Boston High School: Joe Colton

Shriners Football Classic rosters announced

May, 5, 2011
The North-South game of the 33rd Annual Shriners Football Classic kicks off this June 17 at 7 p.m., and for the second year in a row the contest will be held at Gillette Stadium. Below are the rosters for both squads participating in the game:

Ryan Adams, Northeast, DE
James Aloisio, Masconoment, OT
Eric Apgar, Acton-Boxborough, RB
Anthony Arcari, Tewksbury, RB
Manny Asprilla, Everett, WR
Derek Bent, Shawsheen, TE
Brian Bourque, Reading, DB
James Brao, Hamilton-Wenham, LB
Cal Carroll, Methuen, QB
Brendan Casey, Boston Latin, DT
Thomas Chub, Masconomet, OL
Mitchell Colley, Arlington, LB
Sean Connolly, Tewksbury, FS
Tyler Coppola, St. John's Prep, RB
Matt Costello, Everett, WR
Anthony Courtouis, Lowell, WR
Jeff Covitz, Reading, OL
Nate Cyr, St. John's Prep, OL
Ned Deane, Andover, LB
Ryan Delisle, St. John's Prep, TE
Jake Giovanucci, Dexter, DE
Mike Grassa, BB&N, DB
Will Guinee, Malden Catholic, OL
Mike Harper, Methuen, LB
Zach Hayes, Chelmsford, S
Justin Hood, Billerica, DE
Brian Hurley, Wilmington
Zach Ingalls, Westford, DB
George Kallas, Beverly, OT
Ben Koopman, Marblehead, C
Chris Malonis, Dracut, WR
Tyllor MacDonald, Lynn English, DB
Tom Meade, Malden Catholic, LB
Trae Musumarra, Central Catholic, LB
Zach Nardone, Bishop Fenwick, DT
Paul Nwokeji, Thayer Academy, OL
John O'Connell, Northeast, DL
Daniel Omorgie, Lynn Classical, DE
Xavier Peralta, Central Catholic, DB
Ony Ramos, Lawrence, DB
Peter Savarese, BB&N, RB
Jordan Shairs, Gloucester, RB
Matt Silva, Dracut, QB
Bradley Skeffington, Salem, DB
Zach Smerlas, Lincoln-Sudbury, DL
Brian Strachan, St. Sebastian's, WR
Dave Summiel, Shawsheen, DT
Chris Unis, Gloucester, DE
Trae Weathers, Revere, RB
Sean Whittaker, Methuen, OL
Peter Yasi, Swampscott, DE

Matt Allen, Pembroke, SE
Ryan Barrett, Holliston, TE
Rob Barrus, Weymouth, LB
Adam Boari, King Philip, OL
Blaise Branch, Cardinal Spellman, RB
Lance Burlingame, New Bedford, OL
Jack Carrier, Cohasset, SE
Dylan Colarusso, Weymouth, RB
Joe Colton, Xaverian, DB
Tom Condon, Whitman-Hanson, OL
David Conroy, Walpole, SE
Nate Crary, Dennis-Yarmouth, DL
Seth DeMello, Somerset, RB
Mike Devin, Bridgewater-Raynham, OL
Mike Driscoll, Rockland, FB
Connor Fraser, Abington, DL
Jake Golden, Hingham, OL
Mitchell Graziano, Silver Lake, DB
William Greene, Oliver Ames, DE
Ernest Guy, Foxborough, OL
Joseph Hak, East Bridgewater, OL
Matt Hallisey, Duxbury, SE
Brian Harrington, Rockland, DE
Jordan Henderson, Barnstable, WR
D.J. Jamieson, West Bridgewater, RB
Randall Jette, Martha's Vineyard, DB
Dan Johnson, North Attleboro, SE
Andrew Kestenbaum, Dartmouth, OL
Matt Lockwood, Seekonk, RB
Albert Louis-Jean, Brockton, SE
Denis Maguire, Duxbury, LB
Jamel Marshall, Mansfield, RB
Zach Martin, Mashpee, RB
Alec May, King Philip, TE
Sean Mayo, Holliston, QB
Paul McCarthy, North Attleboro, DB
Kyle McGuire, Mansfield, OL
Dave McSweeney, Medway, OL
Obum Obukwelu, BC High, OL
Trevon Offley, Brockton, RB
Jon Page, Bourne, RB
Tyler Park, Scituate, QB
Liam Porter, Natick, OL
Ethan Rayner, Holliston, OL
Nate Robitaille, Attleboro, DB
Andrew Siden, Natick, TE
Kevin Stanton, Cardinal Spellman, LB
Jeff Synan, Plymouth North, OL
Chris Tamasi, Xaverian, LB
Ryan Vaughn, Norwell, OL


Football, Albert Louis-Jean, St. John's Prep, Andrew Kestenbaum, Liam Porter, Lynn English, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Gloucester, Tyllor MacDonald, Lincoln-Sudbury, Plymouth North, Manny Asprilla, Matt Costello, Central Catholic, Obum Obukwelu, Barnstable, Bridgewater-Raynham, Paul Nwokeji, Zach Smerlas, Andrew Siden, Matt Silva, Matt Hallisey, Acton-Boxborough, Eric Apgar, Chris Malonis, Lance Burlingame, Joe Colton, Chris Tamasi, Trevon Offley, Oliver Ames, Ryan Barrett, Ethan Rayner, Paul McCarthy, Dan Johnson, Trae Musumarra, Xavier Peralta, King Philip, Adam Boari, Mike Devin, Tyler Coppola, Ryan Delisle, Brian Bourque, Jeff Covitz, Zach Hayes, Jordan Henderson, Zach Ingalls, Cal Carroll, Mike Harper, Sean Whittaker, Justin Hood, Chris Unis, Jake Giovanucci, Jamel Marshall, Kyle McGuire, Malden Catholic, Will Guinee, Dennis-Yarmouth, Nate Crary, Jordan Shairs, Anthony Arcari, Sean Connolly, Cardinal Spellman, Blaise Branch, Peter Savarese, Connor Fraser, Silver Lake, Seth DeMello, Trae Weathers, Lynn Classical, Martha's Vineyard, Randall Jette, New Bedford, Rob Barrus, Dave McSweeney, St. Sebastian's, Brian Strachan, Peter Yasi, Mike Driscoll, Brian Harrington, Whitman-Hanson, Bishop Fenwick, Masconomet, Jeff Synan, East Bridgewater, Boston Latin, David Conroy, Foxborough, Hamilton-Wenham, West Bridgewater, Derek Bent, George Kallas, Tyler Park, D.J. Jamieson, James Brao, Ryan Adams, Denis Maguire, Thayer Academy, Marblehead, Ben Koopman, Wilmington, Brian Hurley, Shriners Football Classic, James Aloisio, Brendan Casey, Thomas Chub, Mitchell Colley, Anthony Courtouis, Mike Grassa, Zach Nardone, John O'Connell, Daniel Omorgie, Bradley Skeffington, Dave Summiel, Matt Allen, Jack Carrier, Tom Condon, Jake Golden, Mitchell Graziano, William Greene, Ernest Guy, Joseph Hak, North Attleboro, Matt Lockwood, Zach Martin, Kevin Stanton, Ryan Vaughn

Mass coaches name All-State football team

December, 21, 2010
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association announced its All-State team on Tuesday.

Eastern Mass Division 1 Super Bowl champion Everett led the way with three selections, with quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, wide receiver Matt Costello and defensive back Manny Asprilla taking honors.

Here's the list of honorees:


Jonathan DiBiaso, Jr., Everett
Nick LaSpada, Jr., Billerica
Tom Murphy, Sr., Northbridge

Running back
Isaiah Jones, Sr., Mahar
Jamel Marshall, Sr., Mansfield
Jordan Shairs, Sr., Gloucester

Matt Costello, Sr., Everett
Richard Rodgers, Sr., St. John's (Shrewsbury)

Offensive line
Lance Burlingame, Sr., New Bedford
Jeff Covitz, Sr., Reading
George Kallas, Sr., Beverly
Obum Obukwelu, Sr., BC High
Liam Porter, Sr., Natick

Defensive line

Brian Miller, Sr., Andover
Zach Smerlas, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Chris Unis, Sr., Gloucester

Seth DeMello, Sr., Somerset
Dan Giovacchini, Sr., Lawrence Academy
Matthew LeBlanc, Sr., Wachusett
Mike Mercadante, Sr., Minnechaug
Conor Wyand, Sr., Nashoba

Defensive back
Manny Asprilla, Sr., Everett
Dan Johnson, Sr., North Attleborough
Joe Colton, Sr., Xaverian
Albert Louis-Jean, Sr., Brockton
Brian Strachan, Sr., St. Sebastian's

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Team

December, 7, 2010
QB -- Dan Light, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
In his first year under center after playing tight end last year for the Pioneers, the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder spearheaded one of the state’s most prolific offenses with precision, as the Pioneers rolled to their second straight Division 1 Central Mass Super Bowl title. He threw for 2,171 yards and 32 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, and on the ground he added 1,131 yards and 16 more scores. Light is considering several Division 1 schools.

QB -- Jonathan DiBiaso, Jr., Everett
In his record-setting junior campaign, DiBiaso helped deliver the Crimson Tide their eighth Division 1 Super Bowl title in 12 years. He threw for 2,885 yards and a state single-season record 43 touchdowns, to just four interceptions, and capped with a 31-7 win over St. John’s Prep at Gillette Stadium for the Super Bowl title. He has 59 touchdown passes for his career.

QB -- Nick LaSpada, Jr., Billerica
The junior, who won the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2009, lived up to the hype in spite of a marginal season for the 5-6 Indians. He threw for 2,738 yards and 25 touchdowns, and added 1,064 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground, averaging over eight yards per carry. For his career, he has thrown for over 5,800 yards and ran for over 3,500 in his three years as starting quarterback. LaSpada is being recruited by a number of Division 1 FBS schools, including Boston College, Notre Dame, Oregon, Alabama, Penn State, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, USC, Florida State and Stanford.

RB -- Trevon Offley, Sr., Brockton
In taking over full-time rushing duties from his cousin, Khalil James-Offley, the 5-foot-6, 190-pound Trevon proved to be one of the state’s toughest runners in between the tackles. Offley carried 155 times for 1,364 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 8.8 yards per carry for the 8-3 Boxers.
RB -- Jamel Marshall, Sr., Mansfield
After backing up Shawn Doherty in 2009 and watching him set a school record, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Marshall went ahead and smashed it. His 1,339 yards on the ground (including 7.1 yards per carry) broke Doherty’s mark of 1,239, and his 21 touchdowns came within striking distance of breaking a two-decade record held by Omari Walker. Marshall is considering several Division 1-AA and Division 2 schools.

RB -- Tyler Coppola, Sr., St. John’s Prep
As the focal point of the 8-5 Eagles’ offense, the 5-foot-7, 185-pound Coppola did not disappoint. He carried the ball a yeoman 243 times for 2,172 yards and 20 touchdowns, including an unheard-of 348 yards and six scores against St. Joseph’s (Md.) in October, as the Eagles captured a share of the Catholic Conference title and reached the Division 1 Eastern Mass Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.

RB -- Andrew Coke, Jr., Andover
After an outstanding sophomore season at Brooks School alongside current BYU freshman Jordan Johnson, Coke transferred back to his hometown high school and helped lead the Golden Warriors to their first Merrimack Valley Conference title in 35 years. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound junior carried 304 times for 1,841 yards and 29 touchdowns (most in Division 1), and as a wildcat quarterback completed 24 of 34 passes for 267 yards and two more scores.

WR -- Matt Costello, Sr., Everett
After a tremendous senior season, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Costello racked up numerous awards, including this year’s state Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPNBoston’s inaugural Mr. Football award. Costello played an instrumental role in DiBiaso’s state-record junior campaign, as he caught 76 balls for 1,301 yards and 23 touchdowns – including 11 catches for 145 yards and three scores in the Tide’s 31-7 victory over St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 Super Bowl. Costello is considering Princeton, Penn and Harvard.

WR -- Richard Rodgers, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
The talented Rodgers tore up the competition once again in his senior campaign with the Division 1 Super Bowl champion Pioneers. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder caught 65 balls for 1,064 yards and 17 touchdowns, for an average of 16.4 yards per catch. He was also a force at defensive end, recording eight sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception. Rodgers is following in his father’s footsteps, as he will play tight end next fall at Cal.

WR -- Jordan Henderson, Sr., Barnstable
The speedy Henderson made a name for himself as one of the state’s most dangerous threats in the short passing game, leading the 7-4 Red Raiders in every receiving category. The 6-foot, 180-pounder caught 61 balls for 1,069 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 17.5 yards per catch.
TE -- Anthony Fabiano, Sr., Wakefield
One of several outstanding tight ends to be used in more of a blocking role, the 6-foot-5, 258-pound Fabiano excelled on both sides of the ball for the 6-4 Warriors, who captured their second straight Middlesex League Small title. Fabiano caught 23 passes for 267 yards, and as a defensive end recorded 57 tackles, a team-high nine sacks and three forced fumbles.

TE -- Ryan Barrett, Sr., Holliston
Like Fabiano, Barrett was used primarily in a blocking role for the 12-1 Panthers, who captured their first Super Bowl title since 1985 with a 21-7 win over Cardinal Spellman. With Barrett’s guidance, the Panthers ran for more than 2,500 yards on the ground and scored more than 500 points through the ground and air. Barrett is committed to Bryant University, where his brother Andrew is currently a sophomore offensive lineman.

OL -- Nathan Cyr, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The 6-foot-1, 246-pound Cyr was one of the state’s best run-blockers this season, paving the way to a monster season from Coppola and over 3,000 yards on the ground total as the Eagles captured a share of the Catholic Conference title and went to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002. Cyr is committed to Trinity College.

OL -- John Wallace, Sr., Somerville
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Wallace was a three-year starter for the Highlanders, and is a two-time Greater Boston League All-Star. This season for 4-6 Somerville, he recorded 68 tackles and five sacks while also providing plenty of run support as both a guard and tackle. He is considering several Division 1 FCS schools, including UMass and New Hampshire.

OL -- Jeff Covitz, Sr., Reading
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Covitz, a three-year starter for the 12-1 Rockets, was a force at right tackle for the Rockets, paving the way for one of the state’s most potent rushing attacks (45 rushing touchdowns). At defensive end, he was a dominant run-plugger for a defense that allowed a Division 2-best 8.7 points per game.

OL -- Ian Levesque, Sr., Somerset
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound tackle paved the way for two 1,000-yard rushers in Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear for the 12-1 Blue Raiders, who advanced to their first Super Bowl since 1981. In addition to helping the Raiders rack up nearly 300 rushing yards per game and over 50 rushing touchdowns, he also was an anchor along the line of a defense that allowed just 11 points per game. He is considering several Division 1 FCS schools, including Colgate and Wagner.

OL -- Lance Burlingame, Sr., New Bedford
The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder is a two-time Big 3 Conference All-Star at offensive tackle and defensive end. In 10 games, he demonstrated outstanding feet as both run and pass blocker, and proved just as dominant defensively with 84 tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He is considering several Division 1 FCS schools, including UMass, New Hampshire and Maine.

ATH -- Armani Reeves, Jr., Catholic Memorial
The 5-foot-10, 178-pound Reeves emerged as one of the state’s most electric playmakers this season for the 5-5 Knights, lining up all over the field to great results. He amassed 1,279 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns in four different ways – receiving, rushing, punt and kick returns. He currently holds 10 scholarship offers from Division 1 schools, including Boston College, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia, UConn and Penn State.

ATH -- Isaiah Jones, Sr., Mahar
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Jones emerged as one of the state’s most elusive weapons in the open field, with 40 speed in the 4.5’s. In a season hampered by injury, he carried 151 times for 1,726 yards and 23 touchdowns, added 150 receiving yards, and also had three returns for touchdowns (two punt, one kickoff). For his career, he amassed over 4,400 yards rushing. Jones is considering several Division 1 schools, including Boston College, UMass and New Hampshire.

K -- Connor McDavitt, Sr., Wachusett
While his powerful right leg wasn’t called into action as much, the 5-foot-7 McDavitt demonstrated great range when called upon, hitting from a long of 42 yards this year for the Division 1A Central Mass Super Bowl Champion Mountaineers. He recorded 14 touchbacks, and also had a net punting average of 42.5 yards.

DL - Chris Unis, Sr., Gloucester
After recovering from an elbow injury, Unis returned to lead the Fishermen to their second straight Super Bowl title and third in the last four years. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound speed rusher proved a handful for offensive linemen and was also vital to Gloucester’s running game, playing tight end. Unis also collected his third straight Northeastern Conference All-Star nod.

DL - Obum Obukwelu, Sr., BC High
The 6-foot-1, 255-pounder was an imposing figure on the Eagles’ defensive line and tallied 8.5 sacks on 68 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss. Obukwelu is committed to play football at Harvard next year.
DL - Zach Smerlas, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
The three-year defensive starter often faced double and triple teams against him this season, but the senior captain still managed to make 40 tackles (18 solo) while clogging up the interior for the Dual County League Large champion Warriors.
DL - Shaquille Taylor, Sr., Everett
Taylor was the affable heart of the defense for the Eastern Mass Division I Super Bowl champions. The 5-foot-11, 275-pounder was an immovable object on the line, stuffing the run and showing speed to pressure the quarterback.
LB - Chris Tamasi, Sr., Xaverian
The senior captain was the fulcrum of the Hawks’ defense and a steady contributor out of the backfield on offense. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has verbally committed to play football at Amherst College next year.

LB - Matt Walsh, Sr., Plymouth North
Walsh provided bite to the Eagles’ offense and defense as both a hard-nosed fullback and middle linebacker. While leading Plymouth North’s defense, which surrendered just 10 points per game, Walsh also tallied 12 touchdowns. A talented catcher, he has committed to Franklin Pierce where he will play baseball.

LB - Jordan Shairs, Sr., Gloucester
For everything that Chris Unis or Andrew Mizzoni weren’t able to get to up front, Shairs was there to clean up. The 6-foot, 210-pounder helped the Gloucester defense average just 10 points per game against and saw a bulk of Gloucester’s carries following Gilbert Brown’s injury, tallying 31 total touchdowns (30 rushing) on the season. Shairs was named Northeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and league All-Star for his 1,400-yard rushing performance.

LB - Tim Joy, Jr., Chelmsford
Already a two-time all-conference teamer, Joy had 131 tackles, including 13 for a loss, two sacks and three interceptions for his junior season. He has been recruited by several FBS schools, including Boston College.
LB - Ned Deane, Sr., Andover
Deane provided the bite to the defense that helped the Golden Warriors to a Merrimack Valley Conference Large title. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder led Andover with 112 tackles in addition to three sacks and an interception. He is considering Amherst, Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton among his college choices.

LB -- Kevin Curry, Sr., Holliston
The Tri-Valley League Defensive Player of the Year was a force on both sides of the ball for the 12-1 Panthers, who captured the Division 3A Super Bowl crown. In addition to manning the middle on a defense that allowed just 11.5 points per game, Curry carried the ball 139 times for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns, for an average of 8.2 yards per carry.

DB - Albert Louis-Jean, Sr., Brockton
The shutdown corner was also a double-threat for the Boxers, hauling in 28 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns on offense. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound speedster came away with four interceptions. Louis-Jean recently de-committed from Miami, so there’s likely to be a lot on interest surrounding him in the coming months.

DB - Joe Colton, Sr., Xaverian
Colton consistently drew the matchup of the opposing team’s top receiver and went toe-to-toe with some of the state’s best. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder was also a steady contributor to the Hawks offense with 15 touchdowns on the season.
DB - Manny Asprilla, Sr., Everett
Asprilla was as much of a lockdown defender as he was a threat on the offensive side of the ball. And that’s saying something about someone who had 2,787 career all-purpose yards for the Division I Eastern Mass Super Bowl champions. Asprilla is committed to play football at Boston College next year.
DB - Randall Jette, Sr., Martha’s Vineyard
Jette only pocketed one pick in 2010, but that’s simply because teams didn’t bother throwing his way. The senior captain also made 50 tackles (24 solo) in coverage. Also, as the Vineyarders quarterback, Jette tallied 953 rushing yards on 121 carries with 19 touchdowns to go along with four passing scores and two special teams return touchdowns. He’s being recruited by BC, Bryant, Rutgers, Stonehill, UMass and UNH.

Luke Bakanowsky, Sr. QB, Oakmont
Blaise Branch, Sr. RB, Cardinal Spellman
Gilbert Brown, Sr. RB/LB, Gloucester
Cal Carroll, Sr. QB, Methuen
Trevor Choruzek, Sr. RB, Leicester
Dylan Colarusso, Sr. RB/LB, Weymouth
George Craan, Jr. RB, Concord-Carlisle
Brendan Flaherty, Soph. RB/LB, Beverly
Jeff Hill, Sr. WR, Mansfield
Ray Holloway, Sr. RB, East Longmeadow
Ryan Lipka, Sr. WR, Bishop Fenwick
Sean Mayo, Sr. QB, Holliston
Kyle McSweeney, Sr. OL/DL, Medway
Mike Mercadante, Sr. RB, Minnechaug
Brian Miller, Sr. TE, Andover
Andrew Mizzoni, Sr. OT/DE, Gloucester
Matt Montalto, Jr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Paul Mroz, Sr. QB, Brockton
Thomas Murphy, Sr. QB, Northbridge
Reilly Naton, Jr. SS, Duxbury
Liam Porter, Sr. OL/DL, Natick
Quinton Porter, Jr. ATH, Fitchburg
Cody Savoy, Sr. RB, Narragansett
Matt Silva, Sr. QB, Dracut
Jesse Wilkins, Sr. RB, North Shore

Coppola carries SJP to playoff berth

November, 25, 2010
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- St. John’s Prep sophomore Alex Moore intercepted a Chris Calvanese pass on fourth and 23 with under two minutes left in the game to seal the upset over No. 5 Xaverian, 21-12, and capture the Catholic Conference title for Prep.

“Defense played well,” said Prep coach Jim O’Leary. “We bent a little bit, but my young secondary made some big plays.”

Having given up a safety and a field goal in the second quarter, the Eagles were up 14-5 with 6:37 left in the third quarter after Tyler Coppola (26 carries, 215 yards) took a 28-yard jaunt for his second score of the day.

“You got a horse, you ride him,” added O’Leary. "We knew we had to run the ball.”

Xaverian then put together their first, and only, sustained drive of the game, a 6:10, sixty yard journey, capped off by a nine yard pass from Calvanese to senior Joe Colton with 19 seconds left in the third. The extra point kick by Jules Murphy made the game 14-12.

On the ensuing kickoff, the ball landed and St. John’s could have recovered the ball, but Chris Ryan slipped when he tried to fall on it and Xaverian’s Chris Tamasi recovered the ball at the St. John’s Prep 30.

After a run for a three yard loss and two failed passes, Murphy set up for a 47 yard field goal, having already made a 30-yarder in the second quarter. After the kick fell right and short, the St. John’s Prep sideline erupted and the Eagles offense went back to work.

Coppola took eight runs for 58 yard on the drive, but Tommy Gaudet (six carries, 81 yards, touchdown) took a special route into the end zone on his 3-yard run.

“We ran the same play we had just used to run up the field with Tyler, except Coach O’Leary told me to pull the ball and there was no one in front of me,” said Gaudet of his naked bootleg to the left side, which most of his teammates didn’t know about. “Everyone kept their blocks, that made the fake, and that was the touchdown.

“That’s our equivalent of a pass play,” joked O’Leary.

After Connor Shaw’s extra point made the game 21-12, Xaverian took the ball from their 37 looking to score and possibly get the ball back with 2:37 left in the game.

Xaverian’s Joe Colton caught a swing pass on the left side of the field eight yards behind the line of scrimmage on first down, but sophomore Mike Brennan put his shoulder into Colton just after the ball arrived, sending him to the ground and the St. John’s stands out of their seats.

On the next play, Calvanese completed a pass down field for the first, but he ran past the line of scrimmage, wherein they incurred a 5-yard penalty, lost a down, making it 3rd and 23.

“We had a pretty good pass rush,” said O’Leary. “We caught a break with him throwing over the line … that would have changed the game considerably.”

After the failed pass on third down, Calvanese tossed up a prayer on fourth down but Moore (7 tackles, interception) was on the prowl and came down with the interception.

“That’s a tough situation for a high school quarterback,” added O’Leary. “We’re just back there looking to pick the ball. That’s what we do… make picks when we need to make picks."


SJP 0 7 7 7 --- 21
XAV 0 5 7 0 --- 12

Second Quarter
SJ - Tyler Coppola 29 run (Connor Shaw kick)
X – Safety
X - Jules Murphy 29 field goal

Third Quarter
SJ - Tyler Coppola 28 run (Shaw kick)
X - Joe Colton 9 pass from Chris Calvanese (Murphy kick)

Fourth Quarter
SJ - Tommy Gaudet 3 run (Shaw kick)

No. 6 Xaverian hits second gear at CM

November, 13, 2010
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- Two weeks ago, No. 6 Xaverian’s record was stained after two consecutive losses to out-of-conference opponents Everett and Bridgewater-Raynham.

At halftime on Friday, the Hawks trailed 7-6 to Catholic Memorial, and looked as if they were going to give up a chance to play for the Catholic Conference title on Thanksgiving. But the Hawks were determined to stick to its balance to pull off the victory.

“I thought it was just a great team effort on our kids part, I’m really happy about it,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “Hopefully, now we will have our best game of the year on Thanksgiving Day.”

Now the Hawks have managed to diminish their seasons earlier imperfections, as they moved closer to an undefeated Catholic Conference record, with a 34-18 win over No. 25 CM on the road on Friday.

Hawks running back Joe Colton was the key to the win as he piled up 194 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.

“We did a lot of running in practice and just tried to stay balanced,” Colton said. “We have to run when it is called for.”

While some people wrote off the defending Division I Super Bowl Champions because of the blemishes earlier in the season, the Hawks did not let up on their dreams to make it out of a tough conference schedule.

Xaverian improved to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the Catholic Conference, and handed CM -- a team that was once ranked as high as No. 7 in the polls -- its fourth loss of the season.

The first half was a low-scoring affair and Xaverian got two field goals from kicker Jules Murphy.

“The first half we had two really great drives but just stalled out in the red zone, we didn’t -- for some reason -- click on our chances down there,” Stevenson said. “Fortunately for us, we have a good field goal guy and Jules [Murphy] got us six points out of that.”

“Everyone was really relaxed [at halftime], no one was screaming and yelling in the locker room,” Colton said. “We just knew what we had to do. It was quiet and we listened to the adjustments, came out, and just executed.”

While CM was still able to rack up 18 points on the Hawks, Xaverian was able to limit the effect of quarterback A.J. Doyle and his offensive weapons. Doyle completed 11 of 18 passes for 118 yards with one interception.

Armani Reeves, one of the premiere athletes in the state, caught five catches for 57 passes, but his effort was not enough for CM to squeeze out the upset. Knights’ running back William Earl also added to the offensive effort with 11 carries for 63 yards, but was slowed by Xaverian’s second-half adjustments.

“Second half I thought we came out and really dominated play,” Stevenson said. “…I just thought we made plays. Mike Muir had a big catch, and Joe [Colton] had a pick for us.”

The Hawks have now gathered steady momentum after three consecutive wins, and roll into Thanksgiving with the Catholic Conference title on the line. Last year Xaverian avoided a loss to St. John’s Prep by a touchdown, and this year figures to be more of the same.

“For us in the Catholic Conference, our Thanksgiving Day game is many times a winner takes all prize,” said Stevenson. “We’re prepared to play that game like we have before…so the two of us know what we need to do.

“We have all the respect in the world for the Prep, but we are prepared to play our best game of the year on Thanksgiving.”

X 3 3 15 13 -- 34
CM 0 7 3 8 -- 18


X - Jules Murphy 30 kick

X - Murphy 25 kick
C - Doyle 2 run (Tom Byrne kick)


X - Colton 15 run (conversion good)
C - Byrne 37 kick
X - Colton 62 run (Murphy kick)

X - Mike Muir 60 catch from Chris Calvanese (kick blocked)
X - Colton 4 run (Murphy kick)
C - Donovan Henry 5 run (conversion good)

No. 6 Xaverian blanks No. 9 BC High

November, 6, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. – There wasn’t one particular thing you could identify that was better than the rest in No. 6 Xaverian’s 28-0 win over No. 9 BC High.

In sum, they were all pretty darn good.

On offense, the Hawks implemented an old school Patriot-like scheme with quarterback Chris Calvanese distributing the ball among seven receivers while throwing for 108 yards on 8 of 11 pass attempts, including two touchdowns. That was supplemented by the ground game efforts of Joe Colton (one touchdown), Chris Tamasi and Calvanese, who also ran for a touchdown.

On defense, Xaverian bottled up explosive Eagles running back Preston Cooper. While not allowing the shifty junior to hit the edge with speed, the Hawks linebackers routinely swarmed under and held Cooper to just 35 rushing yards. Without establishing the run, BC High was forced into more passing situations from longer downs and distance. Xaverian also had three takeaways.

All in all, a good day at the Hawk Bowl.

“We had probably our most complete game of the year,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “We really needed it because they’re a very good opponent.”

Calvanese got the Hawks (7-2, 2-0 Catholic Conference) started on the game’s opening drive with the longest play of the day. The junior signal-caller tabbed his own number and rumbled 51-yards to the end zone one minute and 40 seconds in.

BC High (4-4, 1-1) held Xaverian off the board for the rest of the half until Hawks receiver Tommy Jenkins made a circus catch in the back of the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Calvanese just 17 seconds before halftime.

“That was all Tommy [Jenkins], on that play,” Calvanese said. “He made an unbelievable catch.”

The Hawks widened their lead in the second half on Colton’s 8-yard touchdown with 1:14 remaining in the third. The score came with the benefit of some good field position after Matt Stapleton forced an Eagles fumble that was recovered by Tamasi.

“I thought the eleven guys we had out there today did a great job,” said Tamasi, who had a forced fumble in addition to his fumble recovery. “They didn’t score a point against us, so it doesn’t get much better than that. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys today.”

Stapleton left his imprint on the game again, hauling in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Calvanese.

Ryan Farrell iced the game for Xaverian with an interception with less than a minute remaining.

No. 9 BC High 0 0 0 0 -- 0
No. 6 Xaverian 7 7 7 7 -- 28

First quarter

X Chris Calvanese 51-yard run (Jules Murphy kick)

Second quarter
X Tommy Jenkins 24-yard pass from Chris Calvanese (Murphy kick)

Third quarter
X Joe Colton 8-yard run (Murphy kick)

Fourth quarter
X Ryan Farrell 11-yard pass from Chris Calvanese (Murphy kick)

No. 13 Xaverian throws Pioneers for first loss

October, 30, 2010
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -– No. 2 St. John’s of Shrewsbury came into yesterday’s non-league game with No. 13 Xaverian averaging 41 points per game.

In the second half against the Hawks, though, the Pioneers didn’t manage a single point.

Spurred by that terrific defensive effort, Xaverian ended a two-game losing streak with a 20-16 win over the previously unbeaten Pioneers. The Hawks (6-2) now enter next week’s pivotal showdown with BC High with a little momentum.

"They've been scoring a lot of points, and I wasn't sure we'd be able to contain them as well as we did," Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said.

"They’re a good football team," St. John’s (7-1) coach John Andreoli said. "We want to play these kind of games. They’re going to go down to the wire and they’re going to be the type of game where the littlest thing can have a huge impact."

St. John’s led, 16-13, at the half, before a Nick McDaniels interception set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Xaverian’s Joe Colton (111 yards rushing). Jules Murphy’s extra point completed the scoring, but not before the Hawks twice turned the Pioneers over on downs in Xaverian territory, once in the third and once in the fourth. The second came when Ryan Farrell and Chris Tamasi tackled Cal verbal commit Richard Rodgers (101 yards receiving, but just 17 in the second half) two yards shy of the first. The Pioneers never seriously threatened again.

Chris Calvanese threw for 148 yards and two scores for the Hawks, as he looked in the direction of receiver Mike Muir (96 yards on eight catches) early and often. John Warner and Muir caught first-half touchdowns from Calvanese.

Rodgers kicked a 37-yard field goal and caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Light (141 yards passing, 103 rushing). Light’s 1-yard sneak with four minutes left in the first half helped give the Pioneers a 16-7 lead before Calavanese’s toss to Muir made it 16-13 going into the break.

Here are a few quick thoughts from what was a terrific high school football game between two of the best in the state:
  • Stevenson has a lot of confidence in Calvanese, and the junior signal-caller rewarded him with a solid all-around effort on a windy day. Calvanese completed 13-of-21 passes with one interception on a ball that was overthrown. That set up the Rodgers 27-yard touchdown reception, but other than that, Calvanese made smart decisions with the ball and put it in tight spaces when need be. You can’t really coach poise, but Calvanese has it, as the St. John’s defense hurried him into some sticky situations and he didn’t blink.
  • Xaverian just might have the best secondary in the state. The Hawks made two interceptions and allowed just one touchdown through the air to an offense that has been putting up video-game numbers against everyone else on its schedule. The combination of Colton and McDaniels at the corners is superb, and safeties like Farrell, a junior, and Muir, make it so difficult to go over the top against this team. There were several times that Light had all day to throw, and he eventually just escaped the pocket and tried to pick up yards because there was no one open. Against a team with a set of receivers like St. John’s has, that’s quite an accomplishment.
  • Is there a more underrated player in Central Massachusetts than Pioneers’ senior John Vassar? Probably not. Vassar only carried the ball four times for 37 yards, but that’s not where his biggest impact on the game was. Vassar was everywhere on defense, just everywhere. He made two sacks and several other key tackles that prevented what would have been first downs. Listed at 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 200 pounds, Vassar is a thickly-built player who packs a wallop when he arrives at the ballcarrier. He may not be the most highly-recruited player, but wherever he plays at the next level, expect him to be a productive one. He’s just a pure, instinctive athlete who can do a lot of things well on a football field.
Xaverian (6-2) 7 6 7 0 -- 20
St. John's (S) (7-1) 9 7 0 0 -- 16

X - John Warner 9 pass from Chris Calvanese (Jules Murphy kick)

S - Richard Rodgers 27 FG

S - Rodgers 27 pass from Dan Light (kick failed)

S - Light 1 run (Rodgers kick)

X - Mike Muir 2 pass from Calvanese (kick failed)

X - Joe Colton 5 run (Murphy kick)

What We Learned: Week 6

October, 18, 2010

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

Here's What We Learned this weekend:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"There’s two ways to play our team," Lawrence Academy head coach Mike Taylor told ESPNBoston correspondent Corey Allen following the Spartans' 20-7 win over Governor's Academy. "Either you lay down and die, or fight. These guys did a heck of a job fighting."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a buzzsaw the top of the South Shore League has turned out to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth quarter belongs to Asprilla

October, 16, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- It all started with a leap -- a giant one, at that.

Facing first and 10 from the Xaverian 31, trailing 7-6 at the Hawk Bowl with just over 10 minutes left in regulation, Everett's Manny Asprilla darted down the left hash marks, cut across the middle on a post route, and leaped high past two defenders to come down with the jump ball.

"When I jumped in the air, I wasn't thinking about getting laid out, I just wanted to take one for the team," Asprilla said.

Vondell Langston gave the Crimson Tide the go-ahead score two plays later, a plunge from four yards out, and Asprilla made another eye-opening grab on the point-after, slipping just inbounds at the left sideline on to complete Jonathan DiBiaso's pass attempt and make it 14-7.

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff, recovered by Everett's Ronnie Richard, gave the Tide starting position at the Hawks' 27, and it didn't take long for the Boston College-bound Asprilla to show off his stuff again. On fourth and 10 from the 17, DiBiaso went over the middle again to Asprilla, and he shed an arm tackle as he dove over the goal line. A few plays later, Asprilla slammed things shut with an Ed Reed-style pick-six, bobbing and weaving in and out of blocks 48 yards to paydirt.

"That drive was the biggest drive of the season," head coach John DiBiaso said of Langston's score. "We responded, we scored, then we get the turnover, the fumble, we punched it in again, and now all of a sudden they're two touchdowns down and they've got to come from behind. Their gameplan was not designed to come from behind, it was the grind it out."

In just over three minutes, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior sent the crowd from a frenzy to heading for the exits. And with it, the speedster proved once again what five other teams had previously discovered -- once the wagon gets momentum, even the state's best teams will struggle to slow the game back to a crawl. Whatever critiques one may have had with this deceivingly-balanced Tide squad came to a screeching halt in a relatively short amount of time.

"Fourth quarter is everything," Asprilla said. "Anything can happen in the fourth quarter. So when we came out, we definitely wanted to put points on the board and shut things down on their offense."

Asprilla (five catches, 80 yards) typically gets his touches in the short to medium passing game and motion out of the backfield, but with deep ball threat Matt Costello (three catches, 67 yards) bottled up nicely by Joe Colton and the Hawks showing cover four, the Tide pushed the seams. With an arsenal of targets split wide -- including Asprilla, Costello, Kenny Calaj and Jakarrie Washington -- Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson's game plan called for the defense to line up in quarters.

In essence, that left the Hawks defense playing man-to-man, with a safety and linebacker shading over the top, and John DiBiaso did his best to isolate his athletes in space. At the end of the day, it was Asrpilla reaping the most benefits, showing off his blazing 4.5 speed and why he'll make a very nice fit next fall at BC, offense or defense.

"We were playing quarters," Stevenson said. "We tried to pressure the quarterback, but we obviously didn’t go a good enough job doing that."

He added, "You know what you’re getting with them, but they’re tough to defend. They have a lot of athletes they can spread the ball around to."

Everett now has Xaverian's number

October, 16, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. – It wasn’t quite revenge. It was the next best thing.

“When they beat us 29-0, that was an embarrassing loss,” Everett’s Manny Asprilla said, looking back on last year’s thumping doled out by No. 1 Xaverian in the Eastern Mass Division I Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

“That stayed with us through the summer, throughout the offseason lifting, everything. When we came into the game, we wanted to put a lot of points on the board. We wanted to hold them to zero.”

During Saturday’s bout between old rivals at the Hawk Bowl, No. 2 Everett first did it by power, then by sheer athleticism.

A healthy dose of Vondell Langston’s runs, followed by the connection between quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso and receiver Manny Asprilla created an effective balance on offense. The Crimson Tide defense slowed the Hawks’ explosive running game, limiting Xaverian to just 83 yards on the ground.

It wasn’t quite the shutout win that Asprilla was looking for, but Everett’s 28-13 win certainly got the job done. And for the second time this season in the ESPN Boston Top 25 poll, No. 2 took out No. 1.

“I didn't have any worry about them being flat, because they’ve got to walk though that whole student body,” Crimson Tide head coach John DiBiaso described his team’s walk to the field past throngs of Xaverian supporters. “My kids are going crazy. That was the best thing they could’ve done.

DiBiaso continued: “Can they come to all our games and do that? I wasn't worried about them being emotional, again I was more concerned about them keeping focus and keeping poise and composure.”

Jonathan DiBiaso got things started for Everett (5-0) with a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter. The swirling wind pushed the point-after try wide left for a 6-0 Crimson Tide lead.

Everett nearly struck again before the end of the first half. Gilly DeSouza’s attempt on what would have been a 33-yard field goal was blocked by Chris Tamasi with no time remaining.

Xaverian (5-1) had a new lease on life, returning to field in the second half as Joe Colton’s 30-yard kickoff return set up the Hawks with positive field position.

Eight plays later, head coach Charlie Stevenson went to the bag of tricks for the old Statue of Liberty play. Xaverian quarterback Chris Calvanese deftly sold the play, handing the ball off to Nick McDaniels on the end around for a 3-yard touchdown run. Jules Murphy knocked home the extra point for a 7-6 Hawks lead with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter.

Then, the floodgates opened in the fourth, led by Asprilla’s efforts on both sides of the ball.

“Manny [Asprilla], he’s a freak,” Langston said of his teammate.

Langston, who registered 13 carries for 47 yards, rumbled into the end zone on a 4-yard run to regain the lead for Everett. DiBiaso (12 of 21, 195 yards, TD) connected with Asprilla on the two-point attempt for a 14-7 lead.

After Ronnie Richard recovered a Xaverian fumble on the ensuing kickoff, DiBiaso hit Asprilla for a 17-yard touchdown pass with seven minutes to go.

When the Hawks got the ball back, Asprilla again proved why he’s headed to Boston College next fall. As Xaverian quarterback Chris Calvanese scrambled right, Asprilla snatched an interception near midfield and sprinted 47 yards for the touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

The Hawks added a touchdown with no time remaining when Calvanese connected with Mike Muir on an 18-yard score.

Everett 6 0 0 22 -- 28
Xaverian 0 0 7 6 -- 13

1st quarter
Everett Jonathan DiBiaso 3-yard run (kick failed)

3rd quarter
Xaverian Nicholas McDaniels 3-yard run (Jules Murphy kick)

4th quarter
Everett Vondell Langston 4-yard run (Manny Asprilla pass from DiBiaso)
Everett Manny Asprilla 17-yard pass from DiBiaso (Gilly DeSouza kick)
Everett Asprilla 47-yard interception return (DeSouza kick)
Xaverian Mike Muir 18-yard pass from Chris Calvanese

A view from No. 1 Xaverian

October, 14, 2010
Leading up to Saturday's matchup between No. 1 Xaverian and No. 2 Everett at the Hawk Bowl in Westwood, ESPN Boston's Scott Barboza and Neil Carroll caught up with a couple of the Hawks to break down the bout.

Carroll with running back Joe Colton:

Barboza with defensive lineman Kevin Ihlfeld:

Carroll with head coach Charlie Stevenson:

Calvanese buckles up, downs No. 1 Brockton

September, 25, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Tommy Jenkins had just dropped a golden touchdown opportunity on second down in the first overtime of his No. 2 Xaverian Hawks' battle with No. 1 Brockton. But his quarterback, junior Chris Calvanese, had enough faith to call his number again, rolling right and heaving a -- let's be fair here -- prayer to the back right corner of the end zone as he was being dropped in the FieldTurf.

The high and short ball, with plenty of air under it, somehow landed softly in Jenkins' hands in single-coverage. But not until he heard the roar of the capacity home crowd did Calvanese feel assured.

"That's how I knew it was a touchdown," the junior quarterback said of his throw. "I did not see...I saw one-on-one coverage, and Tommy Jenkins made a great play. I just threw it up there. It's just...unbelievable, just unbelievable."

And so, in his third start under center for the Hawks, Calvanese shook off a series of late cramps and delivered some late-game heroics, enough for his head coach Charlie Stevenson to call this afternoon's 23-20 double-overtime win over Brockton one of the greatest wins in school history.

"There's another kid who, under really difficult playing circumstances (temperatures touched 90 degrees), really sucked it up and played hard," Stevenson said of Calvanese, who finished with 125 yards passing and completed eight of his final nine passes. "He really gave us everything he had, so I can't ask for anything more, and that goes for our players and our team too."

Xaverian (3-0) now leads the all-time series over Brockton (2-1) by a margin of 14-13, dating back to 1988.

The game was far from over following Calvanese's strike. Joe Colton was railroaded square onto his back at the pylon by Miami-bound safety Albert Louis-Jean on the Hawks' failed point-after attempt (teams must go for two in overtime), and the Boxers fired right back with a six-yard scamper from Trevon Offley (19 carries, 117 yards, three touchdowns). But on the point after, Offley was stuffed short of the goal line by Zach Bartlett.

Zach Maiuri then picked off Brockton's Paul Mroz on the next possession, setting up Jules Murphy's game-winning field goal from 19 yards out. The home crowd went into a frenzy, and a handful of Hawks jumped up into the bleachers to join their fans.

And for good reason. The Hawks, defending Division 1 Super Bowl champs, will almost assuredly sit at No. 1 on our rankings come Monday.

"My hat goes off to Brockton, they really took it to us all day long," Stevenson said. "It's just one of those games that will go into Xaverian-Brockton history books as another one of those affairs, you know what I'm saying? Hopefully, we go and do it again in December with them."

With just over two minutes left in the game and Brockton clinging to a 14-7 lead -- not to mention, against a Xaverian defense that was without star linebacker Chris Tamasi (left leg) for all but 30 seconds of the fourth quarter -- Offley burst up the middle and shook three Xaverian defenders en route to a 34-yard scamper that put the Boxers at midfield. But the ensuing snap was fumbled, and Bartlett fell on it to give the Hawks the ball with 1:33 to go at their own 45.

Calvanese connected with Mike Muir -- who, just a few plays earlier, separated his shoulder and popped it back in -- on the first play of the drive for a 29-yard completion, stepping out of bounds at the right sideline. Calvanese went to Muir again on the next play, diving at the right sideline for eight yards, but the Hawks had to use a timeout as their quarterback was slow to get up following another leg cramp.

But the junior got on his feet, delivered a flare pass to Nick McDaniels that stopped the clock again. Following an eight-yard Joe Colton jet sweep that put the ball at the nine, Calvanese rolled right on first and goal, and found Muir just inside the right pylons for the game-tying score.

"He separates his shoulder, then comes into the football game and makes a catch like that to tie it up -- I mean, a separated shoulder, OK? Who says Xaverian guys aren't tough?" Stevenson laughed.

Brockton head coach Peter Colombo was visibly frustrated with his team's production down the final stretch of the fourth quarter -- "It's a fun game to play in, but not fun to lose like that," he said -- but offered nothing but the highest of praises for his workhorse back.

"He was tremendous, tremendous," Colombo said. "I've got to look at the film to see why he didn't get in on the two-point conversion, because I really thought we had them beat there, too. We just didn't put them away when we could have, and that's what's going to haunt me."

No. 2 Xaverian 23, No. 1 Brockton 20

B - 0 14 0 0 6 0 --- 20
X - 7 0 0 7 6 3 --- 23

X - Joe Colton 3 run (Jules Murphy kick)
B - Trevon Offley 12 run (Lucas Depina kick)
B - Offley 14 run (Depina kick)
X - Mike Muir 9 pass from Chris Calvanese (Murphy kick)
X - Tommy Jenkins 9 pass from Calvanese (rush failed)
B - Offley 6 run (rush failed)
X - Murphy 19 field goal

No. 2 Xaverian opens with convincing win

September, 11, 2010
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- In the Catholic Conference and season opener for Xaverian and Malden Catholic, the host Hawks did what they were expected to do, and that’s win in convincing fashion, 28-0.

What came as the surprise was that it wasn’t the dynamic backfield duo of seniors Joe Colton and Chris Tamasi that did most of the damage for the Hawks. Instead, junior quarterback Chris Calvanese was the star, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while going 9-of-9 through the air for 101 yards and a touchdown.

Here are a few quick observations from Saturday’s action in Westwood:
  • Calvanese was accurate when he threw, but the aspect of his game that really jumps out at you is his running ability. When he turns the corner, forget about it. Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson loves to run the option, and teams will be forced to respect Calvanese on it just as much as they will have to respect the pitch to Colton. At this early stage, it looks like Calvanese has picked up right where last year’s starter, Alex Phelan, left off.
  • As well as the Xaverian offense played at times (the Hawks kept it very vanilla on that side of the ball), the defense may have been even more impressive. The Hawks fly to the ball and have one of the fastest defenses in the state. Tamasi at linebacker was all over the field, as was middle linebacker Zach Bartlett. Defensive end Kevin Ihlefeld was in the backfield on nearly every snap. Malden Catholic finished with just 106 total yards and you get the feeling this isn’t going to be Xaverian’s last shutout.
  • Malden Catholic struggled, but the Lancers were more competitive this year against the Hawks than they were a year ago at this time. Defensive end Will Guinee and linebacker Rudy Favard were both extremely active in the Lancers’ 3-3 stack alignment. Offensively, Malden Catholic has gone to a spread look on offense and didn’t have much success against the speedy Hawk defense. But when the Lancers did make plays there, they were mostly through senior Matt Heriveaux, who led the team with a combined 72 yards rushing and receiving.

Colton, Tamasi are the pulse of Xaverian

September, 10, 2010
When the Xaverian Brothers coaches and players look back at last season’s 13-0 run that culminated in the program’s first Eastern Mass Division 1 Super Bowl title since 1998, one game in particular stands out as the springboard.

In Week 3, the Hawks traveled down to Brockton's Marciano Stadium to face the undefeated Boxers. In the first half, Xaverian did next to nothing on offense. The Hawks turned the ball over several times and gained less than 50 total yards as they fell behind, 7-0, at the break.

But in the final 22 minutes, the casual fan who didn't know the names Joe Colton and Chris Tamasi couldn't ignore them any longer.

First it was Colton who took a swing pass from quarterback Alex Phelan for a 25-yard gain – Xaverian's biggest to that point – before getting up off the sideline and pumping his arms in excitement. Moments later, Phelan dropped off a screen pass to Colton on the visitors’ sideline and he rumbled into the end zone to help tie the score.

Tamasi, who was all over the field from his weakside linebacker position all game, then made his presence felt on offense in the fourth quarter. On an option play to the short side of the field, Tamasi took a pitch from Phelan and cruised to the left pylon for the game-clinching score, as the Hawks won, 14-7.

The game served as a microcosm for the season, as the Hawks continually looked to Colton and Tamasi in the second halves of games to put opponents away. Colton finished with over 1,600 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns, while Tamasi had 92 tackles and two interceptions to go along with over 500 yards rushing and five scores.

"I think, from my perspective, and I’ve probably said this to you before, a real turning point for us was the second half of the Brockton game," said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. "We've been in that stadium with a lot of football teams who got beat up in the first half like we got beat up that night in the first half and didn’t come out and win the football game in the second half like last year’s team did. That was a big plus for us as a team. That was a big confidence-builder as a team. That was a big thing.

"We've gone in there with teams that, wouldn't you say, Al, have done just about the opposite," he added, turning to defensive coordinator Al Fornaro, who simply nodded his head. "In the second half (of those games), me and Al are standing there like, 'I don't think we want to be here for this night.' For whatever reason, (last year's) team came out in the second half and said, 'We got punched in the mouth, but you know what? We’re going to punch back right now.' And they proved to themselves they can do that. That was a big plus for them. I've coached teams that couldn’t do that. Not that they were bad teams or bad kids, but they just couldn’t do it. Last year’s team could. And I've had other teams that could, too. I’ve had teams that never had to do that because they just punched them out from the get-go."

Tamasi remembers his touchdown vividly.

"That touchdown, I can still replay it in my mind over and over," he said. "Like I said, tremendous amount of respect for Brockton, but one of the special parts about last year were the away games. The away games were all the biggest games. And coming to Brockton with the band, the flashing lights, and all the big crowd… There’s something, that energy just consumes you and you get in this mode where you’re just lights out.

"I think it got into the both of us, we just knew what we had to do when we went into the game and fortunately we came out on top," he added. "That touchdown, I mean, once I got the ball, I did what I could to get to that pylon. And it just came out that we held them off. That was the pinnacle of our season that just skyrocketed us into the postseason."

Yet while each player is among the best in the state at his respective position on either side of the ball (Colton also plays cornerback), neither holds a scholarship offer at this point. To Stevenson, it highlights the age-old battle that all college recruiters grapple with: production vs. potential.

"(Colton’s) such a great kid and he’s so deserving of it all. And, in my opinion, he’s as good as a lot of high school running backs that get offers from college,” Stevenson said. "However, as we mentioned earlier, colleges recruit on potential moreso than what you did in high school. And that’s what happens to guys like Joe or the kid down at Walpole (Ryan Izzo) or the (Nathan) Scherr kid up at Austin Prep a couple years ago. Kids who are just great high school guys and great productive players, but then colleges go, 'Well, can we get a kid who’s 5-10, 190 pounds and say that his potential is going to be better than the kid that’s 6-1, 215, 220?’"

But if Colton or Tamasi are frustrated by the lack of attention from college coaches, they’re not showing it. At this stage, Colton says he is hearing the most from the University of New Hampshire, while Tamasi is in contact mainly with Ivy League and NESCAC schools.

"(I don’t care about) statistics, anything like that. I just want to win. That’s all I care about," said Colton, who stands 5-feet, 10-inches, weighs 185 pounds and was clocked with a 4.54 40-yard dash time at the UNH camp. "All I care about is having fun, hopefully have a good season, win most of our games and you just take it from there. The colleges, that will all come in later. I’m not really thinking about that."

"I mean, props to those guys (who have offers already). We play Brockton, Everett, BC High, and they all have tremendous athletes," said the 6-foot, 205-pound Tamasi, who ran a 4.57 at this spring’s Northeast Five-Star Showdown. "There’s a tremendous amount of respect on our part for them. I’ve gotten the chance to meet a few kids from Everett and they’re great kids. I wish them all the best up there. I try not to focus on (recruiting). I have my own personal goals that I want to achieve and I’m kind of just doing my own thing and whoever will notice that and take me for who I am, I’m OK with that."

Stevenson, though, doesn’t share the same attitude. In his opinion, Colton and Tamasi are being overlooked.

"Like I said, the (Boston College) level, that’s one thing," Stevenson said. "It’s the level right below that is probably more frustrating to me. I think that high school kids like Joe have become the final stop for those guys. They want to see who’s dropping out of BC, who’s dropping out of UConn, or who’s dropping out of Syracuse, you know what I’m saying? Who’s dropping out of USC, who the heck knows where? They want to see who’s graduating from a junior college. They want to see who’s 20-years old already trying to be a freshman in college.

"So the 17-year old high school senior is their last stop," he continued. "Whether that’s the good way to go about recruiting or not, you’d have to ask the colleges that question. But it’s unfortunate to me, in my opinion, for our game, that the college coaches are becoming a lot like the hockey college coaches. They’re not looking to recruit high school players. I would hate to see our college football coaches become as stupid as the college hockey coaches are. Quote me on that, please. OK, but, who knows? Maybe they will."

Those schools that do end up taking either player will do so in part because each one shows an incredible amount of versatility and thrives on being more physical than his opponent. While Colton gets most of his notoriety from his rushing abilities, he’s also one of the best cornerbacks in the area. Colton’s specialty is jamming receivers at the line and playing physical press coverage.

"I like to play physical," he said. "Coach Fornaro gave me the choice most of the time. If he’s big and you want to get in his grill, you know, go ahead. Most of the time if we’re playing off, I’d probably be playing press. So I think that’s definitely, I think, a strength."

"We're not a traditional Cover-2, Tampa-2, where he’s just the force guy all the time. But he loves the physical aspect of the game," Fornaro said. "But, yes, it makes it easier when, instead of trying to match up one guy to cover their best receiver man-to-man, if we can delay him by maybe throwing the timing off, using Joe to press, or even just press-and-chase, it makes it a lot easier. But he takes that as a challenge. He wants to play against the best guy. But if he had his druthers, I think he’d rather put gloves on, go into a ring and whack around a few rounds with the guy, because that’s the type of kid he is."

Tamasi is an instinctual player on defense who simply always finds himself around the ball.

"Chris is an athlete who plays well in space. He’s a guy that, as I tell our linebacker coach, you don’t over-coach him, because he’s just going to play," Fornaro said. "There were things that happened in that Brockton game, on the plus side for us, where he was able to run to the ball and beat the man who was assigned to block him. In the playoff game they tried something different to neutralize that. It was a different offensive set, but he was able to (make plays) because he is a good athlete and he can run and he has power and he can still make the play."

And when Tamasi gets to the ballcarrier, he does so with authority. Or, as Fornaro said, "Chris comes and he comes with business. There’s a purpose when he gets there."

When asked about this season, each player dutifully toes the company line about not getting caught looking ahead.

"This year, I think it’s play-by-play, practice-by-practice, game-by-game," Colton said. "It’s just work hard, play hard, game-by-game."

"I think as Joe said, we’ve got to take it game-by-game and do what we can do best and just hope that everything turns out the way we want it to in the end," Tamasi said.

As two of the five Xaverian captains, those answers are expected. But everyone outside the program – and even some inside it – will be eyeing a Week 3 rematch with top-ranked Brockton, this time in Westwood.

And maybe if Colton and Tamasi produce in that game like they did at Marciano Stadium, an offer could be just around the corner. At the very least, the potential is there.

2009: 13-0 (4-0 Catholic Conference), won EMass. Division 1 Super Bowl
Coach: Charlie Stevenson (18th season, 144-44-1)
Players to watch: Joe Colton, Sr., RB/CB, 5-10, 185 lbs (1,600+ yards rushing, 21 TDs); Chris Tamasi, Sr., OLB/RB, 6-0, 205 lbs (92 tackles, 2 INT, 500+ yards rushing, 5 TDs); Kevin Ihlefeld, Sr., DE/OL, 6-0, 205 lbs (68 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries); Harry King, Sr., OL/DT, 6-3, 280 lbs; Mike Muir, Sr., WR/S, 6-1, 180 lbs (250+ yards receiving, 2 TD receptions).
Strengths: Running backs, Wide Receivers, Secondary, Speed
Weaknesses: Inexperience at quarterback, Replacing Starters on the offensive line.
Outlook: A year ago, the Hawks entered the fall as the consensus No. 1 team and never relinquished the top spot, as they ran the table to win their first Super Bowl crown since 1998. Although Xaverian will have to replace quarterback Alex Phelan (Brown) and three starters on the offensive line, there is enough talent and experience returning to make a run at a repeat. Taking the reins at quarterback will be speedy junior Chris Calvanese (6-2, 180), and he will have two of the more productive runners in the state to hand off to in Colton and Tamasi. Wide receiver is always one of the deepest position groups for the Hawks and will be again this season, as Muir will lead an athletic and sure-handed unit. Tamasi and Ihelfeld were both Catholic Conference All-Stars a year ago, while Colton, Muir, junior safety Ryan Farrell and senior cornerback Nick McDaniels highlight a superb secondary. A Week 3 tilt with Brockton on Clapboardtree Street will serve as a great early litmus test, while late-season showdowns with BC High, Catholic Memorial and St. John’s Prep will decide if another postseason run is in the cards.

Scrimmage slants: B-R at Xaverian

August, 28, 2010
The last time Xaverian and Bridgewater-Raynham were on the same football field in October, it resulted in an epic triple-overtime struggle between two unbeaten teams in which the Hawks prevailed, 28-26.

Saturday’s scrimmage between the the defending Division I Super Bowl champion Hawks and Trojans didn’t quite have the same magnitude, but it did provide a glimpse into two teams who start the season No. 2 and No. 20, respectively, on our High Schools preseason Massachusetts Top 25.

The passing game was a heavy emphasis of the scrimmage, which lasted about three hours on a beautiful morning in Westwood.
[+] EnlargeXaverian
Scott Barboza for ESPN.comDefending Division I Super Bowl champion Xaverian got back to business with a scrimmage against Bridgewater-Raynham in Westwood on Saturday.

Here are five slants on today’s scrimmage:

1. The first thing you are struck with while watching Xaverian is their team speed. The Hawks can certainly fly behind the likes of running backs Joe Colton and Chris Tamasi (who you will be able to read about later in our football preview capsules), in addition to playmakers, such as wide receiver Mike Muir. During several plays against B-R, Xaverian was simply too fast for Trojan defenders to keep pace with.

2. Perhaps the prettiest play of the game came on a 60-yard touchdown run by Colton. The score came off a shovel pass from quarterback Chris Calvanese. The junior signal-caller made a nice read on the play, optioning to kick the ball inside to Colton, who then buzzed through the B-R secondary to the end zone.

“That’s our little copy of the Florida offense,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson added. “It was executed to perfection.”

3. Speaking of Calvanese, who takes over for Alex Phelan, Stevenson believes the Hawks will do well to bring the young quarterback along on a steady pace while playing to their strengths on offense.

“We don’t want to put him in situations where all the pressure weighs on him,” Stevenson said. “We have guys that can help him along the way in gaining experience.”

4. The Trojans are also undergoing a change at quarterback. Senior Billy Zolga steps in to fill Mike Connolly’s shoes in 2010. B-R, which usually relies on grinding it out and wearing out its opponent on the ground, opened things up a little on Saturday morning and Zolga looked sharp.

“I think Billy hit every receiver that he targeted,” Trojans head coach Dan Buron said, “and I think our backup [junior] Brad Deiulis looked good as well.”

5. Such scrimmages are a good way for teams to acclimate to the speed of real-time play, after having just a few days of practice in pads. And, from Buron’s perspective, there’s no better way to adjust to full-speed play than pairing up with the Hawks.

“It’s good because it’s a much faster team than you can simulate in practice,” Buron said. “We did some good things and we did some bad things. By no means are we ready to play a football game, but it was a good work day. Overall, I’m pleased, but we have a lot of work to do.”