AMESBURY — Thom Connors has been here before.
It’s the season after a senior-laden Amesbury team won a Cape Ann League championship, and the Indians coach is looking for familiar faces at preseason workouts. There aren’t many to be found.
The last time Connors found himself in this spot was 2009, nine months removed from the program’s only Super Bowl title in history. That next season started with a thud for Amesbury with a crop of first-year varsity players taking snaps. The Indians were outscored 61-0 in their first two losses.
“I don’t feel like this year will be another year like that,” Connors said. “I don’t think we have to go back to the drawing board and have a rebuilding year. The kids who will step in can continue what we had going last year. They may not have been varsity starters last year, but they practiced with the varsity, and they were right behind the starters.”
Although the 2009 team started 0-3, it finished strong, posting wins in three of its last four games to go 4-7 for the season. Looking back, Connors remembers that team struggling early in preseason workouts as the coaching staff attempted to install the base offense, defense and special teams.
Connors said this year’s team has encountered fewer growing pains in the opening days of practice, due in part to the experience many players had of practicing with last year’s team down the stretch run to the CAL title.
“I’m feeling like we have some players that have similar capabilities to the guys we had last year,” Connors said. “Last year’s seniors played all of the skill positions for the most part. This year, we have some pretty talented seniors, juniors — and even a sophomore — at those spots.”