Boston High School: Holy Name

B-R softball finishes season at No. 1

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
12:32
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Bridgewater-Raynham kept its hold on the No. 1 spot in our final regular season MIAA softball Top 25 poll.

The Trojans also claimed the top spot in the Division 1 South tournament after an undefeated regular season. The Top 5 remained in tact this week with Milford, Hudson, Concord-Carlisle and Holy Name following in order.

(Editor's note: This will be the last poll update until the final postseason poll.)

IN THE NICK OF TIME
Four teams entered the Top 25 this week, including two teams making their first appearance of the season.

Bay State Carey champion Framingham made its debut at No. 18, followed by Tewksbury, which reentered the rankings after notching a couple of wins against Top 25 foes in the final week of the season.

A copule of South Coast Conference teams round out the poll, with Case hopping back in at No. 23, while Dighton-Rehoboth makes its first showing of the season at No. 25.

Softball recap: Grafton 8, Holy Name 5

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
12:34
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GRAFTON, Mass. -- During the top of the sixth inning, and her team locked in a tight-fisted 1-1 duel against Division 1 foe Holy Name, Grafton ace pitcher Kendal Roy began to sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” from inside her dugout. Her teammates quickly caught on and followed her lead. Suddenly a chorus of this famous song resonated all over Nelson Field.

This is the demeanor of the Indians. They play relaxed, are never uptight and have a great time playing the game they love. This off-beat conduct certainly has paid dividends for Grafton in the past. Last year, they won the Division 2 state championship boosted by the same mannerisms. On Wednesday, this personality helped carry them again as the Indians erupted for seven runs in the sixth to claim an 8-5 victory over the Naps.

“To us a 1-1 game is definitely different than losing 1-0,” said Roy, who allowed six hits while striking out nine which gives her 59 for the season. “When we tied it, 1-1, we all looked at it as if it was a 0-0 game. Once we tied it we knew we were doing fine.”

Holy Name hurler Kelsey Saucier (7 hits, 9 walks, 8 Ks) was in control early, holding the Indians to a single run through five innings. But things unraveled quickly for her in the decisive inning. The junior had lost command of her blazing fastball, as many pitches were starting to finish high above the strike zone.

Saucier opened the inning by plunking Tara FaFord, walking Michelle Goulet and allowing Marissa Ruggiero to reach safely on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. With the pressure on, Saucier threw a belt-high fastball to Tess Fitzmaurice, who roped a three-run triple to center making the score 4-1. Makayla Ritzie followed by lining a double to left scoring Fitzmaurice. Ritzie would later score on a fielder’s choice putting the Indians ahead 6-1. Two more Saucier walks resulted in two more runs on RBI singles from Roy and FaFord.

“It’s the beginning of the season and we’re not quite in shape yet,” Naps coach Aimee Lee said. “I think that was a main factor today and once they started getting hits we started getting that feeling of being defeated.”

That feeling didn’t resonate for to long. Holy Name (2-1) made a valiant comeback attempt in the bottom of the sixth. A pair of Grafton errors led to two runs making it an 8-3 contest. The Naps closed to within three run following RBI by Heather Drummond and Deanna DiPilato.

But Roy bore down from there allowing no further damage.

“I owe this entire game to my team,” added Roy, her team now 5-0. “We got some huge hits when we needed them and it really boosted our confidence and energy. These are the types of games that push us to be as good as we can be. Holy Name is a great team and we knew going in it would be a great game. These are the games that make us a better team.”

The Naps grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening frame when Ana Biney (3 hits) scored from second on a two-out single by Saucier. Holy Name had a couple of opportunities to add to its total in the early going but a couple of web gems from center fielder Kate Cardoza kept it a one run game.

Grafton eventually tied things in the fifth. Ritzie, the No. 9 hitter, led off with a single, stole second and took third on a pass ball. The junior came home moments later on a Saucier wild pitch.

“Everything seemed to come together for us in that sixth inning,” Grafton coach John Gemme said. “But even before that Kate [Cardoza] made some great plays in center field for us which, if she hadn’t, could’ve changed the complexion of this game [Ritzie] has been working really hard at getting her swing more compact and today it showed with her getting a couple of hits. For Tess [Fitzmaurice], getting that triple was huge. It was her first hit of the year and came at a good time. She has been working very hard on her hitting and it certainly paid off today.”

Preseason MIAA softball All-State Team

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
11:19
PM ET
MilfordBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comReigning ESPN Boston Miss Softball Award winner Shannon Smith hopes to lead Milford to back-to-back Division 1 state titles.
STARTING ROTATION
Megan Colleran, Jr., North Attleborough
Anna O'Neill, Sr., King Philip
Lauren Ramirez, Sr., Dracut
Kendal Roy, Jr., Grafton
Shannon Smith, Sr., Milford

STARTING NINE
Tori Constantin, Sr. 2B, King Philip
Stephanie Cornish, Sr. 3B, Abington
Alexis DeBrosse, Sr. SS, New Bedford
Caroline Fairbanks, Sr. 3B, Milford
Nicole Lundstrom, Sr. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Bella Picard, Sr. SS, Blackstone Valley Tech
Madi Shaw, Jr. SS, Bridgewater-Raynham
Dakota Smith-Porter, Sr., P/SS, Turners Falls
Reilly Weiners, Sr. C, Agawam

WATCH LIST
Olivia Antczak, Soph. P, Central Catholic
Allie Colleran, Jr. SS/OF, Concord-Carlisle
Megan Cook, Jr. P, Bellingham
Haley Currie, Sr. 3B, Burlington
Sara Dawson, Soph. P, Bridgewater-Raynham
Kaleigh Finigan, Sr. 3B, St. Mary's (Lynn)
Bridget Furlong, Sr. 2B, Malden
Courtney Girouard, Jr. P, Fairhaven
Galen Kerr, Sr. P, Concord-Carlisle
Taylor LeBrun, Soph. C, Milford
Rachel Levine, Sr. CF, Milford
Michaela Mazure, Soph. INF, Burlington
Shannon McLaughlin, Jr. P, Tewksbury
Paige Mulry, Jr. C, Boston Latin
MacKenzie Navarro, Jr. 1B, Taunton
Alicia Reid, Sr. CF, Abington
Kelsey Saucier, Jr. P, Holy Name
Rachael Smith, Jr. P, Winchester
Lauren Tuiskula, Sr. P, Leicester
Jurnee Ware, Sr. P, Hudson

Video: Recapping MIAA Basketball State Finals

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
11:51
PM ET
WORCESTER, Mass. -- ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall is joined by MassLive.com producer Jay King and videographer Greg Story to break down Saturday's MIAA boys and girls basketball State Championships. Champions were crowned in six divisions, three each for boys and girls.

(Video by Greg Story)

D1 Girls Final: Central Catholic 53, Holy Name 48

March, 17, 2013
3/17/13
1:32
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WORCESTER, Mass. --- Senior forward Casey McLaughlin was in eighth grade in 2009 when Central Catholic defeated Shepherd Hill 67-62 to win the Division 1 state championship. After three straight years of watching Merrimack Valley Conference rival Andover hoist the state championship trophy McLaughlin and her Central Catholic teammates seized their opportunity on Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Stonehill-bound McLaughlin scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead Central Catholic (22-5) to the MIAA Division 1 state championship as they defeated Holy Name (23-3), 53-48.

“I wanted it so bad,” McLaughlin said after the game. “We all wanted it. None of us had been this far in the playoffs ever. This was my senior season and I just wanted to go out with a bang.”

McLaughlin, who never stops working on both ends of the court, found her angles to the basket as she repeatedly beat the Holy Name defense to the right and finished at the basket.

“She is so quick,” Holy Name head coach Barry Finneron said of McLaughlin. “She catches it and gives you that little head fake to the middle and then she is down the lane.”

Central Catholic jumped out to an early 17-8 lead after one quarter of play as the tandem of junior point guard Courtney Walsh (13 points) and McLaughlin accounted for 13 of Central’s 17 opening quarter points.

Holy Name, led by junior point guard Aryauna Perez (12 points), fought back in the second quarter as they cut the deficit to six and gained momentum with under 10 seconds remaining in the first half.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock Central Catholic junior guard Alex Nagri would come up with one of the biggest plays of the game. The 5-foot-2 Nagri stole the ball and found junior forward Amanda Williams (10 points, 10 rebounds) for a successful And-1 conversion with 6.7 seconds remaining in the half. The play helped shift the momentum and give Central Catholic a 31-22 lead at the half.

“I know that I am obviously short,” Nagri said. “They had some shot blockers and some big people so after the steal I saw Amanda and I knew my job was to get it to her and she did a great job of catching and scoring it.”

Holy Name junior center Brianna Frias (six points, 11 rebounds) came out of the half time break and showed why she is one of the top talents in the state as she was aggressive on the glass and sparked the Holy Name effort on the defensive end of the floor. The staunch defensive effort by the Naps would help cut the Central Catholic lead to six points at 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

Holy Name sophomore guard Gabrielle Guenther (11 points) nailed two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter but Central would answer back as Walsh, McLaughlin and senior guard Darion Summers made big plays down the stretch to ensure the victory.

Summers scored her only two points of the game on two clutch free throws down the stretch to help seal the win.

“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Central Catholic head coach Susan Downer said. “I am just so proud of them. They dug, made plays when we needed to, stuck to our game plan, we switched some things up in the third quarter, it is just amazing.”

Arms distance: As hard as Holy Name fought throughout the game they could never cut the Central lead to under five points. Each time the Naps would hit a big shot to shift the momentum Central would stay poised and answer back with a basket of their own.

“I think our transition play is the best part of our game,” Nagri said. “I think that we just stuck with our plan, got key defensive stops and pushed the ball in transition and that is what ended up helping us keep the lead.”

The future: It may not be too far fetched to think that we could see this match-up again in next year’s final. The future is very bright for both Central Catholic and Holy Name as each team graduates only three players from their current rosters.

Central graduates one of the state’s best forwards in McLaughlin, along with Summers and guard Allison Tierney. They return four starters in Walsh, Williams, Nagri, and guard Caitlin Dell’Orfano, who are all veteran juniors.

Holy Name also returns four of their starters in Frias, Perez, sophomore forward Lauren Willard and junior guard Ama Biney (11 points, four steals).

Holy Name graduates starting forward Malissa Saad (eight points, eight rebounds) along with center Megan Thornton (two blocks) and guard Eva Katana.

“Malissa Saad is just awesome,” Finneron added. “She just carried us at times and as a senior she played great for us, especially in the third quarter.”

MIAA Basketball Championship Scoreboard

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
11:29
PM ET

ESPNBoston.com's State Semifinal Hoop Picks

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:58
AM ET
EASTERN MASS. FINALS

Boys

D1: Mansfield (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (21-5)
Brendan Hall: Whatever the fourth-quarter lead is, you might as well double it. Both squads are terrific finishing teams. Still, it’s hard for me to go against The Illuminati. Pick: Mansfield
Chris Bradley: The way Central Catholic is playing defensively, they can’t be beaten by anybody in the state. Tyler Nelson is on another level from pretty much any guard in the state in terms of playmaking, while his backcourt mate Lucas Hammel is great on-ball defender. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Brighton (19-6) vs. Scituate (21-3)
Hall: Last month I said that whoever came out of the D2 North tournament would be battle-tested enough to run the table. Brighton came back stronger than ever after last season’s disappointment, and they are playing as well as any right now. Malik James has been playing his way into Super Team consideration at this current clip. Pick: Brighton
Bradley: Brighton’s toughest tests of the Division 2 tournament have passed—the Bengals beat Melrose and North Andover, two of the best teams in the state. A great season by Scituate, but I can’t see any of the teams left in the Division 2 field hanging with Brighton. Pick: Brighton

D3: Danvers (22-2) vs. Martha’s Vineyard (18-5)
Hall: Save a bad weekend at the Comcast Tournament, Falcons have survived every test given to them this season. With the Vineyard, there is always the element of the great unknown. We know the Vineyarders can run, but so can the Falcons. Pick: Danvers
Bradley: What a run by the Vineyard, beating Wareham in the D3 South final. That being said, Danvers has proven that they are hands-down the best team in the state. Expect a few treys each from Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, and Vinny Clifford. Pick: Danvers

Lynnfield (16-7) vs. Bishop Connolly (18-6)
Hall: Pulling for Scott Barboza’s alma mater to get some hardware here. Pick: Connolly
Bradley: Connolly has a slew of quick, athletic guards who can score and put a lot of pressure on opposing teams defensively. I foresee Lynnfield struggling with that pressure. Pick: Bishop Connolly

Girls

D1: Braintree (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (20-5)
Hall: Defense wins championships, and the Wamps have one of the best defensive players around in Bay State Conference MVP Bridget Herlihy. Four of the Wamps’ five starters are sophomores or younger, including Herlihy, yet this is one of the tallest lineups in the state. Gonna be fun to watch this crew the next few years. Pick: Braintree.
Bradley: Make it another sweep for Central Catholic boys and girls in the state semifinals. I’m calling upset here, expect a huge game from Casey McLaughlin. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Reading (23-0) vs. Medfield (24-2)
Hall: Would be cool to see one of the state’s finest athletes Jen Narlee bring home a state title in two sports this calendar year, but you don’t get to 48 straight wins without some role players stepping up. Rockets’ workhorse Olivia Healy will get hers, but the hero will once again be someone else. Pick: Reading
Bradley: Well, I don’t have the guts to pick against an Olivia Healy-led team. Anybody who does--feel free to raise your hand. Pick: Reading

D3: Archbishop Williams (21-5) vs. Pentucket (24-1)
Hall: Does this qualify as an upset if I go with Pentucket? Sachems have been quietly waiting in the grass all season long. Monday night, they will strike with a first-round haymaker. Pick: Pentucket
Bradley: A great run by Archbishop Williams here in the final stretch of the season. I know this has been a highly-anticipated matchup all year, but I’m going to pick what some may call the “upset” and go with Pentucket, but expect an absolute thriller Pick: Pentucket

D4: Fenway (14-7) vs. Greater New Bedford (20-4)
Hall: Tajanay Veiga-Lee was the hero last year against this same GNB squad, but I like the Bears getting their revenge Monday night. Pick: Greater New Bedford
Bradley: Fenway's girls are battle-tested and on quite a roll right now, as they've won seven games in a row. Pick: Fenway

***

CENTRAL/WEST FINALS

Boys

D1: Springfield Putnam (22-1) vs. Milford (20-3)
Hall: I love the way Putnam plays so inspired, and their whipping of Springfield Central in Saturday's D1 West Final might be the Beavers' high water mark of the season. Look for big games out of KayJuan Bynum and David Murrell. Pick: Putnam
Bradley: Putnam has more talent and more speed than Milford, but during their tournament run the Hawks have displayed the type of toughness and poise that it takes to go to the state finals. Milford doesn’t have a go-to guy, but they have a team full of kids who aren’t afraid to take the big shot-which is why they’ll beat Putnam and give Central a run for their money in the state finals. Pick: Milford

D2: St. Bernard's (19-4) vs. South Hadley (16-7)
Hall: Bernardians made it this far last year, only to meet a disappointing end. They're back again, and more determined. Pick: St. Bernard's
Bradley: The Bernardians will have a significant size advantage, as well as one of the better scorers in Division 2 in John Crawley. Count on St. Bernard’s to punch their ticket into the D2 state finals. Pick: St. Bernard's

D3: Smith Academy (21-3) vs. Littleton (24-1)
Hall:
Here's a team we missed the boat on. Smith took the D3 field by storm, and from what I understand they're a loaded bunch. I like their chances in this one. Pick: Smith Academy
Bradley: Littleton hasn't lost a game since December, thanks mainly to a high-scoring attack and exceptional play from senior guard Chris Murray. They certainly weren't the favorite in a tough D3 Central field, but they made it out alive. Pick: Littleton

Girls

D1: Holy Name (22-2) vs. Chicopee (16-7)
Hall: Junior center and Providence commit Brianna Frias is a monster on the boards, and my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Long-time Naps coach Barry Finneron has his best shot at a state title in a while. Pick: Holy Name
Bradley: Holy Name is on quite the run and couldn’t be any higher emotionally after absolutely blowing out Wachusett in the D1 Central final. Sophomore Gigi Gunther is a future star. Pick: Holy Name

D2: Nashoba (21-2) vs. Hoosac Valley (19-5)
Hall: Going with strength of schedule in this one, and the Chieftains delivered powerhouse Tyngsborough its first-ever loss within Central Mass. to get to this stage. Pick: Nashoba
Bradley: All five of Nashoba’s starters could be considered go-to scorers, they’ve had such an even scoring attack all year. Their balance offensively is going to give Hoosac plenty of problems. Pick: Nashoba

D3: Lee (18-5) vs. University Park (23-1)
Hall: Death, taxes, and the Lee Wildcats on the DCU Center floor competing for a state title. Pick: Lee
Bradley: Lee is clicking at the right time, beating favored power Sabis in the Western Mass. Division 3 finals. Not only that, Stephanie Young has shown several times this year that she can break 20 or 25 on any given night. Pick: Lee

Updated girls hoop Top 25 poll

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
4:27
PM ET
We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 girls basketball poll this afternoon. To see the complete poll, CLICK HERE.

A few notes and observations about this week's poll:

Pentucket jumps into Top 5: Following its 59-39 win over Billerica last Wednesday, Pentucket jumps up three spots to No. 5 in this week's poll. That gives us three Division 3 schools in the Top 5 of the poll: Archbishop Williams (3), St. Mary's of Lynn (4) and the aforementioned Sachems. The Sachems have a slew of quality shooters in their arsenal, but as usual it's John McNamara's press defenses that are the calling card of this year's squad, led by 6-foot senior Tess Nogueira.

Wachusett makes a splash: Debuting the poll this week is Wachusett, at No. 16, following a whirlwind week of three wins in four days. The Mountaineers took down No. 14 Holy Name in overtime on Jan. 2, then followed up with wins over Leominster and No. 20 Westford Academy on Friday and Saturday, respectively. That gives us three Central Mass. teams in the poll this week; joining Holy name and Wachusett is Algonquin at No. 23.

Here's how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:

Merrimack Valley - 4
Catholic Central - 3
Bay State - 2
Cape Ann - 2
Dual County - 2
Mid-Wach A - 2
Bi-County - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Eastern Athletic - 1
Hockomock - 1
Independent - 1
Middlesex - 1
Northeastern - 1
Old Colony - 1
Suburban - 1
Tri-Valley - 1

MHSFCA releases All-State Team

December, 29, 2012
12/29/12
5:17
PM ET
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) released its "Super 26" All-State Team yesterday. Selections are below as follows:

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Zach Bartak, Greenfield, 6'1" 200
Mackay Lowrie, Roxbury Latin, 6'5" 210
Nick Peabody, Barnstable, 6’4" 225

Running Back
Vincent Burton, Blue Hills, 6’2” 200
Dylan Oxsen, Plymouth South, 5’9” 185
Quron Wright, Holy Name, 5’6” 165

Wide Receiver
Will Heikkinen, Andover, 6’1” 196
Brian O’Malley, St. Sebastian’s, 6’3” 195

Offensive Line
Aaron Dyke, Auburn, 6’4” 305
John Foster, Scituate, 6’5” 260
Rob Kosharek, Duxbury, 6’6” 265
Jack McDonald, B.C. High, 6’5" 275
John Montelus, Everett, 6’5" 325

DEFENSE

Defensive Line
Matt Comerford, Reading, 6’5” 275
Terrel Correia, Nantucket, 6’7” 275
Joe Previte, Brockton, 6’2” 260
Maurice Hurst, Xaverian, 6’2” 290

Linebacker
Cam Hanley, Walpole, 5’11” 210
Sha’ki Holines, Springfield Commerce, 6’4” 240
Zack Hume , Nashoba, 6’2” 235
Bryan Vieira, Thayer Academy, 6’3” 190

Defensive Back
Brendan Flaherty, Beverly, 6’1” 185
Kiivone Howard, Foxborough, 6’1” 185
Dylan Mann, Masconomet, 5’10” 180
Alex Moore, St. John’s Prep, 6’1” 195
Justin Mount, Westford Academy, 6’2” 205

BasketBull Hoops Fest tips off Thursday

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
1:21
PM ET
The 2012 BasketBull Hoops Fest tips off Thursday at noon with two days of prep school basketball, followed by an additional two days of Catholic school matchups.

All games will be played at Holyoke Community College. For more information on the tournament, CLICK HERE.

BasketBull Director Colin Tabb passes along the full schedule, as well as players to watch over the four-day event:

Thursday, Dec. 20
Noon - Cheshire Academy (Conn.) vs. Worcester Academy
1:45 p.m. - Williston-Northampton vs. Masters School (Conn.)
3:30 p.m. - Jean de Brebeuf (Canada) vs. Wilbraham & Monson
5:15 p.m. - Suffield Academy (Conn.) vs. Northfield-Mt. Hermon
7 p.m. - ALMA Academy (Canada) vs. Cheshire ACademy (Conn.)

Friday, Dec. 21
Noon - St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Wilbraham & Monson
1:45 p.m. - Jean de Brebeuf (Canada) vs. Williston-Northampton
3:30 p.m. - Masters School (Conn.) vs. Cheshire Academy (Conn.)
5:15 p.m. - Northfield-Mt. Hermon vs. ALMA Academy (Canada)
7 p.m. - East Longmeadow vs. West Springfield

Saturday, Dec. 22
2 p.m. - Holy Cross (N.Y.) vs. St. Joseph Central
3:45 p.m. - Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) vs. St. Theresa's (Canada)
5:30 p.m. - Holy Name vs. Springfield Cathedral
7:15 p.m. - Bishop Kearney (N.Y.) vs. St. Peter's Prep (N.J.)

Sunday, Dec. 23
Noon - Jean de Brebeuf (Canada) vs. Holy Cross (N.Y.)
1:45 p.m. - St. Theresa's (Canada) vs. Springfield Cathedral
3:30 p.m. - St. Raphael (R.I.) vs. Catholic Memorial

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rene Castro – Worcester Academy - 2013 – Butler
Peter Miller – Northfield Mt Hermon - 2013 – Princeton
Anthony Dallier – Northfield Mt. Hermon - 2013 – Yale
Zena Edosomwan – Northfield Mt. Hermon – 2013 - Harvard
Denzel Gregg – St. Thomas More – 2013 – Fordham
Dylan Haines – St. Thomas More – 2013 – undecided
Marquis Moore – St. Thomas Moore – 2013 – undecided
Chinonso Obokoh – Bishop Kearney – 2013 - Syracuse
Trevis Wyche – Saint Peter’s Prep – 2013 – St. Peter’s
Charles Correa – St. Raphael’s – 2013 – undecided
Tarik Smith – Cheshire Academy – 2013 – undecided
Eric Suder – Cheshire Academy – 2013 – undecided
Tank Roberson – St. Joseph Central – 2013 – undecided
Kamali Bey – Wilbraham and Monson – 2013 – undecided
Thomas Rivard – Worcester Academy – James Madison
Skylar White – Northfield Mt Hermon – 2013 – undecided
Donte Gittens – Masters School – 2013 – undecided
Austin Carter – Masters School – 2013 – undecided
Kendall Jackson – Suffield Academy – 2013 – undecided
Max Risch – Williston – 2013 – undecided
Goodluck Okonoboh – Wilbraham and Monson – 2014 – Undecided
Kerem Kanter – Wilbraham and Monson – 2014 – undecided
Matt Cimino – Worcester Academy – 2014 - undecided
Cane Broome – St. Thomas More – 2014 – undecided
Sem Kroon – Northfield Mt. Hermon – 2014 – undecided
Gerard Adams – Catholic Memorial – 2014 – undecided
Godspower Ogide – Bishop Kearney – 2014 – undecided
Thomas Bryant – Bishop Kearney – 2015 – undecided
Josh Sharma – Northfield Mt. Hermon – 2015 – undecided
DJ Baptiste – Wilbraham and Monson – 2015 – undecided
Luis Montero – Wilbraham and Monson – 2015 - undecided
David Watkins – Catholic Memorial – 2015 – undecided
Darrick Boyd – Springfield Cathedral – 2015
Mustapha Heron – Wilbraham and Monson – 2016
Tyonne Malone – Williston - 2016

ESPN Boston 2012 MIAA All-State Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five things to watch in Tuesday's football playoffs

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
3:08
AM ET
We're hours away from kickoff to Tuesday's MIAA football semi-final playoff games across the state, so we're previewing the action with five things to keep an eye on during tonight's action.

High Schools editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall break it down here:

BRENDAN HALL:

THE HEAT IS ON
The race is on Tuesday night for the state’s lead in rushing touchdowns. Currently, Holy Name’s Quron Wright trails Plymouth South’s Dylan Oxsen, 34-33, though Wright has more overall touchdowns than the breakout junior tailback. Barring something crazy, nobody figures to catch Wright for the state’s lead in rushing yardage – he’s over 2,000 headed into the Naps’ Division 2 Central playoff game with Nashoba.

Watching the two, it’s a bit of a contrast in styles, and not just because of the offenses they run (Holy Name with the vaunted double-wing; South with a modified pistol). The generously-listed 5-foot-7 Wright is as Lilliputian as they come, but he accelerates into his cuts, builds up to top speed quickly, and evades direct hits with his low center of gravity (watch highlights HERE). Oxsen isn’t as fleet-footed as Wright, but his combination of above-average leg strength and low pad level – coupled with a very downhill-oriented running scheme – make him a bowling ball (watch highlights HERE).

Both teams figure to be underdogs in their matchups. Nashoba rolled to an easy victory over the Naps in their late-September meeting, while South’s EMass Div. 2A opponent, Natick, averages over 420 yards of offense and features one of the state’s most dynamic passing attacks.

AIR RAID
All season long, we’ve jokingly called the Merrimack Valley Conference “Death by 1,000 Shallow Crosses”. Based on some of the scores the league produced this year, we think it’s somewhat justified.

Looking at MVC Large champ Andover, you probably figure these guys could run underneath routes in their sleep. But that is to take away from the deceivingly-quality arm strength of quarterback C.J. Scarpa (watch highlights HERE). Seemingly everybody’s favorite sub-6-foot gunslinger at 5-foot-8, he has a quick release and can gun it downfield with the best of them.

As much attention as Andover’s receivers draw in the short passing game – particularly, speedy waterbug Cam Farnham – the Golden Warriors are known to ably execute “pick plays” aimed at releasing Will Heikkinen or Andrew Deloury into open space, or simply take the top off of the defense.

But that is all to say, the Warriors haven’t seen a defense quite like the one they’re facing Tuesday night in Catholic Conference champion St. John’s Prep. The Eagles have playmakers all over the field, and feature one of the state’s best back sevens in linebacker Sean Smerczysnki, cornerback Gerald Kahari, rover Lucas Bavaro and safety Alex Moore.

On the other side of the ball, Moore and junior Jonathan Thomas make up one of the state’s most feared backfield, if not the best. Last week, both Moore and Thomas were named two of the five finalists for our Mr. Football Award.

The Warriors are in for their biggest prize fight of the season here against a Prep defense. We’re all interested to see how this passing attack fares against a ball-hawking defense with a plus-10 turnover differential.

THROWING DARTS
No Division has been quite as unpredictable as Central Mass. Division 1. Shrewsbury upended cross-town rival St. John’s 51-46, then a month later delivered a last-second 33-32 upset of Leominster, en route to finishing 9-2 and with the top overall seed in the power rankings.

Wachusett, meanwhile, took a 46-14 beating in Week 4 at the hands of St. John’s, only to upset Leominster and Shrewsbury in the following weeks. On Oct. 26, however, they took a surprise 21-20 loss to a Westborough squad that finished 1-10.

We know St. John’s can score points with anyone – Andrew Smiley’s record-setting campaign in his first year starting at quarterback is testament. But how do you explain surrendering 51 points to Shrewsbury, 40 to Holy Name and 39 to Milford?

Leominster appears to be just as enigmatic. This is a team that gave Everett and Brockton everything they could handle, and delivered a thrilling last-second victory over St. John’s. But this is also a team that needed a second-half rally to overcome 2-9 Algonquin, and seemingly let many underdog teams hang around.

Quite frankly, I won’t be surprised by anything that transpires in this division.

* * * * *

SCOTT BARBOZA:

MANIFEST DESTINY?
The are a couple of interesting storylines to watch in the Division 1A semifinals where Everett meets Masconomet and Barnstable tries to pay back Lincoln-Sudbury.

First, while the Crimson Tide will be heavily favored over the Chieftains, one element worth watching will be Everett’s start. The Crimson Tide will be well-rested after not playing a Thanksgiving Day game this year. While the time off certainly will help heal injuries, Everett now hasn’t seen live action in more than two weeks. And, after closing out their regular season schedule with three straight Greater Boston League games, you can argue the Crimson Tide haven’t played a full game since their Oct. 20 win at BC High.

Of course, if the Crimson Tide advance, they could face the lone team to hand them a loss in more than two years – Barnstable. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders will be looking to exorcise a demon of their own in Lincoln-Sudbury, who dealt Barnstable a 14-13 upset loss in last year’s semifinal.

While you would expect neither the Crimson Tide nor Red Raiders to come out flat on Tuesday, but if either is eying a potential rematch on Saturday, the game we’ve been dying to see might not happen at all.

DUXBURY PUTS IT ON THE LINE AGAIN
After Mt. Greylock lost a few weeks back, Duxbury has laid claim to the longest active winning streak in MIAA football. They’ll put a 37-game unbeaten streak on the line when they face Hockomock League Kelley-Rex winner Mansfield at Bridgewater-Raynham. The Dragons would have a 39-game streak and a string of three-straight Super Bowl championships if they complete this year’s run. But while we’re exploring what could be, let’s go back to what almost was.

In last year’s Division 2 semifinal against King Philip, the Dragons potent spread attack was ground to a halt by the Warriors’ swarming defense. Duxbury escaped with a 7-0 win over KP in their run to a second-straight Super Bowl, but in the days following their win over the Warriors, Duxbury head coach Dave Maimaron remarked that it had been the toughest battle his teams had faced during the entirety of the streak.

While Mansfield might not have the pedigree of last year’s KP group the Hornets present their own problems – primarily on offense. The Dragons will not have seen a playmaking duo quite like Mansfield wide outs Brendan Hill and Mike Hershman, and running back Robbie Rapoza is hard to tackle when breaking into the second tier of the defense. The Hornets will certainly have their work cut out for them if they are to upset the Dragons’ third straight Super Bowl bid, but it’s not impossible.

Roundtable: Preseason MIAA hoop primer

November, 25, 2012
11/25/12
1:34
PM ET
With the first MIAA-sanctioned practices of the 2012-13 season set to commence tomorrow, today we're looking at the top storylines and top players from across the state.

Check back with us later in the preseason for our first Top 25 poll and our Preseason All-State Teams. But for now, here are the storylines to watch, and our projected Super Teams.

***

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools editor


Reading Machine Rages On
Had it not been for Andover and superstar Nicole Boudreau, the Division 2 state champ Reading Rockets would have been garnering far more attention last season. The Rockets were one of the state's most dominant forces from wire to wire, going 25-0 en route to the program's first state title. They were one of the state's most explosive offenses (64.3 points per game), and blew out nearly everyone -- their average margin of victory was 27.1, with their only threats coming in the North final (49-46 over Arlington Catholic) and Eastern Mass. Final (71-64 over Scituate, in overtime).

The conversation in Reading starts with Richmond-bound guard/forward Olivia Healy, a two-time ESPN Boston All-State and one of the early favorites for our Miss Basketball award. The 5-foot-10 senior can play any position on the floor, excels on the boards, and is as physical as they come. But every superstar needs a supporting cast, and you can't do much better than Assumption-bound guard Morgan O'Brien in that regard.

With Andover expected to level off following the graduation of one of the MIAA's best ever (Boudreau), we're most likely looking at Reading starting the year at No. 1 in our statewide girls' poll, which will be released later this preseason.

Fierce, Fierce City A
Over the offseason, the Boston City League voted overwhelmingly to split into three tiers for boys basketball, based on competitive balance. And with it, the city's "A" division instantly becomes the state's toughest league. City A is comprised of Brighton, New Mission, Madison Park, Charlestown and East Boston -- all teams expected to start the season in our statewide Top 25 poll -- and with the new scheduling setup, we're looking at appointment viewing in the city nearly every night.

Charlestown-Eastie, Mission-Brighton and Eastie-Madison are the city's three fiercest basketball rivalries. Now, on top of those series, we're getting two installments of Mission-Madison, Brighton-Eastie, Charlestown-Mission, Madison-Brighton, and so forth. Brighton and MP figure to be the favorites here, but this is going to be an absolute grinder of a league. Of the highest degree.

Swat Team
Anyone that watched the University of Kentucky last season can tell you how valuable Anthony Davis was despite an unpolished offensive game. Heck, he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four despite going just 1-for-10 from the field in the championship game.

Last year our Defensive Player of the Year award went to a guard, Stoughton's Marcus Middleton, but I'm looking at a number of frontcourt shot-blockers to contend for the award. Any conversation about swatters in the MIAA has to begin with New Mission's Isshiah Coleman, but keep an eye on Cambridge's Fredens Deneus, a 6-foot-6 junior who is expected to have a breakout season. Rockland's Tyler Gibson, a UMass-Lowell commit, will alter many a shot in the South Shore League. Also keep an eye on Holy Name's Dan Kegbeh, only 6-foot-1 but blessed with some impressive ups.

On the girls' side, Holy Name's Brianna Frias is my early favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot junior committed to Providence over the summer, and averaged six blocks per game last season as the Naps went 20-0 in the regular season and captured the No. 1 seed in Division 1 Central.

Sizzlin' Sophs
Across the state, there are a number of Class of 2015 players to get excited about. Springfield Central's Chris Baldwin has yet to play in an MIAA game, having played his freshman season down the street at Hillside School, but he is already garnering significant hype. Wakefield's Bruce Brown showed freak athletic ability at times during his freshman campaign for the Warriors, and figures to be regarded as one of the state's elite by season's end. Same for Mansfield's Brendan Hill and St. John's of Shrewsbury's Davon Jones.

Central Catholic junior Tyler Nelson is on the short list as everyone's favorite shooter, and deservedly so, but Newton North sophomore guard Tommy Mobley is as automatic as they come. He plays a different role for the Tigers than his older brother, 6-foot-8 Yale forward Greg Kelley, did several years ago. But when you talk about the elite shooters in the state, Mobley has the potential to be in that conversation.

Also keep an eye on Falmouth guard Craig Green, a three-sport star who's already on the radar for track and field. He turned many heads last June, when he placed third in New Englands in the 100-meter dash. He has run as fast as a 10.6 in the event so far in his young career.

On the girls' side, we all know the capabilities of Braintree's Molly Reagan. The 6-foot-1 center was a key cog in the Wamps' run to the Division 1 South title last March, and she already holds Division 1 offers. On the flip side, Archbishop Williams' Jaylen Williams committed to Penn State this past summer despite playing limited minutes for the Bishops.

But the potential speaks for itself. For one, Williams is 6-foot-3 and long. For another, there is plenty of pedigree. She is the daughter of former New England Patriots defensive lineman Brent Williams, and the younger sister of two high Division 1 college football players -- North Carolina offensive tackle Brennan Williams, and Ohio State linebacker Camren Williams.

Open Waters in the North
I'm not sure which will be the more interesting race in the North -- Division 1 girls, or Division 2 boys.

In Division 1 girls, we're looking at a number of contenders in the North. Nobody's counting out Andover in spite of the talent graduated, but it should be an interesting race in the Merrimack Valley Conference with Central Catholic and Billerica figuring to start the year high in many polls. Lincoln-Sudbury will be another contender, led by Lafayette-bound forward Ashley Lutz, as will be Lynn English and reigning Northeastern Conference MVP Catherine Stinson. The ultimate wild card might be Cambridge, led by Georgia Tech-bound guard Donnaizha Fountain. And don't count out Somerville, either, with Indira Evans in the fold.

Division 2 North will be an interesting bracket. New Mission returns a strong core, but so does Brighton, behind returning All-State guard Malik James, forwards Nick Simpson and Prince Unaegbu, and one of the state's best shooters, Daivon Edwards. Ditto Wakefield, with Bruce Brown expected to have a breakout year alongside seniors Kendall Hamilton and Mikol Blake-Green.

SUPER TEAMS

Boys
G - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
G - Malik James, Jr., Brighton
F - Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central
F - Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland

Girls
G - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
G - Sarah Hope, Sr., Medway
G/F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
F - Ashley Lutz, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
C - Molly Reagan, Soph., Braintree

***

Ryan Kilian
Editor-in-Chief, New England Prep Stars


Central Reign
Can Central Catholic represent Eastern Massachusetts in the state finals this season in Division 1? Central returns a battle tested and veteran group that represented EMass Division 1 as the top seed in last season’s MIAA tournament. Central boasts key returnees Tyler Nelson, Joel Berroa, Doug Gemmell and Nick Cambio.

Veteran Sophomore Talent
Mansfield’s Brendan Hill and Wakefield’s Bruce Brown are two of the top returning players in Massachusetts. They are also only sophomores. Both sophomores started and lead their respective teams deep into tournament play as freshman and we can expect even bigger seasons from both this year.

Best Frontcourt?
Massachusetts has a very strong group of point guards this season but the depth in the frontcourt is down in part of the continued flood of players to prep schools. New Mission (Nate Anderson and Isshiah Coleman) and Central Catholic (Gemmell and Cambio) are at the top of the frontcourt ranks but look out for North Andover and Charlestown to also have improved front lines with the development of returning veterans as well as additions of new talent to the mix.

Replacing Boudreau
It will be impossible to replace two-time Miss Basketball Nicole Boudreau (Boston College), but Andover does return senior Devon Caveany, and the glue of the squad in top defenders Jackie and Rebecca Alois. Expect some more classic Central Catholic and Andover battles for years to come in the MVC.

Special time for City of Braintree
The city of Braintree boasts some the best young female talent in the state, with Braintree High School and Archbishop Williams sharing city quarters.

Braintree returns Coach of the Year Kristen McDonnell and a lineup featuring returning senior Rachel Norton, and sophomores Ashley Russell, Bridget Herlihy, and Molly Reagan. Archbishop Williams returns Southern New Hampshire commits Olivia Conrad and Sara Ryan along with Alana Gilmer and Penn State commit Jaylen Williams.

SUPER TEAMS

Boys
G - Bruce Brown, Soph., Wakefield
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
G - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
F - Brendan Hill, Soph., Mansfield
F - Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central

Girls
G - Kayla Burton, Sr., Newton South
G - Donaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge Rindge
G - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
G - Tajanay Veiga-Lee, Sr., Fenway
F - Saliah Serrette, Sr., Weston

***

Chris Bradley
ESPN Boston correspondent


Springfield Central Is Back
Saying that Kamari Robinson and sophomore transfer Chris Baldwin are the best frontcourt in the state is no stretch. Robinson helped lead Central to last year’s division 1 state title, averaging a double double while the Golden Eagles went undefeated against MIAA opponents. The 6-foot-7 Baldwin is already drawing in interest from high major division 1 college programs. A strong, athletic forward who is known for his rebounding and sky-rising dunks, he’ll make quite a duo with Robinson, a member of last year’s ESPN Boston All-State Team.

Senior Cornelius Tyson could be primed for a big year as well. The 6-foot-1 guard made quite a showing in last year’s state championship game against Brockton, knocking down four 3-pointers in the second half to lead Central to the Division 1 title.

Can anyone knock off St. John's of Shrewsbury?
The Inter-High has two legitimate Top 25 teams in Worcester South and Doherty. Will this finally be the year that St. John’s doesn’t run away with the Division 1 tournament in Central Mass.? The Pioneers have won five consecutive Central Mass. Division 1 championships, and return yet another talented core from last year’s team. Sophomore point guard Davon Jones has already asserted himself as one of the best guards in the western half of the state, juniors Charlie Murray and TJ Kelley will be a tough duo on the post, and 6-foot-5 senior Ken Harrington is one of the best shooters in central Mass.

Brighton looking for revenge
Last year’s loss to Mahar in the Division 2 state title game was demoralizing to say the least for the Bengals, but another year of maturity should help Brighton come tournament time this year. Junior playmaking guard Malik James will be one of the very best in the MIAA, and he’ll have plenty of weapons around him with forward Nick Simpson and guards Theo Oribhabor and Daivon Edwards. The Boston City League will be a rock fight this year, but battle-tested Brighton will reap the benefits of a tough schedule come tournament time.

New Mission young, but talented
Sophomore guards Greg Bridges, Randy Glenn, and Juwan Gooding will make for quite a show this year when put together with 6-foot-5 forward Isshiah Coleman and 6-foot-7 forward Nate Anderson. The Titans will be young, with less experience at the guard position than many of their opponents, but when all is said and done this could end up being the most talented team in the state this year.

Who will emerge in D3?
Picking favorites in Division 3 is like splitting hairs. Wareham has Darien Fernandez, a waterbug considered one of the best point guards in the state. Danvers returns four starters from last year’s state title team. Quaboag has one of the best inside-out duos in D3 with Thomas Jankins and sophomore Jake Wisniewski. Hopedale has a deep, versatile lineup. Whitinsville Christian has won three straight central Mass. championships. Out in Pittsfield, St. Joseph Central returns the majority of their core from last year’s state finals team—including scoring guard Taverick "Tank" Roberson. Any of these teams could emerge and make a deep run into the tournament in February and March.

SUPER TEAMS

Boys
G - Malik James, Jr., Brighton
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
F - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
F - Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central
F - Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland

Girls
G - Kayla Burton, Sr., Newton South
G - Sarah Hope, Sr., Medway
G - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
F - Casey McLaughlin, Sr., Central Catholic
F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading

ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award Finalists

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
3:05
PM ET
ESPNBoston.com and its high school sports staff today have named five finalists for the third annual ESPNBoston.com Mr. Football Award. The winner will be announced on Dec. 3, and presented on the field at Gillette Stadium prior to the Patriots’ Dec. 16 contest against the Houston Texans.

Last year, Everett’s Jonathan DiBiaso won the award, following in the footsteps of his former wide receiver Matt Costello, who took the inaugural honors in 2010.

Below are the five finalists:

John Montelus
Senior Offensive Tackle
Everett High School
John Montelus
John Montelus
Montelus is the first offensive lineman in the three-year history of our award to be named a finalist, and deservedly so. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder is a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, over which they have gone 34-1 with two MIAA Super Bowl championships headed into Thanksgiving. During his varsity career, Montelus has never allowed a sack, helping pave the way for a record-setting quarterback last fall, and a dominant running game this year. Montelus is verbally committed to Notre Dame, and is regarded as the top college prospect in the Class of 2013 for New England.

Alex Moore
Senior Running Back/Safety
St. John's Preparatory School
Alex Moore
Alex Moore
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Moore has been arguably the state's most dominant true two-way player this season. Offensively, Moore has carried the ball 82 times for 812 yards and 14 touchdowns; through the air, he has caught 14 balls for 272 yards and three more scores, adding to a dominant offense (30.3 points per game). Defensively, the Eagles are allowing just nine points a game with Moore leading the charges at safety. The Eagles are allowing 105 rushing yards per game and have fored 20 turnovers, with a differential of plus-nine. Moore is undecided on college plans.

Nick Peabody
Senior Quarterback
Barnstable High School
Nick Peabody
Nick Peabody
One of the state's premier passers, the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder led the 9-0 Red Raiders to an upset of Everett in Week 5 and has been cruising ever since. On the season, he has over 2,200 yards passing with 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions; on the ground, he has shown some flair with over 400 yards rushing and five more scores. In turn, the Red Raiders are one of the state's highest-scoring offenses (37.4 points per game), and clinched the Old Colony League outright and a playoff berth for the second straight season. Peabody is currently undecided on college plans.

Jonathan Thomas
Junior Running Back
St. John's Preparatory School
Jonathan Thomas
Jonathan Thomas
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior exploded this fall as one of the most dominant running backs in the state, leading the Eagles to a 9-1 record and No. 3 ranking in ESPNBoston.com's poll headed into Thanksgiving. The Eagles have run for over 2,000 yards through nine games, with Thomas at the forefront. He has 153 carries for 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns, and also has two receiving touchdowns. Thomas is garnering interest from a number of Division 1 programs, with UMass offering and Penn State, Virginia and Boston College also showing interest.

Quron Wright
Senior Running Back
Holy Name Central Catholic High School
Quron Wright
Quron Wright
Pound for pound, nobody can match the 5-foot-7, 165-pounder's stats for 2012. Through 10 games, he has 189 carries for 2,075 yards and 32 touchdowns, along with 103 receiving yards and an amazing 786 yards on returns, for a total of 38 scores -- more than any running back in Massachusetts. Earlier this season, Wright shattered the school's all-time rushing record with a school single-game record 406 rushing yards. Headed into the Naps' Thanksgiving clash with Wachusett, Wright has 5,712 rushing yards, 523 receiving yards and 2,639 return yards. His next touchdown would make him just the fourth player in state history with 600 career points. Wright is undecided on college plans.

Notes and thoughts from around MIAA football

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
1:59
AM ET
Some thoughts and observations from this past weekend’s slate of football around the state:

1. Chris Sarni and the Wellesley Raiders are the darlings of the Bay State this week following their 40-34 win over Natick in one of the biggest upsets of the year, and rightfully so. Sarni is your classic undersized, overachieving high school quarterback, noted for his quick acceleration and vision, but also unafraid to tuck it and run downhill. But let’s give credit to the offensive line, too, which kept his jersey clean all afternoon.

During the preseason, I did a video with correspondent Greg Story for The Wellesley Channel, discussing the Raiders’ chances this season, and pointed out that while it would be an uphill battle for the Raiders under first-year head coach Jesse Davis, history says the best rebuilding jobs start between the hashes. Having been a varsity wrestling coach at Wellesley the last four years, Davis can tell you a thing or two about that.

“The crossover is undeniable,” Davis said. “I’ve been preaching it since taking over the wrestling program. In terms of balance and strengths, close combat, playing with your hands, power angles, tackling, toughness, it’s literally the best thing you can do as an offensive lineman.”

Whereas in his first year he found himself dragging kids out, in year four it’s become as much a staple of the offseason regimen as a bench press. This year’s Raiders line averages roughly 210 across, but features four wrestlers –- left guard Ben Wardwell, center Dan Farina, and wrestling captains Will Dario (right guard) and Zach Zeytonjian (left tackle) –- who make up for lack of size with athleticism and first-step explosion.

“We want athletes on the offensive line,” Davis said. “I don’t want big, tubby, 300-pound kids. We want kids that can run.”

Needless to say, toppling one of the state’s most prolific offenses validates everything Davis has been preaching in year one. The Raiders may be out of contention for 2012 championship hardware, but definitely keep a watch out for them come next fall.

2. I suddenly find myself intrigued with Amherst running back Kieran Presley, who broke the school’s single-game record for yards from scrimmage in a 42-22 win over Chicopee. Presley ran for 359 yards on 21 carries and caught three passes for 60 yards, totaling four touchdowns; in the process he passed one of the Hurricanes’ all-time greats, Marcus Williams, who totaled 402 in a 2001 win over Minnechaug. Williams went on to be the all-time leading rusher at the University of Maine, and had a cup of coffee with the Indianapolis Colts.

“He’s probably one of the best athletes in Western Mass., he’s been underrated,” said first-year head coach David Thompson, himself a former offensive lineman at UMass. “He’s a Hell of a lacrosse player, he can play basketball, he long jumps and ran a leg in the 4x200, that’s the type of athlete he is.

“You can probably put him in any sport and he’ll excel, and he’s not gonna be a non-contributor—he’ll contribute. He can easily go to college in two sports, that’s the type of athlete he is. He has all the tools to play at the next level.”

So why haven’t we heard much about him until this fall? Presley didn’t get many carries last year, running in a three-back system. This year, Thompson has installed a pro-style offense more suited to his strengths, utilizing modified “Ace” personnel groupings (in Thompson’s case, one back with one tight end and three wideouts) with zone-blocking schemes up front. Presley is a patient runner, but a quick accelerator equipped with a few lacrosse-style moves and a gliding stride.

Rutgers is Presley’s dream school, but he has seen varied degrees of interest across Divisions 1 and 2, among them UConn, Albany, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and James Madison. The Hurricanes are currently 5-3, and will go for their third straight win this weekend. They could be one of the more interesting playoff teams to watch, if everything plays out accordingly.

3. Now that Barnstable has claimed the Old Colony League outright for the second straight year, many folks are clamoring for what would be the marquee Super Bowl championship game at Gillette Stadium, a rematch between the No. 1 (and undefeated) Red Raiders and Everett for the Division 1A title game. Not so fast, people. How quickly we all forget what happened last year, when the Raiders met Lincoln-Sudbury down in Taunton for a Tuesday night playoff and fell 14-13, helped by a ridiculous one-handed catch from Jack Harris. L-S appears to be on the inside track for a third straight Dual County League large division title, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they’re the ones marching into Gillette.

4. I’ll preface this by saying I am in no position to criticize college coaches for whom they decide to offer athletic scholarships and preferred walk-on spots to. And I'm fully aware how hard it is to get over the size of Holy Name’s Quron Wright, even if he’s the state’s leading rusher. But after watching 5-foot-5 Trindon Holliday return a kickoff 105 yards on Sunday for the Broncos, and enjoying 5-foot-5 Division 2 product Danny Woodhead’s steady place in the Patriots’ running back rotation the last three seasons, you mean to tell me there isn’t a college coach in New England willing to look past Wright’s unmistakably Lilliputian frame and at least see if the kid can handle?

5. If you’re a fan of power running, you have to love Friday’s matchup between Plymouth South and Nauset for pole position in the Atlantic Coast League. South’s Dylan Oxsen leads the state in rushing touchdowns (28) and is two weeks removed from one of the more explosive performances of the season, a 301-yard, six-TD effort in a surprise rout of Dennis-Yarmouth. The Panthers run a modified pistol scheme, sometimes even utilizing two fullbacks in addition to Oxsen at tailback. Based on the highlights I’ve seen, the Panthers are very downhill, and very efficient at running power plays.

Then you have Nauset, masters of the single wing, so respected they even have an entry devoted to them on Wikipedia. At the helm is junior Jimmy Sullivan (972 rushing yards, 491 passing yards), the de facto quarterback in a quarterback-less offense, running behind Brown-bound two-way lineman Dakota Girard. Keith Kenyon’s ancient offense adds another layer of mystique to a program already shrouded in it (Hey, the school is inside a national park, after all).

6. This past summer, I watched Andover win a 7-on-7 tournament at Gillette Stadium running 5-foot-6 speedster Cam Farnham on underneath routes into the perimeters. Two weeks ago, I watched Billerica's Jordan Balarinho carve up the No. 1 team in the land with a heavy bevy of short, quick passes to the sticks. Now I see Lowell wideout Jack Galvin's stat line from last weekend's upset of Andover (15 catches, 159 yards, 4 TD) and it gets me thinking. I know we've joked about it, but maybe we really should consider renaming the Merrimack Valley Conference, "Death By 1,000 Shallow Crosses". Has a nice ring to it, no?

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