MADISON, Maine — New Madison-Carrabec coach Scott Franzose and his Bulldogs are unfazed with the tough task ahead in the Eastern Maine Class B ranks.
The Bulldogs were 2-6 last season and the road to the playoffs once again features opponents such as last year’s EM finalist Mt. Blue of Farmington on Friday in Farmington and EM champ Leavitt of Turner on Sept. 14 at home.
“I like our chances this year. If the kids play hard and play as a family, we could make a serious challenge to the playoffs year,” said Franzose, who served for three years as an assistant at Madison before becoming head coach this season.
“I told the kids our goal every year is a championship. We want to keep them focused every day,” he added, explaining that his team has a very good blend of size, speed and athleticism that could surprise some teams.
The Bulldogs are in their second season as a cooperative team with players from Carrabec of North Anson that puts the team’s enrollment into the tough Class B where they compiled a 2-6 record last season.
However, the Bulldogs’ optimistic outlook received a boost Friday night when they rolled to a 27-0 victory over the Old Town Coyotes.
“We were very pleased with the effort on both sides of the ball,” Franzose said. “It was a good start to the season.”
Madison has 37 players on its roster, including 14 freshmen and a strong sophomore class that is a key part of its offense, according to Franzose, who preaches quality, not quantity, to his players.
The Bulldogs feature a spread offense and will try to utilize junior tight ends Chris Hayden and Levi Murray more this season. They also expect to utilize two running backs and will try for more ball control.
Franzose said the Bulldogs are still adjusting to the game plan but he has been pleased with their efforts and added that they featured a tough physical game against Old Town.
“Our passing game needs to sharpen up a bit, we’re still getting our timing down, but we had over 200 yards in our run game,” he said. “We saw a lot of good things in our run game.”
The run game against Old Town was bolstered by sophomore halfback Cody Soucier, who totaled 150 yards.
“He’s our backup quarterback, but we had to get him out there. He’s a great athlete,” Franzose said.
On defense, the Bulldogs utilize a 3-4 and rotate in 15 to 16 players. Franzose said his team turned in an excellent performance against the Coyotes and executed very well. Defensive end Hayden led the effort with 15 tackles.
2011 results: 2-6 in Class B
Head coach/year: Scott Franzose/first
Key players: Danny Moreshead, QB/CB, Sr., captain; Ryan Malcolm, DT/OG, Sr., captain; Matt McLaughlin, C/DT, Sr., captain; Kyle Demchak, slot back/CB, Sr., captain; Rhett McKenney, WR/S, Sr.; Austin Kane, WR/S, Sr.; Chris Hayden, TE/DE, Jr.; Levi Murray, TE/DE, Jr.; Cody Soucier, HB/S, soph.; Jordan Curtis, slot back/LB, soph.
Outlook: The Bulldogs won’t lack for aggressiveness or intensity on both sides of the ball and are counting on those traits, as well as a good mix of size and speed, to contend for a playoff berth in a strong Class B division. They will rely on senior leadership from Moreshead, Malcolm, McLaughlin and Demchak and could get an offensive boost from promising sophomore Soucier.