Boston High School: Lou Ferrer

What We Learned: Week 9

November, 8, 2011
The knock on Barnstable the last few years has never been that they've been short on talent, but rather they always seemed a year away.

One five-yard touchdown scamper in overtime, from a floppy-haired sophomore named Hayden Murphy, has suddenly changed everything about that perception. Since junior Nick Peabody took over for the injured D.J. Crook at quarterback, the Red Raiders are 3-1, and a point-after field goal in overtime from being 4-0, led by their youth movement on defense and some above-average speed at the skill positions.

All of it came to a head on Friday night in Hyannis, when the Raiders (5-4, 3-0) emerged with a 26-20 overtime win over previous No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham to win the Old Colony League outright and punch their first ticket to the playoffs since 2002.

"I just wanted it so bad for the kids," first-year head coach Chris Whidden said following the game. "They've done so much, so much off the field as a team, and they worked so hard in the offseason, I just felt like they deserved it so much."

The Raiders will face Dual County Large champion Lincoln-Sudbury in a Tuesday night playoff following their Thanksgiving showdown with archrival Falmouth. By all accounts, this figures to go a lot more swimmingly than the Raiders' last appearance, a 42-6 stomping by a St. John's Prep squad that saw two kids go to the NFL, another get drafted 17th overall by the Padres, and another go on to play hockey at Boston University.

This time around, the Raiders have speed in all sorts of places, and smart coach in the young Whidden. Witness the B-R game, in which he made a few tweaks on his defensive line to free up hawking linebackers Andrew Ellis, Bryan Hardy and Ryan Litchman, allowing them to get to the sidelines quicker and contain those outside power sweeps that has been the calling card of the Trojans for so many years.

Offensively, speedsters like Murphy have their best days ahead of them. But just as integral to the turnaround has been the emergence of running back Theo France. We've long mused that, given more carries, the senior will prove his worth. Off the field, France is reportedly a workout warrior; and Friday night, it showed, racking up nearly 160 yards on the ground to keep the Trojans honest.

You might have thought the loss of Preston Cooper would be catastrophic for BC High.

As tight end Jameson McShea put it, "He was our offense."

However, the Eagles have gotten along just fine without Cooper because of Deontae Ramey-Doe's hard-nosed running out of the backfield in the last two weeks. The rangy senior running back put in a huge 206-yard, two-touchdown performance against No. 13 Xaverian at a windswept Viola Stadium on Friday night, powering the Eagles to an important Catholic Conference win.

And, while Ramey-Doe admits he could never hope to replace Cooper, he's understanding his new role as a feature back within the Eagles' offense.

"Coach [Jon Bartlett] has told me that he doesn't expect me to be Preston," Ramey-Doe said after Friday's victory. "I just have to run the way that I know that I can run."

What that means is the Eagles have a versatile runner who's tough enough to run in between the tackles, but also fast enough to run on sweeps to outside behind BC High's hulking line, as they exhibited on Friday night.

"We just want him to run hard," Bartlett said, "and he did that.”

Of course, Ramey-Doe didn't do it alone. He had his biggest fan on the sideline for Friday's game, none other than Cooper, himself. After scoring his first touchdown of the game, Ramey-Doe ran over to Cooper with a high five, saying, "That one's for you."

With Lowell quarterback R.J. Noel working his magic again and wreaking havoc with his arm and his feet, Chelmsford was playing for their lives in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's game at Cawley Stadium. The Red Raiders came back to tie the Lions, 14-14, and for all intents and purposes had gained momentum. Not only had Chelmsford lost the lead, they also lost BC-bound linebacker Tim Joy on the game-tying PAT by Lowell. A bad night had just gotten worse.

Then, the Lions offense took over behind running back Eddie Sheridan (168 yards, 2 TDs).

Chelmsford marched down the field on two straight series and the Lions' defense tightened, including Lou Ferrer's huge fourth-down stop. So the Lions escaped and inched closer to a Merrimack Valley Large title.

"My favorite part of the game is getting that one yard," Sheridan said. "I love it."

Several weeks ago, Needham was in the driver's seat to claim the Bay State's large division title. A few key injuries later and a last-second win by Framingham (22-21) last week and the Carey is ripe for the picking.

Flyers quarterback Greg Finley connected with Mike Stearns on a 4-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining to lift Framingham to an improbable comeback win that's thrown the league race into limbo.

Framingham, Needham and Weymouth now all stand at 6-2 in league play. Needham holds an advantage over Weymouth in their head to head record, but with the loss to Framingham, the Flyers can sneak by with a win over the Wildcats in Framingham Friday night. Meanwhile, Needham hosts Newton North on Friday.

To think of the last time a team besides Natick or Walpole represented the Bay State Conference's Herget division in the playoffs, you have to go all the way back to 2002, when a Kyle Beatrice-led Swampscott squad torched division champ Norwood 51-22 in Division 3. That's a decade-long run that, following Friday night's showdown in Walpole, is about to get longer.

The Hockomock League has Mansfield-North Attleborough. The Dual County League has Acton-Boxboro versus Lincoln-Sudbury. In the Bay State, the premier matchup year in and year out is Natick-Walpole, and this year's installment should be no different.

From Reshaude Goodwin to Billy Flutie to Ryan Izzo and Scott McCummings, the rivalry has always featured premiere Division 1 talent going at it. This year's installment will be more of a youth movement, with a strong junior class leading Walpole's stout defense that hasn't allowed a point since its lone loss of the season, to Needham in Week 7.

Natick, also 8-1, battles Walpole's youth with uber-youth. Their starting quarterback, sophomore Troy Flutie (yes, Darren's kid), is on track for 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing. Their leading receiver, freshman Brian Dunlap, is closing in on 1,000 receiving yards and is one of the state's leaders in touchdown receptions (12). Running back Nick Lee, a junior, is 33 yards short of 1,000.

Of all of the league championships up for grabs on Friday night, one of the most underrated has got to be the one going down in Mashpee, where the Falcons will host No. 19 East Bridgewater in a battle of unbeatens, for the South Shore League's playoff berth.

By now, East Bridgewater's superstar, UNH-bound running back Casey DeAndrade, is a household name for his breathtaking speed. Some have even gone as far as to call him one of the best to come through the league in the last two decades. But flying under the radar has been Mashpee senior running back Jordan Keli'inui.

A patient runner with a long frame, live hips, and a compact yet powerful frame at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he's paved his way to over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, one of the leading scorers in Division 4. (Check out his highlights here)

This could be a high-scoring affair -- even by the down-tempo South Shore League standards.

Recap: No. 6 Chelmsford 28, Lowell 22

November, 6, 2011

LOWELL, Mass. -- Lowell had a chance to tie Saturday night's game with No. 6 Chelmsford late in the fourth quarter and they needed one yard to continue their drive, but that did not occur. Instead, Lions junior defensive lineman Lou Ferrer stuffed Ngaiiva Mason for no gain, giving the Lions the ball back and a chance to go ahead two touchdowns. Despite giving up one more, this defensive stop gave Chelmsford the cushion they needed to ride out the rest of the 28-22 win over its Merrimack Valley Conference rival.

“It was gut check time for us at that point,” Chelmsford head coach Bruce Rich said.

In the third quarter, Chelmsford fumbled the ball on the opening drive and had a three-and-out series while Lowell was able to get on the board with 9:08 left in the third and again on the first play of the fourth quarter, tying the Lions 14-14 and showing signs of a potential upset. Chelmsford then took two straight drives into the end zone, one 4:06 (54 yards) and the other 2:21 (71 yards).

Lowell was able to score with six seconds left to bring them within eight and R.J. Noel’s PAT rush brought it within 6, but a failed onside kick allowed Chelmsford to cruise.

“We’ll take a win,” Rich said. “I don’t care who it is in this league … they’re hard to get.”

The 5-foot-11, 290-pound junior came up with a huge tackle late in the fourth to get the ball back for the Lions, but Rich is used to seeing Ferrer tackle opponents. As a wrestler for Chelmsford, Ferrer has plenty of practice grabbing and slamming guys down to the mat. Rich thinks that he transfers some of those skills well into football.

“Lou plays low,” Rich said. “He’s very, very good in clinches and he knows how to get by people. Again, he plays low, he’s an immovable object, so he kind of spear heads that front line and the other guys are making plays off of him.”

Aside from the usual off sides, pass interference and false start penalties, roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties were flying fairly frequently for both teams.

“The game got a little chippy, there was some extra stuff going on,” Rich said.

When asked if they were discussing chemistry after the play was dead, Ferrer made it clear that the Lions and Red Raiders were not talking about bonds or the periodic table.

“It was a lot of talking back and forth going on after the plays… A lot of penalties on us but we kind of stuck in there and played hard."

Rich was not so convinced that the players were aware of their surroundings due to the energy at Cawley Stadium and chalked it up to adrenaline.

“It was such a physical game; I don’t think the kids heard the whistle every time.”

The Chelmsford offensive line opened up holes late in the fourth quarter to allow running backs Eddie Sheridan and Colby Emanouil the space they needed to get the first down, but in each case on fourth and one, Sheridan and Emanouil got more than they needed. They knew that a one score lead against Lowell wouldn’t be enough to secure the win, so the backs and the linemen gave a little more than expected to pull out the win last night.

“Our line blocked real well tonight,” Rich said. “They bought 7, 8, 9 guys, they were coming all night long. I thought we picked up many of their stunters.”

Sheridan, (2 rushing TDs) appreciates the feeling of getting the ball down the stretch in a tight situation and getting the necessary yardage.

“That’s my favorite part of the game, just getting that yard, I love it.”

Sheridan admitted that like any team, the lineman and the running backs go back and forth with barbs, but when it counts, in the fourth quarter marching down the field, there is no contention in the Lion pride – they are hunting together.

“We’re a family. We play hard and finish hard.”

C (8-1) 0 - 14 - 0 - 14 --– 28
L (5-4) 0 - 0 - 7 - 15 –-- 22

C – Colby Emanouil 15 run (PAT failed)
C – Eddie Sheridan 13 run (Sheridan pass from Emanouil)
L – Gilberto Brown 40 pass from R.J. Noel (Connor McHugh kick)
L – Noel 11 run (McHugh kick)
C – Sheridan 2 run (Charlie Calenda kick)
C – Emanouil 41 run (Calenda kick)
L – Brown 9 pass from Noel (Noel rush)

Joy-ful defense anchors No. 14 Chelmsford

August, 29, 2011
CHELMSFORD, Mass. – The Chelmsford Lions concluded their 2010 season with a victory over rival Billerica, 21-14, on Thanksgiving Day. Chelmsford hopes to build upon that win as they return one of the state’s stingiest defenses led by two time captain and ESPN Boston All-State linebacker Tim Joy.

Joy, a Boston College commit, leads an experienced defensive unit that features 2011 ESPN Boston Preseason All-State defensive end Brett Harrington and a host of fellow seniors, including defensive back Cody Nazzaro, lineman Ryan Decoste and linebackers Corey Everleigh and Joey Christopher.

The No. 14 Lions are coming off of a 7-4 campaign last season and 17-year head coach Bruce Rich knows that he has a dedicated and experienced group led by Joy and his fellow seniors.

“We are excited for Tim Joy and for the Chelmsford High School football family,” said Rich of his senior captain’s commitment to the Eagles. “At the same time we also have a lot of other talented kids coming back.”

The Chelmsford offense will center around senior running back Eddie Sheridan. Sheridan saw split duty at tailback last season and had breakout games in the Lions’ two biggest wins of the season over Andover and Billerica.

“Eddie will be the primary ball carrier,” said Rich. “He has great speed and played very well for us last year in some big games.”

The quarterback position will be manned by senior Colby Emanouil, with fellow senior Pat McLaughlin potentially taking snaps there as well. Emanouil is a dynamic playmaker who lined up all over the field last season at wide receiver, running back, quarterback, and return man for the Lions.

“In my time here this may be the fastest group we have ever had,” said Rich. “We are deep and fast at the skill positions with four guys who run in the 4.5 (40 yard dash) range.”

Consistency and health will be key factors this season for the Lions, who had feature wins over MVC Large champion Andover, Billerica, and Acton-Boxborough last season but suffered numerous injuries to key players on both sides of the ball that factored in on their four MVC losses.

“Like I say every year you cannot rule anybody out in the MVC (Large),” said Rich. “Andover is the defending league champions, Billerica has one of the most explosive players in the history of the league in Nick LaSpada, Central Catholic beat us last year and Lowell also returns a lot of kids.”

With non-league foe Acton-Boxborough and the new additions of BC High and Westford Academy to the 2011 schedule, the Lions should be tested early out of the gate.

Last year: 7-4
Coach: Bruce Rich (17th year, 113-50-2)
Players to watch: Tim Joy, Sr., LB/TE, 6-2, 220 lbs.; Eddie Sheridan, Sr., RB, 5-10, 175 lbs.; Colby Emanouil, Sr., QB/ATH, 5-10, 175 lbs.; Corey Everleigh, Sr., LB/ WR, 5-9, 175 lbs.; Brett Harrington, Sr., DL, 6-3, 205 lbs.; Ryan Decoste, Sr., DL, 5-11, 210 lbs.; Joey Christopher, Sr., LB, 6-1, 185 lbs.; Lou Ferrer, Jr., DL, 6-0, 280 lbs.; Cody Nazzaro, Sr., DB, 5-10, 160 lbs.
Strengths: Team defense, speed.
Weaknesses: Passing game, experience on offensive line.
Outlook: Chelmsford returns an experienced and stout defense led by Joy and a slew of returnees. The return of Harrington on the defensive line and playmaking ability of Everleigh will be pivotal in shutting down the dynamic offenses in the MVC. Chelmsford will have a new starting quarterback as the athletic Emanouil will take over the regular duties after some seeing time at the position last year. The speedy Sheridan, who had a breakout game in a 35-7 win over Andover last season, will be the featured back with the graduation of three year starter and 2010 MVC Offensive MVP Joe Gennaro (Framingham St.) The offense will be fast, athletic and provide game breaking ability in the backfield and receiver positions.