Weymouth-Needham football rivalry has new importance

For one side it’s about redemption, for the other it’s about repeating.

Despite being only four weeks into the season, the Needham-Weymouth matchup Friday night might have serious implications.

Look no further than last year for proof.

Both teams finished the regular season with nine wins, but the Rockets advanced to the playoffs because of their 45-28 victory over Weymouth in October.

“It has turned into a big rivalry the last four years, that’s for sure,’’ said Needham coach David Duffy. “We’re hoping to do well, they’re a very good football team.’’

This is usually a highly anticipated Bay State League matchup, but what makes it even more interesting this season is that both teams are 3-0.


In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Wildcats, their offense has scored 107 points in three games.

Although they graduated all-scholastic receiver Khary Bailey-Smith (14 touchdown receptions) and quarterback Cam McLevedge, who threw for a school-record 41 touchdowns last season, the Wildcats running and passing game looks like it’s en route to another stellar year.

Weymouth receiver David Harrison has a team-high seven touchdown receptions and running back Ozzy Colarusso has six touchdowns.

“We’re just trying to get prepared,’’ Duffy said. “The Weymouth kids are always tough and very well coached. It’ll be a very hard hitting game.’’

Much like Weymouth, the Rockets haven’t had any issues getting into the end zone. Junior running back Mike Panepinto, who leads Division 1 in scoring, has accounted for eight of Needham’s 13 touchdowns.

“The juniors stepped in and took on leadership roles,’’ Duffy said. “They have solidified their roles and stepped up. We are deep at a lot of positions.’’

The Rockets’ aggressive defense has allowed a combined 21 points.

“My kids know what to expect,’’ said Duffy. “Last year’s playoff experience has paid off a lot of dividends and our goal is to get back there.’’

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The Globe’s two top-ranked teams face off Friday night as Everett (3-0) hosts Barnstable (3-0) and quarterback Nick Peabody, who leads EMass with 13 touchdown passes . . . For the third time this season, Duxbury (3-0) will be on the road as it travels to Middleborough (2-1) Saturday afternoon . . . In its new and improved stadium, Brockton will host St. John’s Prep Friday in a clash of Division 1 powerhouses . . . Reading will look to remain undefeated as the Rockets take on Melrose (2-1). And in Central Mass., Northbridge travels to Southbridge Friday with Northbridge coach Ken LaChapelle sitting on 299 career wins.

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