Heading into the week of Thanksgiving, each of Division 1A's four conference football playoff contenders have been named:
Northeastern (Large): Gloucester (10-0, 5-0)
Dual County (Large): Lincoln-Sudbury (7-3, 4-0)
Bay State (Carey): Weymouth (10-0, 10-0)
Old Colony: Bridgewater-Raynham (8-2, 3-0)
After covering and witnessing games being played by each of these teams except Lincoln-Sudbury, I think it is fair to say that the playoffs will be anything but boring. Before the semifinals roll around, though, the teams have to get through Thanksgiving.
Up first on Turkey Day is Gloucester, which travels to Danvers (1-8). Danvers picked up its first win of the season last week against Saugus (4-5), which started the season strong at 4-1, but lost its last four games. Gloucester boasts offensive behemoth Jordan Shairs, a 6-foot, 210-pound fullback, whose performance this season has him at No. 2 for total scoring in the division with 162 points (27 touchdowns). Revere's Trae Weathers sits atop the scoring rankings with 167 points (26 touchdowns, 5 2-point conversions). The Fishermen kick off at 10 a.m.
Lincoln-Sudbury clinched with a win last weekend over Boston Latin (24-7) and will face Gloucester in the semifinals following a Thanksgiving matchup vs. Newton South. The Warriors' defensive strategy has won most of the games so far. L-S is averaging just over 16 points per game and has given away about 15 against. Newton South (1-9, 0-4) has allowed about 24 points per game and scored just under 10. L-S has stymied the likes of Acton-Boxboro in a 10-7 nail-biter as well as non-conference competitor Marshfield, 14-7. The Warriors will take the field at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
It'll be a battle of Bay State title holders in Weymouth. In what will be arguably the best Thanksgiving game involving a Div. 1A team, the Walpole Rebels (10-0, 10-0) travel to Weymouth (10-0, 10-0) in a battle of cross-conference heavyweights. Walpole, which clinched a playoff berth in the Bay State (Herget) two weeks ago, will have to focus on the run attack by Weymouth's Dylan Colarusso and Mitch Temple's accurate arm. Colarusso also doubles as a formidable linebacker. Weymouth clinched a playoff berth with a 42-0 shutout of Wellesley. Walpole uses a slew of running backs, but the offensive player to look out for is quarterback Troy Salvatore. The senior quarterback is 5-6, 160, and has passed for 18 touchdowns and rushed for 12 more. The teams are slated for a 10 a.m. start.
Bridgewater-Raynham heads next door to Brockton on Thanksgiving, and both teams will be trying to prove their playoff potential. Brockton will be out to avenge last week's 23-21 loss to New Bedford (5-4, 2-0) and Bridgewater-Raynham is fired up for another playoff berth following a loss in the Div. 1A Super Bowl last year to Gloucester. Nick Schlatz, Billy Zolga and Mike Chicoine are the top contributors for the Trojans offensively and both Zolga and Chicoine have contributed on defense. Bridgewater-Raynham sealed a trip back to the playoffs two weeks ago against Barnstable with a lopsided 50-22 victory. Brockton still has a chance at going to the playoffs if Durfee defeats New Bedford on Thanksgiving. If New Bedford wins, the Whalers will head to the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
This week be sure to look for my article in Sunday's Globe and on Boston.com on the Norm Walker Bowl between Pingree and Rivers at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. The 2 p.m. game was announced this week thanks to an anonymous donation and arrangements made by Patriots personnel to secure the field following walkthroughs by both the Patriots and Colts the morning of the Bowl.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.