No. 18 KING PHILIP (4-1) at No. 25 NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (5-0)
The Skinny: Having sustained a loss to Mansfield two weeks ago, the Warriors view this essentially as a must-win if they hope to make the playoffs. While the Red Rocketeers are young, they've come together in a hurry with an offense led by junior running back Alex Jette and a defense anchored by senior captains Anthony Plante and Paul Norris. KP sophomore quarterback John Dillon has shown there's more to the Warriors attack than just running back Charles Ruffin.
Scott Barboza: Ruffin might not have dressed last week, but he'll be riding again this week. KP, 21-16.
Brendan Hall: The KP kids were telling me yesterday about this Hockomock League Captains Conference they hold every year, and I'm thinking, why stop there? How bout a Hockomock League Media Day? Do it SEC-style. Gold mine, fellas. I'm dead serious about this idea. But anyways... KP, 14-7.
No. 4 CHELMSFORD (4-1) at No. 13 ANDOVER (4-1)
The Skinny: Since allowing 34 points to Westford in a week one win, the No. 4 Lions have shored up their defense substantially, allowing an average of 12 points per game and getting key contributions from Tim Joy, Corey Everleigh, Brett Harrington and Lou Ferrer. Meanwhile their offense, led by quarterback Colby Emanouil and tailback Eddie Sheridan, is averaging a MVC-best 38.4 points per game. They'll have an interesting time trying to solve Andover's offense, which itself is averaging nearly 30 points per game and has seen scores in multiple ways from Andrew Coke, C.J. Scarpa and Cam Farnham (yep, related to Buddy).
Barboza: No, the Lions won't hit 50 points again this time, but they still have enough for the W. Chelmsford 34-24.
Hall: OK, take two, let's try this again. I'm so confident the Lions will win that if Andover pulls this off, I owe TWO Zesty's slices apiece to John Swenson and George and Alex Kennedy. How's that for objective analysis? Chelmsford, 30-20.
No. 6 DENNIS-YARMOUTH (5-0) at MARSHFIELD (3-2)
The Skinny: A season ago, Marshfield stunned the high-flying Dolphins attack on their own turf, and only after a series of key wins and losses to other Atlantic Coast League teams did D-Y come away with the league's playoff berth. That's surely been on the minds of many in South Yarmouth this week, as Matt Montalto looks to turn in another terrific performance on what has already been a fantastic start to the season. Over in Marshfield, Mark Pomella and Mike Williams have led the offense in fine fashion. And did we mention these guys shut out Catholic Memorial in week one?
Barboza: I think the Rams match up well with D-Y, considering the Catholic Memorial upset, but the Dolphins are too deep. D-Y, 31-20.
Hall: As always, Marsh Vegas will find a way to make this one interesting. D-Y, 21-19.
WESTFORD ACADEMY (3-2) at No. 8 CONCORD-CARLISLE (5-0)
The Skinny: This is a dream matchup of two feature backs with the Grey Ghosts' Alex Eaton squaring off against the Patriots' George Craan. Craan's already hit double digits in touchdowns with 10 and needed just five carries to rack up 135 yards last week. Eaton's run tough all year long, starting with a three-touchdown performance against Chelmsford to start and a 200-plus yard game against Groton-Dunstable.
Barboza: Craan wins out running behind the line anchored by center Andrew VanderWilden. C-C, 30-24.
Hall: I have the feeling the over-under ought to be set at 60 in this one, with two of the league's most dynamic players in space facing off. Still, gotta go with the Patriots' big uglies up front. C-C, 24-21.
MELROSE (5-0) at BURLINGTON (3-2)
The Skinny: Very quietly, the unranked Melrose Red Raiders have turned into one of the nicest surprises of the first half of the season, sitting at 5-0 after going 3-8 a year ago. The Raiders have survived a few nail-biters early on thanks to a stout defense, which is allowing just 10 points per game. But they'll likely have their hands full trying to solve the Red Devils' two-back, no-huddle scheme, led by the tailback tandem of hard-nosed senior Kyle Shields and speedy junior Marcus Odiah.
Barboza: Odiah will be running until next Friday. Burlington, 14-7.
Hall: Because Scott and I can't agree on every pick -- that'd just be Un-American. Melrose, 21-17.
SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL at No. 11 LONGMEADOW (4-1)
The Skinny: This is a rematch of last year's Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl, with Longmeadow escaping with a 34-31 victory. It's also a matchup of two of the West's -- if not the state's -- top running backs with Sacoy Malone facing off against Longmeadow's T.J. Norris. Malone ran for 180 yards in last year's Super Bowl, so the Lancers defense is well acquainted. Meanwhile, Norris enters the game averaging over nine yard per carry to go along with 12 rushing touchdowns.
Barboza: Going with experience here. Longmeadow, 28-20.
Hall: Central's best days are ahead. But you can't bet against a Western Mass powerhouse with a kid as tough between the tackles as T.J. Norris. Longmeadow, 21-10.
ST. SEBASTIAN'S (2-1) at BELMONT HILL (3-0)
The Skinny: The Hillies have opened the season in impressive form, parlaying the momentum gained from a season-opening win over BB&N into two dominant wins over St. Paul's and Nobles (both shutouts). Meanwhile, St. Seb's lone defeat came by a razor-thin margin, 31-28, to BB&N. The Arrows' attack is paced by running back Brendan Daly while the Hillies can pound it on the ground behind George McLaughlin or air out on Connor Murphy's arm.
Barboza: The Hillies roll to 4-0. Belmont Hill, 17-14.
Hall: The Hill is just playing some seriously inspired football right now. Belmont Hill, 20-13.
BROCKTON (2-3) AT PINKERTON ACADEMY, N.H. (6-0)
The Skinny: Pinkerton comes into tonight's contest sitting at No. 3 in ESPNBoston's New England poll, and some experts wonder if this is the best among the six states. The Astros are coming off of a 42-16 rout of a competitive Exeter (N.H.) squad, led by Emmitt Smith's 288 yards and Kyle Davies' three touchdowns. Not to mention, sophomore backup tailback Manny Latimore has stud written all over him. The Boxers, to put it politely, have sputtered in the first half of 2011. But a switch in quarterback to Austin Roberts last week against Fitchburg could be what the doctor ordered.
Barboza: In the words of Astro, "Ruh-roh." Pinkerton, 34-21.
Hall: Not since the 2006 contest has there been such potential for the Astros to put this one out of reach. Pinkerton, 31-14.
ST. JOHN'S PREP (1-3) at ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (4-1)
The Skinny: The Eagles got into the win column against Brockton and hope to build some momentum against their Central Mass. rival. The Pioneers are also rolling off a 55-point performance against crosstown rival Shrewsbury last week, so it seems first-year junior quarterback Connor Kurtz is getting a hold of the offense.
Barboza: The Pioneers keep Prep's winning streak at one game. SJS, 17-13.
Hall: It's too bad the Pioneers won't be facing Nashoba in the postseason. SJS, 28-10.
LA SALLE ACADEMY, R.I. (5-0) at No. 7 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-1)
The Skinny: The Rams are the Ocean State's unquestioned No. 1 team and have been rolling over their Division 1 opponents. They now meet a Top 10 Bay State team with a visit to the Trojans. B-R has rebounded nicely from their opening day shutout against Duxbury and have shown off a new found spread work to complement their North and South running game behind Nick Schlatz and Branden Morin.
Barboza: The Trojans knock off one of New England's Top 10. B-R, 23-21.
Hall: Ahem...In short, this is what the Trojans are getting themselves into. LaSalle, 28-21.
No. 5 XAVERIAN (4-1) at No. 1 EVERETT (5-0)
The Skinny: We probably don't need to say too much here. Like leaves changing colors and the Red Sox imploding, Everett-Xaverian is another staple of the New England autumn. After beating Waltham, Brockton and Somerville in succession a combined 107-6 -- and pitching nine quarters of scoreless football -- the Hawks came back to earth in a 31-14 loss to Duxbury. Having Chris Calvanese out due to suspension hurt, but Austin DeCarr looked adequate in backup duty. Everett comes in wounded as well, with the loss of preseason All-State linebacker Chris McCarthy (dislocated ankle, broken fibia) for the season. We all know about the receivers, and quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso's quest for the state all-time touchdown pass mark (he's currently six away from the tie). But the key here might be how Everett's John Montelus-led offensive line neutralizes a talented Xaverian defensive front manned by Maurice Hurst Jr.
Barboza: The Crimson Tide offensive line led by John Montelus employs the blue-print unfurled by Duxbury last week against the Hawks' D-line: Bend but don't break. Everett, 34-24.
Hall: Scott, my thoughts exactly. But also, the Tide got a ton of quality targets to air it out to, too. Everett, 38-31.