New coach, new team, same hopes

Varsity newcomer Nate Mulverhill, left, snaps the ball to potential starting quarterback Payton Poirier as running back Alfred MacNeill, right, moves to receive a hand-off during a Huskies practice last week. John Gokey/The Telegram

MALONE — The Malone football team features a new look this season. Not only did the Huskies lose 13 members of a team that finished 3-3 in Northern Athletic Conference play (4-4 overall), but they also have a new boss on the sideline as 23-year veteran head coach Greg Marshall retired in June.

Taking over as head coach is offensive coordinator Cory West, who will remain in charge of the offense, but will also take over the day-to-day operation of the team. Brian Doe remains as wide receiver/defensive back coach, and Brad Garrow moves up from the Malone modified program and takes over Marshall’s spot as defensive coordinator and lineman coach.

On the field, the Huskies feature only five players – Conner Beebe, Braedyn Dietz, Alfred MacNeill, John-Michael Reardon and Chase Robert – returning from the 2018 squad, with Robert and varsity newcomer Payton Poirier battling for the starting quarterback’s job.

Dietz, who can play at either center or guard, and Reardon will help anchor a new offensive line, which could include such newcomers as Wesley Taylor, Jered and Nate Mulverhill, Brody Hyde and Dalton Wilcox, while Beebe and Trey LaGrave look to be the front-runners in a group of talented wide receivers. Other varsity newcomers hoping to gain a starting role include Toby Vermette-Gonzales, Connor Smith, Dylan Spinner and Brady Sweet.

MacNeill and Robert look to be the top candidates in the backfield, but players such as Alex Preve, Keegan Monette and Logan LaVigne are also in the mix, according to West.

“We have a really young team that will need to fill many of the holes left by the departing seniors,” stated West, a 1994 graduate who was a three-sport standout during his high school seasons at Malone, including a three-year starting stint at quarterback.

Defensively, Dietz, Reardon, Hyde, Monette, Taylor and Nate Mulverhill are projected to battle for spots on the line, while the linebacking corps will consist of MacNeill, Robert, LaVigne, Smith, Wilcox, Vermette-Gonzales and Jered Mulverhill. The remaining six players — LaGrave, Beebe, Preve, Poirier, Sweet, Spinner — are vying for a starting job in the defensive backfield.

“The guys have been working really hard in practice to learn the offense and defense,” West said. “I believe that if we are able to stay healthy and keep growing as a team, we can be competitive this season.”

The Huskies open up their 2019 season on Sept. 7, traveling to Canton for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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