Monday, November 28, 2011
Super Tuesday football breakdown and picks
Here's a breakdown to all 16 Eastern Mass football playoff games schedule for Tuesday along with our staff picks:
DIVISION I BC High (8-3) vs. Chelmsford (10-1), 5:15 p.m. Lowell High School
BC High players to watch: FB/LB Luke Catarius; QB Bartley Regan; RB/DB Deontae Ramey-Doe; TE/DE Jameson McShea; WR/DB Gordon McLeod; WR/DB Lincoln Collins OL Mike Prendeville; LB Zach West.
Chelmsford players to watch: FB/LB Tim Joy; RB Eddie Sheridan; QB Colby Emanouil; OL/DL Brett Harrington; OL/DL Lou Ferrer; OL/DL Ryan Decoste; LB Joey Christopher; DB Cody Nazzaro.
The skinny: The Eagles handedly claimed the team's non-league, regular-season matchup with a 35-14 win in September, but it's unlikely the score will get out of hand the second time around. Things have changed since their first date, notably the absence of BC High running back Preston Cooper, who was a major factor on special teams in the first go-around. The Eagles have turned to Deontae Ramey-Doe to shoulder the load down the stretch. Chelmsford counters with a top-flight back of their own in Sheridan, who led Div. 1 with 24 touchdowns. Emanouil has been one of the surprises of the season with a sound season at quarterback. ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award finalist and BC-bound linebacker Joy is like having another coach on the field.
X-factor: Can the Lions learn from their mistakes in Round One? And will the Eagles not get too comfortable with their performance last time out?
Scott Barboza: Jackson Bockhurst delivers again with a big FG. BC High, 17-14.
Brendan Hall: Special teams was a huge factor in the Eagles' win over Chelmsford earlier this season, and now it's time to return the favor. As long as Colby Emanouil isn't guaranteeing victories or anything, I think the Lions can pull off what would be Tuesday night's biggest upset. Chelmsford, 21-20.
New Bedford (5-5) vs. Needham (8-3), 7:30 p.m. Weymouth High School New Bedford players to watch: Marcel DePina, Sr. RB; Mike Rapoza, Jr. RB/WR; Jaraud Wood, Sr. RB/WR; Mike LaJoie, Jr. WR.
Needham players to watch: Mark Riley, Sr. TE; Nico Panepinto, Sr. WR; Ryan Charter, Sr. QB; Mike Vespa, Sr. FB/LB; Dan Pierce, Jr. WR/DB; Ronny Rosser, Soph. DB; Andrew Murowchick, Sr. K.
The skinny: Despite not winning the Big 3 title, New Bedford backed its way into the playoffs for the second year in a row after Bridgewater-Raynham beat Brockton on Thanksgiving (the Boxers finished 5-6, not complying with a league rule that states the league champ must finish .500 to go to the playoffs). Which team will show up -- the one that looked good early-on against B-R and Barnstable, or the one that came into Thanksgiving having been beaten a combined 78-23 by Dennis-Yarmouth and Brockton? Needham staved off a late push from Weymouth to punch its ticket, and is back on its feet after losing star quarterback Drew Burnett and running back Ian Riley to injury. The sophomore Charter has thrown 13 touchdown passes in his five starts since Burnett's season-ending injury, including four each to Panepinto and Mark Riley.
X-factor: Mark Riley, one of several lacrosse stars on Needham, has emerged as one of the state's top tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions. Head coach Dave Duffy tends to utilize Riley in an Aaron Hernandez-like role, lining him up in the slot or splitting him wide to create mismatches on the perimeter and downfield. And with his speed, sound route-running and quality hands, he's proven to be a mismatch for many opponents.
Barboza: What a battle of attrition the season has become for these two sides. The Rockets have just enough left in the tank to get it done. Needham, 24-20.
Hall: You know how they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Rockets endured a rash of injuries to star players, and are still standing. Too late to turn back now. Needham, 24-14.
DIVISION 1A Everett (11-0) vs. Lynn English (9-2), 7:30 p.m., Manning Field, Lynn
Everett players to watch: QB Jonathan DiBiaso; RB/LB Vondell Langston; WR/DB Kenny Calaj; WR/DB Jakarrie Washington; WR/DB Jalen Felix; WR/DB Jaylen McRae; OL/DL Jon Montellus; OL/DL Ralph Jonathas.
Lynn English players to watch: QB Jermaine Kelly; RB/LB P.J. Dorsey; QB/WR/DB Malcolm Brown-Simpson; CB Josh Battista OL/DL Chris Tinkham; OL/DL Brendan Holey.
The skinny: Where shall we begin with the Crimson Tide offense? DiBiaso's 100-plus career touchdown passes after a 42-score regular season? The cache of wide receivers highlighted by the multi-talented Calaj? The hard-nosed running of Langston? It's all there. And Everett isn't far behind on defense. The biggest concern for the Bulldogs, aside from their opponents will be the health of quarterback Jermaine Kelly who is questionable for Tuesday. If pressed into service, Brown-Simpson (a QB for Pope John XXIII last year) will move under center.
X-factor: Kelly's health. If he plays, maybe the Bulldogs can hang. If not, it's going to be even tougher sledding.
Barboza: IT'S SUPER BOWL-TIME! (Inside joke for our Everett readers.) Everett, 31-20.
Hall: I want to know if there are any cowboys out there bold enough to pick against the Tide. Everett, 42-21.
Barnstable (7-4) vs. Lincoln-Sudbury (10-1), 5:15 p.m., Taunton High School Barnstable players to watch: D.J. Crook, Sr. QB; Nick Peabody, Jr. QB/WR; Hayden Murphy, Soph. QB/WR; Andrew Ellis, Jr. LB; Theo France, Sr. RB; Tedaro France, Jr. WR; Ryan Litchman, Jr. LB; Kevin Hardy, Jr. FS; Kadeem Bailey, Jr. WR.
Lincoln-Sudbury players to watch: Matt Cahill, Sr. QB; Dan Cellucci, Sr. RB; Chris Giorgio, Sr. RB; Brian Carroll, Sr. RB; Kyle Ashley, Sr. OL/DL; Jack Harris, Sr. WR.
The skinny: Both of these historic powers are looking to end their drought of Super Bowl appearances (Barnstable -- 1999; L-S -- 1997), and will rely on a number of skill players to carry them there. Longtime L-S coach Tom Lopez has found steady success for decades running the Wing-T; but with a special group of athletes led by Giorgio, Carroll, Cellucci and Harris, he hasn't been afraid to deviate and spread it out. Barnstable comes into the game with some question marks, including the health of leading rusher Theo France (ankle) and the quarterback situation, but there is a slew of speed to account for in players like Murphy, Bailey and Tedaro France. The Raiders' linebacking corps led by Litchman and Ellis is one of the strongest around, and could be one of the tops in the state for 2012.
X-factor: D.J. Crook's success in the past two games against Falmouth and Plymouth North suggest he may be back to speed after missing a month with a fractured thumb, but head coach Chris Whidden has been creative with his skill players all season long. Peabody got the start in the Raiders' OCL-clinching win over B-R earlier this month, but the Raiders tore up the B-R defense with a series of "Wildcat" packages with Murphy taking direct snaps.
Barboza: Just looking forward to the potential shootout between the Red Raiders and Crimson Tide. Barnstable, 34-27.
Hall: Notwithstanding Theo France's injury, and the quarterback situation, there is too much speed on the perimeter to account for. I see the Raiders taking the corner repeatedly to set up a rematch with Everett. Barnstable, 28-14.
DIVISION 2 Tewksbury (6-5) vs. Reading (8-3), 7:30 p.m., Reading
Tewksbury players to watch: RB/CB Chris Bettano; QB/S Kevin Saunders; OL/LB Derek Tarpey.
Reading players to watch: QB Drew Belcher; WR/DB Jarred Barros; WR/LB Ryan Manney; RB/DB Alex Valente; RB/LB Liam Kenneally; OL/DL Matt Commeford.
The skinny: The new-comer versus the perennial power. Tewksbury makes its first postseason appearance since 1996 as the champions of the Merrimack Valley's Small division. Reading, on the other hand, makes its fourth straight foray into the playoffs; not bad for a team that was supposed to be in rebuilding mode. It looked as such as the Rockets started the season 1-3, but rebounded to become the first Massachusetts team to wrap up a postseason berth.
X-factor: OK, so the 6-5 Redmen won't blow you away, but remember Beverly's run to a Super Bowl title last year? What Tewksbury does have is quality wins against the MVC's Large division, including Andover, Central Catholic and Lowell.
Barboza: Rockets have been there and done that and will do that once again. Reading, 28-17.
Hall: How many years in a row are the Rockets going to have home-field advantage in the playoffs? Reading, 17-13.
Duxbury (11-0) vs. King Philip (9-1), 5:15 p.m., Weymouth High School Duxbury players to watch: Reilly Naton, Sr. WR/DB; Khai Perry, Soph. RB; Andrew Buron, Sr. WR/DB; Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB; James Burke, Sr. WR/DB; Don Webber, Sr. WR; Max Randall, Sr. LB; Gordon Acha, Sr. OL/DL; Rob Kosharek, Jr. OL/DL; Joe Guilfoile, Jr. WR/DB.
King Philip players to watch: Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB; John Dillon, Soph. QB; Sam McDonald, Jr. WR/DB; Mike Viola, Sr. WR/DB; Nick Lussier, Sr. LB; Jesse Sullivan, Sr. OL/DL; Nate Malone, Sr. FB/LB; Brett McEvoy, Soph. LB.
The skinny: This will be a matchup of two teams well-rounded on both sides of the ball. Both squads have accumulated over 3,000 yards of offense and allow less than 10 points per game. The Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit O'Keefe -- an ESPN Boston Mr. Football finalist, has been nearly flawless under center -- has been terrific under center, completing nearly 64 percent of his passes for 2,139 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a loaded wideout corps led by Webber (46 catches, 700 yards, 10 TD) and Guilfoile (32 catches, 345 yards, 6 TD). The defense led by Naton, Burke and Randall is allowing just over seven points per game. KP counters with one of the state's best tailbacks in the senior Ruffin, an explosive speedster who has done considerable damage on the ground (143 carries, 1,255 yards, 20 TD), and sophomore John Dillon -- who has thrown just one pick all year, in 109 attempts.
X-factor: Duxbury boasts one of the state's finest secondaries, led by Naton (four interceptions) and Burke (two) at the safety positions. That in turn has bought extra time for the pass rush, which has rung up 35 sacks in 11 games led by Henry Narlee (seven) and Seamus Connelly (five).
Barboza: Might be the best defense the Dragons have encountered all season, including Xaverian. There's still too much firepower though. Duxbury, 27-20.
Hall: It's been one of the nicer stories of the year, Brian Lee's rebuilding job finally coming full circle as his once-dormant program heads to its first postseason ever. But Duxbury's defense is too nice to be broken. Duxbury, 21-7.
DIVISION 2A Marblehead (8-2) vs. Wakefield (9-2), 5:15 p.m., Manning Field, Lynn Marblehead players to watch: RB/DB Will Quigley; LB Tyler Bates; LB Oliver Gregory; OL/DL Jeff Peras.
Wakefield players to watch: LB Zach Bates; RB Josh Puccio; RB/DB Dan Cardillo; QB James Bourque.
The skinny: The Warriors return to the postseason for the first time since 2001 and the Magicians pulled out perhaps their greatest trick of the season, beating a favored Swampscott team for the CAL/NEC Tier 2 division crown. The rallying cry has been for more respect from Marblehead, which boasts CAL/NEC Offensive Player of the Year Will Quigley, who also became the program's all-time leading scorer this season. However, the Magicians can bring it on defense, too, led by CAL/NEC Co-Player of the Year Oliver Gregory along with Joel Katz and John Perry.
X-factor: The Magicians closed the season strong on defense, surrendering just 38 points in their final five games, including their title-clinching win over Swampscott's vaunted spread attack (7 points against) on Thanksgiving.
Hall: I'm sure Jim Rudloff will have some psychological warfare up his sleeve for this one. Marblehead, 20-10.
Walpole (9-2) vs. Dennis-Yarmouth (11-0), 7:30 p.m., Bridgewater-Raynham Walpole players to watch: Craig Hanley, Sr. RB/DB; Shane Blass, Sr. RB/LB; Chris Collins, Jr. TE/DE; Gary DeVincentis, Jr. OL/DL; Dan Woods, Sr. OL/NT; Charlie Love, Sr. OL/DL; Rick Ordway, Jr. OL/DL; Dan King, Sr. OL/DL.
Dennis-Yarmouth players to watch: Matt Montalto, Sr. QB; Dylan Hodsdon, Sr. WR/RB/LB; Damion Johnson, Sr. WR/S; Quan Lovett, Sr. WR/DB; Rufus Hamilton, Sr. WR/DB; Hunter Oppedisano, Sr. OL/LB; Tommy Kennedy, Sr. OL/DL; Joe Furness, Sr. RB.
The skinny: Walpole is looking to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since legendary Ryan Izzo brought the Rebels glory in 2008, while D-Y is looking to punch its first Super Bowl berth in school history after coming up short last postseason. With a bend-but-don’t-break defense, the Rebels have allowed a Bay State Conference-best 10.5 points per game. They’ll be saddled with stopping a high-octane D-Y offense (33.8 points per game) that is also playing pretty well on defense (9.8 points allowed). The Rebels get a majority of the offensive load from running backs Blass and Hanley, while Montalto has spread it around to a number of receivers to considerable success. Walpole brings consistent pressure up front, led by Woods in the middle and a committee of players off the edge, including Collins, DeVincentis and King. D-Y’s pass protection is going to need to buy time for Montalto to hit his favorite target deep; in the open field, Johnson has proven to be one of the most difficult receivers to defend.
X-factor: One has to wonder how much the Dolphins will go to a no-huddle tempo, with so many players going both ways; and to boot, following the Rebels’ win over Natick, head coach Barry Greener called his practice tempo “absolute friggin’ chaos”, saying the players “don't have time to get down in their stances, we're running plays at them so fast.”
Hall: There is going to be some serious popping of the shoulder pads in this one. Get your popcorn ready. D-Y, 17-16.
DIVISION 3 Concord-Carlisle (11-0) vs. Holliston (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Lowell Concord-Carlisle players to watch: RB/DB George Craan; RB/DB Tyquan Culbreath; TE/DE Henry Bumpus; RB/LB Tim Badgley; OL/DL Andrew VanderWilden; OL/LB Thomas Kleyn; OL/DL Trevor Castrichini.
Holliston players to watch: QB/LB Dan Barone; RB/DB Jake Frechette; TE/DL Dave Dubin; RB/LB Atticus Grinder; RB/LB Max Atthy; SE/LB Brody Ciarcello.
The skinny: The Patriots have been in the postseason in each of the previous two seasons, but haven't been able to sew up a Super Bowl trophy. Meanwhile, Holliston is looking to repeat as Division 3 champions. C-C possesses perhaps the state's deepest offensive backfield with Craan, Culbreath and Badgley and the Panthers have also found success on the ground behind Barone and Frechette, now the school's all-time leading rusher. Both teams can pressure from the outside on defense with rangy Patriots end Bumpus and Dubin creating havoc.
X-factor: Neither team is short on postseason experience, but the Patirots' 19 seniors on the roster could be a difference-maker.
Barboza: The Bumpus vs. Dubin matchup on the outside, on both side of the ball, will be a sight to see in this one. C-C, 24-21.
Hall: One of my favorite matchups of the Tuesday night slate, and I'm predicting a Wild West shootout, too. C-C, 38-35.
Oliver Ames (6-4) vs. Pembroke (10-0), 7:30 p.m., Franklin High School OA players to watch: Jared Schneider, Sr. QB; Brian Rezendes, Sr. RB/LB; Jake McDougall, Sr. OL/LB; Alex Tepper, Sr. WR; Keith Sullivan, Sr. OL; Brian Crosby, Sr. RB/DB; Dean Soucie, Sr. RB/LB
Pembroke players to watch: Jon Hooper, Sr. RB/LB; Dan McCourt, Sr. OL/DL; Tom Castanha, Sr. FB/LB; Luke Nagle, Sr. QB; Nick Burns, Sr. WR; Brian Tinkham, Sr. RB
The skinny: It’s a matchup of historic firsts, with OA clinching its first postseason berth ever after winning its first Hockomock title of any kind since 1964. Meanwhile, the seven-year-old Pembroke is punching its first playoff berth ever after starting from scratch. Which rebuilding job has been more impressive -– Jim Artz’s job at OA, or legendary Bob Bancroft’s start-from-scratch -– is in the eye of the beholder. Jon Hooper leads the Titans with 18 rushing touchdowns, tied for most in Division 3, but it’s been the defense (12.7 points per game) that has impressed the most. Tom Castanha, a 240-pound senior transfer from Silver Lake, leads a talented linebacking corps and combined with the 6-foot-4 McCourt presents matchup problems. Schneider has been efficient under center for OA, as the Tigers ended the regular season on a two-game win streak.
X-factor: The line of scrimmage will be crucial in this one, and the Tigers boast one of the state’s potentially hidden gems in Sullivan. At a legitimate 6-foot-9 and 300 pounds, and blessed with a bit of footwork, he could have a huge impact on this one.
Barboza: Hate to put a damper on the Titans' stellar season, but I think OA comes in more battle-tested. OA, 31-21.
Hall: I spent my very infant years living briefly in Whitman. So that in turn, by at least six or seven degrees of separation, makes me a Bob Bancroft guy. I think. Right? Pembroke, 24-21.
DIVISION 3A Hamilton-Wenham (10-0) vs. Newburyport (9-2), 7:30 p.m., Andover High School H-W players to watch: QB/DB Trevor Lyons; RB/LB Elliott Burr; WR/DB Matt Putur; OL/DL Taylor Drinkwater.
Newburyport players to watch: WR Brett Fontaine; QB Conor Wile.
The skinny: In one of the few playoff matchups where both teams played during the regular season, the CAL/NEC rivals played in September with the Generals taking an 18-6 win. Lyons' transition to quarterback this season has gone as smooth as anyone could've anticipated, as the converted running back has thrown for over 1,300 yards with 18 touchdowns while adding 900 yards on the ground. The Clippers boast a robust passing game of their own with Fontaine (1,000-plus receiving yards) has accounted for 13 of Wile's 20 scoring throws on the season.
X-factor: The Generals' defense, for the most part has been stellar, allowing just four opponents to reach double digits on the scoreboard.
Barboza: Let's get the hashtag #theHDubbs starting on Twitter for Tuesday night. Why? Because we said so. Also, listen this week's podcast. H-W, 27-21.
Hall: Loving the feedback from H-W land, and maybe they actually are underrated. But if I pick the Generals to win here, does that buy me a few days of immunity? H-W, 28-20.
Bishop Feehan (7-4) vs. Bourne (11-0), 5:15 p.m., Bridgewater-Raynham Feehan players to watch: Cameron Frye, Sr. RB/DB; James Corbesero, Sr. RB/LB; Matt Allen, Sr. RB/DB; Andrew Murphy, Sr. QB/DB; Tom Flett, Sr. TE/LB.
Bourne players to watch: Drew Girouard, Sr. TE/DL; Nick Pereira, Jr. WR/DB; Jason Moriarty, Sr. QB; Joe Epps, Sr. RB/DB; Jack Schmitt, Sr. OL/DL.
The skinny: After a one-hear hiatus, the Shamrocks are back in the playoffs for what has to feel like manifest destiny, no matter what division they’re thrown into. Feehan started the season 0-4 but reeled off seven straight wins, including a 41-7 pounding of Somerset to clinch the EAC title. They outscored their four league opponents by a combined 134-7, and have averaged nearly 29 points per game on their current win streak. Bourne, meanwhile, outlasted a brutal South Coast schedule thanks to a potent running game. Epps is second in Division 3A in rushing touchdowns (19), a big reason why the Canalmen are scoring league-best 30 points per game.
X-factor: He may or may not be Robert Perryman incarnate, but when Epps gets rolling, so do the Canalmen. Witness his two-touchdown, 250-yard performance in Week 10 over Fairhaven, a 38-33 thriller; or his three-touchdown performance in a 42-0 blanking of Wareham on Thanksgiving.
Barboza: The Shamrocks disrupt the Cape's run in this one. Feehan, 20-18.
Hall: I'm going with a clean sweep for the Cape. Bourne, 28-17.
DIVISION 4 Cardinal Spellman (11-0) vs. Shawsheen (6-4), 5:15 p.m., Andover Spellman players to watch: RB Pat Hinkley; RB Dan Kustka.
Shawsheen players to watch: Paul DePlacido; Nick Federico; Devonn Pratt; Brian Ward.
The skinny: Blaise Branch isn't walking through those doors, but the Cardinals have gotten along just fine without their 2,000-yard back from last season, returning to the postseason as champions of the Catholic Central Large division. However, the duo of Hinkley and Kustka have combined to eclipse the 2,000-yard plateau collectively, picking up the slack from last season.
X-factor: The experience of the Cardinals coming off of last year's loss at Gillette and their resolve to get back there: "We want to win this year," Kustka told The Enterprise of Brockton this week. "We learned how to win last year but losing at Gillette left a bad taste in our mouths."
Barboza: Blaise who? Spellman, 13-7.
Hall: What Ron St. George has build in a few short years in Brockton has been pretty impressive. And one of the region's classiest coaches, to boot. Spellman, 20-13.
Millis/Hopedale (10-1) vs. Mashpee (11-0), 7:30 p.m., Taunton High School
Millis/Hopedale players to watch: Jim Perkins, Sr. RB/LB; Ian Strom, Jr. RB/LB; Jon Baker, Soph. OL/DL; Bay Tangney, Jr. QB/S.
Mashpee players to watch: Jordan Keli’inui, Sr. RB; Graham Kilpatrick, Sr. OL/DL; Jared Taylor, Jr. RB/LB; Zach Orcutt, Sr. QB/S; John Bernard, Sr. RB/LB.
The skinny: Mashpee is the fifth of an unprecedented five Cape Cod teams playing postseason football. With the exception of a hiccup against Holliston, the Mohawks have been one of the Tri-Valley League’s most explosive offenses, averaging a TVL Small-best 29 points per game behind the potent running of Jim Perkins and Ian Strom, who have combined for 32 touchdowns. In Mashpee’s backfield, there is but one name to remember –- Keli’inui, a punishing north-south back who has gone for over 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season. Graham Kilpatrick leads a Falcons defense that allowed a South Shore League-best 10.2 points per game during the regular season.
X-factor: The Mohawks can score in a hurry, but they’re going to have to find a way to solve Keli’inui to keep this from turning into a shootout. The senior has proven to be reliable in short-yardage situations, but like Ron Dayne in his Wisconsin days, packs some nimble footwork with his big frame.
Barboza: The Cape reigns this year. Mashpee, 24-17.
Hall: See my Bourne pick. Also, because Jordan Keli'inui is going to be too much of a load to handle. Mashpee, 25-20.
DIVISION 4A Boston Cathedral (11-0) vs. Chelsea (6-4), 5:15 p.m., Reading High School
Cathedral players to watch: OL/DL Treyvon Clegg; RB Geeavontie Griffith; QB/S Matt Owens.
Chelsea players to watch: RB Raul Flores; RB Juan Martinez; RB Hector Rivera.
The skinny: Cathedral waltzed to an undefeated season in the Catholic Central Small division while the Red Devils had to wait until Thanksgiving Day, thanks to the league's points system, clinching the Commonwealth Small with a victory over Matignon. The Panthers are just as likely to air the ball out as pound the ball behind do-everything running back Geeavontie Griffith. Chelsea possesses a balanced offensive attack behind Flores, Martinez and Rivera.
X-factor: Coaching counts for something, right? Duane Sigsbury has Cathedral pointed in the right direction after leading the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time since 1994.
Barboza: Too many athletes for Chelsea to contend with. Cathedral, 30-24.
Hall: Cathedral head coach Duane Sigsbury told me Geeavontie Griffith is the second-best high school player he's ever coached, behind Mike McLaughlin. And the latter, for the uninformed, just had cups of coffee with the Broncos and Ravens. Cathedral, 30-17.
East Boston (7-3) vs. Blue Hills (10-1), 5:15 p.m., Franklin High School East Boston players to watch: Kyle Jimenez-Fox, Sr. RB; Andre Rickerson, Sr. RB; Davonte Holloway, Jr. RB; Anthony Whitney, Sr. QB.
Blue Hills players to watch: Vincent Burton, Jr. RB/S; Isaiah Teixeira, Sr. RB/LB; John Curran, Sr. QB; David Neil, Soph. WR.
The skinny: With both teams inclined significantly towards running formations, this could be a quick, low-scoring affair dictated by ball control. Boston North champion Eastie punched its ticket on Thanksgiving by beating Thanksgiving rival South Boston to win the league outright. As usual, the Jets get their production from a platoon of tailbacks, led by Jimenez-Fox and Rickerson (20 combined rushing TD). Burton has been one of the most dominant forces in the Mayflower league, with 52 rushing touchdowns since the start of his sophomore year. Defenses have begun to load the box on the hard-charging junior, which has made the connection of Curran (8 passing TD) and Neil (5 receiving TD) all the more crucial.
X-factor: Burton. Need we say more?
Barboza: Burton, for the win. Blue Hills, 20-14.
Hall: My gut is the Jets stuff the box against Burton, but that he finds a way out of it. Blue Hills, 7-6.