Boston High School: Dexter School

Luke McInnis: BC 'suits my game well'

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
It's been a good summer for Hingham native Luke McInnis.

First, the slick-skating defenseman was named to the United States national team at the Five Nations tournament in Germany. Then, last week, McInnis followed in the footsteps of his father -- former Bruin, Marty -- to the Heights, giving his verbal commitment to Boston College.

McInnis will transfer to Dexter School next year, joining Dan Donato's squad, after playing two varsity seasons at Hingham High. As a sophomore last year, McInnis put up 4-11-15 totals with the Harbormen.

We caught up with McInnis to talk about his commitment:

On his decision to go to BC: "It has run through my family starting with my dad's dad. And also the history the school of being a competitor every year."

On his father's impact on his decision: "My dad did not have a big impact. He wanted me to make the decision and go where I think I would be the best that I can be."

On how Coach York's philosophy suits his game: "I think it suits my game well he likes to have his defenseman jump up in the play but make sure to take care of their own zone as well. He likes to coach the game the way I like to play."

On what he's working on this summer: "I work out all summer with Edge Performance Systems and play in many tournaments such as the Chowder Cup and the pre-draft [tournament] with the East Coast Kings."

On moving on to Dexter next year: "I am excited for next year it will be a challenge. I will need to work harder to keep my grades up. I am excited to have a coach such as Coach [Dan] Donato and to play along side great players."

Prep schoolers help Team USA on golden path

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
Belmont Hill’s Claflin Athletic Center was filled to the brim. The crowd ran several deep around the boards as the United States Women’s National Team skated against the Rivers School’s boys’ varsity team.

It was a month to the date before the Stars and Stripes would skate against nemesis Canada for Olympic gold again in Sochi, but Katey Stone’s team was there to get better. They claimed a 3-0 victory, leaving their opponents amazed at their combination of speed and precision passing.

“There were more people than usual, but we took it like any other game – or at least tried to,” Rivers defenseman Miles Gendron said. “Once you looked past the ‘U.S.A.’ on their jerseys, we went out there and wanted to win.

[+] EnlargeHockey
Michael Dwyer/Dexter SchoolTeam USA has five Massachusetts natives, in addition to five players who played at Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern.
“But they’re just good – really good.”

The game was part of a five-game tour of New England prep schools Stone and her staff put together in preparation for the Sochi games. On the whole, the games were back-and-forth, with Salisbury School (Conn.) and Dexter claiming victories over the soon-to-be Olympians. In return, Team U.S.A. claimed victories over Taft School (Stone’s alma mater) and St. Sebastian’s, in addition to the Rivers game.

USA Hockey had attempted the same kind of scrimmages before the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, seeking out high school teams in Minnesota to no avail, as the teams had already scheduled to capacity, with a state mandate of no more than a 25-game schedule. Then Team USA head coach Mark Johnson told The New York Times in 2010 that the top-tier boys’ high school teams were the closest approximation available to replicating the team speed of the Canadian National Team – the current three-time reigning Olympic gold medalists.

But there’s another advantage the Canadians held before the Vancouver games, that is its pre-Olympics schedule. It has been a longstanding custom that Hockey Canada installed a schedule featuring boys’ midget team to go toe-to-toe as a means of preparation.

In the past, USA Hockey had played the nation’s top women’s collegiate teams – with predictably one-sided results.

With the Women’s National Team training in and around Boston this year, assistant coach Bobby Jay, a Burlington native and former Harvard hockey assistant, set about finding open dates with the area’s top boys' prep school programs.

The result was a challenge for USA Hockey. Salisbury is the reigning NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament champion, while Dexter has been among New England’s top scoring sides this year. Rivers recently wrapped up the ISL’s Eberhart Division championship for this season.

“We have a pretty fast team, so I think it was good for them to skate against a competitive, fast team,” Dexter head coach Dan Donato said. “We do some things that they were excited to play against, like being able to stretch play on the breakout.”

While bringing the women’s team’s tune-ups to New England, many of the members returned to their roots. Team USA features five Massachusetts natives in captain Meghan Duggan (Danvers), Kacey Bellamy (Westfield), Alex Carpenter (North Reading), Michelle Picard (Taunton) and Molly Schaus (Natick). In addition, five team members played collegiately in Boston, representing Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern.

It’s a reflection of the thriving hockey community in the Commonwealth.

“There are a ton of kids playing [in the state],” Rivers head coach and former Olympian Shawn McEachern said. “Playing them and seeing Bobby Carpenter’s daughter [Alex] out there on the wing – I remember watching Bobby play and got to play against him in the NHL – you see players of that talent and there’s been plenty of them that have come through the state.”

For McEachern, a product of Matignon High School and Boston University, the experience conjured memories of his childhood, far before his own Olympic experience in 1992, when Team USA’s college-derived roster placed fourth.

“Growing up, as a kid, I came from the 1980 Olympic era and saw Mike Eruzione score that goal,” said McEachern, who played with Donato’s brother, Ted, in Albertville, France. “You always wanted to have that opportunity to play for the US – not just at the Olympics, but at any event, playing for your country’s a special feeling.”

And, for the game’s next generation, it was just one taste of what might soon be theirs.

“It’s a big honor to play against them,” said Gendron, who is ranked 85th among North American skaters in the NHL’s 2014 Draft midterm report. “Seeing the USA jersey, that’s just a cool experience.”

Dexter's Ryan Donato commits to Harvard

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
Dexter School hockey junior center Ryan Donato announced his college decision Monday, giving a verbal commitment to Harvard, joining his father Ted's Crimson.

It is anticipated Donato's commitment is for the 2015-16 season.

A 1996 birthdate, the 6-foot, 174-pound Scituate native was the highest ranked prep school player in New England in the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Report released earlier this month. Donato ranked 54th among North American skaters.

Last year, Donato posted 29-31-60 totals in 28 games played at Dexter.

"He expects himself to do great things every time he's on the ice, that's the sign of a great player," said Dexter head coach Dan Donato, Ryan's uncle. "I've been really fortunate to have coached three players that have gone on to the NHL, but in some ways, Ryan's on another planet. I truly believe his best hockey is ahead of him."

Donato also fielded offers from Boston College and Boston University, before choosing the Crimson -- both his father's alma mater and where he's coached for the last 10 seasons.

"I think with his father being there, it ended up being a nice possibility for him," Dan Donato said. "I'm so happy for him. [Harvard] is the ultimate pinnacle of where high school hockey players look to go, especially in the Boston area. I'm not knocking any other schools, they're terrific schools, but this was a special opportunity for him."
The National Hockey League's Central Scouting bureau released its midterm rankings for the 2014 draft today.

Once again, local-based skaters littered the rankings, with St. John's Prep and Cushing Academy product Shane Eiserman leading the class. The West Newbury native was 39th among the 200-plus ranked North American skaters.

There is also a goaltender in the mix, with Thayer Academy standout Bob McGovern ranking 25th among North Americans.

Here's how the locals stacked up:

(For a look at the complete rankings, click HERE.)

39 Shane Eiserman, Dubuque - USHL (U.S. NTDP, Cushing, St. John's Prep), C/LW, 6-1.5, 200
44 Johnathan MacLeod, U.S. NTDP (Kimball Union), D, 6-1.5, 200
54 Ryan Donato, Dexter School, C, 6-0.25, 174
83 Beau Starrett, South Shore Kings - USPHL (Catholic Memorial), LW, 6-4.75, 195
85 Miles Gendron, Rivers, D, 6-1.5, 173
121 Michael Turner, Cushing Academy, LW, 6-1.5, 192
123 Tyler Bird, Kimball Union (St. John's Prep), RW, 6-1.5, 202
146 Bobo Carpenter, Austin Prep, C, 5-10, 183
157 J.D. Dudek, Kimball Union, C, 5-11.25, 178
159 Michael Lee, The Gunnery, D, 5-11.25, 165
177 Max Willman, Williston Northampton (Barnstable), LW, 6-0, 180
188 Dominic Franco, Kimball Union, RW, 6-2.75, 183
193 Billy Sweezey, Noble & Greenough, D, 6-0, 190
204 Evan Smith, Salisbury School, C, 6-0, 190

25 Bob McGovern, Thayer Academy, 6-4, 245

NEPSAC: Milton Academy 62, Dexter 18

November, 16, 2013
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Together they formed an unstoppable gridiron duo.

The Milton Academy senior running back – a proven ground gainer capable of wearing down opposing defenses and the reigning Independent School League MVP – amassed 205 rushing yards on 25 carries that included four second-half touchdowns. And, despite a hamstring injury that sidelined him in the Mustangs season finale and nearly relegated him to decoy status against Dexter School, he committed only one miscue: a fumble on the second play from scrimmage.

The other – an upstart sophomore identified early in the season by Milton’s 18-year head coach Kevin MacDonald as ‘special’ – positively dominated the air attack on both sides of the ball. He contributed four catches for 87 yards on offense and two interceptions defensively, production that netted him three touchdowns overall.

On Saturday afternoon, this tandem, otherwise known as Drew Jacobs and Domenic Cozier, provided the collective punch necessary to propel Milton to a 62-18 victory over host Dexter in the Tom Flaherty New England Championship Bowl game.

“We have more confidence and swagger when he’s out there,” said MacDonald of Jacobs’ questionable status. “He fumbled the first one. He literally had maybe taken one handoff in practice.

“I thought this was maybe just going to be a ceremonial thing where he got a few snaps and then we put somebody else in. So I was shocked when he actually did what he did. That was pure guts.”

As for Jacobs’ heir apparent, Cozier, MacDonald was far less surprised with the underclassman’s breakout performance.

“He had an unbelievable game,” said MacDonald of the sophomore. “I’ve said all year that I think he’s a special player because he never gives up and he’s super athletic. He can sky. He runs a four-five forty, he’s got a 39-inch vertical (and) he’s just a very athletic kid. Plus, he has a terrific attitude.

“Maybe we’ve underutilized him a little bit this year, but today he just didn’t allow us to underutilize him. He made plays.”

TURNING POINT: With Milton leading 27-12 at the half, Dexter received the kickoff to start the second-half. On the second play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Luke Cuneo hit senior wide receiver Mark Webber for what appeared to be a short gain along the right sideline. But Webber wrestled through four arm tackles and raced 72 yards for what turned out to be a 78-yard touchdown only 50 seconds into the frame.

It was a play that seemed to awaken Milton and, in particular, Jacobs.

“I was pissed when they scored,” he admitted. “We all were.”

The response from Milton was emphatic. The Mustangs – behind three touchdown runs by Jacobs – reeled off 28 unanswered third quarter points to turn a 27-18 advantage into a 55-18 blowout 11:10 later.

Jacobs ripped off scoring runs of 35, 18 and 10 yards using a series of stutter steps and cutbacks to evade defenders. And while his trademark burst wasn’t there given his lingering hamstring woes, the senior displayed know-how to be productive even with his health at less than 100 percent.

“The line in the second half,” he explained,” those holes were huge. Coach (Paul) Healey said, ‘Anybody could have run through those holes in the second half.’

“I started slow. I was a little nervous about the hamstring. But it felt good towards the end.”

And sandwiched in between Jacobs’ first and second touchdown was Cozier’s pick-six, a play in which he corralled the interception off a deflection and zigzagged 38 yards for a touchdown that gave the Mustangs a 41-18 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter.

Jacobs went on to add a fourth touchdown on a three-yard, which effectively closed out the scoring, midway through the fourth quarter.

HE’S ONLY A SOPH-O-MORE!: While Jacobs carried the load over the final 24 minutes, Cozier’s first-half play was paramount in keeping the Mustangs competitive.

After Dexter scored by way of a Luke Cuneo three-yard draw on its first possession – a drive set up at midfield by Jacobs’ fumble – to take a 6-0 lead, Cozier hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass that included 25 yards after the catch, which he gained using a collection of spin moves, jump cuts and head fakes to outmaneuver Dexter’s secondary.

“We watched film on them and they couldn’t really control the pass,” he said. “So we had a game plan of just throwing over a lot . . . the post wheel, and we got it.”

Cozier’s second touchdown reception was even more impressive.

With Milton clinging to a 13-12 lead halfway through the second quarter after Cuneo connected with C.J. Okafor for a 51-yard scoring strike, Cozier made an acrobatic 22-yard catch along the right sideline of the end zone in which he turned and out-jumped two defenders. His deft body control somehow kept him inbounds when he landed from his jump.

On the whole, Cozier’s performance had more than just his coach raving.

“Dom played unbelievable,” Jacobs said. “I think he was the MVP. That’s who you should be interviewing.”

COSTLY MISCUES: Lost amidst the dominant performances of Jacobs and Cozier were the mistakes made by Dexter.

In addition to Cozier’s pick-six in the third quarter, Dexter also had both a blocked punt and strip sack returned for touchdowns.

The blocked punt occurred with 4:18 left in the first quarter when deep in its own territory, Milton’s Ethan Webster-Zinn deflected the punt at Dexter’s 10-yard line and teammate Matthew Morin scooped up the ball and rumbled into the end zone.

Trailing 20-12, Dexter again committed a turnover which resulted in points.

With time winding down in the first half, Milton’s Morin broke through the defensive line and flushed Cuneo to his right. As Morin pulled Dexter’s QB to the ground the ball popped out. In one fluid motion, Milton’s Sean Sylva grabbed the ball and raced 51 yards for the score and a 27-12 lead with 53.2 seconds left.

“That’s a great team over there,” said Dexter coach Casey Day of Milton. “They capitalized on every mistake that we made today and that’s what champions do.”

HISTORICAL SUCCESS: In MacDonald's tenure, Milton, which finished the season with an 8-1 record, has established itself as a perennial NEPSAC football power.

On Saturday, MacDonald picked up his third bowl win in his 18 years leading the Mustangs program, and first since 2008. Milton also captured a title back in MacDonald’s inaugural season (1996) coaching in the ISL.

Meanwhile, Dexter (7-2), which is only in its 11th season competing at the varsity level, reached a bowl for the first time in school history.

And while only one school received the Tom Flaherty New England Championship Bowl, the success of the upstart, albeit defeated, program was not lost on either coach.

“Casey’s done a great job with that program,” MacDonald said. “They’ve probably played football for 10 years or less. And to get to a New England Championship game . . . he’s really got some athletes. I think he’s really just done a tremendous job. Things just went our way today.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” Day said. “Things didn’t turn out how we wanted them to today. But we have an unbelievable group of seniors that got us to this point. I tip my cap to those guys. They’ve built this program basically from the bottom. When they were freshmen we were at the bottom of the barrel and now we’re up near the top.”

M - 13 - 14 - 28 - 7 --- 62
D - 6 - 6 - 6 - 0 --- 18

First Quarter
D - Luke Cuneo 3 run (pass failed) 9:47
M - Domenic Cozier 41 pass from Anthony Scurto (kick failed) 5:08
M - Matthew Morin 10 blocked punt return (Jaejung Joon kick) 4:18

Second Quarter
D - C.J. Okafor 51 pass from Cuneo (pass failed) 6:50
M - Cozier 22 pass from Scurto (Joon kick) 4:04
M - Sean Sylva 51 fumble return (Joon kick) :53.2

Third Quarter
D - Mark Webber 78 pass Cuneo (pass failed) 11:10
M - Drew Jacobs 35 run (Joon kick) 7:47
M - Cozier 38 interception return (Joon kick) 6:58
M - Jacobs 18 run (Joon kick) 4:11
M - Jacobs 10 run (Joon kick) :24.6

Fourth Quarter
M - Jacobs 3 run (Joon kick) 6:55

Recap: Dexter 38, Hyde (Maine) 28

October, 12, 2013

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Gridiron history is being made at Dexter School.

After defeating Evergreen-Bonnefond League foe Hyde School (Bath, ME), 38-28, at home on Saturday afternoon, Dexter is 4-0 for the first time and sitting atop the standings.

“Yeah, we’re making history,” said Dexter head coach Casey Day. “But, obviously, it wasn’t easy.”

Hyde proved Dexter’s most challenging opponent this season. After collectively outscoring its first three adversaries 107-49, the hosts were repeatedly forced into situations versus Hyde which tested their mental and physical resilience.

Every time the home team responded.

Early on, however, it did not appear the contest would turn into such a battle.

A little over a minute into the first quarter Dexter struck for two quick scores, hinting that a blowout might follow.

First, Luke Cuneo, who completed 18-of-30 passes for 274 yards, three touchdowns, three two-point conversations and two interceptions, connected with Mark Webber (six catches, 83 yards, TD) down the right sideline for a 27-yard scoring strike. Opting to go for two-points, Cuneo then found Justin Smith for an 8-0 lead.

Dexter retained possession when it successfully recovered its onside kick off. On the next play, Cuneo again went deep this time finding Colin O’Brien (four catches, 115 yards, TD) down the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. Another two-point conversation – this one to Chris Kinney – extended Dexter’s lead to 16-0 only 1:06 into the first quarter.

“More often than not we’re an onside kicking team,” Day explained. “Maybe in the past we didn’t have the guys to cover the thing. We have the guys that can cover the thing now and a guy that can punch it down deep. We feel like if we can get one or two a game, and we’ve got a good shot at it, we’ll take a crack.”

As opposed to Dexter’s ultra aggressive, spread, no-huddle, up-tempo and frenetically paced offense, Hyde instead opted for a more methodical, grind-it-out approach reliant on a ground attack and passes to its 6-foot-4 tight end, Chris Collins (eight catches, 156 yards, two TD, two-point conversion), across the middle which utilized both his height and athleticism.

“We’ve been working on that a lot during practices,” said Collins of the numerous jump ball catches he made against opposing defensive backs. “I have a lot of height on kids and I used to play basketball. Like I said before, I can just go up and grab it. I love going to get the ball.”

The philosophy worked as Hyde settled in before eventually scoring with 9:52 to play in the second quarter. Evander Lenardson hit Collins for a 35-yard touchdown. A fake point-after attempt resulted in Collins catching the two-point conversion from Deker Adelman.

Leading 16-8 at halftime, Hyde had opportunities to further close the deficit. However, the Dexter defense held.

It was a spark that also seemed to propel an offensive unit that had gone stagnant since the game’s opening 76 seconds.

What followed was a seesaw scoring battle throughout the third quarter. Dexter scored first en route to 22 points over a 12 minute span, while Hyde added 14 points of its own.

Cuneo picked up his third touchdown on a 22-yard pass to C.J. Okafor with 8:43 to play in the frame. After Hyde responded with a Jared Jenson 9-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 22-14, Okafor returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Matt Cuneo converted the 2-point attempt with a run up the middle.

Trailing 30-14, Collins snagged his second touchdown with 2:27 remaining in the quarter. Lenardson hit Jensen for the 2-point conversion to bring the score to 30-22.

Then, with three seconds remaining in the quarter, Matt Cuneo took the handoff from his brother Luke and ran it into the end zone from 15 yards out. Owen Martinson corralled Luke Cuneo’s pass for the two-point conversion and a 38-22 advantage.

“We kind of let up a little bit, which disappointed me,” said senior quarterback Luke Cuneo. “Myself, I made a couple bad decisions. But going into halftime leading 16-8, Coach kind of said, ‘Boys, we have to pick it up or this team is going to creep back into the game.’ We knew we had to come out in the second half and put one in right away, and we did. Nice touchdown pass to CJ and a good catch.”

Hyde’s Caleb Jones scored on a 16-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but it would be all the offense the visitors would muster.

As Hyde drove deep into Dexter’s territory with less than two minutes remaining, junior linebacker Nick Strand dropped back into coverage and snared an interception to effectively seal the win.

Still, with four games remaining, including one against an undefeated New Hampton School squad, Dexter is focused on achieving bigger goals besides simply making school history through four games.

“We didn’t have the best week of practice this week,” Luke Cuneo said. “But, like I said, if we keep practicing 100 percent every week there’s no team that we can’t beat. If we keep working 100 percent and playing hard, there’s a chance that we could go undefeated. We’re looking forward to it.”

Player of the Week: Dexter's Luke Cuneo

October, 8, 2013
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- In a matchup of Evergreen Conference unbeatens Saturday, Dexter School continued its prodigious offensive pace, scoring a 46-21 win over Holderness.

Dexter again enjoyed a big day from senior quarterback Luke Cuneo.

Cuneo had a career day, throwing for six touchdowns and rushing for another, upping his season-long total to 14 touchdowns through just three games.

On Monday, ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall caught up with Cuneo, our Player of the Week for Week 5:

Along with Cuneo, here are our Top 5 performers for Week 5:

Luke Cuneo, Sr. QB, Dexter - Had 393 passing yards and six touchdowns to go along with 67 yards and a rushing touchdown against Holderness.

Dylan Kierman, Sr. QB, Quabbin - Set the Central Mass single-game passing record in 40-34 overtime win over Oakmont, completing 31 of 44 passes for 456 yards and five touchdowns.

Derrell Fernandez, Sr. RB, Weymouth - In the Wildcats’ 42-18 win over Brookline, carried 25 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns.

Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB, Bishop Fenwick - Carried 24 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns in the Crusaders’ 42-20 win over Cardinal Spellman.

John Rumney, Sr. QB, Marlborough - Completed 15 of 23 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers’ 34-24 win over Westborough.

Local 'Ones to Watch' from NHL Central Scouting

September, 23, 2013
This morning the National Hockey League's Central Scouting Service released its preliminary "Ones to Watch" for the 2014 draft.

The New England region was well-represented with current and former high schoolers and prep schoolers making the grade.

Here's a breakdown of New England skaters:

B Skaters
Ryan Donato, Dexter School, C/LW, 6-0.25, 174 lbs.
Miles Gendron, Rivers, D, 6-1.5, 173 lbs.

C Skaters
John-Claude Brassard, Noble & Greenough, D, 5-10, 180 lbs.
Bobo Carpenter, Austin Prep, C, 5-10, 183 lbs.
William Feeney, Dexter School, D, 6-1.75, 202 lbs.
Michael Turner, Cushing Academy, LW, 6-1.5, 208 lbs.

C Goaltenders
Bob McGovern, Thayer Academy, G, 6-4, 245 lbs.

C Skaters
Tyler Bird, Kimball Union (St. John's Prep), RW, 6-1.5, 202 lbs.
J.D. Dudek, Kimball Union, C, 5-11.25, 178 lbs.
Dominic Franco, Kimball Union, RW, 6-2.75, 183 lbs.

C Skaters
Will Brophy, Westminster, D, 6-3.5, 193 lbs.
James Gobetz, Salisbury, D, 6-2, 188 lbs.
Mike Lee, The Gunnery, D, 5-11.25, 165 lbs.
Evan Smith, Salisbury, LW, 6-0, 190 lbs.
Mitchell Smith, Salisbury, LW, 5-11, 182 lbs.

C Goaltenders
Joseph Lissak, Taft School, G, 6-1.5, 203 lbs.
Sam Tucker, Choate-Rosemary, G, 6-1.25, 177 lbs.

B Skaters
Shane Eiserman (U.S. NTDP/ Cushing Academy/ St. John's Prep), Dubuque, LW, 6-1.5, 200 lbs.

C Skaters
Beau Starrett (Catholic Memorial), South Shore, LW, 6-4, 190 lbs.

Dexter hanging hat on towering bookends

September, 17, 2013
The 2013 season is going to be a big one for the Dexter School — on a number of levels.

Casey Day's team is anchored by seniors James Hendren and Dan DiNicola, two of the best offensive linemen in New England. Both have already verbally committed to Division I colleges: Hendren is heading to Boston College, while DiNicola plans on attending the University of Massachusetts.

Dexter's big boys have had a busy 12 months. Between school and the grueling recruiting process, Hendren and DiNicola have spent hours honing their skills against each other. Both athletes are 6-foot-7 and nearly 300 pounds, so in order to get better, they have to pick on someone their own size.

“Both guys have come into the season in tremendous shape,” Day said, adding that Hendren is down to 280 pounds after tipping the scales at 310 last year. “Both of them really work well with each other in different situations. They work together, one-on-one, on different skills and fundamentals. It's paid off, and both have really improved.”

Hendren and DiNicola will buy time for Dexter's stable of speedy skill players, who are getting more accustomed to Day's spread offense, which is now in year two of its implementation.

“We'll line up in different personnel packages, but we're pretty much in a full-blown spread attack,” Day said. “We will come out in a traditional spread with one back, or we'll line up in the Pistol package with two backs and a tight end. We feel like it's the best approach for our skill guys.”

Dexter's spread is specifically designed for starting quarterback Luke Cuneo. At 5-foot-7, Cuneo looks tiny behind his towering tackles, but his diminutive size hasn't held him back. A three-time captain, Cuneo had more than 1,500 total yards and 20 touchdowns last year. While he has good speed, Cuneo also has a “real live arm,” which he has honed as a varsity baseball player.

“He's another kid who has made huge improvements over the years,” Day said. “Considering his size, he takes people by surprise when they see him throw the ball. He can really air the ball out pretty well.”

Cuneo's main target is C.J. Okafor, a speedy receiver who has drawn interest from the University of New Hampshire and Monmouth University. He had 600 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year for Dexter – including three game-winning catches.

“He kind of has a knack for making the big plays in the big situations. He's got explosive speed and great ball skills. We're going to need him to get down the field for us and stretch the field,” Day said. “He's been just tremendous for us.”

Day is also looking forward to watching Colin O'Brien, a senior transfer from Milton High School. O'Brien doesn't have a defined position, but it Day thinks he can cause damage as a receiver or on the ground.

Defensively, Dexter's base is a 3-3 stack, but Day indicated that his team will jump into a 4-3 on passing downs. The defense, much like Dexter's offense, is based on the play of DiNicola and Hendren in the trenches. Day said he likes to “move them around a little bit” based on the opposing offense and will play them either inside or outside to cause mismatches.

“College-wise, they're offensive linemen, but in high school, at this level, they are really good defensive linemen,” Day said.

Day, who is in his fourth year with Dexter, knows the 2013 campaign is particularly important. Large portions of his 16-member senior class have been starting since they were freshman and have gone through a trial-by-fire growing process.

“We've been on the verge, but we just haven't been able to get over the top,” Day said. “This is the biggest senior class in school history, and they're a tight group of kids. We also got a few seniors who haven't been around to come out, and that should give us some added depth.”

Coach: Casey Day (4th season, 10-14)
Last season: 4-4
Returning Starters: 19
Key Returnees: Sr. OL/DL James Hendren, Sr. OL/DL Dan DiNicola, Sr. QB Luke Cuneo, Sr. CB/WR C.J. Okafor, Sr. ATH Colin O'Brien.
Strengths: Senior leadership, veteran playmakers, offensive/defensive line.
Weaknesses: Depth on offensive/defensive line.
Overview: Division I linemen don't come around very often at schools with less than 500 boys. So, it's quite the anomaly for the Dexter School to have two FBS-level tackles. Both Hendren and DiNicola have greatly improved during the past two years and will be asked to carry Dexter to what could be its best season, ever. The big fellas' aren't alone – Dexter has 19 returning starters and bring in a big-time transfer in Colin O'Brien, a kid who Day sees as a FCS-level talent. Okafor is still fighting for a verbal offer and will look to turn some heads during his final year. Pair that with do-everything Luke Cuneo, and Dexter should have no problem putting points on the board. Day's defense will be stout up front, and he will need a linebacker to step up to solidify the middle of the field. Okafor, a spectacular receiver, can also make opposing offenses pay from the cornerback spot. 2013 should be Dexter's year to jump above the .500 mark. It won't be an easy ride, but with nearly 600 pounds of Division I linemen in the trenches, Dexter won't be pushed around.

Dexter's Fraser talks Hopkins commitment

July, 31, 2013
Dexter rising senior Patrick Fraser found himself in an interesting predicament earlier this summer.

A two-sport standout with Dexter’s lacrosse and hockey teams, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder seriously had to consider his future. The goaltender had played hockey from the age of 6, and it was his lifelong dream to play Division 1 college hockey. But his booming left-handed shot on the lacrosse field had attracted looks from a who’s who of major Division 1 college programs. Or, there was the possibility to play both in college.

Earlier this month, the Walpole resident made his decision, choosing to play lacrosse at traditional power Johns Hopkins.

We caught up with Fraser to look at the rigors of the recruiting process and how he ended up with the Blue Jays:

On picking lacrosse over hockey: “It was an extremely difficult choice. I spent my whole life playing hockey and hockey was always my focus. Lacrosse was just something I did in the spring and into the summer. Really, not until late this spring of my junior year was when I started taking lacrosse more into consideration.”

On getting into lacrosse recruiting later on: “I came into it a little bit late, so I was a little bit nervous about how it was going to turn out. The lacrosse recruiting process starts so early. It’s kinda’ funny, one of the first conversations I had with [Hopkins head coach Dave] Pietramala had kind of made a joke about it. He told me, ‘You can’t be that far behind in the process if you’ve got the coach from Hopkins calling you.’ That was one of the first things he said to me and I thought it was pretty funny. I’ve always wanted to play hockey, but when an opportunity like the chance to play at Johns Hopkins comes along, you have to take it.”

On whether he’d pursued opportunities to play college hockey: “My junior year of hockey was big for me. I really wanted to play hockey more than anything, I’d always wanted to play Division 1 hockey. I wanted to pursue that route. The thing is that … You know [Loomis Chaffee goaltender] Danny Tirone? He just won the New England Prep School Player of the Year this year and UNH is asking him to play two years of juniors before he can even get there. Now, he was the Player of the Year – not even Goaltender of the Year – Player of the Year, and that’s what he has to do to get to UNH? So that wasn’t a route I was too interested in. I didn’t want be a 22-year-old freshman in college. I did explore the Division 3 route, and maybe playing both [lacrosse and hockey] at a NESCAC school maybe. I had times where I considered that, I’d go back-and-forth every week. Then I played a couple of summer tournaments earlier this summer and I had a bunch of Division 1 coaches calling me. Really up until that point, I was still considering ways that I’d still be able to play hockey.

On how much Pietramala meant to him choosing Hopkins: “Having played hockey for [Dexter head coach] Dan Donato, and getting used to his hard-nosed, old school style of coaching, I wanted something like that. He’ll break you down and really get on you, but when you do the right things, he’ll really give you a pat on the back. I like that. I like playing for a coach like that. And talking to a few different people about Coach Pietramala, I found out that he works in very much the same way. He’s an imposing figure, but it was really impressive to me how much respect he treated me and my family with. When I went down for a visit, it was unlike any visit that I’d had.”

On Dexter hockey’s success last season: “In a way, I think we’ve already taken the next step. Last season was a huge season [21-2-5 in 2012-13] for the program. Making the Elite Eight was a milestone to what our program can become. In the beginning, I went to Dexter to play hockey. I loved Coach Donato and he’s done wonders with this school. We love playing with each other, more than any other team I’ve been on.”

A midsummer hockey notebook

July, 24, 2013
Catching up on a few notes from the (melted) local ponds of late:

The NHL Draft always brings surprises, and Dexter School’s Tim Harrison was no exception.

Now, it shouldn’t come be a complete head-scratcher that the 6-foot-3 winger who’s committed to Colgate was selected by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round in last month’s draft. However, in the buildup, Harrison was ignored by NHL Central Scouting and its compilation of the top prospects in North America. The Duxbury native did not appear on the service’s “Watch List,” midterm or final rankings reports.

Despite the lack of love from the league’s draft gurus, Harrison attracted attention from the scouting staffs of the Flames and Chicago Blackhawks during the spring and scored high marks with Calgary’s brass during the pre-draft process. So much so that the Flames took Harrison with the 157th overall pick.

“It’s a tough draw,” Dexter head coach Dan Donato told ESPN Boston. “Teams aren’t going to show their cards throughout the process, but you can get hints every now and then.”

Harrison is a bit of a character (he’s described himself as such), and is known around Dexter hockey as the straight-shooting, loquacious sort. If you need further proof, check out this segment with Flames TV from the team’s development camp earlier this month (WATCH HERE).

His gift for gab, along with the willingness to use his frame in playing the physical game, helped Harrison leave an impression on Calgary’s staff. After having an one-on-one with Harrison, one Flames scout remarked to Donato that Harrison was perhaps the best interview he’d had with a prospect in decades.

But Harrison’s also made his presence felt on ice. During development camp, as highlighted during the aforementioned clip from Calgary, Harrison also dazzled the fans with a couple of nifty moves on penalty shot drills. He also mixed it up with fellow campers on ice, showing he has a mean streak.

Just don’t be fooled by it.

“He’s a pretty mello kid, actually,” Donato said. “Colgate’s getting a great kid. Don’t know what his role will be there, but what I know is that both they and the Flamers are getting a really good kid.”

And a hoot.

Notre Dame joins Hockey East this year, but the Irish already made a splash in the northeast recently with the commitment of Noble and Greenough center Cal Burke.

Burke, a Boxborough native, led the Bulldogs in scoring (34 points) last season. A 1997 birthdate, the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder also was selected by Cedar Rapids in May’s USHL Draft. Burke’s date of arrival in South Bend is intended for 2015-16.

“He’s a gifted player and he’s a great match for their program,” Nobles head coach Brian Day said. “Cal truly plays an all-around game. He’s a smart player and he incorporates his teammates well into the play.”

While the Irish catch a top recruit, Burke’s commitment could come with two-fold implications. For Notre Dame, entering a new conference otherwise situated exclusively in New England, perhaps Jeff Jackson’s staff will increasingly dip into the regional talent pool. With its present roster consisting primarily of players from the Midwest and out to the Pacific Ocean, can we expect Notre Dame to come east for more than road trips?

“There would definitely be advantages,” Day said to the notion. “If kids are in the Northeast, their families don’t have to always go out to Indiana to see their games, given that they’ll be playing here now. Plus, it’s a national brand, everybody’s heard of Notre Dame.”

There were a couple of other Hockey East commitments coming from local skaters during the last week or so.

First, Austin Prep’s Nolan Vesey will become the third member of his immediate family to play college hockey, verballing to Maine. A four-year standout for the Cougars, Nolan joins father Jim (Merrimack) and older brother Jimmy (Harvard).

Nolan Vesey is a modern-day rarity though, having playing four years of MIAA hockey before earning a college hockey scholarship. Jim Clark of the Boston Herald spoke to Vesey last week about the subject last week, and the forward was candid about the struggles in staying close to home.

“I’d be the first one to tell you, my first few years at Austin I was looking at prep schools,” Vesey told Clark.

Joining Vesey among the most recent local Hockey East commits, Phillips Exeter defenseman Spenser Young announced he’d committed to Providence College earlier this week via Twitter. The rising sophomore and Brentwood, N.H. native chose the Friars from a host of interested H.E. schools.

Locals selected in USHL Draft

May, 23, 2012
The United States Hockey League held its entry draft tonight and there was plenty of New England flavor to the proceedings.

Here's the rundown of those selected by overall selection:

2. Muskegon - Adam Gilmour, RW, Hanover, Mass., Noble and Greenough.

7. Sioux City - Cam Brown, C, Natick, Mass., New Hampshire Junior Monarchs.

10. Waterloo - Chris Calnan, RW, Norwell, Mass., Noble and Greenough.

23. Omaha - Alex Rauter, RW, Morristown, NJ, Choate Rosemary Hall.

29. Indiana - Brian Morgan, C, Windham, N.H., New Hampshire Junior Monarchs.

32. Muskegon - Ben Foster, LW, Darien, Conn., Choate Rosemary Hall.

37. Cedar Rapids - Gavin Bayreuther, D, Canaan, Mass., Holderness.

41. Dubuque - Trevor Fidler, C, Watertown, Mass., Dexter.

73. Lincoln - Ross Olsson, RW, Billerica, Mass., Williston-Northampton.

77. Muskegon - Doyle Somerby, D, Marblehead, Mass., Kimball Union.

89. Indiana - Cam Askew, C, South Boston, Mass., St. Sebastian's.

123. Des Moines - Josh Couturier, D, Newbury, Mass., Boston Junior Bruins.

131. Dubuque - Noah Hanifin, D, Norwood, Mass., St. Sebastian's.

134. Indiana - Sam Kurker, RW, Reading, Mass., St. John's Prep.

222. Cedar Rapids - Jason Kalinowski, RW, Stamford, Conn., Salisbury.

225. Green Bay - Joe Young, G, Hanson, Mass., Boston Advantage Major Midget.

231. Sioux City - Nick Roberto, F, Wakefield, Mass., Kimball Union.

242. Muskegon, Corey Ronan, F, Franklin, Mass., St. Sebastian's.

245. Tri-City - Devin Tringale, LW, Medford, Mass., Lawrence Academy.

250. Waterloo - Ryan Cloonan, LW, East Longmeadow, Mass., Boston Advantage Major Midget.

254. Muskegon - William Messa, C, Lawrence Academy.

314. Indiana - Laythe Jadallah, RW, The Gunnery.

Local flair to USHL Futures Draft

May, 2, 2012
The United States Hockey League held its annual Futures Draft on Tuesday night and there were four Massachusetts-based players and one Rhode Islander taken in the six-round selection process.

Boston Advantage Midget Major forward and Maine commit Liam Pecararo (Canton, Mass.) was the No. 2 overall selection. Scituate's Conor Garland of the Boston Junior Bruins went to the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the third round. La Salle Academy (R.I.) standout winger Bryan Lemos was taken in the fourth round by the Youngstown Phantoms. Malden Catholic freshman center Ara Nazarian was the first pick of the sixth round, going to the Des Moines Buccaneers. Also going in the sixth round was Dexter School forward Ryan Donato.

The players selected in the futures draft selected were from the 1996 birth year. The respective teams hold the player rights for three years.

However, it is expected that Nazarian will return to MC for his sophomore season as the Lancers look for a third straight Super title, sources say.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With about five minutes remaining in Friday’s Shriners All-Star football game at Gillette Stadium, Tyllor MacDonald knew his team need a big play. The North squad was trailing the South, 14-10, and driving into North territory.

That’s when the Lynn English standout laid a wicked hit on North Attleborough’s Dan Johnson, prying the ball free. MacDonald capped the play by falling on the loose ball and gaining possession for the North.

North quarterback Cal Carroll of Methuen took care of the rest, leading the team on a 13-play drive to victory that he capped with a 1-yard touchdown run to the North a 17-14 victory.

“As saw [Johnson] coming across the middle and I hit him as hard as I could,” MacDonald said of his game-changing play. “I just knew that I had to. I had to pick my team up.”

With the ball back in his hands, Carroll led North downfield, completing two key pass attempts for 37 yards on the drive. The Rangers’ signal-caller found Everett’s Matt Costello, ESPN Boston’s inaugural Mr. Football Award winner, for a 22-yard connection on third and 16. Two plays later, Carroll hit BB&N’s Peter Savarese with a 15-yard pass to give North a first down and goal at the South 5-yard line.

Carroll then punched in the game-winning score with 1:33 remaining.

“I think once we connected on that third and long, I think we really felt like we were going to pull through in the red zone,” Carroll said.

Trae Weathers provided the counterpunch to North’s aerial attack, which was quarterbacked by both Carroll and Dracut’s Matt Silva. The bruising Revere running back was named the North’s Offensive MVP following his 12-carry, 70-yard performance, forming part of a talented backfield alongside Gloucester’s Jordan Shairs.

“We saw the ISO was working,” Weathers said. “We were just trying to pound it in. It’d been working all game, so we just stuck with it.”

Not to be overlooked was North’s defense, which racked up five sacks including three consecutive sacks of Holliston’s Sean Mayo to negate South’s final drive of the game, sealing the win.

The Dexter School’s Jake Giovanucci capped the performance with two sacks in the final minute. Billerica’s Justin Hood, Lynn Classical’s Daniel Omorgie and Gloucester’s Chris Unis collected sacks for North.

“We really came together as a unit the last two weeks in practice,” Giovanucci said. “We had a lot of really skilled guys. It’s tough to block four skilled pass rushers. Someone might get the sack, but the other guys were taking up blockers.”

South opened scoring with Mayo connecting on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Attleboro’s Nate Robitaille with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Carroll came back to tie the game with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tewksbury’s Anthony Acari with 9:25 to play in the second. Costello added the extra point to tie the game, 7-7.

North would take the lead into the locker room at halftime following James Brao’s 24-yard field goal with 5:01 remaining.

South reclaimed the lead four minutes into the third quarter with Scituate’s Tyler Park connecting with Cohasset’s Jack Carrier on a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Dexter baseball doubles up BB&N

May, 2, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Dexter School head baseball coach Dan Donato didn’t forget the two losses his team suffered last season at the hands of BB&N, apparently neither did the rest of his team.

Donato’s club ran it’s winning streak to eight games in 2011 after an 8-4 win over BB&N (8-4) on Monday night at Harvard University, which was the site of an exciting extra-innings affair won by the Knights last season.

“We came over here with a little sense of purpose to avenge some of those losses,” said Donato.

Dexter used a four-run top of the fifth inning, and tacked on three more in the final two innings to give starter John Magliozzi and relief pitcher Ryan Sullivan breathing room to work. Magliozzi gave up two earned runs and struck out seven in six innings of work, while Sullivan survived the seventh despite watching two runs cross the plate.

The Knights’ grabbed the early 2-0 lead after Rhett Wiseman took advantage of some second life in the bottom of the third. Wiseman got jammed, but Pat Curtis couldn’t corral the short pop-up despite a valiant diving attempt.

Wiseman smacked the next pitched up the middle by the diving centerfielder to plate Mike Samko and Robert Krentzman.

Dexter started 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, but finally broke through when freshman Mark Webber singled in Barrett O’Neill in the top of the fourth. Knights’ starter Devin Perry was moving through the lineup with five strikeouts in the first four innings, but a blister he developed on the top of his thumb on his throwing hand opened the Dexter floodgates.

Dexter plated four in the top of the fifth, with Curtis coming through with the crushing two-run double to push the lead to 5-2. Magliozzi’s sacrifice fly brought home Matt Cuneo in the top of the sixth off of reliever Matt Pugh, and Brendan Fitzgerald later scored on a throwing error as the right-fielder overthrew the cut-off man.

“It came down to some fundamentals and I thought our kids did a good job in those areas,” Donato said. “We found a way to battle a good pitcher”

Keeping the runs coming against a very tough BB&N team was very important for Donato, because Magliozzi had to weasel his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth and the Knights did tack on two in the final frame.

“I knew we had to, because their bats are that good,” Donato said. “In the late innings we were still running, we were still trying to manufacture runs, because I have a lot of respect for what they do and how they play the game.”

Life Without Chin
There was a glaring void for BB&N on the mound as Andrew Chin is out for the remainder of the year. The talented lefy, who is expected to play next season at Boston College, will undergo Tommy John Surgery in the next few weeks, according to Knights’ head coach Rick Foresteire.

Foresteire has had to do some shuffling, and seeing his new No. 1 starter Perry leave the game with a blister issue was probably the last thing that he wanted to see.

“He just cut it somehow on the top,” he said. “It’s not anything long-term. He hasn’t had a chance to stretch out in the last week or so in terms of innings. I think he threw well. … I think it got a little irritating (for him).”

Perry, Pugh and Brandon Kerrigan will have to fill in for arguably the most consistent starting pitcher in the entire state. The shock of losing the ace of the staff, who helped BB&N go 20-0 last season, is still tough to shake off for Foresteire and the rest of the club.

“It’s been tough,” he said. “He’s a great kid and that’s why it’s been so tough on all of us. Not only is he talented, but what he’s meant to the program. You know he wants to be out there competing, and to not get to see him pitch is sad.”