† With more than 20 league titles still up for grabs in EMass, thereís plenty of canít miss games Friday and Saturday.†
† Hereís a look at this weekís games to watch with our predictions.†
Week 9 Results: Anthony 8-2, Mastro 6-4†
Season: Mastro 55-25, Anthony 50-30.
No. 7 Beverly (9-0) at Marblehead (8-1), Saturday, 1:
Anthony: Behind the thrashing attack of running backs Brendan Flaherty (17 touchdowns) and Kenny Pierce (9 touchdowns), Beverly has cruised to 9-0 (3-0 Cape Ann/Northeastern Div. 2). A win against Marblehead Saturday will lock up the conference for Beverly. The Panthers' offense is explosive. They havenít scored fewer than 30 points in a game all season, and have eclipsed the 40-point plateau on four occasions. Marbleheadís work is cut out for them. They need to slow the Panthers down if they want to even sniff a shot at winning. But in the last two weeks, Marbleheadís defense gave up 35 points in a last-minute loss to Salem, and then gave up 25 as it beat Danvers by three on a last-second score. Itís worth noting Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff served as an assistant for four years under Beverly coach Dan Bauer before taking the head position at Marblehead. On Saturday, I think Bauer and the Panthers get the best of Marblehead. Beverly 31, Marblehead 23.†
Mastro: Marblehead is the underdog, no doubt. And I think we can learn something from the way each of these teams played Danvers Ė a potent offense with a questionable defense. Beverly kept the game in hand the entire time, allowing nothing but a quick 79-yard rushing touchdown early on and a fourth-quarter score when the game was about over. On the other hand, Marblehead was fighting the whole time, needing a last-second drive that gave meaning to their nickname, the Magicians. If Beverly is the team we think it is, this game isnít too close. Beverly 28, Marblehead 13.
New Bedford (4-4) at No. 12 Brockton (6-3), Saturday, 1:
Anthony: Itís a no-brainer: Brockton deserves to represent the conference. But in the Big Three, they still have to earn it and theyíll have a chance at clinching this weekend. The Boxers struggled a bit early in the season, and were lucky quarterback Austin Roberts missed just two games. Two of Brocktonís three losses came to No. 4 St. Johnís Prep (7-1) and No. 5 Reading (9-0). Since starting the season 3-3, the Boxers have rolled to three straight victories, outscoring opponents 105-12. On Friday, Brockton should roll to a fourth straight win, clinching the Big Three. Brockton 28, New Bedford 10.†
Mastro: I would think this wonít be too close, but New Bedfordís 19-14 loss to Barnstable is really standing out to me. If that defense is capable of containing Nick Peabody and company to just 19 points, I wonder what it could do if it plays its best game against Brockton. The bad news for New Bedford is that Brockton has been rolling, winning its last three games by a combined score of 105-12. SoÖ. Brockton 34, New Bedford 13.
No. 6 Walpole (9-0) vs. No. 10 Natick (8-1), Friday, 7:
Anthony: Wellesley shocked the high school football world with a 40-34 win over Natick Friday. Wellesley, up 34-20 entering the third quarter, held on to win as quarterback Troy Flutie and Natickís comeback efforts fell short. Itís going to be interesting to see how the Redhawks bounce back. Extra motivation for Friday night isnít necessary. When these two titans clash, one will exit with the Bay State Herget crown. The key here is going to be Walpoleís defense. The Rebels have had no trouble scoring points this year, nor keeping opponents off the scoreboard. They allow just 4.1 points per game, and impressed with a 31-0 shutout against Needham three weeks ago, bottling up the Rockets' electric back, Mike Panepinto. This weekend, their pass defense will be tested against Flutie and wide receiver Brian Dunlap. But I think the Redhawks will have trouble defending Walpoleís 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end Dan Collins. Walpole 21, Natick 17.†
Mastro: Game of the week right here Ė and a real test for Flutie. But letís be honest, when the offense puts up 34 points and loses the game, itís tough to blame the quarterback. I watched some film from that game and let me just say Ė wow. Whatever the Wellesley offense was throwing at the Redhawks, they didnít have an answer. Poor tackling, poor line play, poor coverage, poor everything. Iíd like to think Natick can bounce back and make this a really competitive game, but Walpole has shut out six teams in a row, just a silly number for this time of year. Walpole 35, Natick 14.
No. 18 Nauset (9-0) at Plymouth South (6-3), Friday, 7:
Anthony: Both teams enter the contest 4-0 in Atlantic Coast league play, and the winner is on an inside track to the conference title. If Plymouth South wins, they move to 5-0 and will clinch the conference. If Nauset wins, and if Dennis-Yarmouth beats Sandwich Friday, Nauset and D-Y will fight for the title on Thanksgiving. Week after week, Nauset and quarterback Jimmy Sullivan (10 rushing touchdowns, 3 passing) have been rattling by opponents. After winning a 7-6 slugfest against Marshfield, Nauset outscored Sandwich and Falmouth 68-20. But under the Friday lights, theyíll be tested by South running back Dylan Oxsen. Since losing three straight games after a Week 1 victory, the Panthers have won five in a row. Oxsen, a junior back, has rushed for 28 touchdowns, just two behind Blue Hills back Vincent Burton, who leads all of Eastern Mass. with 30 scores. Oxsen has the ability to blow a game open, and I think he carries Plymouth South in this one as they upset Nauset. Plymouth South 26, Nauset 24.†
Mastro: I hate to say it, but Nausetís schedule really doesnít impress. That said, letís give credit where credit is due: The Warriors are taking care of business and winning the close games (four wins have come by 10 points or less). I just like Plymouth South in this one. Itís a battle-tested team that played Abington and Hingham to close games and its defense has proved to be sturdy. Unless Nauset has the answer for Oxsen, this is Southís division to win. Plymouth South 20, Nauset 14. †
Bedford (7-2) at Wayland (6-3), Friday, 7:
Anthony: Thereís no doubt Wayland knows how to grind out a win. The Warriors defeated the Dual County large champion, Lincoln-Sudbury (8-1), 10-6 on Oct. 12. Just last week, Wayland led Concord-Carlisle 14-7 in overtime before allowing the Patriots to score a touchdown. But Waylandís defense buckled down and stonewalled Concord-Carlisleís two-point attempt to seal the victory. The offense, led by Matt Goddard, is extremely balanced by the rushing attack of Robert Williams and Mark Bonner. In late season games, itís hard to side against the better-tested team. Without question, Wayland has earned its stripes this season. Wayland 20, Bedford 12.†
Mastro: This should be a really tight game between two teams that have made significant improvements from a year ago. Without having seen either of these teams in action, Waylandís wins over Lincoln-Sudbury and Millis/Hopedale are impressive. Goddard is having one heck of a year after missing most of last season with a broken collarbone and I think Bedford may be stuck in second place yet again (for the fourth time in five years). Next year thatíll work just fine. Wayland 26, Bedford 14.
Revere (5-3) at Masconomet (7-2), Friday, 7:
Mastro: I picked this one just for you Anthony. Itís a sucker's bet, you have to take your hometown team. Now hopefully Masco can get me a win and push my lead over you back to where it was a few weeks ago. Iíll tell you what, the way Dylan Mann has been playing, itís going to be hard to stop the Chieftains. According to Jim Pugh, Mann was laying out huge hits all over the field last weekend against Lynn English, making nine tackles and intercepting a pass on his own 10-yard line. He also rushed for an 8-yard score. Masco 28, Revere 21.
Anthony: Nope, wonít do it. Iím leaving the bait on the table, and Iím going to hear about it back home. Mann and running back Mackenzie Cashin have spearheaded the Chieftains' attack, which has scored 30-plus points in their last three games. Quarterback Chris Schleer is a threat to score with his legs as well, and his balanced attack will keep the Patriots searching for answers. While Revere certainly has the athleticism and speed to keep it close, I think Masco pulls away. Masconomet 30, Revere 22.
Archbishop Williams (5-2) at St. Maryís (8-1), Saturday, 4:
Mastro: This would usually be a game we wouldnít even bother discussing, but letís give some credit to the Archies for putting together a pretty nice season. They have some big guys up front and have made teams pay at times this year when their defense can play a full 48 minutes. And Kylan Philbert-Richardson can play. The junior has 15 touchdowns this year, including this dazzling run last weekend against Arlington Catholic. I have to make at least one bold pick this week, right? Archbishop Williams 28, St. Maryís 27.
Anthony: Give Archbishop Williams the credit where it's due. But Iím going with St. Maryís in this one. It has proved an ability to grind out tight games, specifically with their 14-12 win over Bishop Fenwick three weeks ago. Running backs Jordan Collier and Jordan Manthorne have combined for 25 touchdowns this season, and I think they will give the Archies trouble Saturday. Also, donít underestimate St. Maryís defense. In Week 1, they beat Cambridge 34-6, and held the Falcons' prolific passer, David Maaghul, to just one touchdown score. St. Maryís 24, Archbishop Williams 16.
BC High (3-5) at No. 4 St. Johnís Prep (7-1), Saturday, 1:
Mastro: Oh how the mighty have fallen. I remember looking through schedules in August and circling this one as a game that could really affect the Catholic Conference. It no longer has meaning, but the maroon and gold Eagles are still playing for pride. And really, if it wasnít for a kickoff return for a touchdown last weekend, they outscored Xaverian. Prep probably takes this one, but I donít think itíll be easy. St. Johnís Prep 27, BC High 14.
Anthony: Jason, my thoughts exactly. Although the meaning has escaped this contest, the intensity will not. Catholic Conference games are always extremely competitive, and Saturday shouldnít be any different. But I think St. Johnís Prep and its run-heavy offense will give BC High trouble. (See: Johnathan Thomas and Alex Moore). St. Johnís Prep 30, BC High 18.
No. 16 Lincoln-Sudbury (8-1) at Concord-Carlisle (4-5), Friday, 6:
Mastro: I know, I know, this looks like a mismatch. And it probably is. C-C is still adjusting with a new sophomore quarterback and trying to find some rhythm. But these are two schools that are always full of athletic kids, and I donít care what their records are. If L-S doesnít come out ready to play, C-C could very well make this interesting. Last weekend, the Patriots were an extra point away from beating Wayland Ė a team that beat L-S just three weeks earlier. No, Iím not crazy enough to pick Concord-Carlisle. But it might be close. Lincoln-Sudbury 21, Concord-Carlisle 7.
Anthony: On paper, itís a perfect trap game. L-S has the Dual County (large) wrapped up already, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. But I donít think the Warriors' focus will waver in this game, because head coach Tom Lopez wonít allow it. Lincoln-Sudbury 24, Concord-Carlisle 12.
Foxboro (7-2) at Sharon (7-2), Saturday, 1:
Mastro: This Sharon team is impossible to predict, isnít it? They get blown out by King Philip, then beat Stoughton, then lose to Franklin two weeks later. †I give up. Iím taking Foxboro. Good riddance. Foxboro 21, Sharon 20.
Anthony: Itís a coin flip. You take Foxboro, Iíll take Sharon. Sharon 25, Foxboro 18.
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