Michael Grossi and Mike Carraggi of The Boston Globe pick this weekend's high school football games. Think your high school football knowledge is mightier than that of the Mikes? Feel free to agree, disagree, or pick your own games in our comments section.
Abington at Cohasset
Grossi – Two unbeatens face off in this dandy on the South Shore . Whichever team wins this game will have a stranglehold on the South Shore League. Abington has advanced to the playoffs each of the last four seasons and Cohasset was the last team other than the Green Wave to make the playoffs. Other than pitting two undefeated teams against each other, this game also features a duel between two talented running backs. Dana Valentine has led the way for the Skippers this year while Kristian LaPointe has been a factor back for Abington. I’ll take Abington’s experience in this battle.
Carraggi – In Jim Kelliher's first year as coach of Abington, Johnny Bench led Major League Baseball with 45 homers. In Peter Afanisiw's first year as coach of Cohasset, the artist formerly known as David Ortiz hit 54 bombs. With the talent gap being so small between the teams (and probably in the Skippers' favor), I'll take the experience and coaching of the Green Wave as they head toward their 5th straight league championship.
Xaverian at BC High
Grossi – Although Xaverian is considered the class of Massachusetts football, the Hawks still have to go through reigning Catholic Conference and Division 1 champ BC High. The Eagles seem to have hit their stride as of late, scoring 90 points in their last two games. While the offense has gotten it going, the defense is still a little shaky. Xaverian is coming off a victory over St. John’s ( Shrewsbury ) that established it as the top team in Massachusetts. I think Xaverian keeps its quest to get to the playoffs by dethroning the Eagles.
Carraggi – Much will be made of this game, but Xaverian couldn't be on more of a roll. Teams simply don't run over the state's best only to fall to a team with as many vulnerabilities as BC High. If you stop one aspect of Xaverian's game, the rest of the machine doesn't miss a beat. Stop the pass? Meet Joe Colton. Slow the run? Alex Phelan time. To have a chance, the Eagles will need to build an early lead, which has been perhaps the Hawks' only chink in their armor.
Whittier at Manchester Essex
Grossi – Commonwealth (Large) supremacy is on the line in this clash between two offensive juggernauts. Manchester Essex has put up 48 points or more in three of its last four games, including dropping 64 on North Shore . Whittier is fresh off handing Chelsea its first loss of the season. The difference in this game will be the defense. Whittier allows 13 points per game while Manchester Essex allows 22. I think Whittier gets one more stop and beats the Hornets
Carraggi – I lived in Everett for 19 years. I have driven everywhere from Gloucester to Attleboro to Nashua to Springfield. But if I had to drive to Manchester, I simply wouldn't know where to go. There, I said it. Don't tell my boss.
Uh, Hornets win this one.
Fairhaven at Dighton-Rehoboth
Grossi – With a win, Fairhaven takes the South Coast League crown. The Blue Devils have won its last four games, including an upset of King Philip. Dighton-Rehoboth is undefeated in league play and got back in the win column last week after losing to Coyle and Cassidy two weeks ago. My pick is Fairhaven . The Blue Devils have too many weapons for Dighton-Rehoboth to corral.
Carraggi – I have a feeling that if Dighton-Rehoboth wasn't victimized by a fluky fumble return and a missed extra point and had a perfect record to show for it, then the Blue Devils wouldn't be such a chic pick. The Falcons will be one step closer to the playoffs after this one, but it won't come easy. Fairhaven's Taylor Motta, the division's leader in touchdowns with 14, is said to be a relentless runner.
Central Catholic at Methuen
Grossi – Central Catholic travels to Methuen in an interesting crossover between Merrimack Valley Large and Small schools. Central Catholic is on a seven game win streak and controls its own destiny. Methuen has been rolling thanks to quarterback Cal Carroll. Bank on Central Catholic to win this one. The Raiders have stingy defense and if they can stop Carroll, they have a good chance of winning.
Carraggi – Methuen does not boast as much star power as other MVC contenders, but it has been a strong all-around team all season. Unfortunately, that won't be enough to stop a Central Catholic team on a mission. Quarterback Andrew Oullette is one of the more well-rounded athletes around, and with the two defenses so evenly matched (both allowing about 12 points per game), he will be the difference.
Carraggi - 7-3 (3-2 last week)
Grossi - 7-3 (4-1 last week)
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 @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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