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ESPN Boston Thanksgiving mega-picks

11/23/2010

TUESDAY

ST. PETER-MARIAN (5-4) AT NO. 7 ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (9-1), FITTON FIELD, 10:30 A.M.


Hall: One of my favorite football venues. Unfortunately, this won't be a favorable game. St. John's, 34-14

WEDNESDAY

ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (2-7) AT NO. 24 CARDINAL SPELLMAN (10-0), 6 P.M.

Hall:
Blaise Branch is going to carve up the Bishops' D, just as he's done to other Catholic Central opponents. The score won't be as close, but look at the bright side -- Archies-Spellman is ALWAYS a war in girls' basketball. Spellman, 24-10

Barboza: Branch has 30 touchdowns entering Thanksgiving Day. Yikes. Spellman, 31-14

LUNENBURG (3-6) AT ST. BERNARD'S (3-7), 6 P.M.

Hall: I think the Knights have a few tricks up their sleeve, and are fired up after playing Clinton tough. Lunenburg, 13-6

THURSDAY (ALL TIMES 10 A.M. UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

NO. 22 CENTRAL CATHOLIC (7-3) AT NO. 23 ANDOVER (7-3)


Hall: The Brian Miller injury is a red herring. To stop the Golden Warriors' offense, you've got to keep wildcat quarterback Andrew Coke inside the hashes. Central has a very capable linebacking corps for the task, but not enough firepower to escape late with a win. Andover, 19-18

Barboza: Which teams linebackers will rise to the challenge: the Golden Warriors led by Ned Deane or the Red Raiders led by Trae Musumarra? Andover, 21-20

DRACUT (7-3) AT NO. 6 METHUEN (9-1)

Hall: Dracut's defense can bend, but when it breaks it gets ugly -- see: Andover 46, Middies 19; Middies 60, Billerica 42. Cal Carroll and Ryan Savastano will combine for about 55 carries in this one, and the vaunted Rangers offensive line with blow some kids off the ball. The good news, though, is that this will be a quick game. Methuen 28, Dracut 20

Barboza: The Rangers defense will hold -- barely -- against Matt Silva and Co. Methuen, 27-20

NO. 25 PLYMOUTH NORTH (7-3) AT PLYMOUTH SOUTH (4-6)

Hall:
Realistically, North could pull a fast one, not show up for this game and screw Dennis-Yarmouth out of a playoff spot, after last week's victory knocked them out. But I think the Eagles are wiser than that, and Matt Walsh and Co. want to go out with a bang. P-North, 25-15

Barboza: After the Eagles win this one, the least D-Y should do is invite them over for pumpkin pie. P-North, 24-13

BROOKLINE (1-9) AT NEWTON NORTH (4-6)

Barboza: Little known fact, ESPN Boston's own Alisha Ricardi was once North mascot "George the Tiger". That's totally awesome. Newton North, 20-17

DEDHAM (1-9) AT NORWOOD (2-8)

Hall:
It's been a trying season for the Norwood Mustangs, taking a tailspin after upsetting Wellesley in week four. You don't have to say alot to get amped up for the Battle of Rt. 1A, and I think there's alot of will power in the stables. Norwood, 14-7

NATICK (6-4) AT FRAMINGHAM (6-4)

Barboza:
What's the over-under on people named Flutie at this game? I'm going with 26. But the most important one will be on the field in Red and Blue freshman phenom Troy Flutie. Natick, 31-27

WELLESLEY (7-3) AT NEEDHAM (8-2)

Hall:
Last year's contest was an absolute thriller, with Wellesley winning on a two-point conversion. But Needham's two-quarterback system can hurt you in multiple ways, with the speedy Kevin Brennan or drop-back Drew Burnett, and I think Weymouth exposed some weaknesses in the Raiders. Needham, 24-14.

NO. 14 WALPOLE (10-0) AT NO. 12 WEYMOUTH, (10-0)

Hall: Walpole has the speed, but the Wildcats have some serious power. All the talk in Weymouth is about the Colarusso brothers' thunder-lightning combo, but watch out for this kid Khary Bailey-Smith at wide receiver. With all the speed on the Rebel defense, how they contain him is going to be the biggest key. Weymouth, 21-12

Barboza: The Wildcats clearly win the size advantage in this matchup. I still like the Rebels though. Walpole, 20-14

NO. 13 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (8-2) AT NO. 17 BROCKTON (8-2)

Hall:
The Trojans are peaking at the right time, late in the season with Thanksgiving and the playoffs right around the corner -- what's new in Bridgewater? I think Brockton is vulnerable after a huge letdown last week to New Bedford, and for that reason I'm expecting a big day out of Billy Zolga and those not-so-fancy waggle plays they kill defenses with. B-R, 21-17

Barboza: The Trojans offensive line led by Mike Devin and Tyler Martin will carry the day. B-R, 13-10

DURFEE (3-7) AT NO. 21 NEW BEDFORD (5-4)

Hall: I was going to go with the Hilltoppers in this one, as they've made great great strides in year one of the Robb McCoy era and will only get better with a disciplined off-season. But screw it, this is a great story either way, and who wouldn't love to see a feel-good tale like the Whalers in the Division 1 playoffs? New Bedford, 20-19

Barboza: I'd hate to pick the Whalers, cover the game, see Durfee win and then be headed to my parents house in Fall River for dinner and be turned back at the city line, forcing me to eat by myself at White's of Westport. I'm covering my arse here -- not to take anything away from the Hilltoppers' chances -- this should be an entertaining one. Durfee, 14-13

SOUTH BOSTON (4-4) AT EAST BOSTON (6-3), 9:30 A.M.

Hall:
I'm Irish. Southie, 20-3

Barboza: I'm Portuguese. Eastie, 14-10

ABINGTON (8-2) AT WHITMAN-HANSON (2-7)

Hall:
Email from a Bing reader not five minutes after we publish our picks, to remind me of one glaring omission: "Brendan, [sic] Its your cousin Marc. Whats the deal with picking winners of games where combined records are 2 and 20 but you give no love to abington vs. whitman hanson. How about a little love couz! Word, Marc Chezz Sulmonte". Nuts and bolts, you got screwed. I get it. Abington 24, Whitman-Hanson 6

MASCONOMET (2-8) AT NORTH ANDOVER (9-1)

Hall: Our first upset of the day. Falmouth's win over BC High was nice; but looking at the whole body of work, nobody in Division 2A scheduled as many stacked opponents this year as the Chieftains. So for a 2-8 team, they are well-equipped defensively for taking on the Brandon Walsh-led North Andover aerial attack. Masco, 14-13

Barboza: The Scarlet Knights finish their Cape Ann Large title in style. North Andover, 28-17

BOSTON ENGLISH (0-10) AT BOSTON LATIN (3-7), HARVARD STADIUM

Hall: If you can't get fired up about playing a high school game in the legendary, century-old Harvard Stadium, I don't want you as a friend or a reader. Period. Latin, 23-12

Barboza: A school and a team that are desperate for a win will find a way. English, 13-7

TRITON (0-10) AT PENTUCKET (7-3)

Hall:
My pal Mike Carraggi at the Boston Globe is going to love this. I'm going with John Cena, the pride of West Newbury, dropping a five-knuckle shuffle late in the fourth quarter. Pentucket, 15-14.

BISHOP FENWICK (3-7) AT AUSTIN PREP (5-5)

Hall:
You can be rest assured that Ryan "Sticky Fingers" Lipka is going to catch a bajillion balls for Fenwick, adding on to his impressive total of 105 in 10 games. But that Austin Prep double-wing is so much fun to watch, and you've got to love a team that doesn't use a kicking tee. Ever. Austin Prep, 18-12

Barboza: Lipka has everything going for him, except for the fact that his uncle is Patriots Football Weekly editor Paul Perillo. Couldn't resist. Austin Prep, 23-20

CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (5-4) AT B.C. HIGH (5-4)

Hall:
After falling short in several nail-biters this last month, I think CM finally puts an end to this losing skid and spoils the Eagles' aspirations of a Catholic Conference co-championship. CM, 16-13

Barboza: BC High showed me something bouncing back against the Prep last week. BC High, 21-16

NO. 5 XAVERIAN (8-2) AT ST. JOHN'S PREP (6-4)

Hall:
This is going to be an emotional day for the Coppolas. If you can't get fired up over that story, go home. I'm going with the Eagles for the upset, a piece of the Catholic Conference title, and the league's playoff berth. Prep, 23-21

Barboza: Ditto. Win, lose or draw for the Eagles, the winner of the day will be Jared Coppola. Xaverian, 28-24

FITCHBURG (7-3) AT LEOMINSTER (3-6)

Now, pinch hitting, Gordon Edes:
One win separates these ancient rivals as they meet for the 127th time overall and the 105th time on Thanksgiving, Fitchburg holding a 59-58-9 advantage in a series that dates to 1894. But there will be no equalizer for Leominster unless the Blue Devils find a way to stop Fitchburg’s 5-foot-9 running back, Quinton Perkins, who ran for six touchdowns and 278 yards against Gardner in his last game. This history lesson is likely to begin and end with a Q. Fitchburg, 22-12

DAVID PROUTY (9-0) AT LEICESTER (9-1)

Barboza: The Wolverines will have last year's 33-7 drubbing from Prouty fresh in their minds. Leicester, 27-21

NARRAGANSETT (7-3) AT MURDOCK (6-3)

Hall: Cody Savoy gets back on track with a huge Thanksgiving performance for the Warriors. Gansett, 21-10.

WESTFORD (6-4) AT ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (8-2)

Hall:
Westford, the favorite in the DCL Large headed into the season, fell back to the pack and ultimately out of playoff contention. What better time than on Thanksgiving against A-B to prove that you're not the paper tiger everyone made you out to be? Westford, 17-7.

WAYLAND (5-5) AT WESTON (9-1)

Hall:
Ben Shelton has quietly put together an impressive season for Wayland, and with a tougher schedule and a big win over Bedford last week, I think they are hitting stride just in time for the Wildcats. Look for this one to be high-scoring. Wayland, 35-28

Barboza: Weston saw it's playoff chances go up in smoke with in a loss to Concord-Carlisle. Ian Bromfield and the Wildcats aren't going to let another rivalry game go by the boards. Weston, 24-21

MEDFORD (0-9) AT MALDEN (4-5)

Hall:
Doesn't matter what the record is in this one. As current Green Bay Packer Breno Giacomini told me last summer, this is THE game. I admire the GBL's "anyone, anywhere, anytime" scheduling mantra, even if the records don't always reflect favorably and the talent isn't there. Malden has been disappointing after garnering some preseason hype, but with its size up front and some athletes in the backfield and secondary, I like the Golden Tornadoes to finish on top. Malden, 30-17.

FOXBOROUGH (5-5) AT NO. 3 MANSFIELD (9-1)

Hall:
The Warriors have put together a nice three-game win streak after upsetting Franklin a few weeks ago. In most years that Mansfield is the heavy favorite, Foxborough manages to sneak through by a few points. Not this year, though, the Hornets are just too complete of a team. Mansfield, 23-7

Barboza: And here comes Martinelli an Co. down the stretch. This one has trap game written all over it for the Hornets. Foxborough, 14-10

NO. 10 NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (9-1) AT ATTLEBORO (8-2)

Hall:
Arguably the two best teams not playing after Thanksgiving, and almost too quietly. Still, this day belongs to the Big Red and their swarming, versatile defense. North Attleborough, 16-9

Barboza: If you like quality football in a setting where people really care about high school football, go to this game. North Attleborough, 28-20

FRANKLIN (6-4) AT KING PHILIP (7-2)

Hall
: KP's defense looked very good against the weak opponents on its schedule, but got outclassed in the losses to Mansfield and North Attleborough. And for that, I like the Panthers to pull the upset and finish with a two-game win streak. Franklin, 24-21

Barboza: Still gotta love the Warriors' defense. KP, 17-8

BILLERICA (5-5) AT CHELMSFORD (6-4)

Hall:
After a disappointing season, the Indians' all-everything human joystick of a super-quarterback Nick LaSpada finishes with a career day -- and I do mean career, even by LaSpada standards -- in a shootout performance that would make former greats like Anthony Ynostroza blush. Billerica, 44-41

Barboza: Coming into the season, I had this pegged as the Merrimack Valley Large de facto championship game. That's why they play them all. Billerica, 34-27

BURLINGTON (6-4) AT LEXINGTON (5-5)

Hall:
Seriously, you want me to pick against Bill Tighe, oldest active high school coach in the country, on his sign-off? Lexington, 21-20

Barboza: Fare thee well Mr. Tighe. Lexington, 24-17

LYNN ENGLISH (6-4) AT LYNN CLASSICAL (8-2)

Hall:
Classical had that Gloucester game won, which is more than English can say. The Bulldogs have some terrific skill position players, led by Tyllor MacDonald, but Classical's defense is more battle-tested and hungry. Classical, 17-6

Barboza: A playoff spot was oh so close. Classical, 28-7

SEEKONK (7-2) AT DIGHTON-REHOBOTH (9-1)

Hall:
The Falcons are assured a spot in the Division 3 playoffs, and might be resting on their laurels a bit, which is why I like Seekonk to pull off an upset in this one. Seekonk, 24-23

Barboza: An underrated rivalry in the South Coast Conference. There will be no let down from the Falcons and running back Bryan Rocha. Dave Driscoll is a master motivator. D-R, 26-20

EAST BRIDGEWATER (8-2) AT ROCKLAND (10-0)

Barboza:
The Bulldogs have yet to win in this new South Shore League Thanksgiving Day tradition. I think this is the year. Rockland, 28-14

AGAWAM (3-7) AT WEST SPRINGFIELD (7-3)

Hall:
I miss Riverside Park. Plus, Westy has too strong of a ground game. West Springfield, 17-0

SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (7-3) AT MINNECHAUG (5-4)

Hall:
Mike Mercadante doesn't get alot of pub outside of Western Mass, but this is where the Falcons have a rich opportunity to show they're better than their record indicates. I predict 200 yards for him in a win. Minnechaug, 27-23

Barboza: Agreed. If Mercandante played in Eastern Mass, you'd hear his named mentioned in the same breath as Coppola, Offley, Marshall and the like. Minnechaug, 21-17

MAHAR (9-0) AT ATHOL (8-2)

Hall:
I can't pick against the Senators when they have a kid as explosive as Isaiah Jones in the backfield. Some will ask me if I sprained my ankle jumping aboard the Jones bandwagon, and to that I say "so be it". Mahar, 30-16