After all the Thanksgiving madness, the playoffs are finally here.
If next yearís new statewide playoff proposal sticks after the two-year pilot run, this is the last time teams will square off in the Tuesday night semifinal games that will determine the playoff contenders.
Hereís a look at Tuesdayís 16 matchups, along with our playoff predictions.
Thanksgiving results: Anthony 4-6, Mastro 4-6
Season: Mastro 67-33, Anthony 63-37.
No. 4 St. Johnís Prep (9-1) vs. No. 10 Andover (10-1), Cawley Stadium in Lowell, 7:45:
Anthony: The clichť line says ĎDefense wins championships,í and St. Johnís Prep fits the bill. The Eagles give up just 9.1 points per game, and shut out Xaverian 9-0 on Thanksgiving to win the Catholic Conference title. St. Johnís Prep 21, Andover 15.
Mastro: Xaverianís Austin DeCarr isnít a bad quarterback, but St. Johnís Prep defense did its best to make him look like one on Thanksgiving. Yes, the Eagles can run the ball. Yes, Jack Sharrio can pass it when he needs to. Yes, their defensive line is as good as it gets. I donít see a flaw in this team. St. Johnís Prep 28, Andover 14.
No. 11 Brockton(8-3) at Weymouth (8-3), 7:45:
Anthony: Weymouth has plenty of speed in David Harrison and Ozzy Colarusso to keep this one close, but Brockton is hungry after missing out last yearís playoffs. It has proven so by winning five straight to end the season, and it will get back to the big game. Brockton 28, Weymouth 21.
Mastro: The way Austin Roberts has been playing, Brockton doesnít look beatable right now. Brockton 27, Weymouth 14.
No. 16 Masconomet (9-2) vs. No. 2 Everett (9-1) at Manning Field in Lynn, 7:45:
Anthony: Everett was banged up most of the season, and the Tide hasnít played a game since Nov. 9, so theyíve had plenty of time to heal. Any chance they come out flat after the layoff? Maybe. But donít expect it from John DiBiasoís crew. Everett 27, Masconomet 15.
Mastro: I do wonder what the long layoff will do for Everett, which hasnít played since Nov. 9, but the good news for DiBiaso is that his team is finally healthy, and I think thatís going to be the difference. But Iím really not discounting Masco in this game. They have a great offensive line, too, and I think they might be able to put up enough points to stay close. I predict a great game. Everett 21, Masco 14.
No. 12 Lincoln-Sudbury (10-1) vs. No. 1 Barnstable (10-0), at Taunton, 5:15:
Anthony: What would the 1A Super Bowl at Gillette be without an Everett-Barnstable rematch? The Crimson Tide is dying for a second shot at Barnstable, and hereís to hoping they get it because itís sure to be an even better battle the second time around. Did I mention that Nick Peabody is pretty good? Barnstable 31, Lincoln-Sudbury 20.
Mastro: Iíve seen Barnstable in two very close games this year, and Iím beginning to think their defense is really underrated. The Red Raiders sure can throw the ball, and that usually leads the news. But against both Everett and Bridgewater-Raynham, Barnstable came up with defensive stops late in the game. If this is close, Iím giving Barnstableís defense the edge. Barnstable 22, Lincoln-Sudbury 16.
Tewksbury (7-4) at No. 5 Reading (11-0), 7:45:
Anthony: Last year, Tewksbury got the best of the Middlesex champs. This year, itíll be a bit more difficult. Reading gives up just 4.7 points per game, and quarterback Drew Belcher can score just as easily as his team can keep opponents off the board. Reading 20, Tewksbury 7.
Mastro: There arenít any Tewksbury names that stand out when you look at the leaderboard, but this is a team thatís been in every game this year Ė and thatís a tough schedule the Redmen had to get through. Theyíve played close in shootouts (51-42 loss to Andover, 49-42 win over North Andover) and in defensive stalemates (16-7 loss to Central Catholic, 15-12 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury). Something about this team screams upset to me. Tewksbury 21, Reading 13.
No. 3 Duxbury (11-0) vs. Mansfield (7-4), at Bridgewater-Raynham, 7:45:
Anthony: Duxbury linebacker Marshall McCarthy is a force to be reckoned with, and the Dragons' offense gets plenty of time behind 6-foot-6 lineman Rob Kosharek. Duxbury has won 37 straight contests Ė thereís no question they know how to win. Duxbury 21, Mansfield 14.
Mastro: Mansfield has lost two of its last four, including a heartbreaker on Thanksgiving. Duxbury hasnít lost in years. Duxbury 28, Mansfield 7.
No. 8 Burlington (10-1) at No. 7 Beverly (11-0), 7:45:
Anthony: Itís a heavyweight tag team match here Ė Beverlyís pair of running backs, Brendan Flaherty and Kenny Pierce, against Burlingtonís Marcus Odiah and Anthony Cruz. These teams are capable of slugging it out punch for punch, but I think Beverly can pull out the late stops and squeeze this out. Beverly 20, Burlington 16.
Mastro: This is really as close as it gets on paper. Whatís stronger, the Middlesex League or the CAL/NEC? Beverly 29, Burlington 13.
No. 19 Plymouth South (8-3) vs. No. 6 Natick (10-1), at Braintree, 7:45:
Anthony: By now, itís clear what Natickís pass-and-catch combo of Troy Flutie and Brian Dunlap is capable of. The Redhawks beat Walpole 21-14, and then Framingham 26-14 on Thanksgiving to get to this game, and their run wonít stop here. Natick 28, Plymouth South 21.
Mastro: Iím not discounting Plymouth South, but címon, itís Natick. Itís Flutie. Itís Dunlap. Itís touchdowns. A lot of them. Natick 35, Plymouth South 22.
No. 20 Westwood (8-3) vs. Wayland (8-3) at Reading, 5:15:
Anthony: Westwood shocked Holliston with a 42-12 victory on Thanksgiving to punch its ticket to the playoffs. Why stop there? Westwood 22, Wayland 16.
Mastro: Robert Williams is rushing for 5 yards a carry and Wayland has averaged 28 points over a four-game win streak. Give me the DCL-tested team. Wayland 21, Westwood 14.
Sharon (8-3) vs. Pembroke (7-3), at Braintree, 5:15:
Anthony: Will we see the Sharon team that beat Stoughton (9-2), or the one that lost to Oliver Ames 35-7 on Thanksgiving? I canít seem to figure it out, so Iím siding with Pembroke in this one. Pembroke 25, Sharon 18.
Mastro: Whether theyíre winning these games or not, the Sharon kids have had to get their bodies smacked around by the likes of Stoughton, Foxboro and King Philip. The Hockomock has been so tough this year it makes any team ready for the playoffs. Sharon 21, Pembroke 19.
Lynnfield (8-2) vs. Amesbury (9-2), at Cawley Stadium, 5:15:
Mastro: Neil Weidman has done a nice job with this Lynnfield program, which is averaging seven wins a season since he arrived five years ago. Heís getting the hang of this. Lynnfield 15, Amesbury 7.
Anthony: In Week 2, Amesbury held a 27-12 lead against Lynnfield before the Pioneers rattled off 19 points and came away with a 31-27 win. If the Indians learned anything, itís that they canít sit on a lead. Amesbury 21, Lynnfield 13.
Dighton-Rehoboth (9-1) vs. Bishop Feehan (8-2), at Taunton, 7:45:
Mastro: Always love a team that plays up, and Feehanís only two losses have come to Attleboro and North Attleboro in a pair of close, defensive battles. The Shamrocks are averaging 6.5 points allowed per game. Bishop Feehan 21, Dighton-Rehoboth 0.
Anthony: Running back Matt Allen can motor, and heís scored seven touchdowns in the last three game to lead Bishop Feehan down the stretch. Can Allen keep his wheels spinning against D-R? Bishop Feehan 28, Dighton-Rehoboth 22.
Shawsheen (9-1) vs. St. Maryís (10-1), Manning Field, 5:15:
Mastro: Two high-powered offenses. One high-powered defense. St. Maryís 34, Shawsheen 14.
Anthony: Both teams bring electric offensive attacks, but Shawsheen has held opponents to single-digit scoring just twice this season, which might spell trouble against the Spartans. St. Maryís 30, Shawsheen 22.
No. 18 Abington (11-0) vs. Millis-Hopedale (8-3), at Bridgewater-Raynham, 5:15:
Mastro: How good has Abington been? So good that coach Jim Kelliher may not retire afterward, as he originally planned after his wife, Elaine, died in April. Kelliher has had some of his finest seasons of late, leading the Green Wave to a Super Bowl title in í02 and í05. He deserves a third. Abington 28, Millis-Hopedale 7.
Anthony: From 6-5 last year, the undefeated Green Wave has completed one of the finer turnarounds in Eastern Mass. Theyíve shown their ability to score, averaging 29.7 points per game, and they can win the tight games, too. Abington 22, Millis-Hopedale 16.
North Shore (8-3) vs. Cathedral (9-2), at Burlington, 5:15:
Mastro: With sophomore Kejonte Hickman at quarterback and senior Kadeem Edge catching passes, Cathedral has put up almost 30 points a game. Cathedral 28, North Shore 14.
Anthony: Vincent Burton isnít the only running back in Div. 4A. North Shore running back Ross Murphy (17 touchdowns) can find paydirt as well, and heíll help his team get to the 4A Super Bowl contests. North Shore 27, Cathedral 21.
Bristol-Plymouth (5-6) vs. Madison Park (7-4), at Weymouth, 5:15:
Mastro: You got to believe! Roosevelt Robinson is going to give the best pregame speech heís ever given and the Falcons soar to the Super Bowl. Madison Park 19, Bristol-Plymouth 13.
Anthony: Madison Park is coming off two-straight losses to end the season, while Bristol-Plymouth is riding a 28-26 win over Blue Hills. The Craftsmen will make the most out of their first playoff run since 2009. Bristol-Plymouth 14, Madison Park 6.
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 @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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