Boston High School: Dylan Morris

D1 South Baseball: Walpole 8, Barnstable 4

June, 4, 2013
6/04/13
11:16
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WALPOLE, Mass. -– As far as Walpole coach Bill Tompkins is concerned the longer the game and the tougher the opposition the better.

Tompkins’ philosophy was underscored Tuesday when the top-seeded Rebels twice rallied for an 8-4 victory over No. 8 seed Barnstable in an MIAA Division 1 South quarterfinal game.

“You know I’m an advocate of nine innings,” Tompkins said after the Rebels (19-3) came from behind for the second consecutive tournament game. “We play nine innings in the Bay State League and I think that’s a huge factor for us –- a real huge factor for us.

“We’re also a Division 2 club. We play Division 1 clubs all the time, nine innings. That’s why I like to pop up and play (D-I teams). We can compete against these teams.”

Besides the fact his team “competed,” Tompkins paid the Red Raiders (13-7) a great deal of respect.

“That’s the best team we’ve played this year,” he said. “I was really impressed with that team. They ran, they were good hitters and they played good defense. That pitcher (Dan Holzman) was real tough. We knew he had thrown before and he was tough.

“We felt that if we could keep it close and work him into the late innings he might get tired or slow down a little bit. We also noticed he had more trouble throwing strikes from the stretch than he did from the windup. Our kids are battlers and they’re nine-innings tested. We know it’s a long ballgame and we can come back. We did it before and we did it today.”

Red Raiders strike first: Barnstable nipped Walpole starter Tom Farrow for a first-inning run on consecutive singles by Dan Walsh, Dylan Morris and Terrence Muchia.

The Red Raiders scored twice in the fourth –- the highlight being Cody Pasic’s booming triple.

But Barnstable got one run back in the fourth on Boston College-bound John Adams triple and Cam Hanley’s groundout.

The Rebels tied it in the fifth on Ian Fair’s double, Mike Rando’s single and Bobby Ivatts single. But Barnstable took what proved to be its last lead in the seventh on Chris Fowler’s double, a wild pitch and Walsh’s single off reliever and eventual winner Nick Cordopatri.

Walpole exploded for five runs in the seventh on four hits, one walk, one error and a hit batter.

Ian Fair, who reached on a single, scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

Then Hanley delivered the key hit, a two-run single that produced a 6-4 lead.

“(Hanley) had the key hit but our lineup up and down produced today,” Tompkins said. “Rando had three hits. Bobby Ivatts, who’s been in a little bit of a slump, got a big hit. Obviously, Adams is a hitter. Fair got three hits near the bottom of the order.

“I thought Tommy Farrow kept us in the ballgame (he worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits replete with zero walks and five strikeouts). He’s a battler. He mixes his speed. He’s not overpowering.”

Confidence not lacking: Barnstable coach Joe DeMartino expressed the opinion that from pitch one to pitch last, his team never was out of contention.

“We held our confidence the whole game,” DeMartino said. “There were a couple plays that allowed them to score a few runs in one inning. But you couldn’t feel it on our bench.

“We were confident. We had every thought in the world that we were going to win this ballgame. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way but you must give the guys credit for having that type of attitude.”

Barnstable's Ashe hurls 63-pitch, 3-K no-hitter

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
1:18
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When it comes to pitching efficiency, you can't get much better than this.

Barnstable junior righthander Riley Ashe tossed a no-hitter in a 6-1 win over Falmouth yesterday in just his second varsity start, striking out three and needing just 63 pitches -- count that, 63 -- to accomplish the feat. On top of that, Ashe threw just 18 balls total, with no walks.

[+] EnlargeRiley Ashe
Eric Adler for ESPNBoston.com Riley Ashe struck out three in his no-hitter.
"He was just throwing strikes, the pitch selection was incredible," Red Raiders head coach Joe DeMartino said. "Our catcher Jack Harrington called a fantastic game. He went to a full count on the second hitter of the first inning, and never went beyond two balls [in a count] the rest of the way -- and he only threw two balls to three more guys."

That stands in stark contrast to past pitching performances. A year ago at this time, the Raiders sparked a bit of controversy across the state and beyond when staff ace Willie Nastasi, now a freshman at UConn, threw 155 pitches in a 16-strikeout, three-hit win over Taunton.

One thing is clear: DeMartino lets his pitchers pitch, because they come in all shapes and sizes. Whereas Nastasi was an overpowering fireballer at 6-foot-5, with leg power built for the long haul, Ashe relies more on precision with his wiry 6-foot, 170-pound frame. In his first start of the season, a win over rival Dennis-Yarmouth, Ashe needed only 80 pitches to go the distance, striking out two.

Averaging nine pitches per inning yesterday against Falmouth, and using just two pitches -- his fastball, and a slurve -- Ashe threw consistently to contact, with 11 outs coming on fly balls. He also benefited from a staunch defense -- three of those 11 fly-outs were diving catches in the outfield, including the game-ending dive from leftfielder Ryan Litchman. UMass-bound centerfielder Dylan Morris also recorded seven putouts in the winning effort.

So what's Ashe's secret? It may lie in an unorthodox motion that hides his pitches late, dropping his throwing arm then coming up and over with what looks a high arm slot.

"He throws 83-84, he's not gonna really blow you away but it's sneaky quick because he hides it well," DeMartino said. "Guys were out in front, popping it up or hitting weak grounders."

ESPN Boston 2012 MIAA All-State Team

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
7:07
PM ET
OFFENSE
All-StateQB -- Nick Peabody, Sr., Barnstable
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound signal-caller led the Red Raiders to their most successful season in over a decade, claiming the Old Colony League title outright, holding the No. 1 spot in ESPNBoston.com's statewide poll for seven weeks, and falling to Everett, 20-19, in a thrilling Division 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. For the season, he threw for 2,627 yards and 34 touchdowns while also carrying the ball 73 times for 366 yards and seven more scores. He is considering several Division 1 FCS schools for college.

All-StateQB -- Drew Belcher, Jr., Reading
In two years as the Rockets' starter under center, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback has gone 21-4, including two Middlesex League titles and a Division 2 Super Bowl championship this season. Through the air, he was very efficient, completing 107 of 169 passes for 1,710 yards, 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions. On the ground he was just as dangerous, carrying 138 times for 804 yards and 15 scores.

All-StateQB -- Troy Flutie, Jr., Natick
The son of Boston College legend Darren Flutie, the younger Flutie endured a record-setting 2012 campaign in leading the Redhawks to the Division 2A Super Bowl title game. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,153 yards and 35 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, and on the ground he carried 167 times for 1,075 yards and 14 more scores.

All-StateQB -- Andrew Smiley, Jr., St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Smiley took the starting job during the preseason following injuries, and in his first year running the Pioneers' "Blur" offense, he set the Central Mass. single-season record for passing yardage. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder completed nearly 62 percent of his passes for 3,123 yards and 25 touchdowns; on the ground, he carried 141 times for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Pioneers also led the state in yards from scrimmage, averaging 442.2 yards per game.

All-StateRB -- Jonathan Thomas, Jr., St. John's Prep
The Catholic Conference's Offensive MVP established himself as one of the state's most dangerous in leading the Eagles to their first Division 1 Super Bowl title in 15 seasons. The 6-foot, 195-pound Salem resident carried 220 times for 1,794 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also added nine catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns, and defensively added 20.5 tackles and two interceptions. Thomas currently holds a scholarship offer from UMass, but more are sure to follow.

All-StateRB -- Quron Wright, Sr., Holy Name
The 5-foot-6, 165-pounder finished his career as the all-time leading rusher at both his school and in Central Mass. This fall, he totaled 3,199 yards from scrimmage and 38 touchdowns for the Naps, who made the postseason for an eighth straight year. That includes 35 rushing touchdowns and a state-best 2,254 rushing yards, as well as 806 return yards and two return touchdowns. For his career, Wright has 5,891 rushing yards and 2,659 return yards, to go along with 95 touchdowns (84 rushing, seven kickoff return, two receiving, two interception return).

All-StateRB -- Brendan Flaherty, Sr., Beverly
Considered the most dynamic back of the Panthers' vaunted three-pronged rushing attack, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Flaherty led the Panthers to the Division 2A Super Bowl title and their first undefeated season in 100 years. On the season, he carried 160 times for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns, and added 10 catches for 236 yards and four more scores.

All-StateRB -- Dylan Oxsen, Jr., Plymouth South
By far the state's most surprising breakthrough this fall, Oxsen took Eastern Mass. by storm as the Panthers qualified for postseason for the first time in the school's 30-year history. After recording just three touchdowns last fall, the 5-foot-8, 205-pounder exploded for a state-best 40 rushing touchdowns in 2012, to go along with over 2,100 yards on the ground.

All-StateWR -- Brian Dunlap, Soph., Natick
Already off to a remarkable start to his young varsity career, the 6-foot Dunlap led the state in receiving, with 86 catches for 1,570 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had 34 carries for 301 yards and another score. In just two years of varsity, Dunlap already has record-pace receiving totals: 155 catches, 2,742 yards, 35 touchdowns.

All-StateWR -- Jakarrie Washington, Sr., Everett
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder was as dangerous on the ground as he was through the air, as the Crimson Tide captured their third straight Super Bowl championship. He caught 33 passes for 439 yards and nine touchdowns, and on the ground had 75 carries for 697 yards and 15 more scores. Defensively, he also recorded two picks and two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

All-StateWR -- Elijah Scott, Sr., Cambridge
Scott exploded into the spotlight following the Falcons' shootout loss to Everett, and stayed there for good. On the season, he recorded 73 catches for 1,047 yards and 11 touchdowns, the latter tying a school record, as the Falcons went 7-4 for their first winning season since 2007.

All-StateWR -- Dylan Morris, Sr., Barnstable
The 6-foot, 180-pounder established himself as one of the region's best deep-ball threats, as the Red Raiders reached their first Super Bowl since 1999. On the season, he recorded 33 catches for 716 yards and 13 touchdowns. Morris signed a National Letter of Intent with UMass last month, for baseball.
All-StateWR -- Will Heikkinen, Sr., Andover
Part of one of the most dynamic receiving corps in Eastern Mass., the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder led the Golden Warriors in receptions (67) and receiving yards (1,126), to go along with nine touchdowns as the Warriors reached the Division 1 playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

All-StateTE -- Terrel Correia, Sr., Nantucket
Another one of the state's surprise breakthroughs, the 6-foot-7, 270-pounder was a matchup nightmare for the Mayflower League. On the season, he led the 4-7 Whalers with 26 catches and 372 yards for five touchdowns. Correia is verbally committed to UMass, where he plans on converting to the offensive line.

All-StateOL -- John Montelus, Sr., Everett
The Notre Dame-bound left tackle concluded his Crimson Tide career as a three-time Super Bowl champion. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder started on each of those Everett championship teams and was a finalist, the first-ever lineman, for our Mr. Football Award. Montelus, who didn’t allow a sack in his high school career, will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

All-StateOL -- Rob Kosharek, Sr., Duxbury
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound road-grading tackle was a key part of a Dragons' offensive line that fueled the team to a then state-best 37-game winning streak, that only ended in a Division 2 playoff game against Mansfield. Kosharek led the team in pancake blocks with 28, nearly doubling the amount of Duxbury's second leading blocker.

All-StateOL -- Aaron Dyke, Sr., Auburn
The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder was among the state's most punishing road graders, as the Rockets won their fifth straight Central Mass. Super Bowl title. With Dyke leading the way, Auburn once again went over 3,000 mark in rushing (3,155 yards, 10.1 yards per carry, 53 TD) and accumulated 66 total scores and nearly 4,000 yards of offense. They also outscored the opposition 468-84, with four shutouts, to go 13-0 and captured the Division 3 Super Bowl title.

All-StateOL -- Matt Comerford, Sr., Reading
Reading was one of the state's most dominant offenses in capturing its second Division 2 Super Bowl title in four years, and the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder made sure the Rockets won the line of scrimmage. The Rockets were one of the best rushing attacks (2,544 yards, six yards per carry, 34 TD) and totaled 4,272 yards from scrimmge with 56 touchdowns. Comerford is also a standout goaltender on the Rockets' lacrosse team.

All-StateOL -- Joe Previte, Sr., Brockton
The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder played the interior and was a force for the Boxers, allowing them to total over 3,000 yards rushing in their newly-installed flexbone attack. Behind Previte, the Boxers averaged 255.5 rushing yards per game, among the state's best, and returned to the Division 1 Super Bowl for the first time since 2009. Previte also recorded 35 tackles and a sack as a defensive tackle.

All-StateATH -- Tedaro France, Sr., Barnstable
A true three-phase contributor, the Red Raiders receiver and defensive back was considered by his peers the MVP of Barnstable’s run at a Div. 1A Super Bowl. France tallied 41 receptions for 884 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns. He also had 682 combined return yards for 1,600 yards all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns.

ATH -- David Harrison, Jr., Weymouth
Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, it didn't matter which role Kevin Mackin asked the versatile Harrison to play this season. Harrison finished second in Division 1 with 21 touchdowns scored while hauling in 12 touchdown passes and throwing for eight more scores.

All-StateK -- Jackson Bockhorst, Sr., BC High
A feared weapon, not only in the kicking game but with his kickoffs, Bockhurst has earned the reputation as one of the most consistent kickers in the state during the last several seasons. In 2012, Bockhurst connected on three field goals and 17 point-after tries for 26 points.

***

DEFENSE
All-StateDL -- Maurice Hurst, Sr., Xaverian
As the Catholic Conference's Lineman of the Year, Hurst was a dominant force in the middle, recording 51 tackles (23 for loss), 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception. Offensively, he also ran for 63 yards and five touchdowns as the Hawks' goal line running back. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Hurst is the state's No. 2 overall prospect, and will be heading to Michigan next year.

All-StateDL -- Jon Baker, Jr., Millis/Hopedale
Considered one of New England's top Class of 2014 prospects, Baker dominated the Tri-Valley League once again as the Mohawks made a second straight Division 4 playoff appearance. As a defensive tackle, he registered 78 tackles with four sacks, and was named the league's Lineman of the Year for the second straight season. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Baker currently holds offers from UMass, UConn and Boston College.

All-StateDL -- Peter Ngobidi, Sr., Catholic Memorial
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hyde Park resident established himself as one of the state's premier edge-setting defensive athletes, despite the Knights' struggles to a 2-8 campaign. Off the edge, he led the Knights in sacks (12), ranked second in tackles (68) and recorded three forced fumbles. Ngobidi will continue his career next fall at UMass.

All-StateDL -- Jeff Soulouque, Sr., Everett
Soulouque was a feared pass-rusher coming of the edge of the Crimson Tide defense which allowed just 12.6 points per game for the three-time defending Super Bowl champions.
All-StateLB -- Marshall McCarthy, Sr., Duxbury
Perhaps the most surefire tacklers in the state, McCarthy was the fulcrum of the Dragons' defense at his inside linebacker position. The 6-foot, 195-pounder led the team in tackles with 116 (79 solo), averaging nearly 10 tackles per game, and sacks with 12.5. He also had two forced fumbles and an interception.

All-StateLB -- Sha'ki Holines, Sr., Springfield Commerce
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is bound for UConn next season and was capable in the pass rush and he is adept at stuffing the run. Holines also finished the season with two touchdowns on offense.
All-StateLB -- Zack Hume, Sr., Nashoba
The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was one of the most feared linebackers across the state, as the Chieftains captured their second straight Central Mass. Division 2 Super Bowl title to extend their win streak to a state-best 26 games. Hume totaled 113.5 tackles on the season, giving him over 100 for the third straight year, with 10.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, a sack and an interception. Hume is also the two-time Defensive MVP of Mid-Wach B.

All-StateLB -- Andrew Ellis, Sr., Barnstable
Leading one of the state's most aggressive, athletic front sevens, the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder recorded over 100 tackles as the Red Raiders spent seven weeks at No. 1 in our statewide poll and reached their first Super Bowl since 1999. He had 105 tackles on the season, to go along with four interceptions and two forced fumbles.

All-StateLB -- Brad Schiff, Sr., Sharon
At just 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Schiff came away with the Defensive MVP award in the competitive Hockomock League. He recorded 174 tackles (17 for loss), four forced fumbles, a sack and an interception as the Eagles unexpectedly captured the Eastern Mass. Division 3 Super Bowl title in their first-ever postseason appearance. For his career, Schiff had 320 tackles (36 for loss), seven forced fumbles, three sacks and an interception.

All-StateLB -- Sean Smerczynski, Jr., St. John's Prep
The 5-foot-10, 216-pounder was an integral force for the Eagles as they captured their first Division 1 Super Bowl title in 15 seasons. On the year, he recorded 76 tackles, six tackles for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries and was named a Catholic Conference All-Star.

All-StateDB -- Alex Moore, Sr., St. John's Prep
Earlier this week, Moore was named ESPN Boston's Mr. Football for the 2012 for his impact in all three phases of the game. On offense, he carried the ball 112 times for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns, and added a team-high 20 receptions for 455 yards and five more scores. Defensively, he recorded 67 tackles from the strong safety position, to go along with four forced fumbles, four interceptions (including a return for a TD) and five tackles for loss.

All-StateDB -- Micah Morel, Sr., Brockton
One of the top safeties in the state, Morel was also asked to play quarterback for several weeks when Austin Roberts was lost to injury for the Division 1 EMass Super Bowl finalists.
All-StateDB -- Jalen Felix, Sr., Everett
Playing lock-down corner, Felix tallied two interceptions for the three-time reigning Super Bowl champions. Felix also made his presence felt on the offensive side of the ball, leading the Crimson Tide in rushing with 684 yards for nine touchdowns. He also tallied three receiving touchdowns in addition to a kick return for a score.

All-StateDB -- Lucas Bavaro, Sr., St. John's Prep
The Dartmouth commit was one of the most hard-hitting forces in the state, playing a hybrid role of linebacker and free safety for the EMass Division 1 champion Eagles. Bavaro finished third on the Eagles with 46.5 tackles (41 solo), including five tackles for loss. He also tallied two interceptions, two forces fumbles, a fumble recovery and two punt blocks.

All-StateRET -- Cam Farnham, Sr., Andover
Always a big-play threat in the return game, Farnham was also a integral part of Andover's vaunted passing attack. The shifty speedster hauled in 11 touchdown receptions with two returns for a score.


BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The fourth of quarter of Friday’s instant classic between No. 1 Barnstable and No. 16 Bridgewater-Raynham was rife with hairpin plot twists and explosions. Every expanding moment brought more drama, heightened tension and – assuredly on both sidelines – greater anxiety. It was the stuff of Jack Bauer tracking down bad guys, MacGyver defusing a bomb threat, or a John Le Carré spy novel. Or maybe it was a little of all those things rolled into one -- and then some.

For whatever you care to call it, in recent memory, the yearly date between the Red Raiders and Trojans has morphed into a de facto championship game for the Old Colony League.

Friday’s edition was but another spellbinding chapter.

Barnstable clung to a 27-25 lead behind an opportunistic defense before putting the game away in the final moments with the Red Raiders tallying their third interception of the game. In the process, Barnstable (8-0, 2-0) claimed its second-straight OCL championship and will return to the postseason, again to face Dual County League large division champion Lincoln-Sudbury in the Div. 1A Eastern Mass playoffs.

“Last year is a distant memory at this point,” Red Raiders head coach Chris Whidden said. “It feels great for this group, these guys have done so much together, and they were obviously a big part of last year, but there’s a pride in what they accomplished today.

“They derserve it. I know every coach can say that the group of kids you have deserve it, but if you really knew these kids, you’d know they truly have done more than most classes would do to get what they got tonight.”

Barnstable showed its defensive mettle after a lack-luster showing against Billerica a week ago.

Jason Frieh (sack, 2 TFL) led the Red Raider defensive line bringing the pressure, but the contributions came from all around. Barnstable’s defense pulled off a unique hat trick of interceptions, with one pick coming from a member at each level of its unit. Frieh seized momentum for the Red Raiders early in the second half with a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, inside linebacker Andrew Ellis collected a pick of his own before free safety Hayden Murphy closed out the victory with an interception with 1:03 remaining.

Frieh’s pick-six extended the Red Raiders’ halftime lead to 21-6, but the Trojans (5-4, 1-1) responded on the ensuing drive in the third with a 10-play, 74-yard drive capped by Jordan Cohen’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Scripter.

Barnstable again made it a two-possession game on Nick Peabody’s second touchdown pass of the game, a 31-yard connection to Tedaro France with 7:31 to play in the fourth.

From there, a dizzying sequence unfolded that was made for an episode of “24”.

Events between the time 7:14 and 4:03 of the fourth quarter included:
  • An 82-yard kickoff return by B-R’s Ryan Martin, (Score: 27-19, Barnstable, following failed two-point try).
  • A fumble recovery by the Trojans on Barnstable’s following kickoff return, (Devin Morris’ forced fumble was recovered by Mike Clifford, setting up B-R first and 10 from the Red Raiders’ 20-yard line).
  • Ellis’ interception, (setting up Barnstable first and 10 at their own 15).
  • Strip-sack by B-R’s Aaron Conrad with Trojans recovery by Kevin Johnston at the Barnstable 5, (5:33 to play).
  • 2-yard rushing touchdown by Brandon Gallagher, (Score: 27-25, Barnstable, 4:03 remained).

Following that frenetic sequence -- keep in mind there were only seven plays from scrimmage elapsed during that span – Barnstable had a chance at closing out the game by bleeding the clock. But the Red Raiders’ ensuing drive sputtered flat once it hit the 50-yard line. Barnstable was forced to punt, but a masterful 41-yard punt from Ryan Litchman was downed at the Trojans’ 6-yard line.

With a long field to go, B-R went to its 2-minute drill with 1:45 to play. The comeback ended at 1:03 when a last-ditch pass by Cohen was fielded by Murphy.

TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE
His dancing acumen aside, ESPN Boston Mr. Football challenger and Barnstable quarterback Nick Peabody showed he’s got moves on the field.

Peabody (12 of 22 passing, 201 yards, 2 TDs) ripped up the carpet on a rambling 54-yard run in the first quarter. After juking a B-R safety into last Friday, Peabody broke down the left sideline before being chased down at the 1-yard line. He plunged into the end zone one play later for Barnstable’s second touchdown of the game.

“We were reading the end on the play, and he kind of flew out with Hayden [Murphy],” Peabody said. “I just saw the hole, I hit it and there was just one safety. I was kind of shocked, I guess I put a move on him.

“Then, to be honest, I was scared I was going to get caught and I got caught on the one-yard line.”

While Peabody will never be mistaken for a Randall Cunningham-like quarterback, he’s still able to make plays with his feet. He ran for 78 yards on 15 carries, including the touchdown. A bulk of those yards came on zone read plays with Peabody pulling back an option to Murphy, who streaks across the field from the slot. It was a bread-and-butter play that Barnstable’s run successfully on Friday and throughout the season.

It’s yet another element that has made the Red Raiders offense so potent.

“We drill it until it makes you sick, but that’s what makes it work,” Peabody said.

CLOSING CREDITS
If you placed this year’s B-R team in the year 2013, there’s a real possibility the Trojans are playing through a playoff stretch.

While the MIAA playoff proposal has passed, it didn’t come soon enough for the Trojans, who will again challenge for the dubious title of “Best Team in Massachusetts Not Playing past Thanksgiving” this year.

“I look at our team, we’re five-and-four and we’ve lost to two teams that are undefeated, another team in St. John’s Prep that has one loss and La Salle could play with anyone [in Massachusetts],” Trojans head coach Dan Buron said.

Don’t interpret that statement as sour grapes though. Buron was downright grateful following his team’s loss.

It was evidenced on the Trojans’ final offensive play. As his players shuffled – dejected – back to the sideline, Buron met each and every one of them with a pat on the shoulder pads and the message: “Don’t hang your heads.”

“I told the kids they shouldn’t have any regrets and they should be proud,” Buron said of his postgame breakdown with the team. “I’ve never been more proud of a team because there were a couple of times in this game we could’ve folded.”

Barnstable – 14 0 7 6 -- 27
Bridgewater-Raynham – 0 6 7 12 -- 25

First quarter
B - Dylan Morris 35-yard pass from Nick Peabody (Jason Frieh kick)
B - Peabody 1-yard run (Frieh kick)

Second quarter
B-R – Kevin Wadsworth 11-yard pass from Jordan Cohen (kick failed)

Third quarter
B - Jason Frieh 21-yard interception return (Frieh kick)
B-R - Ryan Scripter 17-yard pass from Cohen (Wadsworth kick)

Fourth quarter
B - Tedaro France 31-yard pass from Peabody (kick failed)
B-R - Ryan Martin 82-yard kickoff return (pass failed)
B-R - Brandon Gallagher 2-yard run (rush failed)

Recap: No. 1 Barnstable 46, Billerica 33

October, 27, 2012
10/27/12
7:42
PM ET
Jordan BalarinhoBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comBillerica quarterback Jordan Balarinho gave No. 1 Barnstable all it could handle in a near-upset, accumulating 394 yards of offense and 5 passing touchdowns.
HYANNIS, Mass. -– Between the bye-week rust, looming Homecoming festitivies and a monster matchup with league rival Bridgewater-Raynham for the Old Colony League’s lone playoff berth on Nov. 2, this was an ideal formula for a trap game.

And until the final few minutes, it looked like the No. 1 team in all of Massachusetts was about to take one on the chin from upstart Billerica. The Indians (2-6) took a brief lead over Barnstable (7-0) in the fourth quarter, but the Raiders answered with two rushing scores and a stingy defensive stop to put down the clamps and escape with a 46-33 win.

“We survived. We showed some toughness at the end, no quit,” head coach Chris Whidden said. “But hopefully, this proves that we can’t just turn it on and off. Hopefully that ‘on’ switch stays on going forward.”

Billerica took its first and only lead of the afternoon with 8:38 to play in the game, on a 61-yard strike from quarterback Jordan Balarinho (23 of 35, 322 yards, 5 TD; 9 carries, 72 yards) to receiver Matt Clifford (10 catches, 156 yards, 3 TD). Clifford ran a seven-yard hitch down the left sideline and easily slipped off a high arm-tackle, then outran safety Hayden Murphy’s pursuit from the opposite side of the field en route to paydirt.

After sputtering in spurts all afternoon, the Red Raiders came to life in the final eight minutes of play. Quarterback Nick Peabody completed a nine-play, 75-yard drive by calling his own number on zone read, then weaving through traffic up the middle of the field and stretching over the goal line. He called his own number again on the two-point rush to make it 40-33.

On the ensuing Indians drive, the Raiders front seven made two crucial stuffs for a turnover on downs, after giving up nine yards on the first play of the drive. On third down, Ellis met Balarinho right at the line of scrimmage as the quarterback was looking for a dive up the middle. The next play, running back Brad Dewek was stopped cold in his tracks by Ellis immediately in the backfield.

With new field position at the Indians’ 40-yard line with 3:36 to go, the Raiders put the game out of reach with a two-play scoring drive, first a 27-yard speed sweep by receiver Tedaro France (5 catches, 127 yards, 2 TD) then a 16-yard zone play by Murphy (145 all-purpose yards, 2 TD) for the score and, following a missed point-after kick, a 46-33 advantage with 3:17 to go.

Coverage concerns: While Peabody finished with another solid day at the office (13-of-23, 270 yards, 3 TD; 9 carries, 88 yards, TD), the same cannot be said about the play on the other side of the ball. Whidden characterized the performance as “as poor as we’ve played all year”, and within that, the most glaring deficiency was the pass coverage.

The Raiders’ secondary seemed to align against the deep ball for most of the game, and the Indians took advantage, moving the ball swiftly up and down the field behind a short passing gameplan that utilized hitches and shallow crosses. Only four of Balarinho’s 23 completions went for more than 15 yards.

“People didn’t play their assignments,” Whidden said. “Our flat defenders weren’t necessarily getting to the spots they were supposed to be getting to early, and those seven-yard hitches were open. They found that, and they did a good job coaching-wise to exploit it.”

Ending on a positive: The pass rush was a bright spot for the Raiders’ defense, tallying three of their five sacks in the fourth quarter. Alternating between three and four-man fronts, the Raiders were led by Jason Freih, Bryan Hardy, Ryan Litchman, D.J. Goncalves and Ellis (two interceptions).

However, it wasn’t a flawless performance. While the Indians got minimal production from their tailbacks, Balarinho was consistently able to run free for first downs after getting flushed out of the pocket.

“We were getting pressure, but a lot of times we’d get beyond the quarterback, and then all of a sudden the rush lanes would get created,” Whidden said. “So we need to...you get to the quarterback, you stop and redirect, and then you get rid of those running lanes for them.

“They adjusted a little bit. We were there. It wasn’t like they were doing anything we haven’t seen all year, it was just when it got tough, it got a little Helter Skelter and took a little while for us to adjust, for whatever reason.”

Ellis doubles up: Ellis switched his jersey number from 7 to 77 this week to accommodate an offensive line group thinned by injury. Ellis will now periodically see time at guard in addition to his duties quarterbacking the defense at middle linebacker.

Ellis has also seen time at fullback in the Raiders’ offense, which could create an interesting predicament going forward.

“The rule used to be you could check in, but now you can’t,” Whidden said. “Now if he’s wearing 77 he can’t play fullback, so we might have to just put a couple of jerseys on the sideline.”

BARNSTABLE 46, BILLERICA 33

BILL (2-6) 6 12 8 7 --- 33
BARN (7-0) 13 7 6 19 --- 46


First Quarter
Barn – Hayden Murphy 1 run (Jason Freih kick) 8:50
Barn – Dylan Morris 19 pass from Nick Peabody (kick failed) 6:41
Bill – Michael Casey 8 pass from Jordan Balarinho (rush failed) 0:00

Second Quarter
Barn – Tedaro France 70 pass from Peabody (Freih kick) 10:36
Bill – Matt Clifford 4 pass from Balarinho (kick blocked) 6:47
Bill – Clifford 7 pass from Balarinho (pass failed) 4:08

Third Quarter
Barn – Murphy 16 run (kick failed) 6:07
Bill – Mark Duncan 46 pass from Balarinho (Alec Mattar pass from Balarinho) 5:08

Fourth Quarter
Barn – France 8 pass from Peabody (kick failed) 9:52
Bill – Clifford 61 pass from Balarinho (Justin Beck kick) 8:48
Barn – Peabody 16 run (Peabody run) 5:20
Barn – Murphy 13 run (kick failed) 3:17

Recap: No. 1 Barnstable 35, Dartmouth 6

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
12:43
AM ET
DARTMOUTH, Mass. -– The Dartmouth High marching band knocked the crowd dead with its halftime performance titled “Blown Away.” However, it was the top-ranked Barnstable Red Raiders who ended up blowing away the host Indians, 35-6, last night in the Old Colony League opener for both teams.

“It was a balanced effort on both sides of the ball,” Barnstable coach Chris Whidden said. “We were able to run the ball and throw the ball which we’ve had trouble doing both. Defensively we did a good job defending the run and the pass, and I think we’re a tough team to match up against when we do both.”

The Red Raiders scored early in the first quarter and never looked back. Senior quarterback Nick Peabody threw the first of his two touchdowns in the waning moments of the period to senior Manny Perry from 27 yards out to put the Red Raiders up 14 at quarter time.

Peabody had another solid game for Barnstable going 14-29 for 241 yards and a pair of scores. He added 32 more yards and another touchdown on the ground.

Whidden said he was impressed with how Peabody handled the game and managed the lead in the second half.

“Nick played a really smart second half for us,” Whidden said. “There’s times when he knows his ability and the ability of his teammates and he’s trying to get that big play, but he played a really intelligent second half and it showed in the time of possession”

The Red Raiders were able to hold the ball for over 13 minutes in the second half.

For the Indians, it was yet another defeat against one of the state’s best. Dartmouth played well, but was overmatched by Barnstable’s size and experience.

“On paper it doesn’t look so good, but we scheduled some tough ones because we knew that going into this year to beat these two teams, Bridgewater [-Raynham] and Barnstable, that’s why we scheduled the non-league games that we did,” Dartmouth coach Richard White said. “We had to be ready to prepare ourselves.”

The much younger Indians did get strong performances out of their two backfield workhorses, junior Tim Smith and sophomore Dalton Soares.

Smith shoulder the bulk of the carries for the Indians and Soares was able to get in solid work under center when the Red Raider defense didn’t break through the line. The highlight was Soares’ 21-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter to junior Nick Simonetti that ended the shutout.

Simonetti outjumped a Barnstable defender to make the catch.

“We knew what we were facing when we came in so we’ve got to build off this,” White said. “We’ve got a big rival in New Bedford coming to town so we’re going to get ready for them.”

Despite another strong performance Whidden stressed that his team has much to accomplish if it wants to call this season a success.

“None of our goals have been accomplished,” Whidden said. “We’re in a three-team league and we’re 1-0 in the league so that’s all that matters to us at this point.”

RECEIVERS SHINE FOR RED RAIDERS
Senior Tedaro France had a monster game for the Red Raiders, with four catches for 128 yards -- including a brilliant 78-yard score early in the second quarter to put Barnstable up 21-0. Peabody hit France on the run 45 yards downfield before the speedy receiver outran a pair of Indians defenders and spun another completely around before scoring.

France added an interception in the third quarter that set up a touchdown.

“We got it going on early in the first quarter,” France said. “We knew we could win the game so you have to do everything you can to win the game. I did a post corner; I was open. Ran down the field, saw [the defender’s] eyes looking forward, so I cut back in the middle.”

Perry finished with 35 yards on top of his touchdown, and fellow senior Dylan Morris reeled in a three catches for 32 yards of his own. With weapons like this there’s no wonder why the triumvirate wears the numbers one (Perry), two (Morris), and three (France).
Whidden said that having so many weapons on the field at once makes it difficult for defenses to prepare.

“That’s tough to defend,” Whidden said. “The immediate threat you think of is Dylan because he can a 95-yard score on every play. If the coverage softens up you have Manny and Tedaro underneath and there’s just so many options we have in the passing game that it’s tough to defend all of them.”

France said that playing together with his teammates for nearly a decade has helped him and everyone else jell and succeed on the field.

“We’ve been playing together since we were all eight,” France said. “We know each other. We know what we do. We know we can win.”

Roundtable: Big statements, bigger production

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
1:44
AM ET
1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST STATEMENT YOU GOT OUT OF BARNSTABLE'S UPSET OF EVERETT?

Scott Barboza, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: Aside from the defense, which was phenomenal by all accounts, the manner in which the Red Raiders were able to pull off the upset was impressive, meaning that the offense was firing on all cylinders for most of the game. In other words, Barnstable can win ugly. When you hear about the offense and all the things the Red Raiders can do on offense, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the fundamentals. They can do all the things that constitute a potentially successful playoff team in that they can run the ball when called upon, get the back stop when required and they don’t turn the ball over. When you have one of the top quarterbacks in the state like Nick Peabody, that’s all you need to win. And, if Hayden Murphy runs the ball as he can and the defense, led by Andrew Ellis, is on, Barnstable is difficult to beat, no matter the conditions.

Brendan Hall, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: For me, more than anything, it was a throwback statement. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much Division 1-caliber talent you've stockpiled, how heavy your line is, or how many of your skill players run a 4.5. All that matters is who puts themselves in the best position to win -- period. Barnstable demonstrated that to a T on Friday night.

Of course, this Red Raiders team isn't an underdog. They came into the game at No. 3 in our statewide poll, and I think the general consensus was that this would be a one-score type of affair. Nick Peabody is in a quarterbacking class of his own through the first month of the season, Dylan Morris is beginning to enter Matt Costello territory in terms of production, and the Raiders' linebacking corps is one of the two or three best in the state.

Barnstable coach Chris Whidden dialed up a great defensive gameplan in the pouring rain, playing outside contain on the Crimson Tide's gifted receivers, and getting great push in the trenches with a deceivingly athletic front four that fired quickly off the ball. These guys were not as big, but they certainly were fast, and above all else they hit with a level of abandon replicated by very few teams in the state.

At the end of the day, it was a pleasant reminder that things haven't gotten soft in the game of football. At the end of the day, the overarching theme remains -- if you come out complacent, someone's going to knock you around.

Adam Kurkjian, ESPN Boston correspondent: Year after year, while Everett always seems to have its share of explosive skill players, the foundation of its success is consistent and dominant line play on both sides of the ball.

The biggest statement Barnstable made Friday night was that it can go toe-to-toe with Everett's front and get the better of the exchange. That is rare, and it speaks to the level of offseason commitment the Red Raiders have made the past few seasons. While Barnstable may have the reputation as a finesse team because of the amount of times it puts the ball in the air, it looks like the Red Raiders shattered that notion last week.

Bruce Lerch, ESPN Boston correspondent: Defense, defense, defense. Staring at Everett's offensive line with 300-pounders across the board is daunting for any opposition but the Raiders didn't seem intimidated at all. In fact, they set the tone and managed to stuff the Tide twice on fourth-down tries from the one-yard line.

All 11 starters, plus the others that rotate in made plays. Jason Frieh and the defensive line held their own Everett's blockers, linebackers Brian Hardy, Andrew Ellis, Terrence Mudie and Robbie Stuart made tackles all over the field. Safeties Ryan Litchman and Kevin Hardy were tremendous in support against the run and corners Tedaro France and Derek Estes won their matchups with Everett's speed merchants at the receiver positions.

John Botelho, Editor-in-Chief, South Shore Sports Journal: Nick Peabody and the offense have been well publicized -- and deservedly so -- all season. Going into the Everett game, they had scored an astounding 145 points in three games. But the biggest statement made while snapping Everett's 28-game win streak was that the Red Raiders' defense is just as good as their powerful offense. Division 1A should be real fun to watch come December.

Everett and Barnstable Round II is already a Super Bowl many people are excitedly calling for, but neither has an easy path to get there. Everett is likely headed for a first-round playoff game with Lincoln-Sudbury, and Barnstable has to worry about beating Bridgewater-Raynham during the regular season just to reach the playoffs.

2. NAME YOUR FIVE BEST WIDE RECEIVERS IN THE STATE

Barboza:
1. Brian Dunlap, Natick – Might not be No. 1 on any other list, but come his senior season, he's going to be right there on the top of all the volume stats list.

2. Jalen Felix, Everett – Seeing, in person, the catch he made during last year’s BC High game at Memorial Stadium is something I’ll likely never forget. It’s the same feeling I had watching Randy Moss make impossible catches.

3. Jakarrie Washington, Everett – One of the best route runners around since those Asprilla and Costello kids were the go-to targets in Everett.

4. Dylan Morris, Barnstable – Hard to argue with Morris’ production thus far this season with his eight touchdown catches.

5. Will Heikkinen, Andover – Spies tell me Xaverian had Heikkinen blanketed with double coverage throughout most of last week’s game. That’s the ultimate compliment paid to a wideout.

Hall:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable - You'll be hard-pressed to duplicate his five-catch, 207-yard performance in Week 2, and right now he's on track for 20 touchdown receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. Bar none, best wideout in the state right now. And to think, some have mused he may be a better baseball player.

2. Jakarrie Washington, Everett - You could rotate this spot with Jalen Felix, who had an explosive performance against Springfield Central, but right now you've got to with Washington based on game-breaking ability. Against Leominster and St. John's Prep, he turned the game on its heels seemingly on a dime with one back-breaking catch or run.

3. Brian Dunlap, Natick - A versatile route-runner, he's got crunch-time knack (see his game-winning catch against Norwood with 10 seconds to go) and makes the most of his touches (17.25 yards per catch, 6 TD).

4. David Harrison, Weymouth - Has seven receiving touchdowns, and in the last two games running a pistol offense at quarterback, has thrown for six. He's just plain productive.

5. Sam Blake, East Longmeadow - Doesn't get a lot of touches in the Spartans' system, but in terms of athleticism I've heard some pretty crazy stories. In his last two games, he has 232 receiving yards and four touchdowns on just seven catches.

Kurkjian:
Tough to say for me because most of the games I have been to have featured mainly run-oriented teams.

That said, looking around the state, Lincoln Collins of BC High needs to be mentioned for his size and improved speed.

Jakarrie Washington of Everett may be the fastest receiver out there right now.

Speaking of guys that can motor, Andover's Cam Farnham has been pure lightning all season as well.

As far as pure production goes, there aren't many who do more on a week-to-week basis than Natick's Brian Dunlap.

If anyone can outdo Dunlap in that department, though, how about Shawsheen receiver Devonn Pratt? One of the top wrestlers in the state, Pratt has 11 touchdown receptions already, including five in a ridiculous, 15-catch, 268-yard performance against Cambridge two weeks ago.

Lerch:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable - Seems to have a tremendous mind meld going on with quarterback Nick Peabody. Has eight TD receptions on the season, including two clutch catches in the 13-7, double OT win over Everett.

2. Jalen Felix/Jakarrie Washington, Everett - I'm cheating a little by putting both in, but it's hard to argue against the fact that these speedsters are two of the biggest gamebreakers in Massachusetts.

3. Bryan Vieira, Thayer Academy - Eight receptions for 200 yards and a TD in the opener (along with an interception return for a score) and six more catches for 179 yards and three TDs in week two. The top receiver in the ISL.

4. Brian Dunlap, Natick - Just a sophomore, Dunlap continues to team up with QB Troy Flutie to put up big numbers week after week. I may be underrating him because of his age, but all signs point toward Dunlap someday taking over at the top of this list. Maybe sooner rather than later.

5. David Harrison/Tyler O'Brien, Weymouth - It's a cheat day for me in the roundtable as I'm going with a duo once again. The Wildcats receivers have combined to catch 13 TD passes and O'Brien seems to be Harrison's favored target when he switches under center as Weymouth's quarterback.

Botelho:
1. Dylan Morris, Barnstable: This is sort of a chicken and egg thing. Is Nick Peabody such a good quarterback because he has Morris to throw to, or is Morris the beneficiary of a standout QB. I think the answer is Peabody is a tremendous QB and Morris an elite receiver, and the results have indicated that so far.

2. Lincoln Collins, BC High: Collins might not have the gaudy stats some his peers do (he's caught just one TD this year) but he's a D-1 scholarship athlete going to Villanova for a reason. The Eagles have been the victims of bad luck and bad timing this season, dealing with some of the toughest teams in this state - and New Jersey - while figuring out how to replace injured stars like Brendan Craven and Luke Catarius.

3. Brian Dunlap, Natick - Like Morris, Dunlap has a premier QB throwing him the ball. He's pulled in 6 TD from Troy Flutie, and is one of the biggest reasons Natick is scoring more than 30 points per game.

4. Dondre James, Whitman-Hanson - James single-handedly changes game plans of opposing teams, often drawing more than one defender on passing plays. He's spread out defenses all season, allowing QB Tom Sapienza to throw 8 TD already. James' speed and athleticism are clear with one looks at the Panthers on offense, but what he contributes away from the ball might be even more impressive. James has sprung more than one ball carrier this year with a big block.

5. Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman - The Cardinals aren't matching their regular season success from the last two years, but Donovan is among the toughest receivers for defenses to match-up with. At 6-5 and with an impressive vertical, not many defenders can go up and get a jump ball against him. He's averaging a touchdown a game right now and could get better as Spellman's line matures this season.

3. WHO IS THE BEST QUARTERBACK FROM A SMALL SCHOOL?

Barboza: Right now, I’m looking at Hopkinton’s Hank Rudden. The Hillers have been off and running in the Tri-Valley League, averaging more than 34 points per game through four weeks. Whether the Hillers can keep it going into the meat of their TVL schedule is another thing, but the 6-foot-1 senior is a dependable pocket presence.

Hall: Hard to argue with the production of Northbridge's Matt Phelan. Head coach Ken LaChapelle (who won his 300th career game last weekend) is famously inclined towards the pass -- and a passing pioneer for this state, really -- but through the first four games of the 2012 Phelan has been arguably better on his feet (41 carries, 448 yards, 12 TD) than through the air (42 of 50, 514 yards, 2 TD). LaChapelle has joked that he would like to once coach a game where he doesn't call a running play, but he tends to yield some freelancing to his quarterbacks when he feels they're up for it. And understand, for LaChapelle to loosen the reigns, you have to be a special player.

Kurkjian: Let's go into the Boston City South Division where Latin Academy junior Kyle Dance is putting together a fantastic season through four games.

To this point, Dance has had a hand in 13 touchdowns (nine passing, four rushing). You want to know how many touchdowns the Dragons have as a team? Fourteen. In other words, Dance is doing it all for this team, and it will be exciting to see how the rest of his season and career develops.

Lerch: Since taking over in week two, Shawsheen's Mike O'Hearn has produced eye-popping numbers and ranks fourth in the state with 11 touchdown passes, including a six-TD performance against Cambridge. With the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior at the helm, the Rams have put up 98 points in their last two games.

Botelho: Assuming "small" school means any outside of Div 1, 1A, 2 or 2A, the best small school QB might be Dan Eckler at Stoughton. They're a run-first offense with tons of weapons, but he's been the point man for all of their success this year.

Hanover's Ryan Bennett and Middleborough's Troy Rossi both have big arms and ideal QB size and have been fun to watch early on.

Abington's Brandon Cawley has all of the tools to run the offense for the Green Wave. He's tall, has a cannon of an arm and can tuck it and run if need be. Andrew Benson also comes to mind in the South Shore League. After sliding over from RB to QB when the Vikings didn't have an obvious heir apparent to Tim O'Brien, Benson has handled the transition well. He's very athletic and gives EB a similar look on offense they had a year ago.

4. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE?

Barboza: (Disclaimer: None of this argument has to do with St. John’s Prep right now.) Honestly, I’m not trying to make excuses here, and this has happened a couple of times during the last couple seasons, but it’s not as though the teams are playing easy schedules. On the other hand though, I think the rest of the state has caught up with the parochials a little bit. Some inside the Catholic Conference used to scoff at the idea of a Hockomock team (North Attleborough anybody?) hanging with one of those teams. Use this weekend’s Xaverian vs. Duxbury matchup as another proof positive. I think the Hawks will find out that last year’s win by the Dragons at the Hawk Bowl was no fluke. And, while most of the state still cannot match the numbers the Catholics have on their sidelines, there’s plenty of talent to be had.

Hall: With St. John's Prep, nothing. With the rest of the conference (a combined 4-12 heading into this weekend's games), where do you start?

Expectations weren't high on Malden Catholic or Catholic Memorial coming into the season, but the way BC High and Xaverian (preseason Nos. 2 and 3, respectively) have stumbled out of the gates is concerning. Then again, they've endured brutal schedules, and few teams in Massachusetts would come out of September with better than their 1-3 records. Still, the way in which they've lost is not convincing, between BC High getting dominated from scrimmage by North Attleborough and Xaverian laying eggs against Brockton and Andover. Bottom line, BC High and Xaverian so far haven't lived up to the preseason hype.

Something tells me they'll turn it around. BC High will be getting All-State linebacker Luke Catarius (ankle) back this month, and quarterback Brendan Craven (knee) sometime soon, and you can't say enough how much that could change things quickly. Xaverian finally showed signs of life in the second half of the Andover upset, and Mike Brennan has been bringing steady production to what has been an otherwise stale offense.

How quickly does Xaverian turn it around? Jury's out, because the rest of the Hawks' 2012 schedule, in order, goes like this: Duxbury, Everett, Bridgewater-Raynham, St. John's (Shrewsbury), BC High, Catholic Memorial, St. John's Prep. Talk about skating uphill.

Kurkjian: Well, there's not much wrong with St. John's Prep right now, as they've looked outstanding in their three wins and only have one loss to Everett in a game many observers thought could have gone the other way with a few breaks.

As for the rest? BC High has been decimated by injuries, but the Eagles are starting to heal up and it would not be a total shock to see them make a run at the league title once everyone is back.

Xaverian does not have nearly the amount of team speed it usually does and has not looked physical at all on the lines.

Catholic Memorial has, as expected, struggled on offense, and you simply don't improve when graduation takes away as much talent as it did for the Knights.

Malden Catholic is this year what it has been nearly every year, which is the fifth-best team in the league.

Lerch: The coaches won't make excuses but we can. Injuries have absolutely decimated BC High while graduation hit both Xaverian and Catholic Memorial pretty hard. Not to mention that these teams all play among the toughest schedules in the state. That said, St. John's Prep is still a top-three team in Massachusetts and don't think for a second that the aforementioned trio won't put it together by the time league play rolls around. Anyone who counts these teams out when we're not even halfway through the season is making a big mistake.

Botelho: BC High and Xaverian has certainly underachieved, but their schedules have been absolutely brutal. BC is also dealing with a whole mess load of injuries. That said, what looked like the best league in the state before the season needs a turnaround in the second half to avoid an overall disappointing year. If things continue like they are, St. John's Prep will coast to a league title behind Jonathan Thomas and Alex Moore. The Prep, in my mind, is probably the favorite to win the Div. 1 Super Bowl right now (I still love Brockton, but missing Austin Roberts is going to hurt them in a big way).

5. THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF SHOOTOUTS IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF ISL PLAY. WHICH IS THE BEST OFFENSE?

Barboza: I think this was supposed to be Thayer’s year to shine behind wide receiver Aaron Gilmer and the Tigers haven’t disappointed, putting up 76 points in their two games. But they still have nothing to show for it, losing two close barn-burners against Governor’s and Roxbury Latin. But it’s hard to ignore the defending ISL champions at Governor’s. We’ve extolled about Tate Jozokos’ two-sport excellence for a couple years now, but running back Eli Morrissey has been a true revelation in the early going. Gov’s should face a test this weekend against BB&N, but with 103 points scored in two games, it’s hard to pick against anything short of a repeat performance of 2011.

Hall: If what Duxbury's been doing the last couple of years doesn't tell you enough about the value of lacrosse skill in football, then Governor's senior quarterback Tate Jozokos will. The UNC lacrosse commit led a renaissance last fall, leading the Governors to the ISL championship, and is off to a quality start this season. He is as a true a dual-threat quarterback as you will find in Massachusetts.

Running back Eli Morrissey has been just as productive (5 TDs), and is arguably one of the best backs in the ISL -- not the biggest, but definitely one of the most complete, and a tough runner. Overall, the Governors have averaged 51.5 points per game in their first two contest. Hard to argue with a number like that.

Kurkjian: Tough to say with such a small sample size, but it's hard to go against what Governor's Academy has accomplished in the first two weeks. With 103 points in two games, the Governors are simply running past, over, around and through everyone in their way.

We will see whether or not that continues this weekend as they travel to Cambridge to face an always-tough BB&N squad.

Lerch: When in doubt, I always say go with the team led by the lacrosse guy. Governor's is stacked with talent on offense with quarterback/dynamo/North Carolina lacrosse commit Tate Jozokos leading the charge. Along with standout running back Elijah Morrissey, the duo has combined to score nine rushing TDs in the first two games. Until some team finds a way to slow these two guys down, the Red Dogs will keep piling on the points.

What We Learned: Week 4

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
1:57
AM ET
RAIDER NATION HAS OFFICIALLY ARRIVED
Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden had barely left the turf of Everett Memorial Stadium on Friday night before his phone began buzzing like crazy. To call the city of Hyannis' reaction to the Red Raiders' double-overtime upset of the No. 1 team in the land an outpour would be on diplomat's terms.

"Let's put it this way, I think I had eight or nine texts on my phone by the time I got on the bus," he said.

It's been a wild few days south of the Sagamore Bridge since the the Red Raiders pulled off the virtually unthinkable. Many pundits predicted the hard-hitting, fundamentally disciplined Raiders to keep it close with Everett, holders of a 28-game win streak and the top spot in ESPNBoston.com's statewide poll since October 2010 -- but on the mainland, nobody actually believed they'd actually pull it off. And with it, Barnstable moves up two spots in our poll to No. 1, becoming the first Old Colony League team to be anointed the top team in the land in the history of our poll.

What statement does this make about Cape Cod football? Not much, really. That was made last year, when an unprecedented five teams from the Cape & Islands region (including Barnstable) qualified for postseason, with four of them winning a Super Bowl (Dennis-Yarmouth, Bourne, Mashpee, Nantucket). And the Cape is strong once again, with Nauset, Bourne, Wareham, Sandwich, Martha's Vineyard and the aforementioned Raiders all off to at least 3-1 starts or better.

No, this is more about the Barnstable program itself. After some tumult the last few years, the Raiders have taken off after settling with Whidden as their head coach, and Nick Peabody as their quarterback. Friday night, after going 0-for-10 with an interception in the first half, Peabody showed why he is on the short list for ESPN Boston's Mr. Football Award by throwing two second-half touchdown passes to his favorite target Dylan Morris, including the crucial one in the second overtime that clinched it.

The Red Raiders can score -- this much we know, after putting up 110 points in the first eight quarters of the season -- and have some gifted athletic versatility between Morris, Theo France and junior Hayden Murphy. But Friday's stunning upset was more a statement of Whidden's defensive prowess.

Barnstable threw a variety of man and zone coverages at Everett, primarily out of a three-deep shell, aimed at containing Everett's two superstar receivers, Jakarrie Washington and Jalen Felix. Up front, the Raiders began in a three-man front, but quickly found more success with four down linemen, and stuck with it. Where there was a weight disadvantage -- the Tide average over 300 pounds across, led by Notre Dame-bound left tackle John Montelus -- the Raiders made up for with quickness, athleticism, and length, behind Jason Freih, D.J. Goncalves and John Eldridge.

Whidden is known for his knack as a defensive play-caller. But it also doesn't hurt having two NFL vets and Cape football legends coaching up the defense, either. Falmouth grad and former Oakland Raider Willie Ford has the secondary's ear, while Barnstable grad and former Dallas Cowboys lineman Mike Dwyer has the defensive line.

"They're able to get so specific with the technique," Whidden said. "For a defensive lineman working different skills, different technique, whether it's pass rush or run defense, they're not the same moves or same techniques, so that's crucial. Same with the secondary, playing man coverage and zone coverage are completely different techniques. They got that repetition during the week."

This year's team-issue shirts at Barnstbale feature a bulls-eye on the back, a statement more to do with the target that comes with being the regining OCL champ. That target has just gotten a little bigger.

A lot, actually.

"They know now that teams are really gunning for us," Whidden said. "We pay attention to the way we celebrated on their field after the game. Now we've got teams coming at our place as the top dog, and we've got to make sure we avoid having anyone celebrate like that against us."

KEN LACHAPELLE -- VISIONARY, INNOVATOR, GRANDFATHER
For as long as Ken LaChapelle has been at the helm of Northbridge High football, there has always been a good quarterback calling the shots. But there is but one name to trump all names: Danny Brown.

Brown, widely considered the greatest in a long line of great Rams signal-callers, reminisced about his recruiting during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, when reached last week by ESPNBoston.com to reflect on LaChapelle. The one moment of the process that's always stuck with him, he says, is a meeting with the Dartmouth coaching staff during a visit, in which the staff raved about LaChapelle's offensive innovation, telling him the coach is "always one step ahead".

LaChapelle became the third coach in MIAA history to achieve 300 career wins on Sunday, with a 42-12 victory over Southbridge, to go along with 10 Super Bowl titles. Unique from the other two to achieve the milestone is that LaChapelle has done it all in one place, holding the Northbridge job continuously since 1976.

Unique, too, was his foresight to install the Run-and-Shoot offense upon taking the head coaching job, at a time when power-running formations like the Wishbone were all the rage. LaChapelle has light-heartedly mentioned in the past his desire to one day coach a game in which he didn't attempt a run (that was short-lived on Sunday, as quarterback Matt Phelan racked up 154 yards on 5 carries). Many of the spread principles you see in the state's top teams? Northbridge has been running it for decades, going back to the days of the San Diego Chargers' revolutionary "Air Coryell" offense.

Brown, like many Northbridge alums, was a lifer, first getting a taste of Rams football as a waterboy. He endured a great career at Harvard and had a brief stint in Europe before returning to Northbridge, where he is happily engaged and makes the hour commute each way every day to the Xenith helmets sales office in Lowell. It bears asking: What keeps a guy like LaChapelle, a 1965 grad, in Northbridge for 50 years?

The short answer is family. He has a half-dozen children and nearly two-dozen grandchildren littered around the southern plateau of Worcester County. He currently coaches two grandchildren, Daiton LaChapelle and Koby Schofer, and by the looks of it could coach many more.

How many more years? Brown says, with an honest tone, "he could go another decade".

That leaves plenty more opportunities for that elusive run-less game.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY
Bob Bancroft left a lasting legacy at Whitman-Hanson in his tenure as head football coach. On Friday, Bancroft’s Pembroke squad left a loss behind.

The Titans rolled over their current head coach’s old team in a 19-3 win. The Panthers entered the game with the momentum gained off a tight win over Foxborough.

But after taking an early 3-0 lead on a 28-yard field goal on Friday, it was all Pembroke. The Titans quickly reclaimed the lead with Brian Tinkham’s first touchdown of the game before Ken Blasser’s pick-six extended the Titans’ lead in the fourth. Tinkham added his second score of the game as added insurance late in the fourth.

What’s more is that it marked the second straight year Bancroft claimed victory over his former side, proof that the master still reigns.

WILD NIGHT IS CALLIN’
More than a change in No. 1 teams, Friday night was ripe with upsets as the rain poured down in bowls across the state. No place was that more prevalent than in the Hockomock League, where a couple of teams in Davenport (small school division) claimed wins over their Kelley-Rex counterparts.

Foxborough’s defense stymied North Attleborough’s offense, holding the Red Rocketeers to just 91 offensive yards, in a 21-0 blanking. Dynamic Warriors running back Kiivone Howard outgained North by himself, running for 130 yards.

North wasn’t the only Kelley-Rex team with a struggling offense. For the second straight year, Stoughton knocked off Mansfield with a 25-6 win. Meaning that the Hornets came away with a grand total of six points during their meetings with the Black Knights in the last two seasons. Stoughton again showed its defensive mettle, with Adam Leonard notching a key strip-sack early in the game and Aaron Mack’s strong play in the secondary.

With both teams coming off notable upsets of Top 25 squads, the Davenport picture will come into clearer view when the Black Knights and Warriors tangle this Friday.

IN MEMORIAM
With the one of the biggest football games of the season coming, football seemingly is the last thing on the minds of the Stoughton High community this week.

Less than 24 hours after celebrating another win over Mansfield, Black Knights player David Wade, 17, was killed on Saturday by a gunshot wound to the chest. Wade played football this year after being a member of the Black Knights cheerleading squad. He also competed with Stoughton’s winter track team and played tennis.

Our thoughts are with David’s friends and family at this time.

ESPN Boston Mr. Football Watch: Week 5

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
2:20
PM ET
THE CONTENDERS
Drew Belcher, Jr. QB, Reading
Threw for two touchdowns, and ran in a third, in a 26-0 shutout of Melrose.

Brian Dunlap, Soph. WR, Natick
Caught eight passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Red Hawks' 29-0 shutout of Newton North.

Troy Flutie, Jr. QB, Natick
Completed 16 of 24 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the Red Hawks' 29-0 shutout of Newton North, and added 34 rushing yards on seven carries.

Jon Hurvitz, Sr. RB, Duxbury
Ran for a touchdown in the Dragons' 28-0 shutout of Middleborough.

Dylan Morris, Sr. WR, Barnstable
In a performance that will go down deep into Hyannis folklore, Morris caught two second-half touchdown passes -- the second clinching it in the second overtime -- in the Red Raiders' historic 13-7 upset of Everett.

Nick Peabody, Sr. QB, Barnstable
After going 0 for 10 with an interception in the first half against Everett, recovered to throw two touchdown passes and 96 yards, to deliver the upset.

Andrew Smiley, Jr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
In the Pioneers' 46-14 thumping of Wachusett, completed 13 of 24 passes for two touchdowns and added 93 rushing yards on seven carries. It's the first time in four starts he didn't eclipse at least 330 yards from scrimmage.

Jonathan Thomas, Jr. RB, St. John's Prep
Carried 23 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 27-12 win over Brockton.

Cody Williams, Jr. QB, Springfield Central
Completed 8 of 12 passes for 172 yards and three scores in the Golden Eagles' 41-21 win over Chicopee.

Quron Wright, Sr. RB, Holy Name
In a 33-8 loss to Nashoba, the scatback ran for 251 yards and a score on 32 carries, bringing him within 420 yards of the school's all-time rushing mark.

ON THE RISE
Shadrach Abrokwah, Sr. RB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Ran for 146 yards and five touchdowns on 15 carries in the Pioneers' 46-14 win over Wachusett.

Garrett Carlos, Sr. RB, Somerset-Berkley
Kept up his torrid pace with 180 yards and two scores on 15 carries, in the Blue Raiders' 35-14 win over Wareham.

Jeff D'Auria, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Ran for 290 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-27 win over Dracut.

David Harrison, Sr. ATH, Weymouth
In his first start at quarterback, moving over from his usual wideout position, he was 15 of 25 passing for 259 yards and four scores, including the game-winner with 23 seconds left, to beat Needham 32-27.

Kiivone Howard, Jr. RB, Foxborough
Carried 29 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns in the Warriors' 21-0 upset of North Attleborough.

Alex Medeiros, Jr. QB, Bishop Connolly
The running back, who's been filling in at quarterback for the Cougars, ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries in a 36-0 win over Marian.

Jon Ojukwu, Sr. RB, Nashoba
Exploded for a ridiculous 270 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 carries as the Chieftains rolled over Holy Name, 33-8.

Mikey Panepinto, Jr. RB, Needham
Ran for 224 yards and three scores in the Rockets' 32-27 loss to Weymouth.

Matt Phelan, Sr. QB, Northbridge
Completed 6 of 9 passes for 93 yards and a score, and added 154 rushing yards and three scores on just five carries, as the Rams rolled Southbridge 42-12 to earn coach Ken LaChapelle his 300th career victory.

C.J. Scarpa, Sr. QB, Andover
Completed 12 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two scores, in the Golden Warriors' 15-13 upset of Xaverian.

Jimmy Sullivan, Jr. QB, Nauset
In the Warriors' 20-14 win over Cardinal Spellman, carried 16 times for 147 yards and a score.

Brandon Watkins, Sr. RB, Martha's Vineyard
Did it all for the Vineyarders in a 41-8 rout of Randolph: 7 carries for 171 yards and 3 TD; 1 reception for 41 yards; and an interception.

Recap: No. 3 Barnstable 13, No. 1 Everett 7 (2 OT)

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
2:11
AM ET


EVERETT, Mass. -- Mother Nature can be a fickle woman at times, and her temper tantrum last night brought enough rain and miserable weather conditions to completely alter a football team's gameplan.

Fortunately for Barnstable, they already had the tools in place to make the necessary adjustments. Namely, the Raiders had a defense capable of shouldering the load until its potent offense could strike for a big play.

Quarterback Nick Peabody found wideout Dylan Morris twice for touchdown passes and the defense stopped top-ranked Everett twice at the one-yard line to take a 13-7 victory over the Crimson Tide in double overtime at Everett Memorial Stadium Friday night.

Changing the field position game led to Everett's (3-1) first score as Jakarrie Washington came up with a big interception on Barnstable's (4-0) second drive. That helped pin the Raiders deep in their own territory and two possessions later, the Crimson Tide took advantage of the short field for s 32-yard march that ended on a two-yard touchdown run by Jalen Felix.

The defenses played to a stalemate from there until the start of the fourth quarter when Peabody hit Morris with a pretty throw that found the senior wide open for a 37-yard score.

"We were able to tag Dylan on a post corner," explained Peabody. "(Everett) have tremendous athletes so it really would have been tough for Dylan to just burn right by the guy. We tagged him on the post corner, he was able to get his guys hips turned and I had great protection up front and was able to put it out there and he made a great catch."

Added Morris, "The offensive line gave Nick plenty of time to throw the ball and Nick gave me a great throw. I just had to run under it, catch it and I got into the end zone."

Everett had a chance to win it in regulation, moving from its own 39 down to the Raiders one with under seven minutes remaining, but Barnstable's defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Terrence Mudie.

Neither team threatened the rest of the way and the game went into overtime, where the Raiders defense came up with another critical stop as Derek Estes came up to stop Everett fullback Joey White at the goal line on fourth down.

"The defense was just tremendous," praised Peabody. "It was a really great effort. We knew that they had it in them. The offense in the first half, we really weren't getting the job done or moving the ball but it was a great confidence boost to know that we could still be in the game, even as poorly as we were playing in the first half. That was huge."

The Raiders had their own chance to win it on their OT possession, but a 23-yard field goal attempt sailed wide of the uprights. Undeterred, Barnstable came right back and Peabody hit Morris again, this time for an eight-yard score, on the third play of the second OT.

The Raiders missed on a conversion pass attempt, but the defense had one more stop in them. Lineman Jake Palmer cam up with a tackle for a two-yard loss on second down, then safety Kevin Hardy intercepted a Gilly DeSouza pass in the end zone to close out the win.

"Every series we stopped them our defense was gaining more and more confidence," said Barnstable coach Chris Whidden. "They believed all along that we could beat them. We knew we could play with them and it was just a matter of time. We knew our offense was going to get something, it was just a matter of time. The first three games our offense was doing everything they could, they were putting up all the points even though we didn't make a mistake on the defensive end. We proved that it's a total team here."

NOT QUITE WHAT ANYONE EXPECTED
For a team used to scoring in bunches -- Barnstable averaged 40 points per game in its first three victories -- a trip to Everett would undoubtedly bring that average down a bit.

Weather conditions aside, the Raiders were going to go with whatever the Tide's defense gave them, so they tried to come out throwing. And they struggled, as Peabody missed on his first 11 throws and Barnstable finished the first half with just 20 yards of offense.

Rather than keep beating their heads against the proverbial brick wall, the Raiders adjusted and started using tailback Hayden Murphy as a workhorse. After being held to minus-4 yards on six first-half carries, the offensive line started winning the battle in the trenches and giving the junior room to run as Murphy collected 53 yards on his first six carries of the second half.

"(The rain) negates their speed a bit on the outside but it also negates our passing game and we've always said that we're going to take what you give us and we're going to beat you with that," explained Whidden. "They started with a 4-3 look with seven in the box so we tried throwing it at first but it was just difficult with the conditions. so we adjusted to what we could do."

Those adjustments eventually helped open things up for Peabody to throw for 96 yards and two scores over the final 22 minutes.

"I think the biggest thing was getting our running game going. Our linemen were able to block tremendously up front. Once we got the run going, I think they got a little over zealous up front and that opened it up for a couple passes."

UNLUCKY 29
The Raiders snapped Everett's 28-game win streak by frustrating the Tide in spots where they usually excel. Namely, punching the ball in from the one-yard line, something Barnstable stopped Everett from doing twice.

If Everett is going to have a chance at redemption, it will have to come in the Div. 1A Super Bowl, providing both teams manage to win their respective league titles and a semifinal playoff game.

After the game, Everett coach John DiBiaso was asked to reflect back on his squad's three-year run of perfection, but the veteran coach knows this year's team is going to have to carve its own identity before the season is over.

"It was a lot of hard work. It takes a lot to get 28 in a row and that's what I told them all year," DiBiaso said. "I preached to them, 'A lot of kids put in a lot of blood sweat and tears into those 28 games and you have something to uphold.' But this is a team in itself. They have to make their own memories and history and get their own accomplishments."

"They can't rest on what Manny Asprilla or Vondell Langston did," he continued. "They have to make their own accomplishments. We have to gather the troops, circle the wagons, we have to come out against Cambridge, which is a league game, and then Xaverian and BC High. It doesn't get any easier. Win our league and get to the playoffs. Thats our goal."

BARNSTABLE (4-0) 0 0 0 7 6 - 13
EVERETT (3-1) 7 0 0 0 0 - 7

EV - Jalen Felix 2 run (Gilly DeSouza kick)
BA - Dylan Morris 37 pass from Nick Peabody (Terrence Mudie kick)
BA - Morris 8 pass from Peabody (pass failed)

Legion District 10 announces award winners

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
10:45
PM ET
District 10 American Legion Baseball announced its postseason All-District Team over the weekend, as well as the establishment of postseason awards. Barnstable Post 206 manager Sean Walsh passes along the postseason accolades for what was a successful summer for the district:

MVP - Dylan Morris, Barnstable Post 206
44 hits (team record), .488 BA, .586 OBP, 37 runs, 22 RBI, 22 BB, 14 SB

Pitcher of the Year - Keegan Dellacona, Barnstable Post 206
7-0, 52.2 IP, 70 K, 15 BB, 0.79 ERA

Umpire of the Year - Peter Marciano

Coach of the Year - Sean Walsh, Barnstable Post 206

1st Team All-District Team

Rockland Post 147:
1B - John Mulready
RHP-SS - Brody Loughlin
RHP-SS – Sean Roache

Hingham Post 120:
RHP/3B - Sean Greene
SS - Chuckie Connors
1B - Eddie Bowler

Plymouth Post 40:
RHP -- Alex Rozak
SS -- David Murphy
3B -- Mark Mineo

Marshfield Post 88:
LHP – Kevin Kwedor
SS – Brett Morgan
3B – Mark Pomella

Sandwich Post 188:
3B/RHP – Bobby Bray
OF – Michael Pratt

Kingston Post 387:
RHP - Mike Lundin
SS - Matt Woodman
LHP - Zach Schindler

Bridgewater Post 203:
CF - Mike Muir
1B/DH - Matt Rubino
RHP - Cody Medairos

Orleans Post 308:
RHP-3B-1B - Nick Taber
LHP-1B - Wes Brown
RF - Joey Ogden

Whitman Post 22:
1B - Chris Adams

Brockton Post 35:
3B - George Bradshaw
RF - Joel Woodbridge
LHP - David Tarr

Duxbury Post 223:
C - Brian Hocking

Pembroke Post 143:
P - Luke Nagle

Barnstable Post 206:
CF – Dylan Morris
RHP – Keegan Dellacona
2B – Mark Brodd
DH – Alex Pernick
RHP – George Bent

Hawkeye Athletic Club:
1B - Nicholas Cogliano
RHP - Zac Cooney

Middleboro Post 64:
RF-1B-LHP - Patrick Nicholson

Wareham Post 220:
P - Matt Beatty
SS/3B - Jimmy Gamache
2B/Utility - Billy Peterson

Recap: No. 4 Barnstable 55, D-Y 14

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
12:54
AM ET
Nick PeabodyEric Adler for ESPNBoston.comNick Peabody accounted for 415 yards of offense and four touchdowns as Barnstable hung 55 points on its opponent for the second straight week.
HYANNIS, Mass. -- Heading into tonight's installment, the previous three contests between border rivals Dennis-Yarmouth and Barnstable had been decided by a total of five points, with D-Y taking the last two in some memorable finishes.

Tonight's installment of what has become Cape Cod's fiercest non-Thanksgiving football rivalry, before a capacity crowd of several thousand at Barnstable High, was memorable for completely different reasons.

The 2012 version of this rivalry will be remembered for the clinic that Barnstable quarterback Nick Peabody put on, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns, with 65 more yards on the ground, in a 55-14 thrashing of the Dolphins that improves the No. 4 Red Raiders to 2-0. Middle linebacker Andrew Ellis, the leader of the Raiders' aggressive defensive front, offered up beams of relief as he looked up at the scoreboard.

"We finally did what we were supposed to do, man," he beamed. "We come out here every year like we should beat the snot out of these guys, but something happens, they get rolling, we can't stop them. But this year we finally did what we needed to do."

Said senior center Tom Grimmer, "It feels pretty good. The past two years, I've walked off the field with tears in my face. It just feels good tonight to finally get this before I get out of high school, out from under my skin. The monkey's off our backs now, finally."

Peabody has watched this game from the bench the previous three seasons as backup to record-setter D.J. Crook, but tonight he looked like he's been a four-year starter, hucking balls over the deep middle seemingly on a line and hitting his receivers intuitively in stride. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior finished the night 15-of-18 passing to go with the 350 yards.

[+] EnlargeBarnstable celebrates
Eric Adler for ESPNBoston.comBarnstable's offensive line, led by Tom Grimmer (79), paved the way to 500-plus yards of offense.
"We punted once, [but] want to put it in every time we get the ball," said Peabody, who has totaled 10 touchdowns (eight passing) in the first eight quarters of the Raiders' 2012 season. "There was a lot of good, we still have some stuff to work on for sure, and we'll be working this week."

A number of factors have led the Red Raiders' dominant start to 2012 -- they've outscored the opposition 110-20 through the first eight quarters of the season -- but the most visible one, at least tonight, was the connection with senior wideout Dylan Morris. The 6-foot-2 speedster hauled in five passes for 207 yards and the first two of Peabody's four scoring strikes.

As D-Y (0-1) attempted to stack the box, Peabody went to Morris in space for some favorable results. Their first scoring strike happened after Derek Estes came up with a goal-line pick to give the Raiders the ball at their own two. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Peabody found Morris on a skinny post well behind the safety, for a 98-yard touchdown that made it 14-0 with 1:04 to go in the first quarter.

The Dolphins went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and Peabody went back to his familiar target again on the first play of the Raiders' next drive. This time, it was a fly route down the left sideline, where Morris easily hauled in the pass against single-coverage then hip-shook a high arm tackle to march 51 yards to paydirt and a 21-0 advantage.

"He's a field general," Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said. "He makes sure we're in the right position and right place, and he'll let the offensive coordinator know 'Hey, I'm seeing this', and we trust him enough to put him in a position...and he's got so much trust in all his other weapons.

"With Hayden [Murphy] at running back, and Dylan and Tedaro [France] and James [Burke], there's a bunch of guys you've got to worry about and defend, and if you defend one, somebody else is open. And Nick's got that confidence in all his teammates."

Peabody threw two more TDs, one to James Burke on another skinnny post before the end of the first half, then a 20-yard fade to Manny Perry at the back pylon to begin the fourth quarter.

"They came out and they were kind of stacking the box, bringing some pressure, and they didn't have a high safety over the top," Peabody said. "So we kind of thought if we could isolate Dylan on the outside he could beat the corner. And he did that a couple times for the big play."

In the zone: Coming into this matchup, some mused that the key matchup might have come in the trenches, where Barnstable center Tom Grimmer was likely to square up with D-Y defensive tackle Joe Tyo. But considering the offensive numbers they put up tonight (513 yards from scrimmage), and the way they consistently moved the ball downfield, this was more the function of a unit rather than one singular act.

Though the centerpiece is nice. At 6-foot and 255 pounds, Grimmer displays a unique combination of leg power and low center of gravity to maintain leverage against bigger opponents, such as Tyo tonight. A three-year starter under center, Grimmer has had a reputation as a ferocious competitor in the weight room.

As for the line itself, the way the Raiders set up the run in Whidden's run-and-shoot scheme requires surgical zone blocking. It's a philosophy that has been ingrained in their heads since freshman year, after becoming accustomed to man-to-man concepts in the town's youth program.

"It's tough to get used to right away," Grimmer said. "But we've been doing it a while, and all we do is that zone blocking scheme. We've gotten used to it. It adds to our unity a little bit, becuase there isn't any chance to shine individually. A zone blocking scheme is designed to work together. When it works right, and everybody's getting off their blocks, it feels good."

Peabody had high praises for his line after the game.

"It's a great group, you really couldn't ask for any better of a group," he said. "They work hard. Those guys lift a ton of weight, they work really hard in the offseason, so it's not the [biggest] line but they're low to the ground and very strong. They have great technique. I have all the time in the world back there, they open up big holes. They're great."

Defense drops the boom: The secondary was exemplary tonight, led by Estes, and Whidden deferred to the expertise of one of his secondary coaches -- none other than former Oakland Raider and Falmouth High great Willie Ford -- for that aspect (can't hurt, right?).

When you ask the No. 1 team in the state, Everett, what they think of Barnstable, they will tell you the Raiders were one of the hardest-hitting teams they faced all season, if not the toughest. More than Kevin Hardy's ball-hawking skills at free safety, this hard-hitting mentality is explicated in the front seven behind guys like Ellis and Bryan Hardy.

The Raiders switched off between three- and four-lineman fronts, with Ryan Litchman strafing in and out of the box as a "Rover". When Ellis read a run, he sniffed it out quick, and he hit the hole with authority. If you watched his play in last year's overtime epic against Bridgewater-Raynham, you know this is a familiar routine with the 5-foot-10, 230-pounder.

But give credit to the interior, where seniors D.J. Goncalves, Jason Freih and John Eldridge used their long reaches to get leverage on their opponents and free up gaps for the linebackers to shoot.

"We expect that out of Jason Freih," Whidden said. "He's a returning all-league kid, and we know what we're going to get out of them."

Said Ellis, "The D-line was just taking out the holes. They just get in there and do what needs to be done, and they make our job easy."

NO. 4 BARNSTABLE 55, DENNIS-YARMOUTH 14

BA 14 20 7 14 --- 55
DY 0 6 8 0 --- 14


First Quarter
B - Hayden Murphy 5 run (Terrence Mudie kick) 7:41
B - Dylan Morris 98 pass from Nick Peabody (Mudie kick) 1:07

Second Quarter
B - Morris 51 pass from Peabody (Mudie kick) 9:56
D - Spencer McCaffrey 80 pass from Jacob Pawlina (rush failed) 5:10
B - James Burke 45 pass from Peabody (kick failed) 3:47
B - Murphy 17 run (Mudie kick) 1:43

Third Quarter
D - Cory DeSimone 3 run (Pawlina run) 5:39
B - Tedaro France 7 run (Mudie kick) 4:27

Fourth Quarter
B - Manny Perry 20 pass from Peabody (Mudie kick) 10:12
B - Kristian Lucashensky 2 run (Mudie kick) 2:35

Player of the Game: Barnstable's Nick Peabody

September, 14, 2012
9/14/12
11:55
PM ET
HYANNIS, Mass. -- For most teams, putting up 55 points in any particular game is a noteworthy performance.

Through two weeks of the MIAA football season, No. 4 Barnstable has made it commonplace with a pair of identical 55-point scores.

Their latest victim? Backyard rival Dennis-Yarmouth in a 55-14 thumping Friday night at Barnstable High, which was our first Massachusetts Army National Guard Game of the Week.

A capacity crowd watching Red Raiders quarterback Nick Peabody dazzle, going 15 of 18 for 350 yards and four touchdowns, including a 98-yard bomb to Dylan Morris in the first quarter.

For his efforts, Peabody was named our Player of the Game.

Here's the postgame interview:

(Video shot and edited by Greg Story.)

No more underdog role for No. 5 Barnstable

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
11:44
PM ET
Barnstable isn't going to sneak up teams this fall like they did a year ago. With 12 returning starters and a wealth of additional experienced players from last year's playoff team, the bullseye now found on the backs of their jerseys won't cause the Red Raiders any extra discomfort.

Barnstable stunned Bridgewater-Raynham in overtime late last season to claim the Old Colony League title, and advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2002.

Experience and team chemistry will go a long way toward helping the Red Raiders take it a step further and accomplish something they haven't done since youth football -- win a Super Bowl trophy.

"Our core group of kids has been playing together since they were in the youth program," Whidden recalled. "I think it's the 2008 Super Bowl championship trophy that the kids have from the youth program. There's fourteen names on that trophy that are still playing for our varsity program. They're striving to get themselves back to that level and get a trophy where the little plastic guy on top doesn't twist and fall off."

It all starts with the offense, led by senior quarterback Nick Peabody. Peabody earned Old Colony All-Star honors as a wide receiver last season but started every league game under center while record-setting D.J. Crook was injured.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has a fleet of talented wide receivers to throw to, led by big-play threats Tedaro France and Dylan Morris. Look for senior James Burke to emerge as a big part of the passing game and fellow senior Manny Perry to provide depth.

Much of Peabody's offseason work focused on speed and agility, morphing an already dangerous passer into a terrific dual-threat weapon. He'll team up with Barnstable's version of 'Thunder & Lightning' in the backfield with speedy Hayden Murphy and downhill runner Terrence Mudie. Tommy Grimmer, one of five team captains, anchors the offensive line from the center position along with brother and guard Billy Grimmer.

On defense, Whidden hopes that a younger front line will eat up enough blocks to allow an experienced group of linebackers to wreak havoc. Andrew Ellis and Bryan Hardy return as inside backers while Robby Stewart steps into a starting role on the outside.

Returning OCL All-Star Jason Frieh is a menacing presence from his defensive end spot. Tommy Grimmer played primarily on the offensive line last season but is expected to add an additional presence to the middle of the 'D' line this year.

By the end of last season, Barnstable experienced the greatest amount of growth in the secondary, a spot that should be another strength in 2012 as Kevin Hardy and Derek Estes both return to lock down the corner spots. Versatile Ryan Litchman will split time between outside linebacker and free safety, depending on matchups.

"The one thing that I expect from this group, knowing what they've done since last season ended, is that whatever the potential they have, they are going to reach that potential," proclaimed Whidden. "They're going to get themselves to that point. I don't doubt that and I'm curious to see how far that potential can take them."

BARNSTABLE AT A GLANCE
2011: 7-5 (3-0 Old Colony), lost in Division 1A Playoffs
Coach: Chris Whidden (Second year, 7-5)
Key Returnees: Nick Peabody, Sr. QB, 6-3, 225; Tedaro France, Sr. WR/DB, 5-10, 175 lbs.; Tommy Grimmer, Sr. C/DL, 5-11, 235 lbs.; Andrew Ellis, Sr. LB, 5-11, 215 lbs.; Ryan Litchman, Sr. OLB/FS, 5-9, 170 lbs.; Bryan Hardy, Sr. LB, 6-1, 215 lbs.; Dylan Morris, Sr. WR, 6-0, 170 lbs.; Jason Frieh, Sr. DE, 5-8, 180 lbs.; Terrence Mudie, Sr. RB/LB, 5-10, 185 lbs.; Kevin Hardy, Jr. DB, 5-9, 160 lbs.; Billy Grimmer, Jr. OG, 6-0, 225 lbs.; Hayden Murphy, Jr. RB, 6-1, 185 lbs.
Strengths: Passing game, linebackers, secondary, experience, leadership.
Weakness: Youth on defensive line.
Outlook: Reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2002 gave the Red Raiders a taste of success that they want more of. Although the OCL is down to three teams, all three are postseason contenders with Barnstable-Raynham annually among the state's best and Dartmouth expecting a major resurgence. Peabody should finish as one of the state's best quarterbacks and his group of receivers should receive similar accolades. On defense, Litchman may be the key to whole operation, a player of whom Whidden says, "We dictate what we do defensively based on getting him around the ball."

D1 Baseball: Barnstable 6, Catholic Memorial 1

June, 3, 2012
6/03/12
8:48
PM ET
HYANNIS, Mass. -– The Barnstable baseball team knows that it only needs to put up a couple of runs at most when Willie Nastasi is on the mound. But with their lives on the line in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 South tournament, they made sure to give their senior ace plenty of support.

[+] EnlargeWillie Nastasi
Eric Adler for ESPNBoston.comBarnstable ace Willie Nastasi had another solid outing, going the distance while striking out seven and scattering five hits against Catholic Memorial.
The Red Raiders scored six unanswered runs –- including four in the fifth –- to back a solid, complete-game effort by Nastasi, who struck out seven and yielded just five hits and a walk to lead Barnstable to a 6-1 victory over Catholic Memorial this afternoon.

No. 4 seed Barnstable improves to 15-4 and will take on the winner of BC High and Framingham in the quarterfinals on the Cape Tuesday. No. 13 seed Catholic Memorial bows out with a 12-9 record.

"The team has a lot of confidence in Willie, so much so that if we just get two runs, we feel like we're more than likely going to win the game," Barnstable coach Joe DeMartino said. "We know Willie is going to give us a great game, so it's all up to our bats after that."

The Red Raiders' offense has been spotty at times this season, and worse, they were facing a formidable foe in Catholic Memorial starter Patrick Hurley, who tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in his previous start against Brockton (May 21). But that didn't deter them from winning their third straight opening-round playoff game.

Everett Walsh and Sam Holway had two hits each for Barnstable, which hammered out 10 hits altogether and eight off Hurley, who fanned five and walked four over five-and-two-third innings.

"Patrick wasn't at his best today, but our defense didn't help him at all," Catholic Memorial coach Hal Carey said. "We knew we were playing a very good team with a very good pitcher and that we'd have to play close to perfect to win, but we made too many errors. We hit the ball OK, but they made every play. Their defense was much better than ours."

Nastasi, who struck out 16 batters in his now infamous 155-pitch effort against Taunton earlier in the year, was coming off a rare loss in his previous outing vs. Dennis-Yarmouth (May 24). But in a do-or-die setting, he wasn't about to let his team down.

"I definitely felt a little more pressure in this game because it's the state tournament," said Nasasti. "I was anxious all day and had a lot of adrenaline going between innings, but I felt like I needed to get the job done and I did."

The Knights did their best to rattle Nastasi from the start.

Kevin Murphy smacked the first pitch of the game to deep right for a triple and came home two batters later on Sean Heelen's sacrifice fly. But that's all the visitors could come up with against the UConn commit.

Nastasi retired 11 of the next 13 batters, and in between, picked off a runner at first.

"Early on, I couldn't throw my cutter for a strike and I couldn't get my change-up where it needed to be, but working in the bullpen between innings helped," said Nastasi. "Playing catch allowed me get more comfortable with the grip."

Barnstable knotted the game in the third when Tyler Adams reached on a fielder's choice, moved over two bases on Dylan Morris' hit to left and an error on the same play, then dashed home on a wild pitch.

In the fifth, the Red Raiders opened the floodgates. Dennis Beynor and Luke Besse drew walks before Adams executed a perfect bunt single down the third base line. Morris was hit by the very next pitch to plate the go-ahead run.

Walsh grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but was able to bring home Besse. Mark Brodd followed with a run-scoring double to right, and Walsh capped the attack with an RBI single in the same direction to give the Red Raiders a commanding 5-1 lead.

Barnstable added its final run in the sixth thanks to back-to-back errors by the Knights –- one in the infield and one in the outfield -– allowing Besse to score.

The production proved more than enough for Nastasi, who got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth, and induced a pair of ground balls plus a pop-up in the final frame to secure the win.

"Anybody is going to have a tough day against Willie when he's on, and he was on today," said DeMartino.

Nastasi's fielder's were also at the top of their game. Adams (at second base) and Derek Estes (at shortstop) finished with four assists, and Brodd (the third baseman) helped record the final two outs of the eighth.

As satisfying as the win was against CM, which blasted Barnstable 19-0 in the tournament two years ago, the Red Raiders put it past them shortly after the final put out.

"The last two years we've won the first game in the states then got bounced, so we know we've got some work to do, but we've got pitching," said DeMartino, who will hand the ball to strong-armed senior Keegan Dellacona on Tuesday. "And pitching is the best way you can win in the tournament."

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