The Northeastern Conference voted 6-5 against expansion Friday, ending for the moment the attempts by four Greater Boston League schools and Masconomet to join the 11-team conference.
The motion was to add Medford, Malden, Somerville, and Everett, along with Masconomet, currently a member of the Cape Ann League. Needing eight votes to expand, principals and athletic directors met for two hours before voting.
"It was a healthy discussion," said Northeastern Conference spokesman and former Amesbury principal Les Murray. "In the end they just didn't see the need to expand."
Masconomet is in talks with the Merrimack Valley Conference about joining that 11-team conference. Cambridge is leaving the GBL to join the Dual County League, leaving the GBL as a four-team league.
Defending state champion Acton-Boxboro remained unbeaten and No. 1 in the Globe field hockey Top 20. In fact, there's not much change among the top teams with the first 8 the same as the previous week. But Duxbury and Beverly enter the top 10 after strong weeks, with Oliver Ames and Sandwich losing their first games and dropping down.
There's one newcomer this week with Canton joining the top 20 at No. 18. Canton faces Oliver Ames on Tuesday. The Hockomock has three teams ranked in the top 20.
And if you're keeping track, Watertown's undefeatedc streak is now at 101-0-3.
No. 1 St. John’s Prep continues to roll along this season, taking down Xaverian and St. John’s of Shrewsbury before traveling to Chelmsford and Catholic Memorial for road victories. The Eagles easily retain their top spot this week.
As for No. 3 Peabody, the Tanners move up in the rankings despite a lopsided 6-1 loss to No. 16 Beverly this past Wednesday. What aided Peabody were two losses this week by then No. 3 Newton North. The Tigers dropped two of their three games last week, losing to unranked Weymouth and Woburn respectively.
With the victory over the Tanners, Beverly qualifed for the state tournament and cracked into the Globe Top 20 this week. The Panthers haven’t lost since the first of the month and could easiliy continue to rise up the rankings in the coming weeks. Another team making its top 20 debut is No. 19 Acton-Boxboro. The Colonials defeated Concord-Carlisle and Easton of Pennslyvania this week by a combined scored of 19-7.
A team notably missing from the top 20 this week is defending Division 1 champion Xaverian. The Hawks are just 6-8 on the year and have lost four of their last five contests. An argument could no longer be made for Xaverian among the top 20 teams in Eastern Massachusetts.
The MIAA has released the pairings for this year’s boys’ soccer tournament and once again we are in for a thrilling couple of weeks of top-notch action on the pitch, crowning three new Eastern Mass champions on the way to the state championships. Below is a glimpse into how things may shake out in each of the six sectionals. Please keep in mind that last year we didn’t even have Division 1 EMass champion Masconomet in our Top 20 poll heading into the tourney, so take it all with a grain of salt and feel free to post your own predictions.
DIVISION 1 NORTH:
This sectional boasts defending EMass champion and current No. 1 Masconomet, and is very top heavy with the likes of No. 2 Somerville, No. 3 St. John’s Prep and No. 6 Acton-Boxborough standing out as favorites here.
Best first round matchup: Framingham at St. John’s Prep - Framingham heads to Danvers on Saturday to face off against No. 3 St. John’s Prep. The Eagles stumbled slightly down the stretch, catching two draws over their last three games. The Flyers are always battle-tested come tourney time thanks to their brutal Bay State schedule and have tied No. 5 Needham, 2-2, early in the season and beat No. 11 Wellesley last week.
Finals prediction: Masconomet and Somerville – The two favorites should make it through for a heavyweight collision into the finals.
Sleeper: Chelsea – They are quick, skilled and underrated and despite not losing all season long they have garnered little-to-no fanfare.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
This sectional is as loaded as it gets. With 25 teams in the mix, it will be a free-for-all, so expect some big teams to get knocked off early. Fourth-ranked Needham and fifth-ranked Weymouth have been top-five teams all season long, but No. 7 New Bedford, No. 12 BC High and No. 16 Nauset are all on the verge. Then there are the Oliver Ames's of the world who bring with them one of the best goalies around as David MacKinnon brings in an EMass best 0.17 goalies against average.
Best first-round matchup: Wellesley at Nauset – If the Raiders can get by preliminary opponent King Phillip, it would set up a solid first round bout with Nauset and Cody Savonen, a scoring machine looking to make a mark in his final season.
Finals prediction: Needham and Weymouth – The Rockets took the season series 1-0-1, but of course things were only decided by one goal. These Bay State behemoths would provide a must-see class in this final.
Sleeper: Silver Lake – The Patriot League Keenan division champions had an impressive closing stretch against ranked teams where they tied St. John’s Prep and Dartmouth and defeated Hingham.
DIVISION 2 NORTH
Concord-Carlisle will be looking for a stunning fourth straight D2 North crown and they hope it will lead to their third state title in four years. It won’t be easy and of course it never is. Teams primed to knock the Patriots off of their perch include No. 18 Pentucket and No. 8 North Andover.
Best first-round matchup: Salem at Lynn Classic - Although Lynn Classical just took down Salem, 4-1, last Thursday, you can always expect the best when two teams from the same league make it a one-and-done deal. These two Northeastern League Large foes will get Manning Field ready for what is always a very busy postseason.
Finals prediction: Concord-Carlisle and Winchester – A rematch of last year’s D2 North semifinal that saw the Patriots escape with a 2-1 win.
Sleeper: Wilmington – Just like his Division 2 state champion hockey team, coach Steve Scanlon will have his Wildcats ready to execute their game plan.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH
It’s the anti-Division 1 North with regards to the team powers that you we may be used to. But don’t for a second take this division and section lightly. There are plenty of teams in this one who may not have had the regular season success that they are used to, but tougher schedules make these contenders strong. See Canton, Milton, Hingham, Holliston, Norton, and Duxbury.
Best first-round matchup: Medfield at Westwood – The Lis brothers (Olek and Seb) will look to defend home turf for the Warriors, but Tri-Valley rival Medfield tied Westwood, 0-0, early in the season and defeated them, 1-0, on October 23rd.
Finals prediction: Hingham and Holliston – The H’s have it in Division 2 South.
Sleeper: Martha’s Vineyard – Opponents should not dismiss the Vineyarders because of their commute. It gives them more time to hammer out their game plan!
DIVISION 3 NORTH
This sectional is maybe the most up-for-grabs in the North. Matignon is poised to push things past their quarterfinals appearance last year, while St. Mary’s wants to catch at least one more win than a year ago to put themselves in position for a D3 North title. Of course you can never count out the ports, as Newburyport and Rockport are always forces to watch in this region.
Best first-round matchup: Georgetown at Watertown – The defending EMass champion Royals have to make the long trek to Watertown to try to defend their title, which won’t come easy with a scrappy Red Raiders team first on the docket.
Finals prediction: Rockport and Matignon – Two years ago the Warriors didn’t even make the postseason, but over the last two seasons coach Michael Haynes has gotten the best of his bunch and now they are serious contenders. The Vikings boast Cape Ann goal scoring leader Conor Douglass (24) who alongside Shaun Aspesi (18 goals) make a lethal scoring combo.
Sleeper: Bishop Fenwick – They have tied (0-0) and beat (1-0) preliminary round opponent Austin Prep and if they get by them it will set up a first round matchup with St. Mary’s, whom the Crusaders defeated, 2-1, in mid-October.
DIVISION 3 SOUTH
This sectional is filled with all sorts of gems that have yet to be admired. From Seekonk to Bourne to Coyle & Cassidy. This region could find some new blood to represent them in the EMass final. Of course, last year’s sectional finalists Cardinal Spellman and Dover Sherborn lurk in the depths of the low seeds, waiting to strike.
Best first-round matchup: Cardinal Spellman at Mashpee – The Cardinals must first take out Holbrook in the prelims, but if they do, they will post a massive threat for Mashpee in round one.
Finals prediction: Nantucket and Mashpee – The Cape and Island teams are a lot stronger this year than in year’s past and these two teams will prove it.
Sleeper: Bourne – The leadership of 30-goal scorer Jack Canterbury can be enough to carry the Canalmen at times.
Best of luck to all the teams who have made it this far. The road to the hardware will be a tough one, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Tuesday night was a busy one in boy's hoops. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
No. 19 East Boston knocks off top-ranked Charlestown, 68-58
East Boston point guard Patrick Santos gave the Townies fits with his ability to penetrate and dish, finishing with 14 points, seven assists, and six rebounds for the Jets, who walked away 10-point winners.
“We just couldn’t keep [Santos] from penetrating on us,” said Charlestown coach Edson Cardoso. “We didn’t do a good job protecting the paint tonight.”
On the receiving end of a fair share of Santos’ passes was senior shooting guard Zack Gattereau, who finished with a team-high 24 points.
Gattereau played with edge after coming off the East Boston bench for the first time this season.
“I benched [Gattereau] for the start of the game for his lack of effort on defense lately," said East Boson coach Malcolm Smith. “We’re not the most talented team but when we play hard we can stay with anyone. Gattereau can coast from time-to-time, I just wanted to keep him motivated.”
Tyrese Hoxter, who coach Smith called the most talented player in the state after the matchup, scored a game-high 25 points in a losing effort for the Townies, who went a combined 0-for-13 from behind the arc.
After trailing 34-21 at the half, Charlestown cut the lead to eight in the third quarter, but the team's continued poor shooting killed any chance of a fourth quarter comeback.
“We just had one of those off nights,” Cardoso said. “There’s a real rivalry between our programs. We don’t like to lose to Eastie, some of our guys took it pretty hard, but in the end will learn from this and move forward.
“No loss is good, but overall we’re going to be stronger because of this,” Cardoso continue.
“This is one of the fiercest rivalries around,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re ranked first or 20th, you can throw all that stuff out when these two teams play each other.”
Charlestown, which won't play another game until Jan. 7, should have plenty of time to right the ship. East Boston will try to stay hot against Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) in the Reebok Tournament next Wednesday.
“Our plan is to sit down and watch the game film and go over what we need to do to get back on track,” Cardoso said.
Beverley stuns No. 5 Lynn English, 51-49
The NEC is shaping up to be a tough conference this season with Beverley, Peabody, and now Lynn English all tied at 2-1.
Chris Keaton finished with 17 points and six steals – three of which came in the fourth quarter -- for the Panthers.
Six-foot-seven Beverly center Zach Zigelbaum did an admirable job defending the Bulldog’s six-foot-eight All-State big man Keandre Stanton who finished with a game-high 21 points.
No. 10 Mansfield upsets Jake Layman and King Philip, 59-50
Coming into its game against No. 8-ranked King Phillip, Mansfield, at No. 10, knew it was going to be perceived as the underdog. But Hornets’ coach Mike Vaughan told his team as long as they were confident they would have chance.
In the end, Mansfield had more than a chance, defeating King Philip 59-50 in Wrentham, even with one of the best players in the state, Jake Layman, at the other end of the court.
“We made it difficult for [Layman],” Vaughan said. “He’s a special player, but we changed matchups on him to wear him out a little bit.”
After winning the rebound battle in the first two quarters, the Hornets went into the half up, 28-21. Vaughan praised his team during the break and told them that if they continued to play the way they were playing they could make a statement to the rest of the Hockomock League.
“I told them, ‘We’re here as the underdog and we just beat them in the first two quarters. We’ll be taken more serious in the league [if we win],' ” Vaughan said.
Coming out of the half, Layman started to get hot, so Vaughan decided to put junior forward Greg Lomanko on him to try and cool him off.
“He did a good job of containing him once he heated up,” Vaughan said.
While Lomanko was one of the stars on defense, forward and senior captain Terry O’Mara (12 points, 11 rebounds) led the way on offense.
Vaughan was quick to spread the credit around.
“We got contributions from a lot of guys and kind of proved to everyone that we were a pretty good team ourselves,” he said.
As for how far Vaughan thinks his team can go this season, he referred to what he termed “one of those clichés.”
“We play one game at a time,” he said. “Coming into the year we had a young team and I wasn’t sure how they would hold up and respond. But we’re pretty talented and as long as we focus and play well on defense, I like where we can go.”
In Week 5, we'll have updates from several games in the region. For a look at all the scores on Boston.com, visit our scoreboard page.
Final: Beverly 34, Peabody 0 -- Beverly's (4-1) relentless ground game carried the Panthers past Peabody (3-1) as they handed the Tanners their first loss of the season. Brendan Flaherty led both teams in production with three touchdowns and 190 yards of offense, the bulk of which came on three plays: a 13-yard touchdown run, a 60-yard touchdown run, and an 85-yard interception returned for a TD. Teammate Kenny Pierce had 90 yards. Dom Abate had 52 yards on the ground and a 20-yard touchdown reception on the back-heavy Panthers' sole passing play of the game. Quarterback Dave Rollins had a one-yard touchdown run. Nat Gaye led Peabody with 61 yards. -- Braden Campbell
Final: New Bedford 31, Barnstable 17 -- Myles Medeiros led three fourth quarter touchdown drives as the Whalers came back to beat Barnstable. Barnstable quarterback D.J. Crook suffered a thumb injury in the game.
Final: Blue Hills 40, South Boston 8 -- Blue Hills' Vincent Burton ran in two touchdowns in the first two quarters. The game was halted for a bit because the lights to Saunders stadium in Boston needed to be turned on.
Final: BC High 41, Central Catholic 7 -- On BC High's first play, Preston Cooper broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run. Gordon McLeod added an eclectic 60-yard TD reception from Eagles quarterback Bartley Regan. Regan also completed an 80-yard TD pass to Cooper on a screen. Cooper tacked on a 33-yard TD in the third quarter. On the other side of the ball, John Snee took a fumble 8 yards for another BC High touchdown. Central Catholic got on the board with a 23-yard TD pass from Matt McDermott to Brandon Lamphier. Deontae Ramey-Doe capped the big night for BC High with a 10-yard TD run.
Final: Dennis-Yarmouth 27, Plymouth North 18 -- Despite three turnovers that led directly to Plymouth North scores, the No. 6 Dolphins edged their Atlantic Coast League foes, 27-18. D-Y improved to 5-0, while Plymouth North fell to 2-3.
How many upsets did we witness? So many, I think, we lost count. But I know one thing for a fact, my high school picks for Week 3 looked like an abomination by Sunday.
That's fine by me. I like being surprised. I mean, who would have thought that Belmont Hill would top BB&N in their opener? Or their ISL counterparts and league heavyweights Lawrence Academy and Rivers would lose close games. I don't think anyone had in mind the Lynn English Bulldogs blowing a 21-point lead at home against Beverly. Or, more surprisingly, that Brockton would get shut out against Xaverian.
With the 10 games I picked this past week, I was surprised I got four right.
(Can I blame it on the rain?)
There are many, many games to highlight in what was a fantastic week in football. But unfortunately, we could only get to a few. Check out the highlights of Week 3 action above.
Also: Coaches or parents who would like to contribute video for The Huddle are encouraged to contact me via email to make arrangements to supply short clips.
In Week 3, we have the ISL opening up its season and lots of games to watch, despite the downpour of rain in the region. So I'm going to split from my normal "10 games to watch" and instead give you five to choose from. I'll come back with another five tomorrow morning.
1. Belmont Hill at BB&N, 4 p.m. – It’s the season opener for ISL games and we get a chance to see powerhouse BB&N go to work right away. Chris Coady, who played running back for the Knights last year, will be the team’s QB. Add in a couple of stud linemen in Eric Olson and Dan Connaughton, and they’ve got a great team to watch.
My pick: BB&N
2. Lawrence (2-0) at Lowell (1-1), 7 p.m. – Two great athletes in this matchup, with Lawrence’s Kelvin Severino and Lowell’s R.J. Noel.
My pick: Lawrence
3. BC High (1-1) at Chelmsford (2-0), 7 p.m. – BC High lost last week against New Jersey power DePaul Catholic, but that doesn’t mean they lack for power. Seniors Preston Cooper and Gordon McLeod provide the scoring punch. For Chelmsford, quarterback Colby Emanouil keeps the Lions’ offensive engine running smooth and Tim Joy anchors one of the state’s top defenses.
My pick: BC High
4. Weymouth (2-0) at Gloucester (0-2), 7 p.m. – Gloucester’s on a new streak already, having lost two games in a row after reeling of 26 straight. Weymouth features one of the top receivers in the state in Khary Bailey-Smith.
My pick: Weymouth
5. Beverly (1-1) at Lynn English (2-0), 7 p.m. – Dom Abate and Brendan Flaherty are the scoring options for Beverly while Lynn English will rely upon deep threat receiver Malcolm Brown-Simpson and running back P.J. Dorsey. Jermaine Kelley orchestrates Lynn English’s offense at QB.
My pick: Lynn English
Marblehead's Ashley Noyes won the girls' 18-year old division, beating Milton resident and training partner, Sophie Panarese, 6-4, 6-1.
Winchester's Nicole Frenkel beat Ellyse Hamlin (Fairfield, Conn.), 6-2, 6-1, in the girls' 16-year old division.
Frenkel's victory added to her impressive resume, which includes a national title at the Orange Bowl Championships last year.
In the boys' 14-year old division, Charles Shewalter (Winchester) beat top-seeded Weston Brach.
Will Barry of Beverly won the boys' 12-year old division title, beating South Dennis resident Cam Mizzoni in the championship match.
Beverly coach Marty Harrington knew going into last night’s game versus Salem that knocking off the No. 12-ranked Witches would be a tall task.
But Harrington also knew that for his team to have any shot at the tournament, they had to check off three wins in its final three games.
So far for the Panthers, its one down, two to go.
Using 24 points and 18 rebounds from junior center Zack Zigelbaum, and applying a strong defensive press in the fourth quarter, Beverly overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to knock off Salem, 72-70.
Beverly improved to 8-9 with the win, while Salem fell to 16-3.
“They led by 11 the entire game,” Harrington said. “We were down by 10 at the start of the fourth, and we knew that they only play about five of their players so we were hoping they were tired.”
With about six minutes left in the fourth, the Panthers applied a 3-2 press and saw immediate results.
“We knew that we needed to win if we wanted to have a shot at advancing so, we applied the press,” Harrington said. “We got a couple of steals right away and just slowly chipped away at the lead. Then with about 38 seconds to go, Aren Jones scored the go-ahead basket.”
Chris Keaton, a junior shooting guard, added 20 points for the Panthers.
Beverely now must win its final two games, both of which are at home – Sunday vs. Dracut and Tuesday vs. Winthrop – to reach 10 wins and advance to the tournament.
“If we come out and play with the intensity with which we played tonight, that’s what we need to do to win,” Harrington said.
The accolades keep rolling in for the Beverly Panthers.
Beverly coach Dan Bauer was awarded the New England Patriots coach of the Week after his squad came from behind to beat Somerset, 28-20, in the Division 3 Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Beverly's football program in recognition of the award.
The Panthers started the season 0-5, but won 7 of its final 8 games en route to the championship.
“In winning their first ever High School Super Bowl, The Beverly Panthers were the epitome of perseverance, hard work, and resiliency,” said Andre Tippett, the team’s executive director of community affairs, in a press release. “As players, those are crucial traits if you want to recover from failure and setbacks in sports competition. For the Panthers to come back the way they did, here at Gillette Stadium to win the Division III Super Bowl, they proved they are capable of doing just that. This is a dream come true for these young men and a real test of their character and something they are going to remember the rest of their lives.”
If you could bottle the emotions of the high school football players at Gillette Stadium Thursday and encapsulate their feelings in what is undoubtedly the biggest game of their young lives slated to come, you'd start using words like giddy, hungry, wide-eyed, anxious and, in some cases, vengeful to describe them.
The dreams of playing catch like Tom Brady and Wes Welker in Foxboro are now coming to a close. On Saturday, Gillette Stadium will again host six games for the EMass Super Bowls.
Everybody reacts differently to the bright lights of Gillette Stadium and to the challenges that lay ahead. There were a number of players I caught up with Thursday to ask their thoughts upon this and their season. And then, how they plan on winning a title in the midst of all this glitz.FULL ENTRY
In one of our last episodes of The Huddle this season, Chad Finn and Bob Holmes preview all of the Super Bowl games slated for Saturday.
For past episodes of The Huddle, go to http://www.boston.com/huddle.
The NEPSAC Bowl game between Rivers and Pingree has been moved to Gillette Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday. The football game was originally scheduled for Endicott College. Rivers (8-0) and Pingree (8-0) will meet in the Norm Walker Bowl, one of five NEPSAC Bowl games this weekend.
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.