The Vikings have eight starters back as they aim to improve on last season’s 5-6 record.
Twenty-year South Shore Vo-Tech football head coach Derek Mariani is confident his team has what it takes to make a run for the league title.
The Vikings, who finished 5-6 last season and 3-1 in the Mayflower Athletic Conference Small Vocational Division, return eight starters.
“We’re talking about — with the people we have — we should to be able to contend for the league because I think right now that league is wide open,” Mariani said. “I don’t see anybody as a huge odds on favored, it’s just going to be who plays consistent week to week.”
The Vikings’ main weapon back in the fold is senior running back Shane Fougere (Hanson). Fougere, who burst onto the scene as a sophomore, is SSVT’s only returning league all-star.
Paving the way for Fougere, who is a captain, will be an offensive line led by senior John Jolliemore (Whitman), who moves from guard to center and is also a captain.
“He’s going to bring the experience,” Mariani said. “He’s been working very hard getting in condition. We may not always have the biggest line, but I think we have a line with some good football knowledge and good football sense.”
Insulating Jolliemore on his right side will be junior Nick Morrissey (Whitman).
“He put on some good, solid weight over the year,” Mariani said of Morrissey. “He is an intelligent player and as a guard he has great speed. His footwork and his intelligence is very good.”
Senior 6-foot-4, 225-pound Noah Rodri (Hanson) will move from right tackle to left tackle as he enters his second fall as a starter.
Junior Mac Johnson (Hanson) and senior Casi Ezekiel (Whitman) may work their way into the starting lineup at tackle and guard, respectively.
“Noah is one of our bigger and stronger kids,” Mariani said. “Noah’s got the power.”
At quarterback will be senior Nick Podgurski (Whitman), who will share time with classmate Spencer Joseph (Rockland).
“He’s quick,” Mariani said of Podgurski. “He’ll run the option well. He’s got the speed.”
Jolliemore (DT), Fougere (CB), Podurski (CB) and Rodri (DE) will be starters on defense also. Mariani said he’s been impressed with junior Bobby Fettig (Hanson) and sophomore Joseph Parker (Hanson) and wouldn’t be surprised if either nab a starting role soon.
SSVT opens the season on the road Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. against Tri-County.
“I want to see some toughness and some consistency,” Mariani said. “I think we have the people and the experience that we should be able to play a fundamentally sound game [with] minimal mistakes, but be very physical.”