Quarterback Alex Phelan is the most poised player, on and off the field, that we have seen this year. He rarely misses a throw, and though he may not look like a Michael Vick, he has surprising speed in the open field.
Various nicks here and there have forced the Hawks to plug role players into more prominent roles, especially the receiving corps. But Xaverian hasn't slowed down yet. The only three teams to put a scare into the Hawks have been Brockton, Everett, and Bridgewater-Raynham, all ranked in the Globe Top 20.
Joe Colton amazed on the ground, but his defense was equally astonishing. He made 6-4 receiver Richard Rogers a non-factor, despite giving up six inches. Rogers rarely, if ever, got off the line cleanly.
Not that the Hawks have needed it yet, but if a game comes down to a big kick, there might be no better guy than Jules Murphy. Reliable on extra-points and kickoffs, Murphy has the leg to make a 50-yarder, which it might just come down to in playoff time.
KING (AND THE REST) OF THE HILL
1.Xaverian (8-0) The best high school football team in the state of Massachusetts. It's officially Division 1 championship or bust for the Hawks.
2.Brockton (7-1) Dominique Williams is unquestionably one of the most underrated playmakers in the league. Coaches plan all week to contain the senior lightening bolt, but are usually left scratching their heads after Williams does his thing on offense, defense, and special teams. His contributions in the return game have won more than one game for the Boxers, the most recent example being his 79-yard scoring kick return in a two-touchdown performance against Leominster.
3.Everett (4-2) The knock on Jonathan DiBiaso is his throwing mechanics, which can be painful to watch. If the sophomore southpaw can work out some of the kinks, he can be a very dangerous weapon in the coming years.
4.Billerica (7-1) Did someone say very dangerous weapon? We hate to harp on it, but Nick LaSpada is simply incredible. By this time next year, don't be surprised if Al Davis ends up with the soon-to-be junior quarterback, and Billerica has a couple of first-rounders to show for it.
5.Central Catholic (7-1) Ball control wins games? What a clichι. Central put up 24 points up against Chelmsford...in the span of three minutes.
6.BC High (4-3) Slowly getting that championship swag back, and just in the nick of time.
7.Andover (5-3) Andover followed up a huge win against Chelmsford with duds against Methuen and Dracut. The Golden Warriors will have to end the season with a bang to stay in the hunt.
8.St. John's Prep (3-4) We know the schedule hasn't been kind (in fact, it's been downright vicious), but much like Everett, the Eagles are held to higher standards around these parts.
9.Chelmsford (4-4) All the Lions have to fight for now is a plus-.500 season.
10.Malden Catholic (3-5) Malden Catholic still has Quinn McDonough and a win over CM to its name. In such a tough division, things could be worse.
11.Catholic Memorial (4-3) Is Catholic Memorial better than MC? Despite the head-to-head loss, probably. But for the second straight year, the Knights have disappointingly fallen from contenders to pretenders.
12.New Bedford (4-3-1) The Whalers have quietly improved since last season, mainly thanks to Jon Williams, whose 13 touchdowns and 78 points are good for third in the division.
13.Malden (4-4) It's over halfway through the season and Malden finds itself in first place. At least until Nov. 14, when Everett fulfills its birthright.
14.Medford (3-4) The GBL was always going to be quite a stretch for the Mustangs, but they still have plenty to fight for this year. A .500 season is not out of the question.
15.Somerville (2-5) Somerville is not as bad as its record indicates, but has regressed from last season.
16.Lowell (1-7) This could end up being the worst year in head coach Al Pare's three seasons at the helm.
17.Durfee (1-7) High school football isn't all fun and games. Any Hilltoppers that began their career last season as a junior could experience just one win before graduating.
18.Cambridge (0-8) The Falcons finish with Everett on Thanksgiving, so the next two weeks (Medford and Somerville) are crucial if they want to finish with a W.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.