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Monday, September 6, 2010
10 off the top: Labor Day Edition

By Brendan Hall

Now that everybody's up at the crack of noon on this lazy end-of-summer holiday, and now that Tiger Woods has unofficially taken himself out of contention for his first PGA Tour win of 2010 down the road in Norton, we can all move on to the fall season.

Right...?

Yes, fall is finally here, and for most of us that means football, football, football. After Boise State visits Virginia Tech tonight for a BCS-busting Battle to End All Battles, Minnesota visits New Orleans Thursday night to kick off the NFL season, week one of the season arrives Friday all across Massachusetts. Be sure to check back with us daily as we continue our Top 25 countdown, which stops in Wakefield and Methuen today, all leading up to Friday night's exciting slate of non-conference clashes.

Also be sure to check back with us later in the week for our preseason all-state teams, and our first weekly High School Podcast.

But without further ado, here's our ten off the top:

SPECIAL GEMS

10. The Standard-Times' Buddy Thomas brings to light the valuable exploits of Greater New Bedford Voke quarterback Drew Frenette. Thomas also previews the South Coast Conference on his podcast.

9. Weston High football coach Bob Desaulniers thinks his man in the middle, Clarence Johnson, is one of the best players he's coached in his 40 years in the business. Dan Keats checked in with the Wildcats in today's Boston Herald.

UPSET ALERT

8. We have our first poll-smasher of the season. New Hampshire powerhouse Bishop Guertin cruised by defending Division 1 state champion Salem, 48-21, thanks to a stifling defensive effort in the second half. Salem, ranked No. 8 in our New England poll, had no answer for the Cardinals' Mike Kelly, who ran for 192 yards, caught four passes for 169 more, and scored five times. Guertin will certainly get some consideration come

LISTS, LISTS, LISTS

7. Yet another preseason accolade has come for Brockton's Albert Louis-Jean. This time, the Miami-bound cornerback has been named to the Associated Press' East Region 25 list of prospects. Louis-Jean is the lone Massachusetts representative on the list, while 11 of the prospects are from Ohio.

6. ESPNU has updated its lists of prospects, and New England is well-represented. On the girls' side, Burke's Khadijah Ellison is ranked as the No. 44 overall prospect in the Class of 2011, while Falmouth (Maine) McAuley's Alexa Coulombe, a Boston College commit, is ranked No. 44 overall for the Class of 2012.

On the boys' side, Syracuse-bound St. Andrew's (R.I.) shooting guard Michael Carter-Williams is the top New Englander on the 2011 list, at 18. In the 2012 class, St. Thomas More's Andre Drummond and Notre Dame Prep's Khem Birch are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. For 2013, Kuran Iverson of Northwest Catholic (Conn.) takes the No. 2 spot.

BIG SHOES TO FILL

5. The Metrowest Daily News' Andy Vogt caught up with new Marlborough High girls' soccer coach Samantha Cramer late last week. The guy she replaces, Doug Freeman, won three state titles, 14 league titles and a National Coach of the Year honor during his tenure. Feeling the pressure? Of course not.

BACK ON THE HILL

4. Haverhill's Julie Solimine, the two-time defending Merrimack Valley Conference Runner of the Year, is finally healthy after a junior season marred by stress fractures. And that's bad news for the rest of the MVC, reports Sapna Pathak in the Globe.

RECRUITING UPDATES

3. Brewster Academy point guard Naadir Tharpe took an official visit to St. John's over the weekend, and is also taking an official to Minnesota on Sept. 17. One of his new incoming teammates, sharp-shooting post-graduate Max Hooper, will visit Princeton, Lehigh and Dartmouth this week before enrolling at the Wolfeboro, N.H. school.

2. Meanwhile, correspondent Adam Finkelstein reports on his New England Recruiting Report website that Worcester Academy big man Pat Ackerman committed to Penn State yesterday, while on an official visit at State College. Ackerman was Pat Connaughton's running mate with the Middlesex Magic this summer, and as Connaughton's stock exploded, so too did the 6-foot-10 Rutland native's -- Wake Forest, Ole Miss and a number of other Big Ten schools began lining up for his services.

MORE THAN THE GRIDIRON

1. It was a game, in theory. But the Joey Larracey Bowl always has so much more meaning in Holliston than merely a final preseason tune-up. Now in its second year, the game scrimmage is night of ceremonious honors for former Holliston player Joey Larracey, who tragically died two years ago after collapsing in a scrimmage. The Panthers beat Framingham, 29-13, last Friday night in front of a capacity crowd.