Greener takes reins of Rebel football program

Jeff Meaney

  This fall the Rebel football team aims to take the field at Gillette for a third time in three years. Unfortunately though, after graduating 38 seniors, many of whom held starting positions, the Rebels need to fill many gaps as well as taking on a whole new change to the program: a new head coach. For 32 years Barry Greener has contributed to the Walpole Rebel football program, and is now taking over the reins for the 2009 season. Much has yet to be determined for the evolving Rebel team, and much in question as to whether the new changes will lead to another successful, rewarding year.
  One of the first changes the team will notice is gut camp. Adam Reigel said, “Gut camp will be brutal, the hardest since coach Rosy (Rosenthal) coached it after the 6-5 season. Coach Sauliner will also bring a major lifting aspect which has been a missing component in previous years.”  Gut camp will be at night, which is different from previous years. The Rebels also will not be going to camp Mataponi this year. Many players enjoyed going to camp and living with their teammates for a week. “Camp will be missed as it was a great bonding tool” said junior Chris Tetreault.
  One of the big components to the super bowl team was the five senior offensive linemen, who have all graduated. The Rebels are now faced with the task of filling this void. “The team has to start over every year after graduating big pieces of the puzzle. Linemen will have to be retaught different techniques, but Sully (Sullivan) is excellent at molding players into well rounded linemen” said graduating senior Adam Reigel. Similar to the lack of experience on the line, the defensive backfield will also be short of returning players. “Teams wouldn’t try to beat us deep last year because of our above average secondary” said Sophomore Troy Salvatore.
  Although some positions have little varsity experience the offensive back field and linebackers are almost completely intact. The combination of all-star Ryan Izzo and Matt Nee in the back field along with another breakaway runner in Troy Salvatore the Rebels ground game should be in for another successful year. The linebackers will also give other Bay State teams fits. “Conroy played like an animal, Romo should have been a league all star, and Bowes was one of the best defense-man on the team” said Riegel.
  Underclassman rising to the occasion also helped the 2008 Rebels make it to Gillette.Troy Salvatore’s speed in the back field and at wide-out was a key tool used by offensive coordinator Bill O’Connell. Dave Conroy also made an impact at the Varsity level after Senior Mitch Sivini went down with a back injury. Andrew Pruell earned himself a Varsity letter with his contributions on special teams.
  Many players have been in the weight room with the intent to get stronger before the start of the season. “Football is a sport that if you work hard enough you will be able to succeed” said junior Harry Gately. Gately along with many other players have used this mentality in the weight room in preparation for the upcoming season.
After the success of the last two seasons the Rebels are expected to make a strong playoff run. Players are fired up and are looking forward to the upcoming season. With running back Ryan Izzo closing in on the Massachusetts scoring record, and a team hungry to make it back to the Superbowl the Rebels will be a tough competitor in the Bay State League.