McCann Tech football turns to veteran O-line, backfield to lead way in 2019

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NORTH ADAMS — After a 56-7 win over Pathfinder in late October, the McCann Tech Hornets saw their football season come to an end with losses to Greenfield and Franklin County.

"Even though we took our lumps, a lot of young kids got a lot of snaps," coach Tony Skiffington said. "A lot of freshmen and sophomores were getting playing time and these kids are stepping on to the field now already feeling like varsity players. Those snaps against Greenfield and Franklin County were big."

The Hornets have also put in work during the offseason getting into game shape. The team's starting tackles are looking like new players this year. Dalton Haskins, who played at 330 pounds last year, worked his way down to 300 and Hunter Hathaway, who played at 300 pounds, is down to 275.

"Hathaway is in phenomenal shape, which is great because he is going to be playing both ways this year," Skiffington said. "Haskins is a captain and ran the summer program. He has taken on that leadership role on the offensive line."

Hathaway and Haskins headline an offensive line that looks to be a force in 2019, which is great news for McCann's other three captains.

Darian Tovani is the man in charge under center and the three-sport athlete will have plenty of opportunities to display his athletic ability behind his veteran line.

"He was the backup last year and probably could've started," Skiffington said. "I am very comfortable with him starting there."

Joining him in the backfield are two more captains, his brother Darius Tovani and Josh Brazeau.

"We have a stable of backs and any depth at this level is so important," Skiffington said.

Also in the backfield is Seneca Bolte, one of the youngsters who had an opportunity to get a taste of varsity-level football last season.

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Nick Mroz, Luke Roberts and Evan Drawec are just a few more of the younger guys looking to see plenty of action early in the season.

Roberts will get time at defensive end, along with the team's fifth, and final, senior, Mitch Mullet.

"I think [Mullet] can have a massive year on the defensive line after a big year as a junior." Skiffington said.

While the Hornets look to dominate the trenches with veterans like Mullet, Hathaway and Haskins, Skiffington believes the team's strongest unit could be their linebacking corps.

"We have a lot of very good linebackers and I expect them to be the strength of our defense this year," said Skiffington of his group of backers, led by Darius Tovani.

Like most of the other teams in Berkshire County, the Hornets haven't done much work in pads just yet, but that will change as they have a full week of padded practices before Saturday's scrimmage against Athol.

"We have a lot to get in by then," Skiffington said. "I just want to see what these kids can do."

Padded practices and scrimmages before the start of the regular season are key to help the younger Hornets continue to gain experience at the varsity level.

"We only have 30 kids total with a lot of new kids," Skiffington said. "We need to stay healthy, especially without a lot of depth. I think we have good players at every position, I just want to see the steps they take."

The Hornets hit the road to start the season with a game at Mahar on Sept 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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