Facing a two-touchdown deficit after Holliston rattled off 29 straight points, Bo Berluti knew Westwood had a comeback in them; the Wolverines just had to play within themselves. That’s when the versatile senior quarterback pulled out all the stops. Aided by senior running back Danny Roache, the Wolverines tied the game in the final 20 seconds of regulation before emerging with a 43-41 win in double overtime. Berluti finished with 89 passing yards and two scores while rushing for 165 yards and another touchdown. He converted three of four 2-point conversions, including a quarterback follow to the left that sent the Wolverines to victory. Westwood (3-1; 2-0 Tri-Valley League) now is in first place in the TVL with two league games to go – vs. Medway on Oct. 18 and on the road at Hopkinton on Oct. 25.
In this week’s edition of First & 10, the 5-foot-9-inch senior talks about the win over Holliston, his brother, former Globe All-Scholastic Alex Berluti, and his favorite place to relax.
After the game Friday I asked you if you could possibly describe what you and your team just went through. Your response was, “not tonight, maybe tomorrow.” So I’ve given you a few days. What do you have for me?
Honestly [it was] just incredible. Not believable. It really is just a huge victory. It was an amazing game. So many people just coming up to me and saying that was the best game I’ve watched in I don’t know how long. Adults telling me it was the greatest football game they’ve watched. It was certainly the greatest football game I’ve ever been a part of. Just amazing. Incredible.
You’ve been on the varsity team for three years, starting with the year that Coach Ed Mantie came to Westwood. What kind of relationship do the two of you have?
We’ve had a great relationship ever since my sophomore year. I played wide receiver my sophomore and junior year and he was a wide receiver in college [Boston University, 1991-1995], so that had an immediate factor in our relationship. Since then it’s just kind of grown. I’m always talking to him, trying to watch film with him. He’s a great guy, really a figure that can be looked up to and stuff. He’s a great coach and he’s always trying to make me better.
You called the last play of the game, which we talked a little bit about on Friday. How often do you do that?
I never do anything that major that often that really changes the play in a serious situation. Sometimes I’ll just ad-lib a couple of things and offer some suggestions, just new little wrinkles. But yeah, that was the first time I’d ever done that.
You guys beat Division 2 power Needham to start the season, a game where a lot of people didn’t have you coming out on top. People started taking notice of Westwood after that game. Has the team felt any pressure because of it?
No. We have a good group of guys and good coaches that make sure that we’re always hungry and ready to go. Yeah, it’s just funny. People have started talking about us. We’re starting to get ranked kind of high, which we think we should have been for a while.
But weve still been picked to lose. People still aren’t giving us that much credit. We really weren’t picked to win against Holliston. A bunch of polls had us rated below them. We like being the underdog. We don’t mind it. We’re always ready to prove some people wrong and stay hungry, so we don’t mind people not believing in us because we know what we have here. We believe in our system and what we do here at Westwood. So yeah, we’re not really feeling any pressure. We’re just trying to come out and play our game.
You played quarterback on Friday, where you both ran the ball and passed it. You occasionally line up at wide receiver. You’re a defensive back when on defense and you’ve been the team’s punter recently as well. What would you say is your favorite position?
You know, I don’t really know if I have a favorite position. I love quarterback. I love having the ball in my hands every single play. But honestly, I came into Coach Mantie’s office first day of the season and I just said what do you need from me? What can I do? What’s best for the team? Whatever you think gives us the best chance to win, I’ll do it. Whatever he needs me to do, I’m just going to line up and try to do the best that I can at it. I wouldn’t necessarily say I favor a position. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, I’m going to do it.
It seems like you guys are really clicking on both sides of the ball. Is the team pretty driven, especially considering how last season ended? (Westwood lost to Wayland in the EMass finals.)
Absolutely. We’ve always believed in just staying hungry. We have a new motto this year - “Always be prepared.” It just means always be prepared to play football. We have another motto – “No excuses.” Obviously don’t make excuses for anything that’s happened.
We were very upset [at how last year ended]. We felt like we had a state championship-caliber team and we lost a game short. We played a good Wayland team and they beat us up that night, so we changed things up in the offseason, the way we lifted and everything. We were driven, and we’re still driven just to beat more high-quality teams and just continue to play well.
Who would you say your favorite athlete is?
My favorite athlete right now – I mean, how can you not love him – is Johnny Manziel. I like the way he plays the game – obviously we both play the same position. I like the passion with which he plays and he does some things you just can’t teach. I love the way he competes. He doesn’t take any grief from any other players on any other teams. He just goes out there and gives 100 percent. I just kind of look to do the same, and that comes from my coaches as much as anything.
Is there any reason why you wear No. 4?
I’ve worn it since Pop Warner. I think I was No. 11 for Drew Bledsoe my first year, and ever since then, I wore No. 4. I won the Super Bowl one year in Pop Warner, and I’ve just tried to get that number. I’ve been fortunate enough to get it everywhere I’ve been.
You seem to really like football. What do you like to do outside of football?
Honestly, I’m an easy-going guy. I just like to hang out with my friends. I watch more football on Saturdays after practice and stuff. I basically just ice down and watch football. I’ll be doing basketball [for Westwood] in the winter and baseball in the spring. I just like to always compete and play sports. I obviously do a lot of school work, try to keep my grades up, and I like to hang out with my friends and do what kids do, I guess.
What would you say your favorite getaway spot is? Where’s the one place you can go and relax?
It’s either just my third floor or my friend’s basement. I mean, we can go there, we’re all just hanging out. It’s just some of the moments that you don’t really think are too much, but when you think back on it, those are the moments that I’m going to miss most about high school. Usually me and my friends are really sore after games, so we just relax, have stupid conversations about stuff, and just watch football. Those are honestly the times you realize are special.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Honestly I would say Sportscenter, if that counts as a TV show. I really like that. I always try to stay caught up. I really like Two and a Half Men. I think that’s hysterical. For action shows I really like NCIS. I like Mark Harmon as an actor. He’s a good guy.
Where’s the best place to eat in Westwood and what do you get when you go there?
Best place to eat in Westwood? That’s debatable among my friends. Sometimes we go to Chipotle in Dedham. We love to do that. We don’t like to do that during game week, though. I love Italian food, so I go to Victoria’s in Westwood and I really like that. I like chicken parmesan and the pizza.
The last couple of years you were able to play with your brother Alex [who now plays football at Amherst College]. What kind of relationship do the two of you have?
You know a lot of people ask if it’s any different [to play with your brother]. We’re just so competitive with each other. We both just win a lot and we wanted to win [the Super Bowl] together last year. Scotty McManus does a funny impression of me and my brother going at it sometimes, just about quarterback and wide receiver things. I always just thought of my brother as another teammate because I played a bunch of different sports with him throughout my high school career.
If I were to set up a football-like combine, who is coming out on top between the two of you?
That’s a tough question. We actually compete with that a lot. I started getting on him, creeping up on him with some things. Our 40 times are pretty similar. He’s playing at Amherst, so the lifting program there is a little bit more rigorous than the ones in high school. He has some height on me, he weighs 15 pounds more than me and he’s probably lifting more than me right now, so I would have to say him.
Are you looking to play football in college?
I’ve gone to a bunch of camps with a bunch of other guys on this team. We have great players: Dan Roache, Scott McManus, Connor DiVincenzo. We all went to camps this summer and last summer, just trying to get better and obviously trying to find places to play.
Have you given any thought to what you’d like to major in? Or what you’d like to do after college?
That’s the one thing I haven’t given much thought to. I’d like to keep sports a part of my life some way, somehow. If that doesn’t work out, my dad is a lawyer, so that’s always an interesting profession. But like I said, I haven’t really given much thought to that. I should obviously get on that soon, but I haven’t really thought about it.
What’s the ultimate goal for this team? At the end of the day, when the season wraps up, what do you guys want to hang your hat on?
Being Super Bowl Champions for 2013. That’s what we’re shooting for, but it only happens one game at a time. We still have two games to go. We have that ultimate goal of being state champions, but we’ve got to start with another one. We’ve been fortunate enough to win three, but we’ve just got to start with Week 5 and go from there.
Woburn senior Kayla Smith hit a career milestone Saturday night by reaching a career total of 200 points as the Tanners' girls' hockey team routed Stoneham, 8-0,on the road.
Smith entered last night's game with 195 career points. A hat trick and two assists later, she's now the second Tanner to earn 200 points in her career, joining Colleen Sanborn, who graduated in 2005 with 284 points off 206 goals and 78 assists.
Smith's 200th point came on her 103d career goal. With 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period and her team up 7-0, the senior captain took a pass across the crease from linemate Ashley Moran and fired top-shelf, past the Stoneham netminder and straight into the record books.
Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain was thrilled to see his star player reach the plateau.
"It's a great accomplishment,both at an individual level and as an indication of being a part of a lot of really good teams with great players." he said.
Smith's five points propelled undefeated No. 1 Woburn to its 10th win of the season.
Xaverian's Maurice Hurst announced via twitter that he has verbally committed to attend and play football at the University of Michigan. The Canton resident is expected to play defensive tackle for the Wolverines.
"I'm happy for him,'' said Xaverian coach and athletic director Charlie Stevenson. "It's something that he's worked very hard to achieve.''
The 6-2, 270-pound Hurst has one year left at Xaverian, where he was a Catholic Conference All-Star for the Hawks.
By Ayoub Kourikchi, Globe Correspondent
Xaverian's baseball team extended its win streak to five games and earned a postseason berth after toppling Catholic Conference powerhouse and No. 5 ranked St. John’s Prep, 2-0, Monday at home.
The Hawks (10-1, 3-4) have now downed another ranked team this week along with No. 6 BC High and No. 16 Peabody.
"This was a big win for us because before the season one of our big goals it to pick up the 10th win and play into the postseason,” said head coach Gerry Lambert. “Hopefully we can finish up strong and can carry the momentum into the post season.”
Senior pitcher Tim Duggan (3-1) recorded five strong innings, scattering five hits while collecting six strikeouts to earn the win. He showed poise in the fifth inning when he struck out an opposing batter on a full count while facing a bases loaded situation with one out.
Duggan (1 for 3) also showed his versatility early on after singling to left field to knock in senior captain and second baseman Chris Hoyt, who drilled a leadoff single early in the first inning.
“You count on your seniors to be the backbone of your team,” Lambert said. “They are the ones that have carried us to the level of success that we have had this season and Tim has been one of those terrific competitors.”
In the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Mike LaVita singled to center field to lead off the inning and advanced to second base after a sacrifice bunt by senior Mark Stefaniak. With two on, sophomore catcher Andrew Elliott laced a single to right field to drive in Lavita to put the Hawks up 2-0.
Stefaniak entered the sixth inning to relieve Duggan and recorded his first save of the season after giving up two hits and striking out two batters in two innings to hold off the Prep.
“When we were 5-6, I thought we were in trouble, but at a certain point you have to stop the bleeding, and you have to understand that when you play a tough schedule you have to make sure you qualify for the post season,” Lambert said. “This win was a strong testament to the team’s mental toughness. Now we have been able to put that losing streak behind us and move forward with positive momentum.”
The Hawks look to continue their win streak against Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial Tuesday.
For the first time this season, there is not a new No. 1 in the Globe's girls' lacrosse Top 20. In fact, the top six team all remain in tact.
Needham (No. 1), Winchester (No. 2), Lincoln-Sudbury (No. 3), Notre Dame Hingham (No. 4) and Westwood (No. 5) all finished their week without a loss, keeping them in the top five slots.
Andover stays at No. 6 despite also winning out this week to push their winning streak to eight games. Their three losses keeps them from breaking into the top 5.
Concord-Carlisle jumped over Reading in the standings, after defeating the Rockets 13-10 Saturday.
Wayland and Central Catholic both had tough weeks with multiple losses, shifting them down in the standings. Those two teams' downward movement left room for Westford and North Andover, each 12-4 to slide up to No. 12 and No. 14 respectively.
After re-enetering the standings for the first time since week 1 last week, Wellesley has gone on a solid five-game winning streak to keep themselves in the Top 20 at No. 19.
Taking over the bubble position is Norwell, which entered the rankings for the first time last week, but had a multiple-loss week to slide them down to No. 20.
With a big 12-10 win over Westwood Thursday, Needham catapolts from the No. 5 spot to No.1 for the first time this season, in the Globe's girls' lacrosse Top 20. The Rockets are 14-1 with their only loss coming to Cold Springs Harbor (N.Y.).
Winchester drop to No.2 while one-loss squads Lincoln-Sudbury (No.3) and Notre Dame (Hingham) (No.4) remain in the top five, with Westwood (13-2) rounding out the group at No. 5.
A strong week from Reading pushes the Rockets to the No. 7 spot, while Concord-Carlisle's loss to Wayland drops them to No. 8. The win moves the Warriors to No. 11, up two spots from last week.
A two loss week by Westford, with setbacks to Lincoln-Sudbury and Algonquin, drops them from No. 10 to No. 15.
Archbishop Williams sits at No.9 with a strong 15-1 record, but their weaker strength of schedule keeps the Bishops just on the outside of the top teams.
Entering the poll for the first time this week are Wellesley (8-6, No.20) and Norwell (8-4, No. 18). They booted Hamilton-Wenham and Franklin out of the rankings.
With a 14-10 win over formerly undefeated and top-ranked Lincoln-Sudbury, the Notre Dame of Hingham girls' lacrosse team has taken over the top spot in the Globe's Top 20.
The loss slips the Warriors down to the No. 3 spot as Winchester's strong 10-0 record puts them firmly in second. After opening their season with a narrow 13-12 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury, Westwood has rebounded, winning nine straight games to put them at No. 4. Needham's 9-1 record rounds out the top 5.
Concord-Carlisle moves up three spots to No. 7 after a three-win week, including handing No. 9 Masconomet its first loss of the season. Westford Academy also jumped three spots to No. 11.
Entering the rankings for the first time this week is Ashland, which sits at 8-0.
North Andover has climbed out of the bubble into the No. 17 spot after defeating ranked teams Ipswich and Hamilton-Wenham this week.
Those losses place Ipswich (No. 18) and Hamilton-Wenham (No. 19) at the edge of the standings with No. 20 Franklin (6-3). They'll have to contend with Wellesley, which just slipped out the rankings this week after a disappointing 3-5 record to begin the season.
With the baseball season beginning, the Globe's baseball Top 20 is largely based on how teams look on paper. Returning players and last season's success are the main reasons for the choices. But once teams get on the diamond and play a few games, the true top 20 will begin to form.
For now, Xaverian takes the top spot. Head coach Gerry Lambert has four pitchers returning that should play key roles. They include senior southpaw Tim Duggan, senior right-hander Nick Ahearn and junior righties Alex Person and Austin DeCarr. This deep pitching staff is a main reason why the Hawks are at the top spot.
Senior second baseman Chris Hoyt will leadoff for Xaverian and should be one of the best hitters in the lineup. Junior outfielder Aidan Desrosiers should also add some pop to the middle of the order.
BC High and St. John’s Prep come in at Nos. 2 and 3 and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of these teams at the top by the end of the season. The Catholic Conference will be tough as always.
BC High will be led by senior catcher Bob Melley who Lambert described as the best player in the Catholic Conference.
St. John’s Prep coach Pat Yanchus said pitching will also be the strength to his team. He will rely on junior RHP Dustin Hunt who transferred from Andover along with junior Brandon Bingeo who also plays shortstop. Senior outfielders Anthony Capuano and Andrew Donahue will return in the lineup for the Eagles.
Lowell is our No. 4 team. Again experience played a key role in this pick as the Red Raiders have 13 seniors this season and won the Merrimack Valley Conference two years in a row.
At No. 5 is the defending Division 1 South champions Franklin. They have four seniors that will play important roles. Catcher Reed Turgeon and shortstop Brendan Skidmore are both three-year starters, while pitchers Tyler Buck and Bobby Chaiton have pitched multiple innings in the past for head coach Dave Niro.
Plymouth North is the first Division 2 team and the defending state champions should be tough to beat. The Eagles have pitchers who have been on the mound in high pressure situations including Alex Rozak who won the state final last year and senior Cody Holmes who has saved seven tournament games in the last two years.
A couple teams to watch are Barnstable and Lynn Classical who come in at Nos. 10 and 12 respectively.
The Red Raiders went 10-6 last year and return all of their defensive starters.
Lynn Classical snuck into the tournament last year at 10-10 but made it to the Division 2 final, losing to North Andover. The Rams are only graduated their shortstop from last season and will have 10 seniors on the team.
One team to watch that didn’t make the Top 20 is North Reading. Head coach Frank Carey only has two seniors on the team but he likes what he sees from his squad this year. With more than 600 wins and a spot in the National High School Baseball Hall of Fame, Carey knows what he is talking about.
For now, these rankings are based on off-the-field observations. It will be interesting to see how the rankings shake up once teams get on the field for a few weeks.
The first thing one might question upon first glance at the Boston Globe girls lacrosse Top 20 is the placement of Westwood.
Some will wonder why the Lady Wolverines are in the No. 2 slot instead of at the top, while others wonder why they are ranked second and not further back. So let’s just lay out the facts, because they speak for themselves.
Westwood only has five returning starters. Of them, three are seniors. All three of those seniors -- Kate Rich, Laura McHoul, and three-year starting goaltender Mollie Brown -- are committed to play lacrosse in college. Brown will play at Plymouth State, but Rich (Boston College) and McHoul (UNH) are headed for Division 1. They will give opponents headaches all season. The Lady Wolverines are also the defending Division 1 champions, and coach Leslie Frank has been fielding the most successful team in the state for the last decade.
Is Westwood a serious contender for the Division 1 title? Absolutely. The only thing that keeps them out of the top spot on this list is that they lost to Lincoln-Sudbury. The Warriors are expected to run away with Dual County League and contend for the Division 1 title, and they have already made a case for themselves by taking down Westwood in the season opener. Right now, they are the top team in the state.
Andover held off No. 9 Framingham on Wednesday to improve to 2-0, and is a serious threat in the North. Notre Dame has 10 returning starters and is currently unbeaten at 4-0. Hopkinton returns nine starters, and has a real chance to repeat in Division 2, which rounds out the top 5.
More than one Division 1 coach has stated how dangerous Needham looked throughout the preseason, and the Rockets won handily to open their season.
See the full Globe girls lacrosse Top 20.
Vondell Langston ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns, Kenny Calaj added two more scores and the Everett Crimson Tide rolled over Xaverian 42-21. See the highlights from the game above.
Millis-Hopedale QB Bay Tangney hit Derek Latosek for a 27-yard touchdown pass and Jimmy Perkins punched in a 2-yard TD run to lead the Mohawks past Westwood Friday, 12-7.
See the highlights from the game above.
Reilly Naton caught two touchdown passes from Matt O’Keefe and killed a late Xaverian rally with an interception to lead No. 2 Duxbury over the No. 3 Hawks, 31-14. See the highlights above.
While the No. 3 Xaverian Hawks (3-0) were building their lead for a 31-0 win over Brockton (1-2) Saturday, Jules Murphy was busy on the sidelines.
The senior kicker was constantly punting and kicking the ball into the net to keep loose, waiting for his number to be called.
Xaverian averages 29 points per game – while giving up only six per game – and Murphy’s field goal Friday was his first of the year. But there’s no doubt the Hawks posses the best kicker in the state.
When Murphy came on the field he was a terror for Brockton, constantly pinning the Boxers behind their own 20-yard line with every punt. On kickoffs, he was sending the ball past the 5-yard line or into the end zone every time.
After Xaverian failed to score on its first drive of the game, Murphy blasted a punt that rolled 57 yards to Brockton’s 4-yard line.
Brockton’s offense was stagnant and they were forced to punt from the back of their endzone, which led to Xaverian’s first touchdown as they only had to go 31 yards to score.
“The drop is everything – setting a low drop and keep it straight,” Murphy said. “If I get it straight I’m fine. You always look for open field where the guy is not and get it around them.”
Before his time at Xaverian, Murphy played soccer while growing up but said he always had a passion for football.
“I couldn’t play anywhere else [on the football field],” Murphy said. “I was a soccer goalie so I always took those long goal kicks. Ever since I stopped soccer, this is all I’ve been doing. I come out at practice every day just kicking.”
Murphy punted the ball two more times in the game for a total of 88 yards, and he added a 38-yard field goal at the end of the first-half that looked like it could have traveled another 20 yards.
“Jules kicked the ball excellently and punted the ball excellently,’’ Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “He’s a three-year starter and he has a very strong leg.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Murphy kicked a 26-yard field goal, but Brockton’s Moise Edouard barreled into the kicker, resulting in a first down and a touchdown run by junior Hunter Toute.
“I just kicked it and I didn’t really expect [the hit], Murphy said. “But I just got up and wanted to make the next kick.”
There have been some great kickers from Xaverian, most notably Jon Barker who went to Syracuse and Paul Asack who played at Duke.
Murphy, who said he has received some Division 1 offers, is right up there with the best according to kicking coach John Fiatarone.
“I’ve been working with Jules since his freshman year and he’s done nothing but improve,” Fiatarone said, who’s in his 11th year at Xaverian. “He takes it real serious and he works real hard. Talent alone isn’t enough to be a kicker, but you got to have a strong work ethic. I don’t like to rank kickers because every situation is different, but we’ve had two great kickers here and Jules is right up there with them.”
But more important than Murphy’s knack for kicking and his work ethic is his admiration for the team, Fiatarone said.
“People say he’s only a kicker and he just kicks the ball, but he appreciates the linemen, the long snapper and the holder,” Fiatarone said. “It’s so important because Jules has a lot of confidence in them.”
Senior Matt Stapleton is the long snapper for Xaverian, and junior backup quarterback Austin DeCarr does the holding.
“He’s a great kid, he’s always at practice and we always go out 30 minutes early and snapped and kicked,” Stapleton said, who is snapping for Murphy for the second straight season. “We practiced a lot over the summer and we’ve always been together. If Jules doesn’t trust me then nothing will happen. It’s all based on how the snap goes, but Jules can always put it up there. Just watching him kick, I have so much confidence in him.”
At the high school level, it’s not common to have a steady placekicker. But having Murphy on the team makes all the difference, according to senior quarterback Chris Calvanese.
“There’s no worries when we need to rely on Jules,” Calvanese said. “He’s a great kicker.”
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at AGulizia@globe.com. You can follow him on Twitter @gulizia8.
In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, Westwood's girls lacrosse coach Leslie Frank was featured in the magazine's "Faces in the Crowd" special coaches edition.
Frank guided Westwood to a Division 1 state title in a 15-9 win over Longmeadow in June after a 25-0-1 season. According to the magazine, she has a career record of 269-22-6 and has sent 15 students on to Division 1 schools for lacrosse in the past 13 years.
Frank wasn't the only coach in New England to make it in the section. Rhode Island's Bill Haberek, Chariho Regional's track and field coach, was also featured. Haberek led the boys track team to its first state title in school history last spring and was voted the state's outdoor track coach of the year.
As if Sarah Biron, Westwood’s face of the lacrosse program the past few years, needed another accolade from her high school playing days, the soon-to-be freshman at Johns Hopkins was named Northeast Girls Player of the Year by Lacrosse Magazine in the August issue.
“I admire her,” long-time Westwood coach Leslie Frank said Tuesday. “It wasn’t about stats with her, and certainly she accumulated enough points. But she did whatever it took for the team to win. She’s certainly among the top of the players to ever come through our program.”
The do-it-all midfielder led the Wolverines to their third straight state title with a victory over Longmeadow, capping off an undefeated season. Westwood was ranked No. 4 in the final Northeast region rankings in Lacrosse Magazine.
Biron finished her Westwood career with 234 goals and 103 assists, including 119 points her senior season, earning her Globe Player of the Year honors.
Perhaps her most defining moment came in the Eastern Massachusetts title game against Lincoln-Sudbury in mid-June. With a hip injury limiting Biron’s ability to shoot, Frank asked her to take a back seat on the offensive end, focusing on winning possession off draws and collecting ground balls. Biron didn’t score, but she played a big part in the 15-7 win.
“We played with a lot of freshmen and won a state championship because [Biron] was such a great teacher,” Frank said. “They don’t get to where they need to be learning just from me, they have to learn from each other. And Sarah was a leader.”
The top 10 teams of the Globe girls lacrosse Top 20 remain almost exactly the same as last week, with the lone exception being Winchester and Notre Dame (Hingham) switching spots. The Sachems lost their first game of the season at the hands of No. 1 Westwood, and with the Cougars winning three times to remain undefeated the Sachems must slightly drop.
However, the bottom half of the Top 20 was shaken up. Three new teams enter the mix: Franklin, Hopkinton and North Andover. Franklin (11-1) and Hopkinton (10-3) make their return to the Top 20 at Nos. 12 and 13 after making the preseason Top 20.
North Andover debuts in the Top 20 at No. 17. They are 10-1 on the season and have won eight straight games including two this week.
Masconomet held steady at No. 16 while Weston moved up a spot to No. 18 after its win against Acton-Boxborough this week.
Life isn’t easy for a baseball team in the Catholic Conference. Both top-ranked Catholic Memorial and third-ranked Xaverian experienced that fact firsthand last week, as each team entered yesterday's showdown coming off a loss.
Yesterday afternoon was Xaverian’s turn to right the ship as it traveled to West Roxbury. The Hawks prevailed, 2-0 in what was a pitchers' duel right to the end.
The Hawks got all the offense they’d need in the first inning. The tandem of Tim Duggan and Austin DeCarr punched out nine and scattered four hits en route to shutting out one of the more potent offenses in Division 1.
Junior Chris Hoyt chopped an infield single that wouldn’t quite roll foul to lead off the first inning. Derek Reddy promptly laced a single to right field that skipped by the right fielder and rolled to the wall, scoring Hoyt and leaving Reddy at third with no outs after the two-base error.
However, Knights' co-ace Matt Goreham promptly shut the door on Xaverian, not allowing a ball out of the infield to strand Reddy at third.
Both teams had their chances throughout the middle innings, but Goreham and Duggan continued to make key pitches when it counted most.
In the fifth inning the Knights used a walk, an error, and an infield single to load the bases with one out. CM then hit a fly ball to right fielder Derek Reddy that Todd McDonald tried to tag-up on.
Reddy launched a laser on the fly to catcher Gerard Florentino, who tagged McDonald out with five feet to spare.
“It was easily our defensive play of the year,” said Hawks coach Jerry Lambert.
CM threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases once again, this time against sophomore fire-baller DeCarr. The young right-hander, whose fastball tops out in the high 80s, recovered to strike out the side and finished off the seventh inning by fanning two more.
“It not as easy spot for a sophomore to be in a Catholic Conference game,” said Lambert. “But he ended up striking out the side, with a few walks sprinkled in. We have a lot of confidence in the kid.”
Hoyt -- 2 for 4, two runs scored -- capped off his stellar game with a monster shot over the high fence in left in the top of the seventh.
The win snapped a two-game skid for Xaverian and gave the Knights their second consecutive loss after they fell to BC High this Monday in extra innings.
Things don’t get any easier for the Hawks, who face eighth-ranked BC High on Monday and No. 2 St. John’s Prep on Wednesday.
Westwood took over the No. 1 spot in the new Boston Globe Top 20 for girls' lacrosse. But a quick look at the schedule says the Wolverines shouldn't get too comfortable. Westwood will travel to No. 3 Framingham Thursday for a 10 a.m. vacation week matchup of the last two Division 1 state champions.
Defending state champion Framingham dropped from the preseason No. 1 ranking to No. 3 after losing to No. 2 Wellesley, 9-5. Westwood, the 2009 state champion, remains unbeaten at 2-0.
Lincoln-Sudbury is No. 4, followed by Norwell, Winchester, Needham, Notre Dame of Hingham, Concord-Carlisle and Acton-Boxboro.
Highlights from the Tri-Valley League playoffs, Xaverian's shut out of BC High, North Andover's win over Wilmington, Walpole-Framingham and Brighton-Latin Academy. Plus, a look ahead with the Globe's Bob Holmes and our game of the week: Lawrence Academy vs. BB&N.
See past episodes of The Huddle at http://www.boston.com/huddle.
Jake Frechette led Holliston with three rushing touchdowns while catching another as the Panthers blanked host Westwood 35-0 in the semifinals of the Tri-Valley League playoffs Saturday night.
Holliston (8-1) moves on to play Medway (8-1) in the Tri-Valley League final. See the highlights of the game along with Holliston quarterback Sean Mayo's thoughts on facing Medway again after the Panthers were upset by their Tri-Valley league rivals mid-season.
In addition to the Holliston-Westwood video highlights, we also have highlights on our video page of Xaverian's 28-0 win over BC High, Medway's 28-18 win over Norton, and North Andover's 17-7 win over Wilmington. For all high school sports videos, go to http://www.boston.com/sports/schools/video.
The Globe's Chad Finn breaks down the highlights from the top games in Week 6, including Everett-Xaverian, Brockton-Pinkerton and more. Plus, a look at this week's game of the week as No. 9 Falmouth prepares to take on No. 17 Plymouth North.
Many teams are beginning league play this week and its time to identify title contenders. Take a look at Wright's Reads -- my personal take -- to get a feel for the current league forerunners in Division 1A and the games which can make-or-break title runs.
Weymouth is up first. The Bay State Carey leader is undefeated (4-0) and has outscored its opponents by at least 26 points, including a 26-0 rout over Needham last weekend. The offensive front is led by two brothers, Dylan and Austin Colarusso, who are each tied with one other Div. 1A player for second and third for overall touchdowns scored this season, respectively. Dylan, a senior, is rebounding and proving his strength after an injury-riddled 2009 season. The elder Colarusso has scored nine TDs for 54 points. Austin, a sophomore, has recorded seven scores (42 points) and the brothers total contribution of 96 points makes up more than half of the team's 168 points this season.
This week: Weymouth travels to Dedham (1-3) on Saturday for a 2 p.m. start. The Wildcats have held their opponents to just over 10 points per game and Dedham has yet to score more than two TDs in a venture.
The DCL Large has three teams tied for first at 3-1: Acton-Boxboro, Westford and Lincoln-Sudbury. Each member of the top-trio will play a non-league game this weekend with the goal of breaking away from the pack. A-B will be on the road at Wayland on Friday at 7 p.m. Wayland is the only team which has handed Westford a defeat (36-7). Westford hosts defending Div. 2A Super Bowl Champion Marshfield on Saturday at 6 p.m. Marshfield is fresh from a victory that came down to the final four seconds in last week's 14-12 nail-biter against Dennis-Yarmouth. Lastly, Lincoln-Sudbury travels to DCL Small school Concord-Carlisle (2-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. L-S has a 14-7 win over Marshfield under its belt.
This week: The DCL is proving to be a tough league in the early weeks. This weekend will give a strong indication of which team has what it takes to make it to the playoffs.
It looks like the 2010 Old Colony League championship is going to be determined on Friday, Nov. 5 when the Bridgewater-Raynham Trojans (3-1) host Barnstable (2-2). Taunton and Dartmouth round out the OCL and neither team has won a game this season. B-R is rebuilding a squad which made it to the Div. 1A Super Bowl last year against Gloucester, but coach Dan Buron knows what he's doing. The team started off rocky against Duxbury in Week 1 and has rebounded with wins over Durfee (33-21), Marshfield (21-0) and New Bedford (42-14). The Red Raiders have struggled to find their groove this season with lopsided victories over Durfee (38-15) and Sandwich (49-13). The 2009 OCL Tri-Champ was not as lucky at D-Y, where the Dolphins edged out Barnstable 41-38. The Red Raiders fell to No. 3 Everett last weekend, 43-14.
This week: Bridgewater-Raynham is taking on Plymouth North on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at home. B-R will not start it's league schedule until Friday, October 29, one week before it is slated to play the Red Raiders. Barnstable hosts New Bedford on Friday at 7 p.m. before opening up league play against Dartmouth on Friday, October 15.
Trae Weathers is making a name for himself in the Northeastern Large. The 6-1, 210-pound Revere running back is No. 1 in scoring in the East with 14 TDs, five 2-point conversion rushes and a PAT, totaling 95 out of the Patriots 155 points. Revere is tied for second place in the conference with Lynn English and Salem, each of which are 3-1. Salem hosts the defending Div. 1A Super Bowl Champion, Gloucester, on Friday night at 7. The Fishermen are undefeated, (4-0) and on a quest for another crown. Lynn English is set to battle No. 1 Xaverian in Westwood in the same time-slot. Xaverian is 4-0 and has shut-out every team except for No. 2 Brockton.
This week: Look at Weathers' stats to see if he can keep up the tradition of scoring at least three TDs in a game when he faces Northeastern Small opponent Marblehead on 7 p.m. Friday.
It was thrilling all the way to the finish.
A fumble recovery changed No. 1 Xaverian's luck Saturday as the Hawks beat No. 2 Brockton 23-20 in double overtime. See the highlights above for all the scores.
Editor's note: The Globe's Michael Grossi and Mike Carraggi predict the outcomes of the week's biggest games. Think you can do better? Drop your thoughts into our comment box.
Brockton at Xaverian
Grossi - This is a coin flip type game. My flip turned up in Brockton’s favor. Both teams have potent offenses and stout defenses. The winner of this game will be whichever team has less turnovers and mental mistakes. Pick: Brockton
Carraggi - Have we ever thought about the possibility of one of these teams blowing the other out? Would there ever have been more pointless hype? Anyways, read my detailed preview on this game HERE. Pick: Xaverian
St. John’s Prep at Everett
Grossi - Despite the Eagles’ big victory over Central Catholic, I don’t think they can run with Everett. The Crimson Tide have too much speed and athleticism and should win this one comfortably. Pick: Everett
Carraggi - Prep is going to top .500 this year (for the first time since 2007), but they aren't going to upset Everett like they did two years ago. The Eagles should be very competitive in this one though, as long as they stick to running the ball. Pick: Everett
Whittier at Northeast
Grossi - This Division 4 vs. Division 4A dandy features last years’ Super Bowl winners. Northeast hasn’t skipped a beat since last year. The Golden Knights have a stifling defense, and I think that will be the difference in this game. Pick: Northeast
Carraggi - Whittier has a potent offense and barely lost to a Revere, a Division 1 school, last week. The Wildcats are just too tough to tame. Pick Whittier
Central Catholic at Dracut
Grossi - Dracut badly needs a win while Central Catholic is looking to get back on the horse after a loss last week. I have a feeling that Matt Silva will play inspired and get the Middies their first W. Pick: Dracut
Carraggi - Desperation can be a powerful ally, but Central can be a dangerous opponent. These MVC games, even intra-divisional ones, can be tough as nails. Trae Musumarra makes his mark on this one. Pick: Central Catholic
Methuen at Billerica
Grossi – This one is going to be a shootout. Nick LaSpada is always dangerous while his counterpart on Methuen, Cal Carroll, is coming off a six touchdown performance. I’ll take LaSpada and the Indians by a hair. Pick: Billerica
Carraggi - We exalted LaSpada so much that we may have overlooked how porous this Indian defense can be. This could be tightest game of the week. Pick: Billerica (and the over)
Tewksbury at Andover
Grossi - Tewksbury has been impressive so far. Now they face a big test against a Division 1 school. Andover has a plethora of talent. I am going to take the Redmen. They have a tough defense and an offense that has yet to be corralled. Pick: Tewksbury
Carraggi - Andover may end up as the year's best last-place team in the MVC-Large, even with one of the state's best in Brian Miller. The Golden Warriors can score, and that will help them survive a good Tewksbury squad. Pick: Andover
Lawrence Academy at Milton Academy
Grossi - Lawrence Academy is returning just about all of its players from a team that went undefeated last year. The Spartans also boast 4 players committed to BCS schools. This one is a no-brainer. Pick: Lawrence Academy
Carraggi - If I have learned one thing from writing the ISL preview that drops this Saturday, it's not to pick against Lawrence Academy. Pick: Lawrence Academy
Hingham at Dennis-Yarmouth
Grossi - Dennis-Yarmouth is coming off a big win over Cape rival Barnstable. The Dolphins have to guard against a let down. I think they successfully do that but this one will be closer than many think. Pick: Dennis-Yarmouth
Carraggi - Dennis-Yarmouth's start has gotten some attention, but it's tough to determine the Dolphins ceiling. And this win over Hingham won't help clarify that. Pick: Dennis-Yarmouth
Holliston at Millis/Hopedale
Grossi - Millis has jumped out to a surprising 2-0 start. However, the Holliston train is rolling along and I don’t think that offense can be stopped. Pick: Holliston
Carraggi - Holliston will show Millis/Hopedale why it is the class of that division. The offense is too multi-faceted and too powerful to be upset. Pick: Holliston
Malden at Acton-Boxboro
Grossi - Malden got thrashed by Methuen last week and will be looking for redemption. Acton-Boxboro is looking to put a loss to Chelmsford in the rearview mirror. I think that the Colonials and their stingy defense get the upper hand in this match-up. Pick: Acton-Boxboro
Carraggi - Acton-Boxboro almost beat Chelmsford, Chelmsford would (and will) beat Methuen, Methuen beat Malden, so Acton-Boxboro beats Malden, right? Pick: Acton-Boxboro
WESTWOOD -- It was like déjà vu for the Xaverian Brothers football team. The team's first day of football practices looked just like it did when they won the Division 1 Super Bowl -- a 29-0 victory over Everett at Gillette Stadium Dec. 5, 2009. It was absolutely miserable that day thanks to the rain and snow. Luckily for the Hawks (and this reporter), there was no snow in Westwood to complain about. But for everyone on the team, then and now, there was nothing but cheer and good natured fun playing on the football field.
The Hawks were my first stop on my training camp tour in Eastern Massachusetts. Xaverian finished last season 13-0 and as the No. 1 team in the Globe Top 20. The Hawks lost a number of key players to graduation but head coach Charlie Stevenson has retained a core group of players that should put the team in contention for another title run. They've got both of their wide receivers and tailbacks back, their entire secondary, two of their top three linebackers, two offensive lineman and one defensive lineman (four-year starter Kevin Ihlefeld). And this year, the team has refocused on being the top dog. They know they have a bull's eye on their backs, so they've adapted accordingly. Instead of worrying about beating one opponent in particular, as Stevenson put it, they're worrying about winning the Catholic Conference first and foremost.
"We're going to have our biggest games in the Catholic Conference," Stevenson contended. "(BC High), Malden Catholic and St. John's Prep are all huge games. So winning the conference is our first goal."
And there are big shoes to fill to get the job done. Xaverian was led last year by the stellar play of quarterback Alex Phelan, who was the Globe Division 1 player of the year and is now a freshman at Brown University. He'll be replaced by his backup, junior Chris Calvanese.
Calvanese, whom Stevenson called a good athlete, got some action in some of Xaverian's earlier games last season when the team had built up sizeable leads. He also led the junior varsity to a 9-1 record.
"He's ready to step up," Stevenson said. "He knows that position is very important to our team and he's excited."
On top of that, the team is filled with sophomores that coach Stevenson believes will be able to contribute this year. Veterans of the team, like senior running back and defensive back Joe Colton, like what they see around them and the team's chances.
"We're definitely a good enough of a team to be as good as we were last year," Colton said. "We have a lot of talent. (There are) a lot of kids that can step in and play."
We'll check in from another school tomorrow to keep giving you the rundown on how this fall season is going to look.
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.