 33.9 yards on 62 punts, returns to handle the kicking. "Edgar has continued to improve, and he should be one of the best kickers in the conference," said Robichaud.
Defense has been a strength for the Corsairs, and it should stay that way. "Our defense has done a great job the last few years under (Defensive Coordinator) Steve Faniel," said Robichaud. They've done an outstanding job at holding the other teams down."
Juniors Jake Walsh (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro HS) and Ben Mitsmenn (Seekonk, MA/West Greenwich HS-RI/Exeter) lead the defensive line, which will also feature junior Jordan McDonald (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS), seniors Nick Manganello (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS) and William Cardello (Everett, MA/Pope John XXIII HS), sophomores Kevin Roche (Mendon, MA/Nipmuc HS/Assumption) and Nils Swenson (Ipswich, MA/Ipswich HS) and freshman Ian Gow (Sterling, MA/Wachusett HS).
Linebacking has always been a strength for the Corsairs; with junior Joe Texeira (Seekonk, MA/Seekonk HS) following in the footsteps of past stars like Mike Bleakley, Rich Braley and current assistant coach John Cordasco. Texeira will be joined by sophomores Joseph Martin (Spencer, MA/David Prouty HS) and Art Azatyants (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS), with freshmen Derek Tarpey (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury HS) and Matt Stockbarger (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) and junior Sam Bullock (East Freetown, MA/Apponequet HS) also vying for playing time.
The defensive backfield should again be strong. Senior Darrien Furr (East Taunton, MA/Taunton HS) leads the way, with returnees Joune Fraser (Sr. Barnstable, MA/Barnstable HS/Erie CC), William Bizcaino (Jr. Dorchester, MA/Cathedral HS/New Hampshire) and Phil Vieira (Portsmouth, RI/Portsmouth HS/CCRI) joining junior Bryant Joseph (Randolph, MA/Parsippany HS-NJ/Bloomsburg-PA), sophomore Cody Merritt (Plymouth, MA/Plymouth North HS/Plymouth State) and freshmen Abiola Aborishade (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS) and O'Brian McHayle (Walpole, MA/Bishop Feehan HS/Wilbraham & Monson) in the competition.
The schedule is once again challenging, and the Corsairs will play their first three games away from the friendly confines of Cressy Field.
"I think we have a very good team," said Robichaud. "The conference is tough, we open with Mount Ida, which is playing in a brand new stadium, and then we play the top two teams from the Bogan Division in our non-division games. If we can get off to a good start, we should do well."
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL