It's our first installment in the 2011 season of games to watch. This year, I'm including my picks.
Tell me how you're feeling in the comments.FRIDAY
4:30 p.m. Blue Hills at East Boston -- Andre Rickerson tallied 11 touchdowns as a backup running back for Eastie last year. We'll see how he stacks up against Blue Hills' Vincent Burton who exploded onto the scene with 30 touchdowns last season.
My pick: East Boston
7 p.m. Catholic Memorial at Marshfield -- We pretty much expect Catholic Memorial, our No. 4 school, to improve on its 5-5 record. They do return three-year QB A.J. Doyle, WR/DB Armani Reeves (15 touchdowns), RB Donovan Henry and 13 other lettermen. Marshfield features QB Mark Pomella and FB/LB Mike Williams.
My pick: Catholic Memorial
7 p.m. Burlington at Billerica -- A young Burlington team is coming age with Marcus Odiah in the lead. Odiah tallied 16 TDs last season. For the third straight year, Billerica is led by quarterback Nick LaSpada. The senior has an athletic trio of receivers to get the ball to in Matt Clifford, Justin Fritz, and Cam Slatton.
My pick: Burlington
7 p.m. Brockton at BC High -- There are two great running backs to watch in this game. BC High's Preston Cooper was the Catholic Conference offensive player of the year last year and Brockton's Josh Brewster is bound to do great things after 11 TDs as a backup a year ago.
My pick: Brockton
7 p.m. Leominster at Everett -- QB Jonathan DiBiaso -- he of the 43 passing touchdowns for a single season state record fame -- leads No. 1 ranked Everett against the Central Mass power.
My pick: Everett
7 p.m. Beverly at Concord-Carlisle -- Two Super Bowl contesting teams playing each other in Week 1? That's a gimme. Plus, Concord-Carlisle's George Craan is a running back to watch. He tallied 24 TDs last season and almost 2,000 yards as our Division 2A player of the year.
My pick: Concord-Carlisle
7 p.m. Bridgewater-Raynham at Duxbury -- Duxbury, Super Bowl champions almost a year ago, bring back QB Matt O'Keefe. Bridgewater-Raynahm, which lost in the Division 1A Super Bowl to Gloucester almost a year ago, return 17 lettermen.
My pick: Bridgewater-Raynham
7 p.m. Andover at North Andover -- Andrew Coke. Brandon Walsh. One's a pocket passer and the other is in the pocket on occasion. This is a great game to catch for quarterbacks. Last year, Walsh missed the opener. I'm sure he'll want to make up for it.
My pick: Andover
1:30 p.m. Dracut at St. John's Prep -- Dracut is young, relying on junior wide receiver Zach Bassett. St. John's Prep returns QB Tom Gaudet but are young elsewhere too.
My pick: Dracut
1:30 Wakefield at Lexington -- Lexington plays its first game under new head coach George Peterson, who takes over for Bill Tighe after 35 years on the sideline for the Minutemen. They'll continue to be led by Connor and Nick Murray.
My pick: Lexington
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.