Boston High School: Jonathan Thomas

Player of the Week: Latin Acad.'s Kyle Dance

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
11:21
PM ET
Boston Latin Academy remained undefeated on the season with a 47-0 win over West Roxbury on Friday and, once again, senior quarterback Kyle Dance was a force.

He completed five touchdown passes, distributing those passes to four different receivers, while accumlulating more than 200 all-purpose yards, including 150 passing yards.

On Monday, editor Scott Barboza caught up with Dance -- our Player of the Week for Week 2:



Along with Dance, here's our Top 5 performances for Week 2:
  • Kyle Dance, Sr. QB, Latin Academy: More than 200 all-purpose yards, including 150 passing yards; 5 TD passes vs.West Roxbury.
  • St. Mary's (Lynn) RBs: Spartans backs combined for just shy of 600 yards on the ground vs. Swampscott, with Connor Sakowich leading the way with 9 carries for 244 yards and 3 TD, while Jordan Manthorne added 171 yards and 3 TD and Abraham Toe racked up 153 yards.
  • Johnathan Thomas, Sr. RB, St. John's Prep: Ran for 263 yards on 31 carries, with 3 TD vs. Brockton.
  • T.J. Hairston, Sr. WR, Watertown: 5 receptions 187 yards, 2 TD vs. Medway.
  • Jaleel Kyles, Sr. Ath., Springfield Putnam: 277 rushing yards, 56 receiving yards, 4 TD vs. Commerce.

ESPN Boston Week 1 football picks

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
7:28
PM ET
ESPN Boston High Schools editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall give their Week 1 MIAA football picks:

No. 19 BC HIGH at NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Friday, 7 p.m.

Scott Barboza: I really like this Eagles linebacking corps, led by Steve DiCienzo. BC High, 27-17.

Brendan Hall: What better way to kick off BC High’s redemption tour than with a team that ran circles around them last year. Methinks Eagles coach Joe Gaff has a few tricks up his sleeve for this one. BC High, 21-7.

No. 4 MANSFIELD at DUNBAR (Md.), Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: I think the Hornets keep it close for a half, then the Poets’ depth bears its head. Dunbar, 35-27.

Hall: There isn’t a quarterback in New England as gifted as Dunbar’s William Crest, a West Virginia commit and one of the Old Line State’s top prospects. Hornets are already snakebitten, but injuries aside this is not a matchup you want to make a track meet out of. And unfortunately for the Hornets, I feel their game plan plays right into the Poets’ hands. Dunbar, 35-14.

No. 12 BARNSTABLE at DENNIS-YARMOUTH, Friday, 6 p.m.

Barboza: I still maintain the Dolphins will be a playoff team in Div. 4 South, but damn this Red Raiders’ secondary is going to be tough for anybody to beat this year. Barnstable, 33-27.

Hall: The three games prior to last year’s blowout were decided by a total of five points. I think we’re in for another thriller here, but the Barnstable secondary does just enough in the end to preserve the win. Barnstable, 25-21.

ANDOVER at NORTH ANDOVER, Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: Sounds as though the Golden Warriors were another squad hit hard by the injury bug in the preseason. I’m going with the “upset” here. North Andover, 17-10.

Hall: I predict a big night on the ground for whoever gets the start at tailback, and an even bigger night on defense for Will Eikenberry. Andover, 24-10.

No. 14 WALPOLE at FOXBOROUGH, Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: Man, this one shapes up as an appointment viewing date for years to come. It’s a shame we never got a chance to see these games earlier. Walpole, 20-13.

Hall: Clean, old-fashioned border rivalry. This one has lots of potential. Lots. Walpole, 10-7.

ABINGTON at No. 13 DUXBURY, Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: Having picked against the Dragons in last year’s playoffs, I fear I’m going to have to lay low in Duxbury for a while. Abington, 12-7.

Hall: Losing Matt Kilmain hurts Abington in this one, but their defense is going to keep them in the game. But it’s just a simple matter of being overpowered at the line of scrimmage. Duxbury, 20-10

No. 9 LOWELL at WESTFORD ACADEMY, Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Watch for wide receiver/ defensive back Keagan Latta to have a breakout year this year. Lowell, 28-20.

Hall: Expect gaudy numbers for Brian Dolan in his first start under center for the Red Raiders. Lowell, 38-31.

TEWKSBURY at CHELMSFORD, Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: Watch out for the Redmen as a sleep for the Division 3 state title. Mark it down. Tewksbury, 17-10.

Hall: It’s not every year the Redmen are favored in this matchup. But that’s the kind of power Brian Aylward has built at Tewksbury. Expect a big game from Eddie Matovu. Tewksbury, 28-17.

HAVERHILL at BEVERLY, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Barboza: Panthers’ cupboard isn’t completely bare after their historic 2012 season, but the winning streak ends against the Hillies. Haverhill, 21-13.

Hall: All preseason, all we kept hearing with regards to Haverhill is “How do you replace Chance Brady”? Two words: Ian Kessel. The young sophomore is going to one to watch in the coming years. Haverhill, 21-13.

No. 10 BRIDGEWATER–RAYNHAM at No. 1 ST. JOHN’S PREP, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Barboza: I think there are some defensive questions the Eagles will have to answer against a top-flight ground game such as B-R’s on Saturday, but I give the edge to the Prep’s passing game. Prep, 14-7.

Hall: Trojans play ball control and put together a monster drive early to stay ahead in what should be some trench warfare. You can’t cage Johnathan Thomas, the state’s most explosive player, but somehow they’ll limit his trips to the end zone. B-R, 14-7.

No. 6 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL at No. 2 EVERETT, Friday, 7 p.m.

Barboza: The Golden Eagles will show they belong at the state’s big boys table, but I’m giving the edge to the home side – with the advantage of not having to shack off Friday night bus legs.Everett, 24-21.

Hall: The Golden Eagles are going to have to control the line of scrimmage in this one if they are going to keep pace. But something tells me Cody Williams has some more magic up his sleeve after last season’s historic run. Springfield Central, 24-23.

 
St. John’s Prep senior running Johnny Thomas is a little upset about the way last year ended.

Sure, the Eagles ran over Brockton to win the Eastern Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl, but the Maryland commit wanted more.

“I really wish we could’ve played Everett,” he said reflecting on last year’s team.

Well, Thomas and the Eagles might get that wish this season, as both No. 1 Prep and the No. 2 Crimson Tide will compete in Division 1 North this year, a result of the MIAA’s new playoff alignment.

But Thomas stopped himself before going too far, looking forward to a potential playoff showdown with Everett. He acknowledged the momentous expectations that are placed on the top team in ESPN Boston’s preseason Top 25 poll, but also saw a trap.

“We need to avoid all the ESPN headlines, that we’re ranked No. 1 and all of that.”

He trailed off, “I appreciate that, we really do, but that doesn’t mean a thing. Most of the time, that can go to your head. So you just have to have the right mindset to deal with that.”

Of course, there are weighty expectations on Thomas, himself, as well.

An ESPN Boston All-State first teamer as a junior last year, the Salem resident ran for 1,794 yards on 220 carries with 15 touchdowns. But he also did so sharing part of the load with 2012 Mr. Football Alex Moore, who added 857 yards and 14 touchdowns during his senior season.

This year, Thomas will be the Eagles’ feature back, and – without Moore beside him — he’s solely in the spotlight.

“I think that with Alex leaving the program, teams are going to be keying on me,” Thomas said. “And you know that can actually be good for the team because we have some guys who are under the radar and who are going to make big plays.”

That could come in the passing game. While Prep head coach Jim O’Leary traditionally has featured a streamlined playbook that is comprised of running plays, almost exclusively, the Eagles have the wherewithal to air it out. Behind senior quarterback Mike Geaslen, junior Jake Burt and Owen Rockett provide intriguing options in the passing game.

But make no mistake, the Eagles will maintain the same identity.

“I’m not saying we’re going to be balanced, run versus the pass,” Thomas said, “but I think teams need to pay attention to us throwing on them.”

That means a healthy dose of Thomas running out of the backfield. With additional reps, a 2,000-yard season seems well in grasp for Thomas.

To prepare for that, Thomas and his Eagles teammates have laid the preseason groundwork for the grueling challenge ahead: the Division 1 title defense.

“Everything that we do in the offseason, it makes you a well-rounded player,” Thomas said. “It’s not work specifically in one area, it’s everything. We do speed training, yoga to strengthen the whole body. Everything we do at the Prep, it’s going to help you at the next level.”

ST. JOHN’S PREP AT A GLANCE
Coach: Jim O’Leary (30th season, 200-106-2)
2012: 11-1, won Eastern Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl
Key Returnees: Johnny Thomas, Sr. RB; Jake Burt, Jr. TE/DB; Owen Rockett, Jr. Ath./DB; Michael Fawahinmi, Sr. RB/DB; Mike Geaslen, Sr. QB; Brendan Kahari, Jr. RB/LB; Kent Blaeser, Sr. G/DT; Sean Hoey, Sr. OT/DT.
Strengths: Skill players, defensive secondary.
Weaknesses: Depth at linebacker, offensive line.

Outlook: Prep’s defense was dealt a blow in early going when preseason All-State linebacker Sean Smerczynski withdrew from the school. That will challenge the second tier of the Eagles defense, which already lost several players to graduation of the 2012 squad. Prep’s offensive line, which returns all but one starter from last year (center Sean Lovett is the lone new face). The O-line should become a strength by season end, with preseason All-Stater Kent Blaeser bolstering the group.

Prep has a serious challenge out of the gate, opening with Div. 1 South power Bridgewater-Raynham on Saturday. “They like to pound the ball down the middle,” Thomas said of the Trojans.”They like to play tough-guy football. They’re not like Oregon, passing the ball all over the place. They want to run it down your threat.”

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

Recruiting Notes: Boyle opts for UConn

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
10:52
PM ET
From a New England standpoint, perhaps the most noteworthy item on national signing day was Tim Boyle's decision to remain in his home state and sign with the University of Connecticut.

Recruiting NotebookBoyle, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback, led Xavier High School (Middletown) to its third consecutive Class LL state championship last fall. He passed for 2,483 yards and 24 touchdowns during his senior season.

Boyle originally committed to Boston College, and remained committed to BC after Connecticut native Steve Addazio replaced Frank Spaziani as BC's head coach. Addazio's offense requires a dual-threat quarterback, however, and although he ran for 295 yards and five touchdowns on 60 carries last season, Boyle is considered to be more of a pro-style passer.

He decommitted from BC and gave a verbal commitment to UConn earlier this month, and made things official on national signing day.

“This is a good day for me,” Boyle said after signing his National Letter of Intent. “It's been a long process because BC was the first school to offer me a scholarship back when I was a sophomore. I'm happy it's over.”

Boyle is one of five Connecticut residents in the Class of 2013 who signed National Letter of Intent to play at UConn. The others are linebacker Cory Jasudowich (Cheshire Academy), tight end Thomas Myers (Coventry), defensive end Cole Ormsby (Windsor) and fullback Matt Walsh (Daniel Hand).

BLOCKS OF GRANITE
The University of New Hampshire brought in a small class – 11 players – but three of them were in-state linemen: Portsmouth defensive tackle Rick Holt, Souhegan offensive tackle Jake Kennedy and Bedford offensive tackle Will McInerney.

Holt and Kennedy have been playing against each other since they were freshmen.

"There was some trash-talking between us when we were freshmen and sophomores, but we developed a level of respect for one another during our junior year," Holt said. "We've played against each other for a long time, but it's pretty cool that we're both going to UNH as friends and teammates."

McInerney, who is 6-foot-7 and weighs 290 pounds, may be the most intriguing prospect of the three. He had surgery on both knees last year, and did not play during his senior season.

"It was unfortunate that he missed his senior year, but he was very impressive in our camps and clinics last spring, so we knew he was the right fit for us," UNH coach Sean McDonnell said.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Bangor (Maine) wide receiver Matt Cosgrove is one of three players who signed a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Maine. Cosgrove's father Jack is Maine's head coach.

“It’s exciting, I think, for both of us,” Jack Cosgrove told the Bangor Daily News. “It’s something we talked about up front. Matt gets it -- he knows what we’re all about. He’s seen it growing up with big eyes as a little boy and with small eyes as a big boy.”

Defensive back Spencer Carey (Lawrence) and tight end Dakota Tarbox (Thornton Academy) were the other Maine players who signed with the Black Bears.

DELAY OF GAME
Running back Jerickson Fedrick, who grew up in Lawrence but played high school football in Salem, N.H., said he has accepted a scholarship from the University of Maine, but will redshirt next season.

Fedrick graduated from Salem in 2012 and played prep school football for Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., last season. He ran for a team-high 1,268 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall.

Fedrick, who was also a track standout in high school, rushed for 4,568 yards and scored 75 touchdowns for Salem.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR
Five of the top recruits from New England in the Class of 2014:
  • Jon Baker, OL, Millis/Hopedale
  • Manny Latimore, RB, Pinkerton Academy (N.H.)
  • Arkeel Newsome, RB, Ansonia (Conn.)
  • Connor Strachan, LB, St. Sebastian's
  • Jon Thomas, RB, St. John's Prep

Strachan and Thomas are both on the ESPN Watch List.

Information about high school or prep school recruits in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

Recruiting: Prep's Thomas running patiently

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
9:03
AM ET
St John's Prep running back Jonathan Thomas may be known for his above-average speed, but he appears to be in no hurry to select the school where he'll play college football.

Recruiting NotebookThomas, who will be among the top recruits from New England in the Class of 2014, raised his profile by running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the Under Armour Combine earlier this month. His time was the second fastest overall at the event, and the top time among juniors.

“Right now it's early in the process for me,” Thomas said. “I don't have a No. 1 school. I'll be taking a lot of [unofficial] visits to schools before next season.”

Thomas said Massachusetts is the only school that has extended a scholarship offer, but he expects both Boston College and Virginia to offer soon. Brown and Dartmouth have also shown strong interest.

“My grades are there, but I don't think I'll be going to the Ivy League,” Thomas said. “I want to play at the [FBS] level, and I know I can.”

Thomas, a Peabody resident, said Connecticut and Penn State are two other schools that have shown serious interest. He attended camps at BC and Virginia last summer, and said he's being recruited exclusively as a running back.

“I would like to go down South and play, but right now [BC] is an option,” Thomas said. “Coach Addazio [BC head coach Steve Addazio] is good friends with Coach O'Leary [St. John's Prep coach Jim O'Leary] and he knows what he's doing. He's no stranger to big-time football programs. They're definitely on my list.”

Thomas, a 5-10 1/2, 200-pound junior, helped St. John's Prep win the Division I Super Bowl last season. St. John's Prep defeated Brockton, 48-28, in the championship game.

Thomas finished the season with 1,794 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on 220 carries. He also caught nine passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

“I just want a good academic school with good Division I football,” Thomas said. “Whoever has interest in me, I have interest in playing for them.”

QUARTERBACK KEEPER
Bedford (N.H.) High School's James Caparell may have been the best quarterback in New Hampshire last season, but he's still waiting for his first scholarship offer.

Caparell has received interest from mix of FCS and Division II schools, but said at this point his future is unclear. A postgraduate year at Worcester Academy is also a possibility.

Rhode Island, Marist and Albany are among the FCS schools that have shown interest. He's also been contacted by several Division 2 schools in the Northeast-10 Conference, including Merrimack, New Haven, St. Anselm and Stonehill.

“Merrimack and Stonehill have already said they were going to give me money, it's just a matter of how much,” Caparell said. “I'm just looking for a good program at the highest level I can compete at.”

New Hampshire has also shown interest in Caparell, but not as a quarterback. The Wildcats already have several young QBs on their roster.

“They're really the only school looking at me as an athlete,” Caparell said. “I would still get some reps at quarterback, but they see me as a potential wide receiver or defensive back, which I've played.

“I'd like to play quarterback [in college], but it'll really come down to money and the school. Picking the right school is important just in case something happened and I couldn't play football.”

Caparell completed 153 of 233 passes for 2,265 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 536 yards and 11 touchdowns on 87 carries. He completed 579 passes for 5,389 yards during his four-year varsity career.

NOTEWORTHY
Sanford (Maine) High School running back Alex Shain has accepted a full scholarship from Division 2 Assumption last week. Shain rushed for 1,413 yards and scored 28 touchdowns last season, when he also made 43 solo tackles. He is one of three finalists for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, which is awarded annually to Maine's top senior football player. … Running back/defensive back Brendan Flaherty, a key piece on the Beverly High School team that won last year's Division 2A championship, committed to Holy Cross earlier this week. Flaherty rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns on 160 carries last season. He also caught 10 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns. … BC High fullback/linebacker Luke Catarius couldn't pass up an opportunity to play in the Ivy League. Catarius committed to Bryant in December, but told ESPN Boston earlier this week that he intends to attend Princeton. Catarius suffered a broken bone in his right ankle during BC High's first scrimmage last season, and missed first seven regular-season games. He learned that he had been accepted to Princeton last weekend. …. Three-star wide receiver David Coggins (Sacred Heart/Waterbury, Conn.) said he plans to attend prep school next season, but has yet to select a school. Coggins committed to Boston College last year, but parted ways with BC before the start of his senior season.

Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

ESPN Boston 2012 MIAA All-State Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: St. John's Prep 48, Brockton 28

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
12:13
AM ET


WALTHAM, Mass. -– From the time Brockton muffed the opening kickoff, setting St. John’s Prep up with a short field to start the EMass. Div. 1 Super Bowl at Bentley University on Saturday, it was clear there would be no momentum shifts as the Eagles cruised, 48-28, for their first title since 1997.

No, momentum stayed with St. John’s for the duration of the one-sided Super Bowl showing.

Just 50 seconds after the attempted squib kick set St. John’s up at their own 45, Jonathan Thomas caught a pass in the flats and streaked 33 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Eagles (11-1) advantage.

The Boxers (9-4) quickly went three-and-out -– marking the best part of their first possession. A bad snap resulted in blocked punt by Lucas Bavaro, and a scoop and score by senior Jake Anemoduris –- and just like that, the Eagles were up 13-0 less than three minutes into play.

“We came out and executed the way were supposed to execute our game plan,” said St. John’s coach Jim O’Leary. “That’s what we do and that’s how we played.”

It got briefly better for the Boxers, who put together 10-play scoring drive capped by a 6-yard run by Moise Edouard. The rush attempt on the conversion failed.

Another attempted squib kick, this time a low line drive that settled at about the 15-yard line, resulted in bad fortune for Brockton. Gerald Kahari caught the ball inches from the turf, and took off up field. A couple blocks and a missed tackle later, he was tossing the ball to a referee 85 yards away after scoring a touchdown.

“Obviously you have to play better than that to beat a great team like St. John’s Prep,” said Brockton coach Peter Colombo. “Take nothing away from them, they beat us twice and they beat us in all three phases today and they deserved to win.

"Right off the bat, we gave them easy field position. They jumped out to the lead and now we’re playing catch up and that’s obviously not what we wanted. We were hoping to shorten the game and control, but we couldn’t do it.”

Brockton quickly turned the ball over on downs in their own territory, and Thomas eventually ran in from two yards out to extend the lead to 27-6.

After a Boxers punt, it seemed like Brockton would get a chance to get the ball with decent field position after a pass fell incomplete on third down at the St. John’s eight yard line. An unnecessary roughness penalty instead gave the Eagles another first down.

And when Brockton forced a second stop, a roughing the kicker on fourth down planted St. John’s at their 42 with a first down.
The following play was a 58-yard catch for a touchdown by Gatorade Player of the Year Alex Moore from quarterback Jack Sharrio.

An onside kick attempt by St. John’s was recovered by the Boxers. Zack Kessler was hurt on the play, and left on a stretcher (later diagnosed with a severe concussion).

Austin Roberts hit Micah Morel on the next play for a 59-yard score, cutting the lead to 34-12.

In the final minute of the first half, Thomas punched in another score, extending the halftime lead to a whopping 41-12. Moore added a 19-yard fumble recovery for a TD in the second half to cap the scoring for St. John’s.

Edouard added another rushing touchdown and Ricardo Calixte chipped in with a score with just under two minutes to play to wrap up Brockton’s scoring, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome their first half woes.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Roberts. “They played at a Super Bowl speed and we didn’t. They played kicked it up today and we didn’t, and that was the difference. All the credit to them, they deserved it.”

Picked-up pieces from Super Tuesday

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
7:19
PM ET
Leftover thoughts from last night’s slate of “Super Tuesday” MIAA playoff action:

Hitting the jackpot: Jonathan Thomas gets the game ball for St. John’s Prep after last night’s 21-0 win over Andover, and deservedly so, running for 173 of his 208 yards in the second half, and accounting for all three of the Eagles’ touchdowns. But another crucial aspect to the win was how they defended the pass – specifically, the short passing game.

Cam Farnham is one of the more slippery receivers to cover and plays a Welker-ish role on the team, opening up the deep field with his precise underneath routes. For Prep, Gerald Kahari seemed like the natural fit to cover the slot, and Thomas saw a little bit of action. But for most of the night, it was Alex Moore providing the coverage.

Farnham came into the game with over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns, including a team-high 11 TD receptions. But against Prep, he had just two catches for 10 yards, showing once again why the versatile Moore is a Mr. Football finalist as one of the state’s premier two-way players. With the underneath game limited, quarterback C.J. Scarpa ended up with a pedestrian night, throwing for 165 yards and two picks.

Ground and Pound: Brockton’s 33-7 rout of Weymouth last night was statistically the Boxers’ most dominant showing of the season. They attempted just one pass for an incompletion, and ran 45 rushing plays for 432 yards and five touchdowns, yielding century-mark nights for quarterback Austin Roberts and running back Moise Edouard. With the win, Roberts is now over the 1,000-yard mark with 1,050 yards, to go along with 16 touchdowns.

The Boxers’ switch from their traditional multiple look to a full-out Navy-style triple option has clearly paid off. They’ve run for over 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns as a team, but the real proof is in way they keep moving the ball steadily downfield.

A look at the rushing averages on this six-game Boxers win streak:

Durfee – 30 plays, 9.1 yards per carry, 7 TD
Leominster – 45 plays, 5.9 yards per carry, 2 TD
Catholic Memorial – 36 plays, 7.3 yards per carry, 5 TD
New Bedford – 36 plays, 10 yards per carry, 4 TD
Bridgewater-Raynham – 38 plays, 5.5 yards per carry, 3 TD
Weymouth – 45 plays, 9.6 yards per carry, 5 TD

In losses to Reading and St. John’s Prep, they averaged just under five yards per carry. Against Pinkerton (N.H.), they averaged 7.25 yards per carry and outgained the Astros from scrimmage, but also fumbled the ball away four times.

Prep handled the Boxers easily the first time around, 27-12, behind a monster night from Jonathan Thomas. But in the two months since that loss, the Boxers appear to have fully committed to this rushing attack, and the no-name defense led by Micah Morel appears to have shored up. Can’t wait to see this matchup on Saturday.

Mountain Men: When you’re picking 28 games in one night, there’s margin for error every now and then.

Really, there’s no other way to explain our rationale behind my prediction that Greenfield’s Zak Bartak would “muscle the Green Wave to victory” in their Western Mass. Division 3 playoff game with Mt. Greylock.

Boy was I way off. The Mounties didn’t just pound Greenfield, they delivered the worst shutout loss of the Super Bowl era, blanking the Green Wave by an unheard-of margin of 62-0 –- with 10-minute quarters, no less.

Ethan Ryan had five touchdowns and 224 rushing yards by the half, and finished with 284 and six scores, as the Mounties accounted for 537 yards of total offense. It was a white-washing from the get-go. To find the last time there was a shutout even close to the one Greylock delivered last night, you have to go all the way back to 1980, when the famed Morris brothers of Ayer ran roughshod over Monty Tech for a 50-0 victory in the Division 2 Central Super Bowl.

Hats off to Mt. Greylock. I’m sure some us saw a Mounties win coming, but nobody could have predicted it would be by this margin.

Recap: St. John's Prep 21, Andover 0

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
12:14
AM ET
LOWELL – His football team was held to 66 yards of total offense and failed to score in the first half of Tuesday night's Eastern Massachusetts Division I semifinal against Andover, so St. John's Prep coach Jim O'Leary exited the locker room at halftime with a simple plan: Give the ball to Jonathan Thomas.

Thomas, a junior running back, ran for three second-half touchdowns to propel St. John's Prep to a 21-0 victory at Cawley Stadium.

Thomas finished the game with 208 yards rushing on 28 carries.

“They take chances [on defense],” O'Leary said. “So at halftime the coaches made some adjustments in our blocking scheme. We came out and knew what we were going to do. We were going to pound it at them.

“He can play. There's a reason he's a Division I scholarship player, and it showed tonight. We're gonna put the ball in the hands of people who can make plays.”

Thomas scored on runs of 1, 19 and 47 yards. His 1-yard touchdown run opened the scoring with 3:31 left in the third quarter. His two other touchdowns came in the fourth.

Thomas gained 184 of his 208 yards after halftime.

“We're a second-half team, and we knew what we had to do,” Thomas said. “We came out and executed.”

The game's turning point seemed to come late in the third quarter, after a 22-yard completion from Andover quarterback C.J. Scarpa to Will Heikkinen brought the ball to the St. John's Prep 12-yard line. Before Heikkinen was brought to the turf, however, Alex Moore forced a fumble and scooped up the loose ball.

The Eagles then drove 90 yards in nine plays and took a 14-0 lead when Thomas scored from 19 yards away and Stephen Camaro added the second of his three point-after kicks. Thomas accounted for all 90 yards in the drive. He gained 71 yards on the ground, and caught a 19-yard pass.

It was victory No. 200 for O'Leary. It also earned St. John's Prep (10-1) a berth in Saturday's Division I Super Bowl. St. John's Prep will face Brockton (9-3) at Bentley University at either 2 p.m. or 6 p.m.

Brockton advanced by beating Weymouth, 33-7, in Tuesday's other semifinal. St. John's Prep defeated Brockton 27-12 during the regular season.

“Coach O [O'Leary] is a great coach,” Thomas said. “I'm happy for him.

“We still have a lot of work to do. We have one more game, and I'm ready for it.

POINTLESS EXERCISE
Andover moved the ball inside the St. John's Prep 15-yard line four times in the loss. Two of those drives ended with a missed field goal.

“I take responsibility,” Andover coach E.J. Perry said. “We should have been able to punch it in, and that's my fault.”

It was the third time St. John's Prep has shut out an opponent this season. Andover scored at least 40 points in six of its 11 regular-season games and entered the contest averaging 40.8 points per game

“Against this team here you can't let them have the home run,” O'Leary said. “You just can't give up the big play. When they get down close, our athletes are very, very good. From the 30 in, we started running man to man because we can run with them there. Then we can put extra people in the box and bring pressure.”

Thomas has played sparingly on defense this season, but was used there Tuesday night. He made a big hit on Scarpa on a fourth-and-five play in the fourth quarter. Scarpa was held to a 1-yard and Andover turned the ball over on downs. Two plays later Thomas powered his way through the line for his 47-yard TD run.

“We let up a lot of yards, but when other teams get into the red zone we don't let them score,” St. John's Prep defensive back Lucas Bavaro said. “We knew we had to step it up because they were knocking on the door a couple times in the first half.”

FOOTNOTES
Scarpa completed 16 of 28 passes for 162 yards. He was intercepted twice. Scarpa entered the contest with 32 touchdown passes and five interceptions this season. … Andover running back Jack Sylvester gained 146 yards on 15 carries. … St. John's Prep has won eight games in a row since dropping a 19-7 decision to Everett. … The Eagles will be making their first Super Bowl appearance since 2010.

ST. JOHN'S PREP 21, ANDOVER 0
St. John's Prep 0 0 7 14 – 21
Andover 0 0 0 0 –0

Third Quarter
SJP—Thomas 1 run (Stephen Camaro kick), 3:31.

Fourth Quarter
SJP—Thomas 19 run (Camaro kick), 7:12.
SJP—Thomas 47 run (Camaro kick), 4:48.

Five things to watch in Tuesday's football playoffs

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

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

BRENDAN HALL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

SCOTT BARBOZA:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 3 St. John's Prep 9, Xaverian 0

November, 22, 2012
11/22/12
11:48
PM ET
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Thousands of years later, the Greek phalanx remains one of the greatest military inventions to date. The principle was simple, relying on tightly arranged ranks with long spears protruding through packed-in shields.

You can make parallels between the Spartan tactics and this year’s defensive unit of No. 3 St. John’s Prep. The Eagles have been a machine-like, nearly impenetrable while surrendering an average of about nine points per game.

Also, as in those Greek battalions, Prep has been able to replenish its ranks. If one man falls, another steps up and takes his place. Eagles senior defensive lineman Chris Newton is proof positive. Originally a linebacker, Newton has stepped up to play defensive tackle in recent weeks.

Newton and his teammates showed that they haven’t collectively lost a beat, putting together a thorough defensive showcase in a 9-0 blanking of Xaverian Thursday at the Hawk Bowl. In the process, the Eagles (9-1, 4-0) closed out the Catholic Conference title and advance to play Merrimack Valley Large champion Andover in Tuesday’s Eastern Mass. Division 1 playoffs.

“The past three years, they’ve just had tons of formations coming into Thanksgiving Day that you really don’t know what they’re going to do,” Eagles senior defensive end Tucker Mathers (2 fumble recoveries) said. “But we adapt and make plays. And that’s what we’re good at.”

Prep took a first-quarter lead on a safety, with Xaverian punter’s knee hitting the turf in the end zone, and that’s the way it remained through halftime.

The defensive stalemate didn’t cease but for a very brief moment in the third quarter for Xaverian. And Prep made them pay with Jack Sharrio hitting Alex Moore on a 95-yard touchdown pass.

From there, both defenses reassumed their stifling pace.

In total, there were nine turnovers between the teams (six fumbles recoveries and four interceptions). The defensive lines of both the Eagles and Hawks were dominant and disruptive.

“They’ve been playing like that all year long,” Prep head coach Jim O’Leary said. “We’ve given up like nine points per game against one of the toughest schedules that anybody plays.”

STEPPING UP
On a day chockfull of outstanding defensive performances, Newton might have been the player of the game. Along with fellow defensive tackle Corey Jean-Jacques, Prep was able to get an interior pass rush with Newton racking up two sacks, including a strip-sack in the first half. With Jean-Jaques occupying a double-team for most of the morning, the Eagles were also able to effectively set the edge with ends Anthony Bongiorno and Mathers (2 fumble recoveries).

“He was a linebacker, but we moved him down and made him put his hand down and he’s played so tough,” O’Leary said of Newton. “He’s so undersized, but he goes sideline-to-sideline, he breaks double-teams, and then Corey [Jean-Jacques], they have to double him because he’s so dominant.”

Newton moved from inside linebacker to tackle when run-stuffer F.J. Murphy went down with a season-ending knee injury. He’s taken to his new position.

“It was tough at first, but it’s all about technique,” Newton said. “I’ve just been working as hard as I can on that.

LOOKING FOR THE HOMERUN BALL
O’Leary and his team were fully prepared for the trench warfare that was about to ensue on Thursday, but it came as a surprise that Prep’s big offensive play came via the pass.

The Hawks defensive line matched the intensity and pressure the Eagles brought with Xaverian’s four-man line of Ray Gobbi , Mo Hurst (1.5 TFL, FF), Elijah Jolly (1 TFL, 2 FR) and Joe Gaziano (1.5 TFL, 1 sack) controlling the point of attack in the first half.

The Eagles’ All-State caliber backfield of Moore and Jonathan Thomas were held at bay, with Moore (1 INT) finishing with a negative yardage mark for the first half. Although, at the end of the day, Thomas led all players with 141 yards on the ground, nearly outpacing the Hawks by himself.

“We knew they play tough defense,” O’Leary said. “We had plenty of chances, in the red zone, in the first half, but we didn’t score. I knew we were in trouble right then.

O’Leary continued, “They put all those people in the box and it came down to us against them. It was just man-on-man, and it was tough.”

But Prep was able to put the game away on the Sharrio to Moore connection. The play was an 8-yard out, designed to pick up a first down. Moore came away with much more, however, after a missed tackle in the flat, a downfield juke and a downfield block left nothing but green in front of the Mr. Football Award finalist.

BACK TO THE PROMISED LAND
Thursday’s win meant the Eagles will be right back to work on Friday, with Tuesday’s playoff game against Andover looming.

But, for Prep’s senior class, which returns to postseason play after an absense last year, they’re right on schedule.

“We were looking for this for a while,” Moore said. “We were saying senior year that we would be pretty good, and now it’s here. It’s great living it and we’re just trying to live in the moment.”

ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award Finalists

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

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

Below are the five finalists:

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 3 St. John's Prep 21, BC High 16

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
11:05
PM ET


DANVERS, Mass. -– The stage is now set for yet another Thanksgiving Day game between St. John’s Prep and Xaverian to see who will represent the Catholic Conference in the Division 1 playoffs.

Prep (9-1, 3-0) took care of business on Saturday afternoon’s Senior Day as they defeated a motivated and resilient BC High team 21-16. They will face their archrivals Xaverian (4-6, 3-0) for the outright Catholic Conference title.

“We knew that they were back and they were healthy and that they are one of the best teams in the state,” St. John’s Prep head coach Jim O’Leary said of BC High.

BC High struck first in the opening quarter as senior kicker Jackson Bockhorst knocked home a 37-yard field goal with 6:14 on the clock.

With the BC High defense not giving an inch and the St. John’s Prep defense playing just as stingy, early yards and first downs were tough to come by.

The play of the game occurred in the second quarter and would shift the momentum in St. John’s Prep’s favor as they held BC High on a Fourth-and-One attempt at the Prep 28 yard line.

“We came out slow and but that play certainly changed things for us,” O’Leary said.

After the hold, Prep fed star junior running back Johnny Thomas six times in a row for 72 yards, culminating in a 14-yard touchdown run.

After a three and out by BC High on the following series, Thomas carried the ball five more times in a row en route to his second touchdown run of the game from three yards out.

“Our defense really motivates are offense,” Thomas said. “We just feed off them.”

Thomas ran for a game high 172 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. He also added two catches for 31 yards.

After a scoreless third quarter, BC High got the big play that they needed to get them back in the game. Senior quarterback Dan Collins would find wide receiver Tim Johnson for a 52-yard touchdown strike with 6:41 remaining in the game to cut the lead to 14-9 after a failed conversion pass.

On the ensuing drive, Prep used a steady dose of Thomas and Moore as they drove 74 yards in five minutes with Moore finishing off the drive by scoring from four yards out to give St. John’s Prep a 21-9 lead with 1:21 reaming.

“We looked at each other in the huddle and we knew we had to dig deep,” Moore said. “We did not want to leave it on the table so we focused and executed”

BC High would not give in after Moore’s score as Collins would lead them down field and find Skelly Enabuele from 17 yards out with 2.1 seconds remaining before the horn sounded on the following kickoff to end the game.

In the Prep Trenches: The St. John’s Prep offensive line has done it game in and game out this season, led by senior captain and center James Fagan.

The remainder of the Prep line is made up of underclassmen. They include junior left tackle Sean Hoey, junior left guard Kent Blaeser, junior right guard Dominic Hooven, and sophomore right tackle Jacob Palmer.

On the defensive side of the ball the Eagles front seven played well led by junior middle linebacker Sean Smerczynski (12 tackles), senior defensive end Tucker Mathers (eight Tackles, sack), and senior defensive end Chris Newton (two Sacks).

Turkey Day: Xaverian has now won three games in a row and will host this year’s annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game.

Xaverian has struggled out of league play this season but after defeating Catholic Memorial on Friday 17-7 and BC High last week, 21-17, the match-up should provide a competitive and dramatic ending to the 2012 Catholic Conference season.

“I do not think people understand enough the strength of schedule that we play, BC High plays and Xaverian plays,” O’Leary said. “It is a dog fight. Records do not matter right now. We are 3-0, Xaverian is 3-0 and whoever wins on Thanksgiving goes to the playoffs.”

Recruiting Notes: All eyes on Millis' Baker

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
10:32
PM ET
U.S. Senator John Kerry used to live in Millis, which is also known for the Millis Lights and a ginger ale company now known as Canada Dry.

The next big thing from Millis? It will likely be Jon Baker, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound two-way lineman who plays for the Millis-Hopedale co-op program.

Baker, a junior, picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Massachusetts –- his first offer -– last May. Offers from Boston College and Connecticut came shortly thereafter.

“Harvard has also offered him in the way that they can,” Millis-Hopedale coach Dale Olmstead said. “They'll support his application is the way they put it.”

Baker has been a varsity starter since the first day of his freshman season. He played center that year, but has since been moved to guard. He lines up at noseguard as well.

“All four of the schools are great schools,” Baker said. “Obviously education is important, but so is football. Right now everything is still an option. It's still pretty early.”

According to Olmstead, Baker is being recruited to play one of the interior offensive line positions. Baker said he would prefer to play offensive line, but hasn't ruled out playing defense in college either.

“BC has shown the most interest,” Olmstead said. “Coach [Sean] Devine is pretty thorough. They want to make him their center. They want to make him their poster child because he's a 4.0 student interested in pre-med.”

Baker, 17, popped on the radar after a strong showing at BC's camp last summer. That's where the Harvard coaches first noticed him.

Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid is scheduled to be at Millis-Hopedale on Monday. Michigan and Stanford are among the other schools that have shown strong interest. He attended a camp at Virginia this summer, and visited Michigan as well.

“Michigan [assistant coach Curt Mallory] has been by three times,” Olmstead said. “They're very interested in him. Stanford is a strong academic school with good football, so that might be a good fit. After the season I expect every school in the country to come calling.”

Baker said he has no timetable for committing to a school, but added that he would prefer to have the decision made before the start of his senior season.

“That would be nice,” he said. “I'll make it when it feels right. There's no hurry.”

Mass. appeal: No one can accuse the University of Massachusetts of ignoring local talent. The Minutemen extended an offer to St. John's Prep junior running back Jon Thomas on Tuesday night. Thomas ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-8 victory over St. John's (Shrewsbury) last weekend.

Five New England players from the Class of 2013 have committed to UMass: quarterback Todd Stafford (The Brunswick School, Greenwich, Conn.), defensive end Peter Ngobidi (Catholic Memorial), defensive tackle Terrel Correia (Nantucket), offensive tackle Tyson Henderson (St. George's School, Middletown, R.I.) and defensive end Cole Ormsby (Windsor High School, Windsor, Conn.).

UMass has made an offer to at least one Class of 2013 player in four of the six New England states.

Footnotes: Twelve players from Connecticut (Class of 2013) have committed to Division I schools. Massachusetts currently has eight Division I commitments in the Class of 2013...The highest-rated uncommitted player from New England is Tabor Academy's Tevin Montgomery, a three-star defensive tackle who has narrowed his choices to Boston College, Vanderbilt and Virginia...Three-star wide receiver David Coggins (Sacred Heart, Waterbury, Conn.) said Massachusetts, Stony Brook, Temple and Illinois are the schools showing the most interest. Coggins decommitted from Boston College last month.

Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

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