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Grin and Beat ’Em

Marauders Feeling Sunny So Far

  • Hanover High football coach Mike Ivanoski leads his team onto Merriman-Branch Field before a 2010 contest. The Marauders began practice for the 2013 campaign last week.<br/>Valley News - Tris Wykes
  • Hanover quarterback Henry Anthony-DuScheid, center, and fullback Jack Cavallaro await a shotgun snap during a Friday morning practice at Merriman-Branch Field.   Valley News - Tris Wykes

Hanover — Shawn Cavallaro gets his orthodontic braces off later this month, and the Hanover High quarterback hopes the Marauders’ upcoming season gives him plenty of reason to grin. On paper, the lineup doesn’t appear particularly formidable, but the senior signal-caller has a different assessment.

“I definitely think teams will overlook us,” said Cavallaro, one of four quarterbacks on the NHIAA Division IV all-state team last fall. “When you lose eight or nine core seniors like we did, it’s natural to expect we don’t have a lot left. But we had a lot of juniors starting both ways last year and we don’t care what other teams think.”

Hanover won a state title in 2005 and was 9-2 as recently as 2007. However, the Marauders were 3-6 in 2010 and 4-5 during each of the last two seasons. Lost to graduation earlier this year were 11 seniors, including three of the top four rushers, the top two receivers, two starting linebackers, two starting linemen and a tight end.

The Marauders return six starters on offense and five on defense, but there have been a couple of interesting additions, and 19th-year coach Mike Ivanoski is upbeat.

“We have some experience back and are kids are in such good shape,” Ivanoski said. “We had 20 of them consistently in the weight room throughout the summer.

“When kids work this hard and their bodies and mentalities change for the better, you have to be confident.”

Hanover has been blessed with talented skill-position players in recent years, but has often been undersized and thin on the line. That’s changed a bit this season, however, with the arrival of 6-foot-4 senior tackle Jack Boillotat from Texas and aspiring rapper Schulyer Cyrus, a 6-2, 290-pound freshman lineman with startling agility for someone so large.

Boillotat, the son of former Hanover boys lacrosse coach Mark Boillotat, had been living with him in the Houston area before returning to Etna this spring live with his mother, Dartmouth equestrian coach Sally Batton.

“Word on the street is that we have nothing, but we haven’t received that memo,” Ivanoski said with a sour expression. “What people don’t take into consideration is who we have stepping up.”

The holdovers include Cavallaro, a 5-11, 180-pound righthander who completed 60-of-106 passes last year for 942 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 376 yards and four touchdowns and is one of the Upper Valley’s fastest players, but the hope is that he can stay in the pocket more often during his final high school campaign.

Ivanoski “talks a lot about being in control in the pocket and then, if I have to scramble, setting up my blocks and using my speed in the open field,” said Cavallaro, who in addition to Boillotat, has another 6-4 tackle on the right side in Chris Stocken. “Our senior class has worked so hard and Jack’s been a great addition. With his height and size and leadership, it’s been awesome to have him protecting my blind side. I make sure I feed him anything he wants.”

Ivanoski points out that Cavallaro can bench press 235 pounds 10 times and has drawn recruiting interest from New Hampshire and Albany, though it’s more likely he’d play defensive back in college.

“People don’t realize he’s so rugged,” the coach said. “He’s not just some little outside runner, he can take it up inside, too.”

Likely to take handoffs from Cavallaro are his hulking, younger brother, Jack, and speedy Joey Porter, both juniors. The younger Cavallaro started at outside linebacker last fall and has added fullback duties, in which Ivanoski said he “just punishes people.” Teddy Geraghty was the starting center as a junior, but has slimmed down for lacrosse and will now play wingback.

Senior tight end Noah Huizenga, who is 6-3, caught six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns last year. Another player to watch is lanky, 6-6 junior Ben Lynch, whose combination of strength and speed allows him to line up at almost any defensive position, from safety to defensive end.

“This group’s attitude makes them fun to coach, whether we win or not,” Ivanoski said. “We don’t have kids sniping at each other or acting like they’re too cool for school.”

If such optimism still abounds come November, the Marauders will every right to flash winning smiles.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.