FITCHBURG -- If there’s one thing Monty Tech football coach Anthony Secino wanted for Christmas last year, it was a returning quarterback when the middle of August rolled around. In the first two years of his tenure, the quarterback from the year previous didn’t come out for the team.
Secino got his wish, as the Bulldogs will have sophomore quarterback T.J. Farr under center this season.
Farr is a lean, speedy signal-caller from Princeton who has the offense moving: In a scrimmage with Keefe Tech on Thursday, Farr evaded pursuit several times moving forward.
Farr was under center for Monty Tech’s two non-playoff victories last fall, and Secino and Co. speak highly of him.
“We’re feeling good about him coming in,” Secino said. “He was solid; he was only a freshman. He’s a lot calmer this year, he knows the offense a lot better, and he seems more of a leader at this point. That’s going to be big for us.
“T.J. can throw the ball. We’re looking to throw the ball this year, mix it in with the run. We think T.J. gives us some options. He can throw on the run and do some waggle stuff, too. He’s not huge, but he’s got good speed, and he’s pretty smart, too.”
Farr will have several options at his disposal: In the passing game, Fitchburg senior Dante Lajara and Gardner junior Dakari Eady, a newcomer, will be the Bulldogs’ outside receivers.
“We’ll mix them in with different kids along the way,” Secino said.
In the backfield of Monty Tech’s Wing T-based offense, returners Mateo Serrano and bruising fullback Dametrius Sayarath -- nephew of Gardner legend Sommay Sayarath -- bolster the run game, along with Jake Marks, Chad Brouillet, and speedy Fitchburg sophomore Cenceir Mills.
While Mills may see limited carries this year, he is a name to remember for the next couple of years: Mills broke for two long TDs during the first half of the Keefe Tech scrimmage, hitting the hole and then turning on the afterburners.
“The backfield is what it is,” Secino said. “We have four or five kids we feel good about. We have to stay healthy; health is going to be important for us. We have a solid group and a couple of backups for the group, but if the injury bug gets us, we’re going to be scraping, like most teams.”
Up front is a veteran-laden line: From right to left will be McGuire Favreau at right tackle, Thomas Genao at right guard, Kyle Stewart at center, Gabriel Baczewski at left guard, and Jackson Pappoe at left tackle.
“We have some coming back. We have a lot of kids who have played varsity downs for us -- but looking across our schedule, everyone else does, too,” Secino said. “Every game is going to be a push and a challenge for us.
“The line all played downs for us last year, which is good. They’ve all played and they’re experience, and we’re hoping to run behind them.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs will see a mix of the same young men rotating in, but Secino stopped short of saying Monty Tech would play ironman football in 2018.
“A lot of kids are going to see a lot of time. Certain areas we are thinner than others, that’s for sure,” he said.
Several names who look to be exclusively on defense include Peter Yeboah, Eamon Donovan and Zach Perry-Meuer. Mills will see time in the secondary.
Monty Tech only lost a few seniors to graduation, so with the returning players Secino has coming back, there should be some success up on the city line.
“We just want to win. We’re looking to win. Quote Al Davis if you want: ‘Just win, baby,’” Secino said. “I mean, we’re looking for a few wins. Obviously, the kids played hard all year for us. We have to continue that. We have a year of growth under our belts, and hopefully we can be competitive with some of these teams we play. That’s important.”