Bishop Guertin looking to pick up the pace

You have to be quick on your feet this year if you’re playing for the Bishop Guertin High School football team.

New Cardinals head coach Jeff Moore likes things done up tempo. Move fast in practice, move fast in games.

"That’s the big thing, learn how to practice," said Moore, the former Dracut and Lowell High School coach who took over the Cardinal program last winter. "We’ll be an up tempo team, and we’ll change speeds."

The Cardinals are coming off a 5-6 season that saw them win four in a row to capture the Western Conference title before losing 35-0 to heavily favored and eventual champion Pinkerton Acadmey in the Division I semis.

With just 45 players out, including freshmen, the Cards will have to deal with depth issues. But, "If we can stay healthy, we’ll make some noise," Moore said.

On offense, he has the luxury of 6-2, 190-pound returning senior quarterback Jordan Hiscoe, who throughout the preseason has had to hold off challenges from speedy sophomore Sam Raitt and junior Mike Allanach.

Senior running back Jackson Housman (6-1, 200) has put on a few extra pounds of muscle after missing most of last season with a knee injury. But he hasn’t lost any speed; in fact he’s improved it, having run a 4.59 40-yard dash at the Boston College Football Camp over the summer.

"I think he’s going to be a back we can count on," Moore said, adding that senior Chase Hughes (6-0, 205) and Keenan Dwyer (5-10, 185) will see some touches and passes out of the backfield. The Cards will also benefit from the return of senior Nick Lorden (6-3, 195) who broke his collarbone early last season.

So they’ve got some depth there. Dwyer can also line up wide along with junior receivers Dylan Fagan (5-11, 160) and Sarveen Shafian-Raad (5-11, 160). Tight end Matt Theriault (senior, 6-0, 205) is a threat too.

Now, will Hiscoe have time to find these receivers? Will the backs have holes to run through? There is some initial size led by senior lineman T.J. Hart (6-2, 250), junior Jeff Wallat (5-11, 230), and seniors Ben Beals (5-11, 200) and Nate Gonzalez (5-9, 190). But sophomore Sam Colantuoni is now at 6-3, 299, and he could be trouble for the opposition.

A lot of the above mentioned linemen will anchor the defensive line as well, along with 5-10, 195-pound defensive end Joe Goudey. Goudey was constantly in the opposing team’s backfield down the stretch last season. Sophomore Cal Basta (6-1, 235) could be up front on defense as well.

Moore’s defensive formation only has two linebackers, as he goes five deep in the secondary. Hart, Beals and Wallat will rotate the linebacker spots while Hughes (who will also punt and kick), Dwyer, Housman, Faban and Shafian-Raad will be in the secondary. Too many teams use wide open formations now, so Moore wants to be ready.

"I think we’re very athletic," Moore said. "We obviously don’t have a lot of monsters, but I like their edge."