ESPN Boston Week 8 football picks

No. 4 XAVERIAN (5-1) at No. 11 BC HIGH (4-2), Friday 7 p.m.

Scott Barboza: The way it’s been trending all season long, this is battle of defenses and special teams play. Xaverian, 14-10.

Brendan Hall: The MVP of this game might be the punter. Xaverian, 14-12.

No. 20 ATTLEBORO (5-1) at No. 15 KING PHILIP (5-1), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: The Warriors’ defense has yet to surrender more than 19 points (North Attleborough on Oct.) this season. I think the Blue Bombardiers push that in this one, but it’s not quite enough. KP, 27-20.

Hall: Calling it right now: the Warriors surrender the most points they've had all season long against this multi-pronged Attleboro offense that is unafraid to take the big shots. Attleboro, 21-18.

No. 23 DENNIS-YARMOUTH (4-2) at MARSHFIELD (4-2), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: The Rams have felt like a team of destiny this year, particularly considering the manner in which they’ve pulled out some wins, but they haven’t met a playmaker quite like Michael Dunn. D-Y, 28-21.

Hall: No last-minute luck here for the Rams (though they've gotten some in recent installments of this rivalry). The D-Y Dolphins are hitting their stride at the right time, and they have potential to blow the doors off come playoff time. D-Y, 28-20.

ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (5-1) at WALTHAM (4-1), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Hawks received a lot of buzz in the preseason, but still have to hedge with the Colonials’ backfield of Tom Saponaro and Will Tejada. A-B, 28-27.

Hall: Waltham has cleaned up a lot since that surprise loss to Newton North in the opening week of the season. And with a potential No. 1 spot in D2 North on the line, expect the Hawks to finish the regular season strong. Waltham, 17-13.

ANDOVER (3-3) at No. 16 LOWELL (4-2), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: They’ll have to contend with Jack Sylvester after monster week last week –- on both sides of the ball -– but too much firepower from the Red Raiders. Lowell, 32-27.

Hall: The offense is helter-skelter, but Lowell's defense is fun to watch. One of the best blitzing schemes I've seen all season. Warriors will have fun trying to put a hat on Shyheim Cullen when he shoots up the inside gaps. Lowell, 24-14.

EAST BRIDGEWATER (5-1) at ABINGTON (5-1), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Going with my instincts one this one, having picked the Green Wave to win the South Shore from the start. Abington, 16-14.

Hall: Likewise, I picked East Bridgewater to take the South Shore League in the preseason. Got to stick to my instincts here. East Bridgewater, 23-21.

No. 17 DOHERTY (5-1) at ST. PETER-MARIAN (5-1), Saturday 1 p.m.

Barboza: A potential Division 4 Cental sectional playoff preview, this one whets the appetite for what is to come. Doherty, 30-21.

Hall: SPM has some nice perimeter athletes, but I like Doherty's better, as well as their quarterback. Luke Brennan is one of the more underrated signal-callers across Massachusetts. Doherty, 35-30

GOVERNOR’S ACADEMY (5-0) at MILTON ACADEMY (5-0), Saturday 2 p.m.

Barboza: I’ll be burned in effigy at Gov’s if I get this one wrong (because it will not be the first time I’ve said it), but the streak ends here. Milton, 24-21.

Hall: Geez Scott, how many times is this now for you calling an end to the Governors' streak? Baker's dozen? Governor's, 23-17.

MARLBOROUGH (6-0) at No. 21 ST. JOHN’S OF SHREWSBURY (4-2), Saturday 2:30 p.m.

Barboza: Stay for the complimentary fireworks display at Pioneer Field...Oh, wait, those are just the offenses doing work. Upset special of the week. Marlborough, 34-31.

Hall: Look for a lot of possessions in this one, because both of these teams like to play fast. Marlborough has some unique twists to its blocking schemes up front, enough to give the Pioneers some problems, but at the end of the game I think St. John's screen game is the difference. St. John's, 40-35.

GAME OF THE WEEK – No. 6 NATICK (6-0) at WALPOLE (4-2), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: The X-factor here might just come in Natick sophomore running back Chad Kidd. Natick, 28-26.

Hall: If you're going, get there early. I don't know what's going to be better, the pre-game tailgate (Natick fans travel well) or the offensive clinic Troy Flutie is going to put on the field. Natick, 30-21.

Last Week’s Picks:

Barboza: 9-2 (57-26 overall)

Hall: 8-3 (59-24 overall)