By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Walpole High football enters a new era this season with long-time head coach Barry Greener having retired.
Taking over the reins of the Rebel football program in 2018 is Chris Sullivan, who’s served as an assistant for Walpole the last 12 years.
After a 4-7 season in 2017 (their first losing season in 15 years), the Rebels will look to bounce back and restore Walpole’s winning tradition on the gridiron this fall.
“Our general goals for the season are to obviously make the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl,” said rising senior offensive lineman Patrick Colburn when asked about his team’s general expectations for 2018. “More importantly, we want to redeem last season.”While Sullivan calls the shots from the sidelines, Walpole football will be led by a trio of senior captains in wide-out, return-man, and defensive back Chase Conrad, defensive end and tight end Patrick Kearns, as well as right guard and defensive tackle Jake Gallant, and wide-out and outside linebacker Andrew White.
“All of our captains are huge team guys and great leaders,” said Colburn about his fellow senior counterparts. “We’re excited to get going.”
Along with their three captains, several key names to watch out for on offense this season will be running back/wide-out Drew von Klock, quarterback Will Jarvis, and wide-out Andrew White.
“There are too many names to mention when it comes to guys to watch out for, because all 11 guys on the field will help our team win games,” said Colburn. “But, a couple of guys who made some big plays last year and who are poised to do so again are Chase Conrad, Drew von Klock, Andrew White, Will Jarvis taking over for us at quarterback, and Patrick Kearns.”
Defensively, Walpole will also see several impact players return along with their captains, but Colburn says defensive success for the Rebels in 2018 will come from a collective effort.
“Chase [Conrad], Pat [Kearns], Niall Gallagher, and Jake Gallant are guys that we think can have a big impact for us. But every guy on the field, regardless of the position or what side of the ball they play on, will help our team succeed.”
As for adjusting to new schemes under their new head coach, Colburn says that Walpole’s familiarity with Sullivan’s work over the last 12 years should make for an easy transition.
“The transition between Coach Greener and Coach Sullivan has been pretty easy, since Coach Sullivan has been with the team for so long,” said Colburn. “We also retained a majority of our coaching staff, which has helped our new coaches get settled in with the players.”
The Rebels will begin their quest back to the postseason at long-time arch rival Norwood on September 8 at 1 p.m.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.