Boston High School: Kevin Deschenes

Recap: Mansfield 21, Attleboro 19

October, 6, 2012

MANSFIELD, Mass. -- Attleboro stormed back in the second half of Friday night’s Hockomock League Kelley-Rex divisional opener at Mansfield, but two crucial personal foul calls against star running back Malique Clark and several strong defensive stands helped the Hornets hold on for a 21-19 victory.

Trailing by eight points with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Clark (15 carries, 142 yards, 2 TD; 2 catches, 69 yards, TD) eluded two Hornets tacklers in the backfield with a lightning quick cut and took off for a 72-yard touchdown. During the celebration, he was called for a personal foul for taking off his helmet.

Instead of attempting a two-point conversion from the three, Attleboro (4-1) was forced to try and tie it from the 18-yard line. The attempt was just broken up in the corner of the end zone with the Attleboro sideline screaming for pass interference.

Attleboro was immediately given another chance at the lead when the ensuing kick-off was fumbled by Mike Cunningham and recovered by the Bombardiers at the 33-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage Clark rushed up the middle for a yard, but was flagged for another personal foul that forced Attleboro back to the Mansfield 47. The Bombardiers would go three and out.

Following the game, Attleboro coach Kevin Deschenes admitted to not having seen the first personal foul but made it clear that it was not the officials that cost his team. He was proud of his team’s ability to fight back.

“We played a lot better in the second half," Deschenes said. "As far as my kids are concerned, they stayed mentally tough and they fought back and we came two points shy of tieing the game.”

Mansfield (3-2) head coach Mike Redding made the biggest call of the night with his team facing third and five at the 49, trying to run out the clock. Junior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski caught the Attleboro defense with a play action pass to wideout Brendan Hill for 24 yards that effectively sealed the game.

Mansfield lost its star back, Robbie Rapoza, to a suspected concussion in the first quarter and offensively lost its rhythm in the second half.

“The interception at the end of the half was big," Redding said. "Because it would have gotten us to 28, and it would have taken Malique out of the game, and they would have had to just throw. They have a great drive to start the second half and the game changed.”

The first half was dominated by the Hornets. Mansfield limited the Bombardiers to only 12 plays from scrimmage and controlled the time of possession. It started on the opening possession of the game as Mansfield marched down field and Wisnieski hit Hill for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 7-0.

After a Clark fumble, Mansfield took advantage of the short field to score again. This time it was Wisnieski on a 1-yard keeper. Attleboro answered back on its next possession with a 63-yard bomb from Tim Walsh to Clark, but the Hornets came right back with a powerful 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive finished off by senior captain Kevin Makie from a yard out.

The Hornets turned the ball over three times in the second half, but the defense limited the Bombardiers to only six points off those giveaways. Redding was proud of the way his defensive unit stepped up under pressure.

“Push came to shove, our defense came up with some big stops with their backs against the wall and kept them out of the end zone," he said. "We’ll take it any way we can get it right now.”

Recap: No. 12 Mansfield 28, Attleboro 7

October, 16, 2011
MANSFIELD, Mass. -– Greg Donahue rushed for three touchdowns and Craig Mallett finished the scoring with a 102-yard interception return to bolster the Mansfield Hornets over Attleboro, 28-7. The ground attack from the hornets was vicious, eating up the clock and keeping Attleboro’s offense cool for most of the night.

“We had to have had 250 yards on the ground. We’ve got a bunch of backs with [Blayne] Taylor, Donahue, [Dylan] Finnerty and [Mike] Farrell. That’s our M.O., we’re just going to pound the ball and try to play good d[efense],” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding.

Although the Attleboro offense was able to get with scoring distance by forcing defensive stops and producing in offensive spurts, they just could not get the edge on Mansfield. This tactic of resilience is something that is taught to the players by staff and their teammates.

“Never surrender is one of our biggest mottos on this team,” added senior defensive end Zach Schafer. “We’ve got a lot of soul and hope on our defense out here and we took it to them.

Attleboro coach Kevin Deschenes agreed. With an offense that has found a way to make it work, the level of play by the Mansfield defense left his team with little room to breathe.

“They were able to play swarm defense, they were able to get penetration on Chris [Walsh] and he had no time to throw the ball,” said Deschenes. “They stepped it up and were able to get the job done up front.”

One More Chance: With 3:54 left in the game, Blue Bombadiers got a chance to score and make it a one score game. Quarterback Chris Walsh threw three passes, two to Zach Schweiger for 20 yards and one to Malique Clark for 38, the Hornet defense brought pressure up front and shut down Attleboro’s air show. After two sacks, 4th and 23 didn’t allow Attleboro many options, but they got the ball back on a Shawn Reardon fumble recovery. Unable to convert that, the game three touchdowns away was out of their bombing range.

The Donahue Show: Greg Donahue put on a running drill clinic tonight. Following blocks and filling open gaps quickly, he burst through lineman attempting to arm tackle and running through the secondary and linebacker core trying to grab onto his jersey.

“I knew they were big, much bigger than me, so I had to get my center of gravity low so when they hit me I still had a lot of power to stay and I said ‘stay up, get that extra yard," he said.

During the week at practice is where Donahue hones his running skills. Going up against the toughest competition during the week seems to be paying off for Donahue.

“Danny Gimore nails me and I just stay up. If it wasn’t for him, I’d get tackled easy," he said.

ATL (4-2) 0 7 0 0 --- 7
MAN (5-1) 0 7 6 15 --- 28

Second Quarter
A – JJ Jolaoso 65 fumble recovery (Chris Walsh kick)
M – Greg Donahue 22 run (Mike Hershman kick)

Third Quarter
M – Donahue 5 run (failed kick)

Fourth Quarter
M – Donahue 3 run (Donahue rush)
M – Craig Mallett 102 interception return (Hershman kick)

What We Learned: Week 3

September, 27, 2010

Now that the dust has settled on Week 3 of the Massachusetts football schedule, here’s what we learned from this weekend’s action:

OK, so we were slightly wrong about Xaverian...
Turns out our friends at the Boston newspapers had it right and we had this No. 1-2 thing in the wrong order. Xaverian, on the heels of a 23-20 double overtime instant classic over Brockton, is our new No. 1.

But differences aside, we've all agreed that, man oh man, last Saturday's showdown at the Hawk Bowl was one of the best in the history of the series. And these two teams almost always seem to fight to a seven-point win or four-point defensive stalemate.

The Boxers have plenty of hype this season, and rightly so with the likes of Miami-bound Albert Louis-Jean joined by fellow seniors Ralph Cherry, Paul Mroz, William Carruthers, Trevon Offley and Jacques Janvier. But the Hawks showed plenty of toughness in the win. Junior quarterback Chris Calvanese fought through cramps to orchestrate the comeback win, delivering the game-tying pass to Mike Muir -- who, a few plays prior, separated his shoulder and popped it back in.

Hey, who said Xaverian kids aren't tough?

...But when healthy, Brockton's Trevon Offley is a bull to take down
Mahar's Isaiah Jones put it ever so simply last week in our Q&A: "My coach always says squatting is going to do everything for you."

It's clear after last weekend that the 5-foot-6 Offley abides by a similar mantra. And, as All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew demonstrates every Sunday, leg power with a low center of gravity is a vicious combination.

From the second quarter on, Offley was just a chore to take down. Just when the Hawks had him for a 5-yard loss, he'd rip through an arm tackle, sidestep and shimmy his way back out to the line of scrimmage and then some. Other times, he'd keep his legs churning and drag the pile for an extra two or three yards. Offley, who carried the rock 19 times for 117 yards and all three of Brockton's scores in the loss, had been out with a shoulder injury since the first half of the Boxers' 16-6 season-opening win over Boston College High. But when he's healthy, he's as reliable as they come.

Methuen's offensive line kicks out and kicks off?
Methuen quarterback Cal Carroll emerged as one of the region's toughest playmakers with the Rangers' 36-26 stunner of No. 9 Billerica, but just as impressive was his offensive line. Since losing to Plymouth North, 13-7, in Week One, the guys in the trenches have been blowing teams off the ball. A week and a half ago, they took it to Malden's massive defensive line in the second half en route to a 42-12 win. Last Friday, the guys paved the way to over 200 yards on the ground against the Indians.

Led by seniors Steve DiZazzo and Dan Cormier on the left side, the Rangers' line might not always be the biggest, but they proved that when on the same page, they can bang heads with anybody on a given night.

"Our o-line, they're tough, man," senior wide receiver Raudy Minaya said. "They hit hard, they hit every single play, and we get extra yards. That last (Carroll carry), we got the first down with ease and Cal got the touchdown, that's because of our o-line. We never give up. Up seven, doesn't matter, we need to get up the field and get the first down, and we ended up getting a touchdown with it."

Said head coach Pat Graham, "Offensive line-wise, it was essential to control the clock and to be able to run the ball, and I think our kids did a good job with that."

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Cormier, by the way, has an impressive right leg. After Eric LaCroix kicks the extra point, the Rangers line up in a standard five-and-five kickoff formation, and some may be surprised to see Cormier raising his hand to the officials. But Cormier's got quite the boot, as he routinely blasted it to around the Billerica 5-yard line Friday night, with plenty of hang time.

Gloucester is really that far, at least
Andover, coming off a 38-13 drubbing by the Fishermen, hung 39 points on MVC Small dark horse Tewksbury last Friday, which makes one wonder: just how good is Gloucester?

The Fish's defense, led by linebacker Chris Unis, was touted as a wagon before the team even started up their famous annual summer beach training regimen. The first unit hasn't allowed more than a score from opponents. Meanwhile, the Gilbert Brown-led offense has been explosive, averaging 38.3 points per game.

The rest of the Northeastern Conference, however, hasn't been sitting idly. Revere, led by bulldozing tailback Trae Weathers, is 3-0 for the first time in a while. Cross-town rivals Lynn Classical and Lynn English have also proven adequate to start the season, too.

We'll find out next month how capable the rest of the NEC Large contenders are of unseating the defending Division 1A Super Bowl champs, but for now we'll enjoy the ride.

Key EAC matchups could have bearing on December
Yeah, it’s a little premature, but we can’t help but wonder how a couple of this weekend’s Eastern Athletic Conference games might impact the long-term playoff picture in Division III.

There was a battle of unbeatens on Slocum Road in Dartmouth with Somerset traveling to meet Bishop Stang. The Blue Raiders rolled to a convincing 43-13 win over Stang, riding running backs Jaron Spear and Seth DeMello, who combined for five rushing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, heading north along Rte. 140, Martha’s Vineyard took care of business against Coyle-Cassidy. The Vineyarders escaped with a 41-32 win over the Warriors thanks to quarterback Randall Jette’s 192 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

While it appears that Somerset and the Vineyard control their own destinies in the EAC, we’ll see if Bishop Feehan has anything to say in the situation. It’s hard to figure what the Shamrocks have after losses to Attleboro, No. 18 North Attleborough and Abington — three quality teams. Feehan has two more games out conference, including next week’s out-of-state matchup with Barrington (R.I.), before hosting C-C.

“This is a tough division,” Somerset head coach Nick Freitas said Saturday after his team’s win.

He continued, “Hopefully, we just remain healthy. I think that will be the key.”

Blue Raiders quarterback Alex Ledoux left the game to an injury during the second quarter of Saturday’s game. At the time, Freitas didn’t have information on the severity of Ledoux’s injury.

What was clear was the Blue Raiders’ statement made on the field.

Playing with heavy hearts
Friday night’s Hockomock game between Attleboro and Franklin almost was for not.

Attleboro’s school community woke Friday morning to the news that senior Myles Brastow had died in a motorcycle accident. Hours before the game administrators and coached from the representative schools huddled to discuss whether it was appropriate to hold the game in light of Brastow’s death.

“We talked to the administrators and the coaches to see what they wanted to do with the game,” Franklin athletic director and head football coach Brad Sidwell said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “We certainly understood if they wanted to reschedule the game. But they felt that they wanted to try have a sense of normalcy and have the game like any other Friday night.”

The Blue Bombardiers paid homage to their fallen classmate with a dramatic 20-13 win over the Panthers. Attleboro was led by quarterback Nate Robitaille, who was cleared for the game after suffering a concussion during the previous game against King Philip, and running back J.J. Jolaoso. Robitaille march the Blue Bombardiers down the field on the game-winning drive inside the two-minute warning and Jolaoso punched in the winning score on a 7-yard touchdown run.

"It's a tribute to the kids," Attleboro head coach Kevin Deschenes told Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle after the game. "They had a rough day today, and for these young adults to bounce back after a very traumatic day, losing a friend, I thought they responded very well."

The Franklin football community was also dealing with the loss of one of its own. Longtime Panthers head coach Gerry Leone Sr. passed away last week

“He was a legendary part of Franklin football,” Sidwell said. “I know there are even some parents of current players who played for him and I know the lessons taught to them by coach Leone in high school are things that have stayed with them throughout their lives. That’s the kind of man he was.”

The North Carolina State-bound Knight kicked off the much-hyped Spartans’ ISL title defense in grand fashion, carrying the ball 14 times for 308 yards and two scores in a 36-14 defeat of Milton Academy. We’ve seen 300-yard games before from schoolboy athletes, but on just 14 carries? That averages out to 22 yards a carry, or essentially a first down every time he touched the ball, so in that regard we’ve got to add a shout-out to his offensive line.

Blaise Branch, Sr. RB, Cardinal Spellman – The 6-foot, 200-pound Branch had three scores on the ground and totaled 201 rushing yards on the day, ironically to give his head coach Ron St. George his 201st win, as the Cardinals rolled to a 35-8 win over Carver.

Andrew Coke, Jr. RB, Andover – Coke accounted for all six of the Warriors’ touchdowns in a 39-32 win over Tewksbury to open MVC play. He rushed 30 times for 214 yards and a school record five touchdowns; was 2 of 2 passing for 28 yards, including a 12-yard scoring strike to Brian Miller; and added 65 return yards for 311 all-purpose yards.

Dylan Colarusso, Sr. RB, Weymouth – He carved quite a name for himself following his performance in Friday’s 41-14 win over Milton, carrying 25 times for 262 yards and three scores.

Dave Dubin, Jr. DE, Holliston – For all of the talk of the Panthers’ offensive weapons, it was Dubin’s work on defense that stood out in the 48-24 win over Millis/Hopedale. He had 11 tackles, including five sacks, and contributed to holding the Mohawks to minus-27 yards of offense in the first half.

Randall Jette, Sr. QB, Martha's Vineyard - Jette captained the Vineyarders' Navy-style option offense with 17 carries for 192 yards and five touchdowns in their 41-32 win over Coyle-Cassidy.

Ben Patrick, Sr. RB, Rivers – The Roxbury resident, who ran for over 900 yards in six games last season, continued his good ways with an impressive ISL debut. He carried 20 times for 269 yards and two scores, and also came up with two interceptions, as the Red Wings downed St. Paul’s, 40-18.

Ben Shelton, Sr. QB, Wayland – The Warriors turned a lot of heads with its stunning 36-7 win over highly-ranked Westford, and Shelton was the catalyst. He was 12 of 17 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and carried the ball 11 times for 97 yards.

Jaron Spear, Sr. RB, Somerset - The Blue Raiders asserted their will on the ground in a 43-13 victory over Bishop Stang and Spear headed the charge with 21 carries for 215 yards and four touchdowns.

No. 19 KP steals Attleborough's spotlight

September, 18, 2010

ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – So much for the welcoming party.

Attleborough High made its initial foray into Hockomock League play on Friday night, hosting No. 19 King Philip. As a rude party guest, the Warriors’ intent was to indoctrinate Attleborough to “The Hock” way.

“In the pregame, we talked about showing them what The Hock is all about,” Warriors running back Jim Johnston said.

True to form, King Philip head coach Brian Lee emptied out his cache of weapons at running back, divvying up carries between his acclaimed duo of Chris Cacciola and Charles Ruffin. But it was the less-heralded Jim Johnston who left his mark — or perhaps a bruise as it were — on the Warriors’ 14-0 win over the Bombardiers.

“In most normal circumstances, Jimmy [Johnston] is a tailback,” Lee said. “It’s just one of those things that we have a lot of backs this year.”

Johnston, a 5-11 senior, totaled 11 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. But it was the manner in which Johnston ran in the second half, keeping the ball out of Attleborough’s hands in a tight game, which was more impressive.

After breaking off a 16-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Johnston helped King Philip (2-0, 1-0) play keep-away from the Bombardier offense. He delivered the final blow to Attleboro’s hopes for a comeback with a key 25-yard run on the Warriors’ final drive that bled the clock dry in the fourth.

“I thought we played better defensively in the second half,” Attleboro head coach Kevin Deschenes said, “but they just held onto the ball for long stretches of time and we couldn’t get it back. When we did get it back, we went three-and-out.”

In the second half, Attleborough (1-1, 0-1) was forced to go without the services of quarterback Nate Robitaille, who was shaken up on a play just before halftime. Robitaille left the game after the big collision, which occurred while scrambling out of the pocket, but he returned to start the second half on defense. After a couple of plays, the Bombardiers training staff ruled Robitaille out for the remainder of the game.

“We erred on the side of caution, especially with concussions, you can’t mess around with that,” Deschenes said.

Junior Chris Walsh called the signals for Attleborough in the second half and didn’t fare much better than his predecessor in solving the Warriors defense. The Bombardiers managed only two yards of offense in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, King Philip kept hammering away on the ground.

Cacciola, who took in the Warriors’ first touchdown on a 13-yard run to start the second quarter, finished with 19 carries for 83 yards. Ruffin also got in the fray with 10 rushes for 71 yards.

“Cass [Cacciola] is our leader, no doubt about it,” Johnston said. “He’s played for three years now. We all listen to him when it comes down to it. And Charles [Ruffin] has the breakaway speed.”

With all the pomp and circumstance behind, Lee was focused simply on the fact that his team had secured an ever-important win on the road in the ever-competitive Hockomock.

“It’s a huge win,” Lee said. “Looking at their team on film and seeing all the team speed from the quarterback to the running back; they have a lot of playmakers. We knew it was going to be tough.

“We had a game plan. But did we expect to shut them out? Not exactly.”