Boston High School: Gloucester

Northeastern Conference football All-Stars

November, 26, 2013
The Northeastern Conference recently announced its all-conference team and postseason award winners for the football season.

Coaches or league representatives, across all fall sports, are encouraged send their league All-Star lists to editors Scott Barboza ( and Brendan Hall (


Northeastern Conference Player of the Year: Brooks Tyrrell, Marblehead.

NEC North Co-Coaches of the Year: Jim Rudloff, Marblehead and Tony Zerilli, Gloucester.

NEC SOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR: Sean Rogers, Danvers.

James Baxter, Sr. OL Winthrop
Jordan Brown, Sr. DB, Lynn Classical
Trey Burris, Sr. OL Lynn Classical
Jordan Corbett-Frank, Sr. LB, Winthrop
Brian Daly, Sr. WR, Marblehead
Zach Duguid, Sr. DL, Beverly
Trevor Gelineau, Sr. OL, Marblehead
Liam Gillis, Sr. LB, Marblehead
Toby Hale, Sr. DL, Swampscott
Chris Lessard,Sr. WR, Lynn English
Romario Louidhon, Sr. LB, Lynn Classical
Zach Lozzi, Sr. LB Lynn English
Ethan Mercedes, Jr. OL Peabody
Matt Millett, Sr. QB, Marblehead
Sam Mulumba, Sr. DB, Beverly
Jordan Pallazola, Sr. RB, Gloucester
Tom Portrait, Sr. DB Revere
Tom Quinn, Sr. OL Danvers
Drew Shairs, Sr. DL, Gloucester
Chris Tinkham, Sr. DL, Lynn English
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr. RB, Marblehead
Alex Valles, Sr. RB, Danvers
Cody Wlasuk, Sr. LB, Peabody
Isaiah White, Sr. RB Beverly

NEC field hockey all-conference team announced

November, 25, 2013
The Northeastern Conference today announced its all-conference team and postseason award winners for the field hockey season.

Thanks to Beverly head coach Trish Murphy for the email sent to local media today.

Coaches or league representatives, across all fall sports, are encouraged send their league All-Star lists to editors Scott Barboza ( and Brendan Hall (

All-Conference Player of the Year: Nicole Woods, Beverly

Team Sportsmanship: Peabody

Coach of the Year: Lauren Riley, Gloucester

All-Conference Team:
Nicole Woods, Beverly
Kate Silvestri, Beverly
MaryCate Flaherty, Beverly
Nicole Kamens, Danvers
Julia Lamoreaux, Gloucester
Tori Thistle, Swampscott
Joanna Coleman, Salem
Eliza Fitzgerald, Marblehead
Noelle Koch, Peabody
Katherine Leonard, Danvers
Nicole Papamechail, Danvers
Nora Walker, Swampscott

Second team:
Tessa Beane, Swampscott
Danielle Mayblyum, Swampscott
Amanda Marshall, Beverly
Marissa Laganis, Beverly
Felicity Otterbein, Beverly
Lauren Johnson, Danvers
Raquel Leslie, Danvers
Autumn Zubricki, Gloucester
Hannah Fobert, Marblehead
Alexa Gilbert, Salem
Logan DiCarlo, Revere
Jillian Kerwin, Peabody

D3 Northeast: Tewksbury 28, Gloucester 25

November, 9, 2013
TEWKSBURY, Mass. – When Mike Decaro broke up the middle for a 91-yard Gloucester kickoff return in the third quarter, all Tewksbury (9-0) coach Brian Aylward could do was shake his head and stare from the sideline.

The return gave the Fishermen a 17-14 lead, but Aylward was confident, as he has been all season long, that his team’s hard work in the offseason wouldn’t soon go to waste. The result: a 28-25 victory for the Redmen in one of the most thrilling games of the MIAA football tournament.

“Vince Lombardi always said ‘the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.’ You’ve got to dig deep into the 95 degrees in July and August when you’re making all kinds of sacrifices to be down here lifting weights and running,” Aylward said. “You’re gonna need it at some point in November, and we talked about that through the summer.”

“We dug in deep when we needed to. I’m proud of the kids, we’ve got good leadership. The whole boatload of them did so much work that they were ready to keep fighting.”

The Redmen (9-0) were anchored on the ground by James Sullivan, who turned in a tremendous performance, rushing for 103 yards and all four of Tewksbury’s touchdowns. Shortly after Decaro’s kickoff return energized the Gloucester (6-3) sideline, Sullivan caught a 21 yard catch from quarterback Johnny Aylward to give the Redmen the lead for good.

“They paid a lot of attention to a couple of different sets that we have that confused me a little bit. It wouldn’t be the ones I would have picked if I played against me and our team,” Aylward said. "We settled into a couple things that we thought would work —- get upfield and inside. We usually go inside-outside and do some throws, but they pressed pretty good on the outside -- we were able to get one on the outside to Sully.”

Gloucester held a 10-7 lead going into halftime, thanks to a 26-yard field goal by Eli Horne and some big runs from bruising fullback Jon Good (15 carries, 100 yards).

The Fishermen had the ball to start the second half, but were forced to punt following a three and out. The snap was far over Jordan Pallazola’s head, with a fumble as the result. Following the turnover on downs, Tewksbury found themselves with the ball on the Gloucester six yardline. Sullivan took care of the rest on the next play, running in the six yard score.

“They’re a tough team, they’ve always been known to fight -- they’re all tough. We just had to keep grinding it out, we had some things go wrong but it’s the playoffs; it’s all about adversity and fighting through it,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan added one more score after his TD catch and Decaro’s kick return, but Gloucester put one last drive together to makes things interesting at the end of the game. The Fishermen went to John Curcuru for his first carry of the game, bringing in a 46-yard touchdown and converting a two point conversion. Ultimately though, their final effort came up just short.

Tewksbury will move on to play Marblehead next week, but don’t expect Aylward to alter the gameplan much. With several athletic weapons on the ground, the Redmen will bring a fast-moving attack in hopes of advancing further.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that put in the work and have been blessed with some ability. We can kind of play to whoever the hot hand is...We’ve been trying to play it that way,” Aylward said. “They were tough up front, they did some things that kind of threw us out of sync with what we normally do.”

Bay State Games: July 12 recap

July, 13, 2012
Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's plethora of action:

WOBURN, Mass. -– A busy Thursday at the Bay State Games saw the start of the soccer, field hockey, basketball, ice hockey and boys' lacrosse competitions, as well as the continuation of the 2012 baseball tournament and the conclusion of the girl’s lacrosse event. Friday will see all of these scholastic results continue and baseball will draw to a close with all the medal positions still hanging in the balance. Friday night will also see the beginning of the 2012 Bay State Games swim competition at Harvard University.


Bronze Medal Game: Southeast 14, Metro 6
Gold Medal Game: Northeast 13, West 11


Northeast 5, Metro 5
Metro almost pulled an upset by taking a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning but had to settle for a tie as Northeast came back to tie the game and then stranded the winning run on base in the bottom of the inning.

Austin Johnson (Brookline) drew a bases loaded walk and Nick Bruno (Lynnfield) followed with an RBI single before Jonathan Santana Arias (Somerville) knocked in two more runs as Metro plated four runs in the sixth. Kyle Hood (Arlington) had scored an unearned run for Metro in the second.

Northeast scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings and then took advantage of three walks and two hit batsmen in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5. Justin Freeman (N. Chelmsford) drove in a run for Northeast, as did Colby Morris (Newburyport), who drew a walk with the bases full.

Central 4, Southeast 1
Southeast scored in the top of the first when Cameron Hanley (Walpole) doubled home Sean Scales (Weymouth), but Central, led by Jake Ryan (Whitinsville), who went 2-2 with a run scored and an RBI double, had taken a 4-1 lead by the bottom of the fifth. Zack Tower (Auburn) also drove in a run for Central, who got good pitching from their rotation, including starter Christian Doskocil (Sterling), who went three inning s and struck out two.

West 3, Coastal 0
Austin Salnitis (Lenox) went five innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven for West, who ran their record t o3-1. West got on the board in the fourth when Kenny Potts (Southwick) drew a walk and scored on a double by Phillip Jasak (Palmer). They added another run in each of the next innings with an RBI single by Andrew Noonan (Springfield) and an RBI double by Jake LaBranche (W. Springfield).

Coastal was led at the plate by Andrew Mancini (N. Easton), who went 2-2 with two singles.


Metro 1, Southeast 1
Metro scored first in the 20th minute when Thayrone Miranda (Somerville) connected on an assist from Walter Guzman (Chelsea), but the Southeast team equalized in the 67th minute on a connection from Nick Savage (Milton) to Marquardt.

Coastal 2, Central 2
Coastal scored first through Joshua Medeiros (New Bedford) in the 34th minute, but Central scored twice to take a 2-1 lead with Riley Steele (Sutton) and Lukas Ritzer (Sutton) connecting. Coastal salvaged a draw with a 58th minute goal by Ty Catunto (New Bedford).

West 3, Northeast 0
West got three second half goals from Mark Richards (Springfield), David Serafino (Ludlow) and Nicholas Martinelli (East Longmeadow).


Northeast 3, Metro 0
North got three goals in the first half, their first just three minutes into the game. Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored the first two goals for Northeast and Alexa Cicolini (Methuen) finished the job in the 31st minute.

Southeast/Coastal 1, Central 0
Lauren Farrell (Rockland) scored the only goal in the 48th minute as Southeast/Coastal edged Central.

West 8, Metro 0
Jennifer Delasco (Lenox) and Mary Edwards (E. Longmeadow) each scored twice, with Stefano adding an assist. Jordan Bates (Chicopee) and Kiley Baran (Granby) added two assists apiece as West rolled to their first win of the tournament.

Northeast 4, Southeast/Coastal 1
Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored four straight goals for Northeast to give them the victory after Jessica Murphy (Norwood) had given Southeast/Coastal a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. Cullen started her scoring spree just a minute later.

West 4, Central 0
West endured an onslaught of Central possession early before scoring four times in the second half. Sharlotte Pernice (W. Springfield) scored twice, and Christina Ferriter (Springfield) and Brianna Voight (Springfield) also tallied for West.


Metro/Northeast 3, Southeast 2
Central 2, Coastal 1


Southeast 16, Northeast 4
Steve Righini (Weymouth) scored four times for Southeast, while Conor Martin (Plainville), Sean Williams (Scituate), and Jack Vail (Franklin) each tallied twice, with Martin adding two assists. Six other players tallied single goals, including Nicholas D’Innocenzo (Medway), who also added an assist. Tyler Boardo (Weymouth) and Daniel Sprague (Weymouth) combined for nine saves in goal.

Northeast got two goals from Derek Lawton (Bishop Guertin) and a goal apiece from Devlin Crane (Arlington) and John Curcuru (Gloucester). Evan Connolly (Peabody) made 13 stops in net and Joshua Nelson (Medford) spelled him for five saves.

Central 10, Metro 9
Joshua Daigle (Marlborough) and Alex Sabel (Algonquin) each scored twice and added an assist, while Thomas Whiting (Hudson) notched two goals as well. Matthew McIntire (Milford) made ten stops in the winning effort.

Jack Trottier (Tyngsborough), Brian Walsh (Lowell) and Joey Pescatore (Waltham) each scored twice for Metro and Ben Foley (Tyngsborough) added a goal and two assists in a losing effort. Scott Powell (Swampscott) made 9 stops in the Metro net.


Northeast 8, Southeast 7
Metro 6, West 1
Central 12, Coastal 2
Southeast 8, Metro 2


Central/West 9, Metro 1
Southeast/Coastal 4, Northeast 2


Central 82, Metro 47
Central was led by Tyler Delorey (Worcester), who scored 22 points, including four three-pointers. Matt Mobley (Worcester) also chipped in 18 points, including two buckets from downtown.

Coastal 75, West 59
Coastal got 25 points from Chris Green (Taunton), including four three-pointers, while Paul Maurice (Taunton) added 22 points.

Central 89, Coastal 80
Central got 26 points from Delorey, who nailed three shots from downtown and also got 17 points from Jacek Louisville (Worcester). Tommy Keyes (Somerset) led the way for Coastal with 19 points.

Northeast 79, West 78
Northeast’s Devin Thompson (Winthrop) led all scorers with 22 points and two three’s in the fourth quarter. Anthony Smith (Springfield) was the top scorer on West with 17 points.


Central 68 Metro 64
Matt Grose led Central with 19 points and Bobby Flanagan put up 15. The Metro squad was led by Keith Burns (Belmont) with 22 points while Christian Lejuene (Waltham) added 14.

West 73 Coastal 41
The West squad was led by Keith Natale (Hatfield), who had 22 points and Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 15. The Coastal region had Tom Galanek (Plymouth) and Kent Mertz (Dennisport) score 8 points each.

Northeast 72 Coastal 60
Anthony Gilardi (Malden) led the Northeast squad with 24 points while Cody Broges (Dartmouth) picked up the slack with 16. Liam Gerrity (Barnstable) was the leading scorer in the game with 26 points and Pat Danner (Plymouth) had 10 points for Coastal.

West 67 Metro 40
West’s Keith Natale (Hatfield) had 20 while Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 11. The Metro squad had Jaewoo Chung (Arlington) score 11 points.


Northeast 73 Southeast 71
Northeast lead scorer Amanda Williams (North Andover) scored 13 points. Sarah Hood (Burlington) added 12 points to the scoreboard. Katie Lowerre (Sharon) led the way for Southeast with 18 points

Metro 72 Central 24
Melissa Baptista (Somerville) led the Metro region with 15 points. Kaila Duarte (Boston) score 13 points throughout the game which included making both of her free throws in the 4th quarter. Central was led by Kristen Smith (Littleton) chipping in 7 points.

West 66 Coastal 55
Keri Paton (Russell) contributed 17 points to West which included 13 points in the 4th quarter. Tea Spellacy (Belchertown) contributed 11 points to the scoreboard as well. Norma Waggett (Saugus) led Coastal with 25 points.

Southeast 68 Central 39
Lowerre led Southeast to victory against Central contributing 21 points. Montana Burke (Bromfield) and Abrielle Peltier (Leicaster) both chipped in 8 points for Central.

Metro 66 West 32
Metro got 14 points by Maggie Mulligan (Brighton) leading the team. Spellacy scored 11 points for West and Paton added 8 more to the scoreboard.

Northeast 62 Coastal 36
Hood tallied 14 points in Northeast’s last game against Coastal. Williams and Courtney Walsh (Windham) added to the scoreboard. Coastal’s Rachel Camara (Fall River) contributed 10 points and Brianna Camara (Fall River) chipped in 7.


Basketball, Lacrosse, Boys' Soccer, Girls' Soccer, Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Dartmouth, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Lynnfield, Gloucester, Malden, East Longmeadow, Milton, Taunton, Brookline, Algonquin, Somerville, Holy Name, Methuen, Winthrop, Burlington, Saugus, Auburn, Walpole, Ludlow, Arlington, Somerset, Franklin, Weymouth, New Bedford, Medway, Bishop Guertin (N.H.), Hudson, Rockland, Belchertown, West Springfield, Chicopee, Littleton, St. Peter-Marian, Lenox, Medford, Peabody, Belmont, Bromfield, North Andover, Lowell, Sutton, Courtney Walsh, Nick Bruno, Scituate, Brighton, Norwood, Newburyport, Waltham, Josh Medeiros, Snowden, Paul Maurice, Kaila Duarte, Chelsea, Sharon, Tyngsborough, Amesbury, Palmer, Bay State Games, Colby Morris, Jake Ryan, Marlborough, Mary Edwards, Megan Cullen, Chris Green, Brian Walsh, Granby, Rachel Camara, Cam Hanley, Riley Steele, Amanda Williams, Leicester, Matt Mobley, Jacek Louisville, Tyler Delorey, Devin Thompson, Andrew Noonan, Steve Righini, Zack Tower, Kenny Potts, Sean Scales, Austin Johnson, Jonathan Santana Arias, Kyle Hood, Justin Freeman, Christian Doskocil, Sterling, Austin Salnitis, Southwick, Phillip Jasek, Jake LaBranche, Andrew Mancini, Thayrone Miranda, Walter Guzman, Nick Savage, Lukas Ritzer, Ty Catunto, Mark Richards, David Serafino, Nicholas Martinelli, Alexa Cicolini, Lauren Farrell, Jennifer Delasco, Jordaan Bates, Kiley Baran, Jessica Murphy, Sharlotte Penice, Christina Ferriter, Brianna Voight, Conor Martin, Sean Williams, Jack Vail, Nicholas D'Innocenzo, Tyler Boardo, Daniel Sprague, Derek Lawton, Devlin Crane, John Curcuru, Evan Connolly, Josh Nelson, Josh Daigle, Alex Sabel, Thomas Whiting, Jack Trottier, Joey Pescatore, Ben Foley, Scott Powell, Tommy Keyes, Anthony Smith, Matt Grose, Keith Burns, Christian Lejuene, Keith Natale, Conner Eckstrom, Greenfield, Anthony Gilardi, Cody Broges, Liam Gerrity, Pat Danner, Jaewoo Chung, Sarah Hood, Katie Lowerre, Melissa Baptista, Kristen Smith, Keri Paton, Tea Spellacy, Norma Waggett, Montana Burke, Abrielle Peltier, Maggie Mulligan, Brianna Camara

Northeastern Conference hoop all-stars

February, 20, 2012
Courtesy of Beverly High Athletic Director James Coffey, here are the Northeastern Conference's boys and girls basketball all-stars for the 2011-12 season.

Any all-star lists can be sent to either Brendan Hall ( or Scott Barboza (


North (Large) Division
Keandre Stanton, Sr., Lynn English
Fred Hogan, Soph., Lynn English
Chris Keaton, Sr., Beverly
Cam Rogers, Jr., Beverly
Zach Zigelbaum, Sr., Beverly
Moise Builou, Sr., Lynn Classical
Uche Nwokeji, Sr., Lynn Classical
Mike Gould, Sr., Peabody
Steve Girolamo, Sr., Peabody
Chris Palladino, Sr., Revere
Christian Dunston, Jr., Salem
Marvin Baez, Jr., Salem

Most Valuable Players: Keandre Stanton, Lynn English and Christian Dunston, Salem
Coach of the Year: Scott Lewis, Beverly
Sportsmanship Award: Revere

South (Small) Division
George Merry, Sr., Danvers
Nick McKenna, Jr., Danvers
Nick Bates, Jr., Danvers
Eric Martin, Jr., Danvers
Curtis Casella, Sr., Saugus
Selim Omerovic, Sr., Saugus
Mike Walsh, Sr., Swampscott
A.J. Baker, Sr., Swampscott
Quinton Dale, Sr., Winthrop
Joe D’Amore, Sr., Winthrop
Joshawa Babb, Jr., Winthrop
Phil Coughlin, Sr., Marblehead
Jason Vizena, Jr., Gloucester

Most Valuable Player: Quinton Dale, Winthrop
Coach of the Year: Dave Brown, Winthrop
Sportsmanship Award: Saugus


North (Large) Division
Catherine Stinson, Soph., Lynn English
Diondra Woumn, Soph., Lynn English
Deidra Newson, Soph., Lynn English
Taylor Newhall, Sr., Lynn English
Carolyn Scacchi, Soph., Peabody
Olivia Summit, Soph., Peabody
Monta Connolly, Jr., Lynn Classical
Kristin Lauria, Soph., Lynn Classical
Alix Bryant, Soph., Salem
Holbrook Phelan, Sr., Salem
Becca Moriarty, Sr., Beverly
Caitlyn Caramello, Jr., Revere
Gena Restiano, Jr., Revere

Most Valuable Player: Catherine Stinson, Lynn English
Coach of the Year: John Fortunato, Salem
Sportsmanship Award: Peabody

South (Small) Division
Ara Talkov, Jr., Swampscott
Nikki Laskaris, Sr., Swampscott
Caroline Murphy, Sr., Swampscott
Heather Cain, Sr., Gloucester
Audrey Knowlton, Sr., Gloucester
Kasey Sherry, Jr., Danvers
Gabby Cogliano, Sr., Saugus
Allyssa Furtado, Sr., Saugus
Norma Waggett, Soph., Saugus
Ashelyne Babb, Fr., Winthrop
Kathryn DiGiammarino, Sr., Marblehead
Emily Freedland, Soph., Marblehead

Most Valuable Player: Heather Cain, Gloucester
Coach of the Year: Jack Hughes, Swampscott
Sportsmanship Award: Danvers/Saugus

Player of the Week: Swampscott's Mike Walsh

November, 14, 2011
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. -- It promises to be a Thanksgiving to remember as Swampscott meets Marblehead for all the marbles in the Cape Ann/NEC Tier 2 division.

But before the Big Blue focus their attention on the league title, they had to take care of business against rival Gloucester. Senior quarterback MIke Walsh again was on point, throwing for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 13 of 22 passing. He also added nine carries for 63 yards while closing in on 3,000 all-purpose yards on the season.

We caught up with the Brown University commit on Monday:

ESPN Boston Week 3 football picks

September, 23, 2011
No. 5 BC HIGH (1-1) at No. 8 CHELMSFORD (2-0)
The Skinny: The Eagles offense was rolling in Week 1 against Brockton, but BC High still suffered a loss to DePaul Catholic in New Jersey. However, while the Lions have a much-feared defense, it's been their offense that's been making waves, including a 54-point performance in their season-opening win over Westford Academy.
Scott Barboza: I think a good performance in this game would mean as much to the Lions as the Eagles’ performance against Brockton meant to them. Still, I think the Eagles put a lot of different pressures on the Chelmsford defense. BC High, 21-17.
Brendan Hall: I owe a slice at Zesty's to John Swenson and the Kennedy brothers if the Lions pull this one out. Aw heck, screw it, Tim Joy's gonna have the game of his life. Chelmsford, 17-14.

No. 19 ST. PETER-MARIAN (2-0) at No. 9 AUBURN (2-0)
The Skinny: Coming off a thrilling 14-13 victory over Holliston a week ago, Auburn is staring down an unprecedented 40th straight win, but once again the path will not be easy. Standing in its way is a Guardian defense led by Tre Watson in the secondary; and Jordan Knowles, Steve Flynn and Chris Nichols up front. Meanwhile, an Auburn line that averages 250 pounds across will look to make wiggle room for hard-charging back Dan Flink.
Barboza: I’m waffling on my prediction from last week that the Rockets’ streak would come to end either last week against Holliston or this week against the Guardians. After surviving the Panthers’ best shot, they made it 40. Auburn, 13-10.
Hall: I expect both teams to be deploying power-based possession game plans. That said, I like the weapons St. Pete has on defense. St. Peter-Marian, 7-6.

The Skinny: These two old rivals kick off the ISL season with a matinee showing Friday afternoon. BB&N boasts two of New England’s best linemen in Eric Olson and Dan Connaughton, while Chris Coady switches to quarterback after rushing for over 1,800 yards a season ago. That should pave the way for fullback Nick DiChiara (Papagianopoulos lite?) to have a big season. Meanwhile, all-league quarterback Connor Murphy returns under center, and will look to stretch out the field.
Barboza: Coady will make a seamless transition to quarterback behind an offensive line that’ll give him all sorts of time to throw. BB&N, 23-14.
Hall: Belmont Hill's Kevin Fleming is a terrific coach, but there's too much firepower to account for in the trenches here. BB&N, 24-10.

No. 4 XAVERIAN (2-0) at No. 14 BROCKTON (1-1)
The Skinny: These are two teams looking to open things up some. While the Hawks are off to an undefeated start with wins over Malden Catholic and Waltham, this is the first big test Xaverian faces on its loaded schedule. Meanwhile, the Boxers followed up their opening week loss to BC High with a 20-point win over Taunton.
Barboza: As much as Brockton has something to prove in this one, I’m looking for the Hawks to step it up after a couple of tune-ups. Xaverian, 27-20.
Hall: Chris Calvanese moves to 2-0 all-time against teams from Brockton. And like last year, he'll do it with late heroics. Xaverian, 20-13.

No. 20 NEW BEDFORD (2-0) at No. 2 DUXBURY (2-0)
The Skinny: Whalers quarterback Myles Medeiros is second in the state with eight touchdown passes (behind Weymouth QB Cam McLevedge's 9) and Marcel DePina is as talented an open-field runner as there is in the state. Yet, this is New Bedford's first real challenge of the season and the Dragons' disruptive defense balances the ability to get after the passer with strong play on the second and third tiers; that all starts with middle linebacker Max Randall.
Barboza: This might end up being the game of the weekend. Look for the Dragons’ secondary to play a major role in this one. Duxbury, 21-20.
Hall: Dragons survive this fierce one, but only after their secondary holds up late. Duxbury, 28-24.

The Skinny: Can CM finally get in the win column? The Knights were up 14-0 on last year’s Connecticut Class LL finalist Trumbull before the lights went out on their home stadium. On paper, CM holds a distinct advantage at the skill positions, led by BCS commits Armani Reeves (Penn St.), Donovan Henry (BC) and A.J. Doyle (NC State). But the Pioneers always churn out quality lineman, and 6-foot-6 senior Ethan Borchelt could be one of the region’s hidden gems. They’ve decidedly downshifted this season, but for two straight weeks quarterback Connor Kurtz has led them to gutsy last-minute wins.
Barboza: Here’s betting the Pioneers stick to their early season form of making things very interesting. St. John’s 17-14.
Hall: This is the week Armani Reeves and Co. finally get back on track. But given the way the Knights' season has gone so far, I wouldn't be surprised to see this game called on account of a biblical storm. Catholic Memorial, 20-10.

The skinny: This teams are a near mirror image of each other -- tough, physical teams who love to run the ball and pride themselves on stout defenses. Both teams are looking to strike some consistency with B-R falling to No. 2 Duxbury before rolling over Durfee, while the Rams scored the premiere upset of the early season with a win over Catholic Memorial before a let-down last week against Westford Academy.
Barboza: An old Old Colony League rivalry rekindled. This should be an old-fashioned slobber-knocker. B-R, 16-10.
Hall: Two programs known for their consistency in the trenches. Now that Marsh Vegas has come back to Earth a little, expect Nick Schlatz to be the difference here for the Trojans. B-R, 17-6.

No. 1 EVERETT (2-0) at ST. JOHN'S PREP (0-2)
The Skinny: In other programs across the state, winning by four scores and calling yourself rusty sounds laughable. But in Everett, it’s the truth – which, depending on the opponent, could be scary. Vondell Langston and Kenny Calaj have been tough to tackle in the short-yardage game, while quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso continues to break in his new receivers by going deep. Meanwhile, Prep will try to avoid its first 0-3 start of the 21st Century, but to do that it has to be able to move the ball against an Everett defensive line that has brought good pressure off the edges so far.
Barboza: The Eagles may take flight yet, but this is simply not that week. Everett, 30-17.
Hall: After sleepwalking through blowouts the first two weeks, the Tide finally get a true test. But how do you stop a thunder-and-thunder combo like Langston and Calaj? Everett, 28-10.

No. 12 DENNIS-YARMOUTH (2-0) at HINGHAM (1-1)
The Skinny: Last week’s comeback win over Barnstable put Division 2A on notice: Matt Montalto is a gutsy quarterback for the Dolphins, and Damion Johnson is among the state’s elite receivers. This D-Y team has plenty of quality parts, between slot receiver Dylan Hodsdon, fullback Joe Furness and a pair of quality cornerbacks in Quan Lovett and Rufus Hamilton. Hingham has been on the wire the first two weeks, losing to Medway by an extra point in the opening weekend before rebounding with a 13-10 win over Cohasset. As usual, the Harbormen will look to stretch the defense with its running scheme.
Barboza: It’s going to be interesting to see how these teams bounce back after a pair of emotion wins against regional rivals. Still, like the Dolphins’ offense a bit more in this one. D-Y, 24-16.
Hall: The Montalto-Johnson connection continues its strong showing in the first month. D-Y, 24-7.

No. 10 WEYMOUTH (2-0) at GLOUCESTER (0-2)
The Skinny: The Wildcats' offense is pure sugar and spice with quarterback Cam McLevedge on a Brady-esque pace with nine touchdowns passes in two games and Ozzy Colarusso running tough out of the backfield. Gloucester's gotten off to a tough start, seeing their Eastern Mass.-best winning streak go up in smoke and turn into a two-game losing streak. Things didn't get better when senior captain and two-way talent Chris Burke went down with an injury.
Barboza: The McLevedge to Bailey-Smith connection rolls along, exploiting a young Fishermen secondary. Weymouth, 31-21.
Hall: The messageboards on may very well force the whole website to crash if the Fish fall to 0-3. Weymouth, 33-10.


Last Week:
Overall: 21-7

Last Week: 7-5
Overall: 18-10

ESPN Boston's Week 2 Picks

September, 16, 2011
The Skinny: After getting outscored 79-20 in its previous two meetings with the Pioneers, Longmeadow will be looking to exact some revenge. And with the graduation of two of St. John's all-time greats in quarterback Dan Light (Fordham) and wide receiver Richard Rodgers (Cal), this might be the Lancers' best chance yet. That said, 'Meadow will be missing injured starting quarterback Jake Lazarus, though they got a solid week 1 performance out of one of Western Mass' best in T.J. Norris. St. John's is coming off a thrilling 22-21 victory over Holy Name, but the feeling is that many of the Pioneers' new parts will be more prepared this week.
Scott Barboza: Here's betting the Pioneers were scared stiff after last week's nail-biter against Holy Name. St. John's, 24-20.
Brendan Hall: Think it's safe to say the Lancers are relieved Richard Rodgers has moved on to Cal. Longmeadow, 20-17.

The Skinny: The Golden Warriors put up 30 points in last week's win over North Andover, while the Fishermen had 41 points put up against them as they saw their 26-game winning streak turn to dust. On the surface, it looks like this one could get out of hand, but we're intrigued to see what kind of fight the Fishermen have in them.
Barboza: Coach Zerilli's going to have to wait another week for win No. 1. Andover, 31-14.
Hall: When was the last time you had this many MVC teams looking at 2-0 headed into league play? Andover, 27-7.

The Skinny: One can only imagine what kind of gameplan the No. 1 Crimson Tide have in store to slow down talented running back Sacoy Malone. Everett was solid up the middle last week, in spite of miscues elsewhere in its 47-12 win over Leominster, while the Golden Eagles dropped out of our statewide Top 25 after falling to city rival Putnam. Also look for a change under center at Central, where Cody Williams has taken over the starting job at quarterback. A week ago, Everett's new crop of receivers had a half-dozen drops; we don't expect to see that again.
Barboza: Malone gets his feet under him and is a factor, still the Crimson Tide have too many weapons. Everett, 34-21.
Hall: Two weeks ago, this was looking like it could be our game of the week. Then Central fell to a talented Putnam squad, and Everett put up 47 points in a clunker. Everett, 28-0.

NO. 10 AUBURN (1-0) AT NO. 25 HOLLISTON (1-0)
The Skinny: Fred Taylor provides the fuel behind the Rockets' offense, but Auburn is truly propelled by its offensive line, which averages over 250 pounds across. Meanwhile, the Panthers have a slightly different look on offense with Dan Barone taking over from Sean Mayo. Yet, Holliston's spread attack remains equally as potent with a sprinkle of Jake Frechette and the ground game.
Barboza: This is the week. Holliston, 21-20.
Hall: If Auburn can hold onto the ball and put together some long drives, I like their chances at pushing this win streak to 39. Auburn, 7-6.

The Skinny: In what has evolved into one of the Cape's strongest football rivalries, D-Y is looking to take two straight in this series. The Dolphins won last year's contest, 41-38, while Barnstable won a 21-20 thriller in 2009. Two of the state's most prolific passers go head-to-head in this one; Barnstable's D.J. Crook had two touchdown passes in a 65-0 win over Durfee (bringing him within 18 of the state all-time record), while D-Y's Matt Montalto threw for 280 in the season-opening 41-7 win over Taunton.
Barboza: I feel like I'm being overly conservative here saying the teams will combine for 41 points here. That could easily come in one quarter with these teams. D-Y, 27-14.
Hall: Last year's game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate -- the Dolphins got in Barnstable's head. And with all due respect to Crook, who's on a good pace to break the state's all-time passing touchdown mark, Matt Montalto will win this duel once again. D-Y, 41-28.

The Skinny: After a mound of preseason hype, Catholic Memorial fell victim to the biggest upset of Week 1, getting shutout 24-0 at Marshfield. The road doesn't get any easier for Armani Reeves, Cam Williams, A.J. Doyle and Co. this week. Trumbull is coming off a spectacular 2010 season in which they advanced to the Class LL State Championship at Rentschler Field, losing to powerhouse Xavier 24-13.
Barboza: Yeah, it's an out-of-stater, but we'll learn a lot about the Knights this week. CM, 17-14.
Hall: The Knights can't afford an 0-2 start here. I'm calling a big night for Armani Reeves. CM, 30-20.

The Skinny: The Dave Palazzi era got off to a rocky start as Leominster took a 47-12 loss in Everett, but the Blue Devils showed plenty of promise in the earlygoing, including junior quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie and senior wide receiver Kyle Sanders. After having trouble solving the Crimson Tide's hard-charging duo of Vondell Langston and Kenny Calaj, they face another challenge in Hudson's Bryant-bound running back Karl Sery. Hudson is coming off a hiccup itself, getting upset by Gardner last week to fall out of our statewide Top 25.
Barboza: A Gatorade shower for Palazzi. Leominster, 20-14.
Hall: These Leominster boys can hit. Credit to Coach Murph for that....Leominster, 21-14.

The Skinny: Let's put it this way, if Reading were to start the season on a two-game losing streak, the two losses will have equalled the number of games the Rockets have lost in the last three seasons combined. Meanwhile, the Knights had Andy Coke and the Andover offense run amok over the defense last week.
Barboza: Brandon Walsh gets things going in a big way. North Andover, 37-30.
Hall: After the Lawrence upset, a solid win over a Top 25 program would put the green but talented Rockets in a firm position when they start Middlesex play. Reading, 18-13.

The Skinny:
Both teams put a little something extra into their Week 1 wins with Mansfield traveling all the way to Syracuse to beat Christian Brothers Academy of New York, while the Rockets needed overtime to escape with a 19-12 win over Norwood.
Barboza: George Busharis engineers a late fourth-quarter drive for the win. Mansfield, 21-13.
Hall: This Needham squad is flying under the radar, and I think they're going to give the Hornets a game. Mansfield, 16-14.

The Skinny: If CM suffered the biggest upset of Week 1, then their cross-city archrivals on Morrissey Blvd. scored the most eye-opening margin of victory, wiping out previous No. 5 Brockton 42-0. It's hardly just the Preston Cooper show, as Bartley Regan, Gordon McLeod and Jameson McShea all showed promise for big seasons in the opening week. Wayne, N.J.-based DePaul is coming off a 43-3 pounding at the hands of St. Joseph Regional, which memorably beat our current No. 5 Xaverian 6-3 back in 2007 in Westwood. In spite of the loss, the Spartans still managed to put up close to 260 yards of offense.
Barboza: The Eagles keep rolling with the momentum off of last week's win. BC High, 27-20.
Hall: This from my old friend and former Massachusetts Daily Collegian colleague S.P. Sullivan, currently an associate producer at "Long before anyone knew what a blowout was, we in North Jersey called it 'Wayne Hair'...Wayne is known for blowouts and the rich folks mall we hung out at in high school." BC High, 24-7.

The Skinny: This rite of fall between preeminent programs of the Catholic and Merrimack Valley finds the squads in a bit of different position this year as both graduated substantial parts of their 2010 teams. Both teams are young on the lines, but also return starting quarterbacks with Prep's Tommy Gaudet and Central's Matt McDermott.
Barboza: The kicking game pays dividends. Prep, 13-10.
Hall: Another week figuring out these Georgia Tech-style "flex" packages they've been trying out, and the ol' ball coach Jim O'Leary might be up to something good. Prep, 13-10.

The Skinny:
It may be premature, given that it's Week 2, but this very well could be the South Coast Conference championship game. Both teams feature deep backfields with the Falcons Bryan Rocha and Adam Benvie going head-to-head with the Lakers' Nate Michael and Zach Nanfelt.
Barboza: Experience pays a dividend for the Falcons, who had a taste of the postseason last year. D-R, 23-16.
Hall: I like the way these Falcons move bodies off the ball. And I do mean move. D-R, 27-19.

The Skinny: The Lakers were running stride for stride with Minnechaug last week before falling. Not a bad start for a team that returns just two starters from last year. On the other hand, the Whalers made easy work of Wareham, 40-6, behing Myles Medeiros' five touchdown passes.
Barboza: Can we zoom forward to the Whalers' meeting with Brockton, please? New Bedford, 30-23.
Hall: Too many athletes on the Whalers' side of the ball not to think they're going to run away with this one. New Bedford, 28-10.

What We Learned: Week 1

September, 12, 2011
The best and brightest from a helter-skelter Week 1 of MIAA football:

Catholic Memorial plummets 15 spots to No. 19 after getting shut out 24-0 at Marshfield, and today there is undoubtedly some intense conversation going down on Baker Street. But to totally make the story about the heavily-favored Knights failing to get out of first gear is to forget what a well-coached team Marshfield is.

As we predicted last Thursday, this was going to be a bad matchup for the Knights. The talk at CM is often centered around its four BCS commits in Armani Reeves, Cam Williams, A.J. Doyle and Donovan Henry, while the line is considered a weakness in spite of its size.

Let's not forget that Marshfield is one of the South Shore's more historic programs over the last two decades (Sean Morey, Austin Giles, anyone?). For as long as we can remember, Lou Silva has been running an unorthodox Wing-T scheme and has always been strong in the trenches. Think back 10 years ago when Sean Morris was the Rams' feature back, and remember that every starter on that line went on to earn a college scholarship. Like those gritty Acton-Boxborough squads of the early 2000s, year after year the Rams' emphasis has been on beating you at the point of attack not with size, but speed.

For the Knights, who have garnered a lion's share of preseason hype the past few seasons, a hard lesson was learned. Games are still won on grass, not paper.

St. Peter-Marian debuts in the poll this week at No. 23 after scoring one of the more significant victories west of I-495 traveling up to Crocker Field and taking down a Quinton Perkins-less Fitchburg squad, 20-6. Those in the know will tell you it's far from an upset.

Could we be headed for a return to the golden era of Jerry Azumah, Ricky Appiah and the late legendary coach Owen Kilcoyne? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Still, the Guardians certainly have some talent that is blooming late, but worth your consideration.

Senior defensive end Jordan Knowles is a force coming off the edge at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, able to overpower with a bull rush but also come across the face with a shifty swim move. He racked up two sacks and nine tackles in the loss, and barring injury could end up with 12 to 15 this season. Meanwhile, the Guardians were stout in the secondary, with Roosevelt Westbrook, Tyler Kmon, and Jonathan Harrigan all coming up with a pick each. Tre Watson, a star during basketball season, is another key cog.

But the sleeper of the bunch might be senior quarterback Steve Flynn, who threw for 240 yards and two scores, and also led the way defensively with 11 tackles from the defensive end spot opposite Knowles. This is Flynn’s first season as the full-time starter under center, and he’s still somewhat new to the sport (he didn’t pick up a football until his sophomore year).

You might remember his older brother Frankie –- a baseball standout at SPM, and one of the stars of the 2002 Jesse Burkett squad that lost to Louisville, Ky. in the Little League World Series final –- and the apple hasn’t fallen too far. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Steve is an imposing force on the mound for the Guardians’ baseball squad, with a fastball that has touched 90 miles per hour.

On the gridiron, though, he’s just as intimidating.

“He’s definitely the real deal,” Guardians head coach Tom Henrickson said of Flynn. “He’s thrown the ball 75 yards downfield. It’s insane. You have to see his arm to appreciate it. He’s thrown a 20-yard out from the short side of the field all the way across, and it’s a laser. You just don’t see that in high school football, he’s a real good one.”

Not to mention, Flynn will be a tough one to tackle this season. While he runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, he also reportedly benches upwards of 350 pounds, one of several reasons he’s just starting to get Division 1 looks.

“He’s not fast, but he’s not slow either,” Henrickson said. “People go to sack him, you try and grab him and he just tosses you…[against Fitchburg] our running back didn’t pick up a blitz, so he took a sack once, but it took four guys to take him down. He’s like an unknown commodity.”

Once again, the Central Mass clash between St. John's of Shrewsbury and Holy Name went down to the wire. And, once again, the Pioneers emerged victorious over the Naps.

What also was displayed in the annual rite of autumn, in rare form, was the gut and determination of Mike Pucko's team to overcome what they might lack in depth. With an unseasonably warm day and playing on artificial turf at Assumption College, the matchup was a battle of attrition. Pucko commented postgame that his team was "gassed" by halftime.

"We knew we were going to be in for a long second half," he told Scott Barboza on Saturday.

With many of his players running on empty by the third quarter, three of the Naps starters would be taken to the hospital by ambulance while fighting dehydration. Lineman Sean Zuromsky was overcome by the heat at the end of the third. After receiving a double-team block from the Pioneers offensive line, Zuromsky doubled over, face first into the turf, unable to breathe.

"He was so dehydrated, his mouth was white," Pucko said.

Outsiders might think it extreme, the savagery of a brutal game, which football can be. But the underlying truth is that pound-for-pound, Holy Name teams remain toughest team in the state. Pucko gets his players to show up and play, no matter who the opponent, no matter what the circumstance.

That doesn't necessarily fit into the "What We Learned" category, but it's worth reaffirming.

The feeling among the Everett contingent following last Friday’s 47-12 win over Leominster was not of satisfaction, to say the least.

“We take good out of it, but we have a long way to go,” quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso said.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve upon,” said his father, long time head coach John DiBiaso.

Fact: right now, there isn’t a player in the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s program at the talent level of either of its graduated wide receivers Matt Costello (Princeton) and Manny Asprilla (Boston College), considered two of the greatest in program history.

But here’s another fact: The Tide could have put up 60 on Friday if not for a few drops in the end zone. Jakarrie Washington and Jaylen McRae are two potential home-run threats with burners (filling Costello’s deep-ball role) while Kenny Calaj and Vondell Langston are tough to bring down, when taking handoffs out of the backfield or coming over the middle (much like Asprilla’s role there).

Consider Everett’s new batch of receivers like a baseball glove. It’s going to take a few games to get broken in.

But when they’re broken in, look out.

As much as folks might dwell on the 42 points the Eagles posted on the Boxers at Viola Stadium, equally if not more impressive was the true shutout the BC High defense posted.

The Eagles' defense thrives behind junior middle linebacker Luke Catarius, who again set the tone with 15 tackles, including three for a loss, along with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.

"We just really practiced the coverages and where they set up," Catarius told ESPN Boston correspondent Adam Kurkjian on Friday. "I just read my keys well and made the plays."

Easier said than done, but the Eagles were effective in shutting down the Boxers' ground game behind Josh Brewster and quarterback Paul Mroz was held to completing just two passes for 10 yards with an interception.

The Eagles simply never Brockton in the game.

The Merrimack Valley Small went 4-1 on this opening weekend, including eye-opening upsets by Lawrence (33-14, over then-No. 17 Reading) and Dracut (13-7, over then-No. 12 St. John’s Prep). If you can recall, the Small had another strong start a season ago, but this time around the feeling is that momentum will stick.

By now, Dracut’s read-option attack is a well-oiled machine, and despite some obvious signs of rust – and without returning MVC lineman of the year Peter Salem due to injury – the Middies sold play fakes well and at times took the outside lanes at will. It’s also got a strong junior class led by quarterback Jimmy Ryan and running back/linebacker Zach Bassett.

For anybody that saw Reading this summer or in scrimmages, this Lawrence upset comes as a surprise. The Rockets are stout at the line of scrimmage and feature a core of youngsters that is talented in spite of its inexperience. But what the Lancers lack in size they more than make up for in speed, and that should make waves in this spread-happy conference.

Some predicted a drop-off at Methuen after the graduation of Cal Carroll and Raudy Minaya, and the departure of head coach Pat Graham. But they’ve picked up right where they left off, with quarterback Eric Lacroix racking up nearly 300 yards of total offense and having a hand in every score, as the Rangers exacted revenge on Plymouth North with a 27-13 win.

And last but not least, Haverhill snapped a 32-game losing streak forcefully, with an impressive 39-12 win over a Malden squad that isn’t as thin as some people are saying. The Hillies reportedly took it to Central Catholic in a preseason scrimmage, so don’t be surprised if they make some noise when it comes to the gauntlet that is the MVC slate. It’s too early to predict hypothesize on the chances of their first postseason berth since 2002, but this will be a fun team to watch.

While Auburn extended its state best 37-game winning streak on Friday, Eastern Massachusetts' longest football winning streak came to an end for Gloucester. The Fishermen's 26-game winning streak was derailed by a motivated Lynn English team at the Manning Bowl.

Bulldogs quarterback Jermaine Kelley went off for six touchdowns and 279 yards while earning ESPN Boston Player of the Week honors for Week 1. Kelley, a transfer from Swampscott, spread the ball around with Josh Batista accounting for four touchdowns and top target Malcolm Brown-Simpson, a Pope John transfer, providing big-play potential to the aerial attack.

Lynn English head coach Peter Holey wasn't about to get ahead of himself even after the victory, adding that there's a long way to go before deeming the season a success during practice in Lynn on Monday afternoon. However, with a talented offense led by Kelley and a talented running back in senior P.J. Dorsey, the Bulldogs will be worth watching all season long.

Springfield's Putnam High beat previously ranked Central (No. 20 in preseason poll) on Friday, showing that the Beavers are the early favorites to claim the Division 2 crown in Western Mass. While the Division 1 race out West always runs through Longmeadow, the question is who will be the team to stand up to the Lancers this year?

We think Central can still be that team -- this weekend's test against No. 1 Everett will be an every greater indication -- but Putnam could serve as a great measuring stick. With a schedule that includes Westfield, Chicopee and West Springfield, the Beavers should prove a barometer as to who can take the fight to Longmeadow. After all, that is because Putnam might be the best team in Western Mass not named the Lancers.

MIAA football Top 25 poll: Week 1

September, 12, 2011
After a wild first weekend to kick off the MIAA football slate, we're back at it with our Week 1 Top 25 poll, as voted on by our staff, correspondents and coaches.

Our top 10 was thrown into flux following a big win by No. 3 BC High over Brockton and an upset by previously unranked Marshfield over Catholic Memorial.

The big mover of the week was Weymouth, which catapulted from No. 18 to No. 11 with a 48-6 win over Milton.

New to the Top 25 this week are Marshfield, Lynn English, St. Peter-Marian and Holliston. Moving out of the poll from the preseason rankings were Reading, Springfield Central, Gloucester and Hudson following Week 1 losses.

ESPN Boston's Week 1 Picks

September, 8, 2011
With the start of the Massachusetts football season hours away, let's get the season going with our first installment of our weekly picks:

The Skinny: One of several pivotal regional showdowns this opening weekend as the Spartans -- a program on the rise, which spent time in our polls last season and took Longmeadow to overtime on Thanksgiving -- look for some respect on the North Shore. Classical is one of several favorites in top tier of the newly-aligned NEC/CAL. Both teams are looking to make a statement.
Scott Barboza: I'm siding with the Rams' home-field advantage here. Lynn Classical, 24-17.
Brendan Hall: Hard to forget that this is a Classical team that took Catholic Memorial to the wire, won eight games and was a Gloucester loss from going to the playoffs. Still, let's not underestimate the Spartans. East Longmeadow, 21-14.

The Skinny: This about as intriguing a matchup as you'll find in Week 1. The question is what will Andover's offense like this sesaon? Whether he's lined up in the backfield or under center, we can expect another huge season for Andrew Coke. The same can be said for North Andover quarterback and fellow Mr. Football candidate Brandon Walsh.
Barboza: This will be a good test of the Golden Warriors' defense, especially Coke, who will be playing some in the secondary this season. Andover, 20-16.
Hall: Two high-octane spread attacks. Can you say Wild West? North Andover, 38-35.

The Skinny: The connections on this one run deep from B-R head coach Dan Buron, who's the uncle of Duxbury WR/DB Andrew Buron. Both of these offenses looked a bit sluggish at times during the preseason, but each return what should be among the top defensive units in their respective divisions. This could be a low-scoring affair.
Barboza: Revenge factor is big here as the Trojans haven't forgotten what the Dragons did to them in last year's season opener on their turf. B-R, 16-14.
Hall: I promise, no goofy nicknames for the Duxbury defense this year. Straight, no chaser. Duxbury, 21-10.

The Skinny: Like leaves changing colors, this annual season-opening showdown at Viola Stadium is a rite of autumn. Usually a tightly-contested matchup, a Paul Mroz 55-yard strike to Albert Louis-Jean sealed this one a year ago. Preston Cooper, the reigning Catholic Conference MVP, will lead an Eagles squad that is loaded up front. Meanwhile, eyes will be on Josh Brewster as he takes over the vaunted tailback role at Brockton.
Barboza: This is an important game to getting the Eagles offense on track, and look for Bartley Regan to have a big game. BC High, 28-26.
Hall: Hard to believe the Boxers haven't won since Paul Mroz's Hail Mary to Lucas Depina last season, oddly enough over BC High's archrival. But I can see them pulling out some fourth-quarter magic to win this one. Brockton, 14-13.

The Skinny: By now, CM's fantastic foursome of A.J. Doyle, Cam Williams, Armani Reeves and Donovan Henry are household names in Massachusetts. But they matchup here will be in the trenches, where historically Marshfield has always been well-equipped. The Knights' line is certainly not lacking in size, but the key might be how they weather Lou Silva's unorthodox variations of the Wing-T attack.
Barboza: I was going to go upset special here, but I think the Knights simply have too much on offense. CM, 31-20.
Hall: This ain't you father's Wing-T, and the ol' ball coach Lou Silva is gonna have his boys fired up for this one. I'm feeling lucky. Marshfield, 10-7.

The Skinny: Another regional showdown, Central graduated one of the MVC's best linebacking corps last year in Trae Musumarra and Jaycob Morales, but still have an elite quarterback in Matt McDermott. Marlborough, always a tough out under Sean Mahoney, figures to be an effective passing attack out of a complex read-option scheme. But watch out for Austin Garvey, a returning 1,000-yard rusher who can punish in multiple ways.
Barboza: The Raiders lose a lot from last year, but they still have an experienced quarterback in Matt McDermott. He'll be the difference in this one. Central, 20-14.
Hall: Let's not forget two years ago Central came down to Kelliher Field and everybody thought it was gonna be a cakewalk. All the Panthers did was pitch a shutout and go on to the D1 Super Bowl. Marlborough, 14-12.

The Skinny: An underrated non-league rivalry in Southeastern Massachusetts. There's plenty of interaction between the two towns including D-R head coach Dave Driscoll, who's a Hall-of-Famer at Somerset. After a Super Bowl appearance last year, this is an early test for the returning EAC champion Raiders.
Barboza: The backfield combo of Rocha and Benvie will be exciting to watch all season. D-R, 27-13.
Hall: We're still due for a night of steak dinner with some friends of ours down in Camelot. I hope that offer's still on the table after I pick the Blue Raiders to lose this one. D-R, 13-7.

The Skinny: Storylines galore in this one. Leominster controversially pushed legendary coach John Dubzinski aside to make room for Dave Palazzi, who previously won a Super Bowl with Millbury and is known for his spread scheme. That could be beneficial for their speedy skill players, who looked promising in the preseason. Also of note, Leominster's freshman squad beat Everett's last season. Meanwhile, quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso is breaking in some new receivers after throwing for a state-record 43 touchdown passes in 2010. He should be helped by a bulky offensive line and one of the state's best running backs in Vondell Langston.
Barboza: Too many weapons for the Crimson Tide, even without Costello and Asprilla. Everett, 27-13.
Hall: Quick shoutout to my old defensive coordinator from my playing days at Oakmont, Kevin Murphy, who's now on Dave Palazzi's staff at Leominster. OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way....Everett, 28-10.

The Skinny: Although these two schools are in different Hockomock divisions now, this rivalry is a heated one. Paul Sestito is looking to lead the Warriors back to the playoffs in the Kelley-Rex division and a win against the Red Rocketeers would go a long way to building confidence.
Barboza: The Red Rocketeers lost a lot from last year, but they hold on for a win in this Hockomock rivalry matchup. North, 20-13
Hall: After some lean years, the tables are stacked in the Warriors' favor to make a return to prominence. It starts Friday night. Foxborough, 15-9.

The Skinny: It'll be a new look Gloucester team from the squads that won three out of the last four Super Bowls, but the Fishermen are still talented and will be lead by TE/LB Chris Burke. Lynn English's attack should be tough through the air, and is bolstered by several transfers as well.
Barboza: The Fishermen keep the winning streak in tact and get head coach Tony Zerilli his first win. Gloucester, 13-7.
Hall: The King ain't dead. Gloucester, 24-12.

The Skinny: The battle of Attleboro will feature two teams looking to get to the top of their respective divisions. The Bombardiers might have one of the best backfields in the state with transfer Zach Schweiger joining J.J. Jolaoso, while Curt Smith's team is eyeing an EAC crown.
Barboza: Great non-league town matchup. The backfield of Schweiger and Jolaoso takes over. Attleboro, 27-20.
Hall: All this talk about Mansfield, North Attleborough, King Philip, even that dark horse Franklin, and quietly the Blue Bombardiers might have the best backfield in the Hock. Let's not forget these guys pounded Feehan last year, too. Attleboro, 17-13.

The Skinny: Well, to be fair, we don't know much about Christian Brothers other than it's a great song by Elliott Smith (look it up). So let's talk about the Hornets instead. Will Blayne Kelley-Taylor take some of load Jamel Marshall used to shoulder? Will the defense be the same without some of its key cogs from last season? This will be a good test and a start to the answer to those questions.
Barboza: When in doubt, go with the locals. And I like the Hornets defense led by Nick Leonard. Mansfield, 21-17.
Hall: Overrated? Overrated? Without Gerry McNamara we don't win 10 games this year, OK? Not 10. Oh wait, there's football in Syracuse? Mansfield, 21-19.

The Skinny: Shrewsbury is looking for an encore performance after a record-setting year from two of its finest players in program history, Dan Light and Richard Rodgers. How do they follow up? Efrain Montalvo, one of the region's best running underneath routes, figures to be the key figure here. Meanwhile, the Naps lack numbers as usual, but are always well-prepared under Mike Pucko.
Barboza: Effrain Montalvo goes off for a couple of touchdowns. St. John's, 13-7.
Hall: As usual, the Naps will make this interesting. St. John's. 20-13.

The Skinny: The Warriors are the prohibitive favorites in the DCL Large thanks to juniors Brian Carroll and Chris Giorgio. While quaterback Kevin Saunders hopes to lift the Redmen back to the top of the MVC Small.
Barboza: Carroll could emerge as a Mr. Football candidate by season's end. L-S, 20-17.
Hall: A quality barometer for both schools. L-S was a raw squad when they fell in their opener last year, but I think they're well-oiled this time. L-S, 17-10.

The Skinny: The matchup to watch out for is in the trenches. The Middies have a terrific offensive line led by Peter Salem. On the other hand, the Eagles don't return a single starter on the O-line from last year. That group could take their bumps early on.
Barboza: The questions on the Eagles' offensive line bear their head in this one. This is my upset special of the week. Dracut, 26-20.
Hall: The Middie Machine officially arrived six seasons ago when Bobby Russo led them to an upset of Prep. The rest is history. Bobby's the quarterbacks coach now -- you don't think he's got something to say this week? Dracut, 31-27.

The Skinny: Auburn puts its 37-game win streak, third best in the nation, on the line in this one. The Rockets will have to weather a Shrewsbury defense, led by linebacker Kristian Jackson, that figures to be much-improved from a four-win 2010 campaign. On their own end, Auburn is breaking in some new skill players, but still have one of the fastest down-field threats in Fred Taylor, while boasting a line that is young but averages 250 pounds across.
Barboza: 38 and counting...Auburn, 21-20.
Hall: There's a good chance Auburn's 37-game win streak comes to an end Saturday. But honestly, I think the chances are greater in Week 2. I see the Rockets escaping. Auburn, 14-12.

Billerica over Burlington
Chelmsford over Westford
Concord-Carlisle over Beverly
Franklin over Milford
Holliston over Stoughton
King Philip over Wayland
Masconomet over Lowell
Minnechaug over Silver Lake
Nauset over Dover-Sherborn
Needham over Norwood
Oliver Ames over Medfield
Plymouth North over Methuen
Reading over Lawrence
St. Peter-Marian over Fitchburg
Woburn over Acton-Boxborough
Xaverian over Malden Catholic

No. 8 B-R looks for Super Bowl return

September, 1, 2011
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Eighth-ranked Bridgewater-Raynham has become a fixture in the Division 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Zerilli takes helm at No. 24 Gloucester

August, 23, 2011
GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- How things can change in just one year.

Last year, the Gloucester Fishermen coasted to another undefeated season (13-0) while taking their third Eastern Mass. Super Bowl title in the last four seasons.

Yet, when the No. 24 Fishermen open the 2011 season with a trip to the Manning Bowl against Lynn English on Sept. 9, they will bear little resemblance to the team that walked off the Gillette Stadium field victorious last December. Legendary head coach Paul Ingram retired in January and his subsequent announcement in February that he had esophageal cancer sent shockwaves through the seaside community. Gloucester also graduated 19 seniors from the 2010 squad; a group that blazed a path with three titles and a combined 50-2 record in their collective high school careers.

As much as things change, however, they often stay the same.

[+] EnlargeTony Zerilli
Scott Barboza/ESPN.comFirst-year Gloucester coach Tony Zerilli, a '98 Gloucester graduate, coached and played under former Fisherman coach Paul Ingram.
Ingram is recovering from cancer treatment and trying to regain his appetite. He aims to return to his teaching post at the high school this fall. And, although Ingram is no longer at the helm, the new skipper at the Fishermen's wheel came from within. Tony Zerilli, a 1998 graduate who played under Terry Silva as a tight end and defensive end, earned the promotion from defensive coordinator to head coach.

"When you play for somebody and then you come and coach under them, naturally, you’re going to take a lot from them," Zerilli said of Ingram's influence on his coaching style. "We’re both very organized, very structured people … Mostly, it’s how to treat people with respect. He ran a tight ship and that’s what I’m trying to do."

Zerilli played for Ingram while at Gloucester, when Ingram was offensive coordinator under Silva. That master-pupil relationship has evolved over the years and Ingram has seen firsthand the work Zerilli's put into preparing his teams.

"He's very analytical," Ingram said of Zerilli, who's full-time job is at an engineering and consulting firm in Peabody. "The way he'd go about breaking down offenses and, more importantly, he's a good teacher, those are his strengths. He presents the material to the kids so that they would buy into it and really get it. He doesn't take shortcuts."

Zerilli's not about to make any brash departures from the Gloucester way. The Fishermen will still come flying out of the Wing T. While the players running those formations may change, the methodology behind Gloucester's recent success isn't about to go away -- even as hard as it may be to replace a duo like last year's 1-2 combo of Jordan Shairs and Gilbert Brown.

“That senior class last year, every one of them was a leader," said Zerilli, 31. "Were they a special group? Absolutely, how often do you have a group like that? Most of them went to college and about half of them are playing football in college and that’s special. But you’ll see in this group that there are leaders as well. We move on, every year and we plug in players. We try to find the best fit at every position.

"We have kids that can play but haven’t really had a chance to play because of those seniors ahead of them last year. They’re getting that chance now and they’ve been working hard all summer."

It's now time for a new generation of Fishermen to head the call.

"It's a tradition that gets handed down," senior captain Chris Burke said.

That's a tradition that's forged in bumps and bruises, taking the lumps from last year's seniors on the practice field. Those black and blue marks, after all, are the hallmark of Gloucester football.

"Playing with those guys last year, it made us better,"senior captain Kyle Lucido said. "We’d be going at it full speed in practice with those guys hitting us and that made us tougher, especially now that we’re stepping into their shoes."


Head Coach: Tony Zerilli (1st season)
Last Year: 13-0 (Div. 1A Eastern Mass Super Bowl Champions)
Key Returnees: Chris Burke, Sr. TE/LB, 6-2, 205 lbs; Kyle Lucido, Sr. RB/LB, 5-9, 180; Matt Taormina, Sr. DE/T, 6-1, 175; Joe Harmon, Sr. RB/LB, 5-7, 145; Danny Gonzales, Sr. T/DE, 6-0, 190.
Strengths: Athleticism, quickness, toughness.
Weaknesses: Game experience.
Outlook: While the Fishermen's talented senior nucleus was finishing up their run, that didn't leave much playing time for younger player -- save for mop-up duty at the end of games. So the team that Zerilli inherits is pretty green in terms of game experience. Only Burke and Taormina were regular starters with a few others (Gonzales, Harmon) seeing occasion snaps. Early season snaps will be particularly important for this developing group, which boats a deep and athletic junior class that Zerilli is excited about. “We have a lot of kids who haven’t played a full varsity game, let alone 11," Zerilli said. "And we’re hoping to play more than 11 games.” Shairs and Brown leave a glaring hole in the backfield, but Gloucester should have the athletes between Lucido, Harmon and junior Santi Parisi to run the ball with ease, thanks to an athletic offensive line that's led by Burke -- an All-State selection who's poised for a breakout season on both sides of the ball. Juniors Liam McCarthy and Lenny Taormina will battle for the starting quarterback position in preseason scrimmages. “We’re small, but we’re very athletic," Burke said of the team on both sides of the ball. "Our team fits our system well." To which Matt Taormina added, “I’d say gritty would be a good way to describe it.” “If we work as hard as those teams worked in the past, we’ll be fine.”

ESPN Boston's Preseason All-State Team

August, 22, 2011
Below is our Preseason MIAA All-State Football Team, along with some other players to watch. Returning All-Staters are bolded.


QB – Nick LaSpada, Sr., Billerica
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
QB – Brandon Walsh, Sr., North Andover
RB – Andrew Coke, Sr., Andover
RB – Preston Cooper, Sr., BC High
RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
TE – Lucas Bavaro, Jr., St. John’s Prep
WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
WR – Efrain Montalvo, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
WR – A.J. Baker, Sr., Swampscott
OL – Tyler Loring, Sr., Catholic Memorial
OL – Peter Salem, Sr., Dracut
OL – Ryan Anger, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
OL – T.J. Leeman, Sr., Andover
OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
ATH – Karl Sery, Sr., Hudson
K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian


DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett
DL – Dino Hyppolite, Sr., Brockton
DL – Brendan Battles-Santos, Sr., Nauset
DL – Brett Harrington, Sr., Chelmsford
LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
LB – Max McDaniel, Sr., Lexington
LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
LB – Max Randall, Sr., Duxbury
LB – Buck McCarthy, Sr., Everett
LB – Camren Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
DB – Jesse Monteiro, Sr., Brockton
DB – Reilly Naton, Sr., Duxbury
DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr., Woburn

Watch List:
Chris Burke, Sr. LB, Gloucester
Drew Burnett, Sr. QB, Needham
Chris Calvanese, Sr. QB, Xaverian
Luke Catarius, Jr. LB, BC High
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Donovan Henry, Sr. RB/DB, Catholic Memorial
Kurt Hunziker, Sr. RB/LB, Masconomet
Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr. DL, Xaverian
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Matt King, Sr. RB/LB, Scituate
Jake Lazarus, Sr. QB, Longmeadow
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Paul Mroz, Sr. QB, Brockton
Terry Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Chuddy Nwachukwu, Jr. OL, Dighton-Rehoboth
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington
Matt O’Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
Quinton Perkins, Sr. RB, Fitchburg
Joe Previte, Jr. OL/DL, Brockton
Bartley Regan, Sr. QB, BC High
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip
Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham
Mike Walsh, Sr. QB/S, Swampscott

Starting fresh, Oliver Ames turns heads

July, 24, 2011
PEABODY, Mass. -- The Northeast 7v7 -- or the Swampscott/Lynnfield Shootout as it was formerly known -- has annually hosted some of the top football programs in Massachusetts.

The event typically garners a deep field of talented teams and the programs represented year after year are usually those familiar with the postseason (think Gloucester, Longmeadow et al).

But this year's competition held at Bishop Fenwick High School saw a newcomer ruffle some feathers.

Oliver Ames made its first appearance Saturday as part of the event's biggest-ever field, featuring 48 teams in total. The Tigers might have flown under the radar some as they're coming off a 4-6 season in the Hockomock League's Davenport (Small) division.

While the Tigers simply didn't have enough to overcome Chelmsford -- which won its second title in the last three years at the event -- in the championship game, they showed they could hang. Albeit, it wasn't the down and dirty, 11 on 11 play that they'll experience a little more than a month from now, but it was a positive building block for a team looking for a little positive momentum.

"We haven't won anything, but it shows that we can compete," senior offensive and defensive lineman Alex Tepper said. "You can definitely take something from it. We were the second best team out of the 48 teams here. We're happy about that."

The Tigers have also performed well in their own passing league, which hosts several other Hockomock teams in addition to a smattering of other schools around the Easton area. Their senior leaders have taken up the task of righting their ship: building on small successes in the offseason so they might be better prepared to meet their regular season goals. And those goals are big ones.

"We want to win the Hockomock Small, win a playoff game and get to Gillette," Tepper added.

They realize that will not be easy, as rising senior Nick Hutchinson put it about playing in the Hock, "You can't take anybody lightly. Anybody can be anybody on any given night."

Still, for a program looking to get back to playing above .500 football, it can't hurt to shoot the moon.

"We didn't know what to expect today," rising senior quarterback Jared Schneider said. "We just wanted to show people what we can do. We played well and we got to the finals, so it was a good experience for us."

And they certainly captured everyone's attention in the process.