Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thanksgiving football mega-picks
ESPN Boston High Schools editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall weigh in on all the Thanksgiving Day action with a mega-edition our our weekly picks:
NO. 3 ST. JOHN'S PREP (8-1) AT XAVERIAN (4-6) Scott Barboza: I think the Hawks keep it close through three, and the Eagles pull away in the fourth. Prep, 28-20.
Brendan Hall: Great to see Xaverian showing life late in the season, but the Catholic Conference has thoroughly belonged to the Prep this fall. Prep, 28-17.
NO. 17 CENTRAL CATHOLIC AT NO. 22 ANDOVER (9-1) Barboza: If the Raiders can keep the Golden Warriors under 30, they'll win. And they do. Central, 30-24.
Hall: The better defense will do just enough to hold on in the end. Central, 21-17.
NO. 11 NATICK (9-1) AT FRAMINGHAM (5-5) Barboza: The Redhawks make the Bay State Herget elementary with a win. Natick, 38-24.
Hall: I’m sure Framingham has some surprises up its sleeve, but I can’t get over this question: How do you cover Brian Dunlap? Natick, 35-21.
HOLLISTON (7-3) AT WESTWOOD (7-3) Barboza: Going with recent history here. Holliston, 20-17.
Hall: The name of the game here remains: speed, speed, speed. Holliston, 31-28.
BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-5) AT NO. 6 BROCKTON (7-3)
Barboza: It's a one-game season for the Trojans. Go with the hungrier team. B-R, 17-14.
Hall: I won’t hold anyone back. I swear. Even if I tried. Brockton, 17-10.
NEWBURYPORT (6-4) AT AMESBURY (8-2) Barboza: With Connor Wile back from his shoulder injury, he's the difference. Newburyport, 26-24.
Hall: I’m going with the better rushing attack in this one. Newburyport, 30-20.
NORTH READING (8-1) AT LYNNFIELD (7-2) Barboza: North Reading plays ball control and escapes with the CAL/NEC Tier 4 title. North Reading, 20-13.
Hall: These bottom two tiers of the CAL/NEC have to like the coming playoff changes for next year, what with all the competition for that lone playoff berth.
FITCHBURG (1-9) AT LEOMINSTER (6-4) Barboza: Blue Devils run with a little bit of momentum into Tuesday's playoff game. Leominster, 34-20.
Hall: It’s been a rough year for the Red Raiders, and while they might show some life in this one, there’s too much talent to account for on offense. Leominster, 28-7.
FOXBOROUGH (7-3) AT NO. 19 MANSFIELD (7-3) Barboza: If I don't pick the Hornets here, I might not ever be allowed back within the town limits. Mansfield, 21-14.
Hall: If the Hornets can contain Kiivone Howard, they can do a lot in this game. Mansfield, 28-21.
WELLESLEY (6-4) AT NEEDHAM (7-3) Barboza: This could be the best side dish to all the fixins' on Thursday. Needham, 28-20.
Hall: Count me among the Jesse Davis converts. Raiders are one of the hottest teams in the second half, and they’re in for a shootout here. Wellesley, 38-31.
MEDFORD (0-9) AT MALDEN (2-8) Barboza: Malden's softball team members will receive their sectional title rings during halftime, and the Golden Tornadoes take care of business on the field in No. 125. Malden, 31-21.
Hall: Expect a big day out of Malden’s little engine that could, receiver Franklin Huynh. Malden, 28-14.
NO. 13 WALPOLE (9-1) AT WEYMOUTH (8-2)
Barboza: Wildcats could rest on their laurels, but they'd still like to play spoilers to the Rebels' postseason designs. Weymouth, 13-7.
Hall: We know the Wildcats can score, and score in bunches. But can they move the ball against this Walpole front seven? Walpole, 20-13.
NO. 8 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (9-1) AT MINNECHAUG (7-3) Barboza: This will be the one of the highlights of Thanksgiving Day throughout the state. Central, 38-28.
Hall: Set the over/under on total passing yards at 400 in this one. Central, 30-28.
ST. PETER-MARIAN (5-5) AT ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (6-4) Barboza: Pioneers simply have too much to contain on offense. SJS, 32-24.
Hall: St. Peter-Marian has been inconsistent this season. But if Shrewsbury can do it, and Milford can almost do it, then why not the Guardians? SPM, 24-23.
HOLY NAME (7-3) AT WACHUSETT (7-3)
Barboza: The Mountaineers do it on defense. Wachusett, 20-13.
Hall: Two-hundred rushing yards and three scores for the state’s best running back outside of I-495. Holy Name, 28-24.
TYNGSBOROUGH (10-0) AT GROTON-DUNSTABLE (9-1) Barboza: The Crusaders upset the Tigers' perfect season and walk away with the Mid-Wach C title. G-D, 28-21.
Hall: Going with the hot hand here. And hey, how about a second straight soccer state title for the Crusaders? G-D, 23-20.
DENNIS-YARMOUTH (5-4) AT NAUSET (9-1)
Barboza: Jimmy Sullivan will have a big day. Nauset, 24-14.
Hall: Because Nauset needs this one to ease the soul. Nauset, 18-6.
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (6-4) AT ATTLEBORO (4-6) Barboza: Red Rocketeers get the win and look forward to next year, when maybe, just maybe, they'll be a part of the playoff picture. North, 32-21.
Hall: We should consider giving out a trophy to the most creative helmet design in this game. North Attleborough, 20-10.
SOUTH BOSTON (3-7) AT EAST BOSTON (4-5)
Barboza: Jets will rebound from a lop-sided loss to Madison Park for the win. Eastie, 22-16.
Hall: I’m Irish. Southie, 15-12.
BOSTON ENGLISH (3-6) AT BOSTON LATIN SCHOOL (1-9) Barboza: Records wouldn't indicate it on the way in, but Wolfpack are still the favorites. Latin, 21-14.
Hall: Latin has won 29 of the last 30 meetings, but you know what? I’m feeling lucky today. English, 12-10.
BILLERICA (2-8) AT CHELMSFORD (5-5)
Barboza: Lions run behind Jeff d'Auria to the victory. Chelmsford, 34-31.
Hall: Will we see the Billerica that almost knocked off Barnstable, or the one that laid an egg against Andover? My hunch is the former. Billerica, 31-30.
HAVERHILL (8-2) AT NO. 20 LOWELL (8-2) Barboza: How do the Raiders try to slow down physical target Jordan Javier? Hillies with the upset. Haverhill, 38-34.
Hall: Set the over/under on total yards from scrimmage between Chance Brady and Jack Galvin at 450. Lowell, 40-38.
NO. 21 ABINGTON (10-0) AT WHITMAN-HANSON (6-4) Barboza: This could be one of the better battles in this long rivalry, but a little too much on Abington's offense. Abington, 24-17.
Hall: I’ll get denied leftovers if I don’t take the Green Wave here. Abington, 21-7.
SWAMPSCOTT (4-6) AT MARBLEHEAD (8-2) Barboza: Ian Maag lets 'em rain down from above. Sorry Dembo. Marblehead, 37-28.
Hall: Wondering what kind of designer lunch pail the Magicians have in store this year. Marblehead, 30-20.
Hall: Not much of a contest this year, but next year’s installment of the rivalry should be a lot more competitive. Duxbury, 28-0.
PLYMOUTH NORTH (3-6) AT PLYMOUTH SOUTH (7-3)
Barboza: Panthers carry action on the field, but Alex Sims' dance crew holds it down for North. South, 28-14.
Hall: It won’t be a record-setting day, but the North defense is going to have a hard time solving Dylan Oxsen in that pistol offense. South, 35-14.
DURFEE (0-9) AT NEW BEDFORD (4-5) Barboza: The South Coast's longest and best rivalry belong to Mike Rapoza and the Whalers. Sorry to my Hilltopper friends. New Bedford, 35-20.
Hall: Wait til basketball season. New Bedford, 28-10.
WESTFORD ACADEMY (7-3) AT ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (7-3)
Barboza: Jack-of-all-trades Justin Mount probably makes a mean stuffing, too. Wouldn't be at all surprised. Westford, 30-24.
Hall: Wondering how many positions Justin Mount plays today. He will be the difference. Westford, 21-8.
CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (2-7) AT BC HIGH (3-6)
Barboza: I see Brandon Owens having a big game if the Eagles win the battle up front. BC High, 19-13.
Hall: It’s been a tough year for both squads. I see the Eagles finishing strong here. BC High, 23-12.
CAMBRIDGE (6-4) AT SOMERVILLE (1-8) Hall: I visited my old stomping grounds in Davis Square the other night, and like three frozen yogurt shops popped up. As if the coffee shops weren't bad enough. The heck is happening in my beloved Somerville? And what the heck is “Fro Yo”? Cambridge, 35-31.
Barboza: What's wrong with coffee? I'm drinking some right now as I write this sentence. Well, not actually, it's hard to drink and type at the same time, but you get the point. Cambridge,
NO. 12 LONGMEADOW (8-2) AT EAST LONGMEADOW (5-4)
Barboza: Frankie Elder's the key. Longmeadow, 21-14.
Hall: Sam Blake is a monster for the Spartans, but Longmeadow will play ball control, just as they have all season. Longmeadow, 14-12.
NORTHAMPTON (6-4) AT AMHERST (5-3)
Hall: The bands Dinosaur Jr. and The Pixies both formed in Amherst, and Northampton has the Calvin Theatre and Pearl Street. Can’t go wrong here. Amherst, 26-20.
Barboza: Boom. Kids, if you want to know what real music sounds like, listen to the Pixies' "UMass," yeah, that's the actual title. Amherst, 13-7.