Pictured celebrating one of his three touchdown runs against DS in 2019, senior quarterback Ryan Murray (12) will serve as one of five Medfield High School football captains this spring. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
It's been about a year and a half since the Medfield High School varsity football team last took the field: a 34-14 Thanksgiving day victory against arch rival Dover-Sherborn.
After the entirety of the 2020 MIAA football season was pushed back to the spring (late winter) due to COVID, the Warriors get ready to embark on a season unlike any another. Starting March 12, the Warriors will play six games in six weeks. Medfield will open at home against Millis, followed by two more home games against Norwood (March 20) and Westwood (March 26). The Warriors will conclude the season with three consecutive road games at Hopkinton (April 4), Holliston (April 9) and Ashland (April 16).
Leading Medfield this season will be five senior co-captains: quarterback Ryan Murray, linebacker Ricky Mathews, linebacker/offensive guard Jackson Foscaldo, wide receiver/defensive back Ben Leonard and offensive tackle Liam Frasier. In Medfield's last game against DS in 2019, Murray threw for a touchdown and ran for three others.
Along with Murray's big day, Medfield also saw big contributions from then-junior wide receiver and cornerback James Wilder, whose one-handed touchdown grab made it onto ESPN SportsCenter's top-10 plays. Wilder also sealed the win for Medfield late, picking off a pass by DS quarterback Kirby Ryan and running it back 52 yards for six to put the game out of reach. In 2021, Wilder returns for his senior season and will look to do more of the same as one Medfield's top pass-catchers and defensive backs.
Another key name returning for Medfield this season is linebacker TJ Casey. Committed to play lacrosse at UMass, Casey has developed into a big-time playmaker on Medfield's front-seven. As a sophomore against DS in 2019, Casey recorded five tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. Now a junior, Casey says he looks forward to the opportunity to return to the gridiron this spring and help his team try to win as many games as possible.
"Some goals and expectations we have as a team are [to have] no COVID issues throughout the season and to win while enjoying it," said Casey when asked about his team's general mindset heading into this unorthodox season. "We have a strong group coming back on both sides of the ball."
On offense, the Warriors will obviously lean on the arm and the legs of Ryan Murray, a 6'3" 230 lbs quarterback that runs a 4.71 40-yard dash and holds boatloads of potential. Casey says he looks forward to watching Murray perform under center behind an improved offensive line, to go along with an experienced and an always-dangerous group of pass catchers like James Wilder and Ben Leonard.
"We have an experienced group coming back on offense this year, which is huge," said Casey. "[Ryan] Murray is going to have a lot more time in the pocket with our new and improved O-line protecting him. We also have a great wide receiver and running back core, which is great for diverse play calling."
Defensively, Medfield brings back a ton of depth. The linebacking corps of TJ Casey, Jackson Foscaldo and Ricky Mathews is arguably the top unit in the TVL. Junior Jared Hirschfeld will look to serve as an anchor on the defensive line while Wilder and Leonard serve as mainstays in the secondary.
"We are putting in a lot of work," said Casey when asked about his team's ongoing preparation for the season. "The first few days are going to be weird playing in the cold but as time goes on it will be like it’s not even there. We will adjust. It’s definitely tough having to train in this time of the year and [wearing] masks, but Coach Ormberg made it easy for us. We would go to the turf to condition every Tuesday and Thursday, which was really helpful."
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.