Boston High School: Austin DeCarr

Baseball America unveiled its High School All-America Team this afternoon, and among the names on the list are Springfield Central shortstop Isan Diaz and Xaverian/Salisbury (Conn.) righthander Austin DeCarr.

Diaz, a second round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, made the Second Team after hitting .492/.625/.898 this spring with four home runs and 14 RBI. He was also named ESPN Boston's "Mr. Baseball" last week as the state's top overall player, and is a two-time ESPN Boston All-State selection.

After getting drafted by the Diamondbacks in Compensatory Round B (70th overall), Diaz spurned his verbal commitment to Vanderbilt University and signed a contract reportedly worth $750,000.

DeCarr, a Foxborough resident, made the Third Team after an explosive post-graduate season this spring at Salisbury (Conn.) after finishing up at Westwood's Xaverian High. He struck out 19 batters in his second to last start, and reportedly topped out at 97 mph on his fastball.

After being selected in the third round (91st overall) by the New York Yankees, DeCarr spurned his commitment to Clemson University and signed a contract reportedly worth $1 million -- nearly double the designated salary slot for that pick.

To view Baseball America's complete First, Second and Third Team All-America selections, CLICK HERE.
The hype behind Austin DeCarr’s prized arm has been out for a while -- three years now, going back to his sophomore season of 2011 at Xaverian Brothers High School, when scouts clocked his velocity at 91 mph. But it took him putting the ball down for things to finally turn up.

In his final two years at Xaverian, the Foxborough native never was able to pitch a full season because of a combination of precautionary maintenance and some elbow issues. After missing most of his junior season in 2012, he came on late to play an integral part of the Hawks’ Division 1 state championship run out of the bullpen, most significantly earning the save in an epic Eastern Mass. final with top-ranked Lowell.

Last spring, he made seven starts, then watched from the dugout as the defending state champs bowed out in the first round of the MIAA South tournament to Norwood. One month after the season ended, in July, DeCarr gave a commitment to Clemson University after topping out at 93 mph in a series of showcase events with the Scott Patterson-coached North East Baseball club.

[+] EnlargeAustin DeCarr
Brendan Hall/ESPNAustin DeCarr helped Xaverian to a state title, but really came into his own at Salisbury School in Connecticut following several months of conditioning work.
And then when he arrived at Salisbury (Conn.) School in the fall for a post-graduate year, he did something he’d never done in his whole life -- he stopped throwing. Aside from the occasional football toss with friend David Maaghul, the school’s quarterback, DeCarr went five months without picking up a ball of any sort.

At Xaverian, when DeCarr wasn’t on the mound, he was on the gridiron, taking snaps under center as the Hawks’ quarterback. In either sport, it doesn’t do any good to constantly throw a ball all year round. This was new to him.

“The first time I threw again was probably the first or second week of December, in the gym [at Salisbury],” DeCarr said. “It felt the same, it wasn’t like I lost feel for throwing or anything, but I felt like I was a lot more confident, being 10-15 pounds stronger and all of that.”

And it showed this spring. Heading into the season, one American League scout said DeCarr was the top high school draft prospect in New England, with a chance to go in the top three rounds. He lived up to the hype, topping out at 97 this spring and hitting the 92-95 range with regularity. His best outing came on May 12, his second-to-last outing of the season, when he struck out 19 batters in a win over Taft (Conn.) and drew the praise of Peter Gammons.

“Basically I’ve always been a shortstop and I was just starting to learn the differences of pitching,” DeCarr said. “I had to develop a lot more as a pitcher, that was really hindering with my mechanics. To go from a 16-year-old kid throwing out of the bullpen to an 18-, 19-year-old throwing high velocity in outings ... Getting ahead of hitters, knowing how to really pitch, my arm felt really good. I needed this extra year as far as extra development as a pitcher.”

A longtime client of the Hudson-based Cressey Performance, a renowned haven for many of the area’s top high school prospects, DeCarr also sharpened his focus on lower-body strength this offseason. Cressey’s tailor-made strength programs are designed to maximize power without sacrificing flexibility; an assortment of squats, deadlifts and reverse lunges had him feeling fresher this year.

“Football guys are always bashing out bench presses and cleaning, which is great for football,” DeCarr said. “If you do that in pitching, the more you bench the tighter you’re going to get, the tighter the chest and shoulders get, throwing a baseball is not going to work. Your legs are what are going to carry you through a game.”

Matt Blake, the pitching coordinator at Cressey and an assistant at Lincoln-Sudbury High, felt the rest during the fall did DeCarr a lot of good.

“The way he came out originally when he was throwing 88-91 as a sophomore, if you said two years later he’d be throwing 93-96 that would make sense to me,” he said. “But the way he had setbacks, and the mental aspects of that making things a little more challenging, if you said last spring that a kid throwing 86 miles an hour was going to throw 96 in a year, I might have said you were crazy.

“The difference was how he continued to work and develop over the summer, with his hand speed starting to show itself again, and then getting a full rest period in the fall -- which is something he never had before -- and the diligence with which he prepared in the offseason, it did make sense to see him hit 95.”

And now, after all of that toiling, comes the waiting game. DeCarr’s draft projection varies from scout to scout; Baseball America ranks him as the No. 68 prospect, but he is not in ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law’s latest top 100. There are some things to clean up with DeCarr going forward, but almost all scouts agree that there is too much raw ability and potential not to take a shot.

“He’s a big, strong kid who’s athletic. He’s above his peers in terms of having some nice stuff instead of pure projection,” one National League scout said. “He hasn’t had many miles on his arm. The fact is that over the span of development of a player, he’s still relatively early, relatively new to it.”

DeCarr is Massachusetts’ highest-profile high school prospect since Lawrence Academy righty Tyler Beede, an Auburn resident with 94-mph velocity and three plus-pitches who turned down $2.3 million from the Toronto Blue Jays after being selected 21st overall in 2011 to play at Vanderbilt. One American League scout said DeCarr’s curve is better than Beede’s was at his age.

“I’d say his breaking ball has become more advanced than Tyler’s was at this point,” the scout said. “I’d say he’s got a bigger breaking ball, maybe not thrown quite as hard at times as Tyler’s, but it’s got a little more depth and shape to it. But Ty pitched off his changeup more in high school, so they’re a little different in that sense.”

Right now, DeCarr says he is “very committed” to Clemson, saying he has the “utmost respect” for head coach Jack Leggett and pitching coach Dan Pepicelli. But being a sandwich-round pick -- or even, dare we say, a late first-round pick -- could change the complexion of things.

“Being drafted that high would obviously be a tremendous honor,” he said. “I’ve really respected the amount of interest from the 30 teams. It would obviously be a big decision to make, one I’d have to sit down and talk about with my parents, my advisor. My gut is my best decision.”

Xaverian's Austin DeCarr commits to Clemson

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
10:56
PM ET
Recently-graduated Xaverian pitcher Austin DeCarr has verbally committed to Clemson University for the fall of 2014, he announced tonight.

DeCarr, a Foxborough resident, committed to the Tigers on a visit to campus Monday afternoon. He made the commitment public tonight in a post on his Twitter account.

"Me and my dad drove to Clemson Monday morning, they brought us around campus and it was incredible," said DeCarr, who is currently down in Alpharetta, Ga., for a showcase event.

DeCarr is committed to the Tigers as a member of the 2014 recruiting class. He will do a post-graduate season next year at prep powerhouse Salisbury School, in Salisbury, Conn.

While one of the most talked about Class of 2013 prospects in Massachusetts the last several years, after showing promise with a low-90's fastball as a sophomore, DeCarr has been snakebitten the last two high school seasons. He missed most of the 2012 season with shoulder problems, but made his debut late in the regular season and anchored the bullpen as the Hawks won their first MIAA Division 1 State Championship since 2004. He came into this past spring as a Perfect Game Preseason All-American, but made just seven starts and shut it down for three weeks of the season, as the Hawks made a first-round exit in the Division 1 South tournament.

But over the last month -- thanks in part to some work with Eric Cressey and Matt Blake at the Hudson-based Cressey Performance, along with former Red Sox trainers Mike Reinold and B.J. Baker -- that promising potential from early in his high school career appears to have surfaced.

At the regional Area Code Games tryout at Bentley University, DeCarr says he threw in the 90-92 range, touching 93, while also demonstrating a quality curve. That has been a similar narrative through several other showcases, including the Perfect Game National Showcase last month at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

"It feels great, obviously with the injuries over the last year, with a lot of setbacks and stuff like that, it's definitely a great feeling," DeCarr said of his commitment. "Clemson was the better fit between the offer they gave me, the coaching staff down there, and the passion down there is crazy."

DeCarr visited North Carolina, Louisiana State and Vanderbilt before the start of his junior season, and he has held varying degrees of interest from Louisville, Tulane, Ole Miss, Florida and a number of ACC, Big East and Big Ten schools over the years.

Clemson has maintained a presence recruiting the New England states over the years -- long-time head coach Jack Leggett is a South Burlington, Vt., native and UMaine graduate -- and has been one of DeCarr's top choices for some time.

"They wanted me to come this fall, but I'm going to shut it down a little bit -- I've been going from football right into baseball for the last four years, I need some down time," DeCarr said. "They think I'm polished. I'm much better than I was during high school season. I've got more consistent mechanics, driving the ball down by my knees. They think my velocity is good enough as it is. Hopefully, I'm sitting at the 94-95 range [next year]. My curve is probably my best pitch at this point."

Recap: No. 6 Newton North 8, No. 11 Xaverian 4

April, 18, 2013
4/18/13
8:04
PM ET


WESTWOOD, Mass. -- While Brendan Ryan might prefer skating around an ice rink to running on a baseball field, there was no one who had a bigger hand in ensuring the No. 6 New ton North baseball team remained unbeaten when they bested host and No. 11 Xaverian, 8-4, on Thursday morning.

“The kicker is, he’s a hockey player,” said North coach Joe Siciliano. “He’s tough and hard-nosed, and he wants to be out there. When they went up 4-2, a lot of kids would be looking over at the sidelines expecting to be out. This kid, if I walked out there, he’d have thrown the ball at me. He just did a great job today.”

Ryan (3-0) tossed his third complete game in as many starts, striking out five and scattering eight hits while surrendering three earn runs against a team that has historically had his number.

“Every game is significant, but this one is just a little sweeter,” Ryan said. “I pitched against them the last couple of years and they’ve teed off against me. This year, I didn’t get down on myself when they started hitting the ball early.”

Ryan was as good at the plate as he was on the mound for the Tigers (6-0).

He went 1-for-2 in the win, blasting a solo homer to left to lead off the second inning to get Newton North’s offense going. In the sixth inning, he walked and scored a run, pull the Tigers within one run. And in the seventh, he put them ahead for good with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.

“Quality teams are made of quality players,” said Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert. “That’s one of coach Sicilliano’s central guys this year. I’m sure he’s thrilled to have him. He’ll be a big problem for his opponents in games he starts the rest year and into the tournament as well.”

After Ryan’s solo shot, Kevin Alexy drew a walk, stole second and eventually scored on a single by Johnny Little, giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage heading to the bottom of the second.

Xaverian (3-4) quickly cut into that lead when Aidan Desrosiers unloaded a solo homer of his own to center field.

Adam Chochrek singled, coming around to score on an Aaron Drummey (2-for-3, walk) base hit. Xaverian starting pitcher Austin DeCarr (2-for-2, walk) gave the Hawks a lead when he delivered a pop-up down the right field line that fell for a double. From there though, Ryan locked in on the mound, allowing just two more hits and one unearned run the rest of the way.

Newton North retook the lead in the sixth inning when Phil Biancuso belted a double that scored Ryan -– who had walked to lead-off the inning. A throwing error sent Biancuso to third before he scored on a passed ball.

Chochrek led off the sixth by reaching on an error. After advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt, he scored on a single into right by Drummey.

Newton North took advantage of some command issues Xaverian relief pitchers experience to put the game away in the seventh. A Ben Porter walk, Alex Joyce single and Michael Courtney walk loaded the bases with no outs, setting up Ryan’s go-ahead sacrifice fly. With two outs in the inning, Biancuso crushed a ball deep to right center, one-hopping the fence. Biancuso hit third with ease and turned for home, scoring when Xaverian’s catcher dropped the ball while applying a tag.

Ryan sent the Hawks down in order in the seventh, striking out the final two hitters of the game.

“When you play a quality opponent and you don’t make pitches and don’t make all the plays you can make, they’re going to beat you,” said Lambert. They’re just going to keep coming. That was Newton today.”

Recap: Xaverian 6, St. John's Prep 5

April, 5, 2013
4/05/13
12:15
AM ET


DANVERS, Mass. -– Xaverian took an early lead and never looked back, even if things did seem to get a bit interesting along the way. The Hawks knocked off Catholic Conference foe St. John’s Prep 6-5, after taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Senior Austin DeCarr got the start on the mound for Xaverian, and he pulled through stongly -— giving up just two runs on two hits in four innings pitched. He struck out five Prep batters and threw 67 pitches. It was all according to Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert’s plan.

“Early season, I keep a pretty tight rein on the guys," Lambert said. I think he was at 66 or 67, and that is about our target early-season for our starters. As the year wears on, we’re counting on him getting stronger, the weather getting warmer, and eventually he’ll be fully stretched out.

"But I promised myself years ago as a coach, I will not sacrifice June 5 for April 5. He wanted to stay out there, I said no.”

The Hawks (1-1) got off to a quick start, scoring three runs on Prep starting pitcher Dustin Hunt (3.2 IP, 5 K’s, 7 hits, 6 runs) in the top of the first inning. Aaron Drummey started off the run for Xaverian with a base hit, Alex Person was hit by a pitch immediately after. Following a throwing error on a groundball to second base, DeCarr and Jake McLaughlin each chipped in with RBI singles.

“For us to get three in the first inning -— especially [after] they made a mistake, that’s an early-season mistake, and we broke the door through," Lambert said. "A good team takes advantage…we were able to parlay that with a couple of extra hits."

Person came up big once again in the second inning, notching a line drive to center field. AJ King scored off the hit, Drummey was thrown out at the plate, and Person was then thrown out trying to stretch his run to third base. However, the damage was already done -— giving the Hawks a 4-1 lead.

Prep added a run in the bottom of the second, sophomore Keith Leavitt came around to score on a base hit by catcher Paul Crehan. Leavitt (2-4, 2B, 2 runs scored) also helped initiate the Eagles’ rally in the bottom of the sixth—one inning after Andrew Elliot belted a two-run home run for Xaverian that narrowly cleared the fence in right center field.

“He’s been a little out in front," Lambert said. "We talked a little bit about how he has to stay within himself. He obviously has some pop in his bat. If that had only been a double...we’d still be playing right now. We’ll take it, it’s a game of inches -— sometimes you’re on the right side of it.”

Down 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, senior Nick Bragole drew a leadoff walk for Prep. Five pitches later, Leavitt slammed a ground-rule double down the right field line.

In the next at-bat, designated hitter David Bornstein got on base on an error, scoring Bragole, then Crenan (2-2, BB) and pinch-hitter Natty Cabral each had a pair of RBI singles—bringing the score to 6-5 after six innings.

“We had a tough stretch there, we had a passed ball and an error or two, and they jump on you," Lambert said. "Prep is a very opportunistic baseball team. They always are. When they take the momentum, they take it 100%. They’ve always been like that."

Justin Snyder (2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) got the job done on the mound in the top of the seventh the Eagles, forcing Drummey and Person to ground out and fly out, respectively, before striking out Elliot on a fastball to bring his team to bat with one last chance to tie the game.

Senior captain Tyler Noe started off the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff walk, stole second on the very next pitch, and advanced to third on a routine ground ball played by the third baseman. This brought up Bragole, Prep’s clean-up hitter, with one out.

Bragole laid down a bunt, but Noe was gunned down via an underhand toss to the plate by Xaverian reliever Worth Walrod. Leavitt flied out in the next at bat to end the game.

“It’s a step in the right direction for us early in the season," Lambert said. "We have a ways to go…so that maybe we only have one mistake rather than three or four -— but at least we didn’t make five, cause that fifth one would have been the one that would have put them over the top. We were able to stop the bleeding there.”

Recap: Xaverian 21, BC High 17

November, 3, 2012
11/03/12
11:59
PM ET


WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Xaverian held the lead for only 1:22 out of 44 minutes, but it was the most crucial minute of the game as the Hawks edged BC High at The Hawk Bowl, 21-17. Hunter Taute capped a theatrical 72-yard drive with a 6 yard bull rush that put the Hawks ahead while the Xaverian defense denied BC High the chance of scoring on the final drive.

“We made some big plays,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “We were balanced. Certainly one of out better drives this year and it was a very opportune time to have it.”

Xaverian (3-6, 2-0 Catholic Conf.) started its final possession of the afternoon from their 28 with 8:00 left on the clock after a BC High punt from the Xaverian 34 went out of bounds. Alternating between Shayne Kaminski (10 carries, 40 yards) and Mike Brennan, the Hawks got two quick first downs on four rushing plays. From midfield, Kaminski kicked down to the 46 of the Eagles (3-5, 1-1 Catholic Conference), where Austin DeCarr found Aiden Desrosiers for a 14-yard gain.

Brennan was stopped on the following play for no gain, and the end around to the right ran by Pagliuca netted only one yard before he was collared by BC High’s Brian Robinson. On third down, Pagliuca caught the ball but the play was blown up by Brandon Owens, who sent Pagluica down to the ground and the ball flying straight back, setting up fourth and 9 from the BC High 31. Joe DeNucci, who had fans in the stands wearing t-shirt replicas of his jersey, made a crucial catch for a ten-yard gain and the first down with 3:35 to go.

Kaminski resumed his tugboat duties and rushed for three, three then eight yards on third and four from the 15, setting up first and goal on the 7 with just over two minutes to go. Brennan rushed for a yard, but another incomplete hookup between Pagliuca and DeCarr brought up third down. DeCarr threw the ball and it sailed out of the end zone, but the head referee called defensive holding, allotting the Eagles a fresh set of downs with under two minutes to go.

Kaminski rushed for two, bringing the ball to the one, and Maurice Hurst ran in his second score, but an illegal motion brought the ball to the six. Hunter Taute (9 carries, 39 yards, TD) ran left and with fire and desire, and crossed the plane at 1:22 with a stretch play to take the lead for Xaverian for the first time on the day. Kyle Darrow’s kick gave Xaverian a four-point lead, necessitating BC High to score a touchdown.

Although the Hawks’ defense missed two in-hand interceptions on BC High’s final drive and got a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on third and long, Xaverian held the Eagles to a one-yard run in the last 1:14, seal a slippery victory.

“Our defense played great during the final possession we had. We did a great job of shutting them down throwing the football.”

Love is Love: Although there were no stories being shared between the first whistle and the last whistle, there was camaraderie after the matchup between the rivals and their players.

“As you can see, [BC High’s] Jack [McDonald] and Mo are down there hugging and kissing, taking pictures for their moms,” Stevenson half-joked after the game. “That’s the kind of game it is when Xaverian plays BC High.”

XAVERIAN 21, BC HIGH 17
BCH (3-5) 7 7 3 0 --- 17
XAV (3-6) 0 7 7 7 --- 21


First Quarter
B – Dan Collins 17 interception return (Jackson Bockhorst kick)

2nd Quarter
X – Maurice Hurst 1 run (Kyle Darrow kick)
B – Collins 11 run (Bockhorst kick)

3rd Quarter
X – D.J. Pagliuca 88 kickoff return (Darrow kick)
B – Bockhorst 34 field goal

4th Quarter
X – Hunter Taute 6 run (Darrow kick)

ESPN Boston Week 9 football picks

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
2:58
AM ET
ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (6-2) AT LINCOLN-SUDBURY (7-1)
The Skinny: Although the Colonials enter this rivalry game after a letdown against Waltham last week, these teams always have a say in the determination of the Dual County League crown. The Warriors have worked toward reclaiming the division title with help from a talented cast of seniors who have two-way success with the football and the lacrosse teams, including Chris Giorgio, Henry Guild and John Sexton. A-B’s wing-T attack is led by a pair of promising juniors in William Tejada (14 TDs) and Tom Saponaro.

Scott Barboza: Bill Maver has the building blocks for a strong group next year, but this senior group from L-S has been primed to make their run during the last two years. The seal the deal for the division, but it’s a rivalry game, so throw the records out. L-S, 20-14.

Brendan Hall: The Warriors take the inside track to their third consecutive postseason berth, but because it’s A-B they do it in knock-down, drag-out fashion. L-S, 17-10.

DIGHTON-REHOBOTH (6-1) AT WAREHAM (7-1)
The Skinny: Both teams sport a perfect South Coast Conference record entering Friday’s tête-à-tête and their only loss came against a common non-league opponent in Somerset-Berkley. Since their opening day loss, the Falcons have run off six straight wins, including a 5-0 record in the SCC. D-R’s ground attack is keyed by 6-foot-7 tackle Chuddy Nwachukwu, but the Falcons have also seen dividends in the passing game behind sophomore quarterback Nathan Kowalski. The Vikings, also undefeated in the SCC, have big-play ability with the electrifying Darien Fernandez in the backfield. Yet, Wareham has also brought the lumber on defense, surrendering just 26 points through five league games.

Barboza: In big SCC games, it’s hard to pick against a Dave Driscoll-led team. D-R, 16-14.

Hall: As usual, our loyal correspondent Corey comes up with some innovative names, this one “The Fernandez Express”. As long as Darien’s legs keep churning, the Vikings will stay ahead. Wareham, 17-13.

STONEHAM (7-1) AT BURLINGTON (7-1)
The Skinny: The Red Devils can sew up the Middlesex League Freedom division title with a win over the upstart Spartans. Stoneham saw its undefeated record blemish last week in a 42-28 loss to Wakefield, but the Spartans are capable of throwing a monkey wrench into the race behind Aaron Louis and Darius McPherson. Meanwhile, Burlington’s backfield tandem of Anthony Cruz and Marcus O’Diah has few equals in Eastern Mass.

Barboza: Cinderella’s ball comes to a halt. Burlington, 33-24.

Hall: Stoneham appears to have a quality foundation for the long haul, but in the short term this Burlington rushing attack will be too much for the Spartans to handle. Burlington, 28-14.

GOVERNOR’S ACADEMY (6-0) AT MILTON ACADEMY (4-2)
The Skinny: The defending ISL champs put their undefeated record on the line in a road game. Gov’s 40-6 win over Brooks last week kept its point-per-game average above 41 points a game as Tate Jozokos and Eli Morrissey continue their assault on opposing defenses. Mustangs junior running back Drew Jacobs continued his breakout season with four touchdowns last week in a throttling of Belmont Hill.

Barboza: Opposing teams better hope they have Jacoby Jones or Ellis Hobbs returning kicks for them because it’s a 108 yards or bust with Justin Yoon kicking off. Still, Gov’s offense takes over. Governor’s, 31-24.

Hall: The Governators haven’t lost a game since Jim O’Leary took over in 2011. How crazy is that? Governor’s, 30-20.

WAYLAND (5-3) AT CONCORD-CARLISLE (4-4) (
The Skinny: Wayland looks for the inside track in the Dual County League’s Small division, entering the game with one of the league’s stingiest defenses (10.6 points allowed), and two versatile targets in senior wideout Mark Bonner and junior tailback Robert Williams. C-C, the defending league and Super Bowl champs, lost Tim Badgley in the preseason, but running backs Evan Boynton and Shayne McCloskey have picked up the slack.

Barboza: Yeah, I went with the Patriots winning a long time ago, in fact before we learned Badgley would be out for the year. It’s political season, so consider me a swing voter here. Wayland, 14-7.

Hall: I have the feeling this game is going to be possession-based. In that case, give me the better defense. Wayland, 10-6.

LOWELL (6-2) AT ANDOVER (8-0)
(The Skinny: Lowell has been on an offensive tear the last four games, going 3-1 and averaging 43 points per game over that span. Cam Latta has spearheaded the surge, but can he outduel Andover’s C.J. Scarpa? The 5-foot-8 senior hasn’t thrown an interception since Oct. 6, meanwhile the Golden Warriors are averaging over 370 yards of offense a game.

Barboza: Calculators ready? Andover, 46-38.

Hall: Remember the 88-80, eight-overtime game between these two in 2010? Let’s do the honorable thing here and move the venue to the Tsongas Center. Andover, 45-40.

NORTHBRIDGE (7-1) AT AUBURN (8-0) (
The Skinny: Auburn, one of the state’s stingiest defenses (5.1 points per game), holds first place in the SWCL A division, and can put a vice grip on it with a win over the Rams. Offensively, the Rockets have rode one of the state’s biggest lines to bull their way to over 2,000 yards rushing and over 2,700 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Drew Goodrich and Tyler Desjardins. But Northbridge quarterback Matt Phelan (1,344 passing yards, 11 TD; 673 rushing yards, 19 TD) will be one of the more slippery athletes the Rockets will have seen all season long. Can they contain him?

Barboza: Again, more than the score, I’m wondering what the line would be set at on these occurrences: how many times the Rockets venture to pass versus the Rams keeping it on the ground. Think it’s a push, but … Auburn, 31-27.

Hall: Classic clash of philosophies here: Jeff Cormier’s power running scheme versus Northbridge guru Ken LaChapelle and his pioneering run-and-shoot. Give me the team with the better line, in a physical battle. Auburn, 20-13.

BC HIGH (3-4) AT XAVERIAN (2-6) (
The Skinny: What would you have said if we told you back in August these two teams would be meeting in November with a combined 10 losses? But that’s what we have here, as the two Catholic Conference foes will fight to stay alive in a conference that St. John’s Prep is favored to take a hold of. If linebacker Luke Catarius is a go for BC High, that should provide an interesting matchup for Xaverian and its talented skill corps of Austin DeCarr, D.J. Pagliuca and Hunter Taute. The key matchup will be in the interior, where two close friends and Division 1 commits will square off – Xaverian defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (Michigan) versus BC High guard Jack McDonald (Virginia).

Barboza: Going with my preseason Catholic Conference pick in this one for whatever that’s worth – though it’s still probably worth more than Facebook stock. BC High, 21-17.

Hall: Give both teams credit here, they’re still fighting hard. But at this point, the Eagles have a little bit more momentum. BC High, 21-10.

BARNSTABLE (7-0) AT BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-3)
The Skinny: Once again, these teams engage in a winner-takes-all battle for the Old Colony League crown in this week’s Game of the Week. Some elements to watch entering this one will be to see how the Red Raiders secondary is able to shake off a lackluster performance last week against Billerica. Similarly, B-R had its troubles with La Salle Academy and its spread attack a couple weeks back, so we’ll see how the Trojans’ secondary is able to deal with Barnstable quick and nimble wideouts. Let’s not overlook the running backs in this one, however. Hayden Murphy figured prominently into last year’s win by Barnstable in this game and Trojans sophomore sensation Brandon Gallagher (12 TDs) will be one to watch for years to come.

Barboza: Because it’s what Dan Buron wants us to do anyway, and for the fact I think the Red Raiders repeat. Barnstable, 30-24.

Hall: Any time you have an NFL veteran coaching the secondary, you have to think things will shore up after a bad week. Barnstable, 35-28.

Recap: No. 21 B-R 32, Xaverian 27

October, 20, 2012
10/20/12
6:37
PM ET
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -– The enormous gust of wind that blew over the Bridgewater-Raynham football field late Saturday afternoon wasn’t a meteorological phenomenon.

Rather, it was Trojans coach Dan Buron exhaling after his team held off Xaverian and posted a 32-27 non-league victory.

And “held off” is the operative phrase.

After the No. 21 Trojans (4-3) seemingly put the game out of reach, when Jordan Cohen threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Murphy for a 32-20 lead with 2:22 remaining, the Hawks (1-6) needed just over a minute to reduce their deficit when Austin DeCarr threw a 20-yard scoring pass to A.J. King and Kyle Darrow kicked the extra point.

Not surprisingly, Xaverian then attempted an onside kick. But much to Buron’s chagrin, Xaverian’s Ryan McLean smothered the ball at his team’s 42 with 1:40 remaining.

DeCarr (24-48, 290 yards, TD) then passed his team to a second-and-goal at B-R’s 5 with four ticks of the clock left. But DeCarr’s pass for what would have been the winning touchdown fell incomplete in the end zone which allowed Buron to breathe.

“That’s a good football team,” Buron said of Xaverian. “I don’t care what their record is. We play a tough schedule but one that’s not nearly as tough as the one they do. And they’ve been in every game so I knew they weren’t going to quit.

“I’m proud of the kids. I’m a little upset that we didn’t get the onside kick but we have to work on those things. It’s different in practice.”

To a certain extent, this was a different B-R team than the one that was waxed 41-24 on October 12 by Rhode Island Division I power La Salle Academy.

“We played with a little more intensity today than we did last week,” Buron said. “I don’t know what the reason was for that. I thought the week prior to that we played with a lot of intensity and emotion against St. John’s Prep.

“That’s a good team and we came out on the short end but I was proud of the kids. We didn’t look like the same team (against La Salle). But today we looked more like the team we had in our first five games.”

Double trouble: One reason the Trojans prevailed was that they were proficient both on the ground and in the air.

Brandon Gallagher led the ground game by rushing for 90 yards and one score on 21 carries.

Jordan Cohen was superb at quarterback as he completed 13-of-19 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns –- each to Murphy who snared eight balls for 150 yards.

“I thought Jordan played well today and hit the open receivers,” Buron said. “What they were giving us was the flat and he hit the flat all day which opened up some other things.”

One of the “other things” that was opened up was room for Gallagher to slice through Xaverian’s defense.

“Gallagher is a tough running back who runs hard,” Buron said. “When the blocking’s there he’s going to get extra yards. When there isn’t any blocking, he’s still going to get extra yards. Very rarely does he go backwards.

“He’s a strong runner and is only a sophomore so he’s only going to get better. But I’d like to credit the offensive line, too. I thought they played well in the second half against a much bigger defensive front.”

How do you spell shootout? After a scoreless first quarter during which each team lost a fumble, B-R’s Aaron Conrad recovered another Xaverian fumble on his team’s 14.

B-R then covered 86 yards in eight plays with Gallagher busting into the end zone from the 5.

Xaverian countered with an eight-play, 64-yard drive which Shayne Kaminski capped by scoring on a 25-yard run that made B-R’s lead 7-6.

B-R, seemingly in an eye blink, upped its lead to 12-7 when Cohen connected with Murphy on a screen pass that covered 20 yards for a score.

But DeCarr displayed his best passing of the game after the ensuing kickoff when he completed all five of his attempts for 80 yards which led to Kaminski running it in from the 2 for a 13-12 lead at halftime.

The Trojans got even late in the third quarter when Conrad intercepted a DeCarr pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown that gave B-R an 18-13 lead at the break.

But a short Xaverian punt gave the Trojans excellent field position, at their 40, and Cohen zipped a 17-yard touchdown pass to Murphy on the first play of the fourth period for a 25-13 advantage.

Buron’s sentiments about Xaverian being a team that doesn’t quit almost came back to haunt him when the Hawks’ D.J. Sperzel recovered a fumble on B-R’s 49 -– which led to a five-yard scoring run by Harry Walsh that pulled the Hawks within 25-20 with 5:02 left.

“Everybody on our schedule can beat us,” Buron said. “That’s the problem with playing a tough schedule so we have to come to play. Most every game we’ve been in has come down to the wire so we have to prepare for it.”

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM 32, XAVERIAN 27
XB (1-6) 0-13-0-14 – 27
BR (4-3) 0-12-6-14 – 32


Second quarter
B – Brandon Gallagher 5 run (run failed)
X – Shayne Kaminski 25 run (Kyle Darrow kick)
B – Ryan Murphy 20 pass from Jordan Cohen (pass failed)
X – Kaminski 2 run (pass failed)

Third quarter
B – Aaron Conrad 33 interception return (pass failed)

Fourth quarter
B – Murphy 17 pass from Cohen (Kevin Wadsworth kick)
X – Harry Walsh 5 run (Darrow kick)
B – Murphy 23 pass from Cohen (Wadsworth kick)
X – A.J. King 20 pass from Austin DeCarr (Darrow kick)

ESPN Boston Week 7 football picks

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
1:28
AM ET
FRIDAY
NO. 23 NEEDHAM (5-1) AT NO. 6 WALPOLE (6-0)
The Skinny: The Rockets received some help in the Bay State Carey race from Natick last week when the Red Hawks came away with a win at Weymouth. However, Needham will need to capitalize on that break with a win over the Herget’s other undefeated entrant. Rockets running back Mike Panepinto continues to be one of the great breakout stories on the year while the Rebels will need to shuffle the deck a little with the loss of Mike Rando, who’ll be out several weeks with an ankle injury. Of course, the Rebels counter with one of the more consistent and underrated linebacker units in the state, led by Cam Hanley and Steve Thulin.

Scott Barboza: Even sans Rando, the Rebels still have enough horses in the barn. Walpole, 26-21.

Hall: Losing Mike Rando, for however long a period of time, hurts. But this Rebels defense is still talented enough to get the job done and slow down Team Panepinto. Walpole, 20-7.

NO. 11 KING PHILIP (6-0) AT MANSFIELD (4-2)
The Skinny: This much anticipated Kelley-Rex matchup features one of the state’s premier defenses against a recharged Hornets offense. Brett McEvoy anchors the Warriors defense, which has surrendered just six points a game through the first six weeks, along with Joe Johnston. Kyle Wisnieski has held down the quarterback position admirably in his first year as starter, but hasn’t stared into a defense quite like that of the Warriors. If he has time to throw, Mike Hershman and Brendan Hill provide big-time targets. Let’s not forget that last year’s installment of this battle was the coming out party of KP quarterback John Dillon, who nearly lifted the Warriors to victory in a second-half comeback bid.

Barboza: Defense wins in big games, right? It’s been a while that the Warriors last had Mansfield’s number, but this is the year. KP, 20-14.

Hall: Can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat. Mansfield, 24-21.

Wakefield (6-0) at Burlington (5-1)
The Skinny: Depending on how Stoneham does this weekend, this one's for at least a share, possibly sole possession of the Middlesex League's Freedom Division (can we just call it Small to alleviate any confusion?). Burlington has had some injuries, but still boast the league's top rushing attack led by Marcus Odiah and Anthony Cruz. They'll meet a Wakefield defense that features a number of playmakers and hasn't allowed a point in 11 quarters. With Dan Cardillo (ankle) gone, there's no real superstar for Wakefield -- but sophomore receiver Bruce Brown will be one to watch, coming off a 124-yard performance last week in a shutout of Wilmington.

Barboza: I’m calling this a split decision. My fan section vote goes to the Red Sea. But the action on the field is dictated differently. Burlington, 8-6.

Hall: This one will be close, and the Warriors might not solve Burlington's rushing attack, but they'll make a big stop late. Wakefield, 17-10.

Mashpee (4-2) at No. 25 Abington (6-0)
The Skinny: This is a battle for sole possession of first place in the South Shore League, with both teams sitting tied atop the league standings at 3-0. The undefeated Green Wave have been getting some terrific defense all season, and feature one of the more unheralded versatile athletes in senior Babila Fonkem. Mashpee stumbled out of the gates, with losses to Nauset and Austin Prep in the first month, but has rebounded with a three-game win streak. Leading the attack have been running backs Malik Lee and Jared Taylor, as well as emerging quarterback Cody Bingham-Hendricks.

Barboza: Fonkem provides the highlight reel plays running and on special teams, but Brian Kilmain and Jack Malafronte give the Green Wave balance. They’re the difference. Abington, 28-20.

Hall: For the first time in three years, I managed to get through our picks on video and our podcast without mentioning my parents are Abington High Class of '79 (self high-five, folks). Don't get it twisted, though, that has nothing to do with why I've soured on Mashpee since the preseason. Abington, 28-17.

NO. 2 EVERETT (5-1) AT BC HIGH (2-3)
The Skinny: The Eagles are finally starting to heal, with starting quarterback Brendan Craven seeing action last week against Marlborough and running back Brandon Owens getting back into the mix. While they’re still missing a couple key cogs on defense, Owens will help bolster BC High’s run defense against Everett’s double-wing-based ground attack. The Crimson Tide also have been nursing some injuries in recent weeks, but Jalen Felix returned for last week’s game at Xaverian and Jakarrie Washington ran for three scores. Gilly De Souza, the glue that holds Everett’s secondary together, continues playing with an ankle injury and didn’t see the offensive side of the ball last week, but he’s remained rock steady (as he has since freshman year) in the kicking game.

Barboza: BC High is pumped and ready for this one, but De Souza provides the game-winning boot late. Everett, 17-14.

Hall: Won't be fooled again. Everett, 24-10.

SATURDAY
XAVERIAN (1-5) AT NO. 21 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-3)
The Skinny: This one has the potential to please fans of power football. The Hawks could go heavy in the backfield with Hunter Taute with Mike Brennan doubtful for this weekend’s game after a late injury in last week’s loss to Everett. Or, the Hawks could air it out behind Austin DeCarr whose hit on touchdown passes of 30-plus yards in each of the last two weeks. The Trojans will look to pound the ball behind breakout sophomore running back Brandon Gallagher and a physical offensive line anchored by Joe MacInnis. Senior quarterback Jordan Cohen also gives B-R the opportunity to strike downfield while rolling out of the pocket.

Barboza: I went with the Hawks last week and promptly was served some humble pie by Everett’s offensive line postgame. I’m sticking with my gut this week. Trojans have controlled this matchup in the last two seasons. B-R, 21-17.

Hall: Historically when the game slows to a ground-and-pound stalemate, the odds favor the Trojans. B-R, 20-10.

No. 18 Leominster (4-2) at No. 20 St. John's of Shrewsbury (4-2)
The Skinny: Back at the start of the season, we pegged this as must-see action to circle on one's calendar. It's still one of the games of the year in Central Mass., and we could even see a rematch come playoff time, but let the facts stand. Leominster and St. John's quickly fell from the Top 10 in the last several weeks; Leominster looked shaky in an upset loss to Wachusett and win over Algonquin, while St. John's has surrendered 100 points total in the last two games.

Barboza: That Pioneers defense tightens some, but just not quite enough to stop the Blue Devils. Leominster, 34-28.

Hall: If there's anything we've learned in the last two weeks, it's that if you can run on St. John's, you can go all Barry Switzer and "hang half a hundred on 'em". Leominster, 40-35.

Recap: No. 2 Everett 24, Xaverian 7

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
8:50
PM ET


WESTWOOD, Mass. –- It hasn’t always been pretty, but they’ve gotten the job done.

After taking a rather mundane 24-7 win over Xaverian on Saturday, John DiBiaso characterized the play of his No. 2 Everett Crimson Tide as ‘up and down.’

In recent weeks, Everett has struggled through injuries, playing without five defensive starters last week against Cambridge. The Crimson Tide also went with their fourth string quarterback Raheem Wingard to start Saturday’s game.

[+] EnlargeJakarrie Washington
Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comEverett's Jakarrie Washington had three rushing touchdowns and an interception in the Crimson Tide's 24-7 win over Xaverian.
Still, Everett has endured. Jakarrie Washington made his presence felt on both sides of the ball against the Hawks, running for three touchdowns and picking off a pass. The Crimson Tide have also relied on their strengths, as they did against Xaverian, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. On offense, Everett was able to move the pile. On the flip side, the Crimson Tide defensive line was dominant, led by outside linebacker C.J. Parvelus’ three sacks.

Yet, DiBiaso felt compelled to point out some of his teams’ deficiencies, even after the victory.

“Our offense struggled, but our defense played well,” the Everett head coach said.

He added, “We still haven’t developed an identity on offense, and we have to do that in the next couple weeks.”

The consensus is, however, that the Crimson Tide (5-1) can almost move the ball at will when settled into their double wing sets. Washington (12 carries, 87 yards) found success running off the right side of the line.

Everett was also advantaged by great field position against the Hawks (1-5).

For the second straight week, Xaverian was unable to get down the long snapper to punter connection, with two botched snaps setting up Everett drives at the plus-30 and 31, respectively.

Washington capped both of those drives with touchdown runs.

DUAL THREAT
While Washington had a nose for the end zone, his biggest play of the day perhaps came on defense.

Everett’s second offensive fumble lost of the first half set up Xaverian on the plus-side of the 50 with 1:27 remaining in the half. A few plays later, the Hawks had moved the ball to the 26 and eyed the end zone. On first and 10, Xaverian quarterback Austin DeCarr was looking for seven. That’s when Washington, who provided blanket coverage on Hawks wideout D.J. Pagliuca, made one of the more athletic interceptions you’ll see this season.

“They ran a little cross pattern, and we switched guys and I ran with it,” Washington said. “I had [Pagliuca] beat and I became the wide receiver and just caught the ball.”

STIFLE YOURSELF THERE
The Crimson Tide were able to force the Hawks’ offense out of sync with solid pressure throughout. Parvelus (3 sacks) along with Jeff Soulouque (2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QB hits) set up shop in the Hawks’ backfield.

It was all part of the plan to keep DeCarr (11 of 28, 135 yards, TD) from conducting an air raid.

“We came into this game, we just wanted to put pressure on the quarterback, make him uncomfortable, get them off their game and then give the offense the chance to put as much points on the board,” Parvelus said. “We wanted to bounce back from last week [against Cambridge] and have a good defensive week.”



Everett –- 7 10 7 0 -- 24
Xaverian – 0 0 7 0 -- 7

First quarter
E - Jakarrie Washington 2-yard run (Gilly De Souza kick)

Second quarter
E - Washington 10-yard run (De Souza kick)
E – De Souza 38-yard field goal

Third quarter
X - D.J. Pagliuca 62-yard pass from Austin DeCarr (Kyle Darrow kick)
E - Washington 8-yard run (De Souza kick)

Recap: No. 4 Duxbury 20, Xaverian 16

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
2:09
AM ET
DUXBURY, Mass. -- It’s a common adage on offense that you put the ball in the hands of your playmakers.

Well, to the same extent, Duxbury football head coach Dave Maimaron does that with his best defensive player. Maimaron, along with defensive coordinator Harry Taylor, entrust senior inside linebacker Marshall McCarthy with the ability to make his own decisions on the field. A three-year starter at his position, McCarthy is the quarterback of the defense, responsible not only for his own actions, but that of the unit.

With the game on the line against Xaverian on Saturday with one second remaining and a fourth-and-goal try from the 9-yard line, McCarthy again did what comes naturally.

“Smart Marshall, we call that,” Maimaron said of the defensive call. “He picks a hole and he goes.”

In this instance, McCarthy chose the A-gap and went barreling through, meeting Hawks quarterback Austin DeCarr in the backfield for sack. When the play was through, time expired and the Dragons escaped with their state-best winning streak in tact after a 20-16 win.

“Our guys, they just know when they’re down there that they’ve got to pick it up,” Maimaron said. “They just stepped it up every single time. Unfortunately, our offense kept putting them in that position.”

Duxbury (5-0) lengthened its winning streak to 31 games, but sweated out some tense moments late in the fourth. Twice in the final three minutes of the game, the Dragons were faced with goal-to-go situations and held. In addition to having a potential game-winning score erased off the board for Xaverian (1-4), due to an illegal procedure penalty, the Dragons were unrelenting.

“They brought some very good pressure on us,” Hawks head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “When you’re down in the red zone and it’s a condensed area, some times guys make those plays, some times they don’t. Two plays before that D.J. [Pagliuca] made the play, we score a touchdown, but it gets taken off the board.”

Two plays after Pagliuca’s aborted score, Duxbury senior defensive back Jack Sullivan broke up a pass attempt on the goal line to force a turnover on downs with 2:28 to play.

After forcing the Dragons three-and-out on their ensuing possession, Xaverian had one last shot at the end zone with 1:08 to play. Moving quickly downfield on a couple of pass plays from DeCarr (14 of 31, 233 yards) to Pagliuca (4 catches, 58 yards, TD), the Hawks were within 12 yards of a victory.

That’s when McCarthy (3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) came calling again.

STUMBLING BLOCKS
Duxbury won while lacking any kind of offensive rhythm. The Dragons were held under 200 offensive yards on the afternoon, thanks in no small part to the play of the Hawks’ front seven. Xaverian was able to pressure Duxbury quarterback Sean McCarthy throughout. Maurice Hurst Jr. notched three sacks, and rangy outside linebacker Aiden Desrosiers created havoc with two hurries and two passes defended with tipped balls at the line.

The Dragons were also able to dial up pressure at key moments. Starting running back Jon Hurvitz was asked to play a greater role on defense, playing slot corner. Hurvitz disrupted a promising first-quarter Hawks’ drive with a strip-sack. The fumble was recovered by Mike Klein.

“I give them credit, they’re a good football team,” Stevenson said. “They’ve won a lot games in a row, so they know how to win and they made the plays on both sides of the ball.”

RUN BEHIND THE BIGS
Of course, no Duxbury game this season would be complete without a touchdown or two by Hurvitz. While being held largely in check in the running game, the shifty 5-foot-9, 185-pound back was again a deciding factor. Hurvitz rushed for Duxbury’s second touchdown of the game for a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

But it was a play in the passing game that gave Duxbury its margin for victory.

After Xaverian took a 14-13 lead with 6:13 remaining in the third on Shayne Kaminski’s 30-yard touchdown run, Hurvitz regained the lead for the Dragons with his second score of the game. Running to the left on a slip screen pass, Hurvitz turned upfield running behind the pull of offensive lineman Rob Kosharek, who was inserted at left guard on the play. Twenty-four yards later, the Dragons were back on top.

“We usually try to run behind our big boys and Kosharek’s obviously the biggest,” Hurvitz chuckled.

With the Dragons’ running lanes disrupted by the Hawks’ front seven, Duxbury had to find other means of opening up space.

“They’re a lot bigger than us up front, so we knew that coming in,” Hurvitz said. "We thought we could get some movement, but they plugged the holes pretty good, so we had to go to our outside stuff.”

Xaverian – 0 7 7 2 -- 16
Duxbury – 7 6 7 0 -- 20

First quarter
Duxbury – J.P. O'Neil fumble recovery (Tucker Hannon kick)

Second quarter
Duxbury - Jon Hurvitz 10-yard run (Hannon kick)
Xaverian - D.J. Pagliuca 34-yard pass from Austin DeCarr (Kyle Darrow kick)

Third quarter
Xaverian - Shayne Kaminski 30-yard run (Darrow kick)
Duxbury - Hurvitz 24-yard pass from Sean McCarthy (Hannon kick)

Fourth quarter
Xaverian – Safety – Joe Gaziano sack

Game of the Week: Xaverian at Duxbury

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
4:45
PM ET
DUXBURY, Mass. -- ESPN Boston High Schools editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall stopped by practice at Duxbury High, site of this week's National Guard Game of the Week, to discuss the No. 4 Dragons' matchup with visiting Xaverian High this Saturday afternoon.

Be sure to stop by our ESPN Boston tent on Saturday, as well as the Natonal Guard's tent, for giveaways and prizes, and stick around after as we award our Player of the Game.

Recap: No. 15 Brockton 22, No. 3 Xaverian 14

September, 22, 2012
9/22/12
12:15
AM ET
BROCKTON, Mass. -- Raise your hand if you had Brockton with two wins, and two hard-nosed, convincing victories, against two of the preseason favorites in the Catholic Conference.

Didn’t see too many hands raised outside of Rocky Marciano Stadium.

[+] EnlargeAustin Roberts
Jon Mahoney for ESPNBoston.comAustin Roberts withstood some tough hits from Xaverian's defense too lead the Boxers to their second victory over a top-5 team in three weeks.
But that’s exactly where the Boxers find themselves after the first three weeks of the season. Brockton battered Xaverian last night in a 22-14 victory on the kickoff to the unveiling of the Rocky Marciano statue that will keep a watchful eye on the football team as they look to continue this turnaround season.

The Boxers shut out BC High and put on a balanced display against the scuffling Hawks to run its record to 2-1 on the season. Brockton was 0-4 against Catholic Conference competition last season.

“This month of September is tough, and it doesn’t get easier with (St. John’s Prep) next week,” said Boxers coach Peter Colombo. “We’ve got two wins against the Catholic Conference and it’s the best conference year-in-and-year-out in Eastern Mass. It’s a good way to start.”

BIG PLAYS FOR BOXERS
Colombo knows that his team is going to face opposing defenses that stack the box against the Boxers option-based offense. A run here to the outside, a dive up the middle and a couple toss sweeps will keep those defenses honest, but nothing allows the option to work best than a couple of big plays from the passing game.

That’s exactly what Colombo got in the second half.

Austin Roberts connected with Micah Morel twice in the second half, one from 38 yards out and one from 17 yards, to stay comfortably ahead of the Hawks. The scores came off of the same play, but the only wrinkle was that Morel lined up on the backside for the second score.

“We knew eventually the safeties were going to come down and bite (on the run),” said Morel. “It’s a play we’ve been working on for a long time, so it was good to finally pop it open.”

“We need that out of Micah too,” Colombo added. “We are expecting him to give us some offense this year. We’ve had people open in other games and we haven’t capitalized. They are up there, eight or nine in the box trying to stop the run and we’ve got to take the pressure off by throwing the ball and completing passes. Finally tonight we got a couple of big ones.”

XAVERIAN STRUGGLING
It hasn’t been a great two weeks for the Hawks offense. They were held to 29 yards of total offense in the first half and only had 31 yards rushing, something that they went away from in the second half, for the game. It took two and a half quarters for Xaverian to pick up a first down.

Austin DeCarr threw two touchdown passes, but finished 12-of-32 for 97 yards, with 26 of those throws coming in the final two quarters.

The breaks just aren’t falling the Hawks way in a two-week span that saw them go 0-2 and fall to 1-2 on the year. The Boxers fumbled the ball four times in the first half, but Xaverian was only able to recover one with seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“We didn’t recover the football and that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes,” said Hawks head coach Charlie Stevenson. “They had some sustained drives in the first half and we had really miserable field position all half. We really had our hands tied because of the position we were in. That hurt.”

BROCKTON 22, XAVERIAN 14
Xaverian (1-2) 0 – 0 – 7 – 7 – 14
Brockton (2-1) 0 – 8 – 7 – 7- 22

Second Quarter
B — Austin Roberts 3 run (Justin Ahanon rush)

Third Quarter
B — Micah Morel 38 pass from Roberts (Levion Merian kick)
X — DJ Pagliuca 27 pass from Austin DeCarr (Kyle Darrow kick)

Fourth Quarter
B — Morel 17 pass from Roberts (Ahanon kick)
X — Joe Denucci Jr. 10 pass from DeCarr (Darrow kick)

Taute looks to lead No. 3 Xaverian over the hump

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
11:43
AM ET
Hunter Taute spent his middle school years in Dublin, Ohio, a city that sits just northwest of Columbus, where football is king.

On your typical Friday night at the high school he would have attended, he and the rest of his teammates for the Coffman Shamrocks would be playing in front of an average crowd of 17,500 people in the Buckeye State’s highest classification.

It is a program that has produced notable recent alums such as Brady Quinn, who starred at Notre Dame and is now a backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, and offensive lineman Mike Adams, who played at Ohio State and is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

So when Taute’s family moved to Franklin before Hunter began high school, he wanted to go somewhere that shared a similar passion for the sport.

“From a young age, football was a way of life (in Ohio). They take it all serious. It’s a lot more important. Everyone cares more out there and everyone goes to the games.”

After cruising around the Xaverian page on the Maxpreps.com website, Taute knew where he wanted to go.

And while there won’t be a crowd approaching 20,000 people at the Hawk Bowl anytime soon, Taute is happy to be a Hawk, and his coach Charlie Stevenson may be even happier.

“Well, he’s 6-2, 245 and ran a 4.75 (40-yard dash) at the BC camp,” Stevenson said. “There’s not much more that needs to be said. He’s got good skills, he’s very versatile; he can run and catch and play defense. His versatility is very good.”

After playing with the freshmen in 2009, Taute was poised for a bigger role with the varsity as a sophomore before an injury sidelined him for most of the season. By the end of it, however, he was able to see the field at fullback.

Last season, he was the starting middle linebacker while retaining some of the same duties on offense. His fondest memory of 2011 came in a 27-9 win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury, where he played a stellar game on defense and combined with Maurice Hurst for 266 rushing yards in a downpour.

“That was one of the best games of my life so far,” said Taute, who holds an offer from Bryant and is also receiving interest from UConn, UMass, Boston College, UNH and Maine. “Me and Mo pretty much dominated that game. His 75-yard touchdown run sort of put (Xaverian) in the bigger picture and after that it set the tone for our running game.”

But for as well as the Hawks ran the ball at times last year, they had just as much trouble stopping it against the best teams on the schedule. The most glaring example came in a 42-21 loss at Everett when Vondell Langston, now at UMass, put up 208 yards on just 15 carries. St. John’s Prep’s Jonathan Thomas also had 202 yards in Xaverian’s 28-21 win on Thanksgiving.

For a team that returns a Michigan commit in Hurst at defensive tackle, Taute right behind him and nearly everyone else from last season’s front seven, a repeat performance would be a major disappointment.

“Last year it was pretty embarrassing the yards we gave up against the run,” said Taute, who now lives in Wrentham. “We work on tackling and making the other team have to pass more. With Mo, the pass rush is going to be great. The run defense should also be good but right now we’re stressing the inside run and draw.”

They’ll need to be at their best with the schedule in front of them. But after watching Catholic Conference rival BC High win the Division 1 Super Bowl last year, Taute would be glad to trade those big crowds back in Dublin for a little hardware on Clapboardtree Street.

“This year we want to get back on the horse,” he said, “get to the championship and take home the trophy.”

XAVERIAN AT A GLANCE
2011: 6-5 (2-2 Catholic Conference)
Coach: Charlie Stevenson (20th season, 158-52-1)
Key Returnees: Maurice Hurst, Sr. DT/FB, 6-3, 285 lbs.; Hunter Taute, Sr. MLB/FB, 6-2, 245 lbs.; Austin DeCarr, Sr. QB, 6-3, 195 lbs.; Ray Gobbi, Sr. OL/DT, 6-1, 285 lbs.; DJ Pagliuca, Sr. WR/DB, 5-10, 185 lbs.; Joe DeNucci, So. WR/DB, 6-0, 180 lbs.; Shayne Kaminski, Jr. OLB/RB, 5-10, 193 lbs.; Eddie Hanlon, Sr. OLB, 6-0, 185 lbs.; Mike Brennan, Sr. RB/DB, 6-0, 185 lbs.; DJ Sperzel, Jr. WR/DB, 6-3, 185 lbs.; AJ King, Jr. WR/DB, 5-10, 180 lbs.; Jordan Bayuk, Sr. DT, 6-2, 250 lbs.; Ryan MacLean, Sr. DE, 6-0, 190 lbs.; Elijah Jolly, Sr. DE, 6-3, 195 lbs.
Strengths: Skill positions, experience on defense, defensive line.
Weaknesses: Inexperience on offensive line, schedule.
Outlook: Over Stevenson’s tenure, Xaverian has proven its worth as one of those programs that will take on anyone at anytime. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that the veteran coach, when asked how this schedule stacks up with his previous ones, said, “This is the toughest, I think.” But even with this layup-free slate that includes a trip to highly touted St. Joseph Regional of New Jersey, the Hawks have the potential to reach the postseason for the first time since 2009, where they defeated Everett in the Division 1 Super Bowl. Offensively, look for a faster tempo with DeCarr spreading the ball around to a deep corps of receivers. The running game should be strong once again with Hurst, Taute and Brennan expected to shoulder the load. Defensively, the Michigan-bound Hurst leads a strong front seven, while many of the same faces at receiver will fill the slots in the secondary. The one major concern Stevenson has expressed over the offseason is whether his inexperienced offensive line, which returns just one starter in Gobbi, can grow up fast enough to withstand the pressure opponents are sure to bring at DeCarr.

Scrimmage slants: B-R vs. Xaverian

August, 25, 2012
8/25/12
6:08
PM ET
Xavier FootballScott Barboza/ESPNBoston.com
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Battles between Bridgewater-Raynham and Xaverian football have become rites of fall in recent memory.

Yet, that non-league rivalry has taken root in the teams’ annual passing scrimmage on the first weekend of the MIAA preseason calendar.

The Trojans and Hawks got back to work again Saturday morning at the Hawk Bowl, with Xaverian taking a slight edge in play. But after a nearly two-hour work through, both teams emerged with a lengthy list of both dos and don’ts.

“As a coach, looking down my list of notes here, there’s more negative than positive,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said, “but I thought there times defensively we played really well and we put good pressure on them.”

Trojans boss Dan Buron emphasized the fact that it’s very early, saying “I told the kids we made mistakes, but it’s nothing that isn’t correctable. “

Xaverian, ranked third in our preseason statewide Top 25 poll, got several big plays early from the arm of senior quarterback Austin DeCarr, including a 70-plus yard bomb for a touchdown.

The Hawks also came away with several interceptions in the early going, but B-R (No. 8 in preseason poll) settled into its offense behind incoming senior quarterback Jordan Cohen before long.

Here are a couple of observations and notes from this morning:

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
There was plenty of room for improvement on both sides, but both head coaches held their offensive lines in high praise.

Only once was B-R able to force DeCarr into a “sack” against Xaverian’s No. 1 offense.

Meanwhile, an experienced Trojans group held their own while facing off with a physical Hawks defensive front.

“I thought they did a good job today,” Buron said of his group. “Both teams know that have an advantage on defense because they know the pass is coming, but I thought our protection was good. They’re in good shape and we have some depth there.”

ANOTHER TO WATCH
Xaverian’s big bodies on the defensive line, as in Mo Hurst and Ray Gobbi, and linebacker Hunter Taute get plenty of attention. They’re also players opponents’ offensive coordinators will surely point out on film in the week leading up to playing the Hawks.

But what could make Xaverian dynamic on defense is the work of defensive end Elijah Jolly.

Stevenson singled out Jolly’s work on Saturday as the rangy, 6-foot-3, 215-pounder was able to establish the rush off the edge. If Jolly can keep up the pressure through the regular season, along with the Hawks solid interior defense, they could be very hard to beat.

MIXING IT UP
The Hawks have some bona fide targets in the passing game with Joe Bettinelli, Joe Denucci, D.J. Pagliuca and Greg Petrucci. But Stevenson primarily used Saturday to mixing up his personnel groups.

Denucci was also out nursing an injury, but Stevenson believes he’ll return for the Hawks’ opener at Malden Catholic.

While the scrimmage format slowed down the pace of play, Stevenson tried to turn out a bit of a new offensive identity for the Hawks, looking to go no-huddle.

Don’t fret though, the Hawks’ “500 pound” backfield combo of Hurst and Taute will see their time, as well.

“We have some players who can still run the ball, too,” Stevenson said. “We’ll put them to use.”

VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
The Trojans will be breaking in a lot of skill players this preseason with the graduation of quarterback Brad Deluliis and running backs Nick Schlatz and Branden Morin.

Cohen exhibited nice touch on several of his passes out of B-R’s bread-and-butter QB Waggle play.

While the running game was not featured, look for junior tailback Arcel Armstead to take on a bulk of the carries.

“They’re good,” Buron said of his running backs, “we just don’t have any game experience.”

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