Millis Grid Coach: Commitment, Dedication Keys For Success
Martellio’s Focus Is ‘Follow The Process’
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Bob Martellio is a realist when it comes to setting goals for the Millis football team.
Sure, the head coach would like to say that his Mohawks will compete for the Tri Valley League Small Division title and qualify for a berth in the state playoffs. But, before he thinks about those achievements, he lists two key objectives for his 2022 squad.
“It’s imperative that we improve every day, whether it’s in games or practice, and the players must realize that success will come if they commit to maximizing their individual talents by adhering to strength and conditioning programs,’’ Martellio said. “We’ll aim to be competitive in the division and we’ll strive to earn a playoff berth, but those things will occur only if the boys follow the process, remain dedicated and commit to the program. When that happens, the lofty goals, like a tourney date, will fall into place.’’
Last year, the Mohawks were winless in the division (0-5) but still qualified for the playoffs because of a strong schedule and some close setbacks. They lost in the playoffs to Hull and ended the season at 3-8. Seven seniors have graduated from that contingent but there are 10 returnees who have different degrees of experience.
“Our team strengths include athleticism, technical skills, team chemistry, speed, a sound work ethic and a coachable nature,’’ said Martellio. “We do lack experience and depth and we need to develop a capable offensive line, which lost three starters from last year.’’
The Mohawks leadership team includes four senior captains — Nick Almeida (quarterback/safety), TJ Daniel (wide receiver/linebacker), Dom Diaz (tackle/linebacker) and Adrian Hereida (running back/defensive back).
“Nick leads by example and is our offensive leader,’’ Martellio said. “TJ, Dom and Adrian also lead by example but they’re vocal, too. All of them are encouraging and supportive of younger players.’’
When Millis opens its season at Tri County Vocational on Saturday, Sept. 10, Almeida will start at quarterback. The veteran signal-caller is a capable all-around QB and his coach is comfortable with the right-handed passer. “Nick is a skilled player who can run,’’ said Martellio. “He’s got a high football IQ and his passing game has improved. Last year, he passed for 100-plus yards twice. He’s instinctive and his technique is good.’’
The backfield will feature Heredia, senior Jack Skerry and sophomore Vin Sellers. “Adrian and Jack are quick, scat-back types,’’ offered Martellio. “Vin is more of a straight-ahead runner. Dependable and competitive, the group has speed, quickness and good field vision.’’
The receivers include Daniel and juniors Adam Hart, Nick Hill and Beckett Giardi. Daniel and Hill are tight ends who also can play the slot,’’ Martellio said. “Hart is a deep threat who’s got great speed. Giardi is a position receiver who’s solid. All four have good hands and run effective routes. They’re dependable receivers who’ve really improved.’’
The offensive line features Diaz and junior Jackson Glynn at tackle, seniors Pat Sennott and Manny Dodoo at guard, and junior Grady Palomeno at center. “They’re good run blockers and their pass blocking is improving,’’ Martellio said. “They’re smart, coachable and willing to learn, but we don’t have a lot of experience and we lack size.’’
The defensive front includes all the offensive linemen — Diaz, Palomeno and Glynn at the ends, and Sennott and Dodoo along with junior Jon Regan at the tackles. “The ends can apply pressure and the tackles hold their ground,’’ said Martellio. “They display good chemistry, they know their responsibilities and they complement one another well. Overall, it’s a capable group.’’
Daniel, Sellers and Hill will handle duties at middle linebacker, and Skerry, Hart and junior Andrew Peruzzi are ticketed at outside linebacker. “They’re fast, have speed, are athletic and their lateral pursuit is very good,’’ emphasized Martellio. “They’re instinctive, even though some are still working to improve in that area.’’
Hereida, Almeida, Giardi and senior Shea Ferrentino will comprise the defensive secondary. “They’ve got speed, they’re coachable and they use the proper angles to defend,’’ noted Martellio. “It’s a whole new backfield and there’s younger candidates who we hope can provide depth.’’
Almeida will be the prime-time special-teams player, handling punts, kickoffs and field goals. “Nick kicked three field goals last year,’’ said Martellio. “He’s got a strong leg, he’s accurate and also versatile. We’ll be depending on Nick for advantageous field position.’’
Martellio, who played football, baseball and basketball at Millis, will also serve as the Mohawks’ offensive coordinator. His staff will include Mark Maguire (defensive coordinator), James Lagos (special teams), Mark Salisbury (offensive and defensive lines), Jack O’Rourke (receivers/defensive backs), and Brian Kraby (both lines).
Relying on a coaching philosophy that focuses on maximizing talent and emphasizing how to handle adversity, the 51-year-old Martellio firmly believes that “those two attributes will prepare the players for life down the road and they’ll lead to winning.’’
The Millis native also strives to allow football to teach his players valuable life lessons. “Setting goals, learning how to be good teammates and to be quality leaders, building character and managing time are lessons that will help them to be successful later on in life,’’ he offered. “Dealing with adversity helps one to be resilient. What counts is how you react to it.’’
The Millis football team will have its share of challenges. Besides its league games against Medway, Dedham, Norton, Bellingham and Dover-Sherborn, there will be non-league encounters against Randolph (Division 8 state champs), David Prouty, Roxbury Prep and Tri County.
“Medway’s got talent, Dedham has numbers and Norton, Bellingham and Dover-Sherborn can’t be discounted,’’ Martellio admonished. “There’s no clear-cut favorite to win the division.’’
The Mohawks’ non-league games will also be challenging.
But, as Bob Martellio says, “It’s all about dedication, commitment and following the process.’’