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Friday, October 22, 2010
Week 7 Picks

By ESPNBoston.com

Let's get straight to this week’s action with picks from ESPN Boston's Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall.

NO. 1 EVERETT (5-0) AT NO. 10 BC HIGH, 7 p.m.

The skinny: The newly-anointed No. 1's will waste little time defending their status when they travel down to Dorchester for a meeting with the Eagles at Viola Stadium. Everett is going for a Catholic Conference sweep on its schedule, having defeated St. John's Prep (27-7) and previous No. 1 Xaverian (28-13) earlier this season. The Eagles are coming off a dominant win over Hudson Catholic (N.J.), 49-0. Slowing BC High's elusive running back Preston Cooper will be a key for the Tide defense.

Hall: The Eagles' troubles this season are through no fault of their linemen, and with that in mind I expect the Tide to air it out. If last week's contest was any indicator, and if we're following the pattern here, Matt Costello will need to be the X-factor this week. Everett, 24-17

Barboza: I think this can could typify a trap game with the Crimson Tide coming off a big win and traveling to Morrissey Boulevard, where the Eagles will finally play their first home game in Week 7. Still, I learned my lesson last week. I'm not going against the Tide this week, (No pun intended). Everett, 21-13

NO. 7 FALMOUTH (5-0) AT NO. 22 PLYMOUTH NORTH (4-2), 7 p.m.
The skinny: In a conference that has beaten itself up through the first half of the season, the No. 7 Clippers have emerged in the Atlantic Coast League as the last remaining undefeated squad in spite of a tough non-league slate (BC High, Somerville, Foxborough, Dartmouth). They'll get their first of several crucial ACL tests with a trip to Plymouth tonight, where the Eagles are battling tough under first-year head coach Dwayne Follette. Defensively, North is the only team to hold Methuen to a touchdown; offensively, behind a dominant line, the Eagles are grinding out wins on the ground week after week.

Hall: Nelson Baptiste for the win. Who'd have thought Steve Femino would be drawing that up in football, too? Falmouth, 13-10

Barboza: I think both teams have proven they can run the ball for big heaps of yardage in a hurry, so I'm predicting this one will come down to which team's quarterback can make the plays to complement the running game with the Clippers' Dillon Mansfield and the Eagles' Cody Merritt. Falmouth, 14-10

NO. 22 DRACUT (4-2) AT NO. 13 CHELMSFORD (5-1), 7 p.m.
The skinny: In a Merrimack Valley Conference that seems to generate upsets on a weekly basis, this one feels like round six. The Middies are clicking after an 0-2 start, averaging xx points in their four wins thanks to the play of quarterback Matt Silva (14 passing touchdowns, five rushing touchdowns) and Chris Malonis (nine receiving touchdowns). Chelmsford and its staunch defense, spearheaded by one of the state's best linebacking corps, has been hampered by injuries in recent weeks, but is still dangerous with its clock-eating drives, as Andover found out in a 35-7 loss to the Lions last week.

Hall: We've taken a little heat for throwing the Middies back in the Top 25 a few weeks ago. But just trust me here, when Matt Silva and Chris Malonis are on the same wavelength, the Dracut offense is one of the most difficult to slow down in Eastern Mass. Defending the zone read sounds easy in theory, but is a huge pain in the butt if you defense isn't well-disciplined (just ask any of Oregon's opponents this year). How far they've come since that 0-2 start will show through against one of the state's better defenses. Dracut, 28-21

Barboza: Whether or not Lions running back Joe Gennaro is ready to go could have a big say in how this one is decided. I still like the way the Middies offense has come together, however. Dracut, 27-20

HOLLISTON (5-1) AT NO. 24 NORTON (6-0), 7 p.m.
The skinny: After a surprise upset at the hands of Medway earlier in the season, the Panthers are rolling again, having outscored its last two opponents 92-14. Norton, the last remaining undefeated team in the Tri-Valley League, is led by fiery running back Zach Schwieger (eight total touchdowns) and has one of Division 3A's stingiest defenses (10.8 points allowed per game).

Hall: Losing to Medway by two scores was the best thing to happen to the Panthers. I expect a big game out of Sean Mayo and Co., and with a road grader of a lineman in Luke Potvin for the Lancers, I think they'll stretch the field to the sidelines. That hasn't bode well for all but one TVL opponent so far. Holliston, 27-25.

Barboza: I like the Lancers' line just a little bit more in this one. Norton, 21-17

ROCKLAND (6-0) AT ABINGTON (6-0), 7 p.m.
The skinny: How long can the Bulldogs keep rolling over unbeaten South Shore League opponents? We're about to find out. After playing to a hard-nosed 9-8 win in Cohasset last Friday, Rockland goes to Abington for a bout with their border rival. "It's always an intense rivalry, no matter what the circumstances," Bulldogs head coach Ken Owen said Thursday. This year's edition certainly won't disappoint. This game will likely be decided by which team's tailback can come up with big play between Abington's Dylan Pietrasik and Rockland's Tim Fitzgerald.

Hall: OK, so my parents were sweethearts at AHS back in the late 70's, and most of my relatives never actually left "The Bing". Think you know where I'm going with this? Wrong. It's a free country, partner, and I'm going with "The Rock". Whatever. Rockland, 17-10

Barboza: Brendan taking Rockland might be my "upset special" of the week. Phew, didn't see that one coming. In any event, I'm going to even this one out by going with the Green Wave. Abington, 20-16

BEST OF THE REST
No. 2 St. John's (S) 34, Leominster 17
No. 3 Xaverian 24, Bridgewater-Raynham 10
No. 8 Methuen 34, Andover 21
No. 11 Catholic Memorial 17, Malden Catholic 16
No. 14 North Attleborough 20, Foxborough 12
No. 21 Weymouth 24, Natick 14
No. 25 Walpole 23, Needham 16
Barnstable 35, Taunton 18
Bishop Feehan 13, Bishop Stang 7
Burlington 28, Watertown 20
Lawrence 20, Central Catholic 19
Lincoln-Sudbury 22, Waltham 18
Lowell 17, Tewksbury 13
Medway 25, Hopkinton 21
Nashoba 21, Marlborough 13
Oakmont 27, Hudson 23
Philips Andover 24, Northfield-Mt. Hermon 17
Pingree 18, Proctor 13
Revere 31, Lynn English 28
Rivers 26, Milton Academy 21
Shrewsbury 23, Fitchburg 20
Somerset 27, Nauset 14
Weston 30, Bedford 28