The Bedford High School football team enters its third varsity season amidst change.
The coaching staff is still the same and the team still wears the Bulldogs logo on the helmet.
But for the first time, Bedford will be replacing graduated players, and that has made for an interesting preseason.
“The biggest thing we’ve had this year is competition amongst the players,” Bedford coach Kurt Hines said. “We have seniors who are fighting for a position from maybe a junior or a sophomore. That competition breeds success.”
The road to success starts Friday night with a non-division game against Manchester West. After that, the Bulldogs will look to improve on the 2-6 record they complied in Division III last season.
When the Bedford offense takes the field, it will run its plays out of a different formation, as Hines has installed a spread offense to better fit his personnel.
“We have seven sophomores starting on our varsity now,” he said. “Kids that in a two-back offense, wouldn’t have the size – they certainly have the speed – to run it. It was a personnel choice.”
Stepping in at quarterback is sophomore James Caparell, who saw varsity time as a freshman thanks to injuries to Max Hendrickx and Tyler Weber. With both those players gone, Caparell steps into the starting spot full time.
Joining him in the backfield is junior running back Jordan Garron, who Hines called the team’s workhorse. Also returning are senior captains, receiver Sam McClain, running back CJ Pederssen and lineman Jeremy Nault, along with seniors Justin Walsh and Jorge Vanegas and junior Nate Harrington.
“We’re getting a better feel for the offense,” Hines said. “We’ve got to make sure we hit the ground running, and not wait until another team punches us in the face. We’ve got to make sure we come out ready to play right out of the gate.”
A year ago, Bedford opened the season by defeating Milford in the first game of the year. The Bulldogs followed that up by winning just one of their final eight games.
“We have to get out there and get ready with a get go,” Hines said. “We need to do the basics. I know it sounds like such a blanket statement as far as tackling and ball control, but the biggest thing is we need to hit the ground running.”