Thursday, September 26, 2013
ESPN Boston Week 4 football picks
No. 19 KING PHILIP (2-0) at TAUNTON (2-0), Friday 4 p.m.
Scott Barboza: I’ve gone on record saying I believe the Tigers will knock off one of the Kelley-Rex’s big three this season; I just don’t think it will happen this week against a stout, disciplined stable of Warriors linebackers. KP, 28-27.
Brendan Hall: It’s tough to prepare for such a unique offense as Taunton’s in six days, but this is a matchup I feel favors the KP linebacking corps, which is among the best in Division 2 between Joe Johnston and Brett McEvoy. KP, 24-14.
No. 13 PLYMOUTH SOUTH (2-0) at PLYMOUTH NORTH (2-1), Friday 4 p.m.
Barboza: When you have a Thanksgiving rivalry, or a late-September rivalry as this might be, you can throw records out the window. But nobody stops Dylan Oxsen; you can only hope to contain him. Plymouth South, 16-14.
Hall: Much like the Atlantic Coast League as a whole, I’m not sure what direction this game will go. But this much is certain: Dylan Oxsen is going to give the fans their money’s worth. Plymouth South, 17-10.
No. 1 XAVERIAN (2-0) at BARNSTABLE (1-1), Friday 6 p.m.
Barboza: Ding-dong the curse is dead. Xaverian, 30-20.
Hall: Barnstable coach Chris Whidden dialed up a pretty crafty game plan to take down BC High a week ago. Let’s see what else he has up his sleeve against a similar but more talented Xaverian squad. Xaverian, 21-12.
No. 14 CENTRAL CATHOLIC (2-1) at ANDOVER (1-1), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: Bucking conventional MVC wisdom, I think this actually will become a stingy defensive struggle. Central, 14-13.
Hall: This one has potential to be high scoring, if the first three weeks are any indication, but I like Central’s defense to close the fourth quarter strong and keep its archrival’s offense in first gear. Central Catholic, 30-20.
FRANKLIN (1-1) at No. 23 ATTLEBORO (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: With the clip at which the Blue Bombardiers have been scoring and with the Panthers’ spread attack coming to town, expect some offensive fireworks. Attleboro, 35-28.
Hall: The Blue Bombardiers have looked flammable thus far, averaging 38 points per game and allowing just three points per game defensively behind a massive, immobilizing front four. If they win out here, time to start taking them seriously. Attleboro, 31-19.
SPRINGFIELD PUTNAM (1-1) at No. 15 WESTFIELD (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: This Bombers ground game isn’t about to be stopped any time soon. Westfield, 42-34.
Hall: Nice start to the season for Putnam, but a hiccup against Minnechaug plus this week’s monster test from Westfield’s vaunted triple option will bring the Beavers back to earth. We’ve labeled Springfield Central the favorite in D2 West, but I’m wondering whether this is going to be a two-horse race. Westfield, 35-20.
No. 6 LEOMINSTER (2-0) at SHEPHERD HILL (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: The Blue Devils’ results aren’t always pretty, but they are almost always effective. Leominster, 28-21.
Hall: Leominster brilliantly countered Lowell’s “blur” offense with a newly installed double wing, sustaining long drives and eating up a ton of clock to keep the Raiders’ offense off the field. Shepherd Hill has found much success the past few years with its own double wing. I doubt we’ll see Leominster go with the same strategy, but there are a lot of chess pieces to be moved in this game. Leominster, 21-12.
AUBURN (2-1) at NORTHBRIDGE (1-1), Saturday 1:30 p.m.
Barboza: Kind of a hit-or-miss battle here, with both teams pulling a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde in the early going. Northbridge, 27-23.
Hall: Contrasting styles battling here, and while Mark Wright has filled the tailback void nicely in Auburn, I think Northbridge can win the all-important battle at the point of attack. Northbridge, 26-16.
No. 4 EVERETT (1-1) at No. 3 ST. JOHN’S PREP (2-1), Saturday
Barboza: This smells like a ball-control, whichever-team-has-the-rock-last kind of affair. Prep, 27-20.
Hall: For all the good it has done in the ground game behind Johnny “Tecmo Bowl” Thomas, Prep has yet to face a matchup as unique as Josh Palmer, Everett’s one-man submarine at defensive tackle. Do they double him? Chip him? Or do they let him release off the line unblocked, then read him? Interesting equation to solve here. Everett, 25-20.
ST. SEBASTIAN’S (0-1) at ROXBURY LATIN (1-0), Saturday 2 p.m.
Barboza: Game 1 in the post-Mack Lowrie era was successful, but I just like the Arrows’ defense a little more. St. Seb’s, 24-21.
Hall: Boston College fans have to love this potential matchup between future Eagles Connor Strachan and Kevin Cohee. Wondering whether Strachan will spy Cohee at tight end and Cohee on Strachan at running back. Lots of unique athletes on display in this one. Roxbury Latin, 23-20.
POPE JOHN PAUL II (3-0) at BOSTON CATHEDRAL (3-0), Saturday 8 p.m. (at Madison Park)
Barboza: It might be a different result if this one were played a couple of weeks from now, but there’s a canonizing going on in the Catholic Central. PJP, 31-21.
Hall: Ryan Barabe is one of the more underrated quarterbacks across Eastern Mass., but Cathedral’s ground game will win out in what could be a high-scoring affair. Cathedral, 42-38.
GAME OF THE WEEK – NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (2-0) at No. 2 MANSFIELD (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Barboza: The prospect of Kyle Hurley returning could be an X factor for the Hornets this week and beyond. Mansfield, 30-21.
Hall: It’s always been “next man up” at North Attleborough, so I think it will be able to overcome the serious ankle injury to Matt D’Attilio. But boy will this be a tall task to handle, trying to neutralize Mansfield’s unique offensive weapons. Mansfield, 27-21.