High Schools editors Brendan Hall and Scott Barboza cast their lots on each of Tuesday's MIAA football playoff games across the state:
St. John's Prep vs. Andover, 7:45, at Cawley Stadium (Lowell)
Brendan Hall: Andover fared well against the Catholic Conference earlier this season, but this is far and away the best defense that C.J. Scarpa and Co. have faced. Prep, 28-10.
Scott Barboza: It’s a matter of ball control and winning the battle at the point of attack. That favors the Eagles. Prep, 14-10.
Weymouth vs. Brockton, 7:45, at Weymouth High School
Hall: Ever since the Prep loss, the Boxers have been on a roll for the most part. Almost seems natural to have a rematch in the Super Bowl at this point. Brockton, 21-9.
Barboza: The Boxers have peaked at the right time, winning five straight since their loss to Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) and, in the that span, are allowing just a smidge over a touchdown a game. Brockton, 28-20.
Everett vs. Masconomet, 7:45, at Manning Field (Lynn)
Hall: Thanks for playing, fellas. Everett, 35-7.
Barboza: The big question is whether the Crimson Tide will still be in a Turkey Day-induced coma and forget to show up early. I still think they survive behind the strength of the offensive line and defensive front seven. Everett, 30-21.
Lincoln-Sudbury vs. Barnstable, 5:15, at Taunton High School
Hall: Red Raiders get their revenge here. And as usual, Tedaro France will pull something out in the end. Barnstable, 14-13.
Barboza: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Barnstable, 34-21.
Reading vs. Tewksbury, 7:45, at Reading Memorial High School
Hall: Once again, the Redman throw a dagger here to make things scary. Only this time, Reading survives. Reading, 17-13.
Barboza: Classic contrasting styles. Will the Redmen be able to adapt to Reading’s black-and-blue style coming out of the MVC? What happens if Johnny Aylward is off and running early on the stingy Rockets’ D? Reading, 20-14.
Duxbury vs. Mansfield, 7:45, at Bridgewater-Raynham High School
Hall: Maybe the toughest game of the evening here. In following with hockey canon, I’m going with the Hornets here because they’ve been fighting for their lives for a playoff spot the last month. Mansfield, 27-21.
Barboza: Can the Hornets use their advantage at receiver with Brendan Hill and Mike Hershman to pull out the upset? Or will Duxbury’s athletic line and linebacker Marshall McCarthy create havoc? Bold prediction of the week: The streak ends. Mansfield, 27-24.
Burlington vs. Beverly, 7:45, at Burlington High School
Hall: Two of the state’s best rushing attacks squaring off. This one’s going to need at least two overtimes to decide. Beverly, 30-28 (3OT)
Barboza: Will be interesting to see who among the cadre of backs in this game ends up with the biggest stat line. Either way, this is going to be a classic 3-yards-and-a-pile-of-dust type slugfest. But Panthers have the depth. Beverly, 28-20.
Natick vs. Plymouth South, 7:45, at Braintree High School
Hall: South will create some confusion at the point of attack with its funky offense, but the question remains: how will the Panthers cover all those receivers? Natick, 30-20.
Barboza: Dylan Oxsen should be able to hit the gaps with speed against the Natick front, but don’t think the Panthers have seen anything quite like Brian Dunlap in the passing game all year. Natick, 38-28.
Westwood vs. Wayland, 5:15, at Reading Memorial High School
Hall: If the Brothers Berluti can solve Holliston, they can solve this Wayland defense, impressive as it may be. Westwood, 23-16.
Barboza: Bank on the Berluti Bros. (QB Alex and WR Bo) having another big game, as they did on Thanksgiving. Westwood, 27-21.
Pembroke vs. Sharon, 5:15, at Braintree High School
Hall: Over/under 17 solo tackles for Sharon’s human missile in the middle, Brad Schiff. Sharon, 20-13.
Barboza: MIAA football’s story of the year keeps on rolling into Super Bowl Saturday. Sharon, 14-10.
Lynnfield vs. Amesbury, 5:15, at Cawley Stadium (Lowell)
Hall: Hard to pick a favorite here, but I’m going with the team that won the first meeting this year. Lynnfield, 24-21.
Barboza: Want a bold prediction? A team from the CAL/NEC will win this game. In all seriousness though, if Pioneers quarterback Mike Karavestos has time to throw, as he did earlier in the season, could be a long day for the Indians’ defense. Lynnfield, 31-27.
Dighton-Rehoboth vs. Bishop Feehan, 7:45, at Taunton High School
Hall: Hard to pick against Feehan’s momentum right now, but that’s just what I’m gonna do. Maverick style. D-R, 17-14.
Barboza: Falcons head coach Dave Driscoll has opened the playbook this year and quarterback Nate Kowalski has thrown for over 1,300 yards. D-R, 28-26.
Shawsheen vs. St. Mary's (Lynn), 5:15, at Manning Field (Lynn)
Hall: Devon Pratt has quietly put together a heck of a season, but the Rams have yet to face a defense as stingy as St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s, 20-7.
Barboza: Jordan Collier and his 20 touchdowns entering Tuesday are the difference-maker. St. Mary’s, 32-26.
Abington vs. Millis/Hopedale, 5:15, at Bridgewater-Raynham High School
Hall: I don’t know if the Green Wave have an answer for Jon Baker (nor does anyone, for that matter). But they certainly have the bodies to work around him. Abington, 23-20.
Barboza: I think there’s an emotional element to send Green Wave head coach Jim Kelliher out on top – if that is in fact the case. Abington, 21-13.
North Shore vs. Boston Cathedral, 5:15, at Burlington High School
Hall: No celebration controversy this time. Cathedral, 26-12.
Barboza: Cathedral sophomore quarterback Kejonte Hickman (18 passing TD, 9 rushing TD) is about as dynamic a young playmaker you’ll find. Cathedral, 34-24.
Bristol-Plymouth vs. Madison Park, 5:15, at Weymouth High School
Hall: Who’s number one? Second to none? Who’s the best? Better than the rest? Whose house? Whose house? OK, sorry, couldn’t resist. MP, 25-19.
Barboza: The Craftsmen threw a wrench into Blue Hills’ designs on a repeat, now they’ll take apart the M.P. Machine. B-P, 20-14.
Shrewsbury vs. Leominster, 7:45, at Doyle Field (Leominster)
Hall: Home field advantage a huge factor here. Leominster, 31-24.
Barboza: Almost launched the upset button here, but I think the reigning Super Bowl champions pull it out. Leominster, 31-28.
Wachusett vs. St. John's (Shrewsbury), 7:45, at Wachusett Regional High School
Hall: Pioneers blew out Wachusett in their first meeting this year, and while this is a different Mountaineers squad, I see the same end result. St. John’s, 35-27.
Barboza: Pioneers will put up the points, but just as long as they can slow down Scott Tupper. St. John’s, 34-24.
Nashoba vs. Holy Name, 5:15, at Doyle Field (Leominster)
Hall: John Ojukwu and Quron Wright accounted for nearly 500 yards rushing in their first meeting this year. Expect a similar stat line – and the same end result. Nashoba, 27-23.
Barboza: Just a little more defense on the Chieftains’ side. Nashoba, 21-13.
Doherty vs. Shepherd Hill, 7:45, at Foley Stadium (Worcester)
Hall: Noah Robinson and Isaac Yiadom. Know the names well, you’ll be hearing them a lot this postseason. Doherty, 18-7.
Barboza: Highlanders play just enough ‘D’ to escape with the win. Doherty, 27-21.
Auburn vs. Hudson, 5:15, at Wachusett Regional High School
Hall: Anything less than a Super Bowl for the Rockets would be a big upset. Auburn, 27-7.
Barboza: Rockets with another big day in the ground game coming. Auburn, 28-17.
Groton-Dunstable vs. Tantasqua, 5:15, at Oakmont Regional High School
Hall: Winner faces the Auburn Buzzsaw. Good luck, gents. G-D, 14-12.
Barboza: Mack Eberhardt finished just shy of a 1,000 yards passing for the regular season and will have the Crusaders rolling. G-D, 21-17.
Northbridge vs. Millbury, 5:15, at Grafton High School
Hall: Matt Phelan torched the Woolies in their first meeting two weeks ago. I don’t see much changing this time around. Northbridge, 30-0.
Barboza: Matt Phelan went above the 2,000-yard passing plateau on Thanksgiving and the Rams will keep doing what they do best. Northbridge, 34-27.
Grafton vs. Lunenburg, 7:45, at Grafton High School
Hall: Wondering if our Red Sox writer (and Lunenburg alum) Gordon Edes will show up in blue face paint. Lunenburg, 22-16.
Barboza: Greg Abare has been one of the most consistent running backs in Central Mass. this year. They’re doing it for Gord-O. Lunenberg, 21-14.
West Boylston vs. Narragansett, 7:45, at Oakmont Regional High School
Hall: Both teams have put up some ridiculous scores this season, but I’m going with the more consistent rushing attack. West Boylston, 33-30.
Barboza: Steven Gould and Bryan Hayes have created one of the most feared passer-receiver combos in the area this year. West Boylston, 30-24.
Tyngsborough vs. Leicester, 7:45, at Lunenburg High School
Hall: Since getting shut out by Auburn on Oct. 13, Leicester has won five straight and allowed just 33 points. Going with momentum here, especially after the humbling Tyngsborough was served on Thanksgiving. Leicester, 24-14.
Barboza: Chuck Keenan’s 21 rushing touchdowns had him in the Top 5 of Central Mass. backs this year. Tyngsborough, 24-21.
Blackstone Valley Tech vs. Assabet, 5:15, at Foley Stadium (Worcester)
Hall: Dan Avery to Shawn Wilkins has been an explosive attack this year for the Beavers, and I don’t see it slowing down here. Valley Tech, 30-20.
Barboza: Beavers hold serve as the No. 1 seed in Division 6. Blackstone Valley, 20-14.
Bay Path vs. Littleton, 5:15, at Lunenburg High School
Hall: This Bay Path squad has some quality wins on its schedule, and I like the way they’re playing right now. Bay Path, 20-7.
Barboza: Travis Bassett’s 18 touchdowns on the season have carried Bay Path. He does it again here. Bay Path, 28-20.
Springfield Central vs. Minnechaug, 5:15, at Chicopee Comprehensive High School
Hall: It’s always tougher to beat a team the second time around – especially when it’s just a five-day turnaround – but the Golden Eagles get by on a big play late from their own “Honey Badger”, Tejano Smith. Central, 20-17.
Barboza: Does the teams’ second meeting in less than five days turn out any differently for Minnechaug? Central, 31-20.
Longmeadow vs. Chicopee Comp, 7:45, at Chicopee Comprehensive High School
Hall: With 10-minute quarters, time of possession is crucial. And few can control the clock with long drives as well as the Lancers. Longmeadow, 14-7.
Barboza: Nice story for Chicopee Comp to get to this point, but this is always when the Lancers are at their best. Longmeadow, 20-14.
South Hadley vs. Springfield Commerce, 7:45, at Westfield State University
Hall: This is a different Commerce team from the one that got pasted by Greenfield on opening weekend, and while they don’t have the depth, the 11 guys on the field are pretty decent. Expect a big night out of Hassan Graham. Commerce, 21-20 (OT)
Barboza: South Hadley has the chance to claim its third Super Bowl title in six seasons. South Hadley, 14-7.
Wahconah vs. Hoosac Valley, 5:15, at Westfield State University
Hall: Because I want to see this apparently swelling caravan from Dalton. Wahconah, 24-14.
Barboza: Just because I’m looking forward to seeing this supposedly epic turnout from Dalton. Wahconah, 28-21.
Belchertown vs. St. Joseph Central, 5:15, at Holyoke High School
Hall: Big night at the office for dual-threat quarterback Nick Leduc. Belchertown, 24-10.
Barboza: The Orioles pick up the slack after some tremendous soccer seasons. Belchertown, 31-28.
Mt. Greylock vs. Greenfield, 5:15, at Mahar High School
Hall: Zak Bartak muscles the Green Wave to victory in this one. Greenfield, 30-17.
Barboza: We’ve heard great things about Zak Bartak all season long. He’s the difference here. Greenfield, 31-21.
Pathfinder vs. Easthampton, 7:45, at Holyoke High School
Hall: So wait, Pathfinder’s quarterback is named Matt Stafford? I’m sold. Also, this Cody Hess kid does a little of everything. Pathfinder, 23-7.
Barboza: Easthampton has a pair of 1,000 yard rushers in Shane Andrews and Lucious Burrell. Easthampton, 24-20.
Turners Falls vs. Ware, 7:45, at Mahar High School
Hall: Western Mass.’s leading rusher, Ryan Wilder (1,803 yards, 24 TD) keeps a good thing going for the Indians. Turners Falls, 30-21.
Barboza: The Indians become the second most famous team in Montague – that is, of course, outside of the softball team. Turners Falls, 24-17.