Boston High School: Dan Noviello

ESPN Boston Week 6 football picks

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
2:49
AM ET
NO. 9 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (4-1) AT NO. 16 LONGMEADOW (4-1)

The Skinny: This battle between the two top teams in Western Mass. should be must-see material. Central snapped Longmeadow's 52-game league win streak last October in thrilling fashion, 21-20, but took one on the chin to the Lancers in the rematch, the Division 1 West Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. Central will be without quarterback Cody Williams in this one, while 'Meadow has looked sharp with Frankie Elder moving back to his natural position of tailback.

Scott Barboza: Picking with tradition here. Longmeadow, 26-21.

Brendan Hall: Speed is the name of the game in this one, and the Eagles tout too much for Longmeadow to harness. But expect the Lancers to play ball control in this one. Central, 28-25.

NO. 1 BARNSTABLE (5-0) AT DARTMOUTH (2-3)

The Skinny: After an emotionally-charged upset of Everett on September 28, Barnstable suffered a hiccup last weekend, nearly falling upset to New Bedford before Tedaro France pulled them through. In a three-team Old Colony League, there can be no hiccups, and if the Red Raiders come out sloppy again, something tells us Dartmouth could throw a haymaker.

Barboza: I look for the Red Raider to get the vertical passing game going early and often. Barnstable, 31-17.

Hall: I'll never count out Dartmouth as long as Rick White is running the show over there. How does that sound? Barnstable, 21-14.

PINKERTON ACADEMY (N.H.) (5-1) AT NO. 8 BROCKTON (3-2)

The Skinny: We don't know what to think going into this one. Last season, the Boxers traveled north of the border and delivered a 21-14 win over heavily-favored Pinkerton, en route to a 5-6 season. This year, though, the Astros have a breakout campaign on their hands with junior running back Manny Latimore. It will also be interesting to see how the Boxers respond without Augie Roberts under center in this one, but Micah Morel has done an adequate job so far. Brockton has won seven of the last eight meetings headed into this one.

Barboza: Astros get thrown for a loop like George Jetson on the space treadmill. Brockton, 28-17.

Hall: I just can't get 2011's result out of my head, and that's not to be taken as a shot against the Astros' 2012 squad. It's just Brockton has had their number for some time, and always finds a way to win. Brockton, 17-10.

NO. 2 EVERETT (4-1) AT XAVERIAN (1-4)

The Skinny: One team (Everett) looked sloppy in a 51-30 win. The other (Xaverian) showed encouraging signs in a 20-16 loss. Something's got to give, and while picking Everett in this one sounds like a sure thing, one has to wonder if the Hawks are starting to turn the corner and figure this out at just the right time.

Barboza: BHall, duck and hide time? Xaverian, 34-31.

Hall: No, you may not have my mailing address. Xaverian, 13-10.

NO. 15 ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY (4-1) AT NO. 3 ST. JOHN'S PREP (4-1)

The Skinny: Few teams have been as strong on the ground so far as St. John's Prep, with its dynamic duo of senior Alex Moore and junior Jonathan Thomas, and the Eagles have begun to open the playbook the last few weeks. St. John's of Shrewsbury, on the other hand, is coming off a disappointing loss to its rival just a half-mile down Route 140, Shrewsbury High. But not just any loss -- a 51-45 shootout loss. Can the Pioneers rebound for an upset of Prep, or will they fall victim to a strong run game again?

Barboza: There will be running holes to be had. Prep, 45-41.

Hall: If you can run on this Shrewsbury squad, you can do a lot of things, and Prep can certainly move the ball on the ground. But the Pioneers will make this interesting with its hyper uptempo pace. Prep, 38-35.

SHARON (5-0) AT NO. 11 KING PHILIP (5-0)

The Skinny: What’s more surprising: the fact that the Eagles are off to their first 5-0 start since 1998 or that they’re 9-4 in their last 13 games dating back to last season? Either way you slice it, Sharon isn’t to be trifled with anymore. On the other hand, KP’s fast start isn’t a surprise, but we haven’t really seen what the Warriors are capable of as they’re just getting started against their Hockomock League schedule. This should be a good measuring stick for both squads.

Barboza: Either way, somebody loses. How about that for a hot sports take? KP, 20-7.

Hall: Warriors will win out in this one, but how does the old Pink Floyd axiom go? Can't have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat. KP, 28-10.

NO. 17 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-2) AT LA SALLE ACADEMY, R.I. (4-1)

The Skinny: The Rams’ lone loss of the season came against an MIAA foe (North Attleborough) in Week 1 and have been terrorizing the Ocean State ever since. An underrated Trojans’ secondary will have to endure against the big arm of La Salle quarterback Anthony Francis. After getting run over to the tune of 228 yards by St. John’s Prep’s Alex Moore, B-R’s defense will look to bounce back against another of New England’s top backs (Josh Morris) with a big day up front from defensive ends Kevin Johnston and Dan Noviello.

Barboza: I look for a closer game in this year’s meeting between the club, but the same result. B-R, 28-20.

Hall: After seeing the way North dominated La Salle, I'm confident in saying the Trojans can win the battle at the line of scrimmage. That will be the difference here. B-R, 20-7.

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (3-2) AT NO. 23 STOUGHTON (5-0)

The Skinny: The Red Rocketeers enter this week desperate to avoid falling to .500 and in need of some offensive spark. North has scrounged up just 13 points in back-to-back losses to Foxborough and Franklin and were shut out against the Warriors. Meanwhile, the Black Knights received a highlight offensive performance from Marcus Middleton in last week’s emotional 20-0 blanking of Foxborough, a game dedicated to fallen teammate David Wade.

Barboza: I truly think there’s something special brewing in Stoughton this year. Stoughton, 13-7.

Hall: Red Rocketeers really need a healthy Alex Jette, more than ever, to right this ship. Stoughton, 25-13.

NO. 12 NATICK (5-0) AT NO. 10 WEYMOUTH (5-0)

The Skinny: Our Game of the Week for Week 6 features two unbeaten squads vying for playoff spots in their respective divisions in the Bay State Conference. Weymouth’s offense has evolved through the weeks, with multi-dimensional athlete David Harrison getting snaps under center. The Red Hawks enter Friday’s action allowing an average of six points per game on defense, led by Mike Abbruzzese and Mike Dunlap. The Wildcat defense, led by senior captain Sean Murphy will hope to slow down a potent Natick passing attack, but running back Nick Lee is also a force.

Barboza: I think this game will mirror Weymouth’s earlier battle with Needham, in terms of complexion. It’ll be a different result. Natick, 34-28.

Hall: Wondering if we'll see a combined 700 yards of offense or more in this one. Weymouth, 40-34.

No. 8 Bridgewater-Raynham's keys to success

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
11:40
PM ET
As much as time passes, things don’t change much at Bridgewater-Raynham.

The faces and numbers change year to year, but the same mentality runs through the Trojans’ ranks. They’re tough-nosed football players, many of whom play on both sides of the ball. It’s a concurrent theme during Dan Buron’s 20 years at B-R’s helm.

That tenure’s also included plenty of playoff appearances. After an absence last year, the Trojans again will be vying for an Old Colony League championship. Albeit, B-R is now faced with a de facto two-game playoff series to gain entry to the postseason, but with a loaded Barnstable squad returning and a retooled Dartmouth ready to battle, the Trojans face the real possibility that they could end the season with the dubious distinction of being among the state’s best teams not to play past Thanksgiving.

B-R’s seniors are determined not to let that happen again.

“It comes down to leadership,” Trojans senior captain Kevin Johnston said. “But we’ve been focused since day one this year. We have some veterans and some young talent coming back, but everyone’s committed to doing everything they have to do.”

The Trojans lost a bit of their heart and soul from last season with the graduation of talented backfield duo Branden Morin and Nick Schlatz. More than the carries or the defensive presence they provided, Johnston cited them as “role models,” giving a blue print to this year’s seniors.

That continuity of leadership has been another hallmark of B-R’s success and this year’s edition is no exception.

For the last two seasons, Ryan Murphy has spent the majority of the fall nursing two separate meniscus injuries. He vividly remembers the day of his first injury, playing with B-R’s junior varsity squad as a sophomore. After suffering a tear in a game against Marshfield, Murphy took the long road back, working through rehabilitation and returning last year. He went back to square one after suffering a second tear and seeing his junior year shortened by injury.

That’s all the motivation Murphy needs for 2012.

“I can’t wait, I’ve worked so hard to come back,” he said. “You look forward to your senior season for three years, we’ve worked nonstop to try and get to that point where we know we’re good as we can be. That’s what kept me going during therapy and workouts.”

All that’s left is kickoff.

“This year means everything,” senior captain Kevin Wadsworth said. “To win the OCL this year, that would just be the cherry on top for my high school career.”

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM AT A GLANCE
2011: 9-2
Coach: Dan Buron (20th season, 149-59-2)
Key Returnees: Kevin Johnston, Sr. TE/DE, 5-11, 200; Dan Noviello, Sr. TE/DE, 6-1, 200; Joe MacInnis, Sr. OL/DL, 6-2, 260; Kevin Wadsworth, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 190; Ryan Scripter, Sr. WR/DB, 5-11, 180; Arcel Armstead, Jr. RB/LB, 5-10, 180; Jordan Cohen Sr. QB, 5-11, 160.
Strengths: Size, physicality and experience on offensive and defensive line.
Weaknesses: Lack of game experience at offensive skill positions.

Outlook: Another staple of B-R football has been its offensive line. But typically the Trojans have got it done with below average size, a further credit to the coaching staff. However, this year, B-R has size to boot with senior left tackle Joe MacInnis providing size the Trojans haven’t had since the days of Marc Colombo. The question is who will be running behind that hulking line. It could be more a back-by-committee approach for B-R this season with Arcel Armstead looking for a breakout year. B-R’s defense will be fueled by a pair of twin terrors at end. Johnston and fellow senior Dan Noviello feed off of each other as pass rushers.

Recap: No. 5 B-R 28, No. 6 Xaverian 22 (2 OT)

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
10:54
PM ET
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- After the game that Bridgewater-Raynham's Branden Morin had Saturday afternoon, it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that he drove the Trojans bus home from Westwood, too.

The 5-10, 190-pound senior captain picked off two passes, one which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown, the other basically ensuring his team would get a shot at overtime. He also added 49 yards on seven carries and scored what would end up as the game-winning touchdown as No. 5 B-R survived yet another epic battle against No. 6 Xaverian with a 28-22 victory in double overtime.

This was the third straight meeting between the two powerhouse programs to require more than just 44 minutes to determine a winner. Two years ago, Xaverian won in the triple overtime; last year, B-R took it in the first OT.

Maybe next year they'll shoot for four.

"It's ridiculous," Morin said afterward with a smile. "We're always going to OT with them. It never gets easier."

Defenses controlled the first quarter, and it was Xaverian (4-3) who broke through first when Austin DeCarr connected with Mike Warren (4 receptions, 84 yards) for a 58-yard touchdown strike less than three minutes into the second.

The Trojans (5-1) came storming back, pounding the ball with 6-2, 200-pound wrecking ball Nick Schlatz (33 carries, 158 yards, two TDs) powering his way behind a determined offensive line. Schlatz carried nine times on a 14-play drive and finished it off with a four-yard TD with 2:18 left in the half.

Then Morin came through with the first of several clutch plays, stepping in front of a DeCarr pass and racing 45 yards to the end zone to put B-R ahead, 14-7.

Morin related how he saw the play develop, "The QB was dropping back, I saw him looking at the receiver and I just read it the whole way and took it to the house."

Undeterred, the Hawks put together a terrific drive, showing tremendous balance between the pass and the run on a 17-play possession that ended with a six-yard touchdown run on an option keeper by Chris Calvanese. Jules Murphy's extra point tied the game at 14-14.

Both Kevin Wadsworth and Morin each had crucial, fourth-quarter interceptions with the Hawks broaching B-R territory, while Xaverian's defense held firm as the Trojans gambled a couple of times simply to keep the Hawks explosive offense on the sidelines.

In the first overtime, Calvanese picked up nine yards on first down and Taute Hunter bulled his way in from the 1 for the Hawks. DeCarr hit Warren on the conversion pass and Xaverian held a 22-14 advantage.

B-R needed just one play to respond as Schlatz took a pitch and cut back through the middle for a 10-yard score, and Morin threw an option pass to Joe Noviello to send it to a second OT.

The Trojans went first, and two Schlatz runs set up a three-yard TD by Morin, but Xaverian's Aiden Desrosiers stuffed Schlatz in front of the goal line on a shovel pass for a failed conversion.

Those missed points ended up not not mattering, as Eric Wabrek picked off DeCarr on 3rd-and-goal from the 16 to lock up the win.

BLUE COLLAR WORKERS
Schlatz is the type of back you can picture grabbing his lunch pail and putting on his hard hat before each game. His longest carry went for 27 yards, but it was the steady dose of positive yardage he made that kept the Hawks on the defensive.

Facing Xaverian's big defensive line and linebackers, the Trojans offensive line of Joe MacInnis, Pat Whooley, Eric DeMoura, Brian Pope and Nick Falconeiri, along with tight end Ryan Murphy, showed they are group with heart and toughness in paving the way to a 254-yard ground attack. In addition to Schlatz and Morin, Wabrek also chipped in with 35 tough yards and good blocking.

"We worked all week long and said, we have to come off flat backs, low and hard technique will win the game," B-R coach Dan Buron explained. "They're big but we thought if we stayed lower than them, it would neutralize their size. We went with a little bit of an unbalanced and tried to pick places to run and were able to get some double teams. That number 11 (Maurice Hurst Jr.) in particular is a pretty good player. We tried to run away from him but sometimes that's worse because he's so quick."

ONE MAN DOWN, ANOTHER STEPS UP
Trojans quarterback Brad Deluliis left the game with a bad ankle after being tackled on a running play in the first quarter. What could have become a disastrous situation was tempered by the poise of backup quaterback David Miller, who stepped right in without allowing the offense to miss a beat.

"He threw a couple good passes," praised Buron. "He was a little nervous and the timing was off a little bit but I thought he did a great job leading the offense and he was very poised."

SEARCHING FOR AN IDENTITY
While B-R makes no bones about who it is and what it does, Xaverian appears to be still trying to find ways to fit the right pieces into the right spots, Chris Calvanese among others.

The senior had a terrific all-around performance, seeing time at quarterback, running back, receiver and also on defense. Calvanese completed 5-of-7 passes for 37 yards, caught two more for 43 yards, added 79 yards and a TD on six carries. Defensively, he was in on four tackles and had an interception.

"I think that we're still trying to get ourselves to be more consistent on both sides of the football," said Hawks coach Charlie Stevenson. "Clearly today was not a good game defensively for us against the run. We didn't sustain our offense the way we should have either."

He continued, "I think Chris Cal had a great game on both sides of the ball. In my opinion, he was the best athlete on the field on both sides of the ball. I wish we had more guys to go around him right now. We're looking for them and hopefully we will get more guys to put around him so that we can really highlight his athletic ability as we go down the stretch."

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM 28, XAVERIAN 22 (2 OT)
BR (5-1) 0 14 0 0 8 6 - 28
Xaverian (4-3) 0 7 7 0 8 0 - 22


X - Mike Warren 58 pass from Austin DeCarr (Jules Murphy kick)
BR - Nick Schlatz 4 run (Kevin Wadsworth kick)
BR - Branden Morin 45 interception return (Wadsworth kick)
X - Chris Calvanese 6 run (Murphy kick)
X - Taute Hunter 1 run (Warren pass from DeCarr)
BR - Schlatz 10 run (Dan Noviello pass from Morin)
BR - Morin 3 run (rush failed)

No. 8 B-R looks for Super Bowl return

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
11:25
PM ET
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Eighth-ranked Bridgewater-Raynham has become a fixture in the Division 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

In each of the last two seasons, the Trojans advanced out of the Old Colony League and won a playoff game -- only to face Gloucester in the championship game. Both tilts against the Fishermen weren't so kind to B-R. However, the Trojans' recent track record has meant high expectations with anything short of a Super season is a bit of a let-down.

"They're not cocky or anything, but they expect a certain standard," head coach Dan Buron said of his seniors. "Their expectations are set really high now. Nick [Schlatz] and a lot of the seniors played as sophomores in the Super Bowl two years ago. And I think the big thing they'll take from the last couple of years is the senior leadership that those groups had before them. I think that's what they hope to provide for this team this season."

That leadership will be taken up by the Trojans' group of senior captains with quarterback Brad Delulis, running back/linebacker Branden Morin, lineman Eric DeMoura and Schlatz.

Schlatz and Morin will comprise a talented backfield that is dangerous as it is experienced.

"We have some big shoes to fill though," said Schlatz, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound two-way player. "It's important for us to take it week by week and win by win. As we get into the league play, we need to step it up and be ready to go."

The running back and outside linebacker committed the offseason to getting bigger, faster and stronger to aid his performance on both sides of the field. Schlatz's greatest asset on the field might be inside his helmet, however

"He's like having another coach out there," Buron said. "He's a great player, but he's such a smart player."

Schlatz has garnered interest as a defensive player from Assumption, Brown and UMass-Amherst.

His sights are set firmly on the immediate future though, citing the most important challenge facing his team was B-R's scrimmage against Brockton on Friday. Then, once that's through, it'll be on to the season opener at Duxbury next Friday.

"We're not looking forward too much, we're just focused on [Duxbury]," Schlatz said. "They came on our field last year and they embarrassed us pretty good, so we'd like to get them back this year."

While the Trojans would like nothing better than to take care of business, avenging last year's opening loss to the Dragons, you can be assured B-R will once again have its sights set on December.

Eventually.

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM AT A GLANCE
2010: 8-3 (Lost in Division IA Super Bowl to Gloucester)
Coach: Dan Buron (19th year, 140-52-2)
Players to watch: Nick Schlatz, Sr., RB/LB, 6-2, 185 lbs.; Branden Morin, Sr. RB/DB, 5-10, 180; Brad Delulis, Sr. QB/DB, 5-9, 160; Eric DeMoura, Sr. OL/DL, 5-10, 180; Steve Wentworth, Sr. RB/LB, 5-11, 180; Dan Noviello, Jr. DL, 6-1, 200; Kevin Johnston, Jr. DL,, 5-11, 200; Matt Wabrek, Jr. E/DB, 5-9, 170.
Strengths: Experience at running back, linebacker and defensive back
Weaknesses: Lack of game experience on the line.
Outlook: The Trojans run-heavy offense is in good hands with Schlatz and Morin in the backfield. However, there is changeover on the offensive line and this will be Delulis' first season under center. "He's small, so people might not think he looks like a prototypical quarterback," Buron said, "but Brad's athleticism is going to allow us to some different things with the offense." Buron's also looking for Cain Vanderbrink, Mark Guarino and DeMoura to lead the young line. On the flip side of the ball, the Trojans have a wealth of experience on the linebacking corps and in the secondary with Schlatz playing alongside Wentworth. Also, look out for a pair of juniors in Johnston and Noviello to take a step forward on the defensive line.

SPONSORED HEADLINES