Boston High School: Brett McEvoy

Recap: No. 18 King Philip 27, Franklin 0

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
11:12
PM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. -– Want to stop No. 18 King Philip from running the football?

Good luck.

Want to try scoring against the Warriors defense?

Double good luck.

Franklin could have used all the luck in New England and it wouldn’t have been enough to prevent the Warriors from blanking the Panthers, 27-0, in a Hockomock League Kelly-Rex Division game Friday night.

Of the 302 total offensive yards amassed by the Warriors, 275 came on the ground -– due in large part to Mark Glebus (9 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns) and Joe Johnston (18 carries for 75 yards and one score).

On the flip side of the ball, King Philip held Franklin to 42 yards of total offense and made life miserable for the Panthers’ talented quarterback, Nick Zucco.

Zucco, who was under relentless pressure all night, completed only 6-of-23 passes for 53 yards and was intercepted by Brett McEvoy and Jason Wholley.

In addition, he was sacked three times and forced into at least five “hurries.”

Glebus flashed his speed twice.

On his team’s first possession, he burst through the left side and sprinted 47 yards -– untouched -– for the first of his three scores.

Then, after Wholley’s pick in the fourth quarter, Glebus turned the left corner and dashed 58 yards for the capper.

Earning trust: “We have a lot of faith in Mark now and it’s growing,” KP coach Brian Lee said. “I told him at the beginning of the year we trust Joey and we trust Christian (Flaherty). When we get that trust in you, we’re going to give you the ball, too.


“He’s earned that trust now. He’s maximizing his playing time. He’s playing hard. He’s been playing great for us on defense (cornerback). And now he’s really stepped up to give us another dimension on offense.”

As the Panthers saw, much to their chagrin, that dimension is speed.

“Our other backs wear on you and pound on you and pound on you, and he’s our changeup,” Lee said. “It’s nice to have all of them. Most people would be happy with one of them and we have three good ones.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, King Philip has a host of “good ones” on defense.

In fact, the Warriors defense was so good that the Panthers never entered the red zone once. Their deepest penetration was to the King Philip 34.

“ ‘Mac’ (McEvoy) is the heart and soul of our defense,” Lee said. “He makes all of our checks and gets everybody where they need to be.

“I thought the ‘D line’ played real well tonight. I can’t say enough about the seniors on that defense. This is Mac’s third year. It’s Joey Johnston’s third year starting on our defense. You kind of start with those two guys and trickle down to everybody else.”

“We’re all one team and it takes one team to win,” said McEvoy, a linebacker. “As a unit we pulled through together to get the ‘W’.”

Bad breaks bite Panthers: After Glebus’ first score, the Warriors caught the first of two huge breaks in that opening quarter.

Following the ensuing kickoff, Franklin went three-and-out. But when Danny McDermott dropped back to punt, the snap sailed over his head and Zucco smothered it on Franklin’s 30.

Four plays later, Johnston busted three yards off right tackle for a 14-0 lead.

Then, after the Panthers notched their initial first down of the game, they again were forced to punt. And, again, the snap from center sailed over the punter’s head and Zucco smothered the ball on Franklin’s 37.

That miscue led to Glebus’ second score, a two-yard run for a 21-0 lead at halftime.

Despite what was a comfortable lead, McEvoy was adamant that the Warriors weren’t about to relax and give Franklin a chance to climb back into the game.

“It’s always comfortable when there’s a nice lead,” he said. “But you still have that thought in the back of your head that they can score at any moment and the momentum could change.

“We wanted to keep the momentum down for them and we kept it down for the whole game.”

KING PHILIP 27, FRANKLIN 0
FR (2-3, 0-2) 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 --- 0
KP (5-0, 3-0) 14 - 7 - 0 - 6 --- 27


First quarter
Mark Glebus 47 run (Derek Rochstein kick)
Joe Johnston 3 run (Rochstein kick)

Second quarter
K – Glebus 2 run (Rochstein kick)

Fourth quarter
K – Glebus 58 run (kick failed)

Recap: No. 22 King Philip 7, Westwood 0

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
12:29
AM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Senior tailback Joe Johnston rushed for 149 yards on 19 carries (106 yards in the second half) and in the fourth quarter provided the lone score of the game, as No. 22 King Philip held off a strong challenge from visiting Westwood to pick up a 7-0 win in its home opener.

It was a hard-hitting, grind-it-out game, which suited the Warriors and head coach Brian Lee just fine.

“I think we just talked a lot about perseverance,” said Lee. “We talked about trying to wear them down. When it was 0-0 at the half, it was right where we wanted to be… We knew were having trouble moving the ball and we just had to try and grit it out.”

Westwood (1-1), which scored 36 points in an exciting upset of preseason No. 21 Needham last week, struggled to get going offensively and head coach Ed Mantie gave some credit to the KP defense, but also felt that the problems were self-inflicted. The Wolverines had seven false start penalties, including four in its first two series, had two punts blocked (and another two that went a combined 13 yards), and an interception that led to the winning drive.

“One step forward and two steps back, that’s what it was all day long,” he remarked. “Our punting game was awful. Every time we would make a play and change the field position on them, we would pick up a penalty. Against a defense like that, if you get into first and long, it’s really, really hard.”

Owen Galvin made the big defensive play in the fourth quarter with an interception off of Westwood quarterback Bo Berluti at the Wolverines 39-yard line. Christian Flaherty (9 carries, 58 yards) had a pair of rushes, but a penalty made it second and 10 at the 25.

Sophomore quarterback Derek Roschlein, who had been replaced at halftime but had to come back in after an injury, hit Johnston for 28 yards to the Westwood 7. It was his only completion of the game (1-4, 18 yards). Johnston would cap the drive with a touchdown on the next play.

Lee was proud of Roschlein’s reaction to being pulled after halftime. He said, “That could kill a kid, which is why you don’t want to do it and then he comes back and does a great job for us. He has done a great job filling in some games.”

There was still 6:29 on the clock and Westwood would start the next possession on its own 43. After a first down, the Wolverines had a false start penalty, a fumbled snap that lost three yards, a negative rush, an incompletion, and were forced to punt. It encapsulated how the Westwood offense performed all game and, according to Mantie, it wasted a solid game from the defense.

“Our defense played great, certainly well enough to win,” said Mantie. “Our offense has to do better and our special teams need to step up and do what we need to do to win… If we hold a team like that to seven points, we need should be able to get two scores to win.”

KP (2-0) had one last possession to run out the clock with 3:39 left at its own 11-yard line and Johnston stepped up with the longest play from scrimmage. He raced 65 yards down the left sideline to ice the game for the Warriors, who got to the Westwood 1 before taking a knee and running out the clock.

Johnston was also a prominent player on the defensive side of the ball as the Warriors limited Berluti (13-17, 93 yards passing and 13 carries, 21 yards rushing) and the spread formation attack of the Wolverines. The Warriors had success despite an injury to senior linebacker Brett McEvoy that kept him out of the first few defensive possessions of the second half. Johnston was everywhere in the middle of the field and junior lineman John Marcinkevicius continually got into the Westwood backfield.

“They’re very similar types of players for us,” explained Lee about his two senior captains. “When one is down then the other one steps in and picks the other one up and we do that as a team as well.”

Despite the defeat, Mantie is hopeful that the two games against Division 2 competition would reap benefits when league play begins in two weeks. He noted, “We want to make this the last game that we lose. Iron sharpens iron, as they say, so we should be pretty sharp by now.”

Both teams have a bye next week. The following Friday, King Philip will travel to Taunton and Westwood goes to Medfield.

Recap: No. 23 KP 35, Middleborough 13

September, 7, 2013
9/07/13
7:54
PM ET


MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. – It all started with a “Pop!”

After a lack-luster first half, No. 23 King Philip trailed Middleborough, 7-6, at Battis Field on Saturday. Then, Warriors linebacker Brett McEvoy set the tone for what was to come.

McEvoy, who also handles kick-off duties for KP, booted the opening kick downfield, wove through the return block like pylons and met the ball carrier with loud thud. The ball popped loose and the game was never the same.

The Warriors forced four turnovers in the second half and ran away with a 35-13 win over the Sachems.

“It’s nice when you have your kicker who can run down, lays somebody out and forces a turnover for you,” KP head coach Brian Lee said of McEvoy’s thunderous special teams play.

The Warriors (1-0) utilized a short field to set up several scores in the second half.

Andrew Hayward recovered the fumble McEvoy forced and, six plays later, KP had its first lead of the game on Christian Flaherty’s second rushing touchdown of the game.

On the ensuing Sachems (0-1) possession, Kyle Loewen grabbed the first of three Warriors interceptions. Again setting up shop on the plus-side of the 50-yard line, KP needed just two plays before Joe Johnston (13 carries, 110 yards) found the end zone for his first of two rushing touchdowns.

Owen Galvin then pocketed the Warriors’ second interception, taking back a pick-six 23 yards.

Finally, after collecting an interception of his own, Johnston capped another scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run two minutes into the fourth quarter for a 35-7 Warriors’ lead.

Sophomore running back Eddie Hart added a 39-yard touchdown run with a nice cut-back move in the open field to cap scoring for the Sachems.

“The beginning, the first half, we came out real soft,” Johnston said. “I don’t know why the first game of the year we weren’t ready for it.”

Then, that changed. Thanks to McEvoy.

“[The hit] just sparked us. Everybody got going and we fed off of that.”

Undaunted: The Warriors were able to wear down Middleborough in the second half thanks to a relentless edge rush from junior defensive end Peter Garrity.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder registered a pass defended in the first half, batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage. He also tallied two tackles that went for no gain or a loss.

“He’s a kid that we have high expectations for,” Lee said of Garrity. “He has a big job to do for us and he was able to do it today.”

Building blocks: While the Sachems offense sputtered in the second half, there were plenty of positives to take away from a rough afternoon.

Middleborough, coming off its first winning season since 2005, under Patrick Kingman, has a core strength on the defensive line. The Sachems more than held their own for the better part of three quarters against a relentless KP rushing attack.

They also got penetration. Senior defensive tackle Vasili Papathanasiou finished with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Also, look out for senior two-way tackle Jeremy Hernandez. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder recently won the heavyweight wrestling title at the Bay State Games.

At No. 23 King Philip, The Dude abides

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
8:21
PM ET
This isn’t a ‘90s Nickelodeon show. It’s not Jeff Bridges searching for his lost Creedence tapes.

In Brian Lee’s realm as the head of King Philip football, just about everybody is a “Dude.”

“I guess you could say we’re a team of Dudes,” senior Brett McEvoy said while chuckling Wednesday. “The team is The Dude.”

While it might be the colorful (and we mean that frankly, evidenced by Lee’s frequent choice of footwear – a pair of banana peel yellow Crocs) coach’s means of expressing reverence for one of his players, it also speaks to the kind of athletes the No. 24 Warriors have had in recent memory.

Who is that KP football player? Typically, they’re tough. Rugged, really. In more instances than not, they play on both sides of the ball. It’s a result of what Lee expects from his players.

“There are only so many players that can play,” said McEvoy, an inside linebacker and tight end. “We’re not expected to play both ways, but the best players are the ones that’ll get on the field.

“We don’t think about it that much, we’re just doing what we’re told to do.”

McEvoy, like a number of his KP teammates, have been around as well. He’s a three-year starter, somebody that Lee terms to be a quarterback of the defense.

He has help as well. Along with fellow seniors Joe Johnston, Christian Flaherty and Mike Cooke, Lee has a cabal of experienced players he has come to trust on both sides of the ball.

“It’s more out of necessity,” Lee said of his two-way players. “We’re a bigger school, but we only have about 50 kids out for varsity football. Really, no matter what your numbers are, you end up getting about eighteen or twenty bodies on field a night. Your team really focuses on those players, so you’re using them over and over.

“They have to be a piece in the machine, you don’t have other options.”

Still, of that multi-talented group, that’s something else that is found in these players: a sense of accountability. McEvoy, a preseason ESPN Boston All-State linebacker, understands that principal. He’s from a military family. His father, Matt, (a Mansfield alum!), is a Marine Corps veteran and his brother, Ben, joined the Marine Reserve earlier this year.

Brett McEvoy has also considered the services while hoping to attract the attention of college football recruiters.

“He’s a ‘tweener for colleges,” Lee said of the 6-foot-1 McEvoy, “he’s not quite big enough yet. He’s not going to be your 6-foot-4 linebacker, but he’s a great player for us. He can really play.”

In other words, he’s a Dude – with a capital ‘D.’

KING PHILIP AT A GLANCE
Coach: Brian Lee (9th year, 52-35)
Last season: 10-1
Returning Starters: 12 (six offense, six defense)
Key Returnees: Brett McEvoy, Sr. LB/TE, 6-1, 185lbs.; J.J. Dillon, Sr. QB, 6-0, 175 lbs.; Joe Johnston, Sr. RB/SS, 6-1, 195 lbs.; Christian Flaherty, Sr. RB/DE, 6-1, 180 lbs.; Jason Wholley, Sr. DB/E.
Strengths: Experience at skill positions and key defensive positions.
Weaknesses: Depth; inexperience on offensive/defensive lines.
Overview: Lee loves to run the ball, and senior quarterback J.J. Dillon (7 TD passes in 2012) knows that. But that hasn’t prevented the head coach from developing a strong trust in Dillon, who’s been the starter for the better part of the last two seasons. Lee has – with increasing confidence and leniency – allowed Dillon a greater hold of the offense, allowing the senior to make calls at the line of scrimmage and an increasing number of “check-with-me” plays.We were giving him little bits to focus on and adding little things here and there week by week,” Lee said of Dillon’s sophomore campaign. “Last year, with everything he does, watching film and trying to understand opposing defenses, we were able to do more with him. He’s a smart kid.” With that being said, expect even gaudier numbers this season from Joe Johnston, who led the Warriors with 1,361 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012 and whose a year bigger and stronger. Also, look for junior Mark Glebus to have an increased role in the backfield. On defense, well … You can always expect the kitchen sink from the Warriors coaching staff who are content to bring pressure from any and all angles in any and all situations.

ESPN Boston Preseason MIAA All-State Team

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
8:17
AM ET
The MIAA football season officially kicks off today with the first sanctioned team practices. Below is our fourth annual ESPN Boston Preseason MIAA All-State Football Team, as well as our expansive "Watch List".

*Indicates returning All-State

OFFENSE

QB – Drew Belcher, Sr., Reading*
QB – Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick*
QB – Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)*
QB – Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
RB – Johnathan Thomas, Sr., St. John’s Prep*
RB – Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South*
RB – Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham
RB – Brandon Gallagher, Jr., Bridgewater-Raynham
WR – Brian Dunlap, Jr., Natick*
WR – Isaac Yiadom, Sr., Doherty
WR – Jack Galvin, Sr., Lowell
WR – Ju’uan Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
TE – Rory Donovan, Sr., Cardinal Spellman
TE – Brendan Hill, Jr., Mansfield
OL – Jon Baker, Sr., Millis/Hopedale*
OL – Kent Blaeser, Sr., St. John’s Prep
OL – Shawn Whitaker, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
OL – Cam Smith, Sr., Medway
OL – Sean Lee, Sr., Springfield Central
ATH – Dave Harrison, Sr., Weymouth
ATH – Neil O’Connor, Sr., Leominster

DEFENSE

DL – Andrew Bourque, Sr., Reading
DL – Will Greelish, Sr., Auburn
DL – Alex Quintero, Sr., Lowell
DL – Chris Tinkham, Sr., Lynn English
LB – C.J. Parvelus, Sr., Everett
LB – Sean Smerczynski, Sr., St. John’s Prep*
LB – Brett McEvoy, Sr., King Philip
LB – Liam Kenneally, Sr., Reading
LB – Shayne Kaminski, Sr., Xaverian
LB – Tom Rodrick, Sr., Leicester
DB – Lubern Figaro, Sr., Everett
DB – Davon Jones, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
DB – D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Sr., Central Catholic
DB – Jarell Addo, Sr., Leominster
D-ATH – Kevin Bletzer, Sr., Catholic Memorial

***

WATCH LIST

Olan Abner, Sr. RB, Bedford
Mike Abruzzese, Sr. DB, Natick
Justin Ahanon, Sr. ATH, Brockton
Shaquille Anderson, Sr. RB, Cambridge
Nick Andreas, Jr. QB, Danvers
Charlie Aylward, Sr. LB, Catholic Memorial
Jordan Balarinho, Sr. QB, Billerica
Michael Balsamo, Jr. DB, Central Catholic
Malachi Baugh, Sr. RB, Stoughton
Joe Bellomo, Jr. RB, Holliston
Aidan Beresford, Sr. OL, Marshfield
Will Blumenberg, Jr. QB, Concord-Carlisle
Will Bolster, Sr. QB, Walpole
Ommel Bonilla, Jr. DL, Andover
Ryan Boucher, Sr. OL, North Reading
Andrew Boynton, Sr. WR, Natick
Luke Brennan, Sr. QB, Doherty
Joe Brown, Sr. OL, Central Catholic
Jake Burt, Jr. TE, St. John’s Prep
Ryan Charter, Sr. QB, Needham
Max Chipouras, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Jordan Collier, Sr. RB, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Nick Cordopatri, Sr. OL, Walpole
Nicolau Coury, Jr. LB, Lowell
Shyheim Cullen, Jr. LB, Lowell
Jeff D’Auria, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Kyle Dance, Sr. QB, Latin Academy
Lukas Denis, Jr. DB, Everett
Joe DeNucci, Sr. ATH, Newton North
Kevin DiBona, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Steve DiCienzo, Sr. LB, BC High
Rob DiLoreto, Sr. WR, Reading
Brian Dolan, Sr. QB, Lowell
John Donnellan, Sr. DL, Reading
Isaiah Douglas, Sr. DB, Bishop Feehan
Angel Duarte, Sr. LB, Everett
Michael Dunn, Jr. ATH, Dennis-Yarmouth
Markus Edmonds, Jr. LB, Central Catholic
Derek Estes, Sr. DB, Barnstable
Michael Fawhemini, Sr. DB, St. John’s Prep
Joey Fitton, Sr. OL/DL, Holy Name
Connor Gatto, Sr. OL, Northbridge
Joe Gaziano, Jr. DL, Xaverian
Micah Gregory, Sr. DB, Barnstable
T.J. Hairston, Jr. WR, Watertown
Jack Herlihy, Sr. OL, Duxbury
Michael Hershman, Sr. WR, Mansfield
Kejonte Hickman, Jr. QB, Boston Cathedral
Alex Hilger, Sr. WR, Natick
Sean Hoey, Sr. OL, St. John’s Prep
Jon Holdgate, Sr. LB, Nantucket
Jeff Holland, Sr. ATH, Holy Name
Dom Hooven, Sr. OL, St. John’s Prep
Jack Hubley, Sr. LB, Lincoln-Sudbury
Phoenix Huerta, Sr. QB, Somerville
Jordan Javier, Jr. ATH, Lynn English
Kervin Jean-Claude, Sr. LB, Brockton
Domingo Jenkins, Sr. RB, Taunton
Austin Jones, Sr. OL, Shepherd Hill
Anderson Jupiter, Sr. RB, Somerville
Brandon Kahari, Soph. DB, St. John’s Prep
Devon Kellner, Sr. LB, Taunton
Rory Keohane, Sr. DL, BC High
Chris Kennedy, Sr. LB, Barnstable
Dylan Kierman, Sr. QB, Quabbin
A.J. King, Sr. ATH, Xaverian
Jimmy King, Sr. DL, Reading
Grant Kramer, Sr. OL, Duxbury
Fodee Kromah, Sr. DB, Holy Name
Noah Kung, Sr. OL, Walpole
Michael Kwegyir-Attah, Sr. LB, Haverhill
Jaleel Kyles, Sr. DB, Springfield Putnam
Mitch Laferriere, Sr. LB, BC High
Keagan Latta, Sr. WR, Lowell
Aaron LeClair, Sr. RB, Brockton
Matt Long, Soph. RB, Weymouth
Wayne Lowery, Sr. DB, Springfield Putnam
Steve Manning, Sr. DL, Abington
Kenneth Marshall, Sr. LB, Springfield Central
Ryan Martin, Sr. WR, Bridgewater-Raynham
Ngaiiva Mason, Sr. RB, Lowell
Liam Matheson, Sr. RB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Eddie Matovu, Sr. LB, Tewksbury
Sean McCarthy, Sr. QB, Duxbury
Eric Mercer, Sr. LB, Melrose
Kens Morantus, Sr. LB, Waltham
Connor Moriarty, Sr. ATH, Walpole
Luke Morrison, Sr. TE, Attleboro
Hayden Murphy, Sr. ATH, Barnstable
Kevin Nunes, Sr. WR, New Bedford
Nick Orekoya, Jr. DB, Billerica
Luis Ortiz, Sr. TE/LB, Springfield Central
Derek Pacheco, Sr. DL, Barnstable
Connor Peck, Sr. OL, Catholic Memorial
Khai Perry, Sr. RB, Duxbury
Kylan Philbert-Richardson, Sr. RB, Archbishop Williams
Wes Quinzani, Sr. DB, Duxbury
Aaron Rabb, Sr. DL, Whitman-Hanson
Deion Raper, Sr. DB, Brockton
Kerry Raymond, Soph. RB, Brockton
Eddie Rivera, Jr. RB, Leominster
Justin Robinson, Sr. WR, Natick
Owen Rocket, Jr. WR, St. John’s Prep
Sergio Rodriguez, Sr. OL, Somerville
Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB/LB, Bishop Fenwick
D’Vante Sewell, Sr. DB, Springfield Commerce
Ben Sheehan, Jr. RB, Minnechaug
Tim Smith, Sr. RB, Dartmouth
Joel Sodeinde, Sr. OL, Dartmouth
Jimmy Sullivan, Sr. QB, Nauset
Jack Sylvester, Sr. RB, Andover
Thomas Tabur, Sr. OL, Northbridge
Tyrone Thornton, Sr. DB, Newton South
Nick Thyden, Sr. WR, Quabbin
Griffin Tighe, Sr. DL, Franklin
Coby Tippett, Soph. ATH, Xaverian
Taj-Amir Torres, Jr. WR/DB, Amherst
Spencer Tyler, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Luc Valenza, Sr. LB, Foxborough
Jason Valera, Sr. LB, Leominster
Alex Valles, Sr. DB, Danvers
Kahlil Walker, Sr. DL, Springfield Central
Casey Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover
Isaiah White, Sr. RB, Beverly
Jamal Williams, Sr. RB, Brockton
Mayson Williams, Sr. ATH, Leominster
Raheem Wingard, Sr. QB, Everett
Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield

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.
The defining moment of John Dillon’s young career might have come in a game that he lost. Facing Hockomock League rival Mansfield last year, Dillon and his King Philip teammates were up against it, down three scores to the Hornets and All-State running back Charles Ruffin was hampered with a leg injury.

The time was ripe for the Warriors’ sophomore quarterback to take control. Dillon led KP up and down the field, whittling down Mansfield’s lead to a point in the fourth quarter. The only magic Dillon couldn’t muster was on a penultimate two-point attempt after his final touchdown pass.

KP left their home turf that night dejected after another close shave to their league nemesis, but a shift occurred. That’s when Dillon truly became the Warriors’ leader in the huddle.

“[Coach Brian Lee] showed guts putting a sophomore in at quarterback last year,” Dillon said. “I just wanted to prove him right, that I could do the job.”

Down the stretch, KP ran to a share of the Hockomock Kelley-Rex division title and represented the league in the Division 2 playoffs after winning a tiebreaker, marking the program’s first-ever playoff appearance. Again, the Warriors fell a hair short of what would’ve been a momentous win, in a 7-0 loss to a favored Duxbury squad, during the postseason.

It was another statement that Lee’s program had officially arrived.

“We were going up against a team last year in the playoff that I thought was one of the best high school teams I’ve seen,” Lee said, “but all the kids bought in and did their jobs. That’s all a result of the kids buying into their role. If guys do that, you can do great things.”

There will be more on the plate this year for Dillon, however, as he returns as the unquestioned leader of the offense.

The Warriors can no longer rely on Ruffin’s ability to crack off a home run on any given carry. The key for KP will be balance and Dillon’s ability to manage the offense.

“We’re still going to be the same team,” Dillon said. “We still run out of the I, we still run the pro style offense. We’re still going to do the same things. Our line is very good this year and we have some running backs who I think can really help us, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem running the ball.

“But we’re going to have be a more well-rounded team than we were last year.”

Dillon’s spent the offseason putting on weight and working on his footwork. He wants to be a more athletic quarterback.

Lee’s also empowered Dillon with more command of the offense with the green light to make audible calls at the line.

A mix of preparation, skill and trust have gotten Dillon this far. Now, it’s simply time for him to run with it.

“There’s not anybody else to rely on,” Lee said. “There’s not going to be somebody who’s going to move you 80 yards downfield on one play. We have to play perfect. So now J.J. [Dillon] has to step up and play more of a leadership role.”

KING PHILIP AT A GLANCE
2011: 9-2 (Lost to Duxbury in Div. 2 EMass playoffs)
Coach: Brian Lee (8th year, 42-34)
Players to watch: Brett McEvoy, Jr. LB, 6-1, 185; John Dillon, Jr. QB, 6-0, 160; Sean Littlefield, Sr. RB/DB, 5-7, 170; Joey Johnston, Sr. RB, 5-11, 175; Christian Flaherty, Jr. RB/DE, 6-0, 170.
Strengths: Team speed, swarming defense.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience at running back, offensive line and linebacker.

Outlook: In Lee’s words, the Warriors aren’t going to have a sole “dude” to rely on. Graduated running back Charles Ruffin was a once-in-a-generation-type of talent and KP isn’t looking to replace him, just adapt. Flaherty, Johnston and Littlefield will form a backfield by committee instead. ‘They’ll be rotating through because they’ll all be playing defense as well,” Lee said. On defense, KP will bring its same varied blitz schemes, causing havoc for quarterbacks. The key will be finding a replacement for graduated inside linebacker Nick Lussier, who was KP’s defensive quarterback.

Recap: No. 18 King Philip 19, No. 25 North 7

October, 15, 2011
10/15/11
8:17
PM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. -- Backed up against its own goal line following a botched punt return and facing a fourth-and goal situation, King Philip linebacker Nick Lussier burst through the center of the line and grabbed onto North Attleboro quarterback Spyro Varetimos for all he was worth.

He managed to hold the QB long enough to allow the wall of defenders to build up behind him, resulting in a huge stop that turned what could have been a potential disaster into the spark that changed the course of the game.

Lussier and fellow linebacker Brett McEvoy each finished with eight tackles to lead the 'D' while Charles Ruffin rushed for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23 carries as the Warriors picked up a much-needed 19-7 victory over Hockomock League Kelley-Rex Division foe North Attleboro Saturday afternoon at Macktaz Field.

"That was huge," KP head coach Brian Lee of said the goal-line stand. "Everything kind of went wrong for us in the first half and we were still able to be up 7 so I was very happy. Special teams kind of put us in a hole and I'm the special teams coach so I have nobody to blame but myself. The defense really just bailed us out there."

The No. 18 Warriors, who improved to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the league, thought they had the No. 25 Red Rocketeers (5-1, 1-1) stopped cold just beyond midfield. KP forced NA to punt, but the ball tailed toward the sideline and bounced several times, making it difficult to field. Reid Holden recovered for the Rocketeers at the KP 7, and they pushed it close to the goal line with a pair of runs and a short pass before Lussier came up with the big stop.

"We were all saying on the defense that we don't pick the situations when we go out there," explained Lussier. "We banded together, the whole unit. We don't have one standout player, we're a unit together. And we believed in each other and we just said, 'You know what? We didn't ask for this but we've got to make the best of it' and we did. We stopped them."

That set the tone for the Warrior defense, who held North to just 20 rushing yards, and 133 yards of total offense. KP allowed nine first downs in the game, five of which came on the Rocketeers final drive against a prevent defense while trailing, 19-0.

"We weren't able to run the ball and control the clock on offense. That's what we were able to do in all our other games," NA head coach Don Johnson said. "I think after we look at the film we're probably going to walk away and say KP's defense was pretty good. I'm sure we made our share of mistakes out there but I think they made us make those mistakes."

RUFFIN PLAYING HURT
KP's star running back Charles Ruffin can't seem to catch a break when it comes to his right ankle. He originally injured it two weeks ago in a 27-26 loss to Mansfield and sat out last week's 28-13 win over Oliver Ames.

The talented senior rushed for 84 yards and a 2-yard TD in the first half, but had to leave the game for a brief spell after getting the ankle twisted on a draw play right before the break.

"Its just gonna be a labor here," said Lee on Ruffin's injury. "He's really dinged up and doing what he's supposed to do. We needed him today and he came back and played. And he knows he maybe shouldn't be playing but he's sucking it up and knows he wants to be a part of this. It killed him to not be playing last week so he wanted to get in there."

Ruffin sat out the Warriors first series of the second half, but returned in style with a 13-yard TD on a sweep around the right side and was able to grit his teeth enough to stay in the backfield and help KP eat up valuable clock time.

"Our coaches, what they have us do, they have us remember a definition called 'Accountability.' You have to have the quality state of mind to be an accountant for your team," Ruffin explained. "That's what I'm trying to through adversity for my team. I know it hurts but I gotta suck it up and have that mental toughness to go back in the game."

TIMELY PASSING HELPS
It's easy to get lost in the large shadow cast by the talented Ruffin, but the maturation and development of KP sophomore quarterback John Dillon is going to give opponents something to think about when they try to load up the box to attack the run.

Listed at 6-feet, 156 pounds, Dillon is displaying a knack for coming through with a big play when the Warriors need one. His final numbers are nothing a quick glance at the box score will get you excited about (4-for-6, 87 yards) but it was about when the completions came and what they led to that made a big difference.

In the second quarter of a scoreless game, after four straight Ruffin carries moved KP from its own 40 to the NA 32, Dillon fooled everyone by firing a quick pass over the middle to Sam McDonald, who was wide open behind the Rocketeer linebackers. The play went for 30 yards, and Ruffin went in from the two for the game's first score.

On a third-and-10 in the third quarter, Dillon executed a perfect play-action fake and connected again with McDonald for 30 yards to set his team up at the NA 30. The Warriors ultimately missed a 34-yard field goal attempt, but Dillon once again came up with a big play to keep a potential scoring drive alive.

Then in the fourth on second-and-8 at the Rocketeers 40, Dillon drilled a 22-yard pass to wideout Mike Viola. Two plays later, Ryan Dunn bulled through the middle for a 14-yard touchdown run that gave the Warriors a 19-0 lead with 8:02 remaining.

"He's a young kid back there but whenever we call on him to make plays, he's been able to do it in a tough league," Lee said in praise of Dillon. "He's playing smart and doing what we ask. Not trying to win everything but just trying to make a play when he can. He's very bright and he's played in two big games now and he's really done a great job in both of them for us."

KING PHILIP 19, NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH 7
NA (5-1) 0 0 0 7 - 7
KP (5-1) 0 7 6 6 - 19


KP - Charles Ruffin 2 run (Ryan Dunn kick)
KP - Ruffin 13 run (kick blocked)
KP - Dunn 14 run (rush failed)
NA - Wesley Nichols 1 run (Spyro Varetimos kick)

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