Plymouth North football kicks off with a clean slate
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The Plymouth North High football program has kicked off the season with a clean slate. And that’s an understatement.
A new head coach fielding a squad with new starters. And a new school featuring a new turf field.
In early August, second-year coach Dwayne Follette , also the school’s longtime varsity baseball coach, resigned after admitting to drinking in front of his players during an end-of-the-season cookout at a private home in June.
Kevin Cobban , head coach at Plymouth North from 1993-1999 and currently a physical education teacher at the Plymouth Community Intermediate School, was hired a short time later. His 1993 squad reached the Division 1A Super Bowl, falling to New Bedford, 45-10.
“It was short notice,” said senior captain Nate Kierstead , who had Cobban as a physical education teacher in middle school. “Learning a whole new offense was pretty difficult,’’ he said, but knowing Cobban “definitely helped.”
Cobban has been welcomed by the entire team.
“I think he’s a really great coach,” said Kierstead, a two-way starter at center and defensive end. “He knows what he’s doing for sure and he tells us his reason behind everything, which is really helpful.”
Cobban’s friendship with Follette made the scandal even more personal, and the job offer that much more tempting.
“The team has been through enough,” said Cobban. “I don’t want them to go through any more, and that’s one of the main reasons I took the job. Dwayne Follette is one of the first people I ever befriended when I came to Plymouth. He’s been a good friend and will stay a good friend. I have his 100 percent support.”
In their season-opener last Friday night, the Eagles showed plenty of perseverance in a 17-14 nonleague loss to Whitman-Hanson. They battled to the end, scoring a touchdown in the final minute on a 3-yard run by junior Pat Hicks . A field goal by Blake Hickey in the third quarter provided the winning points.
“We may have played better than people expected, but we expected to win,” said Cobban. The Eagles were 3-7 under Follette last season.
Whitman-Hanson coach Mike Driscoll said he was impressed by Plymouth North’s performance.
“Kevin’s a great coach,” said Driscoll. “I remember him from when we had some battles before. They played well. For a team that was only together for a short time they played great. My props go to them.”
The team-elected quad-captains — Sean Borell , Corey Boudreau , Nick Santos, and Kierstead — have taken over as the teams leaders after graduation claimed several starters.
Boudreau, a running back, is the only returning starter, but Cobban is confident that all four will play key roles.
“We have a great senior class that has helped the transition from old school to new school and these four gentlemen have helped us get through,” said Cobban, who also served as offensive coordinator at Bridgewater State in 2000-2001.
“They have a great rapport with everyone, with the players, with the coaches. They’re great kids in school, great kids on the football field, and great picks for captain.”
They will be at the forefront of a collection of first-year starters and underclassmen.
“We have a lot of young guys and not a lot of experience so we have to definitely work on tackling” said Kierstead. “We have to strengthen our defense and get more push from our offense.”
The team had just three weeks and 18 practices together before their first game. Yet, the players were not discouraged. When they walked onto their new field last week under the bright lights, they were overcome with pride.
Along with the field came an $83 million, 268,000-square-foot building. While the field and school were being constructed, the Eagles played their home games at Plymouth South High. Hosting games on their crosstown rival’s field wasn’t great for morale.
“It was so much better,” said Kierstead of the opener. “With the turf and everything it felt like we were playing on a college field. Having your own locker room and school to go in after and all your fans are there, it was good.”
On Friday night, they will travel to Duxbury to take on a Dragons squad that has ripped off 27 straight wins.
“Last year we put up a good fight against Duxbury,” said Kierstad. “We’re going to be getting better every game. We’re watching Duxbury film, planning our attack. It should be a good game and I expect great things for the season.”
Revenge for Brockton
Brockton was humbled in last year’s opener, bounced by Boston College High 42-0 on its way to a 5-6 season.
The Boxers bounced back with authority in the rematch on Friday night, shutting out the Eagles, 21-0. Quarterback Austin Roberts rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Continued...