Nauset Looks To Rebuild After Graduating 11 Seniors From Fall II Season

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: School Sports , Football

Nauset teammates collide during a recent preseason football practice at the high school in North Eastham. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

NORTH EASTHAM – A little more than four months have passed since the Nauset football team suffered a 28-14 loss to Cape and Islands League rival Dennis-Yarmouth on April 23. That loss marked the end of the Warriors’ Fall II season — a first-of-kind campaign that teams play shorter seasons during March and April.

While many praised the Fall II season because it gave high school seniors an opportunity to take the field with their teammates for a final string of football games, all of the Lower Cape schools have noticed some lingering effects from the spring as they prepare for this year’s fall slate.

“When your kids are going remote learning, they find something else to get involved in,” he said. “Last year, Fall II hurt a lot of football programs. It was great that the seniors had an experience, but it wasn’t a great experience for everyone. I’m glad we were able to get out there for the seniors, but it took its toll because some kids had their football fix for the year.”

Like Monomoy and Cape Tech, Strunk has seen a common theme when it comes to his players’ summer work habits.

“Being on the Outer Cape here, it’s tough,” he said. “A lot of these businesses — I’ve already had three kids come to me about Thursday practice, saying, ‘Hey, all of the kids are going back to school, there’s nobody.’ These people are all looking for workers as it is, so as a part of the community, what am I supposed to say?”

Getting back to August preseason workouts for the first time since the 2019 season has proven to be tricky for many teams, however, the Warriors’ coach has been encouraged by what he has seen from his team so far.

“There’s a lot of challenges but we have a great group of kids and great team camaraderie,” Strunk said.

While the team only has a couple seniors, it does have 15 juniors, including Dillon White (QB/FS), Corey Vendetti (FB/LB) and Alex Leighton (OL/DL).

“It’s been going pretty well,” Leighton, a Brewster resident, said after a recent practice. “We’re a very young team this year — we only have three seniors — so we’re going to pretty much be with each other next year, which is pretty nice.”

Strunk was quick to point out that while the team might have a good amount of juniors, not all of the upperclassmen received much playing time during the Fall II season because the Warriors fielded a deep crop of seniors during last year’s 1-4 mark.

“We were very senior-heavy last year, and we had some games where we only had one sub between offense and defense and most of them were seniors,” Strunk said. “So, the juniors out here are working hard and everything, but even with them, some of them didn’t get a ton of playing time.”

The team will face some big tests on its schedule this year, particularly against the non-league slate, he said.

“We have a tough schedule,” Strunk said. “We have Pembroke — they improved last year and have a lot of kids coming back. Then we have Hopkinton and they’re tough. Then also in the non-league we’re playing Sandwich, Mashpee and Nantucket, which all three are improved and good teams. And then we’ll play our league schedule.”

 

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal

 

Nauset Warriors 2021 Schedule

Sept. 10: Vs. Pembroke, 6 p.m.

Sept. 17: Vs. Hopkinton, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24: At Nantucket, 5 p.m.

Oct. 1: At Mashpee, 6 p.m.

Oct. 8: Vs. Sandwich, 6 p.m.

Oct. 22: Vs. Barnstable, 7 p.m.

Oct. 29: At Falmouth, 6 p.m.

Nov. 25: Vs. Dennis-Yarmouth, 10 a.m.