Boston High School: Elijah Morrissey

Recap: Governor's 29, Milton Acad. 10

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
11:44
PM ET
BYFIELD, Mass.- It wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t always easy, but Governor’s Academy kept its hopes for an undefeated season alive Friday with a 29-10 victory over Milton Academy.

Governor’s Academy (7-0) started the game slow, failing to convert a 4th-and-5 from midfield. That gave Milton (3-4) good field position, and it took full advantage by driving down the field and converting a field goal to give them an early lead.

On the Govs next possession, it drove down inside the redzone, but the drive was stopped when quarterback Tate Jozokos was intercepted around the goal line, giving the momentum back to Milton.

The Govs swung the momentum back in their direction when they sacked Milton quarterback Anthony Scurto in the endzone for a safety.

Governor’s Academy finally got in the endzone when Jozokos capped off a five-minute drive late in the second quarter with a quarterback sneak to give his team an 8-3 lead. He redeemed his interception with 5 seconds remaining in the quarter when he took the ball from under center, ran a sweep to the left, and took it 35 yards down the sideline to put his team up two scores going into halftime.

“We only had 5 seconds and someone said, ‘Let’s throw the Hail Mary,’ and I said, ‘Ya know what? They’re going to be playing deep, and we have such a great running quarterback, I said if we just get around the corner with some blocks, he might take it in,” said Governor’s Academy coach Jim O’Leary. “He made a great move to get to the pylon and it was just huge, huge momentum for us. A big, big play.”

Milton was able to take advantage of a sluggish second half start by the Govs and drove down the field in 3 minutes for a touchdown. It appeared the tide might be turning when Milton picked off Jozokos again later in the quarter. However, Drew Jacobs fumbled on the first Milton offensive play after the fumble, giving the ball right back to Governor’s Academy.

They drove down the field and put the metaphorical exclamation point on the game with Jozokos’ third rushing touchdown of the afternoon.

Running back Elijah Morrissey contributed heavily on the ground for the Govs with 20 carries for 87 yards. Jozokos finished with 18 carries for 97 yards and the three touchdowns.

-- Governor’s Academy was dominant with both its run game and defense Friday. Jozokos only attempted seven passes through the air, two of which were intercepted. While those two interceptions killed scoring opportunities, he knew he had to keep his head in the game. “Those set me back a little bit, but I knew I still had to lead the team,” he said. “As QB, you have to lead your team, so I was able to put them behind me with the support of my team. They told me I still got it, so with my team’s support, I knew I could bounce back.”

-- With the inclement weekend weather effecting much of Massachusetts into the early parts of the week, many schools were without power, which forced cancellations. Jozokos felt that those days away from school and ultimately, the practice field, may have contributed to the Govs sluggish start Friday. “With the power outage, we really only had one full practice and then a walk-through,” he said. “With those two days off, our guys weren’t really into it, so we didn’t get into the emotion and the momentum going into this game. I think it took us a little bit to get into the game. I think not having a full week of practice was the main reason we didn’t come out so hot.”

-- With the victory, the Govs are set for a showdown next weekend with also undefeated Belmont Hill. The winner of that game will stand alone atop the Independent School League at the end of the regular season. The gravity of the game is not lost on the players, nor the coaches. “You try not to look ahead each week, we play one game at a time, but it’s always in the back of your mind,” said O’Leary. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s here, but I’m sure these guys will come to play. It’s a tough challenge for us, this year Belmont Hill was picked to be the best, they came through undefeated, so it’s going to be a showdown, but that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”

“Obviously Belmont Hill is an unbelievable team,” said Jozokos. “It’s definitely going to be a big matchup. We’ve been looking forward to it all season long. We know we have to come ready to play from the first snap, so we’ll get ready this week because it’s a big game for the Super Bowl, so we’ll be ready for a dogfight.”

GOVERNORS ACADEMY 29, MILTON ACADEMY 10
GOV (7-0) - 2 12 7 8 -- 29
MILTON (3-4) - 3 0 7 0 -- 10


1st quarter
M - Justin Yoon 46-yard field goal
G - Safety

2nd quarter
G - Tate Jozokos 2-yard run (2-point conversion failed)
G - Jozokos 35-yard run (2-pt conversion failed)

3rd quarter
M - Drew Jacobs 12-yard run (Yoon kick good)
G - Jozokos 1-yard run (Colin Smith kick good)

4th quarter
G - Samuel Davis 6-yard run (2-point conversion good)

What We Learned: Week 6

October, 18, 2010
10/18/10
3:06
PM ET




So another new No. 1? Yep, we think so.

Here's What We Learned this weekend:

THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST EVERETT? SAY "NITE NITE"
Everett running back/linebacker Vondell Langston, like the rest of his charismatic teammates, couldn't help but get a little giddy after the Tide's jaw-dropping fourth-quarter shutdown of the state's No. 1 team, Xaverian. So when asked about the message written across each strip of eye-blackener on his cheeks -- "NITE" was written across each one, so that it read "NITE NITE" going across -- the 6-foot, 200-pound junior was happy to explain.

"This was to put all the hype away, that we ain't even listening to it," he said.

But after a drubbing as impressive as this one -- the Tide held the Hawks' vaunted rushing attack to just 83 yards total -- Everett is undoubtedly the hype. And they'll get their first big test as No. 1 this Friday night when they travel to Viola Stadium to take on the Eagles of Boston College High, themselves coming off a 49-0 smattering of New Jersey power Hudson Catholic.

Not only did the Tide show deceivingly consistent balance between the run and pass, with Langston and quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso showing poise at both aspects of the game, but they're continuing to prove over and over just how tough it is to slow them through the air. Bottle up the lightning-quick, Boston College-bound Manny Asprilla, and deep ball threat Matt Costello will go off for career numbers, carving precise sideline routes. Bottle up Costello, as Joe Colton did exceptionally in Saturday's contest, and Asprilla will torch you.

Asprilla had a hand in all of the 22 fourth-quarter points by the Tide, first making a leaping catch over the middle to set up Langston's go-ahead plunge; then hauling in a 22-yard touchdown slant on fourth and 10; and finally returning an interception Ed Reed-style, 48 yards to paydirt with a bevy of shimmy and shake.

"It seems like, from week to week, teams have been following whoever had the big week last week," Costello said. "If Manny [Asprilla] has a big game, they’re spotting him, or whoever it is. And we have so many players who can catch the ball and make plays that somebody’s going to get open."

Added head coach John DiBiaso on having so many targets, including Kenny Kalaj and Jakarrie Washington, "It makes a big difference. I have a lot of confidence to throw to Manny, Matt, any of our receivers. You look at the defense, see what they’re giving you and then you try to take what they’re giving you."

DiBiaso later joked to the group of reporters that he can't wait for the new rankings to come out Monday morning and find somebody else at No. 1.

"I like us better when we have a chip on our shoulder," DiBiaso laughed.

And just for kicks...ESPNBoston.com high school editor Brendan Hall was the only Boston writer to pick Everett to win the game. According to highschoolsportspage.com, which tracks all of the Boston writers' weekly picks, Hall was 27 for 28 on week six picks, good enough to blow away the rest of the field with a 96 percent clip.

And while we're at it, Scott Barboza also picked the field with a solid B-plus [89 percent, but didn't pick Everett (Wah, wah, wah)] while picking 28 contests, which again begs the question: When is everybody else going to step up their game?

ISL ISN'T QUITE SO TOP-HEAVY -- LEAST, NOT YET
"There’s two ways to play our team," Lawrence Academy head coach Mike Taylor told ESPNBoston correspondent Corey Allen following the Spartans' 20-7 win over Governor's Academy. "Either you lay down and die, or fight. These guys did a heck of a job fighting."

Right now, several schools are willing to tango with the four-headed monster from Groton. Had Dan Giovacchini not stopped Elijah Morrissey on fourth down late in the game, we might be talking a whole other story. The Mark Gerry-coached Governors dressed just 27 players against the 4-0 Spartans, who have four players committed to BCS schools and a line that averages nearly 300 pounds across, and came away with a moral victory that should give them momentum the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, BB&N showed no glaring signs of weakness in its 40-20 win over Milton Academy. With elite quarterback Charlie Story out for the Mustangs, BB&N found itself defending some trickeration (see: Wildcat) to start the game. But once things settled down, junior running back/linebacker Chris Coady (23 carries, 241 yards, three touchdowns) showed why he is quickly becoming one of the state's most sought-after 2012 recruits.

Coady, a re-classified junior who visited Duke this past weekend, currently holds lacrosse scholarships from Syracuse, Brown and Harvard (he was a defenseman on St. John's Prep's Division 1 state champion squad last spring). And that lacrosse agility has translated well on the gridiron for the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder.

"He's unbelievable. The kid's a tremendous football player," head coach John Papas told ESPNBoston's Brendan Hall. "To make this transition on both sides of the ball, from quarterback and free safety to running back and linebacker, he's truly been amazing. You saw him, I mean he's strong as a horse, and he's getting better every week. That's the scary part about it."

Meanwhile, Rivers is off to one of the best starts in school history thanks to its tandem of Roxbury cousins and Division 1 prospects Ben Patrick and Taariq Allen. Patrick, who has interest from a number of FCS schools, has nine touchdowns and 837 rushing yards on 86 carries through the first four games. Meanwhile his cousin -- who de-committed from UConn last month and still holds offers from Wisconsin and Nebraska -- has been a threat through the air (23 catches, 332 yards) and ground (24 carries, 233 yards). A win this Saturday against Milton Academy would clinch the first winning football season since 1982.

It should also be noted that St. George's -- the team which caused quite a stir two weeks ago when it decided to forfeit rather than play Lawrence -- notched its first win of the season last Saturday, a 20-8 decision over reportedly-smaller St. Mark's.

THIRTY AND COUNTING FOR AUBURN
The last time the two-time defending Division 2 Super Bowl champs lost to an opponent, period, was Sept. 19, 2008, to Winthrop. The last time they lost within the Central Mass region? You have to go back to November of 2007, when the Rockets dropped a close one to David Prouty, 14-7, a week after getting smoked 42-7 by rival Northbridge.

Jeremy Lavallee (513 rushing yards) has been the stalwart of the Rockets' offense, while Worcester South transfer Atta Oweso carried last weekend's 26-0 shutout of Quabbin with two scores himself. Meanwhile, the defense is allowing just 6.3 points per game, including impressive decisions over Shrewsbury (6-2) and Northbridge (21-7).

Any talk about the Rockets on track to matching Acton-Boxborough's state record of 52 games has to be silly at this point -- it would still take a full two seasons to get within distance. But with just one team with a winning record left on its regular season slate (Thanksgiving, versus Oxford), an undefeated three-peat certainly isn't out of the question.

ROCK 'EM, SOCK 'EM SOUTH SHORE
What a buzzsaw the top of the South Shore League has turned out to be.

None who were in attendance will soon forget Rockland’s hard-fought 9-8 win over Cohasset on Friday. But what is the Bulldogs’ reward for knocking off the reigning co-league champions? A matchup with another of the South Shore’s unbeatens, Abington.

“We feel good about this one, we can celebrate a little,” Bulldogs fullback Mike Driscoll told Scott Barboza Friday night. “But we’re going to put this one behind us pretty quick and it’s all about Abington on Monday.”

The Green Wave is also 6-0 overall with a 3-0 South Shore record and is coming off an impressive 22-6 win over another quality league foe, Mashpee.

“We’re just going one week at a time,” Driscoll added. “We can’t look past anybody.”

RAIDERS STORM THE VINEYARD
Somerset head coach Nick Freitas let out a sigh and said, “It always feels good after a win.”

Talking via telephone Monday morning, there was a feeling Freitas might have had his feet up on the desk while saying so.

That’s because his Raiders have made it look easy at 6-0. Their average margin of victory has been about 22 points per game, led by the dynamic running duo of Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear.

On Friday night, the midpoint Eastern Athletic Conference championship game took place on Martha’s Vineyard with a battle of unbeatens. Somerset left the island leaving no question who is the best team in EAC, after a 40-0 blanking of the Vineyarders. Quarterback Adam Ledoux and DeMello each registered three rushing touchdowns. DeMello, the bruising running back, finished with 24 carries for 228 yards in addition to 42 receiving yards.

Barring any hiccups in their remaining league games at Coyle-Cassidy (Nov. 5) and versus Bishop Feehan (Nov. 12), the Raiders should be playing beyond Thanksgiving.

HEAD OF THE CLASS
VALVOLINE PEAK PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: SETH DeMELLO, SR. RB, SOMERSET

It’s easy to overhype Somerset’s win 40-0 win over Martha’s Vineyard as the be-all, end-all in the Eastern Athletic Conference this season. However, you cannot undersell DeMello’s performance against the Vineyarders. The hard-nosed runner registered 24 carries for 228 yards and three touchdowns. DeMello also created balance in the Raiders’ attack with 42 receiving yards.

THE CLASSMATES
Manny Asprilla, Sr. WR/CB, Everett – What didn’t the BC-bound speedster do? Asprilla’s five catches for 80 yards and one touchdown don’t tell the true story of what he contributed to Everett’s win over Xaverian. His 47-yard interception return for a touchdown was an athletic display.

Chris Coady, Jr. RB/LB , BB&N – Coady put in another impressive performance with 241 rushing yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns in a 40-20 win over Milton Academy. He also registered seven tackles on defense.

Mike Driscoll, Sr. FB, Rockland – Driscoll’s touchdown and 117 tough-gained yards were the driving force behind the Bulldogs’ win over Cohasset.

Kemani Jones, Sr. RB, Milton — Jones ran roughshod over Dedham, led by his 325 yards on 16 carries with touchdown runs of 24, 17 and 82 yards, respectively.

Mike Mercadante, Sr. RB, Minnechaug -- The 5-foot-11, 220-pound senior had a career night for the Falcons last Friday's 50-38 shootout win over Holyoke. He carried the ball 26 times for 256 yards and six touchdowns, and caught three passes for 32 yards and a seventh touchdown.

Paul McCarthy, Sr. QB, North Attleborough - It was a highly efficient performance for Big Red’s signal-caller, going 7 of 8 for 173 passing yards and four touchdowns in a win over Canton. McCarthy also had a rushing touchdown of 55 yards.

Trae Musumarra, Sr. RB/LB, Central Catholic – Musumarra took over in a 40-32 win over Lowell, running for 162 yards and six touchdowns, three of which came in the first quarter.

Ben Patrick, Sr. RB, Rivers - Patrick continued to tear things up with 25 carries for 227 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Brooks. Through four games, Patrick has 837 rushing yards and is averaging 9.7 yards a carry, while Allen has accumulated 565 yards of offense through the ground and air.

Richard Rodgers, Sr. WR/DE, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – Maybe someday we’ll them the “Richard Rodgers Player of the Week Awards”. Sound good? Thought so. Another 7-catch, 92-yard performance and chipped in two sacks against St. John’s Prep.

Zach Zaniboni, Jr. RB, Plymouth North – Eighty one rushing yards don’t exactly jump off the page, but consider that Zaniboni did so on just six carries while breaking off a 50-yard touchdown that was all the Eagles would need in a 15-0 league win over Marshfield. That should pretty much do it.

Lawrence Academy survives upstart Govs

October, 16, 2010
10/16/10
7:19
PM ET
BYFIELD, Mass. -- Lawrence Academy came to Governor’s Academy for a win, and they got one, but it was not a giveaway. The Spartans fought for four quarters, keeping the Govs to just one score on their way to a 20-7 win.

"There’s two ways to play our team," said Lawrence Academy (4-0) coach Mike Taylor. "Either you lay down and die or fight. These guys did a heck of a job fighting."

And to the end they did. With 4:20 left in the game and Lawrence Academy leading 20-7, Governor's Academy’s Kirk Ryder recovered a fumble at the Govs’ 40. A three pitch flea flicker from Tate Jozokos to Frank Barba brought the Govs down to the 24, within striking distance of making the game a one score tossup.

"It was definitely supposed to run a little smoother," said Jozokos, referring the two players who were nearly tackled before he got the ball again. "I just ran to space, chucked it up and hoped for the best. It was definitely supposed to run smoother; it was kind of scary actually."

Two plays later Governor’s Academy gave up the ball, but a Lawrence Academy three and out gave them one more shot at the end zone.

The Govs got down to the 12, but Lawrence’s Dan Giovacchini (six tackles) stopped Elijah Morrissey for a five-yard loss, finally quelling the fire that the Govs kept up all game despite the disparate size matchup.

"Our kids, when they play with some emotion and some passion, they bring it pretty well," said Govs’ coach Mark Gerry, who said he suited up 27 players for today’s game.

"The kids knew they were in this game, they knew they could play with these guys and I can’t say enough about their character, their persistence and their heart. ‘The few, the proud’ we call ourselves when we come out to practice. Numbers are one thing, but having the right kids on the field is another thing."

If this were a fight, Governor’s Academy (1-3) landed one early on the Spartans’ chin. Morrissey took a sweep right fifty-five yards for a score with under a minute gone in the game.

"We knew they’d be flying after the ball," said Gerry. "So we figured we’d try to trick them. We got a break, a good run and went up early."

But the extra point Camden Means put between the uprights would be the last time a Govs’ player would be responsible for the ball passing the plane.

Five plays after the failed onside kick by Governor’s, Daniel Giovacchini bounced outside left and dodged tacklers en route to a 24-yard touchdown run. The failed rush attempt left the game at 7-6.

Governor’s came out flat on the next drive. Attempting a double reverse, the first play went for a six-yard loss. On the next play, Lawrence Academy’s Ryan Welch body slammed Govs’ quarterback Jozokos for a three-yard loss.

"Ryan Welch, probably the hardest player on the team," said Lawrence Academy’s quarterback and safety Michael Orloff. "Doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s the one in the trenches getting held, cut and all of the dirty stuff that happens to him. I give him a ton of credit. He’s an animal on defense."

A two yard-gain on the next play finished the three and out series for the Govs. Lawrence Academy scored six minutes later on a silent snap quarter sneak to the left by Orloff (9 rushes, 45 yards), catching The Academy defense off guard. This time, a failed passed left the score at 12-7 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.

With 6:44 left in the first half, Lawrence Academy recovered a fumble at the Govs’ 37 yard line. Five plays and 2:25 later, Marcus Grant caught an 11-yard toss from Orloff in the front right corner of the end zone. Orloff ran for the extra point for the Spartans’ final score of 20-7.

"We’re a tough football team," added Taylor. "Next week, we've got another team on the schedule. I don't even know who it is, because we take it one game at a time."

Who’s your daddy?
With 6:19 left in the third quarter, Orloff went down on offense and limped off the field favoring his right leg. Governor’s got the ball back, and began to drive. That’s when the Lawrence Academy sideline began the slow chant, “Daddy’s baaack”. They were referring to Orloff, who went on to make three of his seven tackles of the day on that drive.

"They used to call me general," said Orloff. "Being quarterback and being safety… they knew that when Daddy came back into the game everything was going to be alright."

Lawrence Academy 20, Governor’s Academy 7

Law (4-0) 12 8 0 0 --- 20
Gov (1-3) 7 8 0 0 --- 7

G – Eli Morrissey 55 run (Joe Uglietto kick)
L – Daniel Giovacchini 24 run (rush failed)
L – Michael Orloff 4 run (pass failed)
L – Marcus Grant 11 pass from Orloff (Orloff rush)

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