It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Cohasset football coach Pete Afanasiw is a pretty good motivator.
The sixth-year coach has made the Skippers perennial South Shore League contenders, including a league title and playoff berth last season.
One playoff berth wasn’t enough for one school year, though, as last spring Afanasiw led the Skippers’ baseball squad not just to the postseason, but to an EMass championship.
Of all the motivational tactics Afanasiw has employed, what he reportedly did leading up to last week’s 24-0 win over East Bridgewater may have been the most effective –– it helped the Cohasset defense perform something akin to a miracle.
Heading into the showdown, the Vikings had been averaging an absurd 35.5 points per game, led by a combined 17 touchdowns from running back Casey DeAndrade and quarterback Tim O’Brien.
So where did the defense get the motivation necessary to shutdown one of the SSL’s most lethal attacks?
Early in the week, an article from a local newspaper appeared in the Cohasset locker room. The article was previewing the Cohasset-East Bridgewater game, and in it, Viking coach Shawn Tarpey was quoted as, among other things, promising his offense would score big in the showdown.
The words put the Cohasset defense into a frenzy.
“We were playing with a chip on our shoulder,” a clearly fired up Jake Kissick said after the game. “We were playing on our home turf and we were just trying to protect our house. This is where we play football and this is where we play our best. We’re not going to let them score points on our home turf.”
With an even bigger showdown against 5-0 Rockland coming up this weekend –– on Cohasset’s homecoming, no less –– it’ll be interesting to see what Afanasiw has up his sleeves.
1. Somerset (5-0)
2. Dighton-Rehobeth (4-1)
3. Apponequet (4-1)
4. Scituate (3-2)
5. Martha's Vineyard (4-0)
6. Swampscott (4-1)
7. Saugus (3-1)
8. Pembroke (3-1)
9. Bourne (3-2)
10. Bishop Stang (3-2)
1. Rockland (5-0)
2. Holliston (4-1)
3. Cohasset (5-0)
4. Abington (5-0)
5. Mashpee (4-1)
6. Lynnfield (5-0)
7. St. Mary's (5-0)
8. Spellman (5-0)
9. Norton (5-0)
10. Westwood (4-1)
Games to watch:
Rockland at Cohasset -- Both teams qualified for the EMass playoffs last year, with the Skippers winning the South Shore League and the Bulldogs winning the Division 3 Patriot Fisher. This year, with Rockland having moved to the SSL, both teams are off to 5-0 starts, putting the squads in a tie with Abington for first and just one game ahead of 4-1 East Bridgewater and Mashpee.
Mashpee at Abington -- In major SSL showdown, part two, the Falcons (4-1, 1-1 SSL) and Green Wave (5-0, 2-0) are looking to separate from the thick pack atop the league. Abington beat up on Mashpee, 35-12, late last season, but this year’s matchup figures to be a bit closer, considering the Falcons nearly knocked off still unbeaten Rockland two weeks ago.
Somerset at Martha’s Vineyard -- The talent drop off in the East Athletic League drops off after the Raiders (5-0, 1-0 EAL) and Vineyarders (4-0, 1-0), making this battle of unbeatens a potential defacto league title game. Because this game wasn’t going to be big enough, Martha’s Vineyard coach Donald Herman enters the contest with 199 career wins.
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 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 email@example.com.