Boston High School: Lance Burlingame

Shriners Football Classic rosters announced

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

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

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


Football, Albert Louis-Jean, BC High, St. John's Prep, Brockton, BB&N, Dartmouth, Andrew Kestenbaum, Liam Porter, Natick, Lynn English, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Gloucester, Tyllor MacDonald, Lincoln-Sudbury, Plymouth North, Xaverian, Everett, Manny Asprilla, Matt Costello, Andover, Central Catholic, Obum Obukwelu, Billerica, Barnstable, Bridgewater-Raynham, Paul Nwokeji, Zach Smerlas, Andrew Siden, Dexter, Ned Deane, Matt Silva, Dracut, Duxbury, Matt Hallisey, Acton-Boxborough, Eric Apgar, Chris Malonis, Lance Burlingame, Joe Colton, Chris Tamasi, Trevon Offley, Oliver Ames, Sean Mayo, Ryan Barrett, Ethan Rayner, Paul McCarthy, Dan Johnson, Trae Musumarra, Xavier Peralta, King Philip, Alec May, Adam Boari, Mike Devin, Tyler Coppola, Ryan Delisle, Nate Cyr, Reading, Brian Bourque, Jeff Covitz, Zach Hayes, Jordan Henderson, Westford, Zach Ingalls, Methuen, Cal Carroll, Mike Harper, Sean Whittaker, Justin Hood, Chris Unis, Jake Giovanucci, Mansfield, Jamel Marshall, Kyle McGuire, Malden Catholic, Will Guinee, Walpole, Salem, Dennis-Yarmouth, Nate Crary, Jordan Shairs, Abington, Tewksbury, Lawrence, Anthony Arcari, Sean Connolly, Cardinal Spellman, Arlington, Holliston, Blaise Branch, Peter Savarese, Connor Fraser, Silver Lake, Somerset, Seth DeMello, Revere, Trae Weathers, Lynn Classical, Martha's Vineyard, Randall Jette, Weymouth, New Bedford, Medway, Rob Barrus, Dave McSweeney, St. Sebastian's, Brian Strachan, Peter Yasi, Bourne, Cohasset, Rockland, Mashpee, Mike Driscoll, Brian Harrington, Whitman-Hanson, Bishop Fenwick, Beverly, Masconomet, Jeff Synan, East Bridgewater, Shawsheen, Norwell, Lowell, Pembroke, Boston Latin, David Conroy, Foxborough, Scituate, Hamilton-Wenham, West Bridgewater, Northeast, Derek Bent, George Kallas, Tyler Park, D.J. Jamieson, James Brao, Ryan Adams, Denis Maguire, Hingham, Thayer Academy, Marblehead, Ben Koopman, Wilmington, Brian Hurley, Shriners Football Classic, James Aloisio, Brendan Casey, Thomas Chub, Mitchell Colley, Anthony Courtouis, Mike Grassa, Tom Meade, Zach Nardone, John O'Connell, Daniel Omorgie, Ony Ramos, Bradley Skeffington, Dave Summiel, Matt Allen, Jack Carrier, Tom Condon, Jake Golden, Mitchell Graziano, William Greene, Ernest Guy, Joseph Hak, North Attleboro, Matt Lockwood, Seekonk, Zach Martin, Jon Page, Kevin Stanton, Ryan Vaughn

Emotional win for No. 19 NB, history for Tarpey

February, 16, 2011

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- Out of frustation, Lance Burlingame delivered a stomp and kick to the basketball after getting called for a traveling violation along the baseline with three minutes to go and his New Bedford Whalers in a tie game with Big 3 rival Brockton. And out the 6-foot-5 senior went from the game, the ensuing technical foul his fifth call of the game.

"It was an emotional game, and emotions took over -- shouldn't have done that," Burlingame said softly. "I shoulda just calmed down and relaxed, taken a deep breath and thought about it."

And, given what has been a turbulent two weeks, and with no other domineering post presence quite like the bruising 260-pounder, maybe that should have spelled demise yet again. Or maybe not.

Cameron Walker turned in some of his grittiest defensive rotations of the season, Jonathan Fortes gave the Whalers the lead for good on free throws, and 5-foot-4 sophomore Rylin Collazo came up with a game-saving steal through a sprawling scrum in the waning seconds, as New Bedford escaped its own gym with a 59-56 win -- head coach Tom Tarpey's first win over the Boxers in his four years at the helm.

"It's been a tough two and a half weeks, it really has," Tarpey said. "We've all gotten tested mentally, but they came together. That's all a coach can ask for. They came together. This group has been together all summer long -- they play with each other, they know each other, they're all friends, this group we have together right now -- and it showed tonight. They stuck together."

Without directly saying it, Tarpey was alluding to an enduring past two weeks that started with an injury to starting junior guard Steve Wynn, continued with an emotional double-overtime loss to Marshfield, and climaxed last week with the reported arrest and jailing of superstar swingman Jules Tavares. Asked about the affect on the team, Burlingame said he feared for his friend.

"I wish the best for Jules, Jules is a close friend of mine," Burlingame said. "I hope he makes it through this situation, and comes back out on the right path, doing something positive with his life."

Yesterday, keeping with the snakebitten theme, Burlingame and Xavier Barros missed practice with the flu, and the Whalers (11-3) practiced with just eight bodies, most of them also battling some type of sickness.

Regardless, the dynamic completely changes for the Whalers herein, no longer relying on gifted athleticism but instead with brute force and precision. Burlingame, an ESPNBoston All-State selection in football, was glad to provide both in this back-and-forth contest, coming down with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) in spite of foul trouble.

Meanwhile, Walker (15 points, six rebounds) and Fortes (18, nine) battled the full 32 minutes, providing key baskets down the stretch, while the pint-sized Collazo (nine points) carried the defensive swagger with his pressure on the ballcarrier.

"These guys dug in. Everyone counted us out when our team changed a little, but we fought back," Tarpey said. "Our man-to-man defense was tremendous tonight. I was planning on probably trying to play zone the whole game, but they started shooting three's so we had to come out of it...and Rylin Collazo got ball pressure on the point guard that, just, everybody fed off of it."

The Whalers took a slim 27-25 lead into the break, and took their largest lead of the night, 38-31, before the Boxers (12-5) battled back to tie it at 40-all headed into the final eight minutes. Shane Sims (12 points, seven rebounds) broke his man off the dribble and launched up an NBA-length, high-arching three that just beat the buzzer.

That led to a back-and-forth final stanza that saw the Whalers pull out all the necessary stops over the final, Burlingame-less 2:55 of regulation.

First, Fortes cut the lead to 56-55 with 1:52 left when he isolated his defender on the right wing, spun, dribbled to the baseline and sunk a 15-footer. He then followed up a minute later with two free throws to pull ahead by one.

Walker was next, scooping up the loose ball after freshman point guard Jonathan Joseph tried to save his errant three inbounds, drawing an immediate timeout from Tarpey with 33 seconds left.

Chaos nearly ensued as the Boxers, clearly looking to foul, couldn't get one, as an attempted half-court trap gave way to a series of loose ball battles all over the floor, before Collazo came up with the ball and, with the open court, laid it in as time expired.

"We set up a play (in the timeout), but I knew they were going to trap half-court," Tarpey said. "We just wanted to move the ball and then get it to Jonathan with about eight seconds left, let him go and try to make a decision."

Surprised with no call?

"Yeah, my coaches are yelling at me to call timeout, but I thought he got fouled so I didn't want to call one and bail them (the Boxers) out," Tarpey said. "And then when they dove on it, and the ball got loose, I said 'Oh boy'. But it worked out. This was an unbelievable win."

Marshfield sinks No. 9 New Bedford in 2OT

February, 5, 2011

MARSHFIELD, Mass. -- It was typical Bob Fisher stuff at halftime.

"He came out on fire," laughed Marshfield sophomore guard Alex White when asked bout the head coach's speech, trailing by 12 at the break. "Just the usual, how he always does it. Motivates us, screams at us, whatever he has to do to get us to win."

"Relentless defense," chimed junior forward Erik Whitaker.

And at the two most crucial points of the Rams' comeback bid against much-hyped No. 9 New Bedford, both answered his call. First, it was the 5-foot-7 White putting back an air-ball three at the buzzer to force overtime. Then in the first overtime, it was Whitaker collapsing to the paint and drawing a charge with four seconds left to force another five minutes. The Rams went up by as much as five in the second and final overtime, and got key free throws down the stretch to ice an 88-86 win over the hamstrung Whalers, prompting the raucous home crowd to storm the court.

"That was a state tournament atmosphere," New Bedford head coach Tom Tarpey said. "You know, it was a great game, great high school basketball game. I'm proud of these kids. We've been through alot in these last two days, and I'm really proud of these kids. Really proud."

New Bedford was also down their top scorer and most dangerous finisher, Division 1 prospect Jules Tavares, who was reportedly suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules the night prior. Tarpey responded "I don't know" when asked about a timetable on Tavares' return.

Meanwhile, Fisher found himself praising his team's defense at the most pivotal turns of the game.

"I thought defense won the game for us," Fisher said. "You look at the scoreboard and you say, 'Jesus, neither team played defense'. But I thought our defense, our pressure, as the game went on, got to them. You're not supposed to be able to press them, but our kids got alot of buckets off the press. And our kids hung tough, even though our best player fouled out."

Yes, after trailing by as much as 15 in the second half, and 55-43 to start the fourth quarter, Barrett Murphy (33 points) led the Rams (11-2) on a furious comeback, as they outscored the Whalers 28-16 in the final frame. Murphy, who totaled 24 points in the second half, pulled up for a three-pointer from the top of the key for a 66-64 Marshfield lead with 1:01 left, to cries of "MVP!" from the student section. He then set up White's heroics by closing the Whalers' lead to 70-69 with another three from the same spot with 20 seconds left.

At the other end, Cameron Walker (20 points, seven rebounds) hit the first of two free throws to give New Bedford (9-3) a 71-69 lead with seconds remaining. Andrew Mackinley scooped up the loose ball, ran the length of the floor, and White was there in perfect position under the hoop to get the airball, tossing it back up and kissing the glass as the buzzer sounded to force overtime.

"I was looking for the pass, I didn't see one and I saw a shot go up," White said. "No one was around me, but I felt someone behind me on my back. So I got the rebound, and just went up hard with it."

Murphy then picked up his fifth foul less than two minutes into the overtime on a blocking call -- "That was a charge, no question," he chuckled later -- and sat on the bench while some of Marshfield's most unsung players turned in their best defensive rotations of the night.

Whitaker came up with his most pivotal rotation in the waning seconds of the first overtime. New Bedford's Jonathan Fortes (22 points, 11 rebounds) took the ball in the halfcourt, and three Whalers stacked the left corner for an isolation play. As the final seconds ticked away, Fortes drove to his right from the top of the key as a crowd of Marshfield players collapsed into the paint. Whitaker planted his feet, and took a hard shoulder as Fortes committed an offensive foul with 4.8 seconds to go.

Asked if he had anticipated a clear-out, Whitaker said, "I knew it was going to be an isolation, and he was going to try and drive and dish it to the kid. But I knew he was going to take one extra step when he put his head down, so I knew I had a chance to step in."

Marshfield went up by as much as five in the second overtime, 86-81, before icing the game with two trips to the free throw line at the end of the game.

Even without Tavares, the Whalers posed matchup problems in the post, especially with 6-foot-5, 260-pound center Lance Burlingame. The bulky but mobile post player, an ESPNBoston All-State selection in football, came up with 21 rebounds to go along with 13 points in the loss, tipping many balls just out of reach of Marshfield players and muscling his way into its grasp.

"That's what we need out of him," Tarpey said. "As long as he stays out of foul trouble, he should do that all game. He had been getting in alot of foul trouble lately, so that was it."

No. 11 Brockton spoils No. 4 NB's Big 3 opener

January, 18, 2011

BROCKTON, Mass. -- You couldn’t fault Brockton coach Bob Boen if his voice sounded a little hoarse after his team’s 88-74 win over Big Three rival New Bedford Tuesday night.

For the entire game, it seemed as if Boen was bellowing out to his players, pleading for them to slow down and play under control. Luckily for the hosts, his players listened, as their poise in the second half led them to an 88-74 win.

Up by six points at halftime, the Boxers (7-2 overall, 2-0 Big 3) fed the post on their first two possession of the third quarter and got five points out of it, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play by junior Jamal Reuben (10 points, nine rebounds). New Bedford never seriously threatened after that, slicing the deficit down to five at one point in the third quarter but never getting closer than nine in the fourth.

“We talked about being a little calmer on offense,” Boen said. “That first half we really didn’t run much. We were lucky; we made some good shots and got some good breaks. Second half we did say we want to calm down, we want to run some plays, get the ball inside and get some shots off the board. That’s exactly what we said at halftime.”

As has been the case in recent years, the Boxers had a balanced scoring sheet with four players hitting double-digits. Senior guard Alain Lenord led the way with 22 points. His 12 fourth-quarter points put any New Bedford (7-2, 0-1) comeback hopes to bed, as he drained a pair of 3-pointers off assists from sophomore point guard Jaylen Blakely (nine points, five assists) and buried all six of his foul shots.

As a team, Brockton made 19-of-23 shots from the charity stripe, while New Bedford struggled at a 15-of-28 clip.

Treace Macklin and Sayvonn Houston (six rebounds, four blocks) each finished with 10 points for the Boxers.

Senior Jules Tavares led the Whalers with 26 points and junior Cameron Walker added 20, but Brockton never allowed the visitors to get comfortable in the half-court set and there were only a handful of uncontested buckets. Senior Lance Burlingame was a force on the glass with 20 rebounds but New Bedford had trouble finishing inside.

As it tends to be when these teams meet up, the game was played at a furious pace, as the teams combined for over 140 shots. But Brockton was simply more efficient, hitting 31-of-70 attempts from the field and 7-of-18 from beyond the arc compared to the Whalers’ 25-of-73 and 9-of-27.

“A lot of bad shot selection,” New Bedford coach Tom Tarpey said. “We haven’t done that all year, even against St. John’s Prep. We didn’t run our offense. It was too much standing around. Guys were just standing around, trying to do it themselves. I think when we faced a little adversity they thought they could take it themselves. We’re too good of a team for that. We’ve got to have everybody touch the ball, have a couple ball reversals. That’s when we’re at our best.”

While the Whalers clearly weren’t, the Boxers were close to it. If they can maintain that level of play through February and March, opposing coaches will be the ones losing their voices.

Mass coaches name All-State football team

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

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

Here's the list of honorees:


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

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

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

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

Defensive line

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

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

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

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving football leftovers

November, 27, 2010
No. 21 New Bedford's worst fears were realized in the first quarter against Durfee. Although mired in a scoreless tie, the Hilltoppers carried play early behind their Wing-T attack and running back Keith Omosefunmi. Things only got worse when Whalers offensive and defensive lineman Lance Burlingame when down with a meniscus injury on a defensive play in the first quarter. Durfee later scored the first touchdown of the game, but New Bedford got it right back on the ensuing kickoff with Nate Lewis' 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Although the Whalers had to mix and match their line, New Bedford was more efficient on offense in the second half. The line provided ample time for junior quarterback Myles Medeiros to throw and created the lanes in which running back Phito Gondre could run. Darian Sousa-Bizarro moved over from guard to left tackle in Burlingame's absence and Tyler Ollivierre filled in at left guard, showcasing New Bedford's depth on the line. Ollivierre was also instrumental in clogging up the middle at defensive tackle.

"The way Coach [Dennis Golden] runs practices, all the linemen get time to practice," Medeiros told Scott Barboza on Thursday, "so when somebody goes down we have the confidence that the next guy can get the job done."

However, the Whalers might miss Burlingame more on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to Tuesday's Division I semifinal playoff game against St. John's Prep. Burlingame was dominant in New Bedford's Big Three win over Brockton in neutralizing Boxers running back Trevon Offley. The same could be said for the Eagles' physicla offensive line and speedy running back Tyler Coppola.

"We're just taking it one game at a time and one day at a time," Medeiros said. "We got to where we wanted to be. We're Big Three champions. Now, we'll focus on what comes next."


The St. John’s Prep offensive line is becoming somewhat legendary. Besides from opening up holes, they also escort their running backs down the field for touchdowns.

“Those are the plays that you get pumped for,” said Dan Culkeen, a 5’11’’, 252-pound senior. “As a lineman, you don’t get much glory, but those are the plays that people will see. I’m out there leading my best friend Tyler, and he does his thing. I get one block and he’s gone.”

The quarterback draws worked well for St. John’s, running them through almost every hole on the line, to the point that it seemed that Tommy Gaudet was just looking to run through an open space, but that wasn’t the case.

“We’re not a read team,” Gaudet said. “On the option we are, but mostly we’re running where we’re blocking. We try to move it up and down the line...get them to where they’re not comfortable in their defense. We were just trying to make it hard for them.”

“Every lineman on our team is All-Conference,” lauded Gaudet. “No matter what hole we run to, it’s the same. They’re all unbelievable at what they do.”

Dracut turned in one of its best defensive performances of the season during Thursday’s 19-12 triumph over No. 6 Methuen, which entered the contest averaging 31.6 points per game.

The Middies held the Rangers to 268 yards of total offense, but 105 of those 268 yards came on two plays – a 58-yard pass from quarterback Cal Carroll to Eric Lacroix, and Ryan Savastano’s 47-yard run.

“They got a couple of big plays, but they didn’t really drive the ball against us,” Dracut head coach Jason Houston said. “We wanted to stop the run. We felt that was the key, and we did a pretty good job of doing that.”

Dracut came up with three turnovers, including two interceptions in the second half.

Savastano, who entered the game with 1,225 yards rushing, was held to 75 yards on eight carries. The Middies (8-3) had surrendered at least 21 points in six of their other 10 games.

“It was one of the better defensive efforts I’ve seen in a while,” Houston said.

The victory gave Dracut a 26-19-3 edge in its series with Methuen, which dates back to 1963.


Malden senior Aaron Samano, the team's captain and a humanitarian (literally) off the field, was rewarded for his dedication on Thanksgiving morning in a unique way only befitting for a 6-foot-1, 300-pound nose tackle -- with the rock.

On the Golden Tornadoes' opening drive of their 29-0 win over storied archrival Medford, with the ball at the Mustangs' one yard line, head coach Joe Pappagallo called for a "tackle right", one of their standard plays, only with Samano as the ballcarrier. Samano admitted he was nervous at first when quarterback Kevin Valley came into the huddle with the call.

"It was almost like, I can't believe he's actually calling this right now," said the humble lineman, affectionately called "Big A" by his teammates. "I never thought it would come so early in the game, that we'd open up with it. I didn't want to let anyone down, so I held the ball as tight as I could."

Samano followed his blockers left, then took a reverse pivot and plunged right for the one-yard score, and then celebrated his score with a LaDainian Tomlinson-style flip of the ball and jumping around with his teammates.

"I was excited, I was fired up," Samano said. "It felt great to actually score a touchdown, after four years of blocking, then to actually run one in, it just feels great."

After a slew of preseason hype, the 2010 season was a disappointing one for the Tornadoes, who finished 5-5 and 3-1 in the Greater Boston League. But things are just heating up for Samano, who is being recruited by several Division 1 schools, including Harvard and Duke.


Flashback #1: It was two years ago, when Longmeadow traveled to East Longmeadow riding a state-best 47-game win streak into Thanksgiving Day weekend 2008. Longmeadow was trailing 16-13 but rallied behind junior quarterback Conor Hobert on a drive in the final minutes.

The game came down to a Longmeadow fourth down with 19 seconds left, when Hobert lobbed up a pass from around 20-yards out to Niko Sierra. Sierra dove for the ball but was covered well by East Longmeadow’s Dave Fraboni. Fraboni swatted the ball down in the end zone, and EL upset Longmeadow in thrilling fashion.

2010 implications: Sophomore Austin Sierra, younger brother of Niko, recovered a fumble in the end zone to upend the Spartans 13-7 in overtime on Thanksgiving. The fumble was recovered in about the same spot in the end zone (in front of the right side goal post) where Fraboni knocked down Hobert’s pass in 2008.

The fumble recovery won the AA conference title for the Lancers.

“I just saw it drop and all I was thinking was, ‘jump on it!’” Austin laughed about after the game. “I think it was great, kind of a hard game and we just came out with the win.

“Defensively we did great, offensively, well -- we had a couple of fumbles.”

The Lancers did have several fumbles but only one was recovered by East Longmeadow. It’s safe to say that the Lancers will be alright if Austin keeps picking up the mistakes like he did on Thanksgiving.

Flashback #2: Longmeadow had not lost a home game since 2004, and to lose to East Longmeadow would compound the pain. The Lancers had gone up 21-19 over the Spartans on Thanksgiving but were crossing their fingers on a 45-yard field goal that could win the game for EL.

EL’s Ray Holloway was well short on the field goal (which was pushed back after an intentional grounding call on the previous play) and took the brunt of the blame for the loss after time expired.

2010 implications: Holloway had a chance at redemption. After his team cut up the Longmeadow defense in the fourth quarter. EL was looking to take the lead 10-7 with 18 seconds left. Instead of going for the end zone though, coach Scott Raymond wanted to play it safer with a field goal attempt. He called a timeout, and the team ran a belly to the left to center the ball between the hashes.

Raymond then called another timeout and after a Longmeadow timeout, Holloway stepped up to the plate again. It is hard to imagine that in a rivalry so close and intense, a circumstance would present itself in such similar circumstances two years in a row.

The crowd hushed as Holloway’s kick was pushed well right and short of the goal posts, and Longmeadow survived an epic defensive collapse. The Lancers then seized momentum stopping EL first in overtime and then scoring afterwards.

After the game, it was a tough scene as Holloway and his co-captains let their emotions show on the field. When the fans cleared from East Longmeadow High School, almost 10 minutes had gone by and Holloway was still going over the kick in his mind standing in the same spot.

“You hate to lose the way we lost at the end here, but what are you going to do?” Raymond said after the game.

“I hate to see them hurt. I hate to see them hurt as bad as they are right now,” “Especially a kid like Ray…its an awful lot to put that pressure on a kid two years in a row.”

No one can blame Raymond for the call. No one can blame Holloway for the kick.

Holloway played his heart out on Thanksgiving even if the numbers didn’t show it. He was an integral part of a defense that shut down the number one offense in Western Mass, and a top-15 offense in the state.

Holloway is a stud running back, emotional leader, and certainly in contention for the Daegenais, Bertelli and WMass Player of the Year Award.


Longmeadow coach Alex Rotsko and East Longmeadow coach Scott Raymond both run the Wing-T offense. Both coaches are sticklers for leverage, positioning, timing and execution, and around Western Mass, anyone can tell you that neither call “sexy” plays.

However their bland running styles took a turn on Thanksgiving and both debuted some new additions. In fact, both even showed off an inside shovel pass -- which is uncharacteristic of the Wing-T disciples. East Longmeadow actually brought out a Wildcat set, early in the second half, and used an empty backfield to spread the field on their fourth quarter drive.

“We were trying some different things, but its just that they played so tough,” Raymond said. “…it was pretty good football.”

“I don’t think you could ask for two more evenly matched teams at this point,” Raymond said. “Both teams are the best in Western Mass and they’re so competitive -- you can’t deny that it’s been exciting.”

“Our defense played really well -- except for the last series of the game,” Longmeadow senior Jeff Anderson said. “Our teams run identical offense so we know the insides and outs of them. So we knew basically it was going to come down to who was going to make plays.”

“We couldn’t establish anything with the inside run game or the outside run game,” Rotsko said. “They were just pressing the line of scrimmage.”

Both coaches will have to rally their teams back into shape quickly. The first playoff game is set for Tuesday and both teams are hoping for super bowls this year. After the game Rotsko’s team was very somber during the post game speech listening to the coach intently.

However when asked about the speech Rotsko paused, and then answered: “I actually don’t remember what I said,” Rotsko said with a laugh.

Coaches, players and families were caught up in the emotion across the state on Thanksgiving Day 2010, and it was surely one for the ages.

Perseverance key to New Bedford's Big 3 title

November, 25, 2010

NEW BEDORD, Mass. – It’s strange to think that the seeds for New Bedford’s Big Three conference-clinching win, 21-7, over Durfee on Thanksgiving Day were sewn in a time when they were 1-3, in a game that they lost, and by a player that very well could have viewed his coach’s decision as a demotion.

Before the Whalers’ bout with Barnstable in Week 4, head coach Dennis Golden made a quarterback change. He moved senior captain Nate Lewis out from under center to wide receiver and, in his place, junior Myles Medeiros took the snaps.

Medeiros lost his first start to the Red Raiders, but something was different from then on.

“We started out 1-4 and we had a lot of doubters and a lot people who didn’t believe in us,” Lewis said. “But we just believed, believed, believed. When we were watching film, we knew we had a lot of talent on this team. We just got stronger as a team every single day going forward.”

The Whalers’ momentum grew by the week. They rattled off three straight wins before delivering a shocking upset of Brockton, the first time they’d beaten the Boxers since 1999. All that was left was for New Bedford was to follow through on its first Big Three title since 2001 in the centennial edition of the Thanksgiving rivalry.

It was fitting that Lewis and Medeiros were again the driving motion behind the Whalers' triumph over the Hilltoppers.

“Not many kids would have or could have handled it the way Nate [Lewis] did,” New Bedford head coach Dennis Golden said, “and this championship is a result of him doing that. If he didn’t do that, we were dead as a team.”

After Durfee (3-8, 0-2) opened scoring with Tresley Dupont’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:50 remaing in the first half, Lewis wasted little time getting it back.

Hilltoppers head coach Robb McCoy called for an angled squib on the ensuing kickoff. Lewis fielded the kick on a hop at the Whalers’ 28-yard line and gained the edge on Durfee’s coverage unit. With only one Durfee defender left to beat, Lewis hurdled over the lunging would-be tackler and sprinted the rest for a 72-yard return.

Although Durfee had controlled the ball for 14:30 in the first half, they were all square, 7-7, at half.

“I saw the kid going down, so I decided to go up and was lucky enough to score,” Lewis said. “That was a great feeling.”

Meanwhile, McCoy had a familiar sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Oh, man,” he said, letting a big long sigh in the process. “I couldn’t have walked out there and put the ball in a better spot. We just didn’t spread out enough [on coverage] and their kid made a great play.”

New Bedford (6-4, 2-0) looked to strike on its first possession of the second half, after forcing the Hilltoppers three-and-out. However, Jake Brown picked off a Medeiros pass in the end zone to stall the drive.

The Whalers broke the stalemate with 7:47 remaining on Izaiah Baretto’s 1-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a pair passes from Medeiros (11 of 18, 155 yards) to Lewis.

Their chemistry has now been well established.

“Honestly, we just became more of a team,” Medeiros said of the Whalers’ turnaround. “When we started winning, after the Barnstable game, when I had my first start, we started to bond. We became a real family and that’s what we stress. We come in and when we see people walking down the hall in school, we give each other a hug because we’re family. I love every single one of those kids.”

Phito Gondre added an insurance score on a 15-yard carry, marking his seventh straight game with a touchdown.

Durfee wouldn’t go quietly, however, as Keith Omosefunmi (22 carries, 122 yards) continued to pound the ball and McCoy pulled out some football favorites from yesteryear.

In addition to throwing in Wildcat wrinkles into the Hilltopper offense, McCoy started one fourth-quarter drive with three consecutive swinging gate plays, with Omosefunmi taking the snaps. There was also a Muddle Huddle thrown in.

“It’s one of those things,” McCoy said, “with the extra week of practice, you’re able to do more stuff like that.”

McCoy certainly went out with a bang, as it was reported after the game that he had informed the school of his resignation, making his indoctrination into the 119-year rivalry his final turn as well.

“It was awesome, especially with what was on the line this year. It was awesome. It was fun. I’m proud that I was able to be a part of it. I’m proud that I was able to be a part of the 100th anniversary game and I’m proud of the kids, I really am.”

New Bedford also endured the loss of offensive and defensive tackle Lance Burlingame to a meniscus injury suffered in the first quarter.

It was a just another setback that the Whalers had to overcome this season.

“I’m always going to lead this team that best I can,” Lewis said. “I never doubted this team and I know we could do it.”

The Whalers will face Catholic Conference champion St. John's Prep on Tuesday in the Division I playoffs.

Durfee 0 7 0 0 -- 7
New Bedford 0 7 0 14 -- 21

Second quarter

Durfee Tresley Dupont 3-yard run (Cory Burns kick)
New Bedford Nate Lewis 72-yard kickoff return (Justin St. Pierre kick)

Fourth quarter

New Bedford Izaiah Baretto 1-yard run (St. Pierre kick)
New Bedford Phito Gondre 15-yard run (St. Pierre kick)

What We Learned: Week 10

November, 15, 2010
This past October 30, two Texas high school football teams combined for 165 points in a battle for playoff position, with Jacksonville High defeating Nacogdoches High, 84-81, in the 12th overtime. According to KLTV, the Tyler, Texas-based ABC affiliate covering the game, that set a national record.

If all that's true, then what went down last Friday night at Cawley Stadium is a national record. Andrew Coke ran for eight touchdowns for Andover to lead the Golden Warriors to an 88-82 victory over Lowell in the eighth overtime. Meanwhile, Raiders quarterback Kyle Edwards threw for eight touchdown passes in the loss, four of them to Josh McGlauflin.

The Red Raiders had an opportunity in the eighth overtime to score, but were stopped inches short of the goal line on a fourth-and-three play. The game was tied at 28 after regulation, and the teams traded touchdowns in seven straight overtime periods -- including six straight successful two-point tries by either side -- before Coke marched in from 10 yards out on the Golden Warriors' first play of their eighth-overtime possession.

"I've never seen anything like that," Andover head coach E.J. Perry told ESPNBoston's Scott Barboza. "It was a tremendous accomplishment by this team to put it all on the line. Now we'll have the chance to play with all the marbles on the line against Central Catholic on Thanksgiving Day. It's been a great honor to coach kids like this that are so resilient.

"But I give a lot of credit to those Lowell kids as well. I went over to talk to them after the game and I told them that they had nothing to be ashamed of."

With that win, the Warriors have set up a winner-take-all battle with Central Catholic on Thanksgiving for the Merrimack Valley Large's playoff berth. But it's a pyrrhic victory, as Boston College-bound tight end Brian Miller went down with a knee injury in the first half; his status for Thanksgiving is unknown right now.

"No real update right now," Perry told correspondent Roger Brown in his recruiting blog today. "Brian was not able to get an MRI over the weekend. The orthopedist who was on hand was somewhat optimistic it wasn't an ACL, but without an MRI there now way to know for sure. He's getting that [Monday]."

Paul Funk arrived at Dennis-Yarmouth in 2001, fresh off a successful stint as an assistant at storied Everett, to find a Dolphins program so barren that it had relegated itself to junior varsity status. D-Y faced problems not only with numbers, but with plain old futility -- the Dolphins had won just six games in the 1990's.

Fast forward to Friday night, and the Dolphins are staring at their second Atlantic Coast League title in four years, thanks to a gritty 14-7 win over Plymouth North.

"In nine years, this is what we've got, and I'm pretty proud of that," Funk told ESPNBoston's Brendan Hall. "It's alot of hard work from alot of people."

It was the usual recipe to success for the Dolphins, with linebackers Tommy Kennedy and Victor Andrade leading a swarming defense that marked hard-nosed fullback Matt Walsh all night and kept the Eagles' vaunted running game stalled in first gear. Meanwhile, Matt Montalto wasn't putting up video-game numbers as usual, directing Funk's high-octane spread attack, but he was good enough in the second half, running and throwing for a touchdown each.

Montalto now joins his brother, Nick, as quarterbacks to lead the Dolphins to a share of the ACL.

"He is as good a competitor, as a winner, as you'll ever find," Funk said. "He's been a winner since he was seven. You always have a chance with him at the helm. His older brother was the same way, (Matt's) just an unbelievable person."

As for that elusive playoff berth...

With the league slates of both D-Y (9-1, 4-1) and Marshfield (5-4, 4-1) wrapped up, fate lies in the hands of North (7-3, 3-1), which has one ACL game left -- Thanksgiving archrival Plymouth South (4-6, 2-2). A North win on Thanksgiving creates a three-way tie for the ACL, and would give the playoff berth to the team that has gone longest without making the playoffs -- in this case D-Y, which has never played past the holiday in the Super Bowl era.

You can be rest assured the Dolphins will be scoreboard-watching on this one. This same scenario played out in 2007, when they went 10-1 but with a loss to Marshfield needed a North win on Thanksgiving to create a three-way tie. South took down North in what was considered a big upset, and the Rams went on to the Division 1A Super Bowl before bowing to Chelmsford on a late field goal.

New Bedford could've let its boat sink after suffering four straight losses to start the season, however Dennis Golden's squad righted ship with four wins entering Saturday's matchup against Brockton. Then, the Whalers did the unthinkable, upsetting the Boxers, 23-21.

"Well, we've been much better in the last month than we were in the first month," Golden told Scott Barboza on Sunday. "I'm really proud of the way that our kids have battled back when they very easily could have let things slide."

Now, New Bedford can clinch a Division I playoff berth with a win over Durfee on Thanksgiving Day.

The Whalers jumped ahead of the Boxers, 14-0, at halftime and never trailed in the contest. To close out the win, New Bedford embarked on a 20-play drive, spanning eight minutes and forty seconds of the fourth quarter. Although the Whalers didn't score, Brockton got the ball back with only five seconds remaining, scant time for the Boxers to get a game-winning score.

"Our offensive line was amazing on that final drive," Golden said. "They were just amazing and that was huge for us, keeping the ball out of the hands of their offense at the end of the game."

The Somerset sideline dumped the water bucket over head coach Nick Freitas' with around 30 seconds remaining.

Still, Freitas wasn't about to go Gore v. Bush on calling his team's number in the Eastern Athletic Conference race.

"I didn't feel safe until it was down to point-six second left on the clock there," Freitas said after the Blue Raiders' 49-28 win over Bishop Feehan on Friday.

The Shamrocks once again proved that the EAC runs through them, despite losing their first five games of the season. Feehan won when it counted, taking their first three EAC contests before falling to Somerset.

And the Blue Raiders weren't about to look past their opponent.

"That's all we could think about this year," lineman Ian Levesque said Friday about their matchup with Feehan. "We knew it was going to come down them in our last [conference] game. We knew we had to be ready for them. We had a hard week of practice. We watched extra film. We knew it was going be that tough."

The Whalers line of Jason Brierly, Lance Burlingame, Janny Dosreis, Jacob Medeiros, Oliver Pires and Darian Sousa-Bizarro carried New Bedford in its upset over Big Three rival Brockton.

Andrew Coke, Jr. QB/RB, Andover - The leading scorer in Division 1 added immensely to his already-impressive totals by scoring eight touchdowns in the Golden Warriors' 88-82, eight-overtime win over Lowell.

Matt Costello, Sr. WR, Everett - The senior had another tremendous day receiving in the Crimson Tide's 45-0 win over rival Malden, making eight catches for 195 yards and three scores.

Seth DeMello, Sr. RB, Somerset - He provided the biggest spark in the Blue Raiders' 49-28 win over Bishop Feehan to clinch their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era, carrying 20 times for 245 yards and scoring six touchdowns (four rushing, two passing).

Ryan Lipka, Sr. WR, Bishop Fenwick - With six catches in the first half of a 36-0 loss to St. Mary's last Friday, Lipka became the first player in the state of Massachusetts to catch more than 100 balls in a season.

Quinton Perkins, Jr. ATH, Fitchburg - The versatile speedster was vicious on the ground for the Red Raiders, carrying the ball 17 times for 278 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-33 shootout win over Gardner.

Andreas Robinson, Soph. QB, Phillips Exeter - In a 56-33 win over archrival Phillips Andover, Robinson ruled the day with 297 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries.

Upset of the year in Brockton

November, 13, 2010
Say hello to your new Big 3 champion...?

New Bedford landed the knockout punch of the year with an eight-minute fourth quarter drive that iced a 23-21 win over longtime league and state powerhouse Brockton, clinching them a share of their first Big 3 Conference title since 2001.

Senior offensive/defensive lineman Lance Burlingame had the game of his life, coming up with a sack and a slew of quarterback pressures, and paving big holes all afternoon for senior Phito Gondre (26 carries, 107 yards, TD). Junior wide receiver Marcel DePina (130 all-purpose yards) scored the biggest haymaker of the afternoon in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 64-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Myles Medeiros (12 of 18, 185 yards) to make it 23-15.

Paul Mroz (7 of 13, 133 yards) answered back with a six-yard scamper to close it to 23-21 with eight minutes left. But on the two-point conversion attempt, senior running back Trevon Offley (14 carries, 150 yards, 2 TD) was stuffed short of the goal line.

The Whalers then put together an eight-minute, forty-five second drive behind steady runs from the speedy Gondre, marching all the way to the Brockton 15 before turning the ball over on downs with under a minute to go.

New Bedford now heads into its Thanksgiving Day matchup with archrival Durfee with playoff implications on the line. A loss to the visiting Hilltoppers would create a three-way tie for first in the Big 3; league tiebreaker rules give the playoff berth to the team that has gone the longest without making a playoff appearance, which would grant the berth to Durfee. However, league rules also stipulate that a team must have above a .500 winning percentage to be eligible, which does not qualify Durfee at 3-7 but would qualify the 5-4 Whalers.


NB 5-4 1-0
Brock 8-2 1-1

NB 14 0 3 6 23
BR 0 0 15 6 21

First Quarter
N - Phito Gondre 2 run (Justin St. Pierre kick)
N - Izaiah Baretto 5 run (St. Pierre kick)

Third Quarter
B - Trevon Offley 74 run (Ralph Cherry pass from Austin Roberts)
N - St. Pierre 26 field goal
B - Offley 30 run (Lucas Depina kick)

Fourth Quarter
N - Marcel DePina 64 pass from Myles Medeiros (kick failed)
B - Paul Mroz 6 run (rush failed)

Whalers look to grab season by the tail

August, 27, 2010
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – When New Bedford High football head coach Dennis Golden talks about his team’s accomplishments last year, he is both philosophical and emotional. He is earnest when he talks and could convince any player to suit up for his team.

So it wasn’t lost on the Whalers’ sixth-year coach what his team really did in finishing 6-4-1 — the best record of Golden’s tenure — in 2009.

“They believe they can do well now,” Golden said. “The expectations have been pushed higher. We’re looking at it from a different view. Doing well is a habit and you always want it to be a habit. The belief in oneself and the belief in one’s team is huge.”

He also realizes there is no guarantee the strides his team made last year will be carried through to a new year. With only four returning starters on either side of the ball, Golden knows the Whalers have their work cut out for them.

But, with a newfound positive mentality, his players are setting their sights on the next step.

“It definitely gives us a lot more confidence the way we turned things around last year,” senior quarterback Nate Lewis said. “But last year’s in the past. We’re going to work as a team to move forward. We’re taking it one step at time and going at it day by day.”

For what New Bedford may lack in experience this year, it does have the luxury of pulling from a deep pool of athletes. Nearly every position is manned by a member of the Whalers track and field team. Their athleticism is apparent while watching the players operate in New Bedford’s spread offense.

The flashes of speed are not only limited to the skill positions. While running wind sprints that culminated Friday’s practice at the high school, it was 6-foot-5, 250-pound tackle Lance Burlingame that was pacing his teammates. He’s attracted the attention of Division I schools, such as BC and UMass Amherst, because of his athleticism.

That doesn’t mean that Burlingame rested on his laurels this summer.

“I worked on my conditioning and I ran a lot more. I tried to improve on my footwork, getting out of my stance quicker.”

That work ethic permeates the Whalers roster. Lewis devoted much of his offseason to working on his footwork with New Bedford’s coaching staff. Last year’s success has been the impetus to continue to improve and keep a good thing going.

“Winning is good,” Burlingame said, cracking a little smile. “Now, we just want to continue on that path and keep up the good work. Hopefully, we’ll continue to do that and have another successful season.”

So will things finally get a little bit tighter in the Big Three?

“We’re focused on the first game right now and nothing beyond that, we’ll take it from there,” Golden said. “The larger picture is that we’d like to learn how to win in the Big Three, consistently. We want to do that and that’s certainly a goal. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

2009 record: 6-4-1 (1-1 Big Three)
Coach: Dennis Golden (sixth year, 43-58-1)
Players to watch: Lance Burlingame, Sr., LT/DE, 6-5, 250 lbs.; Nate Lewis, Sr., QB, 5-10, 165 lbs.; Phito Gondre, Sr., RB/S, 5-10, 165 lbs.; Izaiah Barretto, Sr., RB/DB, 5-8, 150 lbs.; Jaraud Wood, Jr., WR/LB, 5-101, 165 lbs.; Janny Dosreis, Sr., RT/DL, 6-2, 255 lbs.
Strengths: Team speed, athleticism at skill positions, team chemistry.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience.
Outlook: Golden’s offensive philosophy is simple: Get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and watch them go. And the Whalers have the horses in their spread offense to do it. Running back Phito Gondre is one of the elite sprinters in the state and has placed at New England Regionals in each of the last two years. One thing to watch is how sophomore Miles Medeiros could push Lewis at quarterback as the season progresses. On defense, it will all come down to how fast the young Whalers can learn the playbook in their 4-3 scheme. “We want to be able to be confident in our reads and then just play with the speed that we have,” Golden said.