Two ISL schools, a record-setting quarterback you may have heard of, and the highest scoring team in New England are just some of the highlights of the New England prep school bowl lineup announced Sunday.
The five games feature teams with a combined record of 74-4. Four of the five are already slated for Saturday with the day and site for the Tom Flaherty Bowl still unsettled. Here’s a look at each:
Jack Etter Bowl: Salisbury School (8-0) vs. Phillips Exeter (7-0), site and time, TBA.
Norm Walker Bowl: Proctor (8-0) vs. Suffield (8-0), at Belmont Hill, 1.
Tom Flaherty Bowl: Governor’s Academy (8-0) vs. Cheshire Academy (7-1).
Arthur Valicenti Bowl: St. Sebastian’s (8-0) vs. King (6-1), site and time TBA.
Dan Rorke Bowl: St. Luke’s (7-1) vs. Hyde School (Conn.) (7-1), at Kingswood Oxford, noon.
Phillips Exeter’s 35-9 win over Phillips Andover marked the return of former Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso. The Dartmouth College-bound signal-caller was seeing his first action since suffering a shoulder separation against Choate Rosemary Hall Sept. 29. Andrew Perkins started at quarterback for Exeter, but was injured in the first quarter, opening the door for DiBiaso. Having only resumed contact practice Tuesday, DiBiaso didn’t throw a pass against the Big Blue, yet showed his ability to consistently move the offense.
“It took a little while for me to get back in shape and get used to this offense again, but our coaching staff and my teammates have really supported me throughout,” said DiBiaso, who did manage a 1-yard touchdown run. “It was a good adjustment for me. It really felt great to get back out on the field. [Perkins] unfortunately got hurt, but that allowed me the opportunity to get in and play.’’
Salisbury, Exeter’s opponent, almost didn’t make the postseason. It took a touchdown by Brooklyn’s Shawahl Abdur-Rahman with 27 seconds left to lift the Knights past Avon Old Farms, 35-28, last Saturday. At 5 feet 3 inches, 155 pounds, Abdur-Rahman plays tailback and linebacker.
The bowl selection committee didn’t pair the ISL co-champs, St. Sebastian’s and Governor’s, explaining it wanted the postseason to be a reward for a great season rather than creating an ISL playoff game. The Governor’s opponent, Cheshire Academy, had just one loss this fall, to fellow bowl participant Suffield, 31-14. St. Sebastian's faces King Low Heywood Thomas, a Stamford, Conn., school better known as just King. The Vikings went 6-1, losing only to Hackley, a school from Tarrytown, N.Y.
The highest-scoring team on this page? That’s Proctor of the Evergreen League, which checks in at 47.3 points per game and has recorded four games of 50 or more points. Located in Andover, N.H., the school is named after the inventor of the threaded wood screw, John Proctor, and it’s the only school in a NEPSAC Bowl that can say one of its former students (Alan Shepard) walked on the moon.
The Dan Rorke Bowl pits two Connecticut schools, St. Luke’s (New Canaan) against Hyde (Woodstock). St. Luke’s, which lists Bronx Zoo author Peter Golenbock among its alums, had a memorable 69-41 win over Kingswood Oxford in October. Hyde won the Evergreen East Division title at 7-1, with its only loss to Proctor.
Only eight of the 34 EMass leagues are undecided and one of the most interesting races could come down to a Thanksgiving coin flip.
Holbrook’s win over Upper Cape could create a three-way tie if Holbrook beats West Bridgewater on the holiday.
Upper Cape, South Shore, and Holbrook would all be 4-1 in the Mayflower Small and the league would use a coin flip to determine its postseason participant.
Other leagues still up in the air include the Catholic Conference, MVC Division 1, Bay State Herget, Tri-Valley Large, CAL/NEC Division 3 and 4, and the Mayflower Large.