Last Season: Head Coach Chris Butler and the Belmont Hill football team turned things around in a big way and posted a 7-2 season record after having gone just 1-7 in 2015. Their championship 2016 season ended with a 41-23 playoff win over Wilbraham & Monson in the Kevin Fleming Bowl and the Hillies also had some impressive regular season ISL wins over St. Sebastian’s, Milton Academy and Governor’s Academy. Belmont Hill will look to try and stay on top again in 2017 but they will face a very difficult schedule this fall including six games against ITHMA Top Ten ISL teams.
Last Season Record: 7-2
ITHMA 2017 ISL Preseason Ranking: # 3
2017 Schedule – Key Games: (8) BB&N (9/29/17) – Belmont Hill lost a close 27-25 game last year but return more firepower on offense this year than BB&N does. @ (4) Milton Academy (10/14/17) – The Hillies beat MA 31-28 last season and look for another high scoring game between these two teams this year. (5) Noble & Greenough (10/21/17) – The Hillies offensive firepower will look to show up again in the middle of a tough three game stretch. (1) Lawrence Academy (10/28/17) – The Hillies lost to LA 33-16 late last season and this will be another tough game against a top ranked team.
2017 – Full Schedule – Roxbury Latin (9/23/17), (8) BB&N (9/29/17, @ Tabor Academy (10/7/17), @ (4) Milton Academy (10/14/17), (5) Noble & Greenough (10/21/17), @ (1) Lawrence Academy (10/28/17), (6) St. Sebastian’s (11/3/17), (7) Governor’s Academy (11/11/17)
Key Returning Players – Offense: Jake Bobo (WR), Blake Brookes (WR), Justin O’Neil-Riley (WR), Mike Piazza (QB), Jaylen Bailey (RB)
Key Returning Players – Defense: Jaylen Bailey (LB), Jake Bobo (FS), Blake Brookes (LB), Ugonna Anuonyemere (LB/DE), Justin O’Neil-Riley (CB), Shane Rockett (LB)
Key Returning Players – Special Teams: Patrick Walsh (K)
Breakout Player To Watch – Look for sophomore Blake Brookes to have a huge season as both a wide receiver and as a linebacker. The Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit stands 6’4″ and 200 pounds while running a reported 4.7 forty yard dash and is one of the top overall players in the Massachusetts class of 2020.
Biggest Team Strength – This year’s Belmont Hill team will feature a passing attack with three of the best receivers in the ISL as quarterback Mike Piazza will throw to 6’4″ Duke commit Jake Bobo, 6’4″ Blake Brookes and 5’10” Justin O’Neil-Riley. Add in Jaylen Bailey at running back and this offense will be one of the best in the ISL.
Biggest Team Weakness – Belmont Hill had a big senior class last season so losses to graduation will have a huge impact. On the offensive and defensive lines the Hillies lost a number of key players including UPenn bound Nathaniel Miller, James Feinberg and Matthew O’Leary.
Overall 2017 Outlook and Season Prediction: The Belmont Hill schedule this fall is very difficult with the Hillies playing six of the teams ranked in the ITHMA Top Ten preseason poll. Their offense will generate points so the success of this season will largely come down to how well the Belmont Hill defense plays in the toughest games on their schedule. They will also need to replace a number of starters from last season with many of those spots being on the offensive and defensive lines.