Here are the staff Super Bowl picks for each high school football game this Saturday at Gillette Stadium and Curry College.
Everett - Bob Holmes, Zuri Berry, Mike Grossi, Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright, Jake Seiner, Lorenzo Recupero
St. John's Prep
It seems to be Everett's year; the Crimson Tide have passed every test that has come their way, quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso has set the single-season passing touchdowns record with 40, and receiver Matt Costello has been name Gatorade Massachusetts Football Player of the Year. But the Prep could benefit from the wild-card: 10-minute quarters. The Eagles have a dominant offensive line/rushing attack led by lineman Nate Cyr and tailback Tyler Coppola. They kept the ball away from Xaverian when it counted on Thanksgiving without passing the ball, and Everett struggled stopping the run against Andover when the Golden Warriors kept the ball for all but one play of the first quarter. As has been the case all season long, Everett has too many weapons. - Mike Carraggi
Bridgewater-Raynham - Bob Holmes, Emily Wright,
Gloucester - Zuri Berry, Mike Grossi, Mike Carraggi, Jake Seiner, Lorenzo Recupero
After watching Bridgewater-Raynham play three contests this year, I am confident that their combined team approach on offense and defense is what is going to seal a victory for them this season. The No. 6 Trojans lost running back Nick Schlatz on Thanksgiving when he tore his shoulder while playing cross-county rival, Brockton, but B-R's arsenal of back-ups stepped up to the plate on Tuesday against Weymouth. Look out for Branden Morin making big plays towards the end zone and quarterback Billy Zolga whose impressive reads to players like Mike Chicoine have helped the Trojans score all season. Gloucester (12-0) boasts Jordan Shairs (30 TDs) and Chris Unis, a pair of 2-way players that have become the stars for the Fishermen this season and will no doubt pose a threat to the B-R (10-2) seven game win streak. - Emily Wright
Mansfield - Zuri Berry, Mike Grossi, Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright, Jake Seiner
Reading - Bob Holmes, Lorenzo Recupero
This game has the makings of a classic. Both defending Division 2 champion Reading and Mansfield overwhelm opponents with strong running games and punishing defenses. The Hornets' attack is spearheaded by running back Jamel Marshall. Marshall has a blend of speed and toughness that make him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The Rockets are led by quarterback Brian Bourque, who has had a hand in over 40 percent of the Rockets' touchdowns. The key to victory in this contest will be stopping the run. Whichever team can do that will take home the title. - Mike Grossi
Concord-Carlisle - Mike Grossi, Lorenzo Recupero
Duxbury - Bob Holmes, Zuri Berry, Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright, Jake Seiner
Duxbury and Concord-Carlisle are two teams with contrasting offensive styles. The Green Dragons run the spread offense while the Patriots run the Wing-T. Duxbury quarterback Kane Haffey has a plethora of receiving options including Don Webber and Matt Hallisey. Concord-Carlisle is powered by George Craan. The junior has 23 touchdowns this season and has yet to be stopped. The key for Duxbury is its defense. The Green Dragons are built to defend spread offenses and have had some trouble with physical teams. If they can rise to the occasion, they have a chance to win. Concord-Carlisle's key is to control the clock with Craan and keep the ball out of the hands of Haffey. - Mike Grossi
Beverly - Zuri Berry
Somerset - Bob Holmes, Mike Grossi, Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright, Jake Seiner, Lorenzo Recupero
Beverly's Cinderella Super Bowl story is a good one, but Somerset isn't Scituate. The Raiders bring one of Division 3's most powerful running games, headed by Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear. Beverly is one of the few teams in D-3 that might have enough size to slow down Somerset's powerful ground attack, but the thinking here is it won't quite be enough, and Somerset will slide by for the D-3 crown. - Jake Seiner
Cardinal Spellman - Emily Wright, Lorenzo Recupero
Holliston - Bob Holmes, Zuri Berry, Mike Grossi, Mike Carraggi, Jake Seiner
Everybody is going to want to talk about the matchup between the Panthers' explosive spread offense (39.9 points per game) and the Cardinals' defense (7.2 points allowed per game), but this game will be decided on the other side of the ball. Power backs like Medway's Mike Ozzella and Rockland's Mike Driscoll have proven you can run over the Holliston defense, but running around it is a much more daunting task. Blaise Branch is the most athletic back in Division 3A, but his speed may not be enough to outmatch the Panthers' very athletic D. TVL MVP Kevin Curry and company are nearly impossible to beat to the corner. This game will hinge on Branch outrunning the Panther defense, and even D 3A's leading scorer might not have the wheels for that daunting task. - Jake Seiner
Blue Hills - Zuri Berry, Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright,
Shawsheen - Bob Holmes, Mike Grossi, Jake Seiner, Lorenzo Recupero
Blue Hills has a powerful backfield lead by Division 4 leading scorer Vincent Burton, but they've only played in one game since Nov.12 and will probably be a little rusty. The Shawsheen Rams have stormed through Division 4 with a strong defense. Including the playoffs, Shawsheen has shut out its last four opponents.. A great defense on one end and an elusive, electrifying offense on the other should make for a great, competitive game. - Lorenzo Recupero
Brighton - Mike Carraggi, Emily Wright, Jake Seiner
Northeast - Bob Holmes, Zuri Berry, Mike Grossi, Lorenzo Recupero
Led by J.P. OíConnell and Ryan Adams, Northeast has a ground game thatís tough to defend. In last yearís game, Northeast threw just two passes and it could be more of the same tomorrow. Brightonís challenge will be the same as last fall, play mistake free on offense and bend but donít break on defense. Brighton was down 14-0 in last yearís game. That canít happen again. - Bob Holmes
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.