NO. 9 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (4-1) AT NO. 16 LONGMEADOW (4-1)
The Skinny: This battle between the two top teams in Western Mass. should be must-see material. Central snapped Longmeadow's 52-game league win streak last October in thrilling fashion, 21-20, but took one on the chin to the Lancers in the rematch, the Division 1 West Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. Central will be without quarterback Cody Williams in this one, while 'Meadow has looked sharp with Frankie Elder moving back to his natural position of tailback.
Scott Barboza: Picking with tradition here. Longmeadow, 26-21.
Brendan Hall: Speed is the name of the game in this one, and the Eagles tout too much for Longmeadow to harness. But expect the Lancers to play ball control in this one. Central, 28-25.
NO. 1 BARNSTABLE (5-0) AT DARTMOUTH (2-3)
The Skinny: After an emotionally-charged upset of Everett on September 28, Barnstable suffered a hiccup last weekend, nearly falling upset to New Bedford before Tedaro France pulled them through. In a three-team Old Colony League, there can be no hiccups, and if the Red Raiders come out sloppy again, something tells us Dartmouth could throw a haymaker.
Barboza: I look for the Red Raider to get the vertical passing game going early and often. Barnstable, 31-17.
Hall: I'll never count out Dartmouth as long as Rick White is running the show over there. How does that sound? Barnstable, 21-14.
PINKERTON ACADEMY (N.H.) (5-1) AT NO. 8 BROCKTON (3-2)
The Skinny: We don't know what to think going into this one. Last season, the Boxers traveled north of the border and delivered a 21-14 win over heavily-favored Pinkerton, en route to a 5-6 season. This year, though, the Astros have a breakout campaign on their hands with junior running back Manny Latimore. It will also be interesting to see how the Boxers respond without Augie Roberts under center in this one, but Micah Morel has done an adequate job so far. Brockton has won seven of the last eight meetings headed into this one.
Barboza: Astros get thrown for a loop like George Jetson on the space treadmill. Brockton, 28-17.
Hall: I just can't get 2011's result out of my head, and that's not to be taken as a shot against the Astros' 2012 squad. It's just Brockton has had their number for some time, and always finds a way to win. Brockton, 17-10.
NO. 2 EVERETT (4-1) AT XAVERIAN (1-4)
The Skinny: One team (Everett) looked sloppy in a 51-30 win. The other (Xaverian) showed encouraging signs in a 20-16 loss. Something's got to give, and while picking Everett in this one sounds like a sure thing, one has to wonder if the Hawks are starting to turn the corner and figure this out at just the right time.
Barboza: BHall, duck and hide time? Xaverian, 34-31.
Hall: No, you may not have my mailing address. Xaverian, 13-10.
NO. 15 ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (4-1) AT NO. 3 ST. JOHN'S PREP (4-1)
The Skinny: Few teams have been as strong on the ground so far as St. John's Prep, with its dynamic duo of senior Alex Moore and junior Jonathan Thomas, and the Eagles have begun to open the playbook the last few weeks. St. John's of Shrewsbury, on the other hand, is coming off a disappointing loss to its rival just a half-mile down Route 140, Shrewsbury High. But not just any loss -- a 51-45 shootout loss. Can the Pioneers rebound for an upset of Prep, or will they fall victim to a strong run game again?
Barboza: There will be running holes to be had. Prep, 45-41.
Hall: If you can run on this Shrewsbury squad, you can do a lot of things, and Prep can certainly move the ball on the ground. But the Pioneers will make this interesting with its hyper uptempo pace. Prep, 38-35.
SHARON (5-0) AT NO. 11 KING PHILIP (5-0)
The Skinny: What’s more surprising: the fact that the Eagles are off to their first 5-0 start since 1998 or that they’re 9-4 in their last 13 games dating back to last season? Either way you slice it, Sharon isn’t to be trifled with anymore. On the other hand, KP’s fast start isn’t a surprise, but we haven’t really seen what the Warriors are capable of as they’re just getting started against their Hockomock League schedule. This should be a good measuring stick for both squads.
Barboza: Either way, somebody loses. How about that for a hot sports take? KP, 20-7.
Hall: Warriors will win out in this one, but how does the old Pink Floyd axiom go? Can't have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat. KP, 28-10.
NO. 17 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-2) AT LA SALLE ACADEMY, R.I. (4-1)
The Skinny: The Rams’ lone loss of the season came against an MIAA foe (North Attleborough) in Week 1 and have been terrorizing the Ocean State ever since. An underrated Trojans’ secondary will have to endure against the big arm of La Salle quarterback Anthony Francis. After getting run over to the tune of 228 yards by St. John’s Prep’s Alex Moore, B-R’s defense will look to bounce back against another of New England’s top backs (Josh Morris) with a big day up front from defensive ends Kevin Johnston and Dan Noviello.
Barboza: I look for a closer game in this year’s meeting between the club, but the same result. B-R, 28-20.
Hall: After seeing the way North dominated La Salle, I'm confident in saying the Trojans can win the battle at the line of scrimmage. That will be the difference here. B-R, 20-7.
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (3-2) AT NO. 23 STOUGHTON (5-0)
The Skinny: The Red Rocketeers enter this week desperate to avoid falling to .500 and in need of some offensive spark. North has scrounged up just 13 points in back-to-back losses to Foxborough and Franklin and were shut out against the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Black Knights received a highlight offensive performance from Marcus Middleton in last week’s emotional 20-0 blanking of Foxborough, a game dedicated to fallen teammate David Wade.
Barboza: I truly think there’s something special brewing in Stoughton this year. Stoughton, 13-7.
Hall: Red Rocketeers really need a healthy Alex Jette, more than ever, to right this ship. Stoughton, 25-13.
NO. 12 NATICK (5-0) AT NO. 10 WEYMOUTH (5-0)
The Skinny: Our Game of the Week for Week 6 features two unbeaten squads vying for playoff spots in their respective divisions in the Bay State Conference. Weymouth’s offense has evolved through the weeks, with multi-dimensional athlete David Harrison getting snaps under center. The Red Hawks enter Friday’s action allowing an average of six points per game on defense, led by Mike Abbruzzese and Mike Dunlap. The Wildcat defense, led by senior captain Sean Murphy will hope to slow down a potent Natick passing attack, but running back Nick Lee is also a force.
Barboza: I think this game will mirror Weymouth’s earlier battle with Needham, in terms of complexion. It’ll be a different result. Natick, 34-28.
Hall: Wondering if we'll see a combined 700 yards of offense or more in this one. Weymouth, 40-34.