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Rocket Football Preview: Week 1

Reading Hosts Melrose

Fall has returned in Reading, Massachusetts, and with it, high school football.

This Friday, your Rockets host the Melrose Red Raiders to open the 2023-2024 season. Last year, the Rockets bested Melrose 35-13. Melrose would go on to win 6 games out of the next seven, before ending the season with a disappointing 3 game losing skid. They finished 6-5. For the Rockets, this would be the first victory on their way to a 9-2 record and another Middlesex League Liberty Division title. Their record-breaking offense seemed ready to steamroll all opposing defenses. Morale was high following a thrilling 51-44 home playoff victory against a skilled Leominster team, in which the Rockets executed a clutch game-winning touchdown drive in the final stretch of the game. Unfortunately, things quickly turned sour, as the Rockets lost 48-6 at home to Bishop Feehan to end last year’s campaign.

But even after the disappointing playoff defeat, hopes are high going into this year. Arguably the biggest story for the Rockets is the graduation of many key players. Nearly the entire starting offense from last year is gone now, leaving new names to fill in the gaps.

Fortunately, they seem more than up to the task. A new talented core of receivers includes names like seniors Sean Crowley and Shea Donahue, juniors Jake Palm and Luke Zannino, with sophomores Bobby Morris, and Brady Comensos also looking to make a name for themselves.

The quarterback position went through a radical change, too. The position was previously held by James Murphy, one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Massachusetts. Following James’s departure to Brown University, his younger brother will assume the position of signal caller. Jack Murphy (’25) is a dual threat quarterback, whose elusiveness and speed poses a stark contrast to James’s 6’5 frame and pocket-passer style of play. Combined with fellow junior D’von Burcy in the backfield, we’re sure to see a much greater focus on the read-option, and less of an emphasis on the air-raid passing game of the past couple of seasons. 

Despite the big changes that have taken place, the Rockets seem poised to deliver a win on Friday. They start the s ranked #50 in the state by MaxPreps.

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