South suffers heartbreaking loss to Wayland by 3

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Jon Ostrowskyden_09242008_b0011.bmp

After a disappointing 3-8 record last year, the South football team is working hard to put the past behind them and improve to a winning record this year.  Led by co-captains Derek Russell, Mike Heller, and Lucas Walker, the team will rely on its senior leadership and depth to win games despite a very difficult schedule.

Under the leadership of senior quarterback Russell, South hopes to be competitive with some of the toughest teams in the state, including Waltham, Acton-Boxborough, and Lincoln-Sudbury, whom they will face in the last three games of their schedule. Senior linebacker Chris Kim showed great enthusiasm. “Those three teams are always good year in and year out.  I can’t wait for November, Kim said.  

Although, these three teams will be especially strong, “every game is a tough game, Walker said. With the team’s biggest weakness in its offensive and defensive line, it will take a lot of hard work to improve from last year. “We really feel that this can be the year for us to turn things around. Last year we struggled to close out games and lost a lot of close ones, Russell Said.

After an extra long preseason this August, the team feels prepared for their upcoming season. A typical practice day consisted of two and a half hours in the morning followed by two and a half hours in the afternoon. Heller considered the pre-season successful. “We got done what we needed to get done, he said.

Their intense practice regimen continues into the regular season with practices every day of the week including additional time spent studying films of past games or lifting after a Friday night game. Heller leads by example, heading to the weight-room after practice two to three times a week to stay in shape for the season.

Despite a 15-12 loss to Bishop Fenwick in their season opener on Friday, September 12th, the team was fairly pleased with its performance. “Our defense played really well and only allowed 7 points, with their other touchdown coming on special teams, Walker reflected.

In their second game, on Saturday, September twentieth, South hosted Wayland and lost another close game, 35-32.  The Lions got off to a strong start, going into the second half with a 20-14 lead.  Led by an explosive offense, South continued to post points in the second half, but fell short in the end. “It was a hard-fought game and we just couldn’t pull it out in the end. It’s been the little things that have kept us from winning the games, Walker said. Although it has been a tough way to open up their season, Walker and his teammates know that hard-work in practice will soon turn their losses into victories.

With a solid core of senior players, the team has great confidence in head coach Ted Dalicandro, and his positive enthusiasm has helped the team progress. “He’s a really positive coach. It’s nice to have him reinforce you and try to bring you up, Walker said. “He provides leadership for the team and gets us well prepared, Heller added.

Dalicandro was equally proud of his captains. “First and foremost they are great kids, great student athletes who lead by example. They always do the right thing on and off the field and it makes my job a lot easier, he said. Dalicandro highlighted Russell’s strong arm and intelligence on the field as great strengths, and he hopes that these attributes will lead Russell and the Lions to a successful season. With the addition of two new wide receivers Willie Allen and Alec Rothman this year, South hopes to display a powerful offense.

A considerate coach, Dalicandro praises his players for being dedicated-student athletes both on the field and in the classroom. He said that he understands the challenge of doing three hours of homework a night and playing on the team, and he “gives a lot of credit to the kids who play.

Though the possibility of college football is still up in the air for Heller and Russell, there is one thing they know for sure: they will leave everything they have out on the field in there final season with the Lions, and hopefully this will be the year that they can lead South to a winning-record and a league title.

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