Before we dive into our Super Bowl predictions, allow us to hit rewind for a little prognostication housekeeping.
We'll start with the Beat Forsberg: Thanksgiving Pick'em 2008. As you know by now, I didn't even come close to winning my own contest as 90 different visitors predicted more correct winners than me. But one man in particular shined above the rest and he is taking home an iPod Nano for his stellar efforts: Fox 25's Ryan Asselta.
Yep, I got schooled by a fellow media member. So after a week of "Maybe we should hire this guy to do your job" jokes around the office, we offer Ryan the heartiest of congratulations. Be sure to check out his winning ballot. The only three games he whiffed on were Lowell Catholic vs. Pope John; Melrose vs. Wakefield; and Wilmington vs. Tewksbury. An impressive effort.
As always you, The People, may be the ultimate winners. Ryan and I are hoping to join forces as part of both outlets' Friday night hoops coverage this winter, so stay tuned for more on that.
Moving on to our playoff predictions, we went a dismal 1-3 in our Division 1-1A picks (the divisions we saw the most of during the regular season), but finished strong in the lower divisions for an overall mark of 10-5 (with a bonus Central Mass. pick thrown in on our hometown Auburn Rockets).
Of course, all of the interns wanted to show they were so much smarter than me, too, so they submitted their own ballots for Tuesday's games. Here's how they finished up:
- Mike Carraggi - 10-4
- Emily Wright - 9-5
- Mike Grossi - 9-5
- Jon Raymond - 7-7
- David Carty - 9-5
See guys, not so easy. Let's see how you do in the Super Bowls. And, without further ado, here are my Super Bowl predictions (so the interns can simply copy my picks):
BC High over Brockton -- Here's our new rule: You shut out Everett in the playoffs, we pick you to win the Super Bowl. No questions asked. BC High's defense has been phenomenal all year long, but we remain absolutely stunned at the Eagles' ability to blank the Tide on Tuesday night. We do have a small bit of concern about the Eagles putting up enough offense, especially considering the way Brockton and star running back Khalil James-Offley can score from anywhere on the field, but Brockton's defense has shown it can be scored upon and an early lead should propel the Eagles to the Super Bowl crown.
Dracut over Marshfield -- Both teams will be aided by their first-round matchups as each team sort of mirrors the other's Tuesday night opponent. But we still believe Dracut QB Matt Grimard is the X-factor. Can Marshfield's stout defense keep Grimard behind the line of scrimmage and challenge him to beat them through the air (something he's quite capable of even if you take away his ability to run). Much like against Acton-Boxboro, we simply think the Middies will score enough points to walk away with the Super Bowl title.
Walpole over Mansfield -- It's probably not fair to either team to call this a matchup of Walpole's offense vs. Mansfield's defense, not when Mansfield is averaging 26.6 points per game, and Walpole's defense is allowing only 10.9 points per contest. That said, we do believe this one comes down to whether Mansfield can bottle up Walpole star running back Ryan Izzo, particularly on a fast track at Gillette Stadium. This could be one of the most exciting Super Bowls of the day, particularly given the wild week the Hornets have endured. But feel-good story aside, Walpole's on a redemption tour (and it might not end until December 2009).
Duxbury over Gloucester -- It's hard to believe this is the Division 2A Super Bowl considering the amount of talent on the field. Both teams have shown they could easily compete with talented schools in the divisions above them this fall, but with wins over the likes of Xaverian and Marshfield, Duxbury has proven its not only the best team in 2A, but one of the best in the state. Sound familiar? Gloucester laid a similar claim last year, but this is the year of the Dragon.
Arlington Catholic over Norton -- Arlington Catholic is allowing nearly three touchdowns per game and that doesn't seem to bode particularly well going up against Norton and star running back Sean Ryan, who rushed for a school-record 1,747 yards and 34 touchdowns this fall. But we're simply not certain if Norton can match the size of Arlington Catholic in the trenches, and we think the Cougars have an advantage in the passing game. The Gillette scoreboard gets its biggest workout of the day, but AC prevails . . . barely.
Martha's Vineyard over Amesbury -- It's a shame that the focus of this rotation game each year inevitably becomes the fact that the teams don't get to play at Gillette Stadium. If you keep the focus on football, you'll notice the Vineyarders are averaging 42 points per game their last three contests and haven't scored fewer than three touchdowns since their season opener. Amesbury stifled a solid Whittier squad in the opening round of the playoffs, posting the shutout in a 34-0 triumph. So what gives here? Martha's Vineyard travels by sea and land to get here, then goes to the air to claim the Super Bowl title.
Manchester-Essex over Tri-County -- The highest scoring offense at Gillette? Dracut? Nope. Gloucester? Guess again. Manchester-Essex? Yep, the Hornets boast the top scoring offense in Eastern Mass. at 37.5 points per game. In fact, Manchester-Essex hasn't scored fewer than four touchdowns in a single game this year (think about that). Tri-County needs to bring another brilliant defensive effort in order to stick with the Hornets, but -- on this rare occasion -- we'll take offense over defense.
Last week: 10-5
Year to date: 127-43 (.747)
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.