McCann Tech football team hoping for healthy 2017 season

Last season, the sideline at a McCann Tech football game resembled a MASH unit.

The Hornets had seven players suffer severe injuries forcing them to miss one or more games. Not only were players banged up, but the injuries happened to key contributors.

Running back Max Mitchell suffered a broken leg in the second game of the season, ending his year. Starting quarterback Mike Ferrara broke his ankle in the third game, also ending his season. Overall, about 25 players suffered an injury of some sort, something coach Bob LeClair had never seen in 13 years as a head coach.

"No, never had that many [injuries] before," he said. "It just seemed like week in and week out — who's going to be going down next?"

One positive of the high amount of roster change each week was it threw young players into the fire. Players that had only seen live action in junior varsity games were forced to compete against older, stronger players. The experience yielded only one win, but it made the players better in the long run.

"We did had to throw a lot of guys into the breach last year because of the injuries," LeClair said. "It forced us to play younger kids. A lot of the sophomores, particularity ones on the offensive line.

"These guys are back this year and have a year's experience under their belts for the most part. ... You can see that they did learn a lot. Their play is very much improved over last year. That's going to bode well for us this season."

The team will enter the season with a roster in the low-30s. That number will force several players to play on both sides of the ball, which could lead to more scraps and bruises, but LeClair is hoping last season's injury toll was an aberration.

Fortunately for the Hornets, other than minor injuries sustained during camp, players entered the season 100 percent healthy and eager to put last year's losing season behind them.

Having Ferrara return in his third year as starting quarterback will help. The returning skills players are also experienced and have improved understanding of the offense.

"They took a lot from last year," LeClair said. "They learned the pace of the game and how intense it is as opposed to the junior varsity level.

"They got a lot of reps out there and that taught them what it was like to step up to the varsity level."

Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.


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