Editor's note: Globe correspondent Andy Deossa identifies seven players who have been coming up big for their teams, without nearly enough recognition, heading into Saturday's Super Bowls across Eastern Mass.
JOEY WHITE, Everett
Notre-Dame bound offensive lineman John Montelus helps anchor a line that has contributed to the Crimson Tide averaging 33.7 points per game. But behind Jakarrie Washington and Kenny Calaj’s 24 combined touchdowns is another senior running back that has had a great impact for Everett. White’s tough running between the tackles gives Everett a strong inside presence that helps open up the outside for the other running backs. He is the Crimson Tide’s third biggest weapon on offense (with seven touchdowns) and displayed that by scoring twice, including a 42-yard punt return, in Everett’s 42-14 semifinal win over Masconomet.
MIKE DUNLAP, Natick
You’ve heard the last name before but it’s usually his younger brother, Brian. All the hype is typically around Natick’s offense, but not enough is written about its defense. Dunlap, a senior captain, is the heart of the Redhawks defensive unit that is allowing an average of 15.4 points per game. Although brother Brian comes up clutch on offense, Mike is all over the field on defense, making crucial stops and assisting in many tackles throughout the game. Coach Mark Mortarelli referred to Mike as an all-league linebacker who the coach simply expects to make plays.
ROBINSON CYPRIEN, Dorchester
Cyprien’s six touchdowns have led the Dorchester Bears to an undefeated season. His breakthrough game was a 36-24 win over Latin Academy, in which he rushed for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Cyprien is also a defensive back, a key figure on Dorchester’s stingy defense that allows an average of just 5.8 points per game.
HAYDEN MURPHY, Barnstable
The 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound junior running back carried 27 times for over 150 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Red Raiders over Lincoln-Sudbury in a Division 1A semifinal Tuesday night. Murphy also scored three times in a 46-33 win over Billerica this season. The Red Raiders passing game is usually
the overpowering factor of their offense, but Murphy will make opposing defenses remember that Barnstable is certainly not a one-dimensional team.
MATT COMERFORD, Reading
In the spring he’s on the lacrosse field, protecting the net. In the fall he’s on the football field, protecting Rockets quarterback Drew Belcher. The 6-4, 280-pound all-star offensive lineman has not only done a great job blocking, but his size allows him to open up gaps for Belcher to navigate through, as well. Look for Comerford to give Reading the extra push it needs Saturday against Mansfield — literally.
BRENDAN HILL, Mansfield
Mansfield’s two senior running backs, Kevin Makie and Robbie Rapoza, garner most of the limelight, but Brendan Hill’s nine touchdowns have played a significant role in the Hornets offense this season. The 6-5 sophomore receiver is a threat for any opposing secondary. Hill caught a 74-yard touchdown pass against Duxbury in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets advance to the Division 2 Super Bowl.
MIKE DOOLING, Beverly
Much of Beverly’s success this season has come from its dominant running game. And if you’re looking for a reason, besides the fact that Brendan Flaherty is a beast, look no further than Mike Dooling. The 5-11, 220-pound tackle has paved the way for the first Panthers team in school history to win 11 games in a season. On defense, he’s just as good. Dooling, this year’s CAL/NEC 2 co-defensive player of the year, recorded 40 tackles, 2 sacks, and also has a fumble recovery, leading a defense that has allowed only 95 points this year. Look out, Natick.
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.