For a quick glance at my picks, check out this ballot from the VIP section of our pick 'em contest.
Without further ado, here's this year's Thanksgiving Day picks (home teams in caps):
- BC HIGH (8-1) over Catholic Memorial (8-1) -- BC High saves everyone from busting out their abacuses by winning the Catholic Conference title outright. We don't want to belabor the point about schedules, but the Knights simply didn't challenge themselves sufficiently to be competitive in these final weeks of the season. It's too bad because there's plenty of talent on this team. It's simply hard to kick it to another gear when you run into the Xaverians and BC Highs of the world to close out the season.
- Natick (9-1) over FRAMINGHAM (8-2) -- We're concerned about the health of Natick quarterback Scott McCummings (who couldn't finish the Herget battle against Walpole), but we also think the Flyers might be inclined to ensure their own health with a trip to the postseason looming five days after Thanksgiving. That's not to say the Flyers don't want to win this game, but this amounts to the Red and Blue's Super Bowl and Tom Lamb's charges probably wouldn't mind making a statement about how good the Herget was this fall.
- Duxbury (10-0) over MARSHFIELD (9-1) -- We think Duxbury simply has more motivation to take this game for two reasons: 1) A perfect 11-0 season is accomplished with a win and 2) The Dragons haven't exactly been challenged since Week 2 of the season (the Silver Lake game a possible exception). The Division 2A playoffs are loaded with talent and Duxbury really needs to kick it back into high gear, so why not start here. All that said, the Rams wouldn't mind finishing the season 10-1 and getting a quality win before the Division 1A playoffs.
- APPONEQUET (10-0) over Old Rochester (7-3) -- We're not saying it's intentional, but there sure seems to be the perfect amount of room next to the helmet graphic to add "2008" to the list of South Coast Conference championships on the Lakers website. Of course, it'll be sweeter to add that year as an outright championship capping a perfect season.
- North Attleboro (7-2) over ATTLEBORO (8-2) -- We'll crown this the best game involving two teams not heading to the playoffs (a backhanded compliment that also featured St. John's Prep vs. Xaverian, Melrose vs. Wakefield, and Billerica vs. Chelmsford among the finalists for the award). North Attleboro caps a very respectable fall in which its only losses came against playoff-bound teams (Bishop Feehan and Mansfield).
And this week's laundry list of quick picks sure to destroy my glistening season record:
- Walpole (10-0) over WEYMOUTH (4-6) -- Ignore the Wildcats' recent struggles, this one will still be a brawl, but Walpole prevails.
- South Boston (9-1) over EAST BOSTON (5-4) -- South Boston is evidently postseason bound regardless of the outcome . . . that doesn't mean they won't take care of business on Turkey Day.
- Newburyport (5-5) over AMESBURY (9-1) -- Can't fathom that this game means more to anyone than Joe Clancy, who atones for last year's absence by adding at least one more game to the Clippers' 2008 schedule.
- XAVERIAN (6-4) over St. John's Prep (5-5) -- We're not one to throw out idle threats, but as impressive as Xaverian has been in 2008, the Hawks (probably) won't be in our final Top 20 with five losses.
- LINCOLN-SUDBURY (8-2) over Newton South (4-6) -- Without having to worry about the out-of-town scoreboard, Lincoln-Sudbury's focus is on the field.
- Everett (8-1) over CAMBRIDGE (4-5) -- Not the same without a playoff berth at stake, but the folks in Malden wouldn't mind a share of the Greater Boston League crown if the Falcons could pull off an upset.
- KING PHILIP (8-2) over Franklin (7-3) -- The Warriors are last year's Panthers.
- Holbrook (6-2) over WEST BRIDGEWATER (5-4) -- Previous results don't guarantee future success, but we can't imagine too much has changed since Oct. 11.
- CHELMSFORD (6-4) over Billerica (7-3) -- We'll take experience over youth here and hope that Billerica can shake off the sting of losing four of its last five to rebound in 2009.
- Melrose (8-1) over WAKEFIELD (7-1) -- All right, we admit it, we simply picked the team that played Reading more competitively.
- SWAMPSCOTT (8-2) over Marblehead (6-4) -- We're still trying to wrap our heads around Marblehead's lopsided loss to Saugus. Maybe the Big Blue should think about focusing on their ground game after the Magicians were torched for 460 yards in that 41-13 loss in Week 11.
- MEDWAY (9-1) over Millis (5-5) -- No reason to believe Medway won't rebound from a loss to Norton in Week 11, but kudos to Millis on a spectacular season after its struggles the past two falls.
- BOSTON LATIN (0-10) over Boston English (3-7) -- Pop quiz: When was the last time this game was decided by fewer than two touchdowns? Answer: My junior year in high school (English won, 8-6, in 1997). The question without an answer: When will the game be competitive again?
- Brockton (7-3) over WALTHAM (3-7) -- This rather unorthodox rivalry (nonleague rivals situated 30 miles apart) continues to thrive, just like the Boxers late in the 2008 season.
- POPE JOHN (6-4) over Lowell Catholic (7-3) -- As we usually do in these situations, we defer to nonleague schedules and we really like how Pope John has challenged itself.
- Bishop Feehan (8-1) over SANDWICH (6-4) -- Mmmmm . . . hot turkey sandwiches. Wait, what were we talking about? Football?
- ACTON-BOXBORO (9-1) over Westford Academy (7-3) -- The wheels have come off a bit for Westford Academy after a fast start, but it would have been an uphill battle versus the Colonials regardless of the Ghosts's record.
- ARLINGTON (6-4) over Arlington Catholic (7-3) -- This first crosstown meeting should be a doozy with both teams playing inspired ball (and both winning conference crowns this fall; though Belmont can still force a tie atop the Dual County League Small). But this is Arlington's postseason, so we'll give the edge to the Spy Ponders.
- TAUNTON (5-5) over Coyle-Cassidy (7-3) -- Taunton played four Top 20 squads this fall and matchups with juggernauts like BC High and Dartmouth help you win games like this.
- MANSFIELD (9-1) over Foxboro (3-7) -- It's a down year for Foxboro, but Mansfield won't be taking it easy on its rival.
- Tewksbury (2-8) over WILMINGTON (9-1) -- Toss aside the records. If Tewksbury can topple a team like Chelmsford, they should be able to bring home a 'W' against Wilmington.
- LYNN ENGLISH (6-3) over Lynn Classical (5-4) -- English proved to be just a little bit more competitive in its losses than Classical was against similar teams.
- Georgetown (8-1) over MANCHESTER-ESSEX (10-0) -- With 18 combined wins for these two teams, it should be one of the better Turkey Day matchups.
- NEEDHAM (5-5) over Wellesley (2-8) -- Neither team comes roaring into this one (Wellesley with five straight losses; Needham with three), but we like the Rockets to close out the year on a high note and secure a winning campaign.
- Fitchburg (6-4) over LEOMINSTER (6-4) -- Buoyed by its recent triumph over Wachusett, the Red Raiders simply want it more than the Blue Devils want to play spoiler.
Last week: 8-5
Year to date: 95-29 (.766)
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 fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.