Depth of experience breeding optimism for Cavs

HOLLIS – A year ago, coach Chris Lones cringed when an athlete went down to injury, any athlete on his Hollis Brookline football team.

Yes, the Cavaliers were talented in 2016, but depth – a lack of it – was certainly an issue.

No coach wants injuries, but at least Lones will have some weapons in reserve this time around.

“I love the group that we have this year,” Lones said.

“Our numbers aren’t much bigger than they were last year, but the group is deeper because of the size of our junior class. That junior class is so big and so deep. Anywhere from 8-12 kids are battling for spots at the offensive skill positions, same on the offensive line. It’s a great thing to have.”

There is depth and experience up front, starting with junior center Jeremiah Lones, the coach’s son and a three-year starter at center.

“It’s the same group back that we ended the season with,” coach Lones said.

Seasoned seniors Clem Sherwood and Garrett Moloney have been through the trench wars for the Cavs over the past two years.

Quarterback Joey Delaney won’t have his big brother Brian to feed the football, but the list of HB game-breakers is long and distinguished.

Speedy receiver Matt Simco was one of the more explosive outside weapons in the division a year ago, hauling in 44 passes for 860 yards and 11 TDs.

Running back will be an interesting position to fill with speedy junior Ben Lindsey and rugged Clayton Trombas taking their shots in the early going.

Trombas, Brandon Iodice and sophomore Sal Fabbio head up what should be a ball-hawking linebacker corps.

“We’re good there, but it’s the one spot we don’t have a ton of depth,” Lones said.

HB came of age in 2016, reaching the playoffs before losing to Windham in the opener.

Fumbles, mistakes and the inability to field short or onside kickoffs were the difference in that one. The loss couldn’t hide the strides made by Hollis Brookline last year.

“I’m excited about this team and what we could accomplish,” Lones said.

“The kids are working very hard and they are ready to go.”