1988 champion Bently looks like team to beat
By Michael J. Garrison
and Harold A. Stern
Although most of the teams MIT plays this year are regulars from past years, the Beavers will be playing Sienna College, University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in non-conference games. MIT played UMass two years ago (losing 28-3), but Sienna is pretty much an unknown factor. Disappearing from the schedule are Merrimak and Providence Colleges.
The following are profiles of some of MIT's key opponents. The numbers below each team name are the team's 1988 record in MIT's conference and overall.
Finished first in the NECFC last year, and looks like the team to beat again. Bigger and stronger than MIT, with a more balanced offensive attack, they led the conference in scoring offense, passing offense, and total offense (they were second in rushing to MIT).
Rifle-armed quarterback Kevin Lucey (6'-3") returns -- probably the conference's best passer. He led the league in every passing category (attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns) and finished the season ranked behind MIT quarterback Tim Day '89 only because of his conference-high 13 interceptions.
Linebacker Charles White led the team in tackles. Many key people graduated, however -- they lost leading rusher and scorer Kevin McMahon and leading receiver Steve Grimwood. Their possession of a huge offensive line is a definite advantage.
The Chieftains are a young team, like MIT. The Beavers blew them away in the season opener, but they improved a lot over the course of the year. They provided the only blemish on Bentley's undefeated record when they tied the Falcons, and then crushed Merrimack College, the conference's second-ranked team and a team that had defeated MIT, in the final game of the season.
The team is led -- both offensively and defensively -- by Frank Strachan. Strachan plays both tailback and defensive back for the Chieftains. Dan Smith led the conference in receiving. They have a good kicker in Marc Vecchio, whose 33 points (12-13 extra points, 7-8 field goals) led the conference. They were last in the conference in total defense, but second in scoring defense.
Once again the Beavers open up with Stonehill at home. They have been practicing all week for Stonehill's short pass oriented offense.
Although they were second in the league in total defense (yielding 246 yards per game), they were last in scoring defense (yielding 21.6 points per game). Obviously this was due to poor field position; they were last in conference in both rushing offense (100.3 ypg) and passing offense (80.1 ypg). They also had problems putting the ball in the end zone when they did get the opportunity.
Quarterback John Daddona and wideout Don Kinney burned the Beaver secondary both times they played. But they are gone, as is Rich Dandini, a 2000-plus yard running back and Terry Biafore, another of the Greyhound rushers. They should have a young team this year.
Western New England College:
The newcomer to the conference is pretty much an unknown; they will be leaving the New England Football Conference, where they were pushovers for opponents such as Plymouth State College (ranked first in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III North Region).
WNEC opened up last season with a six-game losing streak, and spent the entire season in the NEFC cellar. But WNEC served notice to its new conference rivals that it would be a force to be reckoned with by trouncing Assumption late last season, 35-15.