Boston High School: Henry Narlee

Duxbury's Narlee commits to BU

October, 2, 2012
Former Duxbury High lacrosse standout Henry Narlee has committed to BU, joining its incoming class of 2014.

Narlee starred in football and lacrosse for the Dragons before enrolling at Avon Old Farms for his senior year. A midfielder by position, Narlee was also the Dragons' faceoff specialist.

During the summer he played for the 2014 AA Laxachusetts club team at the Brine Shootout, the N.E. Storm Tourney and King of the Hill in between resting shoulder injury. He scored the game-winning goal in three different games at the Brine Shootout.

ESPN Boston boys' lacrosse All-State team

June, 25, 2012
All-StateG - Doug Gouchoe, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
The Air Force-bound goalie backstopped the Patriots to their fourth state title and an undefeated season. The Eastern Mass. All-American recorded a .682 save percentage this season.
All-StateD - Max Randall, Sr., Duxbury
A true shut-down defender, the 5-foot-10 pole always drew the matchup of the opposing team’s top offensive threat. Randall, who will continue his lacrosse career at Dartmouth College next season, was named an Eastern Mass. All-American and also earned ESPN Boston All-State football consideration as a linebacker on the Dragons’ repeat Super Bowl title squad.

All-StateLSM - James Burke, Sr., Duxbury
One of the most dynamic talents in the state, the Penn State-bound long-stick did a little bit of everything for the Dragons, from winning ground balls off the wing on faceoffs to providing hounding defense. An Eastern Mass. All-American, Burke was also an ESPN Boston All-State football defensive team selection on.

All-StateLSM - Ryan Cassidy, Sr., Wellesley
Leading one of the state’s top defensive units, Cassidy led the Raiders to the Division 2 EMass finals at Harvard Stadium. On the season, the Amherst College-bound long-stick collected 175 ground balls.
All-StateLSM - Reilly Naton, Sr., Duxbury
Paired on the wing with Burke on Duxbury’s face-off set, the Yale commit was one of the state’s best players during the last couple of years. In addition to winning three state titles with the Dragons, Naton was also a starting safety on two Duxbury Super Bowl title-winning football teams.

All-StateM - Kurt Hunziker, Sr., Masconomet
One of the most physically intimidating forces in the state, the 6-foot-3 linebacker/tight end/midfielder extraordinaire was a force. Hunziker, a UMass-Amherst signee, earned back-to-back Eastern Mass. All-American nods in his junior and senior seasons.
All-StateM - Billy Polk, Sr., Dover-Sherborn
Among the top faceoff men in the state, the two-time All-American was also a scoring threat for the first-time Division 3 state champions. Also a multi-sport athlete, Polk plans to play both football and lacrosse at Colby College.
All-StateM - Kyle Soroka, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
A key element to the Colonials rise to prominence in the Dual County League this season. The Middlebury-bound middie was named an All-American after scoring 30 goals with 39 assists.
All-StateA - Kevin Blair, Sr., Hingham
A two-time Eastern Mass. All-American, Blair has been one of the most feared scorers in the state and was an ESPN Boston All-State second-teamer last season. Blair, who finished with over 100 points on the season, will attend Providence College next year.
All-StateA - Paul Hellar, Sr., Duxbury
While Duxbury’s defense got most of the headlines, Hellar proved the Dragons could score in bunches as well. The All-American was the fulcrum of the Duxbury attack and has signed a Letter of Intent to play at Fairfield University.
All-StateA - Nico Panepinto, Jr., Needham
The Fairfield commit showed why he was one of the most dynamic attacks in the state during the Rockets’ state final tilt with Duxbury. The All-American tallied 54 goals with 30 assists on the season.
All-StateFaceoff specialist – Henry Narlee, Jr., Duxbury
Ask any member of Duxbury’s coaching staff or its players and they’ll tell you their ninth state title in the last decade started at the faceoff X with Narlee. The midfielder won a high percentage of his draws and was more than capable of finishing on the rush as well.

Second Team
G - Connor Darcey, Sr., Wellesley
G - Jared Fong, Sr., Weston
G - Greg Stamatov, Sr., Foxborough
D - Matt O'Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
LSM - John Sexton, Soph., Lincoln-Sudbury
M - Henry Guild, Jr., Lincoln-Sudbury
M - Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
M - Chris Williams, Sr., Duxbury
A - Tucker Ciessau, Jr., Scituate
A - Jay Drapeau, Soph., Wesford Academy
A - Ben Melaugh, Sr., Billerica
Faceoff specialist – Clay Richard, Sr., Medfield

Best of the Rest - Honorable Mention
Henry Bumpus, Sr. D, Concord-Carlisle
Henry Buonagurio, Sr. G, Duxbury
Cody Carbone, Sr. A, North Reading
Matt Comerford, Jr. G, Reading
Jeff Desko, Sr. A, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Jackson Finigan, Sr. M, Concord-Carlisle
Conor Healy, Sr. A, Algonquin
Stephen Iodice, Sr. D, Weston
Cam Joyce, Sr. A, Archbishop Williams
Matt McIver, Sr. A, Andover
Tyler McKelvie, Sr. A, Acton-Boxborough
Cabot Noyce, Sr. A, Norwell
Joey Pasquale, Sr. A, Weston
D.J. Smith, Jr. G, Billerica
Tom Stanton, Sr. M, Catholic Memorial
Ian Yanulis, Jr. D, BC High

Coach of the Year
Tom Dalicandro, Concord-Carlisle

DUXBURY, Mass. -- Tight-knit. It’s a codeword for Duxbury lacrosse members.

It’s always slipped into conversation during any of the Dragons’ postgame interviews, a way of showing no team member is above another. Often a teammate will walk past another midsentence and it is uttered again.

After Duxbury advanced to its 11th straight state final with an 18-6 thumping of No. 4 seed Lincoln-Sudbury in Saturday’s semifinal, the Dragons showed strength throughout their ranks. No one player stood above the others as they turned in perhaps their most complete effort of the season – a quintessentially Duxbury performance.

“It started with the faceoffs with Henry [Narlee] and our two wing guys, Reilly [Naton] and James [Burke],” Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said, going down the roster. “Our attack did a phenomenal job controlling the ball, being patient, but at the same time, being aggressive. And our defense just clamped down, they’re fun to watch. And Bongo [goaltender Henry Buonagurio] came up with some huge saves, highlight saves.”

The Dragons (22-2) traded salvos with L-S (16-6) through the first quarter, but built an 8-3 lead by the half.

While the Warriors hung around in a mostly competitive first half, Duxbury turned the complexion of the match with a seven-goal outburst in the third. Spurred on by a string of eight straight face-off wins by Narlee, the Dragons continued to pour it on.

And the offense was well-distributed with Seamus Connelly, Cam Mullins and Narlee tallying hat tricks. Seven Duxbury players finished with 3-or-more points on the game. Long-stick midfielders, Burke and Naton, continued their ground ball dominance as both collected a team-high six. The defensive trio of Jay McDermott, Matt O’Keefe and Max Randall were impeccable as always, and Buonagurio made several high-difficulty saves.

In all, there wasn’t a lot of fault to go around.

“The guys on the field got it done today, they made very few mistakes,” Sweet said. “From day one, we talk about that we’re going to come out and work hard in order to get better each day. And today was an indication of just that.”

The Dragons look for their ninth state title Wednesday against Needham. Faceoff at Harvard Stadium is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.

For Duxbury’s seniors, Saturday was a bittersweet occasion, as they played their final home game.

“That’s what I was thinking about the whole time,” Mullins said. “This was going to be my last time on this turf. I had to go out with my all.”

Mullins responded with two big first-half goals before notching the hat trick as part of Duxbury’s third-quarter barrage.

“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team, if not the hardest worker,” Sweet said of Mullins. “I’m just happy for Cam that he can cap off his last game on this field with a hat trick.”

Even though he’ll never play again in front of the home crowd, Mullins was looking forward to yet another trip to another patch of hallowed ground.

“We call it our home away from home,” Mullins said of Harvard Stadium. “It’s just nice having that experience behind us. We’ve been playing together since we were in probably second grade, so it’s a nice little group of guys we have going on.”

Recap: No. 1 Duxbury 6, Bp. Guertin (N.H.) 5

May, 23, 2012

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Over the past six years, Duxbury has found itself a great opponent for the final game of the regular season in perennial New Hampshire power Bishop Guertin.

All but one of the six meetings have been highly competitive, and Tuesday afternoon saw the two squads put together a defensive masterpiece. All six starting long poles and three long-stick midfielder's on each side are committed to play at the Division 1 college level next spring, and they were the key factors for the majority of this interstate showdown.

Ultimately, a three-goal spurt midway through the fourth quarter decided it as top-ranked Duxbury rallied from a 5-3 deficit to take a 6-5 triumph over the Cardinals at Babson College's MacDowell Field.

"It felt like we were playing Garden City's defense there," Sweet laughed when asked about the high level of defense. "[Bishop Guertin] were tough to beat one on one, they played great team defense, they packed it in and they got key goaltending. That's a good formula for keeping the score down. It was a great high school lacrosse game and it could have gone either way. I'm glad that we had that little run and were able to get some key defensive stops at the end."

The Cardinals (15-3) tried to break open what was a 3-3 game when Tommy Vailas made a beautiful alley-dodge to free himself up for a goal late in the third, then opened the fourth with a nice rip down near the baseline by Luke Roever.

The way Guertin was playing defensively, it was going to prove difficult for the Dragons to make one of their patented runs, but sure enough, they did exactly that. In an extra-man situation, Will Siefert fed Seamus Connelly down low and the big attackman used a great stick fake to pull Cardinals goalie Colin Dulea out of position for a score.

Henry Narlee won the next faceoff and James Burke swooped in on the ground ball, as he has done all season, and fed Siefert for an easy look in transition to tie the game. Just over a minute later, Sam Sweet produced a tremendous individual effort to get free and set up Jack Sullivan for a goal that not only put Duxbury in the lead for the first time, but also held up as the game-winner.

"We were just moving around on the crease and my guy slid early and went to Sam and he just made a great look in the crease," described Sullivan. "It was kind of nerve wracking on the crease with the ball. We worked hard, we're a fourth quarter team and we gave it our all at the end. Narlee did great on the faceoffs, won those three in a row to get us those three goals."

It seemed the like the impressive size of the Guertin poles fed right into the best aspects of Seamus Connelly's game. The 6-foot-2, 200-plus pound Duke commit was able to body up against the Cardinals poles and use his exceptionally talented hands to rifle shots home to the tune of a four-goal game.

He even showed a little of his flashy side, using a nice stick fake where it looked as though he would shoot behind his head, then whipped the ball around from the front on the first score of the Dragons' game-deciding run.

"Shay [Connelly] played great today," praised Sweet. "He played with some energy, he played smart and he hit his shots. Lacrosse is funny. You can have great players out there and its really a game of matchups. They were a little bit slow to slide to him on those goals and they paid a price for it and Seamus stuck his shots. It was awesome. He played a great game."

Added Connelly, "One of our things is to keep believing. We knew we could pull it out. We've been down a lot in games and we've always come back. It's just a matter of our seniors looking each other in the eye and knowing we could do it. Our offense was really helping me get the space I needed to shoot. It was the kind of day where it was my turn to shoot. Any other day it could have been Sief or Sammy or anybody else."

Connelly popped in the second of his four goals with 24 seconds remaining in the second quarter and the game ended up tied, 2-2, at the half. Fans who weren't at the game might look at that score and say, "Good thing I didn't go. Must have been a boring game."

Not even close. You missed brilliance on display.

The fans who did make the trek to Babson College saw two defenses playing at the highest of levels a pair of New England high school teams are capable of. We've come to expect this from the Dragons, who have been all year long by close defenders Max Randall (Dartmouth commit), Matt O'Keefe (Johns Hopkins) and Jay McDermott (Syracuse), as well as lethal LSMs Reilly Naton (Yale) and James Burke (Penn State).

For perhaps the first time all season, aside from Garden City and Irondequoit, the Dragons met their match in the defensive zone. The Cardinals are led by long poles Bob Fahey and Kyle Karaska, both of whom are UMass-commits, and LSM Jay Krzyston (R.I.T.).

That unit was able to force turnovers, bad shots, and keep Duxbury's transition opportunities to a minimum for all but that two-minute stretch in the fourth.

"I have so much confidence in those kids," praised Guertin coach Chris Cameron. "They've been with me for four years and I know what they can do. They play against top-notch caliber all summer. We try to get them as many competitive games as possible so I knew that at this level of play they could handle their attack."

DUXBURY, Mass. -- Take the matter of Duxbury lacrosse and you find a team that, while it may seem on the surface that things are in working order, can still find room for improvement.

Despite two losses, the No. 1 Dragons remain the hands down favorite in the Division 1 derby; their two losses on the season both came against nationally ranked New York powerhouses. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to complain about.

Still, head coach Chris Sweet couldn’t feel his team has played its best game.

That might have changed Tuesday on a rain-soaked turf field where the Dragons dispatched South Shore rival No. 5 Hingham, 14-4.

“It’s starting to come together, the chemistry,” Sweet said. “I’ve said all along that our fundamentals have not been good, just basic passing and catching, and it all starts there.”

The keyword of the day for the Dragons (11-2, 4-0) was balance. Seamus Connelly, John Gomer, Cam Mullins and Will (Siefert tallied two goals each, set in motion by another dominant performance by Henry Narlee on faceoffs (14-of-20).

Before the game go out of hand, Hingham (9-2) held the first lead of the game and looked poised for a fight with a 2-2 tie after the first quarter.

That’s when Duxbury started to separate, running to a 7-2 lead at half.

In the third quarter, the Dragons kept coming.

“It was good to see that there was no letdown,” Sweet said.

While the Dragons bucked their recent trend of letting teams hang around in the second half, Sweet had a simple explanation for their killer instinct.

“For our seniors, it was their last game against Hingham,” “That’s our big rival, so that’s motivation enough right there.”

Recap: No. 1 Duxbury 11, No. 7 Needham 7

April, 29, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Two days after one of Duxbury lacrosse’s wildest contests of the season, the No. 1 Dragons once again found themselves behind the 8-ball.

But Duxbury constructed a three-goal rally early in the first half, which helped them go on to defeat Needham, 11-7, at Memorial Field Saturday night.

“We want to get back to playing Duxbury lacrosse, and we’ve had a tough schedule [because] we’ve had a game every other day for about three weeks," Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said. "But I thought we played a great second half, we got off to a slow start in the first half, and sometimes that just happens."

The Rockets, who jumped out to a stunning 3-1 lead in the first quarter, struggled to maintain their two-goal advantage, as missed shots, passes and ground balls opened the door for the Dragons attack and midfield to tally four unanswered goals before intermission.

Senior Sam Sweet (2 G) tied the game at 7:10 of the second quarter after collecting a pass from senior Paul Hellar (2A). Senior Adam Fitzgerald and junior Henry Narlee (2G) then upped the Dragons' lead to 5-3.

“Coach Sweet, one thing he stresses is always get ahead of the ball, and never give up on the play, so once I won the face-off, I saw Reilly [Naton] had the ball, and I just tried to get in front of everybody and beat my defender," Narlee said of his second quarter strike. "I beat him, [my defender] and luckily got the shot off, so I thought it was nothing special, but I just had to get in front and do the fundamentals."

Duxbury, which managed to tally two strikes in the third, ramped up its intensity during the final quarter, as the Dragons' defense initiated four transition goals to secure their 10th victory.

Senior Will Siefert (4 G, 2A), who was responsible for three of his team’s final strikes, set up shop to the left side of senior Lucas Davis’ cage during the fourth quarter and was able to finish Duxbury's transitions with three consecutive tallies.

“In the fourth quarter we stuck together, and we just started to pick it up, started winning ground balls, and got us the possessions that we needed, so it helped us get the goals,” Siefert said. “My buddy, Sam [Sweet], we’ve played together for a while, and he always finds me there [on] the backside, so I just camp out there and wait for the ball, and try to finish it.”

“I think it starts at the defensive end. We get the ball off the ground, then we get a couple of quick passes, and get into transition, and then once we get a little bit of space, our attack man are pretty good at moving the ball and finding the open guy,” Chris Sweet added.

Senior Jamie McGill and junior Nico Panepinto registered Needham’s final goals with two minutes remaining, but their rally was cut short after Duxbury secured the ball on the ensuing possession, and drained the clock with various passes.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “We put this on our schedule because we wanted to see where we were at the midpoint of the season, and this is exactly the midpoint. This is game nine for us out of 18, and the fact that we’re at this point right here, we feel as though we’ve got room to grow, but we’ve done a lot of good things along the way.”

“This was a game that we look at the outcome of the score, we’re not happy with it, but we feel as though we can answer some of those problems,” added Wainwright. “We definitely have some talented young men that work real hard and I think they’re going to be ready once it becomes tournament time because we have another half of the season to grow.”

Roundtable: Is Milford the new D1 softball favorite?

April, 20, 2012
In this week's edition of "Roundtable", ESPN Boston High Schools Editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall are joined by correspondent Bruce Lerch and Brockton Enterprise staff writer John Botelho as we discuss the best hitting lineups, the best faceoff specialist in lacrosse, and whether Milford is now the team to beat in softball.


ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Scott Barboza: In a word, yes. Shannon Smith is simply pitching out of her mind right now, but it's not as though we haven't seen this before from the University of Kentucky commit. Two years ago, Smith was named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year after recording a 0.36 ERA. This year, she's been dominant, including a 20-strikeout performance against Shrewsbury and 17 K's against KP. Not to mention, the Scarlet Hawks haven't even been playing with their opening day lineup, after All-State catcher Taylor Archer suffered a leg injury in the first week of the season. Freshman Taylor LeBrun has done a terrific job behind the plate in the interim, but MIlford will only be that much more potent with their top battery in place. I'm certainly not ruling out KP, as anything short of a rematch between the two teams in the state final would be unexpected.

Bruce Lerch, correspondent: While there are several teams with good enough pitching to shut down the Scarlet Hawks bats, how many are strong enough offensively to hit against Milford ace Shannon Smith? The only team that really comes to mind is...King Philip. The Kentucky-bound Smith two-hit the Warriors and struck out 17 Monday afternoon, so you have to think they are the lead horse in the race right now. KP has hit Smith before, however, as a 10-1 result in the state championship game two years ago proves. Of course, Smith was but a freshman then, and having faced King Philip several times since then her knowledge of that dangerous lineup has grown considerably.

Oh yeah...KP also has Meghan Rico. I've heard she's a pretty good pitcher too...something about a reigning player of the year? If both aces are on their game, then the state championship softball game may have to be scheduled for more than one day

John Botelho, Brockton Enterprise: Even with Milford knocking off K-P, it's still hard to call anyone but the Warriors - the two-time defending state champ - the favorite to win it all. This means Milford might have closed the gap, but until someone proves Meghan Rico is possible to beat in the playoffs, the Warriors remain the class of softball in this state. Keep in mind how difficult it is to beat a good team twice, and chances are Milford will have to do just that if they're to bring home the state crown.


Scott Barboza: We might have seen a Division 2 Eastern Mass final matchup preview on Thursday when Concord-Carlisle and Hingham squared off in a Coaches Challenge Cup semifinal. The Patriots beat the Harbormen, 9-4, with Jackson Finigan, Tim Badgley and Kevin Delehey scoring two goals each. If both teams take care of business hereon out, we should expect to see both of them at Harvard Stadium. Of course, none of this makes mention of Dover-Sherborn. The Raiders fell just short of an upset over Lincoln-Sudbury before falling, 12-11, but they've proven their among the elite in Division 3.

Bruce Lerch: That team would Dover-Sherborn. Lincoln-Sudbury will enter the Division 1 tournament as one of the teams best suited to make a run at Duxbury, but betting against the Dragons has been mostly a losing proposition for the past decade. The six Div. 2 teams that participated in the tournament are perennially among the last teams standing in June, so while a state champion could come from this group, picking who it will be requires a crystal ball.

Dover-Sherborn has the talent to compete with the best teams in the state, something the Raiders proved three years running now at the Coaches Challenge Cup, and is likely going to snag one of the top four seeds in the Div. 3 tourney and will be included in the group of favorites that should also include Weston and Norwell.


ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall: I have seen both BC High and Lowell multiple times, and I don't think you can go wrong either way.

BC High can mash 1 through 9, but at the top is where they're especially dangerous. UConn signee Bob Melley is the Eagles' most powerful bat out of the No. 3 spot, but he's surrounded by plenty of college-ready talent in seniors Chuckie Connors, Justin Silvestro, Brian Hocking, and juniors Ryan Tufts and Dan Dougherty. I will put the Eagles' top six hitters against any team's top six in the state...

...Unless that top six is Lowell. The Red Raiders are only going to get stronger as the season goes on, but they're showing some real nice stuff through the first three weeks of the season. Rory O'Connor, Derek Reed and Andrew Marasa form what is regarded as the state's best outfield, but they can manufacture runs from the plate, too. Matt Tulley is headed to Virginia Tech for his low-90's fastball, but he's got a heavy swing from the cleanup spot too. My favorite hitter to watch in this lineup is senior Chad Gens, who can square up and plant it deep as good as anyone. After Lexington's Chris Shaw, he might be one of the better power hitters in Eastern Mass. I expect him to be near the top in extra base hits this year.

Also of note, take a look at Dighton-Rehoboth, which comes in this week at No. 18 this week. With a top of the order led by Bryan Rocha, Adam Benvie, Evan Mondor and Mike St. John, the Falcons are averaging 11 runs per game, including shellackings over Somerset (22-0) and Case (17-6). When it comes to manufacturing runs, you can't forget Walpole, between leadoff shortstop Johnny Adams, catcher Dan King, and brothers Cam and Craig Hanley.

John Botelho: Despite getting shutout by Marshfield for their first loss of the season on Thursday, the East Bridgewater Vikings offense is certainly among the best in southeastern Mass, and could be the class of the D3 South Sectional later this season. Even with the setback against the Rams, E-B is still averaging just over 10 runs per game.

In the Hockomock League both Oliver Ames has emerged as a team with an electric pitching staff, but the offense is plenty capable of flexing muscle too. With sweet swinging David MacKinnon - whose emerging as one of the best hitters in the Hock - hitting third and powerful Matt Harding hitting fourth, the Tigers have one of the best 3-4 combos going. Matt Mancini, Ryan O'Shea, Mike McMillan and Jim Sullivan help bolster a lineup that features plenty of hitting ability.


Scott Barboza: I think there's no doubt that Clay Richard of Medfield is the best true FOGO in the state, but as we saw during Wednesday's matchup against No. 1 Duxbury, Dragons midfielder Henry Narlee might be the best faceoff man in the state. Sqauring off against Richard and the Warriors, Narlee won an amazing 21 of 28 draws.

Bruce Lerch: The two best were on display Wednesday night in Duxbury as Medfield's Clay Richard went to work against the Dragons Henry Narlee. Richard more than held his own against Narlee in their individual battle, but in addition to the Duxbury junior's elite skill, he also has the advantage of having James Burke and Reilly Naton flying off the wings to grab every loose ball in sight. Not only is Narlee at winning the draws to himself, but is deadly accurate when shooting the ball into space for his two LSM's to chase it down.


Scott Barboza: Don't really know if this would count as such, but I'm calling Duxbury's take down of Garden City (N.Y.) this weekend. Looks like the Dragons' regained their top form in the last week. In softball, I have a feeling about Hudson taking down Shrewsbury this weekend.

Brendan Hall: Boston Latin has a two-game swing at the beginning of next month that could have big implications in the Dual County League: May 4 at Lincoln-Sudbury, and May 7 at Acton-Boxborough. The Wolfpack seem to be everyone's favorite little underdog in the league (no pun intended), but I wouldn't be surprised to see them take one of two here. L-S has some talent, but has been searching for that staff ace; meanwhile A-B has had a knack for the dramatic so far, twice winning one-run games, the latest a 1-0 decision over Waltham on Wednesday. Can Latin pull 1 of 2 here? It might depend on who's pitching.

Elsewhere, I've got May 10's matchup between No. 14 Burncoat and No. 3 St. John's of Shrewsbury circled on the calendar. The Patriots just lost their first game to Danvers the other day, while St. John's sits at 7-0 with a nice win over St. John's Prep. This is building into one of the best regular-season matchups in Central Mass., but I'm going to go with Burncoat in the upset.

John Botelho: On April 26, when No. 16 Barnstable comes to town, Bridgewater-Raynham will take a big step toward winning the Old Colony League by knocking them off in a pitcher's duel. The Trojans have to deal with league foe Dartmouth just two days before, and if the rotation stays the path it's on lefty Pat Chalmers will be throwing that game. That means fellow southpaw Shane Holmes, who has been piling up strikeouts and shutting offenses down, will take the mound against the Red Raiders. The lefty is one of the toughest in the area and B-R could come away with this one without needing much in the way of run support.

A 'Narlee' performance for Duxbury

April, 18, 2012

DUXBURY, Mass. -- It seems simple in theory - the faceoff guy wins the ball to an open spot and two players come scrambling off the wing to get a ground ball. To actually put it into practice with two long poles, however, is another thing entirely.

Duxbury has been running long stick midfielders James Burke and Reilly Naton off the wings for the last two years with Henry Narlee working the X for control. Whether Narlee wins it to himself or pushes the ball to open space for his two athletic teammates, more times than not the strategy results in a possession for the Dragons.

Wednesday night, the tactic showed its true value. With Narlee battling against one of the state's elite FOGO's in Medfield's Clay Richard, whichever guy was able to win the most was going to provide a big boost to his unit. With a little help from long-stick friends, it was Narlee who turned the faceoff-X into the X-factor.

The two battled to a draw in the first half, but Narlee took over in the second, winning seven straight draws, either to himself or to his teammates, and the Dragons were able to break open what was a fairly tight game with a 7-0 run en route to a 17-7 win over the Warriors.

"[Narlee] did great. Clay is a great faceoff guy and I thought Henry did a great job and I thought that was a key," Duxbury coach Chris Sweet said. "If we win faceoffs and then we get James Burke and Reilly Naton scooping balls out there and moving it downfield, that generates a lot of offense. That's what we need to be successful."

Sweet also appreciates the fact that he has a pair of tremendous athletes with which to utilize such a strategy in Burke and Naton. The duo showed off their prowess as Reilly finished with two goals and two assists and Burke added a goal of his own.

"Those two can't do it with any two poles. It's Reilly Naton and James Burke," Sweet explained. "They're two tremendous athletes, they can get the ball off the ground and they have great vision and they can run like the wind. They find our attackmen and then they stay involved in the offense. They don't just give it up to the attackmen and get off the field. They stay involved because they've got the skills and the sense to do it."

Knowing that Narlee was in for a terrific battle against Richard, who is capable of turning the tide of any game with his ability to win draws and displayed as much during Medfield's run to a second straight Div. 2 state title last season, both Burke and Naton gave a tip of the cap to their own faceoff specialist.

"Narlee, he's a workhorse down there," Naton said. "Clay Richard is a great faceoff guy, we knew that going in. It was a big game for Narlee and we told him he had to make plays today and I think he did a great job. He won it to himself a lot, he played it to us - we never know what's going on with him. The kid always gets it open space and we'll take our chances with the ground balls."

Added Burke, "Henry obviously gets it going at the X and puts the ball in space and from there me and Reilly just pride ourselves on never giving up. It's all out until the ball is ours and its worked well for us so far."

This year, Duxbury's defense rules the day

December, 3, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Henry Narlee stood almost stoic near the podium looking over Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

His helmet gripped between both hands, the Duxbury linebacker spoke calmly of the Dragons’ suffocating defense. With hardly a smile, he discussed their second consecutive perfect season, now months removed from a shutout of Bridgewater-Raynham in the season opener.

“Really, it’s not what it seems,” Narlee said following Duxbury’s 35-0 thumping of Tewksbury team in the Eastern Mass. Division II Super Bowl. “I forget about last season. I don’t feel undefeated right now.”

Say that again?

“You get used to always looking at the next game,“ he explained. “You’re never really thinking about, ‘Oh, we’re 4-0’ or something. You’re just thinking about what’s next.”

It’s a safe bet "next" includes more sacks, tackles and wins for Duxbury, a South Shore powerhouse that’s built its success atop a defense as unmoved as its stars’ emotions.

Sure, the Dragons cheered and mugged for photos Saturday, taking a few moments to savor their fourth 13-0 season in seven seasons under coach David Maimaron and 26-game winning streak, the longest active in the state.

But unlike a year ago, when players milled around the concourse savoring a 35-13 victory over Concord-Carlisle for at least a few moments, the team shuttled off to its bus as quickly and efficiently as its defense disposed of an overmatched Tewksbury team.

They held the Redmen (7-6) to 12 total yards while building a 28-0 first-half lead. The combination of the Narlee and the 6-foot, 240-pound Mark Trudeau produced two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 2 sacks. Seamus Connelly and Owen Grey were disruptive throughout. James Burke picked off a pass and (maybe) tipped a punt.

“I’ll say I did,” he said of a lame-duck punt in the first quarter he nearly devoured. “But honestly, I’m not sure.”

They’re all part of a defense built on speed and power that provides a reliable reflection of the program itself.

If they’re not perfect, few opponents prove it.

“I said it earlier: Coach Maimaron, he’s built an empire,” Burke said. “People are excited about the program. People are excited in the youth league. People just want to be a part of this. And it shows come Friday or Saturday when we’re out there winning 26 straight games. He’s built quite the program.”

Duxbury, of course, is blessed on offense: Quarterback Matt O’Keefe is one of the best in the state, and Jon Hurvitz punched out of Gillette with two touchdowns and 75 yards on just seven carries.

But on a day like Saturday, where the attack was slowed if not flawed at times (see two interceptions), the defense glazes over any shortcomings with play and after big play.

During one stretch in the second quarter, Narlee stripped Tewksbury quarterback Kevin Saunders of the ball, allowing Trudeau to pounce on it. On the first play of the Redmen’s very next offensive series, they exchanged roles, with Narlee’s fumble recovery after a Trudeau hit helping set up a Duxbury touchdown.

“They’re a dangerous two out there,” Burke said. “Owen Grey is on the other side, and Trudeau is a house. And Narlee is just one of those athletes. Getting him off the edge on the pass rush, it’s almost unstoppable. Not many tackles have the ability to come out and block him. He’ll be playing D-1 somewhere.”

Maimaron laid a ton of credit at the weight room door, where he said the team’s dedication not only transformed wiry athletes into powerful multi-tooled football players, but helped the team largely avoid injury the last two perfect seasons.

“They’re smart, they’re fast, they’re strong,“ senior lineman Gordon Acha said of the defense, which yielded just one third down conversion on nine Tewksbury attempts. “That’s all you need. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how small are. (If you’re) fast, smart, strong, you’ll win games.”

And thus the Dragons have. Twenty one seniors will move on this season, and likely, someone, somewhere will take their place.

Narlee, a junior, will have the chance to add a third Super Bowl title before he’s done. But as his coach called any last stragglers to the bus Saturday, Gillette Stadium was far from his crosshairs.

“I’m looking forward to B-R,” he said.

Focused Duxbury aces biggest test

June, 12, 2011

BILLERICA, Mass. -- In a word, it was impressive.

The eyes of lacrosse fans across Massachusetts were firmly fixed on the Division 1 semifinal between Billerica and Duxbury on Saturday. Although the Indians and Dragons had the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the tournament, respectively, the teams were widely regarded as the top two teams in the state.

During the regular season, Billerica came closer than any other Massachusetts based team to knocking off Duxbury (the Dragons’ three losses all came to out-of-state foes). Still, the Dragons emerged with a 12-9 victory in the teams’ early April meeting.

But this one was different.

Duxbury had been on a roll, out-scoring Natick and Lexington — its first playoff victims — by a 29-4 margin. Those performances weren’t nearly as impressive as the Dragons’ 19-9 victory over the Indians.

“We’ve had that feeling in the last couple weeks in the way our team’s been practicing and playing,” Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said. “As a coach, I can’t ask for anything more.”

Aside from Billerica’s quick strike to start the game, scoring off the opening faceoff for an instant 1-0 lead five seconds in, the game was the Dragons’ wire-to-wire.

From Henry Narlee’s work in the faceoff X, to Henry Buonagurio’s play in goal, to the defensive corps’ work behind Max Randall, to the offensive firepower displayed by Will Siefert and Paul Hellar, it couldn’t have been a more complete performance.

It was their day.

“They played great,” Billerica head coach Craig Flynn said of the Dragons. “They didn’t make many mistakes out there offensively or defensively.”

Siefert, who contributed four goals and two assists to the attack, said Duxbury made some adjustments following their first battle with Billerica (20-3). Primarily, they sought to change their transition offense, taking advantage of ground balls and moving the ball quickly up-field to create scoring opportunities.

For Siefert, it meant more than that. After recovering from a preseason knee injury, the April meeting was his return to the field. In the second go-round with the Indians, he left an indelible mark.

It was all done with one common purpose in mind. That was the Dragons’ stated goal to return to Harvard Stadium and gain redemption after last year’s heartbreaking overtime loss to St. John’s Prep.

Later in the day Saturday, Prep overtook Needham for the right to meet Duxbury in the D1 final yet again.

It was a new lease on life.

“We’re getting another shot at it,” Siefert said.

That doesn’t mean the Dragons will be treading lightly when they get their next crack at Prep on Tuesday.

“We’ve got one more to go,” Sweet said following the game. “We’re not going to sit back and relax at this point. Whoever we face next is going to be a tough one.”

Duxbury waltzes past Billerica in D1 semifinal

June, 11, 2011

BILLERICA, Mass. -- After suffering a knee injury in the early part of the season, Duxbury’s Will Siefert made his return to the lineup in the Green Dragons regular season victory over Billerica but was limited to a role on the man-up unit.

Siefert played a far bigger role for the Dragons when the two teams met again, scoring four times to go with three assists and keying a first-half surge that helped propel No. 3 Duxbury to a 19-9 triumph over No. 2 Billerica in the Div. 1 state semifinals at Marshall Middle School.

“We can put him anywhere and he’s going to play well,” said Duxbury coach Chris Sweet in praise of Siefert. “As the season’s gone on, he’s gotten stronger and stronger. We thought back before the game that Will’s first game back after a knee injury was up here on this field earlier in the season when we had him just playing man up so he was excited to play and he showed it.”

Siefert assisted on two of the Dragons first three goals, then closed a back-and-forth opening quarter with a pretty goal in a 1-on-1 with Billerica (20-3) goalie D.J. Smith that put Duxbury (18-3) ahead for good at 4-3.

He added another goal and an assist in the second as Duxbury built an 11-4 lead at the break and added two more scores in the second half.

“What we were doing was we were moving the ball quick,” Siefert said. “We really needed to get that extra pass. Whoever picked up the ground ball, we talked about finding that first guy, run to the sideline and give it to him. I felt like we did that all day and we dominated ground balls and it really helped us out.”

Junior Paul Hellar also had a huge game for Duxbury, scoring five times to go with a pair of assists. Sam Sweet added a hat trick, Bryan Barry two goals and two assist, and Kane Haffey also scored twice. All told, eight Dragons found the back of the cage in the game, thanks in great part to the work of Henry Narlee on faceoffs.

At the other end, junior goalie Henry Buonagurio made several key stops that kickstarted several transition opportunities and completely swung the momentum of the game over to the Duxbury sideline.

Defenseman Max Randall also turned in a spectacular performance, shadowing Indians star Grant Whiteway and holding the state’s single-season scoring record holder to just one goal.

“Defense is a team effort,” Sweet said. “Grant’s had an unbelievable, unprecedented career. He’s a warrior. Max Randall has covered for the last three years and I think head to head, game in and game out, Max has proven himself to be one heck of a defenseman and today was no exception. Max did a great job.”

Added Billerica coach Craig Flynn on Buonagurio’s effort, “It gives them the momentum. They are a great team. They don’t do anything special out there. Xs and Os wise they just play lacrosse, disciplined lacrosse. Well coached and they have some great players out there. You have to give them credit. They didn’t make any mistakes out there offensive or defensively.”