Boston High School: Charles Ruffin



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MHSFCA unveils 'Super 26' All-State Team

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
1:38
PM ET
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches' Association unveiled its annual "Super 26" All-State Team today. Those honored will be presented this spring at Lantana's Restaurant, in Randolph.

Below are the selections. Italicized names indicate they were also a selection to ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett
Cam McLevedge, Weymouth
Matt Montalto, Dennis-Yarmouth

Receivers
Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Don Webber, Duxbury

Offensive Line
Brendan Melanson, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Dan McCourt, Pembroke
Jameson McShea, BC High
Andrew VanderWilden, Concord-Carlisle
Chad Woodfine, Chicopee

Running Back
Sacoy Malone, Springfield Central
Quinton Perkins, Fitchburg
Melquawn Pickney, Springfield Putnam

DEFENSE

Defensive Line/Linebacker
Henry Bumpus, Concord-Carlisle
Nick DiChiara, BB&N
Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Vondell Langston, Everett
Max Randall, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Mansfield
Nick Schlatz, Bridgewater-Raynham
Will Twyman, Lincoln-Sudbury
Camren Williams, Catholic Memorial

Secondary
Todd Collier, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jack Connolly, St. Sebastian’s
Joe Epps, Bourne
Charles Ruffin, King Philip

ESPN Boston MIAA football All-State team

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
7:40
PM ET
OFFENSE
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
Statistically the state’s best all-time quarterback, the ESPN Boston Mr. Football recipient finishes his storied career in Everett as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (103) and passing yards (7,052). This season he broke his own state single-season record for TD passes (44), and threw for over 2,800 yards. In the last two seasons alone, both perfect Super Bowl-winning campaigns, he threw for 87 touchdown passes to better the previous state all-time mark of 85. DiBiaso is undecided on college plans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


DEFENSE
DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Recap: Duxbury 7, King Philip 0

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
11:55
PM ET
WEYMOUTH, Mass. — It wasn’t the way that David Maimaron would have drawn it up, or probably liked to see his Duxbury football team advance to the Div. 2 Super Bowl, but a grind-it-out win to run the Dragons' winning streak to 25 is exactly how it went down last night.

The Dragons improved their record to 12-0 on the season, with a tight 7-0 victory over King Philip (9-2) in the Div. 2 Eastern Mass. semifinals at Weymouth High.

Jon Hurvitz scored the lone touchdown for the Dragons, and Greg Williams came away with a game-saving interception in the final seconds, with the Warriors barreling down towards the goal-line for a tying score, to set up a date with the winner of Reading and Tewksbury at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

Maimaron’s team has probably won a football game in every which way during the 25-gamer, and he knows that having that experience in the playoffs and on the big stage is something that can’t be overlooked, especially in one-score games.

“We’ve been in these situations before,” said Maimaron. “That’s something that kind of helped us. Our big game experience, I think that’s what kind of helped us a little bit here. The fact that we’ve done this before and that was a slight advantage we had, and we needed every advantage we could get against that team.”

Warrior 'D' strong early: It was no secret the formula the Dragons have been using all season against their opponent. Matt O’Keefe came into the game with 32 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions this season, and the talented quarterback can run just as well he can throw.

The Warriors' plan was to punish him and send pressure at him from all angles, and that’s exactly what they did. O’Keefe finished the game 6-for-16 or 60 yards and only picked up 51 yards on 12 carries. The Warriors defense put a shot on the Dragons quarterback whenever they could, as they finished with four sacks and a number of hurried throws.

“They came out with an awesome game plan,” said O’Keefe. “I had no idea really where they were coming from.”

The Dragons best chance to score early came late in the first quarter. Reilly Naton hit Don Webber on a fake punt for a 15-yard gain to keep the Dragons drive alive.

On third and goal from the two yard line, O’Keefe scrambled left and looked like he could have gotten the corner on the play, but decided to heave it at the last minute to a receiver in the corner of the end zone and his pass fell harmlessly to the turf. Then on fourth down, O’Keefe was stuffed at the 1-yard line as he tried to got over center.

Dragons finally get in: Duxbury looked like it was going to stall again in the red zone on its first possession of the second half, but a mistake by the Warriors set up the only score of the game. On fourth and two from the 16 yard line, O’Keefe barked out his commands and got the Warriors to jump offside to extend the drive.

“We tried to draw them off and we went with the hard count,” said O’Keefe.

Hurvitz barreled in up the gut from 11 yards out on the next play, to give Duxbury the 7-0 lead.

The Clincher: Williams made sure to keep his focus with the Warriors on the doorstep in the waning moments of the game. A penalty on a punt, for the Dragons' punter illegally kicking the ball on a bobbled snap, put King Philip in the best position it had all day.

Charles Ruffin broke four tackles for a 20 yard gain to get inside the Duxbury 20. On the next play, Sam McDonald made a shoestring catch to get inside the 10 with less than a minute to go. On first-and-goal to go from the six, John Dillon went searching for an open receiver towards the right pylon, but Williams made a good read on the ball and nearly picked off the pass.

He waited to do just that on the next play.

Dillon went back same route, and Williams was there to jump in front of the intended receiver and intercept the pass to send the Dragons sideline into a frenzy.

It was a huge play for a player who saw little playing time during the opening part of his senior season.

“They came right back at me and I was ready for it,” said Williams. “I just read the quarterback. It came my way and I made a play on it.”

DUXBURY 7, KING PHILIP 0
DUX(12-0) 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 --- 7
KP (9-2) 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 --– 0

Fourth Quarter
Jon Hurvitz 11 run (Tucker Hannon kick)

Recap: No. 12 King Philip 42, Franklin 21

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
7:24
PM ET
FRANKLIN, Mass. -– For the first time in the King Philip football program’s 51-year history, the Warriors are playoff-bound.

Senior running back Charles Ruffin carried the load for No. 12 KP (9-1, 3-1) on Turkey Day, rushing 24 times for 196 yards and a touchdown as the Warriors routed rival Franklin, 42-21, on Thursday at Pisini Field. This, coupled with North Attleboro’s victory over Attleboro, created a three-way tie for the Hockomock League title, and gave KP the necessary tiebreaker to earn the league’s postseason berth.

Franklin (4-7, 0-4) actually struck first in the contest, with sophomore quarterback Nick Zucco hitting senior Rhett Davis for a 64-yard score on the Panthers’ second play from scrimmage.

“[The same situation] happened to us a couple of weeks ago with Canton, too,” Ruffin said. “We don’t get nervous about it, we’re just going to stay with the game plan. So it didn’t really bother us, we just knew we had to make some corrections.”

The advantage would not last long, however, as the Warriors received the ensuing kickoff and began hammering away at the Franklin defense with a combination of Ruffin and senior fullback Ryan Dunn.

Ruffin broke runs of nine, seven and 23 yards on KP’s opening drive before Dunn plowed in from a yard out. Holder Sam McDonald bobbled the snap on the extra point, but corralled the ball and ran it in for the two-point conversion to give KP an 8-7 lead.

Dunn finished with 46 rushing yards on 13 carries, and also kicked five extra points.

That would become the theme for the day, as the Warriors employed Ruffin’s speed and Dunn’s power running to control the clock and keep Franklin’s potent spread offense off the field.

After a Franklin missed field goal, KP drove down the field again with a steady dose of Ruffin, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown sneak by quarterback John Dillon.

The sophomore did not need to do much with his arm, but was efficient when he did. Dillon completed 3 of 4 passes for 80 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown strike to Joe Cochrane in the second quarter to stretch the Warriors’ lead to 21-7.

“We didn’t even have to throw if we didn’t want to, we could have just handed it off,” KP head coach Brian Lee said. “But when we asked [Dillon] to make a play, he’s so smart, so calm and collected that he can execute and he does a great job. He really has a lot of upside to him.

KP struck once more 46 seconds before intermission (a 19-yard dash by Ruffin), then again immediately out of the locker room as Cochrane took the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards untouched into the end zone.

Down 35-7 at this point, the Panthers did not pack it in, as Zucco hit Davis again for 33-yard touchdown on Franklin’s next drive.

The passing game was the one bright spot for the Panthers in this contest, as Zucco -- who took over for injured starter Nick Canesi midway through the season -- was able to pick apart the KP secondary. The sophomore completed 7 of 12 passes for 215 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

With the Warriors already having scored on the ground, through the air and via kick return, the defense joined in on the fun in the third quarter. Zucco was stripped in his own end zone and defensive tackle Brian Jones dove on the ball for a KP touchdown and a 42-14 lead.

With that, Ruffin, Dillon and several other starters were relieved for second-teamers and KP milked the clock for much of the fourth quarter.

Franklin managed one final score, a 64-yard bomb from Zucco to junior Brandon Eccher, before KP recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

After the game, players lingered on the field anxiously awaiting the final score of the Attleboro-North Attleborough game, and erupted into cheers at the announcement of North’s 14-7 victory.

The wins create a three-way tie atop the Hockomock between KP, North and Mansfield, with the Warriors earning the tiebreaker by virtue of having the highest point total in matchups amongst the three teams.

“When you look around, the Hock has been dominated by a few programs for a long time,” Lee said, “And to be part of … a tradition that’s coming up, it’s been exciting. A lot of hard work has been done in taking a program that didn’t have a lot of pride in itself and getting them to believe.”

The Warriors will play in the Division 2 semifinals against undefeated No. 2 Duxbury on Tuesday, at a site that has yet to be determined.

KING PHILIP 42, FRANKLIN 21
KP (9-1, 3-1) 8 20 14 0 42
FR (4-7, 0-4) 7 0 7 7 21

First Quarter:
F – Rhett Davis 65 pass from Nick Zucco (Mike Carden kick)
KP – Ryan Dunn 1 run (Sam McDonald run)

Second Quarter:
KP – John Dillon 1 run (kick failed)
KP – Joe Cochrane 25 from Dillon (Dunn kick)
KP – Charles Ruffin 3 run (Dunn kick)

Third Quarter:
KP – Cochrane 80 kickoff return (Dunn kick)
F – Davis 33 pass from Zucco (Carden kick)
KP – Brian Jones fumble recovery in endzone (Dunn kick)

Fourth quarter:
F – Brandon Eccher 64 pass from Zucco (Carden kick)

Mr. Football Watch: Week 10

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
11:03
AM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Brought his career touchdown pass total to 93 in a 48-12 rout of Somerville. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns.
Dan Flink, Sr. RB, Auburn - In the Rockets' 42-35 shootout win over rival Northbridge, carried 33 times for 245 yards and six touchdowns.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - In the Indians' 44-28 loss to Andover, LaSpada was 14 of 21 for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw three costly interceptions.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Was his usual dominant self in the Dolphins' 40-14 dismantling of New Bedford, rushing for 140 yards and passing for another 87, totaling three scores.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - In the Dragons' 49-0 rout of Hanover, completed 21 of 28 passes for 251 yards and six touchdowns.
Armani Reeves, Sr. ATH, Catholic Memorial - Bookmarked the Knights' 26-0 shutout of Brockton with rushing touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters.
Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham - Was off to a dominant start in the Trojans' 26-20 overtime loss to Barnstable, before leaving the game in the second quarter with a concussion. Up to that point, he had 122 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and an interception.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - In the Knights' 35-10 win over Peabody, had racked up 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns before leaving with an injury. His younger brother, Casey, took over and finished with a touchdown on the ground and through the air.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - Racked up 240 all-purpose yards and all three of the Big Blue's scores in their 21-13 win over CAL/NEC rival Beverly.

ON THE RISE

Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, in the Golden Warriors' 44-28 win over Billerica.
Jamison Craft, Sr. RB, Gardner - In the Wildcats' 41-7 rout of Groton-Dunstable, carried 22 times for 176 yards and two scores, and added two touchdown receptions.
Troy Flutie, Soph. QB, Natick - Threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the Red and Blue's 39-20 win over Wellesley.
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable - Keying the Red Raiders' upset of Bridgewater-Raynham, carried the ball 17 times for 159 yards and a touchdown to keep the Trojans on their heels.
Geeavontie Griffith, Sr. RB, Boston Cathedral - In arguably the most are-you-kidding-me state line of the season, Griffith led the Panthers to a 44-20 win over Matignon with 10 carries for 377 yards and five touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 38 yards per carry.
Chucky Ortiz, Sr. RB, Woburn - Ran for four touchdowns in the Tanners' 39-14 win over Belmont.
John Parsons, Sr. RB, Wilmington - Accumulated 277 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns, including a 75-yard kickoff return, in the Wildcats' 47-14 win over Watertown.
Jim Perkins, Sr. RB, Millis/Hopedale - Wrapped up the Tri-Valley Small title for the Mohawks with 280 rushing yards and two scores in a 48-6 rout of Bellingham.
Deontae Ramey-Doe, Sr. RB, BC High - Propelled the Eagles to a 16-6 win over Xaverian with 206 rushing yards and two scores. In his two starts in place of the injured Preston Cooper, he has ran for nearly 310 yards.
Geraldo Rivera, Sr. RB, Leominster - Ran for 113 yards and a score on 20 carries, and added a touchdown reception, in the Blue Devils' 27-14 win over Shrewsbury.
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - In the Warriors' 41-7 win over Attleboro, carried 21 times for 252 yards and six touchdowns.

10 thoughts from the first half of football season

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
7:19
PM ET
ARE TRIPLE-DIGITS OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR LIL’ DIBS?
Barring catastrophe, we fully expect Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso to break Tom Colombo’s all-time passing touchdown mark of 85 before the month is over. He’s four away, and he’s got two games to do it – this Saturday against BC High, and on Oct. 28 in the Crimson Tide’s Greater Boston League opener against Medford.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Football Watch: Week 7

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
12:21
PM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Part of a three-headed rushing attack in Friday's 61-14 stomping of Westford, carried 10 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High - Ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 32-0 shutout of Marlborough.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - On just four carries, totaled 179 yards and three scores, as the Vikings cruised to a 42-14 defeat of Carver.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for 308 yards, and added 55 on the ground, totaling three scores in the No. 1 Crimson Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian. He is now four touchdown passes off the state's all-time mark of 85.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 26 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' 21-20 upset of Longmeadow.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - In the Dolphins' 14-0 shutout of Marshfield, carried 22 times for 148 yards and a touchdown, and also added 82 yards through the air on 6 of 13 passing.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - In the loss to Central, carried 26 times for 170 yards and all three of the Lancers' scores.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Was 11 of 20 passing for 191 yards and a touchdown in the Dragons' 21-0 blanking of Scituate.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Another week, another monster performance. He carried 31 times for 297 yards and five touchdowns in the Beavers' 56-14 win over Springfield Cathedral. Through six games, he leads the state in rushing yards (1,526) and rushing touchdowns (24).
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Carried 23 times for 147 yards and two scores in the Warriors' 19-7 win over North Attleborough.
Cody Titus, Sr. RB, St. Bernard's - Remember our "400 Rule"? Well, this kid just became a contender after rushing for a state-record 436 yards on 34 carries for five touchdowns in the Bernardians' 33-14 win over Littleton. Through six games he's carried 180 times for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Totaled five scores, including a 26-yard interception return, in the Knights' 46-0 shutout of Philips Andover.
Don Webber, Sr. WR, Duxbury - Caught seven passes for 109 yards in the Dragons' 21-0 win over Scituate.

ON THE RISE

Drew Burnett, Sr. QB, Needham - Completed 8 of 11 passes for 290 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-14 rout of Milton, but unfortunately that will be his last. He left the game with a broken ankle, and is done for the season.
Jamison Craft, Sr. RB, Gardner - Put in a workmanlike 27 carries for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 28-7 win over Tyngsborough.
Tyquan Culbreath, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - In the Patriots' 61-14 thrashing of Westford, gave them a jump early with 130 yards and four scores on just six carries.
Jalen Felix, Sr. WR, Everett - A breakout game to say the least, caught 10 balls for 145 yards and a score in the Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian.
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug - In the Falcons' 39-14 win over Agawam, he was 23 of 37 passing for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
Vondell Langston, Sr. RB, Everett - Ran for a career-high 203 yards and two scores on 15 carries in the Tide's 42-21 win over Xaverian.
Zack Jackson, Sr. RB, Amherst - Accumulated 282 yards of offense, including 228 on the ground, and two scores in a 44-41 win over Chicopee Comp.
R.J. Noel, Sr. QB, Lowell - Threw for 189 yards and totaled four scores in the Red Raiders' 42-15 rout of Central Catholic.
Mark Riley, Sr. TE, Needham - Hauled in three touchdown passes in the Rockets' 49-14 rout of Milton.
Eddie Sheridan, Jr. RB, Chelmsford - Led the Lions' rushing attack with 145 yards and three scores on 20 carries, in a 48-28 win over Andover.
Jonathan Thomas, Soph. RB, St. John's Prep - Exploded for 235 yards and three scores on 27 carries in the Eagles' 41-20 rout of St. John's (Shrewsbury).

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)

The View from No. 18 King Philip

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
8:06
PM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. -- We swung by King Philip High this afternoon, where the No. 18 Warriors were getting prepared for tomorrow night's big Hockomock Kelly-Rex showdown with No. 25 North Attleborough. Head coach Brian Lee and seniors Nick Lussier, Charles Ruffin and Jason Litchfield spoke on the Warriors' 4-1 start, and what it's like playing in "The Hock".

Head coach Brian Lee:



Linebacker Nick Lussier:



Running back Charles Ruffin:



Offensive guard/nose guard Jason Litchfield:


Mr. Football Watch: Week 5

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
12:22
PM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr. WR, Weymouth - Caught two touchdown passes in the Wildcats' 45-28 loss to Needham, bringing his season total to a Division 1-best seven.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Completed 26 of 38 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's 35-21 win over Barnstable.
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR/DB, Dennis-Yarmouth - It was a limited night through the air, save one big catch, but he was part of a defensive effort that held Falmouth to 41 first-half yards in the 41-8 win, and returned a punt 85 yards to the house in the third quarter to seal the win.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - Completed 14 of 23 passes for 239 yards and totaled three scores in a 40-14 win over Dracut.
Obi Melifonwu, Sr. RB/DB, Grafton - The UConn-bound Melifonwu ran for three touchdowns and a career-high 320 yards in a 34-18 win over Leicester.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Attempted just five passes, completing two, while adding 97 rushing yards and a score on six carries, in a 41-8 rout of Falmouth.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Ran for 228 yards and four touchdowns in the Lancers' 41-27 win over West Springfield.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - The Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was 14 of 18 passing for 230 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-0 shutout of Whitman-Hanson.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Carried 28 times for 262 yards and four scores in a 34-6 win over Westfield. In the last two weeks, he has ran for 683 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 45 carries, for an average of 15.1 yards per carry.
Armani Reeves, Sr. ATH, Catholic Memorial - Throttled the Knights to a 42-0 beatdown of New Hampshire power Bishop Guertin with three touchdowns. He caught an eight-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive, and had touchdown runs of 41 and 69 yards -- his only two carries of the night. In the last five quarters, the Penn State commit has six touchdowns.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Threw for 125 yards and ran for another 88, totaling four scores, in a 34-7 win over Newburyport.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - Accounted for 296 yards of offense and totaled four scores, while adding six tackles on defense, in a 33-19 win over Lynn English.

ON THE RISE

Chris Bettano, Sr. RB, Tewksbury - Ran for 130 yards and a score in the Redmen's 21-6 win over Central Catholic.
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable - Completed 31 of 57 passes for 294 yards and three scores in a 35-21 loss to No. 1 Everett.
Alex Eaton, Sr. RB, Westford - The Lehigh-bound lacrosse star went for a school-record 330 yards and five touchdowns in a 33-8 win over Groton-Dunstable. It's his third game of the season going over 200 yards of offense; through the first month he has 785 yards of offense.
Troy Flutie, Soph. QB, Natick - Accounted for 247 yards of offense and four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) in a 34-12 win over Newton North.
Geeavontie Griffith, Sr. RB, Boston Cathedral - Off to an explosive first month of the season, he ran for 240 yards and two scores on 19 carries in an 18-16 win over Pope John Paul II. Through four games he has 52 carries for 737 yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 14.9 yards per carry.
Connor Kurtz, Jr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Completed 10 of 17 passes for 267 yards and two scores in the Pioneers' 21-7 win over Wachusett.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Ran for 168 yards and a score in a 41-12 win over Chicopee.
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington - Ran for 213 yards and four scores on 19 carries in a 34-26 win over Woburn. Through four games, the 3-1 Red Devils are averaging 39 points per game.
Bartley Regan, Sr. QB, BC High - Showed poise and promise in the Eagles' 35-19 loss to St. Peter's Prep (N.J.), completing 13 of 24 passes for 204 yards and two scores.
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Carried 21 times for 158 yards, and totaled three scores, in a 27-26 loss to Mansfield.

Recap: No. 15 Mansfield 27, No. 12 KP 26

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
1:34
AM ET


WRENTHAM, Mass. -- A late September game took on the feel of a late November must-win for No. 15 Mansfield football.

Facing perennial Hockomock League power No. 12 King Philip on Friday following an upsetting 8-0 blanking at the hands of Stoughton last week, the Hornets carried a playoff mentality into this week’s game. And it showed. Mansfield held on for dear life in the waning seconds of the 27-26 win over the Warriors, denying a KP attempt at a potential game-winning two-point conversion.

[+] EnlargeMansfield football
Jon Mahoney for ESPNBoston.comMansfield running back Greg Donahue had 15 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns in No. 15 Mansfield's win Friday night at No. 12 King Philip.
“This was pretty much a playoff game for us,” said senior captain Greg Donahue, who rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns. “If we didn’t get it, we would have a hard time making the playoffs.”

Both sides emerged energized for the rivalry game, with the teams trading off three touchdowns in the span of 33 seconds in the first quarter.

Donahue had Mansfield (3-1) to a 7-0 lead eight minutes in with a 33-yard touchdown run. On the next play from scrimmage, KP’s Charles Ruffin (21 carries, 158 yards) sped 61 yards down the field untouched to tie the score 15 seconds later. After the ensuing kickoff, Mansfield had the ball at their 43 before Blayne Taylor went 57 yards the other way for another rushing score.

After the point after was blocked, the Hornets held a 13-7 lead. That’s how the score would remain after much less crisply played second quarter when neither team could gain any offensive momentum.

In the second half, Mansfield got another big play via the passing game with quarterback George Busharis finding Zach Schafer down the sideline for an 81-yard touchdown.

KP (3-1) responded in the fourth with John Dillon hitting Mike Viola on an 11-yard touchdown pass. But when Donahue punched in his second rushing score of the game with 5:08 remaining, it looked as though the Hornets had put it out of reach.

“I give our quarterback credit,” Warriors head coach Brian Lee said of Dillon, a sophomore. “He hadn’t really dealt with any adversity yet this season, like we saw tonight, and to come onto that kind of stage and play like did was impressive.”

Dillon, who completed 13 of 29 pass attempts for 188 yards, spread the ball around to get KP back within a score with a 9-yard pass to Ruffin with 2:29 to play. The 10-play drive was extended by a key fourth-down conversion on an 18-yard connection from Dillon to Matt Aucoin.

KP recovered the on-side kick that followed with Mike Winbourne pouncing on the ball.

Dillon again led the Warriors downfield, despite a persistent Mansfield rush from the weak side, and he again turned a clutch fourth-down conversion into a scoring drive. Dillon linked up with Joe Cochrane on a 33-yard play on fourth and 19, before Ruffin scored his third touchdown of the game with a 1-yard run.

It was 27-26 with 44 seconds remaining.

It was also a familiar, sinking feeling for Redding whose team has been involved in four straight one-possession games to start the season.

“We’ve had four of these [close games],” he added. “I can’t take it anymore.”

After a timeout, Lee went for the kill, sending his offense onto the field for the 2-point conversion. Dillon again dropped back to throw and looked to Ruffin, streaking on a crossing route. It looked as though he might have time to sneak the ball into tight coverage with a crisp throw, however, Hornets junior defensive back Kevin Makie made perhaps a season-saving lunge at the ball, knocking the pass down before it could reach Ruffin’s outstretched hands.

“We had one guy underneath and one guy over the top,” Makie described the defense on the play. “We did a nice job jamming it and I just read [Ruffin] going across the middle. We knew they were going to do that, so we played it like that.”

And, like that, the defending Division 2 Super Bowl champions kept their “postseason hopes” alive.

WHAT TO DO ON D?
Seemingly no matter what the Hornets threw at Dillon in the fourth quarter, the Warriors’ young QB was able to handle. When Mansfield came at Dillon with a weak side stunt, the sophomore would coolly roll out and relieve the pressure. As the Hornets played more zone defense to neutralize the KP attack, Dillon had a knack for finding a receiver on the seam.

“They got into a groove,” Redding said. “When we blitzed, they got people open. When we backed off, we gave them too much time.”

Even two fourth-and-long situations didn’t confound him.

“I’m not looking forward to playing defense against him for two more years,” Redding exclaimed.

HEADING NORTH
With its Wing-T and quick screen passing game, Mansfield made adjustments at the half to try to slow down the Warriors’ aggressive, athletic defense by running the ball more up the gut. The change was apparent on the Hornets’ fourth-quarter scoring drive finished off by Donahue’s 11-yard score. Redding has two talented runners in Taylor and Donahue, who complement each other well. But when push came to shove, it was time to simply run the ball up the gut.

“Taylor and Donahue ran hard,” Redding said. “We ran a lot of double tight [ends] to try to go north and south with them. We’re normally a Wing-T, perimeter team, but they have such great team speed that we wanted to go more north, south and attack them.”

THE DUDE ABIDES
After yet another 100-yard rushing performance to go along with three touchdowns, Ruffin showed why he’s one of the top backfield talents in the state. The KP senior made it a priority to bulk up in the offseason, adding more muscle to an already impressive frame. However, when Ruffin fell to the turf awkwardly after rolling his ankle on a third-quarter carry, it was as though the air had been let out of a balloon.

Ruffin missed the next offensive series, only to return and play an integral part of the Warriors’ final drive at victory. When the penultimate 2-point play was broken up, Ruffin again rolled up on the grass in pain.

It was yet another gutsy performance from the Warriors captain.

“Charles is our dude,” Lee said of Ruffin’s performance.

Somewhere Jeff Bridges is surely smiling.

Mansfield (3-1) 13 0 8 6 -- 27
King Philip (3-1) 7 0 0 19 -- 26

First quarter
M - Greg Donahue 33-yard run (Mike Hershman kick)
KP - Charles Ruffin 61-yard run (Ryan Dunn kick)
M - Blayne Kelley-Taylor 57-yard run (kick blocked)

Third quarter
M - Zach Schafer 81-yard pass from George Busharis (Donahue run)

Fourth quarter
KP - Mike Viola 11-yard pass from John Dillon (Dunn kick)
M - Donahue 11-yard run (kick blocked)
KP - Ruffin 10-yard pass from Dillon (kick failed)
KP - Ruffin 1-yard run (pass failed)

Mr. Football Watch: Week 4

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
1:30
PM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Completed 14 of 22 passes for 186 yards and three scores in a 35-0 blanking of St. John's Prep.
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High - Led the way in rushing for the Eagles in their 35-14 win over Chelmsford, carrying 20 times for 123 yards and a touchdown; he also added an 82-yard kickoff return for a score in the win.
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth - Caught nine passes for 96 yards and a score in the Dolphins' 42-12 rout of Hingham. In three games, he has 22 catches for 358 yards and five touchdowns.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - Threw a 50-yard touchdown pass and ran in a 25-yard score in the Indians' 23-14 win over Methuen.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - In the Dolphins' 42-12 win over Hingham, he completed 10 of 18 passes for 177 yards, and added 60 rushing yards, totaling four scores.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - The Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was 14 of 20 passing for 220 yards and three scores, and added two rushing scores, in a dominant 42-19 win over New Bedford.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Springfield Putnam - Any time you run for 400 yards in a game, you launch yourself into 'Contender' territory on Mr. Football Watch. In Putnam's 66-0 blanking of Agawam Friday, Pinkney carried 17 times for 421 yard and six scores, setting a new Western Mass single-game record for rushing yards (and coming just four yards from the state record).
Armani Reeves, Sr. ATH, Catholic Memorial - In the Knights' 28-20 win over St. John's (Shrewsbury), the Penn State commit caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter and ran for two scores in the fourth to seal the deal.
Brandon Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover - Threw for two touchdowns and ran in a third in the Scarlet Knights' 21-6 win over Westford.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - In the Big Blue's 28-0 win over Revere, was 10 of 21 passing for 191 yards, added 40 yards on the ground, and accounted for all four scores. On the year, he's completing nearly 69 percent of his passes, for 594 yards and seven touchdowns; on the ground, he's got over 300 yards and five scores.

ON THE RISE

Chris Bettano, Sr. RB, Tewksbury - In the Redmen's 38-28 upset of Andover, he was the catalyst, carrying 21 times for 233 yards and two touchdowns.
Shane Blass, Jr. RB, Walpole - Ran for 226 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-0 win over Brookline.
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills - Had three touchdowns and over 100 yards rushing in a 40-0 shutout of North Shore, giving him a state-best 11 rushing scores on the season.
Ozzy Colarusso, Jr. RB/WR, Weymouth - Returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and added a 43-yard touchdown reception in a 28-0 shutout of Gloucester.
Dan Flink, Sr. RB, Auburn - Carried the ball 15 times for 191 yards and two scores, part of a 462-yard rushing effort by the Rockets in a 35-6 rout of St. Peter-Marian.
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth - In the 28-0 blanking of Gloucester, threw two touchdown passes and ran in a third, bringing his season touchdown pass total to a state-best 11.
Derek Moore, Jr. WR, Nipmuc - Had six catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-19 win over Bartlett.
Jim Perkins, Sr. RB, Millis - Carried 21 times for 225 yards and had scores of 36 and 71 yards, in a 28-0 win over Norton.
Mark Riley, Sr. TE, Needham - Continuing his blistering pace, had six catches for 134 yards and three scores in the Rockets' 34-2 win over Braintree.
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Had two rushing touchdowns in the 34-0 win over Sharon, giving him eight on the season through three games, second-best in Division 2.
Sean Wilson, Sr. RB, St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Carried 34 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns in the Pioneers' 28-20 loss to Catholic Memorial.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 3

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
12:11
PM ET
Here's how things played out this past weekend in the ESPN Boston Mr. Football race:

HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Ran for three touchdowns in the Golden Warriors' 33-14 win over Gloucester.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett - Threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-13 win over Springfield Central.
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth - Caught seven passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns in the Dolphins' 28-27 thriller over Barnstable.
Tim Joy, Sr. LB, Chelmsford - Recorded 10 tackles in the Lions' 26-0 shutout of Acton-Boxborough
Jordan Knowles, Sr. DE, St. Peter-Marian - Recorded eight tackles in the Guardians' 27-20 win over Shepherd Hill.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Threw for 200 yards and totaled three scores, including the go-ahead goal line dive in the fourth quarter, as the Dolphins downed Barnstable 28-27.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Threw for 234 yards and totaled three scores in a 35-21 win over Plymouth North.
Karl Sery, Sr. RB, Hudson - Carried 22 times for 109 yards and a score in the Hawks' 27-6 win over Leominster.
Mike Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - Had his second straight game with 300 all-purpose yards, throwing for 194 yards, running for another 111, and totaling five scores in the Big Blue's 34-14 win over Winthrop. Walsh was also 20 of 24 passing, and recorded six tackles.

ON THE RISE

Malcolm Brown, Sr. WR, Pope John XXIII - Recorded a school record six touchdowns in the 62-38 win over Pope John Paul II of Hyannis. He caught four, returned an interception, and ran back an 82-yard kickoff return.
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills - Tied a career-high with five touchdowns as he ran for 276 yards in a 34-13 win over Case.
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable - In the heartbreaking loss to rival D-Y, he threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns, putting him within 16 touchdown passes of the state all-time record.
P.J. Dorsey, Sr. RB, Lynn English - Ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-6 win over Wakefield.
Obi Melifonwu, Sr. RB, Grafton - The UConn commit ran for 201 yards and had five total touchdowns in the Indians' 44-13 win over Uxbridge.
Paul Mroz, Sr. QB, Brockton - Threw for 150 yards and three scores in a 27-7 win over Taunton.
R.J. Noel, Sr. QB, Lowell - Vaulted himself into the conversation with a school-record 500 passing yards and 114 rushing yards, totaling five scores, in a 44-41 loss to Nashua South.
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington - Ran for 179 yards and three scores in a 48-6 win over Arlington.
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Ran for three touchdowns in the Warriors' 42-7 rout of Medfield.
Don Webber, Sr. WR, Duxbury - Caught seven passes for 134 yards in a 35-21 win over Plymouth North.

Ruffin's center stage for No. 23 King Philip

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
10:58
PM ET
WRENTHAM, Mass. -- All eyes will be on Charles Ruffin this fall.

The King Philip running back has been an integral part of the 23rd-ranked Warriors offense for the last couple seasons, but this year is going to be different. Ruffin is one of two starters (along with Nick Lussier) coach Brian Lee has returning from last year's squad. So this season, more than ever, the Warriors will turn to Ruffin not only offensively, but defensively and as a leader.

"I just have to take on a heavier role," the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder said. "I have to be ready, twenty-four seven. We have a couple other kids who can perform at the position, too. But we're going to need a lot of young kids to step up this year."

Last season, Ruffin was part of a deep backfield in which he shared carries alongside the talented Chris Cacciola and Jimmy Johnston. Now, the multi-talented athlete is taking a new emphasis into this season.

"I want to play as hard on defense as I do on offense," said Ruffin, who's looking to improve on his eight-touchdown performance last season. "That's my main goal. I just want to do whatever I can to help this team out."

Ruffin also stars on the Warriors lacrosse team. He hadn't even played the sport until he picked up a stick at a friend's suggestion in high school. He was a natural from the start. Ruffin's athleticism is an asset on the lacrosse field as it is on the football field. It also helps that Ruffin was the MIAA Division 2 Meet 300-meter champion last year, posting a time (35.21 seconds) that was nearly five-tenths of a second faster than last year's Division 1 champion (Isaiah Penn of Newton North). Ruffin also finished second in the event at New Englands.

Ruffin's taken seriously the preparation for his senior season. Despite undergoing orthroscopic knee surgery to clean out cartilage and tissue two months ago, Ruffin was back with his teammates at KP's "Gut Camp", which has players in the gym at 6 a.m. Mondays through Thursday during the summer months.

It's all part of Ruffin's duty to take on a greater leadership role this season, something he learned from one of his former backfield mates.

"He was a tough kid," Ruffin said of Cacciola, "and he set an example on and off the field."

Part of that process is making sure younger players are doing what's required to contribute. Given the exodus of talent from a senior-laden team last season, the Warriors are looking for a great number of young players to make that leap this year.

"We just have to get better every day, every game," said Ruffin, who lists BC as his top college choice. Assumption has been the most active recruiting him. "There's a lot of talent on the team and we're going to play a lot of kids to keep everybody fresh."

KING PHILIP AT A GLANCE
2010: 8-2 (7-2 Hockomock)
Coach: Brian Lee (Seventh year, 33-32)
Players to watch: Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB/OLB, 5-10, 190; Nick Lussier, Sr. LB 5-10, 170; Jason Litchfield, Sr. OL/DL, 5-10, 190.
Strengths: Team speed, swarming defense.
Weaknesses: Game experience.
Outlook: Wanna' talk defense? The Warriors will bring it. Last season, under defensive coordinator Matt Wassel, KP allowed just over nine points per game. That success was in no small part a credit to Wassel's creative defensive schemes, which famously features a "psycho" package that confuses quarterbacks with defensive linemen not settling into their stances. "We have a great defensive coordinator and our game plans change a lot week to week," said Ruffin, who added he'll be utilized as a third-down sub rusher. "We'll have guys coming at you all over the place blitzing. I feel that every team thinks they need to play their best game against us." The question will likely come down to how many points the Warriors can score, as they're holding an open audition at quarterback with Jake Cox lost to graduation. And all of this is set against the backdrop of the ever-competitive Hock. "It's a dog fight against every team," Ruffin said of league play. "Even a team like Sharon last year, they weren't the strongest team in the league, but they gave us our biggest challenge last year. They took us right down to the wire. It's one game and you're out. One loss and that can be your season."

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