Here are a few changes that have occurred for this football season:
1. The Island Bowl is back — After 62 years of playing football, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard canceled their game last year because neither could afford the travel costs. But this fall the rivalry returns and the schools will play at the Vineyard on Nov. 20.
2. Tri-Valley League schedule — Much like the state-wide playoff proposal voted down in March, the TVL will add a playoff system this fall. Teams will play an 8-game regular season schedule meaning they will play every TVL team except their Thanksgiving opponent. The regular season will end Halloween weekend. On Fri., Nov. 5, playoffs start with seeds 5-10 playing. On Saturday at Westwood, No. 1 will face Nov. 4 and 2 will play 3. Losers play Nov. 12. Winners play Sat., Nov. 13. But, to make sure Thanksgiving remains relevant, teams can win the TVL playoffs and still not make the MIAA playoffs. And yes, you can play your Thanksgiving opponent in playoffs (or twice in one month). So, if Westwood was seeded 1 and Holliston 4th, they could play in playoffs then again on Thanksgiving. Make sense?
3. Hockomock changes — In anticipation of getting two playoff berths in 2012, the Hockomock will divide in two this fall with a Davenport Division and a Kelley/Rex Division. The Davenport (for small schools) has Stoughton, Oliver Ames, Foxboro, Canton, and Sharon and is named after longtime Sharon AD and football coach Dudley Davenport. The Kelly-Rex will have Attleboro, Franklin, King Philip, Mansfield, and North Attleboro. William Rex was a teacher/coach at Franklin and also the Foxboro principal. Louis Kelley was a coach/athletic director at North Attleboro.
4. Legends retire — Keith Parker retired after 30 years leading the Boston English football program. The new coach is former Thayer assistant Chris Boswell. A few miles up the Mass Pike, Tom Lamb retired as Natick’s head coach, ending a run of 38 years coaching football. Former Natick assistant Mark Mortarelli takes over.
5. Independent thinkers — Randolph, Case, Cape Cod Tech and Nauset will play independent schedules this fall. Harwich begins its own team with two varsity games, the rest junior varsity. Cape Cod Tech and Harwich had a co-op team last year.
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.