Boston High School: Adam Camilli

Mayo lifts Holliston back to 3A Super Bowl

December, 1, 2010
HOLLISTON, Mass. -- Its lead slipping and Rockland charging behind 235-pound senior Mike Driscoll, the Holliston High School football team needed not a stop, but a game-changing blow in its Eastern Mass Division 3A semifinal game on its home turf.

“We like to call it ‘punching adversity in the face,’ ” senior Sean Mayo said.

David Kriegsman did his teammate one better: He knocked it stone cold.

Clinging to a one-score lead, Kriegsman’s fourth-down tackle for a loss early in the fourth quarter Tuesday re-energized Holliston, which rode Mayo’s arm to a score on the ensuing drive and a 35-20 victory over South Shore League champion Rockland.

The victory catapulted the two-time Tri-Valley League champs into their second straight Super Bowl on Saturday at Gillette Stadium, where they’ll meet Cardinal Spellman, a 28-16 winner over Hamilton-Wenham in the other 3A semifinal. The Panthers (11-1) hope to atone for last year’s 38-15 blowout loss to Austin Prep in Foxborough.

“We want to finish it with a win this time,” said Mayo, who threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for two more Tuesday.

Kriegsman helped give them that chance. After Devyn Flipp hauled in a touchdown pass between two defenders to slice Holliston’s 20-7 halftime lead to six points in the third quarter, Rockland (10-2) forced the Panthers into a three-and-out before moving the ball back downfield.

That mainly came on the back of Driscoll, a 5-foot-10 rhinoceros posing as a high school senior in shoulder pads, who epitomizes Rockland’s bruising run-control offense. But after Driscoll (176 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries) carried the ball on three of four straight possessions to put Rockland into a fourth-and-one situation just over midfield, Bulldogs coach Ken Owen opted for the unexpected, running a counter to Tim Fitzgerald.

While most of the defense bit on Driscoll charging into the line, Kriegsman did not, wrapping Fitzgerald up for a two-yard loss, a turnover on downs and all the momentum this side of Framingham.

“We knew they were going to run it from the get-go, and I saw an open window and I just filled the hole,” Kriegsman said.

The impact of the play was magnified by the stark contrast between the teams’ styles. Rockland, riding a defense that entered allowing just over eight points per game, has built it season upon tough-nosed victories in the trenches. Holliston, toting around its 40-plus-points-per-game scoring average, has largely won with style.

But Kriegsman drew just as many "ooohs" as any touchdown catch with his punishing hit.

“Huge,” Holliston coach Todd Kiley said of the tackle. “That was huge. They’re going down, I think we were up a score at that point, and they ran a counter play. Kriegsman read it beautifully … and our offense just fed off of that. You could see it. Our team fed off that play.”

A 13-yard catch by Adam Camilli coupled with a late-hit penalty put the Panthers within 21 yards from the end zone, where Mayo hit Brody Ciarcello with an absolute strike on third down across the middle for a 28-14 lead.

Rockland fumbled on its very next offensive play -- an attempted lateral after a catch that Ciarcello recovered -- and Kevin Curry ran for 49 of his 115 yards on the following drive, capping it with a spinning, tackle-breaking 19-yard touchdown run with 5:52 to play.

Fitzgerald scored on a one-yard run after Driscoll left due to injury, and Rockland recovered an onside kick. But the Bulldogs committed their fourth turnover of the second half thereafter, ending any comeback.

“This team battles,” Mayo said.

So does its quarterback. Mayo fought off cramps in the first half and an apparent arm injury in the second to rush for 73 yards, throw for 119 more and score his team’s first two touchdowns.

The second -- which came directly after Driscoll’s five-yard scoring plunge to tie at a 7-7 in the second quarter -- was sheer will. The senior darted to the left sideline on a quarterback keeper and dove headfirst while being pushed out of bounds to catch the pylon.

Later in the quarter, with the Panthers on their own 41-yard line with 1:31 until the intermission, Mayo orchestrated a 68-second scoring drive, either throwing or running it himself on every play. He finished it with a 10-yard slant pass to Camilli, but Mayo needed several moments to pull himself from the turf after cramping up.

“He was outstanding, with his legs, with his arm,” Kiley said of his quarterback. “He’s the guy who’s led this team all season. And he’s a tough kid, mentally, physically. As he goes, we go. … Gusty, gusty performance.”


ROC 0 7 7 6 --- 20
HOL 7 13 0 15 --- 35

First Quarter
H - Sean Mayo 13 run (Christian Baker kick).

Second Quarter
R - Mike Driscoll 5-yard run (Ricky Witt kick).
H - Mayo 10 run (Baker kick).
H - Adam Camilli 10 pass from Mayo (kick no good).

Third Quarter
R - Devyn Flipp 15 pass from D.J. Austin (Witt kick).

Fourth Quarter
H - Brody Ciarcello 21 pass from Mayo (Curry run).
H - Curry 19 run (Baker kick).
R - Tim Fitzgerald 1 run (pass failed).

No. 24 Holliston captures TVL playoff crown

November, 14, 2010
HOLLISTON, Mass. -- With the Tri-Valley League title on the line, No. 24 Holliston defeated Medway 33-14 on Saturday night at home, using motivation from a matchup earlier in the season when Medway came out the victor.

The two familiar foes battled it out again in the inaugural Tri-Valley League championship game, but Holliston willed its way to victory and used the results of the teams’ previous meeting to keep its focus.

“Revenge is sweet, like they say,” Holliston’s Kevin Curry said after the win. “It’s perfect.”

“The coaches didn’t want to say revenge, but it was definitely building up inside of us,” Holliston quarterback Sean Mayo said. “We wanted another crack at Medway and we got it and took advantage.”

In the teams’ first game, Holliston fought hard to stay even with Medway, but the Mustangs took over in the second half and ended up winning 28-16. However Holliston seized the opportunity of the rematch in the TVL playoffs.

“You play that team ten times and it’s a dogfight all ten times and it can go either way,” Holliston head coach Todd Kiley said. “We just got them this time around, but they outplayed us last time.”

Medway’s offense staggered throughout the game because the team never broke out the big play. The Mustangs’ running attack managed to heat up, but the team did not connect on play-action passes, and couldn’t convert in key situations.

Tailback Michael Ozzella ran the ball 25 times for 158 yards -- including a 28-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter -- but Medway couldn’t catch up because the run game used up too much time.

Kiley said that the Panthers looked at the film from the teams’ Oct. 1 matchup, and took a different approach coming into Saturday night’s game. Holliston did not change its scheme completely, but just altered what they were doing in certain formations.

“They are a sound defensive football team…” Kiley said about Medway. “We thought with different formations we could out-leverage them with some things and the kids did a great job executing it.”

Those changes helped get Holliston’s offense in gear. Curry racked up 143 yards on 20 carries and also had two touchdowns in the game.

“The keys in the run game were getting up to the linebackers,” Curry said. “They have some of the best ‘backers in the league -- the same with their [defensive line], they’re so strong -- so all we had to do was get up to them, and make our blocks.”

The senior running back was elated after the game, as fans came onto the field as Holliston was handed the TVL trophy.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling…it’s absolutely amazing,” Curry added about the setting.

The Panthers set the tone with a good first drive, but more importantly scored on their first three offensive possessions and only gave up seven points in the first half.

The inaugural TVL playoff system got mixed reviews among coaches and players, but Medway has now repeated as league champions.

“I don’t like it.” Medway head coach Dave McSweeney said about the new playoff system. “To not have those non-league games -- I don’t like that -- you have to jump into a tough Tri-Valley schedule right from the beginning -- I like the old system. I’m a traditional guy, I just like the old system.”

“I know there were a lot of coaches who were not in favor of it, but [we said] ‘Let’s embrace this thing, have fun with it, and go out and win it’,” Kiley said about his impressions of the playoffs. “Our kids took that approach and it obviously worked out for us.”

M 0 7 7 0 -- 14
H 6 6 7 7 6 -- 33

H - Mayo 1 run (kick blocked)

H - Curry 10 run (conversion failed)
M - Kevin Moreau 8 run (Joe Davenport kick)
H - Christian Baker 57 catch from Adam Camilli (Camilli kick)

H - Mayo 4 run (conversion good)
M - Ozzella 28 run (Davenport kick)

H - Curry 18 run (conversion failed)