Boston High School: A.J. Doyle

One more skate for CM's Kevin Bletzer

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
9:16
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For Catholic Memorial senior Kevin Bletzer, the changing of the seasons is marked with an exchange of sporting equipment.

A three-sport captain who’ll graduate to Boston College next year and play football, the Medfield native makes – what appears to be – a seamless transition from one to the next.

But even for a Division 1-caliber athlete, there’s one time of the year that’s particularly challenging. It comes the week after Thanksgiving, when the football spikes go in the closet and the skates come out.

“It’s like walking on water,” Bletzer said. “It’s brutal.”

[+] EnlargeBletzer
Scott Barboza/ESPNCatholic Memorial senior Kevin Bletzer passed up opportunities to play Division 1 college lacrosse to pursue his dream of playing Division 1 football at Boston College next year. He's still playing one more season of high school hockey.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is a jack-of-all-trades.

On the football field, Bletzer has been a Swiss Army knife for the Knights – lining up at cornerback, safety and inside and outside linebaker on defense, while playing running back, full back, tight end, wide receiver and even a little quarterback. He even returned punts during his high school career.

When lacrosse season comes, he’s heat-seeking missile in the defensive midfield while enough stick still to play in the offensive half as well. Earlier in his high school career, Bletzer had offers in hand from UMass-Amherst and Penn State for lacrosse.

Then there’s Bletzer’s “first love.”

“I remember my dad putting me in Learn to Skate and I absolutely hated it,” Bletzer said of his earliest hockey memories. “My feet hurt in the skates, and we weren’t actually playing hockey, we were just skating around. It was brutal.

“But then, when we started playing, a lot of my friends that I’m still playing with now were the ones I played with then. I was hooked.”

Since around the age of 3, when his father, Kurt, first laced up his skates, Kevin’s been a rink rat in the winter. That also extends to the Bletzer family’s ice sheet in the backyard, where Kevin, younger brother, Kurt, and members of CM’s hockey team can be found just about any afternoon.

With a program rich in tradition as Knights hockey is under the direction of Bill Hanson, many Boston-area skaters dream of pulling on Montreal Canadiens’ style “CM” sweater. For many, it’s the zenith of their life in the game.

But, for Bletzer, with a promising future on the gridiron ahead of him, a major decision came during his junior season, last year, when he considered giving up one of his passions in order to pursue a full-fledged shot at big time college football.

“I asked him if he could do me a favor, I told him I needed him in the locker room,” Hanson said of a conversation he had with Bletzer during tryouts last year. “He hadn’t developed as a hockey player that way we thought he would, but that’s because he hasn’t played as much as everybody else. But I knew we were going to be young last year and we needed him in that room.”

Bletzer had resigned himself to running track and putting extra time in the weight room, preparing for football season. That experiment lasted a couple of days before his hunger to return to the ice took over.

“I was like, ‘This is all we do?’” Bletzer said. “I was missing it too much.”

Bletzer rejoined the team, contributing to a Knights team that endured a first-round, best-of-three Super 8 tournament duel with archrival BC High, before bowing out to eventual champion Malden Catholic in the semifinals.

“He ended up having a hell of a year,” Hanson added.

And so the challenge for Bletzer and Co. entering the 2013-14 season was how to keep that momentum going. For Bletzer, himself, naturally, it takes a little while to get going.

“It takes about a month to get your skating legs back,” Bletzer said after a recent practice at the Cleveland Circle rink, a stone’s throw from BC’s Alumni Stadium. “The hardest part of the transition is getting to the point where I was at the end of the last season.”

Not matter how the Knights season might end, however, this will be Bletzer’s last go playing competitive hockey. And, as soon as lacrosse season concludes, he’s divesting his former interests to jump into football entirely.

While those elements of Bletzer’s athletic career will go away, it’s part of what made him alluring to BC’s coaching staff.

Bletzer first’s Division 1 FBS scholarship offer was his last, as he gave his verbal commitment to the Eagles following their camp in June. He received the call that the Eagles intended to offer him from assistant coach Ryan Day while he was at a lacrosse tournament with his Laxachusetts travel team.

Even though Bletzer has yet to sign his National Letter of Intent, Steve Addazio and staff didn’t want him to deviate from his original plan.

“They were more than OK with me playing every single sport because they liked that about me,” Bletzer said. “Just as long as I know, after lacrosse season, that’s it’s all football, and just to be ready for that.”

The intent is for Bletzer to work with Eagles defensive backs coach Kevin Lempa as a safety when he arrives at the Heights.

It will mark yet another transition for Bletzer. But for a player who’s prided himself on versatility and doing whatever is required for his team, it seems a natural progression.

“Not very many freshman make the varsity football team at CM,” Knight football head coach and athletic director Alex Campea said. “At the time he made the team, we had some pretty talented kids on that team -- Cam Williams, Armani Reeves, A.J. Doyle. They really took him under his wing and were great teammates to him. They showed him the ropes.

“Now, in his time, he’s done that for his teammates, too, which is really an indication of his leadership qualities.”

For now, Bletzer’s focused on making the most of hockey season, taking advantage of even the smallest time with his younger brother. With a sizeable contingent of players from Medfield on this year’s roster, Kevin Bletzer’s led the morning caravan to West Roxbury, then to the rink, then home, and then maybe some time for a little pond hockey.

“I think this hockey season has been a breath of fresh air for him,” Hanson said. “He’s playing with his brother, he’s captain of the team and playing for a team that is really a great group of kids to be around.

“This team is kind of like a group of kids who play pond hockey, that’s how they approach the game together, in games, too – they’re having fun.”


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Dennis-Yarmouth quarterback Matt Montalto strode on to the field at Gillette Stadium for his first series under center during Friday’s Shriners Eastern Mass. All-Star hoping to get the South squad’s offense churning.

During his career with the Dolphins, which he guided to a Division 2A Super Bowl championship in the fall, Montalto had a knack for the big play. So when he aired out a pass to BC High receiver Gordon McLeod on a skinny post over the middle during the second quarter, it’s no surprise it inspired awe.

Even if Montalto feels he had little to do with it.

“He [McLeod] was making me look good on that,” he said of the Eagles receivers’ diving catch on the play. “When I threw that ball, I thought I overthrew him and he came up huge. That was awesome.”

In short, Montalto made every moment count. His numbers weren’t gaudy, but were impressive considering his lack of reps. He completed two of five passes for 84 yards and touchdown and earned South’s Offensive MVP award.

Along with a stifling defense that combined for seven sacks on North quarterbacks, the South held on for a 15-12 win.

“I didn’t play the biggest role in that, the whole D-line did unbelievable job,” said North Attleborough’s Paul Norris, who earned the Defensive MVP nod with two sacks. “The whole rest of our team did great and played well. The defensive line just dominated that game. They controlled the line of scrimmage, they pushed them back. They made the QB step up in the pocket, which led to more sacks.

The North squad was led by ESPN Boston Mr. Football award winner and Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, who paced his team to a 6-0 lead in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Burlington’s Kyle Shields.

However, DiBiaso likely required ice bags by the end of the evening, as he was on the receiving end of six of the South side’s seven sacks.

South tied the game less than minute after the North’s opening score. Montalto lofted a pass for Franklin’s Rhett Davis at the goal line. Davis hauled in the 40-yard score while falling backward into the end zone with 4:22 to play in the first half. A fake on the point-after try gave South a 2-point lead with Catholic Memorial quarterback A.J. Doyle finding Bridgewater-Raynham’s Nick Schlatz in the corner of the end zone.

The South struck again before the half, forcing the North three-and-out on the ensuing possession with a key third-down sack from Schlatz. A 5-play, 56-yard drive culminating in a 2-yard touchdown run by King Philip’s Charles Ruffin had the South to a 15-6 lead, with a successful PAT from Whitman-Hanson’s David Colclough.

North score on the opening drive of the second half on a 5-yard touchdown run by Concord-Carlisle’s George Craan (North Offensive MVP). The Boston College-bound running back pounded out 56 of the North’s 66 yards on the drive.

DOMINATING D
The defensive line of the South was effective throughout and downright unstoppable at times.

No finer example was during the North’s final possession of the game. The South tallied sacks on three consecutive plays – from Braintree’s Mykel Lane, Stoughton’s Brandon Alves and Walpole’s Craig Hanley -- to thwart any comeback plans of the North

“I was scared [coming in] hearing about the North tackles, I heard that they were 300 pounds and stuff like that, these big, huge guys,” Norris quipped. “I was just thinking, ‘God help me in this game. Just let me walk out of it with no injuries.’”

HANGIN’ WITH MR. COOPER
Perhaps no player was as happy to be back on the playing field Friday as BC High running back Preston Cooper.

Cooper’s final high school football memory prior to the Shriners game was being carted off the field during the Eagles’ 35-21 loss to Everett on Oct. 22, when he dislocated his ankle.

After watching from the sidelines as his Eagle teammates won the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl at Gillette, Cooper made his return to the gridiron on Friday in the same spot.

“It felt great,” the Wareham native said. “It’s always nice to come back, especially when everybody doubts you, that’s the main thing. I had fun out there, my leg felt great.”

Cooper will attend Curry College next year where he hopes to regain the attention of some of the New England-based Division 1 college programs that had expressed interest earlier.

UMass making splash in NE recruiting

March, 16, 2012
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Shortly after University of Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar secured his first recruiting class in February, he talked about how he wanted New England players to form the foundation of his program. Apparently that was more than just talk.

UMass has clearly made New England –- and Massachusetts in particular –- the focus of much of its recruiting efforts.

BC High offensive lineman Jack McDonald, Everett offensive lineman John Montelus, Xaverian defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr., Tabor Academy defensive lineman Tevin Montgomery, BB&N tight end Brendan O'Neil and Catholic Memorial defensive end Peter Ngobidi have each received a scholarship offer from UMass, which held two junior days last month.

In addition, Todd Stafford, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., committed to UMass on Thursday. He became UMass' first commitment from the class of 2013.

“I went to the first junior day and [Molnar] said with the move to the MAC they want to start with the local kids,” McDonald said. “He talked about how good the talent is around here, and they want to bring in as many local kids as they can.”

UMass has been competing at the FCS level in the Colonial Athletic Association, but will move up to the FBS level when it begins play in the MAC next season. The Minutemen won't play on campus, but will use Gillette Stadium as their home field.

“It's a little bit of a drive from the campus, but I got to play at Gillette in last year's Super Bowl and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” McDonald said. “They'll have their own locker room there. I think the positives will outweigh the negatives.”

McDonald also has offers from Boston College and Maryland, and has received significant interest from Duke and Temple.

“Right now I'm considering everything,” he said.

Montelus and Hurst each have at least 10 Division 1 scholarship offers. Hurst received his offer from UMass while at one of the junior days last month.

“I'll definitely consider UMass,” Hurst said. “I really like the coaching staff and a lot of Mass. kids seem to be going there.”

There were six players from New England in Molnar's first recruiting class: wide receiver Khary Bailey Smith (Weymouth), tight end Nevin Cyr (Pelham, N.H.), quarterback A.J. Doyle (Lakeville), linebacker Vondell Langston (Everett), linebacker John Robinson (Springfield) and linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox (Middletown, Conn.).

Wide receiver Derek Beck, a New Jersey native who played at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine, signed with UMass as well.

Jake Kennedy, who is perhaps the best offensive lineman from New Hampshire in the Class of 2013, also has a UMass offer. Kennedy plays for Souhegan High School in Amherst.

Kennedy received his offer from UMass defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo earlier this week. He's also receiving interest from Boston College, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Brown and Harvard.

Kennedy said UMass is a school he'll strongly consider.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I could see myself there.”

Doyle: 'It was something I couldn't pass up'

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
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A.J. Doyle's relationship with Charley Molnar goes back two summers ago, when the latter was offensive coordinator at Notre Dame and the former was a rising junior quarterback prospect looking to make a name for himself at the Fighting Irish's prospect camp.

Earlier this week, the Catholic Memorial quarterback spoke with ESPNBoston.com about reconnecting with Molnar, now the newly-anointed head coach of UMass, last weekend. Upon being named head coach of the Minutemen on Dec. 8, Molnar made it a point that the first recruit to call was Doyle, to assure him the scholarship offer initially extended by fired head coach Kevin Morris was still on the table.

This afternoon, Molnar met with Doyle in his Lakeville home for nearly an hour and half, and reiterated all the things he had told him on that Saturday night.

Just as it was two summers ago, the connection between the two has been strong. And so it wasn't too long after Molnar left -- in fact, just as the coach was pulling out of the driveway -- that Doyle declared his intent.

"He said everything that you could ask for a coach to tell you, except this coach wasn't B.S.-ing me, he was telling me the truth," Doyle told ESPNBoston.com tonight. "Just the whole, UMass going Division 1, the pride in Western Mass., just wanting to be part of history and make history. Coach Molnar came to my house today and everything he said, it was something I couldn’t pass up. I have a chance at history, and a chance to play for a guy who all he wants to do is win."

Doyle initially committed to NC State last summer, but as a linebacker. Only the Minutemen and Western Michigan had extended a scholarship offer to him to play quarterback at the FBS level. In talks with Molnar, Doyle wasn't just told he has a chance at playing early, but that he would be "a cornerstone recruit for everything he'd try to do here."

"Obviously this was before I committed, but [he told me] if I had gone there, it'd be my job to lose as starting quarterback," Doyle said of today's in-home visit. "He told us everything he envisioned going on at UMass, and I couldn’t pass it up. It felt right."

He continued, "He [Molnar] told me he wants me to come in and prepare to be the starter. He feels that if I'm equal...he didn’t say I have to be better, he told me 'If you're equal to the ability of the other guys, you're gonna get the shot. We want to play you, and you're only gonna get better'. He wants me start if I'm capable of starting, if I know the playbook.

"He didn’t say he wouldn’t rush it, but if I have to redshirt that's something he's willing to do. But he wants me to go in and compete for the starting job right away. If he feels I'm ready, they're gonna give me the keys to the car, so to speak."

Catholic Memorial's Doyle commits to UMass

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
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Catholic Memorial senior quarterback A.J. Doyle has verbally committed to UMass tonight, he announced on his Twitter account earlier tonight.

"I am officially UMass bound," he wrote.

Doyle becomes the first commitment for new head coach Charley Molnar, who was officially named to the position last Thursday. Earlier this week, ESPNBoston.com reported that Doyle was the first recruit Molnar reached out to following his hire.

Doyle initially committed to NC State last summer, as a linebacker. At the time of the commitment, the Minutemen were one of two Division 1 FBS schools offering Doyle an athletic scholarship to be a quarterback, the other one Central Michigan. Doyle decommitted from the Wolfpack two months ago, and one of Molnar's first orders of business was assuring Doyle that the offer was still there for him to take.

"That was the thing he called me about, to make sure I knew it was still on the table," Doyle told ESPNBoston.com on Monday. "Basically, there was no other quarterback he'd rather want, being a Mass. guy and everything."

Doyle, who was named the Catholic Conference's Co-MVP this fall as well as an Honorable Mention on ESPN Boston's All-State Team, was planning to take a visit to Purdue on January 13.

CM's Doyle reconnects with new UMass coach

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
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Catholic Memorial quarterback A.J. Doyle first met Charley Molnar two summers ago at Notre Dame's football camp, working with the then-offensive coordinator alongside some of the nation's top quarterback prospects, including Gunnar Kiel and Gray Crow.

AJ Doyle
Ryan Kilian for ESPN.comCatholic Memorial QB A.J. Doyle was the first recruit new UMass coach Charley Molnar reached out to last weekend.
Last Thursday, Molnar was named the new head coach of UMass, and the first recruit he called was Doyle, to reassure him that the scholarship offer first extended by fired head coach Kevin Morris was still on the line.

Molnar has big plans for the Minutemen going forward, from loading up with a coaching staff with Division 1 and NFL experience, to installing a fast-paced, no-huddle offense. Those plans also include him directly, if he so wishes, saying he has a chance to compete for the starting job as a true freshman.

"That was the thing he called me about, to make sure I knew it was still on the table," Doyle said tonight. "Basically, there was no other quarterback he'd rather want, being a Mass. guy and everything."

Molnar will coach Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29. After that, Molnar plans on having an in-home visit with Doyle.

Doyle, who was named the Catholic Conference's Co-MVP this fall, said he still plans on taking a visit to Purdue University on Jan. 13. He has also sent tape to Arkansas, which has shown interest.

ESPN Boston MIAA football All-State team

December, 6, 2011
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OFFENSE
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
Statistically the state’s best all-time quarterback, the ESPN Boston Mr. Football recipient finishes his storied career in Everett as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (103) and passing yards (7,052). This season he broke his own state single-season record for TD passes (44), and threw for over 2,800 yards. In the last two seasons alone, both perfect Super Bowl-winning campaigns, he threw for 87 touchdown passes to better the previous state all-time mark of 85. DiBiaso is undecided on college plans.

QB – Matt O’Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
In his first season as the full-time starter under center, the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was a finalist for ESPN Boston’s Mr. Football award. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder totaled nearly 3,000 yards from scrimmage, throwing for 2,321 yards, rushing for another 670, and totaling 39 scores. O’Keefe, a defender for the defending Division 1 state champion Dragons, is currently ranked as the No. 32 overall lacrosse player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

QB – Matt Montalto, Sr., Dennis-Yarmouth
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder led the Dolphins to their best season in school history, finishing a perfect 13-0 campaign by winning the Division 2A Super Bowl title – their first championship of any kind in the Super Bowl era. For the season he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,065 yards and 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also carried 134 times for 1,219 yards and 16 more scores. Montalto is fielding various college interest, including, New Hampshire, Albany, Colgate, Brown, Sacred Heart and Bentley.

QB – Michael Walsh, Sr., Swampscott
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was a force on both sides of the ball for the 9-2 Big Blue, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with 930 rushing yards and 13 more scores. Defensively, he totaled 47 tackles from the free safety position, forcing three fumbles and making two interceptions. Walsh will continue his career next fall at Brown as a safety.

RB – Melquawn Pinkney, Sr., Springfield Putnam
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mr. Football finalist ended his career with the Beavers in record-breaking fashion. With 341 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 48-6 win over Commerce for the Division 2 Super Bowl title, Pinkney broek Cedric Washington’s 15-year-old state all-time record for single-season yardage (2,889), and set the new state single-season mark for rushing touchdowns (43). Earlier in the season, Pinkney set a Western Mass single-game record with 421 rushing yards in a win over Agawam. For the season, he averaged 8.4 yards a carry. Pinkney is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
Both Malone and his cross-town foil Pinkney eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark on the season, as the Eagles returned to the Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl for the second straight year. On the season, Malone had 257 carries for 2,001 yards and 22 touchdowns; since the start of the 2010 season, he’s accumulated over 3,200 yards and 35 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Malone is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 FCS schools.

RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
Craan, the reigning Dual County League MVP, was the catalyst for the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl-winning season. He followed up a 1,900-yard junior season with just as explosive numbers in 2011, carrying 220 times for 1,761 yards and 24 touchdowns, as the Patriots went 13-0. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Craan is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Charles Ruffin, Sr., King Philip
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is the second Warrior in four seasons to capture Hockomock League Offensive Player of the Year honors. On the season he amassed over 1,300 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and led the Warriors to their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era. Ruffin, who also stars in lacrosse and track and field, is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 schools.

TE – Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
One of several All-Staters previously known most for their lacrosse exploits, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was a force to be reckoned with for the 9-4 Rockets. Utilized as both a receiver and tight end, Riley caught 72 balls for 1,266 yards and a school record 15 touchdowns. He is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest in lacrosse.

TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Temple commit didn’t put up eye-opening numbers in the passing game, but his support in the running game was without peer as he helped paved the way for both Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe. As a defensive end, he recorded 68 tackles (12 for loss) and was named the Catholic Conference’s Lineman of the Year.

WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
One of the state’s best deep-ball threats, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder tallied 936 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the 9-2 Wildcats this fall. Since the start of his junior season, Bailey-Smith has caught over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is also a state champion in track and field, having cleared 6-foot-10 in the high jump. Bailey-Smith is fielding interest from Division 1 schools.

WR – Gordon McLeod, Sr., BC High
One of the most versatile threats on the Eagles’ Division 1 Super Bowl champion squad, McLeod was one of the leading receivers in Eastern Mass., with 755 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as they captured their second title in four seasons.


WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
Considered one of the state’s best route-runners, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was the 13-0 Dragons’ most dangerous weapon in space. Webber led the team with 52 receptions for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns, as the Dragons won a second consecutive Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium and extended the state’s longest winning streak to 26 games. Webber is leaning towards the Ivy League for college plans.

WR – Malcolm Brown, Sr., Pope John XXIII
Statistically, the 6-foot-1 Brown graduates from the Everett campus as one of the state’s most decorated receivers of all-time. This fall he caught 71 passes to set school records of 1,306 yards and 20 touchdowns, both tops in the state. He also racked up 918 return yards and three touchdowns, ran for 328 yards, and threw for another 267. Defensively, he recorded 65 tackles (10 for loss) and three interceptions, including a pick-six. For his career, he has 192 receptions for 3,447 yards and 44 touchdowns, and 56 total scores. Brown currently has interest from schools in the Northeast-10 and MEAC conferences.

OL – Andrew VanderWilden, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
At 6-foot and 245 pounds, VanderWilden was arguably one of the most efficient pound-for-pound centers in the state. He led a Patriots rushing attack that racked up 53 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards the ground, part of one of the state’s highest scoring averages (35.4). VanderWilden, a two-time Dual County League Lineman of the Year, will continue his career at Brown next fall.

OL – Keith Sullivan, Sr., Oliver Ames
The 6-foot-9, 300-pounder was arguably the most crucial two-way player for the Tigers’ historic run, winning their first Hockomock title since 1964 and qualifying for their first championship game of the Super Bowl era. Sullivan is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest.


OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
DiBiaso’s blind side is quickly rising as one of New England’s top Class of 2013 prospects. The last two seasons the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has allowed DiBiaso to throw 87 touchdown passes and keep his jersey clean. Montelus received four offers before his 16th birthday this fall, and counts UConn, Syracuse, NC State, Virginia and Boston College.

OL – Gordon Acha, Sr., Duxbury
Acha, the Dragons’ left tackle, was named ESPN Boston’s inaugural Lineman of the Year this week after helping pave the way to a second straight 13-0 season. The Dragons averaged 302 yards of offense and had 36 touchdown passes. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Acha is currently fielding interest from Division 1 schools, including Boston College and Maryland.

OL – Rob Kosharek, Jr., Duxbury
Together with Acha, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kosharek created one of the state’s best tandems on the left side of the 13-0 Dragons’ line. Behind Kosharek at left guard, the Dragons won their second straight Division 2 Super Bowl title and rang their winning streak up to a state-best 26 games.


ATH – Geeavontie Griffith, Sr., Boston Cathedral
The 12-1 Panthers experienced one of the state’s most dramatic turnarounds under first-year head coach Duane Sigsbury, and leading the charges was Griffith. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Randolph native carried 152 times for 2,244 yards and 29 touchdowns, as the Panthers advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl. He is currently undecided on college plans.

ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Don’t let the Mr. Football finalist’s limited touches fool you. Reeves, a Penn State commit and the state’s No. 1 overall prospect, was electric practically every time he touched the ball. He ran for 1,001 yards on just 46 touches, caught another 205, and returned a punt for a touchdown to total 15 scores for the 7-2 Knights. That averages out to almost a touchdown every three touches.

K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian
Murphy has been known to regularly hit from 40 yards and further, and while he didn’t have many opportunities this season, he was a near-perfect 27-of-28 on extra points. Murphy is undecided on college plans.


DEFENSE
DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was a mainstay of the Crimson Tide's back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams and a defense that allowed just over 12 points per game this season. Jonathas has received interest from multiple Division 1 programs, but is undecided on college plans.


DL – Brendan Battles, Sr., Nauset
At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the UConn commit was one of the most feared defensive presences in the state. But the bruising lineman also did double time, serving as the play-caller in Nauset's single wing offense, paving the way as the lead blocker out of the backfield. Battles also won the Division 1 and All-State wrestling crowns in the 215-pound divsion, advancing to the New England finals.

DL – Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr., Xaverian
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle was a physical presence in the middle of the Hawks defense. Hurst finished the season with 61 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Hurst also showed off his athleticism in one of the more improbable performances of the season, rushing for over 200 yards in the Hawks' win over St. John's of Shrewsbury, including an awe-inspiring 75-yard touchdown run.

DL – Henry Bumpus, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound defensive end was one of the more imposing physical presences in the state, as well as an important part of C-C's rushing attack at tight end. The senior captain helped to guide the Patriots to a Division 3 Super Bowl championship. A feared rusher off the edge, Bumpus finished with 9.5 sacks and 66 tackles. He also nabbed four interceptions on the season. Bumpus will attend Brown University next year.

LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound 'backer was the heart and soul of the Lions defense, leading the team with 155 tackles, including eight for a loss and three sacks. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also had an interception in addition to three passes defensed. Joy was also a steady contributor to Chelmsford's offense, as a punishing lead blocker at full back in front of running back Eddie Sheridan.

LB – Luke Catarius, Jr., BC High
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder lead the Eagles in tackles, despite playing 10 regular season games with 129 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss. Catarius was also a mainstay of BC High's offense, providing lead blocks at fullback in front of Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe for the Division 1 Super Bowl champions.

LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
The Crimson Tide senior captain was an integral part of Everett's offensive and defensive units in each of their back-to-back Super Bowl championship seasons. As a linebacker, Langston was tough against the ran and a threat to drop back in coverage, coming away with three interceptions on the season. Langston tallied 15 touchdowns on the season at running back. He is undecided on his college choice.

LB – Cam Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was named one of 50 national finalists for the high school Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker. The Penn State commit totaled 119 tackles (81 solo), including 18 tackles for loss. Wiliams was also effective in pass defense with an interception and seven passes defensed.

LB – Nick Schlatz, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Trojans' senior captain was part of a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back along with Brandon Morin, totaling nine touchdowns. Schlatz was the fulcrum of Bridgewater-Raynham's defense, which allowed just under 14 points per game this season.


LB – Dan Flink, Sr., Auburn
Flink was the heart of the Rockets' defense, which surrendered just over 10 points per game this season. He totaled 141 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss, along with seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and eight sacks. Flink played running back with the same mentality he brought to his play at linebacker with 1,393 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season. The three-year starter was part of four Super Bowl championship teams at Auburn and is looking to study at Mass Maritime Academy next year.

DB – James Burke, Sr., Duxbury
The senior captain was a stalwart in the Dragons' defense in their back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The 6-foot, 165-pounder formed a vicious safety duo along with Reilly Naton and led the secondary with 76 total tackles (50 solo) and had three interceptions with nine passes defensed. Also a standout on Duxbury's state-title winning lacrosse team, Burke has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Penn State.

DB – Quinton Perkins, Sr., Fitchburg
The 6-foot, 170-pound wideout and safety was one of the most dynamic talents in the state, nevermind Central Mass. Perkins, who holds offers from UConn and UMass-Amherst, tallied 35 tackles and two interceptions on defense. He racked up 20 total touchdowns with 10 rushing, nine passing and a kickoff return. Perkins also racked up over 1,300 all-purpose offensive yards. He also racked up 200 all-purpose offensive yards and three touchdowns in the Red Raiders' playoff loss to Leominster.

DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The University of New Hampshire commit was one of the most electrifying offensive talents in the state this year, but also played lock-down corner for the Vikings. DeAndrade tallied one interception in his senior season to push his career total to 11, a testament to opponents' weariness in throwing in his direction. The multi-talented athlete tallied 22 touchdowns with nearly 1,400 all-purpose offensive yards.

DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
The UConn commit was a big-play threat on both sides of the football for Grafton, leading the Indians with three interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder also ran for nearly 1,400 yards in a shortened season along with 17 touchdowns.


RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr. Woburn
Ortiz was a jack of all trades while taking MVP honors of the Middlesex League Large division. In racking up 24 touchdowns, Ortiz tallied two pick-sixes, and a pair punt returns and kick returns for scores. Ortiz had six interceptions on defense while finishing a shade under 1,200 rushing yards. He also handled place kicking duties for the Tanners, connecting on 15 PATs and one field goal.

Best of the Rest
A.J. Baker, Sr. WR, Swampscott
Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills
Kenny Calaj, Jr. WR, Everett
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick
Aaron Dyke, Jr. OL, Auburn
Andrew Ellis, Jr. LB, Barnstable
Joe Epps, Sr. RB, Bourne
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Brett Harrington, Sr. DL, Chelmsford
Jack Harris, Sr. TE, Lincoln-Sudbury
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee
Thomas Kleyn, Sr. LB, Concord-Carlisle
Zack Hume, Jr. LB, Nashoba
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth
Reilly Naton, Sr. S, Duxbury
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Mike Prendeville, Sr. OG, BC High
Will Quigley, Sr. RB, Marblehead
Deontae Ramey-Doe, Sr. RB, BC High
Max Randall, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Sr. LB, Mansfield
Eddie Sheridan, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Jarod Taylor, Jr. RB, Mashpee
Shawn Whouley, Sr. WR, Weymouth

Recap: No. 3 BC High 13, No. 5 CM 0

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
5:29
PM ET


WEST ROXBURY, Mass. –- Jackson Bockhorst booted two 30-plus-yard field goals and Luke Catarius added a 1-yard rush to lead the BC Eagles over host Catholic Memorial 13-0 to capture the Catholic Conference title on Thanksgiving morning.

“This was a great win,” said BC High coach Jon Bartlett. “We came in saying bend but don’t break. They’re going to get some yards, but and the end of the day the only thing that matters is the scoreboard.”

BC scored on their first possession with a 31-yard field goal from Bockhorst. CM then went three-and-out and BC converted one first down on the following possession, but a failed fair catch by Catholic Memorial at their 20 gave Bockhorst enough room for a 35-yard field goal to put the Eagles up 6-0 with 8:11 left in the second quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, CM stopped BC High on the BC High 14. After three plays, it was 4th and 2 on the 22. A.J. Doyle took the ball from under center and made a dive forward, but linebacker John Snee and lineman Jaleel Johnson shot the A-gaps and stopped Doyle for no gain.

On the ensuing drive, CM had the Eagles on their heels with a third and four situation, and although Camren Williams stopped Deontae Ramey-Doe short of the first down, an unnecessary roughness penalty against CM for hitting Ramey-Doe after the play set up the first down. Catarius (12 rushes, 28 yards) took three straight rushes and the third got him into the end zone.

“I wanted, the ball, coach gave it to me and I knew the linemen were going to make the blocks,” Catarius said. “Bartley gave me the ball, we put it in and it was just a great feeling.”

CM made it 31 yards on the ensuing drive and Doyle was looking towards the end zone on second and five from the 27, but James Moynohan came up with his second take away of the day, this an interception for a touchback with 2:10 left, affording BC High with the opportunity to run out the clock.

ON THE SIDE BUT OUT FRONT


After the game, the injured Preston Cooper led the BC High Eagles across the red CM emblem to shake hands. He says that even though he is not playing, his teammates have helped make it easier by being encouraging.

“They’ve been great to me, supporting me throughout my injury, so I am happy for them," Cooper said. "I’m going to be there to support them no matter what.”After the game, in the team’s huddle, they gave a chant in his honor.

EAGLE EYE


Moynahan came up with the interception late in the game, but it was very deliberate.

“Coach said watch the rear route, which he ran," Moynahan said. "Coming out, I figured they’d were going to run the exact same play so I just went to the corner of the end zone, he threw it up and I just tried to out jump him.”

Moynahan’s first take away on the morning was a failed fair catch by Catholic Memorial with 9:09 to go in the second quarter.

“Coach always said get to the ball and stay in front of it,” added Moynahan. “That’s just what I was trying to do."

STUFFING
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, A.J. Doyle usually had his way in between the tackles, muscling for a yard or two almost at will. On fourth and inches, Snee and Johnson split the center, clogging the A gaps and, along with Jameson McShea and other Eagles, stopped Doyle from the first down and set up the Knights’ sole touchdown on the day.

“I knew [Snee] was going to shoot the other side, I pinched in, grabbed his legs and then everyone came in and ran him over,” Johnson said.

BIG FOOT
Six-foot-three, 210-pound junior kicker Jackson Bockhorst got three calls to put it between the posts and he answered them all.

“In practice, he’s been working everyday getting better and better the whole season,” Ramey-Doe said. “[Today] was just like practice for him.”

RUNNING RAMEY-DOE
Although it doesn’t appear in the box score, Ramey-Doe’s 23 rushes for 100 yards were key for the Eagles, and even topped the Knights’ 90 total yards during the game.

“The [offensive] line, they’re always doing their job. I just have to follow them and trust the holes."

BC High -- 3 3 0 7 -- 13
CM -- 0 0 0 0 -- 0


1st quarter
BC – Jackson Brockhorst 31 FG

2nd quarter
BC – Jackson Brockhorst 35 FG

4th quarter
BC – Luke Catarius 1 run (Brockhorst kick)

Mr. Football Watch: Week 11

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
11:32
AM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Carried 28 times for 164 yards and two scores in the Patriots' 27-0 shutout of Lincoln-Sudbury.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - Ran for 116 yards on 19 carries, and returning a kickoff 71 yards to the house, in a 16-6 loss to Mashpee.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns, and added 97 rushing yards and a fifth score, in the Crimson Tide's 42-20 win over Malden that clinched their 17th straight Greater Boston League title. DiBiaso is now at 97 career touchdown passes.
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial - In the No. 5 Knights' win over Xaverian, threw for 167 yards and three scores and added 72 rushing yards and a fourth score.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Completed 14 of 15 passes for 170 yards and 3 TD, and added 124 rushing yards and two more scores on just three carries, in a 42-7 win over Sandwich.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 14 times for 94 yards in a 34-25 win over Holyoke, the first time since the Eagles' season-opening loss to Putnam that he's been held to under 100 yards.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Spraing his ankle in the opening five minutes of an 18-6 win over Minnechaug. Reports have surfaced that Norris, who has nearly 1,400 rushing yards on the season, sprained it somewhat significantly.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - In the Dragons' 34-7 league-clinching win over Hingham, completed 14 of 25 passes for 248 yards and four scores, and also added 95 rushing yards and a fifth score.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Carried 33 times for 168 yards and two scores in the Beavers' 22-12 win over South Hadley.
Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial - Opened up the floodgates in the first quarter of a 33-11 win over Xaverian, with a 92-yard touchdown scamper, before Doyle took over.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - In the Big Blue's 33-15 win over Gloucester, he was 13 of 22 passing for 251 yards and four touchdowns, and carried nine times for 63 yards. On the season, the Brown commit has over 2,900 yards of offense.

ON THE RISE

Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston - In the Panthers' 48-22 win over Norton, completed a perfect 7 of 7 passes for 227 yards and three scores, and added two rushing scores.
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Totaled 283 yards of offense and four rushing touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Lowell.
Mike Decina, Sr. QB, Hopkinton - Threw for 300 yards and six touchdowns in the Hillers' 42-13 beatdown of Westwood.
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable - Last week, it was carving up the B-R defense on the ground. This week, he had 103 receiving yards and three touchdowns, in a 20-10 win over Plymouth North.
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee - Carried 18 times for 98 yards in the Falcons' 16-6 win over East Bridgewater.
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth - Threw for four touchdowns in a 50-0 shutout of Framingham, bringing his season touchdown pass total to a Division 1-best 34.
Chucky Ortiz, Sr. RB, Woburn - Did it all in the Tanners' 24-7 win over Lexington, running for two scores, throwing for another, and kicking a field goal.
Matt Owens, Sr. QB, Boston Cathedral - Threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' win over Trinity Catholic that clinched the Catholic Central Small.
Quinton Perkins, Sr. RB, Fitchburg - Ran for four touchdowns in the Red Raiders' 26-15 win over Holy Name.
Karl Sery, Sr. RB, Hudson - The Bryant commit carried 34 times for 239 yards and two scores in the Hawks' 25-14 win over Clinton.

Recap: No. 5 CM 33, No. 13 Xaverian 11

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
7:35
PM ET


WESTWOOD, Mass.-- Xaverian was able to stop Catholic Memorial on their first drive of Saturday's game, but after that, the No. 5 Knights pretty much had their way with the ball, defeating the No. 13 Hawks, 33-11.

CM quarterback A.J. Doyle had 12 rushes for 72 yards and one touchdown while throwing for 167 yards and three scores.

"A.J.'s a really good player, he's a great competitor, has got good size and runs hard," Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. "We would have like to try and tackle him a little lower."

Even when Doyle was not coming out of the backfield, he had numerous receivers who he could throw to, giving the Knights many offensive attack options and not giving Xaverian much of a chance to hold them for a prolonged period of time.

"The big thing was that we didn't make them go three and out at any point in time," added Stevenson.

LINEBACKERS IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
When most quarterbacks move out of the pocket, they are looking to avoid contact and if they make it to the linebacker corps will slide - but A.J. Doyle seeks out defenders and tries to hit them - while he is running the ball.

"I worry about the linebackers," CM head coach Alex Campea said. "He's not going to shy away that. He's going to make certain that he is going to get that extra yard."

Doyle did not slide once today and he makes it clear why.

"You see the size of me, I'm not afraid to get hit, I've never been afraid to get hit, I've played this way since I started Pop Warner," Doyle said.

Some players square up and brace for a hit from Doyle as he comes across the line of scrimmage while others yield to the 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback and let him go along his way.

HAMEL'S HANDS - A COACH'S DREAM



A.J. Doyle can run the ball or throw - and has plenty of receivers and backers to choose from. On Saturday, he found senior Brandon Hamel twice for touchdown passes. According to Doyle, he chose his target carefully and with good reason.

"Hamel knows how to get open, plain and simple. He can catch the ball in any spot, probably best hands on the team as well. He's not going to burn you with his speed but he's going to get open and you can count on him to make a catch."

Campea seconded the notion that Hamel has the best hands on a talented CM team as well as a good football intelligence.

"He's the kid who catches the snap from center when we're kicking field goals and PATs, he runs great routes, he always understands where he's supposed to be," Campea said.

BLETZER'S KEEN



Sophomore Kevin Bletzer was everywhere on the field today, coming up with an interception that set up CM's third touchdown, four tackles and a sack. As a sophomore, he is proving himself to be an asset to the team, but like any sophomore, he doesn't get any more credit than he deserves, maybe less since he is still coming of age.

"He's making some plays but he is still learning," said Doyle. "Once he gets to be a senior he's going to be a scary player."

Bletzer attributes his ability to make plays today to the game prep that coaches put in during the week.

"The coaches draw up this great game plan for us and I just do what I'm told and I'm there in the right place making tackles and making interceptions."

Bletzer also earned points for his Batman-esque face paint, but it doesn't earn him any respect from Campea...

CAMPEA DOESN'T CARE FOR COSMETICS
"As far as the face paint, these guys think that it's Halloween every time we have a game, they have a different kind of face paint. I tell them they can do whatever they want as long as they play the way they are supposed to."

CATH. MEM. (7-1) – 6 21 0 6 -- 33
XAVERIAN (5-5) – 0 3 0 8 – 11

First quarter

C – Armani Reeves 92 run (kick blocked)

Second quarter
C – Brandon Hamel 35 pass from A.J. Doyle (Michael Keane kick)
X – Jules Murphy 32 FG
C – David Berment 61 pass from Doyle (Keane kick)
C – Hamel 28 pass from Doyle (Keane kick)

Fourth quarter
X – Chris Calvanese 37 pass from Austin DeCarr (Mike Warren rush)
C – Doyle 12 rush (kick failed)

Recap: No. 9 Catholic Memorial 26, Brockton 0

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
10:08
PM ET
BROCKTON, Mass. — Catholic Memorial has come a long way since a disappointing 24-0 loss on opening night to Marshfield.

The No. 9 Knights have ripped off six straight victories against teams in Massachusetts after dominating Brockton, 26-0, last night at Rocky Marciano Stadium.

The final two games of the regular season will help decide the Catholic Conference for the Knights. With tilts against No. 8 Xaverian and No. 5 BC High left on the schedule, quarterback A.J. Doyle knows his team just needs to keep status quo.

“We just have to play our game,” said Doyle. “We can’t beat ourselves. I mean we have the talent and we’ve always had the talent. We are going into the games against Xaverian and BC High and they are always supposed to beat us. We always used to go in with that mentality, but this year this is a different CM team.”

Knights head coach Alex Campea knows that giving away a victory in the conference in the final two weeks could be detrimental to his team.

“As we say every game is a championship game,” said Campea. “We look at each one of those as being vitally important. You lose one and you may be done. So we can’t afford to do that.”

Doyle makes connection: Doyle was efficient on the night as he connected on 10 of his 13 throws for 157 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the symmetry he had with David Berment that set the Knights apart.

Berment finished the night with four receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

The friendship off the field, according to Doyle, has made the relationship on the field a growing combination for the Knights.

“Me and Dave are best friends. We’ve been really good friends since sophomore year when we had a lot of classes together,” said Doyle. “Me and him are kind of on the same page all the time.”

Berment and Doyle connected for a 19-yard score and a 57-yard strike on the night. The first came when Doyle scrambled left and found Berment. In the third quarter, Berment found himself wide open behind the defense and Doyle’s lofted pass fell right into his arms in stride.

Lucky bounces go Knights' way: The Knights were good all night, but they did get lucky on two different occasions. The Boxers were forced to punt with less than two minutes to go in the first half and they nearly got the ball back on the 1-yard line.

Lucas DePina boomed a punt with the wind and Armani Reeves had a tough time fielding the punt. The ball kicked around and a Knights player was able to smother it at the 1-yard line when two Boxers had a good shot of getting a hand on it. The Knights ran out the rest of the quarter to get to the half 13-0.

The Boxers almost got the ball back again on the opening kickoff of the second half when the Knights had trouble for a second time trying to return the kick. Both situations would have put Brockton in great field position on a night when they had time cracking the Knights’ red zone.

“It’s rolling around and it’s been that type of year for us,” said Brockton head coach Peter Colombo. “We haven’t really got a bounce.”

Brockton needs two wins: That’s the recipe for a trip to the postseason for the Boxers.

Brockton’s record now stands at 4-5 on the season and it needs a victory against New Bedford next week to win the Big Three, and will need to beat a stout Bridgewater-Raynham on Thanksgiving to make the playoffs.

CATHOLIC MEMORIAL 26, BROCKTON 0
CM (5-1) 6 – 7 – 7 – 6 – 0 --- 26
BR (4-5) 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 –-- 0

First Quarter
Armani Reeves 28 run (kick failed)

Second Quarter
David Berment 19 pass from A.J. Doyle (Michael Keane kick)

Third Quarter
Berment 57 pass from Doyle (Keane kick)

Fourth Quarter
Reeves 41 run (kick failed)

Recap: No. 9 CM 26, St. John's Prep 7

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
1:51
AM ET



WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- "Read the papers!" shouted Brent Williams as he descended the ladder from the roof of the press box at the soon-to-be named O'Connor Stadium, the Catholic Memorial defensive coordinator wearing his emotions emphatically as he exited the box with 26 seconds left in the first half.

Forgive the former New England Patriot if he seemed a little jumpy. His godson, Penn State commit and returning All-Stater Armani Reeves, had just ripped off a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown that swung momentum in what was a tie ball game with Catholic Conference foe St. John's Prep.

That made it 14-7, and after a shutout second half, the Knights (5-1) walked away with their first Catholic Conference victory of the season, a 26-7 decision over the Eagles.

"I knew I had to get past the first guy, and then pretty much from there, I knew I could just outrun everybody to the sideline," said Reeves, who clocks in the 4.4's on his 40-yard dash. "I almost ran out of bounds at the sideline there, but luckily my feet were there. I stayed in, and gave it everything I got in me into the end zone."

Said head coach Alex Campea of Reeves, "Listen, he's a gamebreaker. He makes plays, whether you're throwing the ball or punting the ball to him, he's a heck of a player. He's just a difference maker."

Meanwhile, a defense led by Penn State-bound linebacker Cam Williams and junior defensive end Peter Ngobidi (16 tackles) forced three turnovers, and allowed just 51 yards of offense from the run-heavy Eagles (3-4) over the final two quarters.

"Prep's really known for running the ball all the time," Williams said. "The key is just to stop the run. We have great defensive backs and we always stop the pass, but we're known to let up 200 yards a game rushing every year. We've been doing that [stopping the run] all year, and then this year [with the Eagles] the defensive coordinator, my dad, was talking about getting turnovers, and we got that this week too...we try to be versatile against the run and pass, and we did well on all cylinders."

Armani Exchange: Plain and simple, ESPN Boston Mr. Football candidates repeatedly make plays that change the direction of the game, and Reeves showed why he's on the short list tonight.

His first two carries, toss sweeps to the left then right, went for 33 and 35 yards respectively -- the second one opening up the scoring on the evening. He then brought a sleepy game on Baker Street to life with his electric punt return, shedding a few arm-tackles at midfield and burning by the personal protector at the 30-yard mark on the left sideline.

After going for 68 yards on his first two carries, the Eagles' defense adjusted their responsibilities on the outside holes, blitzing both outside linebackers and forcing a quicker reaction from the player who's arguably the state's most dangerous coming around the end.

"That forced me to cut it up sooner," Reeves said. "It wasn't really much of an adjustment, but just something I had to pay attention to."

But Reeves merely came around and made them pay in multiple ways. First, there was the punt return. Then, early in the third quarter, he went up for jump ball at the left sideline and ripped the ball out of defensive back Gerald Kahari's hands (think Miles Austin vs. Antonio Cromartie). It was done so furtively that half the players on the field had already begun walking back to the huddle as if it were an interception -- instead, it was a 34-yard gain that set up first and 10 at the Prep 19.

In all, Reeves finished with 238 all-purpose yards, including 98 rushing on eight carries.

Thomas a stud in the making: In our midseason report last week, we named Prep sophomore tailback Jonathan Thomas one of the second-half breakouts to watch. He proved it again tonight, with 131 yards on 20 carries and the Eagles' lone score of the night, a 71-yard counter trey up the middle in which he followed a trap block up through to the second level and outran the secondary to paydirt.

"He's going to be a good player," Williams said. "Once he gets some weight on him...he's a pretty quick back. He slips underneath his big old offensive linemen, so he's going to be a good player. I told him 'Keep working' when I shook his hand [after the game]."

Prime Time Peter: Against the run-heavy Prep offense, which toys with looks out of both the traditional I-formation and various Georgia Tech-style triple option looks, angle pursuit is key. Head coach Jim O'Leary isn't afraid to repeat the same sequence of plays should it work, and tonight the Eagles were looking to run up the outside holes with their stable of speedy backers in Thomas, Kahari and Alex Moore.

Enter Peter Ngobidi, a junior from Hyde Park who should continue to climb on the college recruiting radar with performances like tonight. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder might be a more natural fit out of a two-point stance, but with his hand planted in the turf he's proven just as efficient. With a quick first step and long, lean frame, Ngobidi made himself compact while also keeping his shoulders square, totaling 16 tackles on the night.

His biggest stop of the night came with nine minutes and change left, and the Knights holding on to a 20-7 lead. Ngobidi jarred the ball loose from the Eagles running back at the line of scrimmage, and Jon Schneider fell on it for a first and 10 for CM at the Prep 20. The next play, quarterback A.J. Doyle (9 of 19, 159 yards, 2 total TD) hit Brandon Hamel coming across the shallow middle end zone on a post route for a 26-7 score.

"I think I started off rough," Ngobidi said. "I got dropped a couple of times and I messed up on that counter trey (Thomas' touchdown). After that, my teammates picked me back up. I kinda fixed my own head, and kept pushing forward."

CATHOLIC MEMORIAL 26, ST. JOHN'S PREP 7

SJP (3-4) 0 7 0 0 --- 7
CM (5-1) 7 7 6 6 --- 26

First Quarter
C - Armani Reeves 35 run (Michael Keane kick) 4:50

Second Quarter
S - Jonathan Thomas 71 run (Connor Shaw kick) 9:18
C - Reeves 72 punt return (Keane kick) 0:23

Third Quarter
C - A.J. Doyle 1 run (kick failed) 4:20

Fourth Quarter
C - Brandon Hamel 20 pass from Doyle (8:40)

What We Learned: Week 7

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
1:45
AM ET
UNEQUAL AT 11 ON 11
It might be even in man power, but Everett's receivers feel they're always at an advantage.

“There’s 11 men on both sides, but they can’t cover all of us," junior wideout Jalen Felix said after the Crimson Tide's 35-21 win over BC High on Saturday.

Felix had a coming out party as a legitimate big play receiver an Everett touchdown drive in the second quarter. On that drive, Felix made an other-wordly one-handed grab laying on his back with a BC High defender in his back pocket.

Still, the Everett offense isn't a one-man show. Kenny Calaj, Jakarrie Washington and Jaylen McRae all bring different elements to the Crimson Tide passing attack. Not to mention, Vondell Langston is running out of his mind of late (two straight 100-plus yard games).

“If I make a good play, it’s because of my teammates,” Felix said. “It’s not because of me., it’s because they did their jobs that I had the opportunity to do mine and vice versa.”

ALL EYES OUT WEST
Springfield's Blunt Park bustled with activity on Monday afternoon. Two junior varsity football game were ongoing, the were a soccer game being played at Springfield Central HIgh in the distance, cheerleading practice, along with that of both Central and Springfield Putnam's varsity football practice.

There you could find two of the elite rushers in Massachusetts this year, practicing within about a football field's distance from each other.

Melquawn Pinkney has garnered plenty of headlines with his multiple 300-plus yard games as a legitimate Mr. Football Award contender.

But, last weekend, it was Central's Sacoy Malone who stole the show in another record-setting performance.

Malone fell one touchdown shy of a Western Mass. record with a school-record seven-touchdown performance against Northampton to go along with 301 yards on the ground.

It's just another in the long line of weighty accomplishments compiled by the best the Springfield area has to offer.

"I think the me, Melquawn [Pinkney] and T.J. [Norris of Longmeadow] and what we've done this year, we're out to show that there is talent actually out here," Malone said during an interview for ESPN Boston's Player of the Week segment.

"Hopefully, we show that there's a possibility that you can make it to play in college coming from here."

So far, Malone has college offers from Fordham along with Central Connecticut State. Something tells us there might be more to come.

NEEDHAM SETTING NEW CHARTER

With star quarterback Drew Burnett (broken ankle) done for the year, Needham head coach David Duffy told the media early last week that he would likely use a rotation of three kids under center to fill the role in last Friday’s pivotal matchup with Walpole.

Few could have expected a sophomore by the name of Ryan Charter to make such an impact on such a crucial Bay State Conference tilt, albeit on less than a half-hour’s notice.

“Honestly, I found out (that I would start about) 20 minutes before the game,” Charter told ESPNBoston correspondent following the Rockets’ 31-22 win. “A couple kids were telling me, ‘You’re going to get in the game.’ I was, like, ‘Alright, that’s all I need.’ But I didn’t know until today.”

The numbers Charter put up in his debut (5 of 10 passing, 222 yards, 2 TD) suggests that the X-factor with this Rockets squad falls upon two Rileys.

Mark Riley had touchdown catches of 67 and 74 yards to pace the Rockets early, and showed once again why he is one of the state’s premier pass-catching tight ends. Armed with a lacrosse skill set and an athletic frame, the senior takes on an Aaron Hernandez-like role with the team – that is, a tight end by nature, but one that lines up all over the field to create mismatches. Ian Riley, meanwhile, went over the century mark again as the team’s primary weapon out of the backfield.

Coupled with guys like Nico Panepinto, Mike Vespa and Dan Pierce, that's a vicious group to deal with.

CONCORD-CARLISLE IS OFFICIALLY A WAGON

Like probably a lot of you, we raised our eyebrows at the final of Concord-Carlisle's vicious romp of Westford two weeks ago: 61-14, and with relative ease. Tyquan Culbreath kicked things off with two long touchdowns on his first three carries, part of a combined 336-yard effort between himself, Tim Badgley and midseason All-State selection George Craan.

But as the old saying goes, you never look as good in your best win, and as bad in your worst loss (or something like that). But we couldn't help but rush to judgment this week, given the Patriots' historic win over long-time Dual County League powerhouse Acton-Boxborough. C-C knocked off A-B in convincing fashion, 35-12, for its first win over the Colonials since 1987.

Patriots head coach Mike Robichaud admits the offense has been ahead of the defense in many games this year -- and the score sheet (39.1 points per game) undoubtedly reflects that. But not to forgotten is the precision of the offensive line and the swarming style of play the defense has demonstrated.

Robichaud and his staff gush about the skills of center Andrew Vander Wilden, an ESPN Boston midseason All-State selection and a horse at 6-foot, 245 pounds. Combined with Tom Gregory, Thomas Kleyn, Trevor Castrichini, and Owen Guattaduaro, the Patriots boast an offensive line on par with some of the state's other top units like Everett, Duxbury, BC High or Auburn. Add 6-foot-6 tight end Henry Bumpus into the mix, and that's quite a chore.

“Henry Bumpus is one of the best blocking tight ends I have ever seen at the high school level,” Robichaud told correspondent Ryan Kilian following the A-B win. “He has been doing this for us for three years now. On defense teams cannot run at him at this point. He just does a great job and plays the entire game for us.”

Defensively, Bumpus makes his impact felt at the defensive end position, and has been a load to handle.

“I was really proud of our defense,” Bumpus told Kilian. “That is a very good offensive football team and we did a good job stepping up tonight. On offense we have five of six returners back on the line and we are really focused on getting back to where we were last year. We are blocking well right now and the backs are hitting the holes well so it is all coming together for us.”

IS THE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE WIDE OPEN NOW?

That's the question on everyone's mind in the wake of a devastating season-ending ankle injury to BC High's Preston Cooper -- a Darren Sproles-like fixture for the No. 5 Eagles, the reigning Catholic Conference MVP, an ESPNBoston Mr. Football candidate, and arguably the state's top prospect at tailback.

Nobody will argue the Eagles have one of the state's most competitive schedules in arguably the state's toughest conference. There isn't a bad loss on the schedule, including the New Jersey teams, and there isn't a poor win. And personally, we feel Deontae Ramey-Doe is a more than suitable backup, should the Eagles go that route -- his upright running style, while a change of pace from the low-moving Cooper, has an air of deception to it.

But there's four teams with a shot here. Xaverian, with competitive losses to each of our Top 3 teams, has too good of a coaching staff and defensive line not to throw some haymakers in conference place. Catholic Memorial is showing signs of life, and has to be encouraged by A.J. Doyle's four touchdown passes and 200-plus yards last week.

The wild card in all of this is St. John's Prep. With a green line, quarterback change and an offense that sputtered out of the gates, many had written off the Prep as a team in rebuilding mode. But the emergence of sophomore Jonathan Thomas the last two weeks has some giving second thoughts, especially after putting up 41 points on St. John's of Shrewsbury two weeks ago.

This could be one of more exciting races for conference supremacy, and it all starts Friday when the Prep takes a visit to Catholic Memorial. Get your popcorn ready.

THE BEST QUARTERBACK NOBODY'S TALKING ABOUT

Write this name down: Greg Heineman.

Quietly, the Minnechaug senior is putting together one of the state's finer seasons for a signal-caller. While he didn't register a touchdown pass in last week's 21-14 win over Westfield, he finished up with 347 yards on 26 of 37 passing.

Through seven games for the 7-0 Falcons, who come in at No. 22 this week in our statewide MIAA poll, Heineman is completing nearly 62 percent of his passes for 1,742 yards and 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions (our friends at MassLive have his stats tracked here). Seven different Falcons players have caught a touchdown pass, which suggests Heineman demonstrates good reads and hits the open man.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 8

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
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HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High - Had 15 carries for 168 yards on Everett before a serious ankle injury late in the third quarter. The midseason All-State selection is all but done for the season.
George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots' 35-12 win over Acton-Boxborough, their first victory over the Colonials since 1987.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - In the win over BC High, he was 14 of 28 passing for 252 yards and a touchdown, and added two rushing scores. He's now three touchdown passes off the state all-time mark, and could break it this Friday against Medford.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - In the Indians' 28-20 double-overtime thriller over Haverhill, he accounted for both overtime scores. He finished with 167 yards passing and another 50 on the ground.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Turned in a record-setting evening in the Golden Eagles' 49-7 rout of Northampton, rushing for 301 yards and seven scores on just 15 carries.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Another game, another 200 yards of offense. This week, in a 42-0 blanking of Cranston West (R.I.), he threw for 143 yards and ran for another 102, totaling three scores.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Carried 10 times for 170 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-0 romp of Agawam.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Threw for 87 yards on 3 of 4 attempts, and totaled three scores in a 40-7 win over North Quincy.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - After four straight weeks of going over the 250 mark, Pinkney settled for 95 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in the Beavers' 28-20 win over Chicopee.
Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham - Carried 33 times for 158 yards and two scores in the Trojans' 28-22 double-overtime thriller over Xaverian.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Thew for three touchdowns and added a fourth on the ground in a 42-6 win over Lynn Classical.

ON THE RISE

Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr. WR, Weymouth - With another touchdown catch in a 45-19 win over Norwood, the senior caught one in every game this season, for a Division 1-best 10.
Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston - The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder was a workhorse in the Panthers' 20-0 shutout of Hopkinton, carrying the ball 28 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Bettano, Sr. RB, Tewksbury - Carried 19 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the Redmen's 21-14 win over Lowell.
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial - Threw four touchdown passes in a 33-13 win over Malden Catholic.
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick - In the Red and Blue's 21-12 win over Braintree, caught two first-quarter touchdown passes to give him a Bay State Conference and Division 2A best 11 on the season.
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug - Was 26 of 37 passing for 343 yards in the Falcons' 21-14 win over Westfield.
Vondell Langston, Sr. RB/LB, Everett - It was his second straight week going over the century mark, rushing for 102 yards and two scores in the Tide's 35-21 win over BC High.
Trevor Leandro, Sr. QB, Dartmouth - In the Indians' surprise 56-28 blowout of New Bedford, was a perfect 5 for 5 passing for 146 yards and two scores, and tacked on another 146 yards on the ground for three scores on just 14 carries.
Obi Melifonwu, Sr. RB, Grafton - The UConn commit ran for 109 yards and three first-half touchdowns in a 37-19 win over Oxford.
Tim O'Brien, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - Ran for 147 yards and two scores on just six carries, and added another touchdown through the air, in a 41-0 shutout of Norwell.
Kenny Pierce, Sr. RB, Beverly - Had his second game five-touchdown game of the season, this time on just nine carries for 256 yards, in a 47-0 blanking of Danvers.
C.J. Scarpa, Jr. QB, Andover - Threw for three touchdown passes in the Golden Warriors' 52-13 win over Methuen, giving him 16 on the year.

10 thoughts from the first half of football season

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
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ARE TRIPLE-DIGITS OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR LIL’ DIBS?
Barring catastrophe, we fully expect Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso to break Tom Colombo’s all-time passing touchdown mark of 85 before the month is over. He’s four away, and he’s got two games to do it – this Saturday against BC High, and on Oct. 28 in the Crimson Tide’s Greater Boston League opener against Medford.

The question now is that, with seven games left on the schedule (let’s just declare them Super Bowl-bound now), whether he can surpass the century mark. Last season, he threw for 16 scores in the Tide’s four GBL contests, and another five in two playoff wins over Andover and St. John’s Prep.

All evidence points to DiBiaso shattering the state mark and putting the record nearly out of reach, when all is said and done.

IS NO. 16 NEEDHAM FOR REAL?
A few weeks ago, when the Rockets upset then-No. 6 Weymouth, we would have told you yes. Even before that, when the Rockets went toe-to-toe in an eventual 36-30 loss to Mansfield, we’d have told you Needham’s on to something.

Now? We’re not sure what to think. Drew Burnett , a senior quarterback with Division 1 offers, broke his ankle in two places during Saturday’s 49-14 win over Milton, putting an end to one of the more promising seasons in the Bay State Conference. With a healthy Burnett, we like their chances of not only controlling their destiny in the Bay State Carey, but against whomever comes out of the Big 3 conference for the Division 1 playoffs.

Head coach David Duffy told ESPNBoston correspondent Matt Noonan earlier today that he will use a rotation of three guys at quarterback in Friday’s crucial tilt with No. 17 Walpole. The Rockets have shown to lineup quality athletes in Dan Pierce, Nico Panepinto, Ian Riley and Mark Riley (no relation), but you have to wonder how quickly the understudy can adapt to Duffy's system, which has begun to diversify the last few years.

AUBURN’S OFFENSIVE LINE IS A WAGON
We’ve sung their praises several times before, but it bears mentioning again: even after a bump in the road, No. 14 Auburn’s line is rising as one of the state’s best units.

Comprised entirely of juniors and sophomores – including a 6-foot-4, 305-pounder who is just 15 years old – this makes the Rockets at team to watch over the next few years. With short splits and a precise zone-blocking scheme, these guys are a cohesive unit up front and have been blowing teams off the ball to the tune of 17 rushing touchdowns. Dan Flink is the Rockets’ Peyton Hillis, but give speedster Fred Taylor some room to run and he is one of the shiftier players in the Worcester area.

Within the Central Mass sphere, this will continue to be one of the more dangerous teams in Division 3.

HOW TOUGH WILL THE ALL-STATE RACE BE AT RUNNING BACK?
Extremely tough.

But such is the beauty and the beast of picking a true statewide All-Star team that doesn’t just simply reward the 25 best running backs in Eastern Mass. – when you’ve got just four slots to pick from 300-plus schools, an elite player inevitably gets left off the list.

Andover’s Andrew Coke came into the season as the lone returning All-State running back (Catholic Memorial’s Armani Reeves was an athlete selection). But as good as he’s been for the 4-2, Golden Warriors, there have been better resumes through the first half of the season.

BC High’s Preston Cooper has 14 rushing touchdowns through six games and is coming off a 202-yard performance in a 32-0 blanking of a tough Marlborough squad. Concord-Carlisle’s George Craan would be on pace for a ridiculous senior season if not for the emergence of Tyquan Culbreath, and the overall ease with which the Patriots have disposed of opponents so far.

Meanwhile, a trio of Western Mass. tailbacks have emerged on the scene forcefully, all averaging seven yards or more per carry.

Springfield Putnam’s Melquawn Pinkney currently leads the state in rushing yards (1,526) and rushing touchdowns (24). Longmeadow’s T.J. Norris (1,003 rushing yards, 15 TD) is a fire hydrant at 5-foot-8 and 220 pounds. Folks within the Everett program still tell us Springfield Central’s Sacoy Malone (916 yards, 7 TD) is one of the best backs they’ve faced in two years. If his performance in the Eagles’ 21-20 upset of Longmeadow last week is any indication (194 yards, 2 TD), he could be in for a terrific second half.

Also not to be forgotten is King Philip’s Charles Ruffin, who is coming on strong after a 147-yard performance in last week’s win over North Attleborough. The track star’s elite speed is known about statewide, but he’s starting show his toughness between the tackles. Health will be key, as he’s already missed some time with injury.

GIVE P-FUNK CREDIT
Back when Paul Funk was still an assistant at Everett, the program at Dennis-Yarmouth was in such shambles that the school was thinking of dropping the program altogether.

In his first year, back in 2001, the Dolphins played only JV games. Since then, he’s slowly built up a program that has become arguably the Cape’s most consistent over the last half-decade. Since their last losing season in 2006, the Dolphins are 38-12, including a 6-0 mark this year; if the Dolphins stay the course, they will wrap up their third 10-win season in six years, and their second-straight Division 2A playoff berth after earning their historic first a season ago.

This year, the Dolphins boast one of the state’s elite jump-ball receivers in Damion Johnson and arguably the toughest pound-for-pound quarterback in Matt Montalto. But it’s not about the superstars that make this program go.

More often than not, D-Y wins with undersized players who are neither big nor athletic, but embrace contact and love to hit. With little depth, most of the starters go both ways, and guys like 5-foot-7 defensive tackle Tommy Kennedy are relied upon to shoot the gaps rather than fill them. At the end of the day, this is a well-conditioned, disciplined team that has to be one of the favorites in Division 2A if all goes to plan.

WILL THE KNIGHTS BE RIDING COME DECEMBER?
Have you heard about Catholic Memorial's four FBS recruits? Have you heard about their opening day loss to Marshfield?

It’s all old news, but now the question is whether the Knights can heed the lessons learned from the Rams debacle and translate that into a Catholic Conference championship.

Following a bye week last week, the Knights will embark on their four-game conference schedule, which is bisected by a matchup with Brockton in two weeks, on Friday against Malden Catholic. The biggest of those game occurs in their Thanksgiving Day game against BC High, provided there are no missed steps along the way. You have to like CM’s chances against Malden Catholic and the Prep, but if CM can knock off Xaverian, that would set up the winner-take-all matchup at the end of their regular season schedule.

There’s no question the Knights have the talent to beat Xaverian, or the third-ranked Eagles for that matter. But, as has been the case in the last couple of seasons, it’s not about if, it’s about when. Is this the time that the group led by A.J. Doyle, Donovan Henry, Armani Reeves and Camren Williams prove good on their promise?

CAN NEW BEDFORD WIN THE BIG 3 AGAIN?
When New Bedford knocked off Brockton in their Big Three meeting last November, it was a shocking upset.

If the Whalers are to repeat the feat this year, a New Bedford victory wouldn’t be greeted with such surprise.

Myles Medeiros (11 TD passes) has the Whalers offense firing with a legitimate down-field threat in receiver Jaraud Wood, while running back Marcel DePina needs only a yard to shake loose from defenses in the open field. In addition, the defense, led by junior lineman Tyler Arena has been strong.

Meanwhile, Brockton pulled off an upset last week against New Hampshire behemoth Pinkerton Academy (its fifth straight win against the Astros), so you can’t count out the Boxers quite yet, despite a slow start (1-3) to the season. But clearly the balance of power in the Big Three (read: Brockton, Brockton and, ahem, Brockton) isn’t quite what it used to be.

… THAT BEING SAID
The most encouraging thing you can say about Brockton’s season thus far has been the emergence of quarterback Austin Roberts. The junior signal-caller had his biggest game yet last week against Pinkerton. Roberts completed 14 of 22 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns to down the Granite State’s top team.

If Roberts can keep the big plays coming, Brockton is still very much a threat.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM
No. 4 Chelmsford showed once again last week why the Merrimack Valley Conference Large runs through them in a thorough victory over Andover on Saturday.

But let’s not crown the Lions and Mr. Football challenger Tim Joy champions just yet. After all, they still have a pesky Central Catholic team on the schedule, in addition to huge games at Lowell and at Billerica to finish on Turkey Day. Both the Red Raiders and Indians made their debuts in our Top 25 this week after both teams have been flying under the radar a little at 5-1. Dynamic quarterback R.J. Noel has Red Raider nation believing that this could be the team to unseat Chelmsford, while the Indians feature a defense that is much improved from last year’s edition.

Plus, Billerica still has that LaSpada kid causing havoc for defenses and you can’t underestimate that.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM: PART DEUX
Akin to the MVC, the Hockomock League always fields one of the most competitive leagues in the state from top to bottom. And we’ve seen that parity play out in the first half, what with Stoughton’s shocking win over Mansfield.

What is for certain is that the league, which now has two playoff bids for the first time for its Davenport and Kelley-Rex winners, is still wide open.

Mansfield remains in the driver’s seat in the large division with wins over King Philip and Attleboro, but the Hornets’ game against North still looms. In the Davenport, the likely winner-take-all meeting between Oliver Ames and Stoughton is still three weeks away, but the Tigers’ matchup with Mansfield on Friday will be a good indicator of how far they’ve come this season.

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