Brunswick football kicks off season Friday night at Cosby Field

Brunswick junior quarterback Billy O'Malley warms up his arm during Tuesday's practice at Cosby Field. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Brunswick junior quarterback Billy O’Malley warms up his arm during Tuesday’s practice at Cosby Field. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Time to turn the lights on at Cosby Field.

After nearly a month of preseason practices, the Brunswick School football team will be starting the football season tomorrow night and will be looking to improve on last year’s campaign.

“I never want to put wins and losses and put that on them,” Brunswick head coach Jarrett Shine said. “I just want them to play their hardest, understand their responsibilities and play for each other. I want them to play as a team. If we execute the way I think we can, or we are capable of, we will have a good season.”

“It’s big for us to get this season underway on Friday night under the lights,” senior tri-captain Matt Gendell said. “Playing in those types of games is what all football players dream about. All the young guys on the team don’t really know what they are in for. It’s going to be very special.”

Although Brunswick had a trying season last year, they did show signs of greatness, especially during its thrilling 42-35 Homecoming victory against Avon Old Farm.

Once again, Dylan Wadsworth will captain the Bruins this season. Wadsworth will be joined by lineman Gendell and linebacker Jimmy Knight, the team’s leading tackler last year.

“It’s a great honor to be a leader here,” Gendell said. “We have a great group of guys and a lot of them are coming back from last year. We really all meshed well as a team and all the new guys feel comfortable seeing all the veteran guys here.”

Shine said his captains all have their own unique abilities.

“They are different kids,” Shine said. “Jimmy Knight is a quiet kid, but he loves to show what he can do on the field. Dylan Wadsworth is going to be our stud tight end. He’s very vocal and definitely leads by example. Matt Gendell has been the type of guy that we need as a lineman. He’s the anchor on that line and is crucial to our success.”

Last season, Billy O’Malley saw limited time as starting quarterback, filling in for Todd Stafford when he went down with an injury. In fact, O’Malley shared quarterback duties with Stafford during last year’s game against Avon Old Farms.

In that game, O’Malley threw for two touchdowns and used his stellar running abilities to run the option to near perfection. This time around, O’Malley, a junior, will be the team’s starting quarterback and will be used as a dual threat.

“I consider him a seasoned veteran because of the experience he had last year,” Shine said. “He’s more of a running quarterback, but he’s actually impressed us with his arm this year. He’s going to be a serious dual threat quarterback for us. Todd was great and had a great arm, but I think Billy definitely brings multiple dimensions to our offense with his capabilities.”

Behind O’Malley will be a plethora of solid runners. Sophomore Jason Kennedy is new to the program this year and senior Brandon Johnston has also had a stellar preseason, most recently during the team’s most recent scrimmage against Cheshire Academy.

The Brunswick football linemen work on their tackling during Tuesday's practice. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Brunswick football linemen work on their tackling during Tuesday’s practice. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Rotating in the mix will also be juniors Kyle Davis and J.D. Donahey, sophomore John Fox and senior Kevin Downs.

“They are all going to be an very important part of our offense,” Shine said. “They are going to get a lot of carries this year. I’m hoping that our running game will be a little better than it has been in the past. I feel pretty good about them.

When it comes to Brunswick’s receivers, returning senior Henry Taylor will be leading the way. Last season, Taylor had a breakout game during Homecoming, scoring a touchdown and coming up with several crucial catches to preserve the victory.

Wadsworth will be a dominating force at tight end for Brunswick yet again.

“We have some good athletes and some guys that are returning,” Wadsworth said. “We got a nice mix here. We are excited, think we could have a great season and I expect a lot from this team. I have worked a lot on footwork, ladder drills and speed training. I need to get more explosive.”

In addition to Taylor, newcomer Malik Wilder, a junior, will be one of the team’s slot receivers. Juniors Charlie Cobb, Jack Knight and sophomore Reilly Walsh will also see time as receivers.

Brunswick’s offensive line will be young but also experienced, as most were playing on the varsity team last season. Three sophomores will be starting, but will be led by senior Tommy Adamo.

Because of how much bigger and stronger this year’s offensive line is, Shine said that he’s hoping that the offensive line will help the running game pick up valuable yards.

In addition to his time at tight end, Wadsworth will be occupying one of the defensive end positions. Kennedy will be one of the team’s linebackers this season. When he returns from injury, Jimmy Knight will be joining the linebacker core.

— Paul Silverfarb photo

— Paul Silverfarb photo

Jack Knight, who had a solid season last year as a safety, will be one the leaders on the secondary will be at the corner. Joining Jack Knight at safety will be Taylor. Wilder will be playing corner, as will Cobb and Walsh.

“We need the defense to be physical this year,” Shine said. “They need to be assignment-sound, come down and make tackles, especially with our linebackers. We have some quick guys on defense, so I think we can do a great job covering a team’s passing game.”

When it comes to special teams, Brunswick’s Michael Keating, a senior, will be in charge of punting duties. Senior Frankie Agrest, along with Knight, will also work on kickoffs and field goals for the Bruins.

Shine said that the strength of his team this season is the bond between the younger talent and the experienced veterans.

“Because of the senior leadership and captains we have this year, I think the kids are motivated,” Shine said. “That’s great to see. However we need to work on tackling. Last year we could have done a much better job at tackling and making plays. Offensively we made mistakes last year that cost us a couple of games. We need to limit those this year. Overall we need to be more consistent.”

And there’s not that much time for the Bruins to work out their issues. Tomorrow night, the Brunswick football team will start its regular season under the Cosby Field lights against Kent School Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

“We are so excited to get this season underway,” Wadsworth said. “We have been working hard for almost a month and it’s about time to show everybody what we have here. We are on playing Friday night and there should be a big crowd, so it will be great.”

Because ball control is so important early in the season, Shine believes that a key to Brunswick’s success will be to wear down Kent’s offense and control the clock.

“Kent is a very good team and they are very disciplined,” Shine said. “We need to be very disciplined and not turn the ball over in order to beat them. With our offense, we are going to try and speed things up a little bit. At this point in time, I think any team is beatable and we have a very good team. It’s going to be a hard-fought game.”

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