Call it an improbable Super Bowl. The odds were stacked against both teams.
Marshfield, heading into its Thanksgiving Day game, needed Plymouth North to lose to Plymouth South. Just as the Rams were handing Duxbury the knockout blow, South pulled off the upset that punched Marhsfield's ticket to the postseason.
Meanwhile, Chelmsford, which won the MVC outright, was barely standing after a playoff bout with defending Bowl champion Wayland.
On Saturday, Chelmsford and Marshfield will meet for the first time ever.
Holliston's Matt Bellomo hauled in Gatorade's Massachusetts Player of the Year honor for the 2007 football season. Here's a bit more info from a release:
RISE selects Holliston High School standout as Gatorade Massachusetts Football Player of the Year.
In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior running back/defensive back Matt Bellomo of Hollistion High as its 2007-08 Massachusetts Football Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bellomo gained 1,725 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns, averaging 8.4 yards per carry. On defense, Bellomo recorded 42 solo tackles and made six interceptions. He added another 628 yards in receiving and return totals, finishing with 2,353 all-purpose yards and averaging 10.1 yards per touch.
Bellomo has maintained a 3.26 GPA in the classroom and is an active participant in multiple community-service initiatives, donating his time to his St. Mary’s Church group, serving as a coach at an area youth sports camp and volunteering for the local chapter of Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.
“He does everything a million miles an hour,” said Holliston head coach Todd Kiley. “He’s so versatile. I can put him anywhere; even his pass-protection is the best on the team. He’s got incredible hands. He’s the Tri-Valley League MVP. I can’t imagine I’ll every have another kid like him.”
Bellomo remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Analysis: When we saw Holliston in the preseason, we walked away most impressed with Bellomo. That's not a slight on Division 1 recruits Mike Stone (Boston College) and Matt Edwards (UConn), we were simply wowed by Bellomo's speed and athleticism. Even in a practice setting, he seemed like the most fundamentally sound player on the field. Here's hoping the award casts a little more spotlight on Bellomo, who might not be the most talented all-around running back in the state, but certainly one deserving of some more college looks.
Barring a desire to throw out a prediction on the annual Shriner's games, this is our final pigskin prognostication column of the 2007 season. On one hand, we're sad to see the season come to end; on the other, we're jacked and pumped for Saturday's Super Bowls. It should be a phenomenal day down at Gillette Stadium (and at Stonehill College). Everyone come out and support your school.
Boston Globe high school sports editor Bob Holmes did a fantastic job providing preview capsules, along with his predictions, for each of Saturday's seven games. Click the links below to check them out as they include the nitty-gritty:
Here's my take on each game:
Everett vs. Dartmouth
We ask ourselves the same question each time Everett faces a quality opponent: What does this opponent have to do to beat the Tide? And the answer is almost always the same: Play mistake-free football and somehow jump on top early.
But do you know how many times Everett has trailed during its current 24-game winning streak? Once. A 2-point conversion pass in the first quarter of last year's Thanksgiving Day tussle with Cambridge put the Falcons out front momentarily, 8-7. Everett soon motored away for a 44-22 triumph.
Maybe it's psychological. It's hard enough for some teams to get over the mental hurdle associated with playing the mighty Tide. But to fall behind early seems demoralizing.Nowhere was that more evident than Tuesday night in Lowell. After the game, coach John DiBiaso told reporters, "Thank God we won the toss." Everett lives off of putting the opposing team on its heels and it did just that to BC High when Isaac Johnson broke free on a 47-yard touchdown on just the third play from scrimmage (this after he set the tone for the night with a long kickoff return out near midfield).
You could almost feel the air leaving the BC High sideline. Johnson punched in the second of his three touchdown runs later in the first quarter and it just sort of felt like the game was over.
If we're Dartmouth, we're praying we win the toss Saturday. The Indians need to take the ball and move downfield. We're not even sure it's critical to get points on the board, but at least move the chains and don't give Everett a short field. In the same breath, Dartmouth has to be fearless. Fourth and short near midfield... go for it. Heck, Everett went for it on fourth and short from its own 16 last year against Brockton, and look what happened (an 84-yard TD run by Johnson).
Dartmouth needs to do to Everett what the Tide do to every other team they play: Put the pressure on them.
We also think there's a little something to the notion that Dartmouth is a loose cannon here. Few pegged them to topple Brockton and even fewer likely expect them to stay within three touchdowns of Everett. With no expectations and nothing to lose, the Indians can just go play football. Use all that David vs. Goliath propaganda and try to take down the giant.
This one is decided in the opening 10 minutes. If Dartmouth sticks close, they have a chance. An early deficit is crushing. We see a big first-half play by the Tide propelling them to another Super Bowl crown.
The pick: Everett 28, Dartmouth 14
Chelmsford vs. Marshfield
Everyone needs a little luck getting to the big game. But good teams make the best of those opportunities when they come their way. No teams personify that notion better than Chelmsford and Marshfield.
The Rams endured a late-season loss to Plymouth North that seemed to derail their playoff chances in the Atlantic Coast League. Even after defeating frontrunner Dennis-Yarmouth a week later, the league seemed destined for a three-way tie and the Rams, having made a Super Bowl appearance a year ago, appeared ready to be eliminated based on the conference's last-to-go tiebreaker.
Then Plymouth South upset Plymouth North on Turkey Day and, fast-forward 10 days, here is Marshfield in another Super Bowl.
A year ago the Rams ran into a team of destiny in Wayland. This year they seem destined to relive that fate at the hands of the team that toppled the Warriors: Chelmsford.
Where to start? Flying quietly below the preseason radar in a stacked Merrimack Valley Conference, Chelmsford did little to stick out, especially after falling in Week 2 to Acton-Boxboro in a non-conference matchup.
Even a 28-6 shellacking of Tewksbury in Week 4 -- a win that looks more impressive looking back -- did little to take the spotlight off league rivals Billerica and Andover. Most prognosticators figured the Lions would falter when they got to the meat of their conference schedule later in the season.
Never happened. Not even close, really. Chelmford waltzed through the remaining brass of the conference over the final four weeks of the regular season, locking up the league crown in Week 10 when Billerica faltered against Tewksbury.
Chelmsford appeared dead in the water after falling behind Wayland, 17-0, during halftime of Tuesday's playoff semifinal. A late-game interception thrown by quarterback Tim Rich should have sealed the Lions' demise, but an improbable forced fumble and recovery by Anthony Iovino gave Chelmsford new life.
The Lions made the most of that second chance. They'll make more of it Saturday.
The pick: Chelmsford 24, Marshfield 14
Walpole vs. Bishop Feehan
The Boston Globe school sports staff heard more than a few groans when Bishop Feehan entered the top 20 poll a few weeks back. The Shamrocks have been making us look good ever since.
On the heels of an improbable upset of Mansfield in the playoff semifinals -- a win aided by an improvised 2-point conversion pass on a botched PAT attempt -- we're left wondering if Bishop Feehan is itself a team of destiny, or if they used up all of that four-leaf clover the other night.
Here's what we do know: Tony Wood is going to have this team ready to play. His teams always come out fired up for big games (Just ask North Attleboro or Hingham this season). So even if Walpole is firing on all cylinders, we don't see the Rebels running away with this one.
Unless, of course, sophomore sensation Ryan Izzo takes his firework display to the season's biggest stage. But therein lies the strength of this Walpole squad: For as much talent as this sophomore class brings (including Izzo and quarterback Sonny Mastromatteo), there's a senior nucleus that fuels the Rebels including captains Billy Hickey, Joe Drinkwater, and Andrew Fellini. Sprinkle in vets like senior wide out Marc Carrie and senior running back Niccolo Mastromatteo, and it's easy to see how this team thrives with a youthful infusion.
The pick: Walpole 21, Bishop Feehan 14
Gloucester vs. Hingham
We really dig this matchup. Maybe it's because there's no common opponents between the two sides, so it's really like two different worlds colliding. North vs. South for Division 2A supremacy.
Gloucester appears to be the team to beat here after its annihilation of Masconomet. Hingham, meanwhile, needed a little rally to edge Seekonk in a low-scoring affair during its playoff semifinal Tuesday. We think the two will meet somewhere in the middle, with both sides putting up points and both defenses coming up with key stops at different junctures of the game.
If the Fishermen come out with the sort of energy they brought Tuesday night, they might give an upper-division team a run for their money. Like Isaac Johnson against BC High, Andrew Fulford really set the tone with a long opening kickoff return and, five touchdowns later, the senior said his squad was ready for the next challenge.
Hingham has shown it can hang with some big boys. An early season win over Lincoln-Sudbury looks mighty impressive after the Warriors went on to earn a share of the Dual County League title in Division 1A. The Harbormen's only loss came to Bishop Feehan, and we've already documented how the Shamrocks play up to quality opponents.
So what gives here? Hingham really needs its defense to bring its A game. Few teams will win a shootout with the Fishermen. Lynn Classical and Swampscott kept things close early and that allowed them to take Gloucester to the wire.
But it Fulford and Co., start finding the end zone with alarming frequency early on, watch out.
The pick: Gloucester 31, Hingham 21
Swampscott vs. Medfield
Who is the bigger Blue? I suppose we'll find out Saturday. But these two sides are about as different as you'll find in this weekend's Super Bowls.
Swampscott entered the year ready to build behind the arm of senior quarterback Peter Kinchley and a large group of returning starters. Running a spread offense, the Big Blue averaged 24.2 points per game this fall, and coupled it with a defense that allowed fewer than 21 points in every game this season (that blackjack coming in Swampscott's lone loss to Gloucester). Nine times Swampscott held an opponent to two touchdowns or less.
Medfield, meanwhile, graduated 20-plus seniors from last year's Super Bowl squad and lost the quarterback it had planned to build its offense around when Matt Schairer's family moved before the start of the school year (he landed at King Philip this fall).
As the Globe's Pat Ouellette wrote in his preview of Tuesday's semifinal matchup with Abington:
Medfield knew its defense would be solid, but there were concerns about an inexperienced offense. There were early struggles when senior Luke Swain moved into the starting quarterback role after incumbent Matt Schairer moved out of town.
Medfield coach Mike Slason had planned on running a spread offense but changed to a short-pass, run-oriented system that gives teams many looks. Slason stuck with Swain, and his loyalty has paid dividends, as Swain became an effective game manager who rarely makes mistakes.
"Luke's done an admirable job leading this offense," Slason said. "He wasn't put in the easiest position but has gotten better as the season's progressed."
That defense continues to lead the way for Medfield, but it's pretty obvious the Warriors are going to need to put some points on the board to be successful Saturday. Medfield gutted out a 12-8 win over the Green Wave Tuesday, but we think a few more points on the scoreboard will be necessary. Gotta make those conversions in the big game.
Either way, we see this one staying close. And defense wins championships, right?
The pick: Medfield 14, Swampscott 13
East Boston vs. Greater Lawrence
Greater Lawrence's turnaround is a great story and with Nate Adames in the backfield, anything is possible with this team. But it's hard to overlook the fact that the Reggies' opponents had a combined record of 48-81 this fall.
The positive spin is that Greater Lawrence defeated some quality teams including 8-2 Georgetown and 9-2 Shawsheen. The negative is that Greater Lawrence fell to 3-8 Lawrence on Thanksgiving Day and barely edged 5-6 Amesbury in a semifinal playoff matchup. That's not exactly turning heads down the stretch.
But, as we said before, that's all a moot point if Greater Lawrence topples East Boston. And to do that the Reggies are going to need to do what few else teams have done: Bottle up Tyrone Figueroa.
The Jets bowling ball of a back has rumbled for 24 TDs and scored 148 points overall this fall. Not only did he rush for a trio of scores against Blue Hills in the semifinals, he also hauled in a game-winning 39-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to lift his squad to a come-from-behind 38-34 triumph.
The Reggies are going to put points on the board and, much like Blue Hills forced, we can see this one materializing into a bit of a shootout. The question is whether Greater Lawrence can stop (or maybe just slow) these high-flying Jets. We're not certain it can.
The pick: East Boston 30, Greater Lawrence 21
Brighton vs. West Bridgewater
As impressive as West Bridgewater looked in blanking Pope John and its high-octane offense Tuesday night, we're pretty sure Brighton was happy to see the Wildcats prevail. Now the Bengals have a shot at redemption following last year's 34-14 Super Bowl loss to WB.
This is the moment the Bengals have been building towards. Take away that 2-point, triple-overtime nail-biter with Pope John and no team came within two touchdowns of Brighton this fall. That's downright Everett-like.
But the crazy part of this matchup is the final scores against Pope John. How exactly do the Bengals give up 58 points to a team that is blanked by the very team they'll meet in the Super Bowl?
West Bridgewater gave up no more than 18 points this fall, dropping only a one-point decision to Blue Hills during the regular season. The Wildcats gave up a touchdown or less in five of their last seven games. West Bridgewater remains a bit of an enigma coming out of that Mayflower Small, where they play league opponents twice. We're thinking Brighton puts up just enough points to emerge with that crown, but if the Wildcats bring the defense that tames the Bengals, they could easily emerge as repeat champs.
The pick: Brighton 14, West Bridgewater 13
Last week: 9-5 (.643)
Year to date: 113-43 (.724)
We'll plan on posting the Forsberg 7 -- our Eastern Mass. Super Bowl predictions -- later today, but I did tip my hand this morning when I had the pleasure of talking a little high school football with Ramiro & Pebbles of JAM'N 94.5. Check out the link below to hear the audio:
A few notes as the Super Bowls approach:
Coin flips were held this morning to determine the home team for each of Saturday's Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium. The home teams are Dartmouth (Division 1), Chelmsford (Division 1A), Bishop Feehan (Division 2), Hingham (Division 2A), Swampscott (Division 3), and Greater Lawrence (Division 3A).
Coaches and captains from Super Bowl-bound squads also visited Gillette Stadium this afternoon to tour the facility for the first time. The Patriots passed along a note with what sideline each team will play on. Teams playing on the East sideline are East Boston, Medfield, Gloucester, Marshfield, Everett, and Walpole.
Gillette Stadium officials also asked to pass along the following information for fans attending Saturday's games:
Fans are encouraged to arrive early and allow enough time to purchase tickets and enter the stadium prior to the start of their game of interest. Parking lots open at 8 a.m. Fans arriving from the south via Route 495 should enter the stadium parking lots via the P7 entrance. Fans arriving from the north via Route 95 should enter the stadium parking lots via the P1 entrance. Ticket offices are located outside both the Patriot Place Gate and the Bank of America Gate and open at 8 a.m. General admission tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students, children and seniors. Stadium gates open at 8:30 a.m. Fans of teams on the East Sideline are encouraged to enter the stadium via the Patriot Place Gate. Fans of teams on the West Sideline are encouraged to enter the stadium via the Bank of America Gate. Division 3A, 3 and 2A games will be carried on Comcast SportsNet. Divisions 1A, 1 and 2 games will be carried on WSBK TV38.
Still got those Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge? We don't, because we and our college roommates gobbled them up days ago. In lieu of that, here's some leftover tidbits from last night's Division 2A playoff semifinal, which for the Fishermen, tasted as good as can be after a 39-0 trouncing of Masconomet.
Moments in the sun
It's hard to find anything bad to say about a triumph that clinched a Super Bowl berth. From start to finish, Gloucester's thrashing of Masconomet was sweet on many levels.
Had Bill Belichick donned a ragged, maroon-and-white sweatshirt last night, he likely would have mentioned how the Fishermen couldn't convert their first four extra points. They missed a kick and were stopped by Masco on three rushes.
But even Belichick might have cracked a smile after their fifth attempt.
Quarterback Rich Gallant tried to sneak in after Andrew Fulford's touchdown made it 30-0, but the ball popped loose and into the hands of Adam Quinn. The senior lineman barreled across the line and was mobbed by his teammates.
"Last week we made fun of him, because he picked off a pass and got brought down from behind at the 4-yard line," said Fulford. "It was priceless to see his face when he got in the end zone."
Also smiling was Adam Desmond, a reserve linebacker who got his moment near the end of the third quarter. Masco tried a halfback option pass, but the senior wrestled the ball away from Masconomet quarterback-turned-temporary-receiver Chris Splinter for the interception.
"He's been here for four years, and we're all close," said an elated Fulford. "We're a family."
A great showing
They didn’t air it out like the Rams of 1999, but Gloucester benefited otherwise from the turf at Cawley Stadium in Lowell. Fulford, Brian Harnish, and Taylor Burbine sliced through the red shirts in front of them, and an already-quick Gloucester line was lethal.
Quinn (5-9, 190), Mario Peritore (6-1, 230), Robbie Lowe (5-10, 185), Sal Taormina (6-1, 240) and Dylan Morrissey (6-1, 210) were going up against a larger Chieftain front anchored by 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior Teddy Reed, but their speed and toughness were no match for the Chieftains. On defense, ends Cam Marston and Anthony Enderle and linebacker John Celata tore into the Masco backfield for three quarters.
"I think this is as good an offensive and defensive line as I've coached, and I've been doing this a while," said Ingram. "These kids are quick, and they block."
As we mentioned in our game story, the Fishermen spent the week on Endicott College's turf. Their practice field at Newell Stadium is grass (and, on occasion, mud). During the summer, the team gathered for early-morning runs on a Gloucester beach. Once put on the fast track, they were unleashed.
"Getting the feel of the turf at Endicott, knowing how fast we can run, how fast we can move, how quick we could get every little hit, that helped us so much for this game," said Peritore.
Splinter, the sophomore gunslinger who won the starting job early in the season, had impressed with his scrambling ability. But the Fishermen didn't allow Splinter any time or space to make plays.
"The kid was doing a great job on film. But I think we did a great job of getting to him," said Ingram.
Nowhere was the dominance of the Fishermen more evident than on the last drive of the first quarter, when they sacked Splinter on three consecutive plays. Masco had totaled minus-1 yard rushing by halftime.
"We just did what we did all season," said Peritore. "Every time, our defensive ends and our linebackers kept containing him, so he would run up the middle instead of out."
"All week we were focused on keeping him inside the pocket. The scoreboard speaks for itself, how well our defense played," said Fulford.
"They busted a couple of them, but Andrew finds the end zone. He has that knack for it." - Ingram, when asked about the holes the offensive line opened for Fulford.
"One of the linemen could have been running through those holes. It was unreal. They don't get enough credit, but, without those holes, I wouldn't be running anywhere." - Fulford
"It was unreal. We played so hard, we went all-out the entire game. There was no way they'd be able to stop us today." - Peritore, on the line's play.
"Whoever plays us, plays us. We'll be there." - Fulford, when asked about a potential Super Bowl foe.
"I'm really excited for the kids. I get more of enjoyment out of seeing them get enjoyment. They work so hard, they do everything you've ever asked them to do. I'm just really happy for them, and for the city of Gloucester." - Ingram.
Here are the starting times for the Eastern Mass. Super Bowls. A reminder that Divisions 1-3A will play at Gillette Stadium, while Division 4 will be held at Stonehill College. All games are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1.
Division 1Everett vs. Dartmouth, 5:30 p.m.
Division 1AChelmsford vs. Marshfield, 3:30 p.m.
Division 2Walpole vs. Bishop Feehan, 7:30 p.m.
Division 2AGloucester vs. Hingham, 1:30 p.m.
Division 3Swampscott vs. Medfield, 11:30 a.m.
Division 3AGreater Lawrence vs. East Boston, 9:30 a.m.
Division 4Brighton vs. West Bridgewater, 11 a.m.
Here are the times and locations for Saturday's Central/West Super Bowls:
Division 1Leominster vs. Longmeadow, 12:30 p.m. at Westfield State College
Division 1AShrewsbury vs. Westfield, 12:30 p.m. at Worcester State College
Division 2East Longmeadow vs. Shepherd Hill, 3:30 p.m. at Worcester State College
Division 2ANorthbridge vs Wahconah, 3 p.m. at Westfield State College
Division 3Putnam vs. Lunenburg, 10 a.m. at Worcester State College
Division 3ADean Tech vs. Blackstone Valley, 10 a.m. at Westfield State College
The Patriots and the MIAA passed along this press release late last night:
KRAFTS GIVE SUPER TREATMENT TO MIAA CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
MIAA Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium Dec. 1 will be professionally produced and carried live on TV throughout Massachusetts
FOXBOROUGH -- Twenty-four high school football teams will compete across Eastern Massachusetts today for a chance to represent their communities in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) EMass Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium. For the winners, Saturday’s Super Bowls will be the biggest game of their lives, and the Kraft family plans to make the event as special as possible for those lucky participants.
“High school Super Bowl championships are once-in-a-lifetime events for the players, their parents and the communities the schools represent,” said Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group. “We want to do our part to make the games even more memorable, and we have the facility and resources to do that.”
Beyond the honor of playing on the same field as the three-time Super Bowl Champion and currently undefeated New England Patriots, the Super Bowl participants will compete live on TV across Massachusetts with coverage produced by Kraft Sports Productions and aired on Comcast SportsNet (Division III, IIIA and IIA games) and WSBK TV38 (Division II, I and IA games). Mike Lynch, Scott Zolak and Gary Tanguay will call the games on both stations. Coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet and 3:30 p.m. on WSBK TV38.
Like their NFL counterparts, the high school teams will receive NFL-style introductions on Gillette Stadium’s 48 x 27-foot video screens and Public Address system accompanied by music familiar to Patriots fans. The video screens will also show instant replays throughout the day and the postgame awards ceremonies for each winning team.
General admission tickets for the event are $13 for adults and $10 for students, children and seniors. They will be available at the walk-up windows of the Gillette Stadium ticket offices beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. Parking is free for the event and concessions will be available throughout the day.
Through an agreement between the Kraft family and MIAA, Gillette Stadium will host the Eastern Massachusetts high school Super Bowls rent-free at least through 2009. The Kraft family will cover costs for the event and Kraft Sports Productions, which produces Patriots preseason games and New England Revolution games for television, will produce the broadcast of the games. Beginning with the 2007 Super Bowls on Dec. 1, six of the seven EMass football divisions will play their Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium, with the seventh division rotating annually.
The pairings for Saturday's Super Bowl matchups can be found here.
While we know the location (all but the Division 4 game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro; the Division 4 game will be played at Stonehill College), the MIAA advertised on its Website Tuesday evening that times for Saturday's games would be released by Wednesday at noon.
We'll pass that info along as soon as we receive it.
We're adding galleries from tonight's games. Click the game below to check out shots from that contest:
Early editions of the Globe game stories from Tuesday night's Eastern Mass. playoffs, as well as a column by Jackie MacMullan from the Everett-BC High game, are now online.
Click the link below to see all the stories.
Tonight's quick scoreboard:
Division 1: Everett 26, BC High 6
Division 1: Dartmouth 40, Brockton 7
Division 1A: Marshfield 21, Weymouth 0
Division 1A: Chelmsford 23, Wayland 20
Division 2: Bishop Feehan 23, Mansfield 21
Division 2: Walpole 30, Melrose 14
Division 2A: Hingham 10, Seekonk 7
Division 2A: Gloucester 39, Masconomet 0
Division 3: Medfield 12, Abington 8
Division 3: Swampscott 33, Arlington Catholic 7
Division 3A: East Boston 38, Blue Hills 34
Division 3A: Greater Lawrence 19, Amesbury 16
Division 4: Brighton 28, Manchester Essex 7
Division 4: West Bridgewater 24, Pope John 0
We're headed back to the office to pass along more video highlights from tonight's games, along with photos, recaps, and much more.
We don't fancy ourselves on being particularly clairvoyant, but this preseason photo we snapped down at Gillette Stadium sure made itself useful again after tonight.
Everett wins it, 26-6.
Hingham also prevailed over Seekonk, 10-7.
More to come in a bit.
BC High breaks up the shutout with an impressive 62-yard scoring march that spanned into the fourth quarter and culminated with a 5-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Billy Kiley to Tom Conley with 6:22 to play.
BC High knew it had to be perfect to hang with Everett. And it's been anything but thus far.
The Eagles let Isaac Johnson slip free on a 47-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the game.
An interception later in the first quarter set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Johnson, his third of the game.
Then J.W. Forte returned a punt 65 yards for a score.
The result: Everett 26, BC High 0.
Just another day at the office for the Tide.
A first-half highlight is uploading featuring Johnson's 47-yard TD run.
More highlights will be posted this evening.
JW Forte returned a punt 65 yards for Everett's fourth score of the game and the Tide lead, 26-0, with 4:33 to play in the first half.
Poor Catholic Conference has not fared well in this semifinal game with the Tide the past two years.
A Justin Spinelli interception set up a 8-play, 23-yard scoring march that was beset by a handful of penalties, but not enough to detour the Tide and Isaac Johnson from finding the end zone for a third time today.
Johnson's 1-yard plunge made it 20-0 with 8:08 to play. The PAT was blocked.
Ever fearless in late-down situations, Everett completed a fourth-down pass that set up a Isaac Johnson 1-yard plunge and the Tide leads BC High, 14-0, with 3:14 to play in the first.
Facing fourth-and-9 at the BC High 35, Joe Conti lofted a nice ball to Jesus Crawford to the BC High 4. Two plays later, Johnson rumbled in for his second score of the game.
Everett wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Isaac Johnson broke free on a 47-yard touchdown run on a third-down carry and the Tide leads, 7-0, just over a minute in.
You can keep an eye on the scores for Central Mass.'s first Tuesday playoff night by following the link below.
For Western Mass. scores, click here.
Mansfield scored a touchdown with 29 seconds remaining, but Bishop Feehan holds on for a shocking 23-21 triumph in a Division 2 semifinal playoff matchup.
Just an absolutely dominating effort by the Fishermen.
We'll have full highlights later this evening.
Wow, wow, wow.
Bishop Feehan scored with 2:49 remaining and, despite a bad snap on the PAT attempt, managed to convert a 2-point conversion and leads Mansfield, 23-14, with 2:49 to go.
Upset of the year in the making.
All Gloucester, all the time.
Bring on the Division 1 game.
Taylor Burbine 43-yard touchdown run.
Gloucester making this one a laugher. Well, more of a laugher than it had been before, at least.
Call it the Fulford 5.
A 16-yard touchdown run by Andrew Fulford -- his fifth of the day -- helps put the Fishermen on top, 32-0, with 6:40 to play in the third quarter.
Out in Acton, Bishop Feehan leads Mansfield, 15-14, in the second half.
Four touchdowns by Gloucester's Andrew Fulford sparked the offense in the first half, while Adam Quinn absolutely terrorized Masconomet quarterback Chris Splinter and the Fishermen lead, 24-0, at the break.
A first-half highlight is uploading. It features Fulford's long kickoff return to open the game, followed by his first TD run -- a 4-yard jaunt.
We'll have complete highlights later tonight after the Everett-BC High game.
Well, if Masco is looking for positives, it's conversion defense has been outstanding.
The Chieftains simply can't stop Gloucester's Andrew Fulford before that. Fulford just plowed in with his fourth score of the game -- this one a 5-yard jaunt -- and the Fishermen lead 24-0 with 2:06 to play in the half.
Total domination for Gloucester so far, who came up with a big defensive stand after their second score, then averted disaster with a fumbled punt early in the second quarter.
Andrew Fulford's 6-yard touchdown run caps a 7-play, 87-yard scoring trek for the Fishermen, who have expanded their lead to 18-0 over Masconomet with 6:04 to play in the first half.
Third touchdown of the game for Fulford.
Missed opportunity in the first quarter for Masco as it marched the Gloucester 25 after a big kickoff return following Andrew Fulford's second TD of the day, but the Chieftains turned the ball over on downs.
They got the ball back shortly before the end of the first quarter on a Fulford fumble, but have gone backwards on three straight plays with Chris Splinter being dropped behind the line under Gloucester's rush.
A bad snap on a Masco punt attmept gave Gloucester optimum field position for its second drive and a big third-down conversion pass set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Andrew Fulford for a 12-0 advantage with 3:23 to play in the first quarter.
Gloucester's Andrew Fulford returned the game's opening kickoff to the Masco 9. Three plays later, he plunged in from 4 yards to put the Fishermen out front, 6-0, with 8:13 to play in the first quarter.
A reminder we're playing 10-minute quarters in the postseason.
Welcome to Cawley Stadium in Lowell, the site of two Eastern Mass. football semifinals tonight.
Masconomet and Gloucester kicks things off at 4 p.m. in a Division 2A battle before BC High tangles with Everett in a Division 1 showdown at 7 p.m.
We can't remember a single time since the semifinal round was added in 2001 that the temperature was above freezing for these days. We've got temperatures at a balmy 51 degrees here in Lowell this afternoon, only tempered by a brisk wind zipping through.
Back with more -- including video highlights -- throughout the evening. Stay close.
Before we offer up our predictions on Tuesday's Eastern Mass. playoff slate, a reminder that we'll be live from Lowell this evening providing updates from the two games at Cawley Stadium (Gloucester vs. Masco and BC High vs. Everett). We'll also be collecting and passing along video highlights.
On to this week's picks:
Everett vs. BC High at Lowell, 7 p.m.
We're confident that BC High boasts the parts to match up with the Tide. But Everett has that little something extra. They have it. Whether that's some sort of confidence or desire or mojo (maybe a little bit of all three), Everett is simply a step ahead of the pack. Much like the Patriots, we think the Tide are capable of being taken to the wire by a well-coached team that performs at a high level. Make one mistake, though, and Everett will make you pay. You probably won't survive two mistakes. So therein lies the key for BC High. Offensively, the Eagles need to play ball control and pound away with that vaunted rushing attack that has made them so successful. Defensively, they need to provide a resistance that the Tide has rarely encountered over the past two seasons.
We see BC High sticking close early. But they can't let Isaac Johnson out of their sight for a second. Hopefully Johnson's breakout performance against the Eagles as a sophomore returnman is still fresh in their mind.
The pick: Everett 28, BC High 14
Dartmouth at Brockton, 7 p.m.
Did Dartmouth miss its chance last fall? That's the question we're left wondering heading into tonight's matchup. The Boxers seem to have made a big leap forward this year; morphing from a young squad that lacked strong senior leadership, to an experienced squad with a common goal. Dartmouth, meanwhile, has morphed itself, too -- particularly on offense, where the Indians shifted to a spread option attack designed to showcase the speed and athleticism of quarterback Sean Sylvia and running back Jordan Todman. But is it enough to get over the proverbial hump? Maybe.
While Dartmouth is far from a one-man team, we think this one ultimately comes down to how one man -- Todman -- plays tonight. Like last year, he's going to get his yards and the Dartmouth offense has enough weapons to keep the Brockton offense honest if the game remains close. In the end, Brockton's depth and big-game experience might be too much to overcome unless Todman really puts this team on his back.
The pick: Brockton 22, Dartmouth 21
Chelmsford at Wayland, 7 p.m.
Heads will be shaking tonight in Acton and Boxborough when these two teams take the field. Both lost to Acton-Boxboro during the regular season, yet it's the Colonials who have already turned in their equipment for the season. But that's in the past. Chelmsford enters with a nine-game winning streak after falling to A-B in Week 2, while Wayland has prevailed in each of its last eight games since a Week 3 loss to A-B.
We really like this matchup. In fact, we think the winner of this one is the favorite to win the Division 1A Super Bowl. We give Chelmsford a slight edge on offense -- based largely on Tim Rich's experience at QB -- while Wayland boasts a small advantage on defense -- thanks in large part to senior linebacker and Dual County League defensive Player of the Year Joe Cerrone. So this one will likely come down to special teams and field position.
We've been on the Wayland bandwagon since it started filling up last season. And we think home-field advantage tonight could play a role in giving the Warrirors an early spark. But Chelmsford is the total package. The Lions dominated a rock solid Merrimack Valley Conference and that rigid schedule pays dividends tonight.
The pick: Chelmsford 17, Wayland 14
Weymouth vs. Marshfield at Brockton, 4 p.m.
Go ahead and call it a rematch, but that's hardly the case. In fact, you could make the argument that the teams have just about flip-flopped roles from a year ago. Last year it was Weymouth, an underclassmen-fueled squad that might have been a bit of a surprise to land in the playoffs, while Marshfield was the veteran-heavy squad that spent much of the year near the top of the polls. This time around, it's veteran-laden Weymouth that most expected to be in this game, while Marshfield needed a bit of help -- both from league rivals and its talented underclassmen -- to get back to the postseason.
If Weymouth's Royce Terrell is healthy, the edge goes to the Wildcats. Regardless, this one probably comes down to the lines. Which side will push the other around? We think Weymouth earns redemptions.
The pick: Weymouth 14, Marshfield 7
Bishop Feehan vs. Mansfield at Acton-Boxboro, 4 p.m.
A total uphill battle for Bishop Feehan. Not only is Mansfield one of the state's best teams, but the Hornets already boast a win over Feehan and it came in convincing fashion in a 29-7 triumph on Oct. 5.
The one thing that gives us even the slightest bit of pause: Mansfield has lacked a certain "wow factor" this fall. Sure, the Hornets have been locked in at No. 2 on our poll for the final 10 weeks of the regular season, but there were certainly times when our pollsters wondered if BC High deserved that spot more.
The bottom line is this: Mansfield is undefeated in Massachusetts. And while a four-point win over King Philip and a seven-point triumph over North Attleboro did little to wow us, the 31-7 spanking the Hornets furnished for rival Foxboro on Thanksgiving Day leads us to believe that Mansfield might finally be ready to flip the switch.
The pick: Mansfield 28, Bishop Feehan 7
Melrose vs. Walpole at Acton-Boxboro, 7 p.m.
Melrose is a phenomenal story, but let's be honest, the Raiders hardly strike fear into an opponent. Take away its win over 9-2 Woburn, and Melrose didn't beat a team with a record better than 6-5. In fact, the Raiders fell to 5-5 Arlington and 6-5 Lexington during the regular season.
But none of that will matter with a win tonight. We're just not sure we see it happening. Walpole seems too explosive. Sophomore standout Ryan Izzo scored at least one touchdown in every games this fall, save for the Rebels' 14-7 win over Weymouth on Turkey Day. We see him getting back on the scoring ledger this week in a big way and propelling Walpole to a Super Bowl berth.
The pick: Walpole 28, Melrose 10
Seekonk vs. Hingham at Greater New Bedford Voke, 7 p.m.
No team was stingier this fall than Seekonk, allowing a mere 4.6 points per game. Take away a 31-18 win over Fairhaven and Seekonk didn't allow another team double digits in points this fall. In those nine games, the Warriors gave up a mere 3 points per game. That's downright Scrooge-like.
But can the Warriors slow down Hingham's Chris Constantine? We're thinking if the Division 1A Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors struggled to stop him, Seekonk will likewise be challenged. And games like that one against an upper division foe will suit Hingham well in the postseason.
The pick: Hingham 21, Seekonk 10
Masconomet vs. Gloucester at Lowell, 4 p.m.
Those that have seen Masconomet insist the Chieftains have the talent to compete with Gloucester. They say the Pentucket loss was a rare letdown and that the 42-14 thumping Masco placed on rival North Andover to secure the Cape Ann Large title on Turkey Day is more indicative of how talented this team is.
Gloucester, despite its 11-0 record, did show signs of being beatable as Barnstable, Swampscott, and Lynn Classicall all stuck within a score of the Fishermen. But we really like this Gloucester squad. Its depth at running back should ultimately prove too much for Masco to contain.
The pick: Gloucester 21, Masco 14
Arlington Catholic vs. Swampscott at Arlington, 7 p.m.
We have to admit that we didn't pay too much mind to Arlington Catholic after a 1-4 start. But playing quality competition over the first five weeks of the season clearly went a long way for the Cougars.
The one thing that should give AC fans pause is the average 19.5 points per game the Cougars surrendered this fall, including allowing 21 points or more in six of its 11 games, We really liked how Swampscott's offense moved the ball when we saw the Big Blue against Gloucester and we think if the defense can contain AC running back Derek Harmon, there's no reason Swampscott shouldn't win this game.
The pick: Swampscott 28, Arlington Catholic 14
Abington vs. Medfield at Stonehill, 7:45 p.m.
The mere fact that Medfield made it this far is admirable, but their postseason experience from last year makes the Warriors a very dangerous team in the playoffs. Sure, Medfield needed Holliston to falter a bit to earn this return trip, but the Warriors are battle-tested coming out of the Tri-Valley League and we really like the quality of ball this team has played over the final weeks of the regular season.
But this seems like Abington's year. The Green Wave slipped up late in the year to Cohasset, which leaves us wondering just how good they are. But Abington slammed fellow Division 3 playoff representative Arlington Catholic, 34-7, in Week 3, and scored a number of quality wins during the season, including season-opening triumphs over Patriot League foes Hanover and Rockland.
The pick: Abington 21, Medfield 14
Greaster Lawrence vs. Amesbury at Arlington, 4 p.m.
Greater Lawrence's Nate Adames scored 182 points in 11 games this fall. The Amesbury football team scored 183 points total in 10 games this fall. Seems like a pretty open-and-shut case, then. Right? We're not so certain.
Both teams lost by a touchdown to Lawrence. We give a slight edge to Amesbury in strength of schedule category, and the Indians seem to have saved some of their best ball for late in the year. The concern here is that Amesbury got outscored this fall -- giving up 201 points overall. They're the only playoff team to give up more points than they forced.
The pick: Greater Lawrence 24, Amesbury 10
East Boston vs. Blue Hills at Stonehill, 4 p.m.
A great running back battle is brewing between Eastie's Tyrone Figueroa and Blue HIlls's Jerry Nelson. We see a lot of similarities in these teams, but the Jets seemed to finish stronger than the Warriors.
And if we're comparing common opponents, it's hard to ignore that East Boston throttled South Shore, while Blue Hills lost to that same school in recent weeks.
The pick: East Boston 21, Blue Hills 14
Brighton vs. Manchester Essex at Wayland, 4 p.m.
Division 4 is actually one of the more intriguing brackets to us, and it's likely due to to the parity that exists between the four league champs. Brighton and Pope John might be on opposite sides of the bracket, but who can forget the Bengals' 60-58 thriller in triple overtime earlier this season? Heck, Pope John played a similar nail-biter (sans overtime) with Manchester Essex in Week 1. And then there's West Bridgewater the defending Super Bowl champions.
Any of these four teams could emerge as champs and we wouldn't be surprised.
In this particular matchup, we're torn. We've been mighty impressed with Brighton's domination this season -- outscoring opponents by an average of nearly three touchdowns per game -- but then Manchester went out and thwacked rival Georgetown on Turkey Day. Both teams are playing quality ball and this one seems destined to be determined in the fourth quarter.
The pick: Brighton 30, Manchester 29
West Bridgewater vs. Pope John at Greater New Bedford, 4 p.m.
Two losses by a total of three points. Averaging over 40 points per game. Yep, it's been a mighty impressive season for Pope John and -- while West Bridgewater has the experience from last year -- we really like PJ in this matchup.
Besides, it's pretty much a rule that -- when in doubt -- bet on the football team from Everett.
The pick: Pope John 27, West Bridgewater 20
Enjoy the games.
Last week: 31-9 (.775)
Year to date: 104-38 (.732)
Turns out that Manchester quarterback Pat Orlando wasn't the only winner in his family on Thanksgiving Day.
Not only did Orlando lead his Hornets to a convincing 27-7 triumph over rival Georgetown that secured both a share of the Commonwealth Small title and the league's postseason pass, but his father, Vincent, won the Beat Forsberg: Thanksgiving Pick'em contest in nearly as convincing fashion.
With 34 correct picks out of 40 games, Vincent Orlando is this year's top Turkey Day prognosticator. Orlando easily outdistanced a trio of second-place finishers with 32 correct selections.
Your humble blogger tied for fifth place with 31 correct picks. As we promised before the competition, here are the names of the three second-place finishers who, like Vin, beat me.
Shaun G. of Weymouth
Sean M. of Boston
Brian M. of Chelmsford
Congrats to everyone. All of the ballots have been scored and you can check out how many picks you got correct by visiting our friends at SportsBallot. While you're there, enter your picks for Tuesday's 12 playoff games. No prize on the line this time (Vincent took home a Sony PSP), just pride.
As for Vin's winning ballot, what exactly was the key game? Picking Manchester to top Georgetown didn't hurt.
"It didn't matter what the records were there," joked Vin, a Gloucester native. "Everyone knew who I was picking."
Before we dive headlong into the postseason coverage, let's take one last look back at another memorable Thanksgiving Day in the Bay State.
The theme for Week 11? Some friends passed along a great idea to utilize the soundtrack from the rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap, because of this memorable scene:
That led to us simply watching the movie and ignoring our writing responsibilities this past weekend. And, while the movie's soundtrack and lyrics might not be extremely conducive to a high school sports-related blog, we've toned down the song titles and lyrics utilized to keep things as PG as possible. But, like Spinal Tap, we guarantee this entry continues to rock.
Click the link below to read the full Further Review XI entry...
It's a great week for Boston City League fans, as both the North and South champs advance into the playoffs undefeated with tremendous shots at Super Bowl appearances. But let's recap Thanksgiving first.
Game of the Week
The top game for Week 11? All of them.
Hey, it's Thanksgiving, every game is important, no matter who is involved. So let's run though each City League game.
First, check out my friend Jack McCluskey's game story from East Boston's 26-6 win over South Boston. I'm surprised that Southie was able to keep it a game as long as they did, but then again they do have some talent over there. I expect some big things out of that team next year, as they are made up of mostly underclassmen.
Next, let's head to Charlestown, where Jonathan Turner absolutely went off on a Burke defense. The outstanding quarterback threw for 200 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 78 yards and another score. Turner has had himself quite a year at the helm for the Townies, but getting shutout against Madison Park really hurt his chances for Player of the Year. The Townies had to win that game to keep their playoff chances alive, and the last thing they could afford was to be shutout.
Speaking of Madison Park, the Cardinals jumped out to a 22-0 halftime lead over O'Bryant, but almost let them come back, holding on for a 22-14 victory. I was told by a Madison Park coach that Chris Flores single-handedly kept O'Bryant in the game, as he hauled in touchdown passes of 42 and 65 yards. Although it was a loss, it was an impressive performance by O'Bryant.
Boston English got stomped by a Boston Latin team that previously had no victories, but that's not all that surprising considering Latin is a Division 1A squad, while English is Division 3A. Still, I expected the score to be closer than 33-6.
1. Jonathan Turner, Charlestown -- Turner's great performance is highlighted above. Five touchdowns... enough said.
2. Tyrone Figueroa, East Boston - Figueroa looks to be in great form heading into the playoffs. He was a beast on the field on Thanksgiving, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns while intercepting the ball two times and running one back for a score. A true two-way threat.
3. Chris Flores, O'Bryant - Flores tried to keep O'Bryant in it against Madison Park, and the Cardinals coaching staff was very impressed by the wideout's play.
Unfortunately, Eastie and Brighton play at almost the same time during Tuesday's semifinals. Brighton takes on Manchester Essex in Wayland at 4 p.m., and you can find a preview of that game here.
East Boston will take on Blue Hills at Stonehill College at 5 p.m. The D3A preview didn't go into much detail about this match up, so I'll take the liberty to do so here:
Eastie and Blue Hills both rely on star running backs in the Jets' Tyrone Figueroa and the Warriors' Jerry Nelson. The two are right next to each other among scoring leaders, and they're actually pretty similar runners. Figueroa is a little more elusive while Nelson tends to lower the shoulder more often, but they're both very talented. This game will almost certainly come down to which star has the better game.
If you're an Eastie fan, the good news is that the Jets beat South Shore, 33-15,m earlier in the season, while the Warriors lost to the same South Shore team. However, Blue Hills looked excellent against South Boston, winning 34-0 while Eastie didn't look nearly as good. This should be an interesting matchup, and will probably zip by as there may not be a pass thrown all game. I'm picking East Boston by a touchdown, but wouldn't be surprised to see this game come down to a battle of who converts their 2-point conversions.
In the other City playoff matchup, I don't see anyone stopping Brighton's march toward the Super Bowl. The Bengals are the pick.
Player of the Year Rankings
The rankings see little movement this week:
1. Tyrone Figueroa, East Boston (-) -- Figueroa added another stellar game to his resume, and has really carried the Jets since Frank Brown's injury.
2. Jonathan Turner, Charlestown (+2) -- Turner's monster game on Thanksgiving gave him 18 touchdown passes on the year, which leads Division 3A. He has also rushed for eight scores. This was quite a jump based on one game, but aided by the fact that Brighton didn't play on Thanksgiving.
3. Kameel Lashley, Brighton (-1) -- Its not Lashley's fault, but his team didn't play this week. A playoff game gives him the chance to jump back up the rankings this week.
4. Kariym Azeez, Brighton (-1) -- See Lashley.
5. Eric Lott, Dorchester (-) I don't think this spot will be changing.
The Globe's postseason previews started running in today's editions. Hop over to High School Sports Central to check out are glimpses at Divisions 3, 3A, and 4.
As for what you can expect in this space over the next couple of days, here's a quick rundown:
All that and much more to come.
With an assist from our good friend Jim Wilson of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, here's the Tuesday playoff schedule for Central and Western Mass. The two regions added a semifinal playoff round this fall and will get to experience what we've been raving about out here in Eastern Mass. for years now.
Central: Holy Name vs. Leominster at Oakmont, 7 p.m.
West: Longmeadow vs. Minnechaug at Holyoke, 4 p.m.
Central: Fitchburg vs. Shrewsbury at (Foley Stadium), 7 p.m.
West: Springfield Central vs. Westfield at Holyoke, 7 p.m.
Central: Nipmuc vs. Shepherd Hill at Auburn, 7 p.m.
West: East Longmeadow vs. South Hadley at Westfield State, 4 p.m.
Central: Northbridge vs. Millbury at Auburn, 4 p.m.
Note: The Northbridge/Millbury winner advances to meet Wahconah in Saturday's Division 2A Super Bowl at Westfield State.
Central: Littleton vs. Lunenburg at Oakmont, 4 p.m.
West: Frontier vs. Putnam at Mahar, 7 p.m.
Central: Blackstone Valley Tech vs. Assabet at Worcester (Foley Stadium), 4 p.m.
West: Pathfinder vs. Dean Tech at Mahar, 4 p.m.
A rundown of Tuesday's semifinal playoff matchups for Eastern Mass. Winners advance to the Super Bowls, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1.
BC High vs. Everett at Lowell, 7 p.m.
Dartmouth at Brockton, 7 p.m.
Chelmsford at Wayland, 7 p.m.
Weymouth vs. Marshfield at Brockton, 4 p.m.
Bishop Feehan vs. Mansfield at Acton-Boxboro, 4 p.m.
Melrose vs. Walpole at Acton-Boxboro, 7 p.m.
Seekonk vs. Hingham at Greater New Bedford Voke, 7 p.m.
Masconomet vs. Gloucester at Lowell, 4 p.m.
Arlington Catholic vs. Swampscott at Arlington, 7 p.m.
Abington vs. Medfield at Stonehill, 7:45 p.m.
Greaster Lawrence vs. Amesbury at Arlington, 4 p.m.
East Boston vs. Blue Hills at Stonehill, 4 p.m.
Brighton vs. Manchester Essex at Wayland, 4 p.m.
West Bridgewater vs. Pope John at Greater New Bedford, 4 p.m.
Paul Gonnella officially stepped down as the Cambridge football coach after the Falcons' 42-6 loss to Everett on Thanksgiving.
Gonnella finishes his three-year career at Cambridge with an 18-14 record. The Falcons didn't reach the playoffs during Gonnella's tenure, having lost to Everett each year, including the last two with the Greater Boston League title on the line.
"Speaking with the team [Thursday], it was hard because they know how much I do for them," he said. "Right now, we've got six to seven kids who are potentially college kids, that could play college football."
Gonnella told his team, "If any of you guys want to continue to get my help in that area, you need to call me."
Gonnella's departure is sudden, but not entirely unexpected. Gonnella took a leave of absence for several weeks during the season, and the reason for the hiatus has not been publicly revealed.
He discussed his football plans when reached by phone late last night. Gonnella will coach in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5, a gathering of high school football prospects from around the country.
There are eight coaches per team in a battle of East vs. West. Gonnella said he received a call from the head coach of the East squad, but insists that his coaching responsibilities are still "up in the air." He went on to say that the offensive coordinator position for the East team will most likely be his position on the team.
Although Gonnella said he is exploring coaching opportunities at the college level, he said that he does not have a preference between coaching in high school or college. He said that he has been contacted by "big" high schools in Georgia and Florida about possible job openings.
Click the link below to take a sneak peek at a select handful of Thanksgiving Day stories that will appear in Friday's Boston Globe and online here at Boston.com. Check back later for longer versions of these stories, and the rest of our coverage from today. Enjoy!
With some help from our friends at NECN and Billerica Access Television, here are some highlight videos from today's action:
There were 122 games across the state today. Click here to check out 122 final scores.
One mea culpa: Some might have noticed we had the Fitchburg-Leominster final score reversed for a short time earlier in the day. Then I noticed this photo from our friends at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
Being my old stomping grounds, I found it odd that Leomisnter coach John Dubzinksi would be quite so excited after losing one of the biggest rivalry games in the state. But the Crocker Field scoreboard tells the whole story.
We hear there are two consolations for the Red Raiders, who entered the week as the top-ranked team in Central Mass: 1. They're still heading to the postseason and 2. Coach Ray Conseza's dad reportedly won the 50/50 halftime raffle. Hey, you take your victories where you can.
We'll have more on the Fitchburg-Leominster game as part of our Thanksgiving Day coverage. Our game stories will be online in a bit.
For now, check out our photo galleries from the previous post, including new photos from the Georgetown-Manchester game, and a hodgepodge of Central Mass. photos.
A handful of photo galleries are online from Thanksgiving Day battles (more to come in a bit):
Lots of scores online now. Click here to check them out.
First-round playoff matchups will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at sites and times to be determined. Winners advance to the Super Bowls scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
BC High vs. Everett
Brockton vs. Dartmouth
Turkey day tidbit: Everett slammed Cambridge, 42-6, to wrap up the Greater Boston League title.
Chelmsford vs. Wayland
Weymouth vs. Marshfield
Turkey day tidbit: Wayland finished in a three-way tie atop the Dual County League with Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxboro, but gets the chance to defend its Super Bowl crown by winning the league's three-way tie-breaker based on first-half point differential against league opponents... Thanks to Plymouth South's 17-7 upset of Plymouth North, Marshfield and Dennis-Yarmouth finished tied atop the Atlantic Coast League and the Rams advance back to the postseason on the strength of a head-to-head win in Week 10.
Melrose vs. Walpole
Bishop Feehan vs. Mansfield
Turkey day tidbit: Melrose ended a decade-plus hex against Wakefield by gutting out a 15-14 triumph that allowed them to, at worst, share the Middlesex League crown with Woburn, and advance on the strength of the Raiders' head-to-head triumph this season.
Masconomet vs. Gloucester
Seekonk vs. Hingham
Turkey day tidbit: Masconomet emphatically stamped its postseason pass by topping North Andover, 42-14.
Arlington Catholic vs. Swampscott
Abington vs. Medfield
Turkey day tidbit: Medfield got a little help from rival Westwood, which toppled Holliston, 28-14. With a 21-0 triumph over Dover-Sherborn, the Warriors claimed the league title outright and advance back to the postseason.
Greater Lawrence vs. Amesbury
East Boston vs. Blue Hills
Turkey day tidbit: Amesbury prevailed in the winner-take-all battle against Newburyport, 17-12, and captured both the Cape Ann Small title and postseason ticket... Blue Hills avoided any suspense with a 30-0 triumph over Bristol-Plymouth to win the Mayflower Large title outright and move on to the second season.
Brighton vs. Manchester Essex
West Bridgewater vs. Pope John
Turkey day tidbit: Manchester Essex topped Georgetown, 27-7, to earn a share of the Commonwealth Small title and advances to the postseason based on the head-to-head triumph... West Bridgewater defeated Holbrook, 26-14, to wear the Mayflower Small crown and advance back to the playoffs.
Scores are starting to fall in from our database. Click here to view them. It takes a short time from the time we enter them until they appear live on the site. Please bear with us as the scores pour in over the phones.
We'll be back shortly with an updated look at the playoff situation after we enter some more scores in.
We've got plenty of video from both Acton-Boxboro and Lincoln-Sudbury's win. We're going to get back to the office and get more scores and updates online, then we'll check back with highlights and more in a bit.
Acton-Boxboro is kneeling out the clock. Colonials win it, 28-25.
A nice win to wrap up a solid 2007 campaign that saw A-B share the Dual County League crown with Wayland and Lincoln-Sudbury.
But it's also bitersweet as Wayland will advance to the postseason with a chance to defend its Division 1A crown due to the league's tie-breaker of first-half point differential.
More to come from Westford.
League playoff representative might be decided, but plenty of football left here in Westford.
Acton-Boxboro leads it 28-25 with 1:46 to play. Westford got a 1-yard touchdown run by Riley O'Keefe to pull within a field goal.
Newton South marched within striking distance, but an interception in the waning moments appears to have sealed a 20-12 triumph for the Warriors.
With that win, Wayland has secured the Dual County League's postseason pass regardless of the outcome here in Westford where there's just over two minutes to play.
More to come.
Trevor Jeanson is having himself a day.
Jeanson hauled in a 51-yard touchdown pass with 4:40 to play and A-B leads Westford Academy, 28-18.
Ian McEnaney 1-yard plunge pulls Westford within a field goal, 21-18, with 6:20 to go.
Acton-Boxboro's Trevor Jeanson pounds in his third touchdown of the game and the Colonials lead it 21-11 nearing the end of the third quarter.
Down in Newton, Jason Roth hit Derek Lowe on a 10-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter and Lincoln-Sudbury boasts a 20-12 advantage over Newton South moving to the fourth quarter.
Didn't take Westford long to respond.
Sam Shackleton returned a kickoff 85 yards and the Grey Ghosts have trimmed their deficit to 14-11 with 4:32 to go in the third quarter.
A reminder, we're playing nine-minute quarters in the second half due to potential playoff team involvement.
Acton-Boxboro's Trevor Jeanson rumbles in from 6 yards to help put A-B on top, 14-3, with 4:47 to play in the third quarter.
Down in Newton, Jason Roth threw a 35-yard touchdown pass with 6:05 remaining to put Lincoln-Sudbury on top, 13-12.
With two tight games in the Dual County League and nothing quite settled, we'll continue providing updates from Westford and Newton.
In other scores that have trickled in:
Bishop Feehan 17, Sandwich 9 (half)
Everett 28, Cambridge 0 (half)
Now things are really getting interesting.
Newton South's Derek Russell sneaked in his second TD of the first half in the closing moments of the second quarter and Newton South leads, 12-7, approaching the intermission.
Not sure if the Acton-Boxboro kids, who walked off the field looking a bit dejected with only a 5-point lead over Westford Academy, know, but this development puts them right back in the race for the DCL crown.
Well, we thought we might have a clear-cut champ by halftime. Looks like we won't know for certain for a little longer.
A-B leads 8-3 at the half, but did not score enough points to keep itself alive in the event that the league ends in a three-way tie.
The Colonials can still claim the league title if Newton South were to top Lincoln-Sudbury and A-B holds on to win here.
A-B owns the head-to-head tie-breaker over Wayland.
One other score to pass along: Mansfield and Foxboro are scoreless after a quarter.
Newton South sneaks in a score with 4:01 to play in the half. L-S blocks the PAT to remain out front, 7-6.
That keeps them behind Wayland in the point differential (for now), but it doesn't look like it will matter.
A-B was stopped on a fourth-down attempt at the Westford 12 and turned the ball over on downs with under four minutes to play.
The Colonials remain out front, 8-3, with just over a minute to play in the half, but Westford is driving.
Barring a miracle, Wayland has clinched the Dual County League crown.
More bad news for A-B out of Newton.
Lincoln-Sudbury score on a 9-yard touchdown run by Stephen Hodgett with under five minutes to play in the half puts the Warriors out front, 7-0.
A-B surrendered a huge third-down play when it had Westford pinned in its own zone and the Grey Ghosts turned that into a 23-yard field by Brian Kohr with 7:43 to play in the half.
A-B essentially needs three scores now. That boot hurt.
Good news all around thus far for A-B.
The Colonials marched 99 yards on their first drive of the game and Trevor Jeanson scored on a 6-yard run with 1:30 to play in the first quarter. A-B added the 2-point conversion pass and leads it, 8-0.
Meanwhile in Newton, L-S and the Lions are scoreless after one quarter. Lincoln-Sudbury had a field goal attempt sail wide to miss a scoring chance in the first quarter.
Things are getting interesting.
Welcome to damp and cool Westford, where the Grey Ghosts will host rival Acton-Boxboro this morning in one of two games that will help unravel the tangled up Dual County League.
When we arrived a short while ago, the lights on the field were on, but we couldn't even see the field from the parking lot through the fog that has engulfed much of the region this morning. That fog is starting to lift and we can see players warming up now.
The goal for Acton-Boxboro today: Be on top by 24 points at halftime, then hope Newton South brings its A game against Lincoln-Sudbury.
We'll be passing along updates from Acton and we've got correspondents in Newton, who should be relaying updates to us to post in this space.
Get ready, it's going to be a wild morning.
Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all.
How does your faithful high school sports blogger plan to spend this holiday morning? Trying to help unravel the Dual County League.
As you've assuredly read by now, the DCL features three one-loss teams atop the standings in Wayland, Lincoln-Sudbury, and Acton-Boxboro. Should both L-S and A-B win today, we'd have a three-way tie at the end of the regular season and the league's tie-breaking procedure is based on first-half point differential against league opponents.
So how are we attacking this?
We'll be shooting video in Westford and Newton as the teams vie for the necessary points to solidify their postseason chances and we'll pass along updates here on the blog. Later in the day, we'll edit the videos together and pass along highlights from a hectic day in the DCL.
After we iron out the DCL, we'll be back in the office to pass along more updates from games from across the state. The Globe is covering more than 20 games, so we'll have complete coverage from those, along with roundups of all the action elsewhere.
Keep your eye on the blog for the latest scores and our Thursday scoreboard will update as box scores are entered.
We'll have photo galleries and more from many of Thursday's biggest games.
Welcome to a holiday version of the Forsberg 5 as we inch closer to kickoff on Thanksgiving Day. In the spirit of the holiday, we've got a jam-packed edition.
A reminder to hop over to our Beat Forsberg: The 2007 Thanksgiving Pick'em contest and enter for your chance to win a Sony PSP. All entrants who correctly pick more games than me will have their names run in this space following Turkey Day.
On to this week's picks:
Confused? Read our updated Dual County League tie-breaker breakdown to get started.
Wayland has to be considered in the driver's seat considering Lincoln-Sudbury needs little more than a field goal lead at halftime to ensure it won't be the team eliminated in the case of a three-way tie. Wayland won the head-to-head matchup between the teams and would advance to the playoffs if Acton-Boxboro is not ahead by more than 23 points over Westford Academy at the intermission of that Turkey Day tussle.
Despite recent struggles, we think Westford Academy -- particularly on its home field -- will come out fired up for this matchup and hellbent on playing spoiler. We think Acton-Boxboro is going to put points on the board, it simply might not be enough.
The other tough part for A-B is that, even if it scores the necessary points, it lost the head-to-head battle with Lincoln-Sudbury, so the Colonials need some serious help from Newton South (either a win or a small halftime differential) in order to extend their season.
A reminder to all Dual County League fans: Charge your cell phones tonight.
1) Beat Foxboro on Thanksgiving
2) Win the Hockomock League
3) Win a Super Bowl title
The fact that they started with No. 2 doesn't mean they don't plan on accomplishing No. 1. In fact, No. 1 might mean more to some than No. 2 or 3.
For the rest of my picks, you can hop over to the Beat Forsberg: Thanksgiving 2007 Pick'em and take a peek at my ballot.
Enjoy the games and make sure to stick with Boston.com throughout the day for scores, updates, video highlights, and much, much more.
Last week: 8-2
Year to date: 73-29 (.716)
(Following up with more on tie-breakers. You can check out this article in today's Globe detailing the potential for tie-breakers in the Dual County and Atlantic Coast Leagues):
Marshfield football coach Lou Silva is weary of point-differential systems.
"Any time you have any point differential, it could lead to something that's unhealthy," said Silva.
Westford coach Mike Parent, meanwhile, is wary of a "last-to-go" tie-breaker.
"Say you had a team that went [to the playoffs] five years ago and another that went 30 years ago. The team that went five years ago would be blocked out and we didn't think that was fair because the kids five years ago would all be removed from the program. Why penalize the next group that comes in? They were probably in the 5th or 6th grade when they watched a championship and just because that team was successful, they can't play in a Super Bowl?"
All the coaches polled agreed that, under this system, teams that were one or two years removed from an appearance could be penalized because the kids had already experienced the playoffs.
When Westford and Acton square off in their annual Thanksgiving festival, both coaches implied they would stick to their guns and do everything in their power to come away with a win.
"It's more important to win than score a lot of points," said Acton-Boxboro coach Bill Maver, noting that both are quite important to his team this year. "We are playing a good team. We're not going into the game thinking we have to score 24 points or more. We want our kids to go out on a good note. At the worst, if we win, we were tri-champs and got a piece of the title. I don't think our chances of getting into the playoffs are very good, but we'll do the best we can. That's all we can do."
Added Parent: "I wouldn't be surprised if Acton doesn't do anything differently because you want to stay within your character, but I'm sure if they got close to those points, that's going to be something they'll shoot for. He'd be crazy if he didn't."
There were two common beliefs among the coaches regarding Turkey Day and the tie-breakers. First and foremost, the objective on Thanksgiving is to win. As for the tie-breaking method of the future, it was a landslide. The coin toss is not an option. The last-to-go can work, but often doesn't. The best option appears to be a tweaked point-differential system, which would only compare the scores in the head-to-head games of those affected teams at the end of the season. A cap to the point differential could also be instituted, as well, at around 20 or 21 points, similar to the Middlesex League's current format.
"Then you aren't trying to run up the score on the teams that aren't in the mix," said Wayland coach Scott Parseghian. "That's the focus in the next league meeting."
Parent added, "I'm sure this will be a hot topic because it creates a lot of controversy. And it sells newspapers."
At the end of the day, it's all about chance, and each coach subconsciously used their own cliché.
"I think most people feel the chips will fall wherever they fall," said Parent.
"We'll either be collecting equipment on Thursday afternoon or we won't be," said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Tom Lopez.
"That's just a gentleman's agreement and, whether right or wrong, that's the way it goes," said Plymouth North coach Bill Burkhead.
"This is what we came up with and, to quote a famous coach, 'It is what it is,'" said Maver. "We hope the turkey tastes good, No. 1, and we'll go from there. If we're not fortunate enough to win on Thanksgiving Day, we'll look back and say we could've taken care of business earlier and we didn't."
Think you can do a better job predicting high school football games than me? Go ahead and prove it.
Back for its second installment, the Beat Forsberg: Thanksgiving Pick'em 2007 contest is officially open for business. I've picked 40 of Thanksgiving's most intriguing gridiron matchups and I want to see how many of our visitors can pick more correct answers than me.
You can check out my ballot in the VIP section of the contest page. On Wednesday, I'll unveil a holiday edition of the Forsberg 5, breaking down some of Thanksgiving's biggest matchups.
It's easy to play, especially if you've been participating in our Prep Pick'em contest this fall. Hop over to our friends at SportsBallot and -- if you haven't already -- follow the simple sign-up process. Click on the Prep Football icon, select your answers, and submit your ballot.
Whoever picks the most correct answers will win a Sony PSP.
To add insult to my soon-to-be injured ego, we'll publish the names of all those visitors who pick more games correct than I do.
Best of luck to no one.
Grand Prize winner: The overall winner is the individual with the greatest number of correct answers at the end of the contest on Nov. 22, 2007 (unless it's Chris Forsberg, in which case no one wins.) In the event of a tie, the grand prize winner will be the person who chooses the greatest number of correct answers, and selects the most correct answers in the three tie-breakesr. If there's still a tie, Boston.com will pick a grand prize winner at random.
No purchase necessary. Entry deadline: Nov. 22, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. Winner will be notified via e-mail the week after the contest. Employees of the participating partners and the New York Times Co., and their affiliates are not eligible to participate.
Back from an extended break to deliver the latest City League Notes.
Game(s) of the Week
I don't need to tell you there were two games of the week two weekends ago, when both the Boston North and Boston South titles were decided on back-to-back days. We'll focus first on Friday, when Brighton claimed the South title with a win over Dorchester.
Some leftover thoughts from the game: The contest was essentially decided as Brighton's defense shut down Eric Lott. Dorchester couldn't get anything going offensively without their star running back. Much is made of Brighton's offense led by quarterback Kameel Lashley, but the Bengals have quite the defense as well.
Brighton could have won by even more if the offense didn't get too fancy for its own good. With the score 6-6 in the second quarter, Brighton found itself facing third and goal from the 1. If they sneak it twice with Lashley, I guarantee the Bengals score. Instead, Lashley throws on third down (good pass, but dropped) and Dorchester stuffed the hand off up the middle on fourth down. Dorchester didn't stop Lashley all game, why not let him run it in?
In the same vein, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Lashley dropped back to throw on first and goal from the 8. The pass was intercepted. Brighton was abusing the ground game all day, and a couple Lashley runs probably would have lead to another score. Alas, good teams find a way to win games even when mistakes are made.
Brighton's triumph, combined with a Pope John win, means we could see an amazing rematch in the Division 4 Superbowl (too bad its not at Gillette, but that's for a different blog entry). If you remember, Brighton won that Week 2 matchup, 60-58, in triple overtime. If both teams win their first-round playoff games, they will meet again in the Superbowl and all football fans will be happy.
On Saturday, East Boston beat Madison Park to claim the Boston North title.
Some thoughts: Why play this game so early? First off, it was cold. Very cold. And 10 a.m. is very early. Sometimes, I'm not up by 10 a.m. I can't imagine running full force and hitting people. A noon start time would have been better for the players and anyone wishing to watch the game. It also would have been nice if Brighton-Dorchester had been moved to 6 p.m., so people could have got there after work.
Madison Park outgained the Jets' offense, partially because East Boston had some great field position, but also in part because the Cardinals played some pretty good defense. Aside from Tyrone Figueroa's long run in the first possession of the game, the Madison Park defense kept the team within striking distance.
Coach John Sousa told me that Frank Brown will almost certainly not be back to play the rest of the season with his broken thumb. This could be bad news for the Jets. Brown provided a great change-of-pace back in combination with Figueroa.
1. Tyrone Figueroa, East Boston - Not only did he rush for two touchdowns and 113 yards, but his interception towards the end of the first half set up the Jets to take a two-score lead into halftime, a huge momentum boost. When I saw the ball floating into Figueroa's hands, I said, "that's the last person they want to throw it to." After Figueroa's 40-yard return, Madison Park was in trouble.
2. Kameel Lashley, Brighton - Lashley had a monster first half with 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and finished the day with 117 yards overall on the ground. He could have had a passing TD if it wasn't dropped, but that interception drops him down to the second spot for the week.
3. Jonathan Turner, Charlestown - The talented QB ran for a touchdown and threw two more in Charlestown's 24-12 victory over South Boston.
As always, the game to watch in the City League on Thanksgiving will be Eastie vs. Southie. It has no playoff implications, it just gives Southie the chance to put a blemish on the Jets' perfect season. But this game is always a big one.
I myself won't be there unfortunately (headed to Blue Hills to see if that's who East Boston will play first round) but the Globe will have someone there and we'll have all the details.
As for my pick, well, it's gotta be East Boston. They're undefeated, and I don't see them losing the perfect record here. But I don't expect to see all that much of Tyrone Figueroa either, maybe just the first half to keep him fresh. As for the other games this week:
Player of the Year Rankings
1. Tyrone Figueroa, East Boston (+1)- Two weeks ago, Figueroa promised he would be atop the rankings after the game against MP. Well, here he is. Secret to getting to the top of the rankings: run for over 100 yards and two touchdowns while intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble on defense. Pretty simple, right?
2. Kameel Lashley, Brighton (-1) - Lashley had a pretty good game, rushing for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Who knows, if he doesn't throw a pick, or his touchdown pass is caught, he might still be in the top spot. The playoffs will decide who wins this battle.
3. Kariym Azeez, Brighton (-) - I had Azeez for about 12 tackles against Dorchester, and he recovered a fumble. Easily the best defensive player in the city.
4. Jonathan Turner, Charlestown (-) Turner put some distance between himself and the fifth spot with a nice three-touchdown performance.
5. Eric Lott, Dorchester (-) He struggled against Brighton, but his performance this season warrants this spot.
2. East Boston
4. Madison Park
Want a sneak peek at the game stories from Saturday's state final action? Click the link below to check out all of our recaps from today. Longer game stories will appear in Sunday's Boston Globe and online here at Boston.com.
See the previous post for links to photos and videos associated with each story.
Our photographers were out in full force for today's state final action. Click the links below to see photos (or video) from that game:
Division 1: Photos
Division 3: Photos
State meet: Photos
Nobles 42, Gunnery 12: Photos
Here's a rundown of scores from today's title games:
Division 1 boys: St. John's of Shrewsbury 0, Framingham 0 (SJS wins, 3-2, in PKs)
Division 2 boys: Hampshire 2, Sharon 1 (2 OT)
Division 3 boys: Bromfield 2, Lynnfield 1 (OT)
Division 1 girls: Acton-Boxboro 1, Shrewsbury 0
Division 2 girls: Oliver Ames 2, Millbury 0
Division 3 girls: Newburyport 3, Bromfield 2
Division 1: Acton-Boxboro 6, Shrewsbury 4
Division 2: Quaboag 2, Canton 1 (penalty strokes)
Division 1: Barnstable 3, Milford 0
Division 2: Westboro 3, Bourne 0
Division 3: North Reading 3, Frontier 2
For all of the NEPSAC tournament scores, including football box scores, click here to jump to today's complete scoreboard.
Oliver Ames dominated play and, despite being unable to add any more goals in the second half, emerged with a 2-0 triumph over Millbury to capture the girls' soccer Division 2 state title.
Two new clips are uploading. The first is a first-half highlight featuring Michelle Sirois' goal that has helped Oliver Ames open a 2-0 advantage over Millbury.
The second is the winning save by Chris Perkins to lift St. John's of Shrewsbury over Framingham in penalty kicks.
We'll have the full penalty kicks video later this evening.
Senior Kelly Matthews scored in the 17th minute and assisted on a goal by Michelle Sirois in the 37th as Oliver Ames leads Millbury, 2-0, at the intermission.
It's been all Tigers thus far. Millbury generated a couple of offensive opportunities, but the Woolies have yet to really challenge OA netminder Samantha Brown.
More to come.
Sophomore Chris Perkins took the net for St. John's of Shrewsbury during penalty kicks and made a trio of saves -- on Framingham's John Goncalves, Adam Skaggs, and Jon Ward -- and the Pioneers prevailed, 3-2, in kicks to win the boys' Division 1 state final in Brockton.
Chris Stoker, Andrew Powell, and Joseph Buckley all converted their kicks for St. John's of Shrewsbury before Framingham netminder denied Matthew Darling in the fourth round of kicks to give the Flyers a chance.
Perkins stoned Ward to set off the celebration.
More to come, including the full video of PKs.
St. John's of Shrewsbury wins it in kicks, 3-2 (the Pioneers did not attempt their final kick)
More to come.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer in the Division 1 boys' title game, we're off to penalty kicks.
Still scoreless. Another 15-minute overtime coming (it's 15 in the state final instead of 10 like the rest of the postseason).
If no winner in this OT, we go to penalty kicks.
We're headed to overtime scoreless here in Brockton.
Couple of quality chances for both Framingham and St. John's of Shrewsbury, but defense has ruled the day.
Scoreless at the intermission.
St. John's of Shrewsbury carried play for much of the half, but missed a golden opportunity to score early and chances were few and far between from there.
Framingham generated a couple of quality chances late, but couldn't dent the scoreboard.
St. John's of Shrewsbury had a golden opportunity in the 13th minute, but Framingham goalie Luca Pignatiello made a big save and Pioneers sophomore Charlie Long chipped a shot over an empty side of the net.
We'll be trekking to Brockton this morning for a pair of soccer state finals.
Framingham and St. John's of Shrewsbury kick off the day with the Division 1 boys' state title game at 11 a.m. The Division 2 girls' state championship tilt featuring Oliver Ames and Millbury follows at 1:30 p.m.
We'll have live updates from both, along with video highlights.
You can also keep an eye on this space for score updates throughout the day. We'll try to post results as soon as they are relayed from our correspondents in the field.
State final Saturday is almost upon us there's plenty of action on tap across the region. Here's a snapshot:
Division 1 boys: Framingham vs. St. John's (Shrewsbury) at Brockton, 11 a.m.
Division 2 boys: Sharon vs. Hampshire at Westboro, 11 a.m.
Division 3 boys: Lynnfield vs. Bromfield at Lowell, 1:30 p.m.
Division 1 girls: Acton-Boxboro vs. Shrewsbury at Westboro, 1:30 p.m.
Division 2 girls: Oliver Ames vs. Millbury at Brockton, 1:30 p.m.
Division 3 girls: Newburyport vs. Bromfield, 11 a.m.
Division 1: Shrewsbury vs. Acton-Boxboro at Worcester State College, 11 a.m.
Division 2: Canton vs. Quaboag at Worcester State College, 1:30 p.m.
Division 1: Barnstable vs. Milford at Hudson, 6 p.m.
Division 2: Bourne vs. Westboro at Hudson, 3 p.m.
Division 3: Frontier vs. North Reading at Hudson, noon
There's also the NEPSAC football championships Saturday. Here's a list of those games:
Austin Game: Kimball Union vs. Lawrence Academy at Philips Exeter, 1 p.m.
Clark Francis Game: Rye Country Day vs. Tilton at Worcester Academy, 1 p.m.
Delprete Theobold Game: Gunnery vs. Nobles at Cushing Academy, 2 p.m.
Eton Estey Game: Philips Andover vs. Trinity Pawling at Williston, 1 p.m.
Lorden Samson Game: Hopkins (Conn.) vs. Wilb. & Monson at Kingswood Oxford, 1 p.m.
Keep an eye on the High School Sports Blog throughout the day Saturday for updates and video highlights from selected games.
The latest installment of the Boston.com Top 100 is online. Below is the divisional breakdown, showcasing better how teams compare against similar opponents:
1. Everett (1)
2. BC High (3)
3. Brockton (4)
4. Dartmouth (6)
5. Xaverian (26)
6. St. John's Prep (32)
7. Catholic Memorial (33)
8. Waltham (39)
9. Bridgewater-Raynham (42)
10. Cambridge (43)
1. Weymouth (7)
2. Chelmsford (8)
3. Wayland (9)
4. Lincoln-Sudbury (11)
5. Acton-Boxboro (12)
6. Marshfield (15)
7. Tewksbury (17)
8. Billerica (21)
9. Dennis-Yarmouth (25)
10. Andover (29)
1. Mansfield (2)
2. Woburn (10)
3. Walpole (13)
4. Natick (16)
5. Bishop Feehan (20)
6. Foxboro (22)
7. Franklin (23)
8. North Attleboro (27)
9. Melrose (36)
10. Winchester (55)
1. Gloucester (5)
2. Hingham (14)
3. Duxbury (24)
4. Masconomet (30)
5. Wilmington (31)
6. Lynn Classical (38)
7. Seekonk (41)
8. North Andover (60)
9. Pentucket (64)
10. Rockland (72)
1. Holliston (18)
2. Swampscott (19)
3. Medfield (37)
4. Bellingham (46)
5. Abington (47)
6. East Bridgewater (52)
7. Arlington Catholic (63)
8. Hopkinton (66)
9. Westwood (67)
10. Mashpee (78)
1. Greater Lawrence (34)
2. East Boston (35)
3. Shawsheen (50)
4. Newburyport (53)
5. Martha's Vineyard (54)
6. Blue Hills (61)
7. Southeastern (62)
8. Madison Park (68)
9. Cape Cod Tech (71)
10. Cohasset (73)
1. Brighton (28)
2. Georgetown (40)
3. West Bridgewater (44)
4. Dorchester (51)
5. Manchester Essex (56)
6. Pope John (57)
7. Holbrook (76)
8. Marian (79)
9. O'Bryant (97)
Here's the latest Central Mass. football media poll from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as we enter the final week of the regular season:
|No. Team||Record||Last week||1st votes||Points|
|3. Shepherd Hill||9-1||3||--||77|
|4. St. John’s||6-4||4||--||69|
|7. Assabet Valley||9-1||8||--||34|
|8. Holy Name||6-3||10||--||28|
|10. Valley Tech||9-1||--||--||12|
Dropped out: Lunenburg (8-2).
Also receiving votes (in alphabetical order): : Ayer (7-2), Bartlett (8-2), Littleton (8-2), Nashoba (6-4).
The City League Notes will be coming later in the week. We've been real busy on the high school side of things covering just about everything that moves this week, but with some time off ahead the notes should make an appearance soon.
In the meantime, check this out. Uniwatch, a very popular blog dedicated to sports uniforms, checks in with a line about our boys from Dorchester in a recent entry due to their, "awesome socks."
Scroll down to the News Ticker segment to check it out.
They utilize a photo from the Boston.com photo gallery from the Brighton game last week. You can check out all the photos here.
Belated yet again, we're (finally) here to recap Week 10 of the football season and look ahead to Week 11. If you've come in search of a complete playoff picture, we'll save you some time. Click here to jump down to the playoff breakdown.
Football might be enjoying a brief hibernation in preparation for Thanksgiving Day showdowns, but the action is kicking into high gear in the other fall sports as soccer, field hockey and volleyball rumble into the state brackets and we hope that you've enjoyed our coverage of those events the past couple days.
One quick programming note. We're bringing back the "Beat Forsberg" Thanksgiving Day Pick'em contest starting later this week. Utilizing our friends over at SportsBallot, we'll have you enter your picks as you would normally in our weekly Prep Pick'em contest. Don't fret if you haven't signed up yet, you're more than welcome to join in for this week only. We'll have another great prize for this year's winner. Best of luck to all; more details coming later this week.
In honor of the redesigned Boston.com, the album for Week 10 is one that underwent a redesign of its own: The Rolling Stone's Beggars Banquet. We'll let our friends at Wikipedia explain the Stone's cover art redesign:
By June, the sessions were nearly completed in England, with some final overdubbing and mixing to be done in Los Angeles during July. However, both Decca Records in England and London Records rejected the planned cover design - a graffiti-covered lavatory, and the band held back the album. By November, however, The Rolling Stones gave in, allowing the album to be released in December with a simple imitation invitation card cover. The idea for a plain album cover was also implemented by the Beatles for the White Album, which was released one month prior to Beggars Banquet. This similarity, coupled with Beggars Banquet's later release, garnered the Rolling Stones accusations of imitating the Beatles. In 1984, the original cover art was released with the initial CD remastering of Beggars Banquet.
And this album's relation to Week 10 of the football season? There are 10 tracks. If were rating it on a scale of 1 to 10, you might argue that the album is a 10. And, hey, speaking of 10s:
First down and the Top 10
1. Everett (10-0) -- Tide can't take their foot off the accelerator for the rest of the year... not that they've appeared to do so at any point during the 2007 campaign.
The Brockton High football team had a “whale” of a time on Saturday afternoon.
5. Gloucester (10-0) -- Could be two perfect seasons on Thanksgiving Day. Poor Danvers would probably prefer Gloucester's sort of perfection.
6. Dartmouth (9-1) -- We're simply hoping that this year's battle with the Boxers is as entertaining and as thrilling as last year.
7. Weymouth (10-0) -- We've been pumping it up for weeks now, but Turkey Day has the potential to be phenomenal if the Wildcats and Walpole don't get caught looking ahead to the playoffs and start resting key guys.
8. Chelmsford (9-1) -- Twenty-two second-quarter points ensured that the Lions would leave nothing to chance on Thanksgiving Day after a 42-22 thumping of Dracut that wrapped up the Merrimack Valley Conference title.
9. Wayland (9-1) -- Over/under on text messages that will be sent and received before noon on Thanksgiving Day in Wayland, 13,758. Most should be coming from Newton and Westford.
10. Woburn (8-2) -- Somehow we feel like Ty Pennington should be standing outside the high school before the Tanners take the field screaming, "Bus driver, move ... that ... bus!"
A few thoughts on the rest of the latest Top 20: Geez, 19 out of the top 20 teams won. Argue with the arrangement of the teams until you're blue in the face, but the teams in the poll seem to be taking care of business when it matters most... Only Dennis-Yarmouth fell and that's because Marshfield played a dazzling 44-minute game of keep away (more on that below)... Welcome aboard, Bishop Feehan. The Shamrocks only have one in-state loss (Mansfield) and tied a top 25 squad in North Attleboro.
Play of the Week
We're giving the Marshfield coaching staff our Play of the Week for Week 10.
You might not be able to single out a specific play from that game -- hence why we're linking to the full highlights -- but coach Lou Silva and Co., came out with a mindset to keep the ball out of the hands of a very potent Dennis-Yarmouth offense and, boy, did they execute that plan to perfection.
Nothing symbolizes that more than recovering an onside kick to open the game. The Rams weren't even willing to give Dennis-Yarmouth the ball when they're supposed to.
Marshfield dominated time of possession, particularly in the second half, where it ran a dazzling 18-play drive coming out of the intermission. The first 17 plays erased the entire third quarter before sophomore Bob MacNeil plunged in on the first play of the fourth frame.
The Rams put together another lengthy scoring drive when they got the ball back and poor Dennis-Yarmouth could only watch from the sidelines. The Dolphins produced a late scoring drive to pull within a touchdown, alas, only 7 seconds remained in the game at that point.
1. Sympathy for the Devil -- Neither Melrose, Woburn, nor Lexington likely feel any sympathy for Burlington, since the Devils took a step backwards this fall after capturing the Middlesex League crown last season. Thanksgiving Day is a three-horse race with Melrose ahead by a nose entering the homestretch. The Raiders can lock up a postseason berth with a win over Wakefield, a team it hasn't beaten in 13 years. A Melrose loss, coupled with a Woburn triumph over Winchester, would send the Tanners back to the postseason. If both frontunners were to fall, we'd have a three-way tie with Lexington and that's where things get crazy. The folks in Lexington suggested that the tie-breaker would eliminate the last-to-go (Woburn) and go to the head-to-head matchup between the remaining two squads (Lexington defeated Melrose). But we've heard conflicting reports, one out of Woburn says there's a three-way tie-breaker similar to the Dual County League where it would go to first-half point differential versus league opponents (with a max of 21 points). Let's hope we don't have to cross that bridge.
2. No Expectations -- Did anyone have big expectations for Holbrook? The Bulldogs finished 5-5 a year ago, but were outscored 151-28 in their five losses. That said, a win on Thanksgiving brings Holbrook both the Mayflower Small title and a trip to the postseason. West Bridgewater would have to be considered a hefty favorite, however, having already scored a 25-0 victory over Holbrook in a matchup that didn't count towards the league standings on Oct. 27.
3. Dear Doctor -- This track includes the lyrics, "Oh help me, please doctor, I'm damaged." That's probably the way Dennis-Yarmouth is feeling right now. The Dolphins endured their first loss of the 2007 season last week against Marshfield, but the Cape-dwellers still have the inside track to the postseason. If D-Y, Marshfield, and Plymouth North all win on Turkey Day, the last-to-go tie-breaker would eliminate Marshfield, and Dennis-Yarmouth would advance based on its head-to-head win over Plymouth North. If Plymouth North falters and Dennis-Yarmouth wins, Marshfield advances to the postseason, while Plymouth North advances only if Dennis-Yarmouth falls to 1-9 Nauset.
4. Parachute Woman -- This track includes the line, "Will you blow me out?" Sort of what we're wondering when Everett hosts Cambridge. The Falcons are limping towards the finish line after falling to Waltham last week, but they can still keep the Tide out of the postseason with a win on Turkey Day. What's more, Cambridge -- despite last week's loss to Waltham -- would advance to the playoffs thanks to the Greater Boston League's three-way tie-breaker that sends the team with the longest playoff drought.
5. Jigsaw Puzzle -- Go ahead and jump over to this post with the updated Dual County League standings to sort this one out. It's as mind-numbing as a jigsaw puzzle.
6. Street Fighting Man -- Every week seems to be a street fight in the Tri-Valley League. Seven of the league's 10 members will end the season with an overall record of .500 or better. But Thanksgiving Day boils down to two potential champs: Holliston and Medfield. The Panthers edged Medfield in the head-to-head meeting in Week 8, but turned around and fell to Bellingham one week later to re-open the door for the Warriors. A win over 6-3 Westwood secures the postseason pass for Holliston, while a loss coupled with a Medfield triumph over 2-8 Dover-Sherborn gives the Warriors a chance to defend their Super Bowl crown.
7. Prodigal Son -- This track includes the line, "Said, 'I believe I'll ride, believe I'll go back home.'" Sort of sounds like what Manchester Essex is saying as it looks to lock up a trip back to the postseason. The Hornets make the trek to Georgetown on Turkey Day looking to secure both a share of the Commonwealth Small title and the league's postseason pass. Manchester fell to Northeast earlier this season, while the Royals remain undefeated in conference play.
8. Stray Cat Blues -- Up in Wilmington, the Wildcats are hoping not to have some Thanksgiving Day blues. Unfortunately, their fate is in the hands of Masconomet. The Chieftains secure a trip to the postseason with a win over North Andover on Turkey Day, while Wilmington advances with a Masco falter. The Wildcats meet Tewksbury in a non-conference matchup.
9. Factory Girl -- This track includes the lyric, "A sight for sore eyes." Yup, that would just about describes the Mayflower Large, which is looking at a potential four-way tie if league frontrunner Blue Hills were to fall to Bristol-Plymouth. The Warriors can make it easy on everyone with a triumph that would secure the league title and a trip to the postseason.
10. Salt of the Earth -- This track includes the line, "Raise your glass to the hard working people." So, here we salute all the conference champs with a look at the complete playoff picture (note that only one other league is up for grabs on Thanksgiving Day and that's the Cape Ann Small as Newburyport meets Amesbury).
First-round playoff matchups will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at sites and times to be determined. Winners advance to the Super Bowls scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
BC High vs. Greater Boston League
Brockton vs. Dartmouth
Chelmsford vs. Dual County
Weymouth vs. Atlantic Coast League
Middlesex League vs. Walpole
Bishop Feehan vs. Mansfield
Cape Ann Large vs. Gloucester
Seekonk vs. Hingham
Arlington Catholic vs. Swampscott
Abington vs. Tri-Valley League
Greater Lawrence vs. Cape Ann Small
East Boston vs. Mayflower Large
Brighton vs. Commonwealth Small
Mayflower Small vs. Pope John
First, a look back at last week's results:
Which team will win the Catholic Conference?
A whopping 74.4 percent of voters said BC High would take home the CC crown and we didn't have to wait long to verify their smarts. Ron St. George's charges secured the league title by topping rival St. John's Prep Saturday (the Danvers-based Eagles had earned 16.2 percent of the votes in the poll), while Xaverian knocked off Catholic Memorial in Westwood.
Who will win the Dual County League?
No clear-cut favorite here as Acton-Boxboro reeled in 36.1 percent of the votes; Wayland grabbed 33.8, and Lincoln-Sudbury hauled in 24.1. Yep, it's that close heading into Turkey Day. As we wrote in the DCL tie-breaker update earlier this week, Wayland remains in the driver's seat despite not being in control of its own destiny on Thanksgiving Day.
This week's poll question:
Acton-Boxboro field hockey coach Mae Shoemaker told her troops at halftime that one goal would absolutely not be enough to get past Walpole in Tuesday night's Eastern Mass. Division 1 championship game.
She happily admitted she was wrong.
Senior Hayley O'Brien one-time the game's lone goal off a feed from classmate Devon Agule with 18:13 remaining in the first half and the Colonials emerged with a 1-0 triumph in Canton.
Acton-Boxboro (20-1-2) advances to Saturday's state final to meet Shrewsbury at 11 a.m. at Worcester State College. Walpole -- which endured its first loss of the season -- finished the year at 21-1-1.
Both defenses were phenomenal throughout the night. Acton-Boxboro netminder Kaitlyn Curtis was rarely challenged as she was well protected throughout the night. The Colonials aided matters by spending much of the night on attack, but Walpole and keeper Kelly Davis were equal to the task.
Walpole senior Danielle Hatch made a phenomenal stop behind Davis to prevent a goal by Alex Sikalis late in the first half. Despite fending off a bevy of corners from the Colonials, Walpole simply couldn't generate a quality chance for itself and finished the evening with just a single corner.
More to come, including video reaction from O'Brien and Shoemaker.
The second half featured almost uninterupted up-and-down action for 30 straight minutes.
But Acton-Boxboro holds on to win, 1-0, over Walpole.
More to come.
Check out the highlight of the game, the lone goal, in the links below.
Acton-Boxboro leads Walpole, 1-0, at the intermission.
Video of the first-half goal by Hayley O'Brien coming shortly.
Acton-Boxboro senior Hayley O'Brien scored with 18:13 to play in the first half and the Colonials lead Walpole, 1-0.
A few leftover notes from Canton's win as we await the start of tonight's Division 1 contest:
Moriarty did a nice job holding the ball until Pashos committed on her first score. When Pashos slid to knock the ball away, Moriarty tucked the ball inside the right post for a 2-1 advantage with just under 16 minutes to play.
With Winchester pressing for the equalizer, Canton got in transition in the final moments and Gould sent a brilliant feed from the wing to a streaking Moriarty, who one-timed it home (flipping it up over Pashos) for the game-clincher.
The Division 1 game is just about set to get underway. We'll be back with more from this one in a bit.
It's a final. Canton wins it, 3-1, over Winchester.
Bulldogs move on to meet Quaboag in Saturday's state finals.
Back with more in a bit as we prepare for the nightcap between Acton-Boxboro and Walpole.
Colleen Moriarty scored her second goal of the half off a brilliant feed from Jessi Gould and Canton leads, 3-1, with under two minutes to go.
Canton's Colleen Moriarty stuffed home a goal in traffic in front of the cage and the Bulldogs lead, 2-1, with 15:58 to go.
Canton's Jessi Gould scored six minutes into the second half when Winchester failed to clear the ball and we're tied at 1 with 19:52 to play.
Click the link above to see the lone first-half goal.
Winchester leads it, 1-0, at the break.
We'll pass along a highlight, shortly.
Canton continues to apply pressure offensively and continues to just miss tying this game as, most recently, a shot rocketed off the post with little more than 8 minutes to play.
Winchester remains out front, 1-0, and seems quite content to take its offensive chances in transition.
Canton has dominated possession in the first half, but Winchester's Bethany Crowe scored on a breakaway in transition with 21:45 to play in the first quarter and the Sachems lead the host Bulldogs, 1-0.
Winchester netminder Jess Pashos also made a hue save on a penalty stroke early in the game.
We'll be live from the Eastern Mass. field hockey finals tonight in Canton, providing live updates and video highlights.
Whoever emerges advances to meet Quaboag in Saturday's state final at Worcester State College.
The winner advances to Saturday's state final to dance with Shrewsbury.
As we approach Thanksgiving, there's lots to talk about.
It's the final week of the regular season and the playoff tree is almost set. Seekonk will take on Hingham in the first round, while Gloucester awaits the winner of the Cape Ann Large. That will be decided when Masconomet hosts North Andover on Turkey Day. Masco punches its playoff ticket with a victory, but if the Scarlet Knights win, it's Wilmington who advances.
It's the end of the line for everyone else, but there's still a lot to play for.
For many seniors, it's the last game of their career, and they'll want to leave with a win. Underclassmen will want to make an impression for next year. And of course, many an old rivalry will be renewed.
That in mind, here's some news and notes to whet your appetite for the action ahead:
A strange Case
Halloween is long over, but things are still spooky at Apponequet.
The Lakers beat Case on Friday, 22-0, but power outages darkened the field in Lakeville -- twice. Lakeville police could not confirm the nature of the outages, but they were reportedly caused by car accidents.
The lights went out in the first half. The Apponequet band entertained the crowd, and the lights returned after a 25-minute delay. Then, as Case had the ball to start the second half, the lights went out a second time, blanketing the field in darkness. Dazed, the teams retired to their locker rooms. Lakers coach Bob Lomp tells us what happened next:
"It seemed like it would be an hour before the power came back," said Lomp. "I talked to (Case coach) Dave (Gibeau). We were up, 15-0, at the time. We were going to call it like that."
"We got the teams together to do the postgame handshake in the dark, in the parking lot, and the lights came on. Literally, as the two teams were approaching each other, they went on."
The coaches agreed to play it out, and no one was happier about this development than Trevor Hinkle. It was his last home game, and the senior needed 15 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
The game back on, Case punted, and Lomp called Hinkle's number. He took a toss outside and raced 52 yards to the house, then exited the game, finishing a 14-carry, 171-yard, three-touchdown evening.
With three scores in a 41-23 win at Pembroke, Hanover's Mike Wheeler set a school record for points in a season, topping the mark of 152 set by Paul Conners in 1977. He has 158 points on the year, good for fourth in Division 2A scoring. He also passed 1,500 yards in that game ... Gloucester's Andrew Fulford, who sits two points above Wheeler in the scoring race, also set a single-season TD mark. The senior broke his own record of 22, set last year. He had three TDs in the Fishermen's playoff-clinching, 42-0 romp over Salem, and went over 1000 yards.
Duxbury (9-1, 6-1 Patriot League) beat Silver Lake Friday, 34-0, for its third shutout of the season. Impressive, but Marshfield (9-1, 8-1 Atlantic Coast) has also blanked three. The teams clash on Thanksgiving, and while we like the Rams in that matchup, it may be well-past Christmas before either team scores a point ... Other Thanksgiving games of note: Lynn Classical vs. Lynn English, in a battle for Manning (Field) bragging rights. Eli and Peyton might not be there, but hundreds of fans will... Both teams are out of their respective races, but there's always a playoff atmosphere for Salem/Beverly. And the Witches' Melikke Van Alstyne and Panthers' Greg Pierce could be like Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird in the 1988 NBA playoffs. Meaning, don't be surprised if the game-breakers match each other, touchdown for touchdown, like 'Nique and Bird going basket for basket in that Game 7... Wilmington heads to Tewksbury to renew an old Merrimack Valley Conference rivalry. The Wildcats split from the MVC in 1995, but kept up the tradition. The Redmen (8-2, 6-2) have a big advantage in a series first played in 1935... The game is at 10 a.m., so darkness shouldn't be a factor when Apponequet travels to Old Rochester. The Lakers have shut out their last two opponents, and the Bulldogs have lost their last two by a combined score of 54-0. But we're guessing Franck Tebou and his teammates won't suffer another power outage.
Bits and pieces
Little guy, big game: North Andover's Zac Iovanella, a 150-pound sophomore, carried 38 times for 321 yards and four TDs, and intercepted a pass in a 35-27 win over Lawrence... Junior running back Shane DiBona had four TDs in Duxbury's win... Cameron Smith ran for three scores as Lynn Classical beat Revere, 38-6... Jack Hocking threw four TDs and ran for another in Hanover's win.
Video highlights of the two goals scored by Hayley Brock in Acton-Boxboro's 2-0 triumph over Winchester in the Division 1 North sectional final are making their way to our video player.
Click the link above to see the highlights when they are available.
Despite blanket (and often very physical) coverage, Brock managed to find the twine twice during the second half. She drew a yellow card out of frustration in the first half, but, as A-B coach Ru Sweeney said afterwards, a goal has a way of making one forget the frustration of a yellow card.
Be sure to check out all of our videos from today's games.
We'll check back later tonight with more highlights, including video reaction from the key players and coaches from the Division 1 and 2 games.
It's a final.
Off to get postgame reaction. Back with highlights in a bit.
We had the wrong time for Hayley Brock's goal in the previous post. Actually, it was half true.
Brock scored her first goal in the 52nd minute. But to keep the blog accurate, she scored again in the 62nd minute and the Colonials lead, 2-0, with 18 minutes to go.
Putting steady pressure on early in the second half, Acton-Boxboro just broke through with a goal in the 52nd minute when Hayley Brock appeared to tip home her own shot near the left post.
Acton-Boxboro dominated the first 40 minutes, but Winchester had the best chance (a near-miss during the final two minutes of the first half) and we remain scoreless at Leary Field.
More to come.
Acton-Boxboro and Winchester remain scoreless in the 34th minute.
Winchester seems to be in full defensive mode and its limiting the chances of the Colonials despite carrying play for much of the first half.
Apologies on the Danvers' game-winning goal video. Seems it's taking some time for our highlights to reach the player. The video should be available shortly.
Ashley Sullivan scored in the 74th minute to lift Danvers to a 1-0 victory over Wakefield in the Division 2 North girls' soccer final at Leary Field in Acton.
Click the link above to see Sullivan's goal when it finishes uploading.
Wakefield goaltender Erin Jackson is able to knock down the initial effort, but the kick is too strong and finds a way to trickle int the net to end a scoreless stalemate.
Sullivan has now scored in every one of Danvers' postseason victories.
We've got postgame reaction from Sullivan and her coach. We'll check back with that later. For now, Acton-Boxboro and Winchester are about to take the field for the final part of today's triple-header (Newburport defeated Ipswich, 6-1, in the Division 3 game earlier).
We'll have more updates and highlights from this one.
Danvers wins it.
Back with more in a bit.
Danvers's Ashley Sullivan scores in the 74th minute (the ball ticked off the netminder and trickled in) to break the scoreless stalemate.
More to come.
First-half near-chances from Wakefield-Danvers.
Wakefield controlled much of the middle of the first half and Danvers enjoyed a couple of scoring chances late, but we're scoreless at the intermission here in Acton.
We're going to cut up some highlights from the best chances of the first 40 minutes.
More to come.
Welcome to Acton, where there's a triple-header of holiday girls' soccer action going on at Leary Field.
In the day's earliest game, second-seeded Newburyport hammered eighth-seeded Ipswich, 6-1, to capture the Division 3 North title game.
Up next: 12th-seeded Wakefield jousts with third-ranked Danvers in the Division 2 sectional final. We'll have live updates and we'll be capturing video highlights for the site.
Stay close for more.
Later today, Winchester battles Acton-Boxboro in the Divsion 1 title game at 3 p.m.
A handful of notes and an outline for today:
When you come to the page, you will find the latest news and headlines (along with the latest entry from this blog) at the top of the page. You can also browse the latest scores and updated tournament brackets from the links on the right side.
Below that, you'll find headlines from each individual sport. You'll also notice some friendly links on the left-hand side of each sport's section. For instance, all the links you've come to expect from our Football Monday package are tucked inside the football list. So if you want to see the latest Top 20, the updated standings and leaderboards, and our Stars of the Week, you'll find those links there.
As usual, any comments or feedback on the new look or the high school sports coverage in general are welcome. Feel free to use the comments section below to leave your thoughts.
BC High clinched the Catholic Conference championship on Saturday in Danvers with a rather yawn-worthy 24-0 shutout of rival St. John's Prep.
It was quite an anticlimactic finish for the best conference in Eastern Mass. Division 1 football. It’s been a rough year in Danvers, as the Prep has just one win at home in the 100th anniversary of the football program, and the first year playing on the new grass at Cronin Memorial Stadium.
BC High coach Ron St. George, who puts a punishing defense and hard-nose running game on the field every weekend, got doused with a bucket-full of water while he spoke to reporters after the game Saturday. The Eagles came together after St. George delivered the postgame speech with a, “1-2-3 Champs” chant at the end.
BC High plays Catholic Memorial on Thanksgiving (should be the equivalent of a Patriots preseason game because it holds zero meaning for BC High) before facing the winner of the Greater Boston League – probably Everett, barring any stunning developments – in the first round of the playoffs. BC High and Everett are the only undefeated teams in Division 1.
Here are the final stats from Saturday’s game:
Kyle Ewanouski – 11 carries, 67 yards, TD
Brian Sullivan – 12 carries, 45 yards
Mitch McClune – 3 carries, 14 yards, TD
Billy Kiley – 2 of 3, 19 yards passing; 1 carry, 20 yards rushing
Tom Duffy – 1 carry, 62 yards, TD
St. John’s Prep:
Derek Coppola – 8 carries, -4 yards
Scott Darby – 6/15, 43 yards passing
Andrew McHugh – 5 carries, 15 yards; 1 reception, 10 yards
Some observations from the game:
Ewanouski got four more carries on that drive, including the scoring run that made it 14-0 BC High. Ewanouski was actually stopped behind the line of scrimmage on a third and 1 from the Prep 31, but BC High went for it on fourth and 2 and Ewanouski plowed straight ahead for 6 more yards, demonstrating how difficult it is to hold him to short yardage on a consistent basis.
On the next play, first and 10 from the Prep 40, Darby executed a straight drop and found sophomore Brendon Felder in the secondary for an 11-yard gain. After McHugh rumbled forward for 4 yards on the next play, Darby fired a seed to Pat Dempsey on a slant over the middle for 13 yards and the third first down of the drive. Darby completed his first six passes, the last a 25-yard strike to Coppola on a fade toward the right sideline after being in motion before the play. However, St. George and his Eagles made the adjustment to Darby’s early aerial assault and didn’t allow a completion for the rest of the game. Darby had nine straight misses after the fast start.
Video of the game-winning goals from Framingham's 2-1 triumph over Lexington and Woburn's 3-2 victory over Haverhill are available in our video player.
We'll be adding some postgame reaction from Framingham, shortly.
LOWELL -- Framingham sophomore Gustavo Santos summed up what everyone in the building was thinking when trying to conjure words to describe his game-winning goal Saturday evening.
"I don't know, it all happened so fast," said a still-glowing Santos.
Just three minutes after classmate Marlon Ramalho potted an equalizer that seemed like it might never come, Santos slipped in the winner when he caught Lexington goalie Zack Abdu-Glass charging too hard out of the net in the 73d minute of the Flyers' 2-1 triumph in a Division 1 North semifinal at Cawley Stadium.
Second-seeded Framingham returns here Monday night to meet eighth-seeded Woburn -- a 3-2 winner over Haverhill in the night's earlier matchup -- in the sectional final.
Trailing for much of the night after Lexington's Diego Garcia scored in the third minute, and plagued by penalties (three yellow cards), frustration threatened to boil over for the Flyers. Instead, Framingham came out inspired in the second half, continued to control play as it did in the first half, and when Lexington failed to insert the dagger, the Flyers took advantage.
Lexington nearly tied the game in the final two minutes when a header found the net following a free kick. But the sideline referee immediately raised the flag for offsides and, after a conference, the call stood helping Framingham escape.
We're going to put up a clip of the game-winning goal and add some postgame reaction from both Santos and coach Dan Avery.
Back with more in a bit.
Framingham wins it, 2-1.
Framingham advances to meet Woburn in the finals Monday at Cawley Stadium. Time is TBA.
More to come, including highlights.
Framingham scored twice -- in the 70th and 73d minutes -- and leads Lexington, 2-1, with five minutes to go.
Lexington remains on top of Framingham, 1-0, at the intermission.
Framingham carried play for much of the first half, but an early goal has the Minutemen out front. In the third minute, Lexington's Eric Beard chased down a ball near the end line and slipped a quick feed to Diego Garcia, who was cutting down the middle of the box.
Garcia put a quick foot on the ball and slipped it into the far side of the net for the half's lone score.
Framingham has peppered Lexington and netminder Zach Abdu-Glass, but he's been equal to the task, stopping a bevy of tough shots with dives and lunges in each direction. The Lexington defense has also done a fantastic job keeping Framingham strikers away from the net, which is extremely important given the weapon the Flyers have with captain Adam Skaggs launching corner-kick-like balls on throw-ins.
We'll pass along video after the game, but check out the video player on the High School Sports page to see Woburn's winning goal in a 3-2 overtime triumph over Haverhill earlier this evening.
Lexington's Diego Garcia scored off a feed from Eric Beard in the third minute and the Minutemen lead Framingham, 1-0, in the 25th minute.
Woburn watched Haverhill erase a two-goal deficit over the final 15 minutes of regulation to force overtime, but senior Dave Clark potted the winner with 5:09 remaining in the extra session and the eighth-seeded Tanners sneaked out with a 3-2 triumph in a Division 1 North boys' soccer semifinal at Cawley Stadium in Lowell.
Woburn will meet the winner of tonight's other semifinal between Lexington and Framingham in Monday's final.
We've got video of Clark's winner and we'll plan on posting that in a bit.
Stay tuned for more from the nightcap.
Welcome to the Cawley Stadium in Lowell, where the MIAA hosts the Division 1 North boys' soccer semifinals this evening.
It's a not-very-soccer-friendly 38 degrees here and sure to get colder as the night moves on. The feature game of the night pits second-seeded Framingham against third-seeded Lexington. Ironically, those are the same spots the two teams held on the final regular-season Globe Top 20 poll.
Should be a fantastic matchup. We're headed inside to try and catch the end of the Haverhill-Woburn battle. We'll check back with more throughout the evening.
Check out the posts below for video highlights from BC High's 24-0 win over Xaverian.
Two more videos on their way to the player.
The first clip features the first five plays of the fourth quarter, in which BC High capped its 13-play, 80-yard scoring trek with a 2-yard touchdown run by Mitch McClune (set up by nice runs by Kyle Ewanouski and Brian Sullivan).
The second clip is postgame reaction from BC High coach Ron St. George, who gets an unexpected Gatorade shower (though he does managed to dodge the brunt of it).
We're off to Lowell for tonight's Division 1 North boys' soccer matchups. We'll have more from there, in a bit.
BC High wins it, 24-0.
With reports out of Westwood indicating Xaverian was on top of Catholic Memorial, 28-0, late in the game, the Eagles have wrapped up the Catholic Conference title.
Coach Ron St. George managed to dodge the brunt of the Gatorade shower following the game.
More highlights coming in a bit.
A 20-yard field goal by Conor Flaherty puts BC High on top, 24-0, with 2:58 to go.
A 2-yard plunge by Mitch McClune caps a 13-play, 80-yard trek by BC High and the visitors lead St. John's Prep, 21-0, with 8:55 to go.
BC High takes its 14-0 lead to the fourth.
St. John's Prep squandered another opportunity in the third quarter after recovering a BC High fumble at the visitors' 37.
BC High leads St. John's Prep, 14-0, at the intermission here in Danvers.
The hosts had their scoring chances both early and late, but failed to put any points on the board.
In the first quarter, St. John's Prep took over at the BC High 47 after recovering a fumble, but turned the ball over on downs when BC High stopped sophomore George Sessoms on fourth-and-1.
BC High turned around and put points on the board immediately when Tom Duffy busted free on a 63-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 advantage with 1:47 to play in the first quarter.
BC High put together a 9-play, 69-yard scoring march in the second quarter that culminated with a 1-yard plunge by Kyle Ewanouski.
St. John's Prep advanced inside the BC High 10 with little more than three minutes to play in the half, but a dropped pass and a false start penalty helped short-circuit the drive. The hosts eventually turned the ball over on downs on an uncatchable pass to the back of the end zone.
Highlights are uploading of BC High's two scores.
More to come.
BC High takes a 14-0 advantage into the intermission.
First-half highlights coming in a bit.
St. John's Prep marched inside the BC High 10, but turned the ball over on a sloppy set of downs during goal situation.
BC High is about to punt the ball back to the Prep, giving it one more shot to put points on the board before the break.
Kyle Ewanouski capped a 9-play, 59-yard scoring trek with a 1-yard plunge and BC High expanded its lead to 14-0 over host St. John's Prep with 5:52 remaining in the half.
Mighty quiet here at Cronin Memorial Stadium.
BC High carries a 7-0 lead to the second quarter.
The maroon & gold are about to get the ball back as St. John's Prep is set to punt to open the frame.
BC High came up with a fourth-down stop at its own 37 and, on the very next play, Tom Duffy rumbled 63 yards for the game's first score and the maroon & gold lead it, 7-0, with 1:47 to play in the first quarter.
Two marches into BC High territory (once aided by a fumble recovery) for St. John's Prep, but nothing to show for it.
Welcome to sunny Cronin Memorial Stadium, where No. 25 St. John's Prep hosts No. 3 BC High in a Catholic Conference battle this afternoon.
Sun is helping to keep it as warm as it can be with the Forsberg Cruiser setting the temperatures at a still-chilly 45 degrees.
BC High can lock up the CC title with a win today coupled with a Catholic Memorial loss to Xaverian.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. We'll be back with more throughout the afternoon.
We're hoping to bring you a doubleheader of high school sports action today.
It starts in Danvers, where St. John's Prep hosts No. 3 BC HIgh in a Catholic Conference football showdown at 1:30 p.m. We'll have updates and highlights from this battle of the Eagles.
Afterwards, we're hoping to shift to Lowell for the Division 1 North soccer semifinals. The nightcap there features second-ranked Framingham meeting third-ranked Lexington at 6 p.m. Ironically, those are the same rankings the teams held in the final Boston Globe soccer top 20 of the fall. Should be a phenomenal matchup.
Back with more throughout the day.
An updated look at the Dual County League tie-breaker standings. In the event of a three-way tie atop the league -- as currently exists between Wayland, Acton-Boxboro, and Lincoln-Sudbury -- the teams would use first-half point differential against league opponents to eliminate the lowest-scoring team.
The winner of the head-to-head matchup between the two remaining teams would advance to the postseason.
Here's how it looks through Week 10:
If the standings were to end like this, Acton-Boxboro would be eliminated and Wayland -- the defending Division 1A Super Bowl champs -- would advance to the postseason thanks to its head-to-head win over Lincoln-Sudbury. The Colonials will need to outscore Westford by at least 21 points (and that assumes Lincoln-Sudbury remains scoreless in its Turkey Day battle) to jump back into the race.
Even if Acton-Boxboro overtakes Wayland by scoring more than 23 points, the Colonials need Lincoln-Sudbury to stumble because L-S won the regular-season meeting and holds the tie-breaker over them. If L-S were to outscore its opponent by more than three points, it would overtake Wayland atop the tie-breaker standings.
Wayland would have to considered in the driver's seat at this point, but crazy things happen on Thanksgiving Day and -- having completed their league schedule -- the Warriors can only sit back and watch as everything unfolds.
Here's the remaining DCL slate:
Wayland: No league games remaining.
Lincoln-Sudbury: Nov. 22 at Newton South.
Acton-Boxboro: Nov. 22 at Westford.
An early look at the stories you'll find in Saturday's Boston Globe and online at Boston.com. Remember that many of these stories will be updating for later editions:
By Matt Porter, Globe Correspondent
The number of Cape Ann Large teams vying for the title was cut in half last night, as host Wilmington took a 17-10 victory over Pentucket. Thanks to two scores from senior back Ernie Mello, the Wildcats ended the Sachems' postseason hopes. Wilmington (9-1, 4-1), which played its last league game of the season, guaranteed itself a share of the crown.
Pentucket (7-3, 2-2) will end its season on Thanksgiving. However, that day will be important for Wilmington and Masconomet.
Masco (9-1, 3-1), which beat Triton last night to stay alive in the race, will face North Andover (6-3, 2-1) on Thanksgiving. If North Andover wins, the Wildcats, who beat them last week, will represent the CAL in the MIAA playoffs. Masconomet, which beat Wilmington, would advance with a win.
With two minutes left, Mello's 1-yard run broke a 10-10 tie, but the Sachems got the ball back with 1:51 to play. Quarterback Jordan Silva found Liam Crawford for a 15-yard gain, then Silva bolted up the sideline for a 22 yards. Silva went to the air three times, but his final try was knocked down by Kyle Lunt for a turnover on downs with 1:16 remaining.
Greater Boston: Arlington 28, Medford 14 - Matt Willey and Dan Leary had two rushing touchdowns apiece.
Nonleague: Dartmouth 45, Durfee 0 - Jordan Todman ran for 112 yards in the win, moving him into fourth place on the state's all-time rushing list with 5,320 yards.
Old Colony: Bridgewater-Raynham 22, Taunton 6 - Kevin Bumpis helped the Trojans to the win with three touchdown passes.
Dual County: Acton-Boxboro 26, Concord-Carlisle 13 - Steve Austin and Julian Dufresne each entered the end zone twice for the Colonials.
Wayland 35, Bedford 7 - Michael Mitchell returned an interception for a touchdown and ran for another, and Jeff Brewington threw two touchdown passes.
Lincoln-Sudbury 35, Westford 0 - Mark Hogan, Kurt Rogers, Steven Hodgepps, and Derek Lowe scored in the Warriors' romp.
Tyngsboro 35, Newton South 13 - Tom Sullivan scored four touchdowns, including the first three of the game.
Merrimack Valley: Billerica 27, Lowell 0 - Billerica rolled with four touchdowns from Kenny Mangie, three rushing and one receiving.
Chelmsford 42, Dracut 22 - The Lions clinched the conference title as Tim Rich had 249 yards passing and three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing).
Nonleague: Andover 21, Valley Forge (Pa.) 16 - Mike Pierce tossed three touchdown passes, two to Mike Morander, in the win.
Hockomock: Mansfield 34, Sharon 0 - Mansfield clinched the league title after Powell Simpson ran for two touchdowns and Mark Gilson threw for two.
Cape Ann: Masconomet 31, Triton 7 - T.C. Mannetta ran for two scores and Evan Bunker went for another for Masconomet.
Northeastern: Lynn Classical 38, Revere 6 - Cameron Smith torched Revere with three touchdown runs.
Gloucester 42, Salem 0 - Andrew Fulford rushed for the first three touchdowns as the Fisherman clinched the league title.
Patriot: Duxbury 34, Silver Lake 0 - Shane DiBona had four rushing touchdowns, including a 40-yarder.
South Coast: Wareham 28, Old Rochester 0 - Jared Vasconselos caught a 30-yard touchdown pass and ran in a score from 5 yards.
Catholic Central: Bishop Fenwick 34, Cardinal Spellman 20 - Bobby Tarr took 33 carries for 312 yards and moved into third place on the state's all-time rushing list with 5,450 career yards.
South Shore: Carver 18, Hull 7 - Taylor LeClair put two touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter.
East Bridgewater 42, Randolph 18 - Brian Phillips ran for 159 yards and four touchdowns on just four carries.
Tri-Valley: Norton 21, Ashland 0 - Sean Ryan ran in all three touchdowns.
Hopkinton 28, Westwood 25 - Luke Warren connected with Paul Ostrander twice to lift Hopkinton (7-3) over Westwood (7-3).
Medfield 28, Medway 7 - Peter Gumas scored twice for Medfield.
Cape Ann Small: Amesbury 35, Ipswich 13 - Marion Wilder scored three times and rushed for 183 yards on 10 carries.
Mayflower Large: Seekonk 34, Blue Hills 6 - Cody Callahan rushed for two scores and Joshua Rosa threw a touchdown pass to keep Seekonk (9-0) undefeated.
Martha's Vineyard 3, Bristol-Plymouth 0 - Zach Coutinho's 26-yard field goal was good enough for the win.
Boston South: Burke 20, Hyde Park 0 - Antoine Pierre-Louis scored on a 2-yard rush in the second quarter and a 3-yard fumble recovery in the third.
O'Bryant 6, Latin Academy 0 - Josh Carrington tossed an 11-yard TD pass to Christopher Flores with 11 seconds remaining.
By Ricky Popolizio, Globe Correspondent
MARSHFIELD - Marshfield executed its game plan to perfection, controlling the ball and the clock in a 21-13 victory over previously undefeated Dennis-Yarmouth last night.
Facing a fourth and 3 from the D-Y 42 with the score tied at 7-7 at 4:25 of the third quarter, senior Luke Poirier was drilled at the line of scrimmage but refused to go down, fighting through a tackle for a 4-yard gain.
"That was a bad call on my part," said Marshfield coach Lou Silva. "That was all [Luke Poirier], bad knee and all. The kids said 'Coach, let's go for it.' Sometimes you have to trust the kids. He got the tough yards."
The Rams (9-1) continued on a methodical 71-yard march, spanning the entire third quarter, and culminating on sophomore Bob MacNeil's second of three touchdown rushes.
"Our game plan was to run the ball, control the tempo and keep the ball in our hands," said Silva. "We did not want to get in a track meet with them."
The Dolphins (9-1) did not recover from the 11-minute-5-second second drive. The D-Y offense, which hadn't taken a snap since the second quarter, went three and out, but then caught a break. Poirier couldn't handle the ensuing punt and Matt Dawson fell on the ball, giving D-Y possession at the Marshfield 28. Still, the usually potent D-Y offense turned the ball over on downs.
The Rams went right back to business with seven minutes to play, killing the clock with their rushing game.
"I made the most of the opportunity I was given," said MacNeil . "The three times I went into the end zone, there were huge holes. You can't give enough credit to the offensive line."
D-Y scored in the closing seconds, as senior quarterback Nick Montalto hooked up with Mike Pena from 41 yards.
From the opening kick, the Marshfield defense looked impregnable, using the best protection against a mighty D-Y offense; keeping it off the field. The Rams surprised D-Y with an onside kick and sophomore Brendan Meehan recovered at the D-Y 45-yard line. D-Y was then flagged on a 15-yard face-masking penalty, and from the 30, the Rams needed just four rushes, MacNeil finishing from 4 yards.
"What do you have to lose," said Silva. "We talked about [the onside kick] this week and I left it to the defensive coordinator."
Marshfield's early deception appeared to be a momentum-changing play. Dennis-Yarmouth's offense looked out of sorts. On third and 8 from its own 34-yard line, D-Y's Montalto was intercepted by Poirier.
"We shot ourselves in the foot last week but now we have a share of the title," said Silva.
By James Schneider, Globe Correspondent
Brighton and Dorchester entered yesterday's game undefeated in the Boston South, but the Bengals' superiority soon became evident.
Brighton steamrolled Dorchester, 30-6, at White Stadium to win the South title for the second straight year.
Dorchester, which finished last year 1-7 overall and 1-4 in the league, ended its surprising season with a disappointing loss.
'We knew we were in for a battle," Dorchester coach Rich Moran said. "They deserved it. I wish them luck, they're a great team."
The victory advanced Brighton (10-0) to the playoffs for the second straight year. Last year's Division 4 runner-up will play the Commonwealth Small champ in the first round, and coach James Philip has high hopes.
"The goal is 12-0," he said. "We take it one game at a time."
Dorchester (7-2) believed it had the ability to end Brighton's unbeaten run, but the bigger Bengals ran over and around the Bears, led by the standout play of quarterback Kameel Lashley.
Lashley was an unstoppable force on the ground, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. The 6-foot-2-inch, 225-pounder dominated on rollouts to both sides.
"He's a man among boys," Moran said. "He just killed us. We couldn't tackle him."
"It's a last option to use our quarterback [to run]," Brighton offensive coordinator Randolph Abraham said. "We've got some talented running backs. But when something's not working, something else will."
Lashley scored on a 1-yard sneak to give Brighton a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but Dorchester responded, tying the game in the second quarter on a 20-yard pass from Steven Jarett to Omar Cepeda.
But an interception on the Bears' next possession doomed hopes for an upset, as the Bengal offense took over on the Dorchester 36 and scored on just two plays, both rushes by Lashley. After an offside call on Dorchester, Lashley took off down the left sideline before being ridden out of bounds at the 1. On the next play, his second 1-yard sneak of the half gave Brighton a lead it would not relinquish.
While Brighton's ground game dominated, Dorchester and star running back Eric Lott struggled to get going against the Bengals' hard-hitting defense. Lott struggled for 33 yards, and Dorchester had two costly fumbles on a chilly afternoon. It was the most important game the Bears played all season, and Brighton's experience in big games may have helped the Bengals avoid such costly mistakes.
"I know we're not that nervous because we've been here before," Lashley said. "That's what I keep trying to tell them, 'Calm down because we've done it before.' "
But the Bengals didn't win the Super Bowl last year, something they're hoping to do this year.
"We have a lot of experience in the playoffs," Lashley said. "Our goal is to win the Super Bowl."
By Pat Ouellette, Globe Correspondent
ATTLEBORO - With the Eastern Athletic Conference championship on the line, Bishop Feehan was quicker in every aspect, using its speed on defense and the running of Nick Schwieger to cruise to a 37-6 demolition of Somerset.
The Shamrocks (7-2-1, 3-0) got off to an auspicious start on their fifth play of the game when Somerset defensive back/running back Billy Huard tipped a Mike McGowan pass thrown over the middle to Brian Gallagher and the receiver went untouched for a 41-yard score. McGowan was able to connect on a 46-yard pass to Gallagher at the end of the quarter that led to Schwieger's first touchdown of the day, a 7-yard gallop.
The senior running back (273 yards rushing) consistently broke through the first wave of defenders and the Blue Raider defense had no answer for his punishing running style.
"He got faster and stronger as the game went on," Somerset coach Jesse McKinnon said. "His strength is his ability to break tackles and accelerate in the open field."
A pair of Somerset linebackers had Schwieger wrapped up in the backfield with 1:19 left in the second quarter but he refused to go down. He ripped the Blue Raiders right up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown and a 24-0 Feehan advantage. After Shamrock Kyle Schmitt picked off Andrew Gauthier to start the second half, Schwieger's 48-yard run helped set up McGowan's second touchdown of the game, a 5-yard toss to Nick Linehan.
Somerset's game plan was to give the ball to Huard and play a ball-control offense, but the Feehan defense took him out of the game and forced the Blue Raiders to spread out. The Shamrock defense was ready for the changes and Somerset (5-3, 3-1) seemed to have third-and-long situations all game.
"Our secondary played extremely well, we were able to hold their top receiver [Jake Scott] to a few underneath passes, but not much else," Feehan coach Tony Wood said.
Numerous league titles could be decided today.
No. 4-ranked Brockton travels to New Bedford with a seven-game winning streak. An eighth straight win and the Boxers clinch the Big Three title and a berth in the Division 1 semifinals against Dartmouth.
Also in Division 1, the Catholic Conference race heats up with No. 3 BC High in Danvers to play St. John's Prep. A win puts BC High alone in first heading into Thanksgiving. Catholic Memorial is at Xaverian, and a CM loss combined with a BC High win gives BC High the title regardless of what happens on the holiday.
Walpole can clinch a tie for the Bay State Herget title and a playoff spot with a win over Braintree. Natick is a game behind Walpole but the Rebels own the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of their 28-21 win in September.
And for you fans of the "other" football:
By Dave Benoit, Globe Correspondent
The Acton-Boxboro girls' soccer team faced a tough test in its Division 1 North semifinal last night, but the Colonials' talent and power came through and they prevailed over Framingham, 4-1.
The host Colonials jumped to a 3-0 lead and frustrated Framingham's prolific offense to win on a frigid night.
Led by sophomore Hayley Brock, whose speed and strength were on display as she contributed two goals and an assist, the Colonials (20-0-1) looked deserving of the No. 1 ranking they have held all season.
Coach Ruairi Sweeney was pleased with and excited by his team's performance.
"This was a big win. They came out and played exactly the way we practiced yesterday," said Sweeney, who was quick to compliment his opponent. "[Framingham] is the most skilled team we have played all year. They are phenomenal."
Acton-Boxboro needed just eight minutes to take the lead, senior Lindsey Raymond scoring on a booming, high shot from almost 20 yards.
The goal set the tone for the night. By spreading the field and relying on crisp crosses and the strength of their kicks, A-B controlled the game and converted many of their opportunities.
Brock added to the lead seven minutes later. After Ceci Jensen booted the ball far in front of her, Brock beat Framingham keeper Erin Greenstein to the ball, bounced it off Greenstein, and collected the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Brock set up Marie Margolius for a 3-0 lead.
But Framingham (16-2-3) kept attacking, and got a goal from Alexandra Doody to close within two goals before halftime.
Brock's second goal late in the second half sealed the victory, but Sweeney said he never felt comfortable against Framingham and the talented Melanie Baskind.
"They switched to a 3-5-2 I think and it gave us fits," he said of the Flyers' formation in the second half. "The scoreboard was not indicative of this game at all, no way."
Acton-Boxboro will play host to Winchester in Monday's sectional final.
Division 1 North: After battling to a 0-0 tie through overtime, Winchester won its second shootout this postseason. Sophomore Julia Avorito converted the winning kick for a 4-3 shootout win over Lincoln-Sudbury and a place in the finals. The Sachems (16-4-1) were led by Michelle Troisi, who recorded seven saves during regulation and overtime before stopping two penalties in the shootout. "I wish we played better soccer today," said Winchester coach Chris Scanlon. "But I feel like if we kept playing it would have continued forever."
Division 1 South: Weymouth (16-1-4) scored two-second half goals to break a 1-1 deadlock and advance to the sectional finals with a 3-1 victory over Bishop Feehan. Senior Jenn Bell opened the scoring for Weymouth, but Bishop Feehan's Meghan Zerba equalized before halftime. Senior Jackie Moscardelli's header from a Melissa Dempsey cross gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead midway through the second half, and Jess Stuart provided an insurance goal four minutes later.
Division 2 South: Oliver Ames (19-1-1) recorded its 16th shutout of the season, advancing to the sectional finals with a 1-0 win over Medway (16-2-3). Junior Brittany Frazier scored 47 seconds into the game and the Tigers used a nine-save performance from sophomore Sam Brown to preserve the win.
Division 3 North: Mike Kennedy scored a hat trick as 12th-seeded Lynnfield (11-6-2) advanced to the sectional final with a 4-1 victory over eighth-seeded Bishop Fenwick (10-7-2).
We're uploading another high-def highlight reel that shows the second-half scoring plays from Marshfield's 21-13 win over Dennis-Yarmouth.
In the clip, Marshfield sophomore Bob MacNeil caps a pair of long drives with short touchdown runs (3 and 2 yards, respectively) as the Rams built a 21-7 advantage with 1:38 remaining in the game.
Dennis-Yarmouth put together a late scoring drive capped by a 41-yard touchdown pass from Nick Montalto to Mike Pena with seven seconds to play.
More to come.
We're going to upload highlights of the scoring plays from the second half, then follow that with some reaction.
Later, we'll give you longer highlights, including video of Marshfield's two long scoring treks in the second half.
Luke Poirier recovers the onside kick for Marshfield.
It's a final.
Mike Pena 41-yard touchdown reception to pull D-Y within a score with 7 ticks remaining.
Marshfield averted disaster after fumbling away a punt early in the fourth quarter, but go the ball back and covered 63 yards on 12 plays, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Bob MacNeil (his third of the night) and the Rams lead, 21-7, with 1:36 to go.
D-Y has 1 yard of total offense this half. One yard.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Bob MacNeil on the first play of the fourth quarter has Marshfield on top, 14-7, with 10:55 to play.
The third quarter went by in a blink of an eye as Marshfield played some serious keep-away. The Rams erased the entire quarter on a 17 plays -- all on the ground -- while marching to the D-Y 3.
MacNeil punched in his second TD of the game and D-Y will get the ball for the first time this half.
Marshfield really could have made this one difficult on Dennis-Yarmouth early on.
The Rams successfully recovered an onside kick to open the game and -- aided by a personal foul penalty -- marched for a touchdown on just 5 plays.
But on the ensuing drive, Luke Poirier picked off a Nick Montalto offering and returned it to the D-Y 15. Marshfield turned the ball over on four plays, however, after a fourth-down sack.
Poirier came up with another big defensive play when he dropped Montalto for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the Marshfield 1 late in the first quarter. But the Rams went three-and-out on their ensuing series and D-Y got the ball back with a short field.
They turned that short field into points when Mike Pena's 6-yard touchdown trot tied the game and we're still knotted at 7 at the break.
Marshfield marched to the D-Y 23 early in the second quarter, but turned it over on downs. The Rams again trekked to the D-Y 9 on its final possession of the half, but a 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right in the closing seconds.
The Rams do get the ball to open the second half.
More to come from Marshfield.
We're uploading some high-def clips of the two first-half touchdowns. (The link will be available when the video finishes encoding).
First, Bob MacNeil plunges in on a 4-yard touchdown run for Marshfield little more than three minutes into the game for a 7-0 advantage.
Dennis-Yarmouth responds early in the second quarter as Mike Pena caps a brief 28-yard scoring trek with a 6-yard touchdown trot to tie the game.
Click the link above for highlights.
Feehan 24, Somerset 0 (HALF)
Nick Schwieger already has two touchdowns and 163 yards rushing.
And some early scores from this afternoon.
Brighton 30, Dorchester 6 - Brighton heads to the playoffs for the second straight year.
Charlestown 24, South Boston 12 - A game with large implications, the winner of East Boston/Madison Park tomorrow will now officially clinch the Boston North title.
O'Bryant 6, Latin Academy 0 - Josh Carrington hit Christopher Flores for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining.
We're at the intermission with Dennis-Yarmouth and Marshfield knotted at 7.
You have to feel like D-Y weathered a storm (both figuratively and literally after a rain soaked much of the first quarter). But the Dolphins watched Marshfield control the first quarter, then answered with a second-quarter touchdown and -- thanks to a Rams' missed field goal in the half's waning moments -- heads to the break tied.
More to come, including highlights.
That's your halftime score from the Cape Ann Large matchup at Wilmington. Ernie Mello ran in the lone touchdown of the game with a three-yard rush at the 4:04 mark of the second quarter after the two teams traded field goals to start the game. More in a bit.
Mike Pena 6-yard touchdown run caps a brief 28-yard scoring trek by Dennis-Yarmouth and we're tied.
Both teams missed key opportunities in the first quarter as a Luke Poirier interception gave the Rams a short field, but no points.
Later in the quarter, the Dophins marched to the 1-yard line, but Poirier made a fourth-down stop.
Marshfield succesfully attempted an onside kick to open the game.
The Rams then drove 45 yards on 5 plays before a 4-yard touchdown run by Bob MacNeil.
Rams lead it, 7-0.
Welcome to Marshfield, where the Forsberg Cruiser sets the temperature at a "man, they're predicting flurries tomorrow!?!?" 39 degrees.
Chilly for sure, but not quite the bone-numbing cold that seems to be Thanksgiving Day's trademark.
The 16th-ranked Rams host No. 15 Dennis-Yarmouth tonight in an Atlantic Coast League showdown. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Back with more in the first quarter.
Forgot to mention below that this week we'll be bringing you highlights in high definition (or as high definition as you can get on the interweb).
You might have noticed our highlights from last week were, well, lame. We ran into some technical difficulties and ended up shooting some really poor quality videos given the circumstances.
The bright side: We've got a new camera in action tonight and it's a spiffy high-definition model. So, bear with us as we learn the intricacies of it. The good thing is that our highlights will be much sharper looking. The downside is that it does take extra time to encode and upload, so our halftime offering might be a touch lighter than usual.
And speaking of higher definition, be sure to check out High School Sports Central on Sunday afternoon as the sports pages of Boston.com are scheduled to take their turn in the site's redesign. We think you'll like the new spacious look and feel of the page.
We'll be live in Marshfield tonight as the 16th-ranked Rams host No. 15 Dennis-Yarmouth in an Atlantic Coast League showdown at 7 p.m.
It's a three-team race for the conference crown, but the undefeated Dolphins are in the driver's seat after Marshfield fell to Plymouth North for its only loss of the season last week.
A win tonight for Dennis-Yarmouth wraps up the league title. A loss means Thanksgiving Day will be mighty interesting.
You can check out our take on the game in the Forsberg 5 post below. We've been going back and forth all week, but if the Dolphins move the ball like they have in recent weeks, we think they've got enough in the tank to take down the defending champs.
During the game, visit our message boards and talk about tonight's action. We'll have in-game updates and highlights from this ACL battle.
Back with more from Marshfield in a bit.
We've been munching on leftover Halloween candy for the last 10 days, but we saved a bunch of the Nestle product featured above for Week 10 because it's crunch time, baby! Sugary (and not-so-sweet) puns aside, we're jacked and pumped as we enter the nitty-gritty of the 2007 season.
We encourage everyone to hop over to our Prep Pick'em contest and compete against other area prognosticators in our yearlong challenge. Matthew T. of Columbus, Ohio has widened his lead atop the overall leaderboard with 82 correct picks (out of 108 total games) through nine weeks. This so-called expert sits three games back in second place, while Paul T. of Haverhill (77 correct) remains within striking distance.
On to this week's picks:
Let's talk this one out:
Why we like D-Y: The Dolphins can put points on the board. Averaging a league-best 28.8 points per game, D-Y hung 35 points on the pair of Plymouth squads (North and South), both of whom are now averaging a shade over two touchdowns allowed per game this fall (a respectable number).
Why we like Marshfield: The 14 points the Rams allowed Plymouth North last week were the most coach Lou Silva's charges have given up this fall. If the offense could have generated another score, we're likely all about Marshfield this week. And yet, despite the fact that the Rams have allowed a mere 5.3 points per game this season, we're worried about them this week. Then again, the Rams have home-field advantage and something to prove after last week's loss
If D-Y puts points on the board early, it's going to be hard for Marshfield to keep up. The Rams don't want a shootout. Heck, they don't even want to draw guns against D-Y. If Marshfield can hold the Dolphins to two touchdowns or less, chances are Marshfield emerges with a pivotal win. We're just not sure that's going to happen.
D-Y has confidence. Marshfield might have a bit of doubt after last week. It's hard for us to imagine the Rams falling twice in two weeks, but someone's gotta endure a loss this week.
Last week: 8-2
Year to date: 65-27 (.707)
Administrators in Woburn today confirmed that the Tanners will host their first Thanksgiving Day football game in more than four years when Winchester visits on Nov. 22.
It will be the first-ever home game for the 28 seniors on Woburn's roster.
In the preseason, Woburn 22d-year head coach Rocky Nelson said the lack of a home field hasn't bothered his team because they haven't know any better.
"Those kids have been without a home field for four years," said Nelson. "We make the trek over here every single day and none of them ever complain. The only one who complains is me We tell them what time to be ready and here they are. When we have double sessions in the summer, they make the walk four times. They just don't know any better."
Senior captain Danny McLaughlin admitted before the season that a Thanksgiving Day home game might even rival leading his team to a Super Bowl during his sophomore year in 2005.
"To be able to walk outside the school and play a real home game, that would be amazing," said senior quarterback Danny McLaughlin, one of five captains on this year's squad along with Mark Dwyer, Ryan Ferrone, Matt Ramos, and Matt Welch.
"If we get to play a home game on Thanksgiving Day, that would be the most amazing moment."
You can read more about the field situation in today's Globe NorthWest.
Greetings, City League fans. We have a big weekend ahead of us in both the North and South divisions, as both champions could be decided by Saturday evening. It'll be a tense and exciting weekend for sure. But first, let's look back to last week.
Game of the Week
South Boston 38, West Roxbury 32 (OT)
Overtime games are always a thrill, and this one was no exception. Struggling to convert its 2-point conversion attempts, South Boston went into the fourth quarter trailing, 24-18, despite each team scoring three touchdowns. Southie responded with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 32-24 lead, but let West Roxbury tie the game late with a 50-yard TD pass from Kevin Hebert to Giovanni Smith and an important 2-point conversion rush by Jamie Lewis.
In overtime, Daquan Hill scored his third touchdown of the day to give South Boston the win and keep its slim playoff hopes alive. Southie still has to beat Charlestown and East Boston, and they need East Boston to win on Saturday. If all that happens, there will be a three-way tie atop the standings.
On the other side, West Roxbury fell to a surprising 0-4 in the league and 1-7 overall. We knew Westie was in for a rebuilding year, but we had no idea it would be this tough. West Roxbury is usually a powerhouse in this division, and its struggles have come as a surprise.
1. Kameel Lashley, QB, Brighton - Lashley looks in good form, and it's perfect timing as the end of the season draws near. The star senior was 10 of 11 passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 70 yards and a score on four carries.
2. Daquan Hill, RB, South Boston - Hill lead Southie to victory, as noted above. He rushed for two touchdowns and ran a punt back 42 yards for another score.
3. Madison Park defense - In Charlestown's last three games, the Townies had scored 34, 34, and 32 points, respectively. Madison Park pitched a shutout against the Townies this past weekend to set up a huge matchup with East Boston on Saturday.
Well, I don't need to tell you that there are two must-see games in the City League this weekend. Luckily, they are on different days, so you (and I) can see them both. Brighton and Dorchester will do battle for the Boston South crown on Friday, and a preview of that game will run in the Globe on Friday, so I won't go into much detail there.
On Saturday, East Boston and Madison Park battle in a game that could (depending on the winner and the South Boston outcome) decide the Boston North. It will be a battle of rushing games, as Eastie leans on Tyrone Figueroa (and Frank Brown), while Madison gives the ball to a trio of talented backs.
Figueroa was limited this past weekend against Boston English, but coach John Sousa assures me he'll be ready to go on Saturday against a Madison Park defense that shut out a talented Charlestown offense, which didn't go unnoticed by the coach.
"To tell you the truth, I was surprised by that," Sousa said of the shutout.
Madison Park appears to be hitting its stride at the right time, and East Boston will need to bring its A game to take this one home. It's going to be a close game, but I'm going to pick East Boston in this one. I think the combo of Figueroa and Brown will end up being too much for Madison Park to stop.
(Also, how impressive does that Brighton victory over Madison Park look now?)
Player of the Year Rankings
1. Kameel Lashley, QB, Brighton (+1) - Lashely's big performance this weekend (see above) jumps him over Figueroa, who was limited.
2. Tyrone Figueroa, RB, East Boston (-1) - No touchdowns or big yardage from Figueroa, so he falls back slightly.
3. Kariym Azeez, LB/TE, Brighton (+1) - Azeez continues to be a beast on defense, recording 15 tackles, three for a loss, and forcing two fumbles this past week.
4. Jonathan Turner, QB, Charlestown (-1) - Turner got shutout this weekend, so he falls a spot.
5. Eric Lott, RB, Dorchester (-) - Lott is almost dead even with Turner, a big game against Brighton could shoot him up the rankings.
1. East Boston
3. Madison Park
The Weymouth girls' soccer team advanced to the Division 1 South semifinals with a 1-0 win over Sandwich Wednesday.
The Wildcats scored the game's only goal with less than seven minutes remaining when Kim Clooney headed in a loose ball off of Jenna Goodwin's corner kick.
Weymouth will play Bishop Feehan Friday night at 5 p.m., followed by Marshfield against Whitman-Hanson at 7 p.m. Both games will be played at Whitman-Hanson.
Now that we've been informed that the Dual County League tie-breaker in the event of a three-way tie is first-half point differential against league opponents, we can give you a snapshot of the race for the league crown. Let's just say we envision a photo finish.
Wayland is currently out front by a small margin over Lincoln-Sudbury, but coach Scott Parseghian's troops have played one more game than both L-S and A-B.
As we've been explained the tie-breaker, the team with the lowest point differential will be eliminated in the event of a three-way tie. The winner of the head-to-head matchup between the two remaining teams would advance to the postseason.
Here's how it stands right now:
If the standings were to end like this, Acton-Boxboro would be eliminated and Wayland -- the defending Division 1A Super Bowl champs -- would advance to the postseason thanks to their head-to-head win over Lincoln-Sudbury.
L-S boasts a head-to-head win over Acton-Boxboro, so coach Tom Lopez's troops are rooting for both his troops and the Colonials to rally past Wayland in point differential.
Acton-Boxboro took down Wayland in Week 3, so the Colonials would want Lincoln-Sudbury to falter.
Here's the remaining DCL slate:
Wayland: Nov. 9 at Bedford.
Lincoln-Sudbury: Nov. 9 vs. Westford; Nov. 22 at Newton South.
Acton-Boxboro: Nov. 9 at Concord-Carlisle; Nov. 22 at Westford.
We'll update the totals after Week 10, but expect some serious scoreboard watching on Thanksgiving Day.
The latest installment of the Boston.com Top 100 is online. Below is the divisional breakdown, showcasing better how teams compare against similar opponents:
1. Everett (1)
2. BC High (3)
3. Brockton (4)
4. Dartmouth (6)
5. St. John's Prep (25)
6. Catholic Memorial (26)
7. Xaverian (27)
8. Cambridge (29)
9. Bridgewater-Raynham (43)
10. Waltham (46)
1. Weymouth (7)
2. Chelmsford (8)
3. Wayland (9)
4. Lincoln-Sudbury (11)
5. Acton-Boxboro (12)
6. Dennis-Yarmouth (15)
7. Marshfield (16)
8. Tewksbury (18)
9. Billerica (21)
10. Andover (31)
1. Mansfield (2)
2. Woburn (10)
3. Walpole (13)
4. Natick (17)
5. Foxboro (22)
6. Franklin (23)
7. North Attleboro (28)
8. Melrose (36)
9. Bishop Feehan (45)
10. Somerset (65)
1. Gloucester (5)
2. Hingham (14)
3. Duxbury (24)
4. Masconomet (32)
5. Wilmington (33)
6. Lynn Classical (38)
7. Seekonk (42)
8. Pentucket (50)
9. Rockland (58)
10. North Andover (67)
1. Holliston (19)
2. Swampscott (20)
3. Medfield (37)
4. Bellingham (51)
5. Westwood (53)
6. Abington (54)
7. East Bridgewater (57)
8. Mashpee (62)
9. Arlington Catholic (70)
10. Hopkinton (74)
1. Greater Lawrence (34)
2. East Boston (35)
3. Shawsheen (41)
4. Blue Hills (48)
5. Madison Park (56)
6. Newburyport (59)
7. Martha's Vineyard (60)
8. Southeastern (68)
9. South Shore (75)
10. Cape Cod Tech (76)
1. Brighton (30)
2. Georgetown (40)
3. Dorchester (44)
4. West Bridgewater (47)
5. Marian (55)
6. Manchester Essex (63)
7. Pope John (69)
8. Matignon (94)
1. Weston (95)
Here are the latest rankings in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette football media poll.
|No. Team||Record||Last week||1st votes||Points|
|3. Shepherd Hill||8-1||4||--||75|
|4. St. John’s||5-4||6||--||69|
|8. Assabet Valley||8-1||8||--||21|
|10. Holy Name||5-3||--||--||12|
Dropped out: Doherty (5-4).
Also receiving votes (in alphabetical order): Littleton (7-2), Nipmuc (6-2), Valley Tech (8-1).
The remnants of Hurricane Noel did little to dampen the excitement of Week 9 of the 2007 high school football season. From a record-setting Friday night slate (113 games across the state) to an upset-laden Sunday, it was a memorable weekend on the gridiron.
What's more, with only three weeks remaining in the regular season, the action is really heating up with only three teams having clinched postseason berths (Dartmouth and Seekonk joined Weymouth this past weekend). Twenty-five league berths remain up for grabs.
The album for Week 9? Bruce Springsteen's latest release, Magic. What's the connection to the No. 9, you ask? Well, we've been reading the reviews for The Boss's latest tour and it seems he's playing nine of the album's 11 tracks in concert, as was the case during his stops in Chicago, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.
Trying to bring as much energy as Springsteen does at one his shows, we dive into Week 9:
First down and the Top 10
1. Everett (9-0) -- Seven touchdown passes over the past three games for Joe Conti. Only Cambridge's Ray Doucette has more TD passes in Division 1 this season.
2. Mansfield (8-1) -- Gutsy win over North Attleboro Friday. Mike Abany gets the glory with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but, by all accounts, David Westhaver's clutch diving grab to set up the final score in a 21-14 victory was the highlight of the night.
3. BC High (9-0) -- Speaking of big catches, how about the late-game, third-down reception by Tom Conley that led to the only touchdown of the game as BC High topped rival Xaverian, 7-3, Friday. More on that in the Play of the Week.
4. Brockton (8-1) -- A week off lets the Boxers rest up a bit as they prepare to lock up the Big 3 title and a postseason berth. One leftover note from last week, courtesy of USA Today:
Rod Wotton of St. Thomas Aquinas (Dover, N.H.) became the winningest high school football coach in New England on Saturday after his Saints defeated Fall Mountain, 26-16, for Wotton's 323rd career victory.
He began coaching at South Berwick (Maine) in 1964 and won 231 games there. He passed former Brockton and Archbishop Williams coach Armond Colombo.
5. Gloucester (9-0) -- All that stands between the Fishermen and an undefeated regular season are two opponents with a combined 4-13 record.
6. Dartmouth (8-1) -- One goal down with another Old Colony League crown secured. Indians can confidently turn their attention to Brockton (should the Boxers prevail this week).
7. Weymouth (9-0) -- On a Sunday in which a number of highly touted squads stumbled, Weymouth found a way to emerge with a 10-7 overtime win over upset-minded Needham.
8. Chelmsford (8-1) -- Regardless of the conditions, the Lions were downright dominating in allowing Central Catholic a mere 11 yards of total offense in the second half of a 12-0 victory Saturday.
9. Wayland (8-1) -- Wayland looks to have turned a four-team race for the Dual County League crown into a three-way sprint with a thrashing of once-beaten Westford Academy.
10. Woburn (7-2) -- Tanners need a little help from Reading and/or Wakefield after being unable to take care of Melrose on their own.
A few thoughts on the rest of the latest Top 20: Holliston tumbles to No. 19 with its loss to Bellingham, but the Panthers remain in the driver's seat in the Tri-Valley League. A Turkey Day showdown with Westwood should ultimately decide who's moving on as Medfield has finished the tougher portion of its schedule and needs help from the Wolverines... Swampscott muscles its way onto the top 20. With a lone loss to undefeated Gloucester, the Big Blue have proven they belong amongst the region's brass... Marshfield slips back a bit after falling to Plymouth North, but could rise again if they can rebound in this week's Atlantic Coast League showdown against undefeated Dennis-Yarmouth.
Play of the Week
A short field gave BC High an opportunity during the fourth quarter of Friday's battle with Catholic Conference rival Xaverian. Tom Conley gave the Eagles a chance.
Let's set the table: Trailing 3-0, the Eagles took over at the Xaverian 36 following a shanked punt with 9:44 remaining in the game. A fumbled exchange led to a third-and-9 situation, but Conley made a spectacular grab to move the chains and set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Kyle Ewanouski.
Here's how we described it Friday: Facing third and 9 from the Xaverian 35, (quarterback Billy) Kiley faked to running back Brian Sullivan (who then picked up a blitzing backer from the left) before rolling to his right and finding tight end Conley on a drag route from the opposite side of the field. Conley managed to get behind Robert Crossen in zone coverage, while Paul Asack couldn't peel off his man fast enough to stop the 16-yard hook-up to the Xaverian 19.
A clutch play by both quarterback and receiver that allowed BC High to put its lone points on the board and emerge with the program's biggest win in recent years.
Not only has Springsteen stood the test of time (remember, he was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1975 as "Rock's New Sensation") but three decades later he's still rocking harder than ever.
And nothing impresses the crew at Further Review more than someone who puts on a lengthy and enjoyable live show. It's one thing to play a three-hour show. It's another to rock for three hours. And by all accounts Springsteen, even at age 58, continues to rock harder than most bands half his age (most of which struggle to put together 90 serviceable minutes on stage).
We haven't taken in a Springsteen show yet, but it's on our list of things to do. Born in the USA remains one of the most endearing albums from our childhood (did you know it was the first album ever printed on a CD?) and we smile every time "Glory Days" plays following a Patriots win, or any time we see Courtney Cox pulled onstage during the "Dancing in the Dark" video.
But the album we're focusing on here is Magic. Springsteen and his E Street Band drop by with a copy of The Boss's 15th studio recording to help us recap Week 9:
As usual, check out the Globe's Stars of the Week for more top performances from Week 9.
1. Radio Nowhere -- The catchy lead single from the new album includes the lines, "I was driving through the misty rain, Yeah, searching for a mystery train, Bopping through the wild blue, Trying to make a connection with you." Sounds exactly like what Chelmsford was doing Saturday night at rain-soaked Veterans Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Quarterback Tim Rich guided his squad on a late first-half drive that concluded with a 19-yard touchdown connection with Mike Murphy that fueled a 12-0 triumph over host Central Catholic. Combined with Billerica's loss Sunday, the Lions are the conductors of the MVC Express.
2. You'll Be Comin' Down -- This track includes the lines, "Like a thief on Sunday morning, It all falls apart with no warning." We're looking at you, Frank Mogavero. The South Shore standout burst through the line and dropped Blue Hills quarterback Dave Shea before he could even hand the ball off on a potential game-tying, 2-point conversion late in the Vikings' 16-14 triumph that knocked the Warriors from the ranks of the unbeatens. Mogavero rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while also reeling in a 33-yard touchdown pass in the win.
3. Livin' in the Future -- We'll go ahead and bestow this one upon Chris Hanoian after Seekonk's 220-pound bowling ball of a running back rushed for three scores in a 26-0 win over Old Rochester. Now the Warriors are "livin' in the future" as they wrapped up the South Coast Conference title and the school's first-ever playoff berth.
4. Your Own Worst Enemy -- The song includes the lines, "You can't sleep at night, You can't dream your dream, Your fingerprints on file, Left clumsily at the scene." Okay, so he wasn't his own worst enemy, but Nick Schwieger sure left his prints all over the scene of Bishop Feehan's 36-7 triumph over Durfee as he rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Not surprisingly,when he interecepted a pass during the game, he also returned that for a score.
5. Gypsy Biker -- Springsteen includes the lyric, "And now I'm out counting white lines." He wasn't talking about the type on a football field, but Canton sophomore Jordan Guyton certainly saw plenty of them passing below him Friday while rushing for 230 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs topped Sharon, 28-18.
6. Girls in Their Summertime Clothes -- This track includes the lines, "Fluorescent lights, Flicker above Bob's Grill." Up in Peabody, the lights in the Bishop Fenwick scoreboard seem to flicker every time Bobby Tarr touches the ball. The senior back eclipsed 5,000 yards for his career with a prototypical performance Saturday night: 221 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-16 win over Archbishop Williams.
7. I'll Work for Your Love -- In Wilmington, they worked hard to stay on top of the Cape Ann Large. Kyle Moon tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Corey Groves before Stephen Stewart's 27-yard field goal propelled the Wildcats to a 10-7 triumph over North Andover. Wilmington holds a half-game lead over three other squads atop the conference. All squads have one league loss.
8. Magic -- The folks at Plymouth North had a little magic in them Sunday as the Eagles rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to stun Marshfield, 14-13. Little Tommy Carr (he estimates his height at 5 feet, 2 inches) came up with the big score: a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:29 remaining. Joe Flynn's pivotal PAT proved to be the winning point.
9. Last to Die -- This song includes the line, "We took the highway till the road went black." Sorta sounds like the mere 10 remaining teams on our 2007 undefeated bus. Kudos to Weymouth, which endured a nail-biter against Needham, but Royce Terrell came up with the big defensive play (a forced fumble and recovery in OT) that led to Peter Gosselin's winning field goal in a 10-7 victory.
10. Long Walk Home -- The folks in Tewksbury made it a very long bus ride home for Billerica. The Redmen looked like the Greatest Show on Grass as they piled up nearly 300 yards of total offense before the intermission and ultimately scored on six drives in a 41-14 thrashing of Billerica. We'll spotlight Justin Torname, who set the tone with a 57-yard reception on the game's first play from scrimmage (it would have been an 80-yard touchdown pass if not for an illegal block). Torname later hauled in touchdown passes of 59 and 13 yards from quarterback Chris Texiera.
11. Devil's Arcade -- Up in Burlington, the Red Devils probably would have preferred a trip to the arcarde over the 34-27 upset handed to them by Stoneham Friday. The Spartans watched quarterback Richie Abkarian pass for a trio of scores (including the winner: a 65-yard bomb to Chris Richmond in the fourth quarter), while adding another on the ground. Stoneham, which endured seven consecutive losses to start the season, has now won two in a row.
First, a look back at last week's results:
Which of these top 20 teams is next to fall?
One week after being voted the most likely undefeated to fall next, Dennis-Yarmouth earns another dubious distinction by reeling in 44.4 percent of the votes in this week's poll. The Dolphins continue to defy the pundits as, not only do they remain undefeated at 9-0, but escalated in the top 20 this past week. Hingham drew in 13.3 percent to finish second, while three others (Acton-Boxboro, Masconomet, and Walpole tied with 11.1 percent). Only Masco fell this past week.
Who will earn the Merrimack Valley Conference's postseason berth?
Even before things shook down a bit in the MVC during Week 9, 51.5 percent of the pollsters thought Chelmsford would wear the conference crown. Billerica finished second with 36.4 percent of the votes, but a tough loss to Tewksbury leaves the Indians needing some serious help to get back in the race.
This week's poll questions:
Some leftover notes from South Shore's surprising 16-14 victory over Blue Hills that didn't make it into the game story:
But the Warriors couldn't make anything of it. A false start penalty made it first and 15, and then yet another poor pitch on the jet play (the last time Blue Hills would run the play) made it second and 23. An incompletion brought up a long third-down situation, and Nelson picked up 12 yards to make it a more manageable fourth and 11. But when a deep pass intended for Riley Melo was broken up on a great play by a South Shore defensive back, the Vikings took over at the Blue Hills 25 and 2:49 left on the clock.
Football Monday becomes Football Tuesday this week due to the rains that pushed much of Saturday's slate to Sunday during Week 9.
We'll check back tomorrow morning with all the goods you've come to expect each week, including an updated undefeated bus, top 20, and stars of the week. We'll also have the weekly Further Review column.
Hop over to High School Sports Central to check out our extensive coverage from Sunday's football and tournament action. We were at three of the day's biggest football upsets (Tewksbury, Plymouth North, and South Shore), along with a soccer match (Acton-Boxboro vs. St. John's Prep) and the MSTCA Coaches Invitational in Wrentham.
Our two fall Player Diaries have also been updated as Mansfield football standout Mike McPherson recaps his team's win over Hockomock rival North Attleboro, and Ursuline Academy volleyball star Caitlin Burchill talks about preparing for the postseason.
We're uploading second-half scoring highlights and then postgame reaction from Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward. Click the link above to watch both clips as they become available.
Unbelievable effort by Tewksbury today. The offense looked as good as any we've seen this season (dare we call it, Patriot like) as the Redmen moved the ball into the end zone or red zone on its first four drives of the game and eight of their 10 possessions overall (scoring on six of them).
Unofficially, quarterback Chris Texiera finished 8 of 11 passing for 181 yards and 3 TDs. Derek Lowe added 118 yards on 20 carries and scored a pair of short-yardage touchdowns in the odd-numbered quarters.
The Tewksbury win leaves Chelmford with a two-game cushion atop the Merrimack Valley Conference. A triumph next week over Dracut puts the Lions through to the postseason and ensures sole possession of the conference crown (a victory over Billerica on Thanksgiving Day would do the same).
More highlights to come later today.
(Many thanks to our eagled-eye readers who spotted our mistake in the headline earlier. It was indeed Billerica that Tewksbury throttled, not Chelmsford.
Even with a rash of second-teamers in the game, Tewksbury can't stop scoring points.
Junior backup quarterback Ron Wallace lofted a 23-yard touchdown pass to Mike Hood on a fourth-down play for the Redmen's latest score.
We'll check back in a bit with postgame reaction and more highlights.
Justin Torname hauled in a 13-yard fade from Chris Teixera with 6:07 to play and Tewksbury has increased its lead over shell-shocked Billerica to 35-14.
Huge four-down, goal line stand by Billerica.
Tewksbury still on top by two scores.
A 2-yard touchdown run by Derek Lowe early in the third quarter has Tewksbury on top, 28-14, moving to the fourth frame.
Tewksbury has the ball at the Billerica 12, looking to punch in another score.
Video of the five first-half scoring plays are uploading. Keep checking the video link above to see highlights from the first half.
Great matchup here so far. Tewksbury has moved the ball at will, but Billerica is using the big play to keep itself in the game.
Billerica QB Timmy Morrison is 5 of 11 passing for 130 yards and 2 TDs, while Tewksbury QB Chris Texeira is 5 of 9 passing for 153 yards and 2 TDs.
The difference is the rushing attack and Tewksbury is winning that behind the rumbling of bit Derek Lowe, who posted 70 yards on 10 trots and has a touchdown.
More to come in the second half.
Tewksbury's offense put up just under 300 yards of total offense in the first half and the Redmen lead visiting Billerica, 21-14, at the intermission.
More to come in a bit, including highlights.
Derek Lowe punctuated an 8-play, 65-yard scoring march with a 1-yard plunge late in the first quarter and Tewksbury -- having scored on its first two possessions -- leads Billerica, 14-7, moving to the second quarter.
Kyle Higgins 31-yard touchdown pass from Tim Morrison ties it.
Tewksbury scored on its first possession and leads Billerica, 7-0, after a 10-yard touchdown pass from Chris Texeira to Mike Hanifin.
Much better conditions today (57 degrees, little windy) than yesterday (monsoon) as Billerica prepares to meet Tewksbury in a Merrimack Valley Conference clash.
Back with more after kickoff.
With Chelmsford and Billerica on course for a Thanksgiving Day clash, we're headed back to Merrimack Valley Conference country this afternoon as the ninth-ranked Indians visit Tewksbury in one of their final hurdles to setting up a winner-take-all battle with the Lions later this month.
Chelmsford (8-1, 6-0) took care of business Saturday night in the rain, dropping host Central Catholic, 12-0, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Billerica (7-1, 4-1) can ill afford a loss today as the Lions would need only a win in one of their final two games to clinch the conference crown if the Indians were to stumble.
If both teams win their remaining games, it would set up a Thanksgiving Day showdown with the league's postseason ticket up for grabs.
The biggest remaining challenge for Billerica comes today in the form of a very dangerous Tewksbury squad. The Redmen endured losses to Andover and Chelmsford earlier in the season and looked to be fading from the Merrimack Valley Conference race, but a win today would keep their title hopes alive.
Consecutive wins over Central Catholic and Dracut (the team Billerica lost to) sends the Redmen in with some momentum.
Kickoff is set for noon. We'll check back with in-game updates and we'll have highlights.
A quick recap, then we'll check back with some postgame reaction and more highlights in a bit:
chelmsford 12, central catholic 0
Emanouil's TD return provides spark for Lions
LAWRENCE -- Chelmsford senior Nick Emanouil just wanted to get warm.
Concerned his team might come out sluggish to start the second half thanks to chilly conditions at rain-soaked Veterans Memorial Stadium, Emanouil warmed both himself and the Lions up with a 90-yard touchdown return on the half's opening kickoff.
Chelmsford's defense took care of the rest, limiting host Central Catholic to a mere 11 yards of total offense over the final 22 minutes en route to a 12-0 triumph in a Merrimack Valley Conference clash.
Rains and high winds generated by the remnants of Hurricane Noel ripping through the region led to a sloppy and offensively anemic first half. Chelmsford didn't even have a first down until it put together a 6-play, 53-yard scoring drive after recovering a Central fumble with under four minutes to play in the second quarter.
A big 24-yard jaunt by senior running back Lewis Bailey moved those chains and the Lions into Central territory after Drew Metraw had pounced on a Central fumble at the Chelmsford 47 on the previous play.
Quarterback Tim Rich utilized a pair of short runs -- evading what should have been a sack on second down, then picking up a pivotal first down with a third-down rush -- to again move the chains. Two plays later, Rich lofted a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Murphy with 52.6 seconds remaining in the half.
Central had a golden opportunity early, marching to the Chelmsford 12 late in the first quarter. But a 23-yard loss when Willy Brown sacked Raiders quarterback Shain Jowett ultimately led to a long field goal attempt that was well off the mark (short and wide).
Central never advanced past the Chelmsford 46 the rest of the game, and never crossed midfield in the second half (its furthest penetration of the second half being to its own 47 before turning the ball over on downs.
Bailey finished with 95 yards on 16 carries as the workhorse for the Lions. Rich completed just 2 of 7 passes for 25 yards, but had the big touchdown pass.
The Lions kept Mike Leavitt in check, holding the All-Scholastic back to 65 yards on 17 carries. Leavitt mustered only 4 yards in the second half (he added a reception for 7 yards).
Jowett completed 3 of 9 attempts for a mere 10 yards and was intercepted. Enduring the big sack in the first quarter was his biggest mistake, but heavy pressure from Brown prevented him from scrambling outside the pocket to unload the ball.
It's a final. Back with more in a bit.
Chelmsford turns the ball over on downs at the Central 41 with 1:45 to play.
The Lions remain on top, 12-0.
Lewis Bailey intercepts Shain Jowett on the first play of the next series and this one appears to be just about over.
After a penalty filled drive, in which Chelmsford faced first and 32 from its own 45 at one point, the Lions have punted the ball away.
Central takes over at its own 28, trailing by two scores, with 6:28 to play.
Lions lead it, 12-0, over Central Catholic.
Central Catholic mustered -9 yards of total offense in the third quarter and Shain Jowett was intercepted by Evan Sheridan late in the frame.
Chelmsford has the ball on its own 37 moving to the fourth frame.
A 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by senior Nick Emanouil has helped Chelmsford expand its lead over Central Catholic to 12-0 just seconds into the second half.
A 2-point conversion pass failed.
Mike Murphy reeled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tim Rich in the final minute of the first half and Chelmsford leads host Central Catholic, 6-0, at the intermission.
Chelmsford didn't have a single first down until its scoring drive. Taking over at its own 47 after recovering a fumble, running back Lewis Bailey broke free on a 24-yard jaunt. Rich picked up a pivotal first down with a 4-yard sneak on third and 3 (the play before, where Rich avoided a sack and turned it into a 4-yard gain might have been even more pivotal).
On second and 11 from the 19, Rich gave a little play-fake to Bailey as Murphy ran a post and slipped behind the secondary before reeling in the touchdown pass over his left shoulder in the middle of the end zone.
Central's Mike Amaral blocked the PAT to keep Chelmsford on top, 6-0.
Central moved the ball in the first half, particularly behind the running of All-Scholastic Mike Leavitt, who carried 14 times for 61 yards. The Raiders missed out on points when a 32-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first quarter sailed well wide and short of its mark.
The Raiders had marched to the Chelmsford 14 on that drive before stalling thanks in large part to a back-breaking 23-yard loss when quarterback Shain Jowett was sacked by Willy Brown on first and 10 from the Chelmsford 12.
Lions lead it, 6-0, at the intermission.
Back with more, including the video highlight of the lone first-half score.
Mike Murphy reeled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tim Rich with 52.6 seconds to play in the first half and the Lions lead host Central Catholic, 6-0.
The PAT was blocked by Central's Mike Amaral.
More to come at the half.
Chelmsford has run a mere 15 plays in four series and does not have a first down.
The Lions inherited their best field position of the day after a short punt gave them the ball at the Central 45, but a fake punt on fourth and 6 came up two yards short and Chelmsford turned the ball over on downs.
Central Catholic missed out on another golden opportunity late in the first quarter.
After driving to the Chelmsford 12, quarterback Shain Jowett took a tough 23-yard sack on first down. The Raiders advanced back to the Chelmsford 14, but a field goal on the final play of the first quarter sailed well wide and short of its mark.
Scoreless moving to the second quarter.
Central had a golden opportunity early on after recovering a Tim Rich fumble at the Chelmsford 34. The Raiders turned the ball right back over on downs just four plays later.
Not much offense so far as the weather is keeping things quiet through the air.
Welcome to Veterans Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, where No. 10 Chelmsford visits Central Catholic tonight.
On a night day all but a handful of locals ran for shelter as the remnants of Hurricane Noel rip through the Bay State, these two Merrimack Valley Conference are set to tangle in a steady rain that should make things interesting. Sure, we've got a synthetic surface up here that, from previous experiences, drains well enough, but the slick track and slippery ball is sure to cause a few fits this evening.
We're reminder of a similar contest last year when a previously up-and-down Lowell squad stunned No. 11 Central Catholic, 13-10, in the rain here last year.
Could Central Catholic flip that script on the Lions tonight?
I suppose it depends on which Central squad shows up tonight. Will it be the Raider squad that endured a tough 30-27 loss to Tewksbury two weeks ago, or the Central squad that laid a 43-0 hurting on an undermanned Lowell squad last week?
Chelmsford comes in off a lopsided win over rival Andover, and wins tonight against Central and next week against Dracut could set up a winner-take-all battle with Billerica on Thanksgiving Day.
The Lions thrived last week in utilizing the pass (particularly to Mike Murphy) to convert some huge third downs and move the chains, which helped them hang 43 points on Andover.
We don't think either teams is headed for the 40s tonight and the conditions should keep it close early on.
If we're offering up a pregame prediction, we'll take Chelmsford by a touchdown. Remember, even last week the Lions didn't motor away until the fourth quarter. We think Central needs to put points on the board early to prevent playing from behind (like it had to against Billerica earlier this year), or else the Lions could separate themselves earlier.
We're going to pass along as many updates as Mother Nature allows and we'll be filming highlights that we'll pass along throughout the night.
Stay tuned for more from Lawrence.
Inclement weather has caused postponements across the region. Four games appear to still be going on today, including a Merrimack Valley Conference battle tonight as Central Catholic hosts No. 9 Chelmsford at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
If the game is played, we'll be making the trek to Lawrence to bring you updates (as the weather allows) and video highlights. The games reportedly still being played today:
The list of postponements:
A handful of leftover thoughts following BC High's 7-3 triumph over Xaverian Friday night:
On its first drive of the second half, after Shea Reardon gave his team optimum field position following a long kickoff return, Xaverian again walked away empty handed despite marching to the BC High 17. A swarm of BC High linemen and linebackers ripped Mellett down inches short of a first down forcing another turnover on downs.
Two missed opportunities. Two potential field goals for strong-footed kicker Paul Asack.
Quarterback Billy Kiley, nursing an injured hand, fumbled an exchange on the final play of the first quarter, which gave the ball to Xaverian after the Eagles had just picked up a new set of downs at the Hawks 25.
Another fumble (recovered by BC High) helped stall another potential scoring drive in the second quarter after BC High advanced to the Xaverian 32. In the third quarter, the Eagles rumbled to the Xaverian 33 before a tackle for a loss on third down forced them to punt (a touchback meant a net of only 16 yards on the kick).
Finally, in the final minute of that third frame, after taking over at the Xaverian 20 following the first of two shanked punts, BC High squandered yet another scoring chance as a poorly executed fake-punt pass led to a turnover on downs (two receivers were open on the opposite side of the field that Kiley rolled to, but an illegible man penalty would have negated a completion, regardless).
Facing third and 9 from the Xaverian 35, Kiley faked to Brian Sullivan (who then picked up a blitzing backer from the left) before rolling to his right and finding tight end Conley on a drag route from the opposite side of the field. Conley managed to get behind Robert Crossen in zone coverage, while Paul Asack couldn't peel off his man fast enough to stop the 16-yard hook-up to the Xaverian 19.
Here's an early look at the stories you'll see in Saturday's Boston Globe.
By Pat Ouellette, Globe Correspondent
MANSFIELD - Mansfield coach Mike Redding has used Mike Abany mainly as an offensive weapon this season but it was his tackle of North Attleboro's Dan Rayburg on fourth- and-2 with three minutes left while playing linebacker that Redding called the key to the Hornets' 21-14 victory over the Red Rocketeers.
Abany's tackle gave Mansfield the ball at the North Attleboro 36-yard line and a 35-yard pass from Mark Gilson to David Westhaver set up Abany for a 1-yard score.
"Mike Abany was huge tonight," Redding said.
"He stepped up in an important situation for us and gave us the ball on a short field."
By Rob Greenfield, Globe Correspondent
Almost one year ago, BC High traveled to Xaverian with an 8-0 record and the team-to-beat label for Catholic Conference foes. A 41-6 loss to the Hawks Nov. 4, 2006, spoiled a perfect season for coach Ron St. George and the Boston birds.
But history didn't repeat this year. The Eagles, 9-0 overall and 2-0 against the Catholic Conference, escaped with a 7-3 win at home against the Hawks last night.
BC High running backs Kyle Ewanouski and Brian Sullivan combined for 141 yards rushing on 24 carries in a hard-fought win.
"Defense wins championships," St. George told his team after the game. "And it was defense that won it again tonight."
For Xaverian, it was a lost opportunity. The Hawks led for most of the game, controlling the clock and keeping the BC High ground game on the sidelines. But 3 points wouldn't hold up against the Eagles' offense.
Despite hurting itself with five penalties for 45 yards, BC High finally took charge with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles began their winning drive on Xaverian's 37 with 9:22 left after a punt deflection resulted in a 21-yard kick.
Ewanouski went 4 yards up the gut. A botched snap led to a fumble but the Eagles recovered, and quarterback Billy Kiley connected on a 15-yard play-action pass to Tom Conley on third and 7.
Sullivan took it up the middle for a tough 11 yards on the ensuing play, and Ewanouski finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown rush for a 6-3 lead.
It was a demoralizing turn of events for the Hawks, who blanked BC High (a team averaging over 34 points per game) for more than three quarters.
"They have a tough defense," St. George said. "And we knew it. They're quick and athletic, and they get to the ball."
After a scoreless first quarter concluded in just over 15 real-time minutes, the Hawks had established themselves as a legitimate threat to BC High's undefeated season again. In the second quarter, the Hawks executed a textbook drive that ate up more than half of the quarter.
Xaverian began on its 20, and quarterback Anthony Varrichione kick-started things with consecutive completions, to Matt Guay for 6 yards and to out Tomas Kearney for 11 up the right sideline.
Xaverian's biggest offensive play was a run by fullback Paul Freeman inside left guard for 28 yards after he broke free down the left sideline. The Hawks continued to test BC High's quickness on the exterior on sweeps outside the tackles, and Freeman took two more carries for 15 yards before the drive stalled.
Paul Asack nailed a 36-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the second quarter, and the Hawks hopped into the visiting locker room with a 3-point lead over the mighty Eagles.
In the end, however, Xaverian couldn't recapture the 2006 magic, and BC High remained one of two undefeated teams in Division 1.
By Ricky Popolizio, Globe Correspondent
WESTFORD - The mess that was a four-way tie atop the Dual County League was tidied up a bit last night. No. 12 Wayland visited Westford in a matchup of division leaders, but only the Warriors had much left in the tank by the end of their 20-0 win.
Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxboro also won last night to remain even with Wayland in the loss column in league play.
The Grey Ghosts (7-2, 4-2) had just two first downs and went three-and-out three times in the first half, while Wayland (8-1, 6-1) worked with great field position and benefited from a lack of execution by Westford.
As the Warriors' second drive seemingly came to an end at their 45, Westford was flagged for a 15-yard penalty. Three plays later, with Wayland facing a fourth and 1, the defensive line jumped early and the Warriors again were awarded an automatic first down. The Grey Ghosts were bailed out by senior Riley O'Keefe, who sacked Jeff Brewington on second and 14, forcing third and long.
Looking to push back in the game of field position, Westford began from its 10 and worked out to the 22. Then, on third and 8, senior Steve Demaras (10 of 22, 132 yards, 2 interceptions) found Ian McEnaney on a quick slant through the middle. McEnaney raced 57 yards before he was chased down by senior Mike Mitchell just outside the 20-yard line. Mitchell came over the top to strip the ball and Wayland recovered, terminating Westford's best scoring chance.
"That was a momentum-shifter right there," said Wayland coach Scott Parseghian. "Who knows what would have happened if they got seven there."
As Wayland threatened at the Westford 24 with less than a minute to play, junior Justin Belinsky nearly picked off a pass by Jeff Brewington (12 of 19, 137 yards, TD) on second down. Then, on fourth and 2 at the 22, Westford jumped offside. Brewington threw incomplete three times before senior Brian Harvey drilled a 34-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining.
Harvey scored the first points of the second half as well, hitting a 38-yarder.
Brian Flynn (20 carries, 170 yards, TD) and the Warriors weren't done, driving 70 yards on their next possession, culminating with a 26-yard connection from Brewington to Julian Ponsetto.
Ponsetto, who also played well in the secondary, took advantage of a perfect 24-yard pump-fake pass by Brewington on the next drive. Flynn then followed his blocks 41 yards for another score.
By Matt Porter, Globe Correspondent
MATTAPOISETT - Even though he was doused in ice water in 40 degree weather, Seekonk coach Dave Morgado wasn't cold at all following the Warriors' 26-0 blanking of Old Rochester. The win clinched the South Coast Conference title, and Seekonk's first MIAA playoff berth.
"It's unbelievable," said Morgado, after toweling off. "Unbelievable."
Seekonk (8-0, 7-0) uses fakes and counters to keep opponents guessing who will carry. But last night, there was no question who Old Rochester had to stop.
Chris Hanoian, a 220-pound bull of a runner, romped over the Bulldogs (5-4, 5-1). He found the end zone three times, and added a conversion rush. He steamrolled opposing tacklers from start to finish.
"He ran like a man possessed today," said Morgado. "Absolutely ran like a man possessed."
Teammate Alex Lyman added a touchdown in the third quarter.
Seekonk's defense, who came in allowing a tidy 4.7 points per game, posted its fifth shutout of the season, and its fourth on the road. It bottled up Bulldogs star back Franck Tebou, who struggled to get through an experienced Warriors front.
Morgado said his squad did it all.
"Defensively we did a good job, and we had the field position [on offense]," he said. "And when you have a kid running on you like that, every time it's like a punch to the teeth."
The teams started off like prizefighters feeling each other out. Then Seekonk threw it all at Old Rochester, and took them out of the fight.
After Old Rochester made a goal-line stand to end the first quarter, it was forced to punt, and the Warriors made haste downfield. They got to the ORR 13 in six plays, then Hanoian took the handoff and bowled over Zach Choquette on his way to the score.
Old Rochester again punted, but Choquette intercepted Josh Rosa's deep ball, and the Bulldogs were only down, 6-0, through the half.
But Seekonk threw the knockout blow to start the third quarter.
Bobby Jeannotte returned the kickoff to the Seekonk 39, and seconds later, Hanoian rumbled 61 yards for a 12-0 lead.
With 3:20 left in the third, Lyman pounded in a 22-yard run for an 18-0 lead.
Old Rochester punted again, and Seekonk marched downfield to set up Hanoian's 3-yard touchdown.
"The way we played tonight was the same way we've played against Apponequet, the same way we played against Wareham," said Morgado. "Just flat-out taking it to you."
The win was another step in the Warriors' colossal turnaround. Long the bottom-feeders of the SCC, they've romped undefeated thus far. For Hanoian, it's the first taste of success at Seekonk.
"I remember coming here as a freshman, and the program wasn't too hot," he said. "We really put a lot of work in, and we made it what it is today. And that's because of Coach."
By James Schneider, Globe Correspondent
Holliston and Abington went into last night's games hoping to stay undefeated, but their opponents had different plans last night.
The Panthers and Green Wave came into their games as the only undefeated teams in Division 3, but were knocked off by conference foes.
Holliston lost to Bellingham, 13-8, on a 19-yard touchdown run by Rich Barche in the fourth quarter.
Dave Showdale threw a touchdown pass and ran 75 yards for a clinching score as Cohasset denied Abington, 20-6.
Abington and Holliston still control their destinies, but the upsets made things much more interesting as the season winds down.
In ISL action, previously undefeated Buckingham Browne & Nichols fell to Thayer, 40-14, to put an end to its perfect season.
Greater Boston: Everett 34, Medford 6 - Joe Conti threw for two touchdowns and Isaac Johnson rushed for two.
Cambridge 14, Somerville 0 - Ray Doucette threw two touchdown passes.
Old Colony: Bridgewater-Raynham 21, Barnstable 7 - Rob Cormier's 2-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown capped a 21-point run by Bridgewater-Raynham, which improved to 2-1 in the league.
Dartmouth 41, Attleboro 6 - Jordan Todman ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
Nonleague: Malden 16, Bedford 13 - Renan Silva's 16-yard field goal with six seconds remaining won the game for Malden.
Bishop Feehan 36, Durfee 7 - Nicholas Schwieger scored five straight touchdowns for Bishop Feehan.
Dual County: Newton South 33, Boston Latin 6 - Isiah Quinones caught a touchdown pass and ran for one in the first quarter.
Lincoln-Sudbury 31, Concord-Carlisle 7 - Jason Roth threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one as Lincoln-Sudbury improved to 7-2.
Acton-Boxboro 20, Tyngsboro 0 - Trevor Jeanson ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Merrimack Valley: Andover 42, Methuen 12 - Mike Pierce was 12 of 14 passing for 159 yards and four touchdowns, and added 72 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Dracut 42, Lowell 6 - Jordan Murphy had 118 yards receiving, 75 yards rushing, and two TDs.
Atlantic Coast Dennis-Yarmouth 28, Falmouth 18 - Joe Jamiel added two touchdowns to his Division 1A leading total as Dennis-Yarmouth stayed unbeaten.
Hockomock: Franklin 19, Stoughton 7 - Matt Carini's 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the game away for Franklin (7-2).
Foxboro 45, King Philip 7 - Brian Swanton threw two touchdown passes to lead Foxboro.
Middlesex Woburn 26, Lexington 13 - Chris Martin ran for two touchdowns and caught one while Dan McLaughlin threw for two scores.
Patriot: Rockland 40, Pembroke 0 - Corey McCauley scored Rockland's first two TDs on a 3-yard run and a 50-yard punt return, and James Gonsalves added two scores.
Cape Ann Large: Wilmington 10, North Andover 7 - Wilmington rallied in the fourth quarter on Kyle Moon's touchdown pass and Stephen Stewart's 27-yard field goal.
Northeastern Large: Gloucester 48, Lynn English 8 - Andrew Fulford ran for two touchdowns for undefeated Gloucester.
Boston North: Madison Park 20, Charlestown 0 - Davaughn Goss ran for 165 yards and a touchdown.
East Boston 36, Boston English 8 - Andrew Swain ran for two touchdowns for East Boston, which had more than 400 yards of total offense.
South Boston 38, West Roxbury 32 - Daquan Hill had three touchdowns, including the winner in overtime.
Commonwealth Large: Shawsheen 33, Lynn Tech 6 - Sophomores Chris Clark (124 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Cory Foss (118 yards, 2 touchdowns) led Shawsheen (7-1).
Cape Ann Small: Newburyport 47, Ipswich 21 - Joe Clancy threw for 108 yards and a touchdown and ran one in as Newburyport (6-3) cruised.
Boston South: Dorchester 16, Burke 0 - Eric Lott scored his 16th touchdown of the year on a 74-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Dorchester improved to 7-1.
O'Bryant 16, Hyde Park 6 - David Mahoney and Chris Parkins each rushed for a touchdown as O'Bryant (4-5) crept closer to .500.
Brighton 32, Boston Latin 14 - Kameel Lashley lead his team back from a 14-8 deficit with a touchdown pass (his second) and rush.
Mayflower Small: Nantucket 13, Tri-County 12 - Chris Welch's 5-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Ferreira as time expired won the game for Nantucket (2-5).
Lawrence Academy 26, Governor's Academy 21 - Chris Lane scored twice, including the winning 29-yard touchdown run with 1:30 left.
St. George's 37, St. Paul's 6 - Patrick Guerriero ran for three touchdowns as St. George's improved to 5-2.
Nobles 46, Brooks 15 - Patrick Noone ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns, and McCallum Foote threw for four touchdowns as Nobles (7-0) stayed perfect.
An early look at the tournament roundup you'll find in Saturday's Globe.
friday's tournament roundup
Silva goal is golden for MP
By Julie Gray, Globe Correspondent
Moses Mops tied the game in the final seconds of regulation, and Eric Silva scored five minutes into double overtime as the Madison Park boys' soccer team won its preliminary-round Division 1 North tournament game yesterday, 4-3, over visiting Malden.
Madison Park, which had to forfeit four games this season for using players who were academically ineligible, improved to 12-5-1.
Madison Park dominated the second half and rallied from a 3-1 deficit.
"The second half, we were in control of the game," said coach Joao Gomes.
Mops scored twice in the second half, both on free kicks. Silva scored for Madison Park in the first half.
Division 1 North: Seniors Matt Arquin and Justin Colella scored as St. John's Prep beat Lowell, 2-1 . . . Freshmen Cole DeNormandie and Mike Miele scored in Lincoln-Sudbury's 2-0 victory over Somerville . . . Amin Hadjeres scored two first-half goals and Will Booz added three assists as Cambridge trumped West Roxbury, 5-2.
Division 1 South: Senior David McCoy scored in Catholic Memorial's 2-0 victory over Natick . . . BC High ousted Dartmouth, 1-0.
Division 3 South: Kaveh Khalaj scored in Cardinal Spellman's 2-0 victory over Coyle-Cassidy . . . Trevor Griffin scored with 21 seconds left in Hanover's 1-0 victory over Cohasset . . . Kyle Amicucci scored twice in Old Rochester's 2-1 win over Westport . . . Bourne triumphed over Norwell, 3-2, getting goals from Alex Hartley, Connor Gordon, and Tim Parsons.
Division 1 North: Following two overtimes, Winchester beat Woburn, 4-3, in a shootout . . . Erika Digiacomo scored with 30 seconds left to lift Peabody to a 4-3 victory over Lowell.
Division 1 South: Katherine Horn scored two goals in Needham's 4-2 win over King Philip . . . Emily Milane scored her 16th goal of the year and Chevonne Karneel had 10 saves in North Quincy's 1-0 victory over Falmouth.
Division 2 South: Patrice Vettor had one goal and two assists as Dedham defeated Fairhaven, 4-1 . . . Melissa Anderson scored three minutes into double overtime, lifting Hingham past Mansfield, 1-0.
Division 3 North: Briana Barker and Maria Piteridis each scored twice as St. Mary's shut out Maimonides, 9-0 Junior Aimee Coburn scored four goals in Weston's 4-1 victory over Tyngsboro.
Division 1 North: Maggie Ashton scored and added an assist as Acton-Boxboro bounced Lowell, 4-2 . . . Andover beat Peabody, 3-0, getting goals from Sarah Oteri, Brittany Isenhort, and Nicole Gagnon . . . Katie Boringa scored twice in North Andover's 4-1 win over Westford Academy.
Division 1 South: Joanna Timmons scored twice as Notre Dame of Hingham shut out Dartmouth, 4-0 . . . Taylor Silvestro had two goals and an assist as Walpole dismissed Mansfield, 4-0.
Division 2 North: Sophomore Angela Arakelian's goal lifted Lynnfield to a 1-0 win over Saugus . . . Lee Stroman scored twice as Manchester Essex beat Watertown, 3-0 . . . Libby Levine had seven saves and Tori Snow scored as Marblehead beat Belmont, 1-0.
Division 2 South: Jessi Gould's hat trick pushed Canton to 5-0 win over Holliston . . . Meg Peck and Lindsey Pitts scored as West Bridgewater ousted Foxboro, 2-1 . . . Senior Jenny Boudrow scored both goals as Dedham defeated Apponequet, 2-0.
Division 3 North: Kasha Przybylsha had 11 service points and eight aces in Presentation of Mary's 3-0 victory over Whittier.
Here's a short photo gallery featuring some shots from the BC High-Xaverian battle:
We'll be updating the blog as we get scores in, so keep checking in with us all night.
Wayland 20, Westford 0 (Final) - Julian Ponsetto ran for a 26-yard touchdown and Brian Flynn ran one in from 41 yards out to give Wayland a comfortable lead.
Mansfield 21, North Attleboro 14 (Final) - Much like last year, Mansfield prevails on the strength of a late score.
Seekonk 26, Old Rochester 0 (HALF) - Chris Hanoian had all four touchdowns for Seekonk, who clinched the South Coast League title.
South Boston 38, West Roxbury 32 — Daquan Hill had three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. West Roxbury fell to 0-4 in league play while South Boston improved to 2-1.
Shawsheen 33, Lynn Tech 6 — Sophomores Chris Clark (124 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Cory Foss (118 yards, 2 touchdowns) led Shawsheen (7-1).
Nobles 46, Brooks 15 — Patrick Noone ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while McCallum Foote threw for four touchdowns as Nobles (7-0) stayed perfect.
We're uploading highlights from the game-changing drive during BC High's 7-3 triumph over Xaverian.
In the clip, Xaverian punter Paul Asack handles a bit of a high snap, but his rushed punt attempt hits awkwardly off his right foot and zooms out of bounds at the Hawks 36.
BC High embarks on a five-play scoring drive that features a monster third-down conversion pass from Billy Kiley to Tom Conley (the only completed pass of the night for the Eagles). Facing third-and-9 at the Xaverian 35, Kiley fakes a handoff and rolls to his right before zipping a pass to the leaping Conley for 16 yards and a new set of downs.
Senior captain Brian Sullivan follows with a 12-yard burst and junior Kyle Ewanouski caps the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run behind the left side of the line.
Conor Flaherty adds a pivotal PAT -- forcing Xaverian to go for a touchdown in order to tie the game -- and the Eagles led, 7-3, with 6:42 remaining.
We'll check back with more highlights and analysis throughout the evening.
Kyle Ewanouski picks up the first down and BC High can kneel this one out.
Final score: BC High 7, Xaverian 3.
More highlights to come in a bit.
A BC High holding call on a run that could have put the game away keeps Xaverian in it.
1:16 to go. Eagles are facing 2nd-and-10 at the Xaverian 40.
Xaverian turns the ball over on downs at its own 40.
Hawks have two timeouts and can't give up a first down in order to stay alive in this game.
Another shanked punt for Paul Asack... this time it hurt.
Kyle Ewanouski polished off 5-play, 37-yard trek with a 7-yard touchdown run and BC High leads Xaverian, 7-3, with 6:42 to play.
At this point, you'd think the teams are allergic to scoring.
Xaverian got a brilliant kickoff return by Shea Reardon to open the third quarter. But facing fourth-and-1 from the BC High 17, elected to run the ball instead of kicking the chip shot for kicker Paul Asack (with the wind). BC High came up with its second fourth-down stop of the night.
Later in the quarter, Asack shanked a punt from the Xaverian 20 and the Eagles took over at the same spot (pressure forced him to kick it straight up).
The Eagles endured a 7-yard loss on second down and eventually attempted a fake field goal, that resulted in an incomplete pass (but would have been nullified by an illegal man downfield, anyhow).
We move to the fourth quarter.
Paul Asack boomed a 36-yard field goal into the wind with under a minute to play in the first half and Xaverian leads BC High, 3-0, at the intermission.
Two first-half fumbles short-circuited BC High drives, including a trek to the Xaverian 32 that stalled on a second-down fumble behind the line of scrimmage. The Eagles eventually punted the ball away and Xaverian took the ball for points on its ensuing possession.
It didn't look like it would end that way when Matt Guay got leveled on a swing pass. On the next play, however, fullback Brian Mellett took an inside handoff 38 yards to move the Hawks across midfield.
Four more plays later, Asack sent a bullet that cut through both a stiff wind and the uprights (it would have been good from 40-plus) for the half's only score.
Earlier in the half, BC High marched to the Xaverian 25. With a new set of downs, the Eagles seemed content to let the final seconds of the first half run off the clock. Instead, a miscommunication ensued and BC High fumbled the ball away on the final play of the frame.
Xaverian receives the ball to start the second half.
BC High outgained the Hawks, 115-89, in the first half.
Highlights coming in a bit of Xaverian's scoring drive.
Xaverian's Paul Sack boomed a 36-yard field oal into the wind and Xaverian leads BC High, 3-0, with 53 seconds remaining in the half.
A huge third down run by Paul Freeman has helped Xaverian march to the BC High 14 with 1:14 to play in the half.
Bizarre ending to the first quarter.
BC High was marching after a big fourth-down stop of Xaverian earlier in the quarter, but with just ticks remaining in the frame, a fumbled exchange was recovered by Xaverian at the Hawks' 27.
On to the second frame.
A reminder that we'll be live from James Cotter Field at Viola Stadium tonight as No. 3 BC High hosts No. 21 Xaverian in a Catholic Conference clash at 7 p.m.
You can read our brief take on the game in the Forsberg 5. The lingering effects of Hurricane Noel aren't expected to be fully felt in the Bay State until tomorrow, but winds are supposed to pick up a bit this evening. Considering that BC High feels like a wind tunnel on a calm day, we're led to believe that conditions tonight will discourage both sides from passing.
Despite both team's penchant for running the ball, we think this further plays into the hand of BC High. That said, winds could make field position a premium and the steady leg of Paul Asack could give the Hawks an advantage on that end.
Regardless, should be a phenomenal matchup. We'll have some updates and our usual dose of video highlights. Stay tuned.
Week 9 has started and we're still playing a little catch-up from Week 8. Thank you very much, Red Sox.
Anyhow, click here to check out an updated Boston.com Top 100, which will be updated again before you know it.
In the interest of brevity (hey, we got a game to get to), here are the top 5 teams in each division. We'll be sure to break down the top 10s again next week:
1. Everett (1)
2. BC High (3)
3. Brockton (4)
4. Dartmouth (6)
5. Xaverian (21)
1. Weymouth (7)
2. Marshfield (8)
3. Billerica (9)
4. Chelmsford (10)
5. Wayland (12)
1. Mansfield (2)
2. Woburn (13)
3. Walpole (16)
4. Natick (20)
5. North Attleboro (22)
1. Gloucester (5)
2. Masconomet (17)
3. Hingham (18)
4. Duxbury (25)
5. Wilmington (32)
1. Holliston (11)
2. Abington (26)
3. Swampscott (33)
4. Westwood (39)
5. Medfield (41)
1. Blue Hills (35)
2. Greater Lawrence (36)
3. East Boston (37)
4. Shawsheen (46)
5. Southeastern (54)
1. Brighton (30)
2. Georgetown (45)
3. Dorchester (49)
4. West Bridgewater (52)
5. Marian (57)
1. Weston (90)
A couple of Saturday football games have already been postponed due to the forecast:
Coaches or athletic directors wishing to pass along other postponements can do so by either calling the Globe at (617) 929-2860, or using the comments link at the bottom of this post to send us an update. We will update our database to reflect the new time.
The cross-country championships have also shifted to Sunday, with the MSTCA passing along the following note:
The 32nd annual MSTCA Cross-Country Invitational has been moved to Sunday, Nov 4, due to the weather forecast. We understand everyone's situation, but in the best interest and safety of our student-athletes, we have come to this decision.
Same time schedule will be followed for Sunday with a 9:30am start.
Please refer to www.mstca.org
Keep an eye on the tournament brackets linked off High School Sports Central for postponements to the MIAA tournament games in field hockey and soccer.
With Weymouth securing the first postseason berth of the 2007 season last week by locking up the Bay State Carey title, we have officially entered the home stretch. Twenty-seven league titles (and with them, a ticket to the postseason) remain up for grabs, which means the next 21 days taking us through Thanksgiving are going to be mighty exciting.
The dominoes haven't started falling for a handful of leagues, but that is likely to change as we prepare to kick off Week 9. This is the make-or-break portion of the schedule for most teams across the region and no team can afford even the slightest hiccup.
Before this week's picks, a reminder to join in on our Prep Pick'Em contest. Matthew T. of Columbus, Ohio remains out front with a total of 74 correct selections (out of 96), but bolstered by 11 (out of 12) correct picks last week, this prognosticator has climbed within two and now sits in sole possession of second place with 72 correct selections.
Paul T. of Haverhill (69), Tino V. of Saugus (68), and Rick R. of Stoneham (67) are all within striking distance, while almost 60 total competitors have at least 60 correct picks entering Week 9.
On to this week's picks. Home teams are in caps.
No. 3 BC HIGH (8-0) over Xaverian (4-4) -- Remember what happened last year? BC High swaggered into Westwood with the same 8-0 record and promptly endured a 41-6 thrashing. The difference between this year and last?
1. Most deemed BC High more pretender than contender during the 2006 season as, even with an opening-day win over Brockton, the Eagles weren't exactly dominant in building that 8-0 mark. This year it's quite the opposite. While not thoroughly challenged thus far (they do boast another opening week win over Brockton), the Eagles have dispatched teams with alarming ease while building this year's 8-0 mark. It's clear there's talent here.
2. Xaverian doesn't boast the star power of last season. Sure, the Hawks have been on fire the past couple weeks, but this collection of talent isn't the type to cause BC High to question whether it can beat this team.
This time around, it's Xaverian that needs to keep things close in the early going. BC High has shown the ability to put a lot of points on the board and, if the Eagles punch in a couple of ealr scores, they can lean on some of those prototypical 15-play, 8-minute marches that typically end in points and force the opposition to try and force their way back into the game through the air.
We don't see this one being lopsided. Xaverian is just too good in big games to let that happen. BC High pulls away in the second half as it takes another step towards the Catholic Conference crown.
We'll be live from James Cotter Field at Viola Stadium tonight, providing live updates and video highlights from this Holy War. Check back throughout the evening for more.
No. 2 MANSFIELD over North Attleboro -- Can this one live up to last year's meeting, in which the Hornets got a late-game, fourth-down touchdown run by Eric DiPietrantonio in a 20-14 triumph at jam-packed Community Field? While Mansfield used some serious grit to grind out that win, we think the team might have a little bit too much finesse this year for North Attleboro. Much like the Xaverian-BC High matchup, we're impressed with how well the Rocketeers have played as of late (and we're still floored by the shellacking they laid on Foxboro), but we think Mansfield is going to pop a big play or two early on to send the Hornets to victory.
No. 9 Billerica over TEWKSBURY -- Tewksbury seemed to be stumbling its way out of the Merrimack Valley Conference race when it fell to Andover and Chelmsford over a three-week span earlier this season. Instead, consecutive wins over Central Catholic and Dracut have kept the Redmen on their feet and set up a very intriguing matchup with Billerica. Nothing has come particularly easy for Tewksbury and we think having been in those pressure situations will benefit the team this weekend. But Billerica can see the finish line. A win here -- and avoiding a stumble against Lowell in Week 10 -- would set up the winner-take-all battle on Thanksgiving Day against Chelmsford (barring a Lions collapse). After watching Chelmsford dismantle Andover last week, we think the Turkey Day showdown is inevitable -- but you never can be sure of anything in the MVC.
No. 11 Holliston over BELLINGHAM -- These are the type of games that show the true character of a team. Holliston enters this one on the heels of a huge triumph over Medfield, but Bellingham is a dangerous team, especially with home-field advantage. The Panthers cannot let up even a little bit in this one, or they'll lose control of their own destiny. Holliston needs to keep Bellingham quarterback Chris Haddad in check, and that's no easy task.
No. 12 Wayland over WESTFORD ACADEMY -- Something has gotta give in the Dual County League. Four teams enter Week 9 with one league loss, including both Wayland and Westford. Fellow league front-runners Acton-Boxboro and Lincoln-Sudbury receive quality tests tonight in Tyngsboro and Concord-Carlisle, respectively, but for certain, one team will fall pack from the pack given the outcome in Westford. Like their nickname, the Grey Ghosts have been rather invisible this season as they've quietly compiled a 7-1 mark. Most folks wrote Westford off after a 1-point loss to Newton South in Week 3, a defeat that looms mighty large right now. But that loss didn't derail the Ghosts's season. No other conference opponent has come within two touchdowns of them this season. So what happens tonight? We'll see how good Westford's new spread offense is. If it's as solid as recently showcased, then we'll have two very, very similar teams battling it out and mistakes will dictate who wins. We're giving Wayland the edge based on having won these big games in the past,
Last week: 7-3
Year to date: 57-25 (.695)
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.