Walpole's Ryan Izzo (Robert E. Klein / Globe Photo)
His team up by five and facing a crucial fourth-down situation with under two minutes to play in Friday's Bay State Herget showdown against host Natick, Walpole coach Danny Villa had all but settled on kicking a field goal.
Then Ryan Izzo came over to the sideline and requested the ball. Undeterred, Villa explained to his star running back that taking the three points -- a pretty sure bet with a 21-yard field goal -- would put the Rebels on top by eight and force Natick to both score a touchdown and produce a 2-point conversion on its final drive to force overtime.
Villa even convinced Izzo on the idea, but, hey, when Ryan Izzo calls for the ball, you just go ahead and give it to him.
So Villa rolled the dice and called for a toss left. Izzo picked up yards Nos. 170-174 on the day and found the end zone for the third time to seal a 21-9 triumph that ensured the Rebels will return to the Division 2 playoffs this winter.
Villa always raves about Izzo's vision. Sometimes you wonder if he can see the future.
This week, the boys from MGMT drop by with a copy of their debut Oracular Spectacular to help us recap all the other top performances from Week 11 of the high school football season. Let's hop right in:
First down and the Top 10
1. Dartmouth (10-0) -- The Indians will get a chance to complete the Big 3 sweep when they meet Brockton in the opening round of the playoffs.
2. Everett (8-1) -- By winning the Greater Boston League title for a 14th consecutive season, the Tide ensured that there are freshmen on the team that have seen no one but Everett on top of the league since they were born.
3. BC High (8-1) -- BC High's win means this reporter only has to make a couple life-threatening dashes across Morrissey Blvd. to catch Turkey Day's biggest matchup.
4. Dracut (9-1) -- Quarterback Matt Grimard has 17 rushing touchdowns in his last four games. It's like trying to tackle a tank.
5. Walpole (10-0) -- The Rebels don't seem to like to play from behind. Walpole fell behind Natick, 9-7, with 5:13 to play in the third quarter and responded with a touchdown just 2:13 later.
6. Duxbury (10-0) -- Will be interesting to see if Duxbury and Marshfield hold anything back on Turkey Day.
7. Mansfield (9-1) -- As focussed as the Hornets must be for a rematch with Bishop Feehan in the opening round of the playoffs, we suspect they won't look too far past a struggling rival (in fact, they'd probably prefer to pounce on Foxboro).
8. Acton-Boxboro (9-1) -- We're not telling coach Bill Maver anything he doesn't already know, but when planning for Dracut, put a hefty focus on ball control. With 10-minute quarters, the Middies can expect a humongous helping of Trevor Jeanson and Akeem Mercury.
9. Marshfield (9-1) -- The Rams haven't played a close game since September. That's bound to change moving forward.
10. Natick (9-1) -- The nine teams above them in the Globe Top 20 are heading to the postseason, as are teams in spots 11-15. The Red and Blue would be a surefire No. 1 seed in a Massachusetts high school football N.I.T.
A few thoughts on the rest of the Globe top 20: Xaverian remains one of the best four-loss teams in recent memory, which is why they hang on in the poll... How do you think Natick and Norwood like the idea of Framingham going to the postseason? ... Welcome aboard, Apponequet. Heck of a season, you've got going.
They said it
"It's the old Boise State play. If you give it to Kristian out in the open like that, he has a chance, and he did it." -- Abington coach Jim Kelliher talking about a key hook-and-ladder play in which quarterback Steve Perakslis connected with Chris Dion on a 15-yard pass and Dion pitched it to Kristian LaPointe, who took it 33 yards for a score. Abington defeated Mashpee, 14-7, on Friday to win the South Shore League title.
MGMT is Andrew VanWyngarden (left) and Ben Goldwasser. (Josh Cheuse / Globe Photos)
We'll let our friends at Wikipedia handle the introductions:
Oracular Spectacular is the first major label studio album by Brooklyn, N.Y. indie rock band MGMT, released digitally Oct. 2, 2007 on Columbia Records, available in CD & LP formats from Jan. 22, 2008. The album features new versions of both "Kids" and "Time to Pretend," songs from their previous release, Time to Pretend EP (2005), the opening track serving as a "mission statement" and theme continued through the proceeding tracks. Pitchfork Media compared MGMT to Muse and Mew, but weaving in an early 90s Britpop sound. Prefix Magazine said the album "sounds like a college-dorm experiment gone horribly right."
They might not be Wesleyan University's most noteworthy graduates (around here, that title probably goes to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick), but Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have making some pretty catchy noise since graduating from the Connecticut school in 2005.
Oracular Spectacular's lead track, "Time to Pretend" was a moderate hit in early 2008 and is probably better known for appearances in the movie 21, the Season 1 finale of Gossip Girl, and the series premiere of the new 90210. Their latest single, "Kids," might be the best song of 2008 and, if you need confirmation of that, just look at the Norwegian Singles Charts were it recently peaked at No. 1. Let me tell you, the Norwegians know their music.
Goldwasser and VanWyngarden and their crazy clothes drop by with a copy of Oracular Spectacular to help us recap Week 11 of the high school football season:
- Time to Pretend -- Week 11 saw the contenders separated from the pretenders as seven previously undefeated squads endured their first "L" of the season. The most impressive performance in knocking off an undefeated squad might have come in Newburyport, where Clippers quarterback threw a quartet of touchdown passes, including one with a minute to go, in a 27-26 upset of Georgetown in a Cape Ann Small clash.
- Weekend Wars -- With the Middlesex League title hanging in the balance during one of this weekend's more entertaining wars, Reading's Philmore Phillip reached up and grabbed it (again.. and again). Phillip reeled in three interceptions, including one with nine seconds to go to seal a 14-7 triumph over Melrose. "He was a real hero there on D," Reading coach John Fiore said.
- The Youth -- After starting at tight end as a sophomore, King Philip moved Brandon Howard to quarterback this season and the Warriors can thank that youth movement in part for their 8-2 record. Howard passed for 220 yards and a jaw-dropping six touchdowns in a 56-35 win over Foxboro. Howard leads Division 2 with 16 touchdown passes for the season.
- Electric Feel -- Aleixo Stadium boasted an electric feel after Alphonso Williams returned an errant field goal attempt 108 yards for a score in double overtime to lift Taunton over Bridgewater-Raynham, 19-13. The Trojans attempted a 24-yard field goal in the second extra session, but it came down short of the posts and an alert Williams took off the other way as the Tigers downed B-R for the first time since 1990.
- Kids -- Tri-County welcomed 17 freshmen to the program at the beginning of the season, but these kids seem to be doing just fine with some quality veteran leadership. Starting quarterback Lucas Mistler rushed for a score in helping the Cougars to a 14-0 playoff-clinching win over Holbrook/Avon Saturday. "To be in this situation, it's just amazing," coach Dan McLean said of his team, which won just six games in his two previous seasons as head coach. "I'm so proud of them."
- 4th Dimensional Transition -- This track includes the line, "I am fire, where's my form? Whisper crimson I intrude." Sorta reminds us of Arlington, where running back Matt Willey was on fire and found his form by rushing for 367 yards and six touchdowns to lead the crimson-clad Spy Ponders past Weston, 47-21, to clinch a share of the Dual County League Small title.
- Pieces of What -- This track includes the line, "Shattered and untied, waiting to pick up the pieces." Well, technically Norton and Medway are still tied atop the Tri-Valley League, but the Lancers likely shattered their foe's playoff hopes with a 16-7 triumph Friday night in which Sean Ryan rushed for 102 yards.Norton can claim the league's playoff berth by beating winless Bellingham on Thanksgiving.
- Of Moons, Birds & Monsters -- This track includes the line, "Half the motion, communication, it's easy as the ocean." Down in Dartmouth, along the ocean, quarterback Sean Sylvia and wide receiver Justin Mello had plenty of communication. Utilizing a little run option with Mello motioning into the backfield, the Indians watched their star receiver rush for 140 yards and three touchdowns on six carries in a 33-7 thumping of Durfee.
- The Handshake -- There were plenty of handshakes and high-5s to go around at Arlington Catholic after the team's defensive line turned away Austin Prep on four straight rushing attempts inside the AC 5 with under a minute to play. Arlington Catholic emerged with a 20-14 triumph to clinch the Catholic Central title.
- Future Reflections -- It'll be a quiet Week 12 as most teams gear up for Thanksgiving, but if you're looking for a quality matchup this weekend, may we suggest checking out the 62d annual Island Cup. Forget the records, this one's always fun.
We've got questions, you've got answers. We're keeping this one real simple. Here are the teams remaining in playoff contention, you tell us who's going to be playing in December.
Stat of the Week
Austin Prep will likely finish the season holding opponents to less than a touchdown per game (currently an Eastern Mass.-best 5.4 points per game) and not make the playoffs. Arlington Catholic's defense proved to be just a little better when it needed to be... Groton-Dunstable is allowing only 5.5 points per game, but has two losses (including a 25-0 blanking at the hands of Worcester Tech). G-D boasts five shutouts and -- besides the loss to Tech -- hasn't allowed more than eight points in a game (as a newer program that once partnered with Ayer, they are playing out of Division 3 in Central Mass).
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.