Tough act to follow for Chargers

Tough act to follow for Chargers

Blackstone-Millville’s linemen take their turns hitting the tackling sleds during last Thursday’s workouts. The Chargers will open their season on Friday with a non-league game at Bellingham. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
District finalist a year ago, BMR football team carries small roster into DVC season

BLACKSTONE – Blackstone-Millville Regional head football coach Josh Euglow has been with the Chargers’ program since its first day of existence in 2013, and last season, the sixth-year head coach had a front row seat to what turned into arguably the most magical season in the team’s short history.

“It was actually a little surprising that we made the playoffs,” he said. “We ended the regular season at .500, and we really didn’t think that was going to be good enough to make it. But we won our last game of the season to put us at .500, and that allowed us to make the playoffs, which was nice.”

“And then we had that big (come-from-behind 23-22) win over Maynard in the first round of the (Central Mass.) playoffs, knocking off the number one seed, which was huge,” Euglow continued. “That was another fun moment for our kids, and making it to the district finals was awesome.”

The Chargers had five players graduate last year, with four of them starting on both sides of the ball, but Euglow said he has nine seniors back, as well as seven two-way starters, whose goals are to help the Chargers succeed in the Dual Valley Conference again and return to the Division VI playoffs.

The Chargers’ nine seniors make up a quarter of the squad’s small roster, which contains five players from nearby Hopedale. When camp started, they had 40 players, but now they are down to 36, with about 32 who can suit up and a few who are currently out with injuries.

“It’s a little lower than what we’d like to start with,” Euglow said. “We might pick up a handful of kids now that we’re back in school.”

Senior Jared Ducharme, who saw some snaps at quarterback last year, looks to be the starter this season. Robbie Siefring was the starting QB last season, but at times, he was moved around to other positions, allowing Ducharme to get some time calling the signals. Now that Siefring has graduated, Euglow said Ducharme will be their “go-to guy” this year.

Senior wide receiver Dylan Ayotte also returns this year after missing nearly half of last season with an injury, and another player who is back with the team after taking last season off is senior running back Cory Pollinger. He has a lot of speed, Euglow noted, which was something the team was lacking last season.

Euglow said they also have a couple of older kids returning on the offensive line, including two-way player Pat Clifford. At the start of the season, they will mainly start junior and seniors, but as the season goes on, they could start to depend on some freshmen, as a lot of 9th-graders came out for the team this year.

“Our goals and expectations are as always to make the playoffs,” Euglow reported. “Looking at our schedule and the returning players and the skill set that we have, it’s definitely something that can happen. But with our low numbers, we have to go out and execute. If we can do that, then we can be competitive against every team we play this year.”

As for the schedule, the Chargers have two new teams that they will battle in Hudson and neighboring Uxbridge. Euglow said that they have done some things during the past summers with Uxbridge, including a passing league, and added that “it will be fun to play a full game against them.” They will host Uxbridge on Saturday, Oct. 12, on their Homecoming Day.

As for his coaching staff, Euglow said he has pretty much the same staff as last year. He said he will be helping out with special teams, and their junior varsity coach will be Mike Trudell, who was once a player and a volunteer assistant coach. The Chargers’ volunteer assistant this year is Donnie Garcia.

The Chargers will open up their season on Friday night with a non-league contest at Bellingham, which over the years, has presented plenty of problems for BMR.

“We never seem to get things clicking when we play them,” Euglow said. “It’s the most frustrating thing in the world. (Bellingham is) a team that we should be able to compete with in a tight game, if not win, and in the past two or three seasons, we haven’t shown up. Hopefully, it’s a little different (on Friday night).”

Blackstone-Millville senior quarterback Jared Ducharme warms up his arm before last Thursday’s workouts.