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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Of the many exciting local high school sports stories throughout the 2016-2017 athletic year, maybe none were more inspiring than the Dover-Sherborn Regional High baseball team’s run to an Eastern Mass Division III title and state finals appearance.
Baseball is a player’s game, but much of DS baseball’s success last spring was thanks in large part to head coach Steve Ryan. Following the end of baseball season, Ryan was awarded Division III coach of the year honors and was later appointed the school’s new head football coach.
Now, with training camp coming to an end and the regular season just around the corner, DS is hoping that the additions of a proven winner at head coach in Ryan and an excellent offensive coordinator and play-caller in Andy Levin will lead to success both on and off the field.
Leading the charge into battle this season for the Raiders will be a trio of senior captains: quarterback and safety Holden Ferrari, running back and linebacker Matthew Strong, and offensive guard and linebacker Nick Novitch.
Ferrari will resume his role under center after splitting time last season with now graduated quarterback Eric Levine.
Ryan says that despite a lack of depth present on the roster, he expects his team to be competitive in the always rugged and tough TVL. But, in order to do so, his Raiders must stay healthy.
“We expect to be competitive,” said Ryan. “We need to stay healthy, as we are not deep.”
Unfortunately, the injury bug has already begun to bite the Raiders, as sophomore linebacker and running back Alex Thompson suffered a broken collarbone during camp; his return this season is in question.
The legs of speedsters such as Ferrari and Strong will be the backbone of DS’s offense with Thompson out, according to Ryan, and while the Raiders are still figuring out their offensive scheme, they hold a solid baseline of plays that fit well with their overall makeup.
“Speed is definitely a strength of our team,” said Ryan. “We will try to be balanced with our inside run, outside run, and passing game. We believe the offense we are running fits well with our team assets.”
Seniors Christian Taylor and Joey Bulotsky are expected to serve as anchors on both the offensive and defensive line for the Raiders, along with junior defensive tackle Jamie Wirth, who also starts as a tight end on the offensive side of the ball. Junior Leo Jalali will also see a starter’s workload on d-line.
Meanwhile, DS’s secondary will be headlined by junior cornerback Timothy Polk, freshman corner Drew Dummer, and Holden Ferrari supplying support over the top at safety. Polk will also play a pivotal role on offense, serving as the second half of a one-two punch at running back with Matthew Strong. Junior Tylan Mendes will provide muscle and toughness as the team’s starting fullback while serving on defense at linebacker, as well. Dummer will also serve as a starter at wide receiver, according to Ryan.
The Raiders will kick off their season at home on September 8 in a non-conference game against Weston under the lights at 7 p.m.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.