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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After a 4-3 regular season that earned them the No. 7 seed in Division V South, along with a Thanksgiving victory over rival Medfield, Dover-Sherborn football is ready to take the next step and build upon that success in 2019.
Leading the Raiders this season will be five senior captains in quarterback/defensive back Kirby Ryan, center Ethan Blanchard, defensive lineman Cam Kelly and slot receiver/defensive back Luke Fielding. Wideout Alex Thompson will also serve as a captain, but unfortunately will miss the entire season due to injury. The Raiders will also be without Luke Fielding for about three to four weeks as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
“Our main goals are to win a playoff game, win the league and beat Medfield on Thanksgiving,” said Kirby Ryan when asked what he and his teammates hope to achieve this season. “Our defense was really strong against Medfield, so we need to keep those same ideas and use them this year. Obviously, our chemistry was at its best on Thanksgiving because we had been playing together for months, so if we can build that type of chemistry earlier on in the season this year, then I think that it would put us in a really great position to achieve the goals we all have in mind.”
Ryan, a returning starter on both sides of the ball and a TVL All-Star, will be relied upon heavily to lead the Raiders. Steve Ryan, head coach and Kirby’s father, says that the Raiders look forward to seeing Kirby make the transition from a defensive back into a hybrid role as a nickel/outside linebacker.
Another name to watch out for will be junior defensive end Tim Cofield, who will be a key cog in the Raiders defense during Fielding’s absence, and according to Coach Ryan, will be a big part of the DS offensive line.
“We will need Tim to play offensive line, as well,” said Coach Ryan. “He is extremely athletic and came into the season in excellent shape. With Fielding’s injury, Cofield is our only returning player on defense.”
Another anchor of the DS offensive line will be junior Jack Wirth.
“Jack was our most consistent lineman last year,” said Coach Ryan. “He is strong and smart and we will definitely try and run behind him.”
One final name to watch out for on both sides of the ball is sophomore Grady Russo, a wideout/defensive back who earned a starting job down the stretch of last season as a freshman.
“Grady is extremely athletic,” said Coach Ryan. “He developed into a starter as last year progressed, and will play wide receiver and defensive back for us this year. He gives us a confident backup quarterback as well.”
DS will kick off its season on September 6 against Brookline.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0.