The football team is looking to use its family atmosphere to its advantage amid a tough stretch of games.
Hanover, Foxboro, Rockland, Hingham, Silver Lake, Marshfield, Plymouth North, Duxbury and Abington.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High football team’s schedule is tough.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about what you make of it — and football is the ultimate team sport.
“They like playing the underdog role a little bit,” said first-year head coach Zack Botelho, who takes over for Mike Driscoll. “They’re like, ‘We’re in this together, we believe in us more than anyone else does.’ They’ve developed our little saying this year: only the family.”
Senior captain Will Stafford is no doubt the vocal leader of the Panthers.
“He doesn’t miss the weight room, he’s at everything — he’s the perfect kind of energy guy that we need,” Botelho said of his running back. “I had an opposing coach say during our passing league that he was the best leader of all the teams there because kids actually follow him.”
And with a new coach, comes a new playbook, but the Panthers still plan to be a run-first team. And why not when you have backs like Stafford, junior Will Frazier and senior Andrew Cloutman?
“We’re going to sprinkle in the passing game when we can,” Botelho said. “Spread it out when we can, take what the defense gives us in the passing game and we’ll dial up a few shots.”
Junior Cam Burrows is back under center and has plenty of additional targets at his disposal, including seniors Collin Briggs, Jake Guiliani and Bobby Hunter and juniors Evan Casey and Braden Kain.
Seniors Malcom Alcorn-Crowder, Rocco Ruffini and junior Maddox Colclough anchor the offensive line.
And while Botelho comes to W-H after a stop as Old Colony’s offensive coordinator, he believes the defense will be his new team’s calling card — at least for now.
“We’re playing a simple, not a lot of thinking, a whole lot of playing sort of defense,” Botelho said. “We’re going to attack and make big plays.”
Alcorn-Crowder (34 tackles, 11 for loss and four sacks last season), a lineman, and linebackers Casey and Guiliani and Cloutman, a safety, key the defense.
Despite the daunting schedule, W-H plans to hang tough this season.
“I want them to know that, when the going gets tough, they can lean on each other and if they compete, good things are going to happen so really just nonstop competing ness from kickoff to final whistle,” Botelho said.
W-H returns to the field Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. when it hosts Rockland.
“We’re going to play with outstanding effort, excellent attitudes,” Botelho said. “It’s one of our goals to be playing our best football at the end of the seasons. We’re building for something, we’re going to get better every single time.”