Boston High School: Jeff D'Auria

Recap: Tewksbury 27, Chelmsford 6

September, 7, 2013
9/07/13
1:09
AM ET
CHELMSFORD, Mass. – It was the “James Sullivan Show” in Chelmsford on Friday night as the senior running back did it all for Tewksbury, rushing for 90 yards, with two touchdowns, one interception, and a big sack, as the Redmen defeated the host Lions, 27-6, in a Merrimack Valley Conference crossover game.

Chelmsford (0-1) would strike first early in the game as quarterback Jack Campsmith would lead the Lions down the field and find Nick Philippon on a screen pass for a 26-yard opening touchdown. A penalty on the ensuing point after try would lead to a blocked second try, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead with 5:26 remaining in the opening quarter.

Tewksbury (1-0) would answer back as Sullivan would cap off seven-play, 74-yard drive by taking it in from six yards out for the first of his two rushing touchdowns on the night. The conversion kick was muffed to knot the score at 6-6 with 3:12 remaining in the first quarter.

Tewksbury would add another score before the end of the first half as Sullivan would score his second on a 10-yard scamper to give the Redmen a 12-6 lead at the break.

Tewksbury would score first in the second half on Sullivan’s second touchdown of the game from three yards out and never look back as they controlled the line of scrimmage, dominated the early down plays and used a combination of speed and aggressiveness to seal the win.

“I think the defense was the story tonight with the running game,” Tewksbury head coach Brian Aylward said after the game.

When asked about his team’s success on early downs Aylward stressed the importance of owning the first downs.

“I think that is huge,” Aylward said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach (Bruce) Rich and certainly since I have been coaching against him I have learned as much about coaching as any of the coaches I have coached against. If you give them those short second-and-five downs, they will own you.”

Sullivan also stressed the importance of team defense in controlling the tempo of the game.

“Our defense was real young last year and we learned a lot over the course of the season,” Sullivan said. “We are a lot more mature and experienced this year and everyone really just executed their assignments, made the plays and we did it together.”

Balance and Toughness: Tewksbury controlled the time of possession behind the running attack of Sullivan, Eddie Matovu (81 yards) and Tom Casey as they ran between the tackles to keep the chains moving and each other fresh all night.

“If we are going to be good we are going to have to get it from all of them,” Aylward said of his stable of backs. “The teams we play are too good and the coaching staffs that we play against are too good to be beaten by a one trick pony.”

Sullivan did the bulk of the work early in the game, followed by Matovu for the majority of the middle quarters, with Casey closing it out on the ground at the end.

“We wanted to pound the C-gap and we just felt it out as they shifted all over throughout the game,” Sullivan said. “We have pretty good weapons everywhere so we feel that we have confidence to use everyone.”

The Tewksbury line, led by two-way lineman Ethan Eloi also stood out on the evening.

Big Conversions: Johnny Aylward’s stats may not tell the entire story but the senior signal caller came up with two of the biggest plays of the game as he used his legs and elusiveness to scramble outside of the pocket and complete two drive-saving passes.

The first came on a fourth-and-eight play early in the second quarter with the game tied at 6-6. Aylward rolled right and found Kevin Dick on a 9-yard sideline-route, toe dragger, for a first down that eventually led to 10-yard Matovu touchdown run.

Aylward would do it again early in the third quarter as Tewksbury led 12-6 with a third-and-long backed up in their own territory. Aylward took the snap, rolled across his body left and found a streaking John Saunders for a 15-yard gain for a critical first down.

Not Enough D’Auria: All-MVC D1 running back Jeff D’Auria of Chelmsford saw limited touches on the evening, despite gaining 61 yards on limited carries. Chelmsford had a difficult time getting into rhythm offensively and thus D’Auria’s touches suffered.

“Some of it was situational,” Rich explained. “I think we also came out right away and threw the ball well and probably loosened up a little too much out there.”

Expect to see a steady dose of D’Auria and the Chelmsford run game when Chelmsford hosts Westford Academy and Billerica the next two Fridays.

“Our M.O. is to run the football and to play action pass off of that,” Rich added. “I do not think we were able to execute the play action as we did not run the ball often enough. We have to get better everywhere and we will.”

Lekan Banged Up: Chelmsford played for most of the night without the services of senior Co-Captain Devin Lekan. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound defensive end/ tight end is one of the top returning two-way players in the MVC and left big shoes to fill on both sides of the ball in his absence.

“He has been banged up for a couple of weeks now,” Rich said. “He did it in an early scrimmage and he has just not been right. He is a great football player and we really need him to be healthy and that certainly hurt us as well.”

Roundtable: Best players, breakout stars, sleepers

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
6:03
PM ET
Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools editor


Best QB: Cody Williams, Springfield Central
Best RB: Johnathan Thomas, St. John's Prep
Best WR: Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE: Brendan Hill, Mansfield
Best OL: Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL: Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best LB: C.J. Parvelus, Everett
Best DB: Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense: Natick
Best rushing offense: St. John's Prep
Best offensive line: St. John's Prep
Best defensive line: Reading
Best linebackers: Reading
Best secondary: Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Medway
Coach Dave McSweeney's affinity for power football isn't a secret, and this season he'll have two road-graders to run behind in Kevin Sheehan (6-4, 285) and Cam Smith (6-5, 290, Lafayette commit). If there's any exhibit for why we needed to change the postseason format, the most glaring sample might be the Mustangs, who went 19-3 from 2009-10 with no playoff berth. In this new playoff system, a gameplan like the Mustangs' is built for the long haul.

Lynn English
Perhaps this isn't a surprise pick so much as an affirmation. In a Division 2 North that is perceived to be wide open after heavy favorite Reading, the Bulldogs have enough talent to make a deep run. There has always been elite talent at the skill positions, but Preseason All-State selection Chris Tinkham gives them a presence in the trenches they've lacked the last few years, a rare "war daddy" type who overpowers the interior gaps. The biggest question will be where the Bulldogs put junior Jordan Javier, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Haverhill who is a matchup problem at his natural split end position but also throws one of the prettiest balls you'll see on the North Shore.

Quabbin
The Panthers struggled to a 4-7 tune last season in a weak league, but there is some promise. Quarterback Dylan Kierman is an underappreciated talent, who should get a boost from the return of slippery receiver Nick Thyden. The Panthers run a unique "Air Raid" scheme, and another year of experience with it could surprised teams in Division 4 Central.

THREE BREAKOUT ATHLETES TO WATCH

Lukas Denis, Jr. ATH, Everett
After an injury-shortened 2012 season in which he was the assumed successor to record-setting quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, but barely saw the field, Denis is moving to the perimeter, where he will take a role similar to the hybrid slot-back role that Manny Asprilla made legendary in 2010. Defensively, he should serve as a terrific compliment in the secondary to highly-touted safety/cornerback Lubern Figaro, and has already begun to pick up some Division 1 FBS interest.

Alfred Adarkwah, Sr. WR, Doherty
Standing a long 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Adarkwah has an unusually large catching radius for a high school receiver. This summer in passing leagues, the Highlanders toyed with Adarkwah and Boston College-bound receiver Isaac Yiadom on the same side of 2x2 formations. Head coach Sean Mulcahy has to be excited with the possibilities that opens up -- just imagine sending those two on a post-wheel combo route. Or better yet, imagine running them on a bubble screen, taking advantage of both Yiadom's elite speed and Adarkwah's great downfield blocking skills.

Taj-Amir Torres, Jr. ATH, Amherst
Already a household name in track and field, where he was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year last spring as a sophomore after winning New Englands in the 100-meter dash, he's about to get a whole lot more attention. Boston College, UConn and UMass have already offered Torres, who made just 24 catches last season but made some incredible feats of athleticism. Hurricanes head coach David Thompson told us earlier this month "[We're] trying to get the ball in his hands every opportunity we get", so expect bigger numbers in 2013.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Springfield Central
Div. 3 - Walpole
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 - Millis/Hopedale

***

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor

Best QB - Drew Belcher - Sr. Reading
Best RB - Johnny Thomas - Sr. St. John’s Prep
Best WR - Brian Dunlap - Jr. Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan - Sr. Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker – Sr., Millis/Hopedale
Best DL – Joe Gaziano – Jr., Xaverian
Best LB – Eddie Motavu – Sr., Tewksbury
Best DB - Lubern Figaro - Sr. Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line – Bridgewater-Raynham
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers - Leominster
Best secondary - Everett

THREE SURPRISE TEAMS

St. Mary’s (Lynn)
OK, so a team coming off an 11-2 season and a Super Bowl appearance might not exactly be a surprise, but with a couple of other Catholic Central teams garnering the buzz in the preseason, let's not forget the Spartans have another season with Jordan Collier (1,495 yards, 18 TD).

Hingham

We've heard them knocking, but can they come in? The Harbormen have whittled the gap in recent years, particularly against Patriot League nemesis Duxbury, but they're still waiting to break through. They could have an in-road in Division 3 Southwest. An early non-leaguer against Oliver Ames should be a bellweather for things to come, but the real proof will come Oct. 5, against those aforementioned Dragons.

Wakefield
The Warriors fell short of their goal of winning the Middlesex League's Freedom division last year, but should be in the mix in a wide open Division 3 Northwest race. We'll have a better impression after a visit from Lynn English in Week 2.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES

Joe Johnston, Sr. RB/S, King Philip
Anybody who saw Johnston's hard-nosed 157-yard, 2-touchdown performance against North Attleborough last year knows Johnston's style. He's a burden for would-be tacklers inside the box, and once he kicks it outside, he's also very hard to catch.

Grant Kramer, Sr. OT, Duxbury
The younger brother of Boston College tackle Aaron Kramer, Grant is now ready to assume the role as the next great lineman on the Dragons' line (and there have been some very good ones in recent memory). He currently holds offers from Coastal Carolina and Villanova but has also expressed interest in attending West Point.

Connor Moriarty, Sr. RB, Walpole
When Rebels starter Mike Rando went out with an ankle injury near the midway point of the regular season last year, it was Moriarty who carried the load down the stretch. Expect even bigger numbers this year.

WAY TOO EARLY CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS:

D1 – St. John’s Prep
D2 – Springfield Central
D3 – Walpole
D4 – Doherty
D5 – Auburn
D6 – Millis/Hopedale

***

Josh Perry
ESPN Boston correspondent


Best QB - Drew Belcher, Reading
Best RB - Jonathan Thomas, St. John’s Prep
Best WR – Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE – Brendan Hill, Mansfield
Best OL – Jon Baker, Millis-Hopedale
Best DL – Andrew Bourque, Reading
Best LB – Kevin Bletzer, Catholic Memorial
Best DB – Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense – St. John’s Prep
Best offensive line – St. John’s Prep
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers – Catholic Memorial
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE:

Attleboro
A new coaching staff, the energy of a new field complex, and a strong crop of returning seniors could make the Bombardiers the surprise team of the Hockomock League. Attleboro has always been a sleeping giant and the program continues to find solid athletes, it’s now up to the new staff to build a system that fits the talent on the roster. With a couple of league rivals dealing with injuries and suspensions, Attleboro could sneak up on people.

Barnstable
Everyone assumes that there will be a significant drop off for the Red Raiders due to a big graduating class, but there is still potential to be a solid team in D2 and in the OCL. This may not be a another season with Barnstable holding the top spot in the poll, but it shouldn’t be written off either.

Stoughton
The Knights are expected to finish behind Oliver Ames in the Davenport, but don’t be surprised if they pull an upset or two and give the Tigers a run at the title. Watch out for running back Malachi Baugh, who will be getting the majority of the carries this season and is a beast to try and bring down.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES TO WATCH

Luke Morrison, Sr. TE/DE, Attleboro
Attleboro’s giant tight end/defensive end is a monster match-up on both sides of the ball and could be a real threat as Tim Walsh’s favorite target in the Bombardiers passing attack.

Ryan Charter, Sr. QB, Needham
Mike Panepinto has deservedly drawn praise as the star man on the Needham offense, but the senior quarterback, who has been under center for 1-1/2 seasons already, will have high expectations as the Rockets try to get back on top in the Bay State.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
With the graduation of running backs Robbie Rapoza and Kevin Makie and the continued injury problems for wide receiver Michael Hershman the key cog for the Hornets offense will be its senior quarterback. Wisnieski’s ability to spread the ball around and pick the right options out of a still talented receiving corps that includes Brendan Hill is going to be the key for Mansfield’s run at a Hockomock title.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS:

Div. 1 – St. John’s Prep
Div. 2 - Nashoba
Div. 3 – Bishop Feehan
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 – Millis-Hopedale

***

Ryan Kilian
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Massachusetts Prep Stars


Best QB - Drew Belcher, Reading
Best RB - Johnathan Thomas, St. John's Prep
Best WR - Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL - Alex Quintero, Lowell
Best LB - C.J. Parvelus, Defense
Best DB - Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line - St. John's Prep
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers - Duxbury
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Bedford
While Wayland and Concord-Casrlisle have earned the DCL Small Championship the past few years do not sleep on Bedford in 2013. The Bucs play one of the toughest schedules in Division 4 and the return All-DCL running back Olan Abner.

Chelmsford
While Lowell, Central and Andover are getting most of the early press in the MVC Large, the Chelmsford Lions return one of the State's top running backs in Jeff D'Auria, a seasoned young quarterback in Jack Campsmith and a nice nucleus of tough experienced defenders.

Archbishop Williams
If Archies can find early offensive balance to take some of the work load off the shoulders of star senior back Kylan Philbert-Richardson, they could make some noise in the D5 playoff hunt.

THREE BREAKOUT ATHLETES TO WATCH

Ian Kessel, Soph. RB, Haverhill
The St. John's Prep transfer saw late game carries last season as a freshman for Prep's Super Bowl Champion squad. The speedy halfback is now back home in the MVC Small, and with the graduation of work horse, All-State RB Chance Brady (Tufts), there should be plenty carries to go around.

Devin Lekan, Sr. DE/TE, Chelmsford
D'Auria and Campsmith return to lead the offense for Chelmsford's but it is the Lion defense could be the story if they stay healthy. The Lions feature the 2nd team all-MVC performer was the most impressive player in the games I saw last season.

Nick Orekoya, Jr. DB/RB Billerica
Orekoya saw a lot of playing time as a two-way starter for Billerica last season. With another year under his belt Orekoya should thrive in coach Rich McKenna's high octane offense.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Reading
Div. 3 - Tewksbury
Div. 4 - Dennis-Yarmouth
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 - Boston Cathedral

***

John Botelho
Editor-in-Chief, South Shore Sports Journal


Best QB - Troy Flutie, Natick
Best RB - Dylan Oxsen, Plymouth South
Best WR - Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL - Steve Manning, Abington
Best LB - Kervin Jean-Claude, Brockton
Best DB - Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line - St. John's Prep
Best defensive line - Auburn
Best linebackers - Brockton
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Brockton
They're ranked pretty high in any poll you look at because people have just come to accept the fact that Brockton generally reloads. They graduated 18 starters from last season's Super Bowl team, including quarterback Austin Roberts, who was one of the best in school history. Roberts, Micah Morel and Joe Previte are all playing ball at prep schools this year, and Anthony Davis has moved on to Div. 1 Central Connecticut. Still, the Boxers will very solid again. They have a number of athletes and playmakers, including returning do-it-all Aaron Leclair. Transfer Jamal Williams is going to compliment him well, and sophomore Kerry Raymond is physically imposing at 6-foot-1 and 205. Aaron Monteiro's 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame gives Brockton an anchor on the offensive line. They have plenty of guys ready to step forward on the other side of the ball as well, led by Kervin Jean-Claude, Justin Ahanon and Leclair.

Abington
The Green Wave went unbeaten in their march toward a Super Bowl crown last year, but saw a slew of stars graduate. QB Brandon Cawley, TE/DE Pat Dwyer, FB Jack Malafronte, RB Babila Fonkem, DB Mike Walsh, OL Tyler Perakslis and OL Matt Diver are just some of the elite players Abington graduated. These guys won't miss a beat though, as they have a ton of talent back. Matt Kilmain broke out for more than 400 yards on 27 carries in two postseason wins last year, and he might not even be the best player back this season. Abington returns its top three tacklers from a year ago and has most of their front seven back on defense. Jim Kelliher has one of the best coaching staffs going at this point, and these guys look like they're headed back to the playoffs. (For bold prediction purposes, I'm also going to go ahead and say I think they beat Duxbury on opening night, because that's how good I think this team can be).

Stoughton
The Black Knights missed the playoffs last year because of the wrong day for a let down game, taking a tough defeat to eventual Super Bowl champ Sharon. The Knights lost some very good players, but leading running back Malachi Baugh is back in the fold and they return four starting offensive lineman, so there's no reason to think the offense won't be up to par again. The Hockomock League has proven in recent years to be one of the toughest to win, but a second guaranteed playoff berth can only help a team like Stoughton.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES TO WATCH

Aaron Monteiro, Jr. OL, Brockton
Monteiro has something that can't be learned, or even worked toward. His 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame is one that will draw the interest of coaches at the next level. Coach Peter Colombo is very excited about plugging the junior into his offensive line, and it's not just because of the size. Monteiro worked during the off-season to get himself stronger and is primed to be one of the best lineman in the state. He plays basketball in the winter, something that has helped him develop quick and agile feet for a guy his size.

Sam Malafronte, Jr. LB, Abington
Started at linebacker a year ago as a sophomore for the Div. 4 Super Bowl champs, and finished second on the team in tackles. A very good athlete who is a work-out warrior, Malafronte will team with Matt Whelan to lead a solid corps in the middle of the field for the Green Wave.

James Shea, Sr. WR, East Bridgewater
The Vikings have benefited from having tremendous athletes in the backfield the last few years (think Casey DeAndrade, Tim O'Brien, Andrew Benson and Kevin Lynch), but in 2013 their most dangerous player will be splitting out wide. Shea can run with just about anyone -- he finished sixth in the 100-meter dash in the South Shore League last spring -- and is going to wreak havoc pulling in passes all year.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Natick
Div. 3 - Plymouth South
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Abington
Div. 6 - Millis/Hopedale

Recap: Haverhill 30, Chelmsford 23

October, 6, 2012
10/06/12
11:00
PM ET
Tommy Morgan Ryan Kilian for ESPNBoston.comQB Tommy Morgan tossed the game-winning touchdown pass for Haverhill with 7.7 seconds left.
HAVERHILL, Mass. – “This is a program game,” Haverhill head coach Tim O’Connor told his team after their thrilling 30-23 win over Chelmsford (4-1) on Saturday evening.

With the game tied at 23-23 senior quarterback Tommy Morgan led the Hillies on a 71-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Jordan Javier with 7.7 seconds remaining on the clock.

“I actually called for a field goal first and I said to myself, there is too much time,” O’Connor explained after the game. “I have a senior quarterback and a great receiver so I pulled them aside and said, let’s throw a fade. Everyone in the house knew the fade was coming. Either Javier is catching it or nobody is catching it.”

On the final drive Haverhill (4-1) star running back Chance Brady ran for 33 of his game-high 204 yards on two big carries up the middle. Morgan also connected with wide receiver Shane Roche for a chain-moving completion that brought the ball into Lions territory.

“We knew that Jordan was going to be double covered so I just threw the ball up to Shane over the middle and he made a great play,” Morgan said of the play.

The touchdown pass to Javier was his second touchdown reception of the second half. The 6-foot-4 standout wide receiver totaled five catches for 62 yards on the night.

“A big difference is that we have weapons on the outside this year,” O’Connor said. “Every week it is someone different and if you want to put eight in the box, go ahead, as we have a 6-foot-4 receiver who we can throw the ball up to in the end zone.”

Special teams were also crucial for both teams as both place kickers came up with big kicks down the stretch in the pouring rain.
After a 32-yard Patrick Yale field goal that broke a 20-20 tie late in the final quarter Chelmsford kicker Charlie Calenda matched him by booting a 29-yard field goal with 55.2 seconds to tie the game at 23-23.

Chelmsford led 14-7 at the half and 20-7 in the third quarter before the Hillies mounted their second half comeback.

Morgan’s Magic: A three-year starter at the quarterback position, Morgan has seen the Hillies go from 0-11 in 2010, to 4-7 in 2011, to 4-1 to start the 2012 season.

“This was a program changer,” Morgan said after the game. “Nobody thought we were going to win this game. For us to come out and win a game like this will make teams think twice about coming in and thinking they have a definite win.”

The senior captain completed 13 of 20 passes on the night for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He also proved his worth as he stood strong in the pocket on multiple occasions to complete passes under heavy duress.

“I have told him all along that he was going to have to win us some big games this year,” said O’Connor of his quarterback. “Chance cannot do it all for us every game. Chance is a great player and he had a great game but Tommy more than won us this one.”

D’Auria continus to run wild: D’Auria was tough to stop all night as the junior followed up his 290 yard performance last week in a win against Dracut with 158 yards rushing on 28 carries on Saturday. D’Auria’s speed and ability to stay low and run through defenders make him one of the most dangerous backs in the Merrimack Valley Conference this season.

Chelmsford sophomore Jack Campsmith also played well in his first varsity start as he completed 13 of 21 passes for 119 yards and alos had a rushing touchdown.

Calenda and tri-captain linebackers Matt Rabbito and Chris and Tony Marino all played well defensively for Chelmsford.

Upcoming Games: Both teams have one more game remaining before they dive into league play. Haverhill will travel to Billerica next Friday while Chelmsford hosts MVC D2 newcomer North Andover. Both Billerica (1-4) and North Andover (1-3) are off to slow starts but in a balanced MVC D1 and D2 this season every game is a battle and every game is up for grabs.

HAVERHILL 30, CHELMSFORD 23

HAV (4-1) 0 7 13 10 --- 30
CHE (4-1) 0 14 6 3 --- 23


Second Quarter
C – Jack Campsmith 3 run (Charlie Calenda kick)
C – Jeff D’Auria 2 run (Calenda kick)
H – Chance Brady 42 run (Patrick Yale kick)

Third Quarter
C – Joe St. Hilaire 30 pass from Eric Van Gelder (kick failed)
H - Brady 7 run (Yale kick)
H - Jordan Javier 16 pass from Tommy Morgan (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter
H – Yale 32 field goal
C – Calenda 29 field goal
A – Javier 10 pass from Morgan (Yale kick)

ESPN Boston Week 5 football picks

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
4:24
AM ET
FRIDAY
ATTLEBORO (4-0) AT MANSFIELD (2-2)
The Skinny: The Blue Bombardiers have opened up the season undefeated and opened Hockomock League play with a win over Canton last week. Meanwhile, Mansfield is coming off a loss to Stoughton (the second in as many years). Attleboro’s 6-foot, 185-pound running back Malique Clark has tallied eight touchdowns in the early going while Robbie Rapoza is looking for a repeat performance of his four-touchdown game against Dracut two weeks ago.

Scott Barboza: Upset, blue light special. Blue Bombardiers pull out a stunner. Attleboro, 14-8.

Brendan Hall: Hornets will find a way to rebound on Friday night in front of their home crowd. How often does Mansfield lose two straight in league play? Mansfield, 20-10.

SHEPHERD HILL (4-0) AT NO. 19 AUBURN (4-0)
The Skinny: Auburn saw its state-best win streak snapped at 41 games last fall to these very Rams, before rolling to its fourth consecutive Super Bowl title. This year, we're not sure who has the advantage. Both teams excel at moving the ball on the ground, with Shepherd Hill's Brad Picard (6.7 yards per carry) moving behind a swarming double wing, and Tyler Desjardins (10.8) getting help from a Rockets line that is among the state's biggest.

Barboza: For the Rockets to be knocked off for a second straight year, that would be the greatest upset of all. Auburn, 20-13.

Hall: Set the over-under on total rushing yards in this game at 400. Auburn, 28-21.

BURLINGTON (4-0) AT NO. 6 READING (4-0)
The Skinny: A must-see matchup between the Middlesex League's two most talented teams, which includes some of the state's top players at their respective positions. Speedster Marcus Odiah leads a powerful rushing attack from Burlington, but the Red Devils will have their hands full trying to neutralize the Rockets on either side of the ball. Offensively, the Rockets are led by one of the state's finest quarterbacks in Drew Belcher, while defensively the Rockets have allowed just two points through four games this season.

Barboza: The scoreless quarter streak will end, the Rockets keep the win streak going. Reading, 28-14.

Hall: If you score on the Rockets, keep the ball. Reading, 17-3.

FOXBOROUGH (3-1) AT NO. 24 STOUGHTON (4-0)
The Skinny: A game that could go a long way to deciding the Hockomock League Davenport division crown will be played under a different light Friday, after the Black Knights attend the funeral of fallen tammate David Wade that day. Stoughton will have plenty at stake emotionally, playing for Wade’s memory and coming off another “upset” of Mansfield. Foxborough knocked the Hock on its heels as well last week, upsetting North Attleborough and shutting out the Red Rocketeers.

Barboza: Just too may athletes at too many positions for the Black Knights. Do it for David. Stoughton, 21-17.

Hall: Tough times make tough people. Stoughton, 13-10.

SATURDAY
XAVERIAN (1-3) AT NO. 4 DUXBURY (4-0)
The Skinny: The Hawks assuredly will enter our Mass. Army National Guard Game of the Week with a chip on their shoulder and desperate to turn around a losing record. The Dragons look to make it two in a row over Xaverian, after sealing a victory at the Hawk Bowl last year. Duxbury’s defense paid dividends in that game, and while some of the talent has graduated, they have three-year starting inside linebacker Marshall McCarthy to quarterback the defense. The matchup to watch here will be the interior line play with C.J. LoConte (Army lacrosse commit) going head-to-head with Michigan football commit Mo Hurst.

Barboza: Look for Dave Maimaron to work in some wrinkles this week to keep the Hawks’ defensive line in check. Duxbury, 31-21.

Hall: Hawks will find their groove in this game, but the Dragons will escape for their state-best 31st straight win. Duxbury, 24-17.

CHELMSFORD (4-0) AT HAVERHILL (3-1)
The Skinny: A battle between two Merrimack Valley Conference teams off to quality starts in 2012, two of the league's most productive running backs square off in this early-season battle. Chelmsford's Jeff D'Auria (10 TDs) has been a workhorse out of the backfield, while the Hillies' Chance Brady (724 rushing yards, 12 TD) might be the most complete back in the league.

Barboza: The Lions skated on thin ice last week and I think it catches up with them facing the Hillies’ pistol offense with Tommy Morgan at quarterback. Haverhill, 30-28.

Hall: Considering how much talent moved on from a year ago, have to appreciate what Chelmsford is doing right now. Chelmsford, 21-6.

NO. 3 ST. JOHN'S PREP (3-1) AT NO. 12 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (3-1)
The Skinny: This game screams ball control. Both teams come with highly-touted backfields. The Eagles’ duo of Jonathan Thomas and Alex Moore is the most dynamic in the state. But with Arcel Armstead back and Brandon Gallagher running strong early in the season, the Trojans can match metal with metal. Expect a lot of work out of the I-formation and two-tight end sets as these teams counter strength against strength. The number of completed passes in this one could figure to be counted on one hand, but you can’t argue with what head coaches Jim O’Leary and Dan Buron have done with their respective systems in their careers.

Barboza: I think this one’s going to be very close, but I can’t settle on a score. So I’m going to set a line for the project number of TOTAL possessions in this game. But I’m picking Prep to win. Possessions: 8.5 (that’s being generous perhaps).

Hall: In my book, the waggle trumps the counter. B-R, 7-6.

DARTMOUTH (1-3) AT NO. 25 SOMERSET-BERKLEY (4-0)
The Skinny: An underrated non-league matchup between old EAC rivals on the South Coast, both teams figured to have their hands full in this one. For Dartmouth, they must figured out how to slow down the Blue Raiders' vaunted double wing attack, led by senior Garrett Carlos, who has over 350 yards rushing the last two weeks on just 19 carries. For Somerset, the key is slowing Mitch Loranger and Nick Simonetti, two of the more talented players in the Old Colony League.

Barboza: Can the Raiders ride Carlos and Mikey Garrant to a Super Bowl appearance this year as they did with Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear two years ago? Just might. Somerset-Berkley, 34-28.

Hall: Indians were a trendy sleeper pick for 2012, but I think they'll have some trouble against this double wing attack of the Blue Raiders. Somerset-Berkley, 24-14.

ESPN Boston Mr. Football Watch: Week 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 9 Chelmsford 42, Lawrence 16

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
1:27
AM ET



LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Sorry, no bulletin board material this time around.

A week after boldly guaranteeing a victory over BC High in an interview with ESPN Boston (his No. 8 Chelmsford Lions lost by three scores), quarterback Colby Emanouil bounced back efficiently in tonight's 42-16 win over Lawrence at Veterans Memorial Stadium. He ran, threw and caught his way to the tune of 162 total yards and two touchdowns, as the Lions won their Merrimack Valley Conference opener.

The Lions dictated the tempo right from the get go, marching 51 yards in seven plays on their first drive to score easily. Setting up the run was a 29-yard scamper by Eddie Sheridan (128 total yards, 3 total TD) off a sweep down the left sideline, breaking loose for 29 yards and running it down to the two thanks in no small part to split end Vinny Maniscalco.

Split wide to the near sideline out of a twins left I-formation, Maniscalco sustained his block 15 yards downfield and kept the Lawrence defensive back pinned towards the sideline, to open up the perimeter for Sheridan and make it a footrace. Sheridan plunged in from two yards out on the next play (with Boston College-bound linebacker Tim Joy as the lead blocker), and tapped on a two-point rush for the game's opening score with two minutes left in the first quarter.

Chelmsford scored three more times in the second quarter on a Sheridan plunge, a 30-yard Connor Brimley interception return, and a back-breaking 44-yard throwback pass from Eric Van Gelder to Emanouil, making it 29-0 headed into the half.

Spoken like a kid on double secret probation, Emanouil was all smiles yet all vanilla following the win.

"We were just looking to get our confidence back after that loss," Emanouil said. "It felt great to get our confidence back again. That's all we wanted."

The momentum swing following last week's loss to No. 3 BC High was evident tonight.

"Sometimes a loss can help you," Lions head coach Bruce Rich said. "Last week we were able to take a good look at ourselves, and we improved. We watched film from that BC game, and I thought our kids showed up with the right attitude tonight. I thought they had a good attitude last week, but we were just able to fix more things with that loss under our belt."

Said Lawrence head coach Mike Yameen, "They just played faster than us. We knew we were facing a good team, they just played faster and were a better team. We're not playing as well as I know we can, but we just lost to a better team today. That's just the bottom line."

Play of the game: Undoubtedly, Emanouil's impromptu flea-flicker (more on that in a second) shifted whatever momentum left on the fence all the way in favor of Chelmsford. The Lions came out in a four-receiver shotgun set, with three receivers in trips to the far right sideline and fullback Matt Rabbito in a three-point stance in the slot one yard off the ball.

Emanouil planted and immediately fired to Van Gelder, who started towards the left sideline like it was an end-around. The play was designed as a change-of-pace play to catch the Lancers off guard, with Van Gelder pushing north around the left side; but with the receiver in trouble, Emanouil broke off his blocking defender and hauled in a short bloop of a pass. Emanouil then reversed direction and raced to the near right pylon some 40 yards downfield, untouched, for the score.

"It wasn't designed for me at all, actually," Emanouil said. "I was supposed to be blocking over there, and I saw him struggling, so I called for the ball. Then I did my thing. It was improvised -- well-improvised."

Said Rich, "I can't tell you if it was exactly by design, with Colby finally catching the ball and running it in, but it's going to make more people work in practice. So, it worked."

Pound and stretch: Rich is known across the state for using the I Formation to pound it hard between the tackles, and tonight wasn't too much of a deviation. The Lions used primarily double-tight and twins packages; in goal line and short-yardage situations, they deployed two fullbacks and a tailback stacked linearly (known more popularly as the "Stack I" or "Maryland I"), with Joy as the lead blocker.

"That's the best play, my favorite play of the game," Joy laughed. "It just comes down to whoever's tougher, and you're not going to be tougher than me."

But in the final four minutes of the first half, the Lions abandoned that altogether and stretched the field, deploying double-slot and trips sets out of the shotgun, or in one instance putting Emanouil under center with four receivers in a diamond formation to the right.

The change of pace was efficient in the Lions' final drive of the first half, as they marched 75 yards in 41 seconds and four plays, capped with Emanouil's 44-yard touchdown reception.

"We're capable of opening up, we've always been," Rich said. "I know it's generally out of the I, running power, but we're able to open it up. Our quarterback is dangerous, he's got good wheels. We're able to run with him, and we've got some pretty good receivers as well. We got protection tonight [too], which I thought was good."

Happy feet, red zone miscues: To accomodate for its lack of size, Lawrence deploys a run-and-shoot scheme, with undersized quarterback Nathan Baez (5-foot-3, 145 pounds) executing bubble screens to the flats, and running backs like Kelvin Severino motioning from either slot and taking a jet sweep handoff.

Coupled with constant pre-snap movement, it's a scheme that keeps you on your toes. But the Lions countered with plenty of movement of their own, with linebackers Joy, Joey Christopher and Corey Everleigh hopping back and forth, and the secondary disguising Cover-2 at times to look like a Cover 0.

"I think when you face the spread offense, you really have to disguise, mix things up up front," Rich said. "They're trying to read from upstairs and tell the people down below what to call, so with all the movement in the secondary and up front, that causes confusion, and I thought it worked tonight.

One of the more commonly-voiced flaws about spread attacks is that they break down in the red zone. The Lancers were certainly able to move the ball, putting up 110 yards at the half to Chelmsford's 176; but twice they had the ball inside the Lions' 20 yard line, and both times they turned the ball over.

Harrington's mix and match: Senior defensive end Brett Harrington is one of the most versatile players on the defensive side of Chelmsford's squad, with his agility as a basketball center allowing him to shade outside in a two-point stance; play a five technique outside the tackles; or kick down to the nose, and shoot the A-gap. And at 6-foot-3 and a lean 220 pounds, he can overpower with force and speed.

It's a welcome change for a guy who before last year's switch to a 3-4 had spent his whole career in a two-point stance.

"Last year, we put him down in that d-tackle spot, and he took to it," Rich said of Harrington. "It was fantastic. He only played three football games for us last year (due to injury), but I think he's as good as they come. He's got great size, great agility. He plays basketball, he's a center on the basketball team, he's a main factor for us on that defensive line. He wreaks havoc, gets his hands up and can change directions and track quarterbacks."

Promise in secondary: Yameen had to be encouraged by the play of senior Demitiro Leonardo at safety. The 5-foot-9 senior was efficient in the second half, coming up with a few jarring stops in run support and keeping a few passes from turning into big gains with a few big hits.

"We had specific keys on them, tendencies we saw on film, which we didn't cover in the first half," Yameen said. "But he did a nice job tonight."

Fire it up: Just before kickoff, Lawrence emerges from the locker room with a lance, a spear and a sledgehammer. The players carrying those items are awarded them as "hit sticks" and "battle sticks" for delivering the game's best hit. The sticks were made a few years ago by an alum, according to Yameen.

"We got fired up tonight," Yameen said. "But after tonight, we've got to go back to the drawing board, see what we can do."

CHELMSFORD 42, LAWRENCE 16

CHM (3-1, 1-0 MVC) 8 21 0 13 --- 42
LAW (2-2, 1-1 MVC) 0 0 0 16 --- 16

First Quarter
C - Eddie Sheridan 2 run (Tim Joy rush) 2:02

Second Quarter
C - Sheridan 5 run (Charlie Calenda kick) 8:08
C - Connor Brimley 30 interception return (Calenda kick) 7:09
C - Colby Emanouil 44 pass from Eric Van Gelder (Calenda kick) 0:00

Fourth Quarter
C - Sheridan 22 pass from Emanouil (Calenda kick) 9:33
L - Joel Rodriguez 32 pass from Nathan Baez (Brian Montero-Ford rush) 5:41
C - Jeff D'Auria 2 run (kick failed) 2:22
L - Tim Lemasurier 85 kickoff return (Bobby Sullivan pass from Baez) 2:04

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