Boston High School: Malcolm Brown-Simpson

Recap: Swampscott 33, Lynn English 19

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
8:41
PM ET


SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. -- Lynn English football head coach Peter Holey put it bluntly that turnovers not only kill football teams.

“They kill football coaches, too,” Holey added.

And so there was no way to look past the Bulldogs’ six turnovers as their undoing in a 33-19 loss at Swampscott on Saturday. Despite drawing even with the Big Blue for a time during the third quarter, Lynn English’s miscues had a multiplying effect, letting Swampscott’s spread offense get into rhythm.

“I thought when we threw the pick and they tied it up, 12-12, our guys really bore down,” Big Blue head coach Steve Dembowski said. “I thought Mike Walsh was stronger in the second half than the first, somewhat [like] last year.”

After throwing a pick-six to Lynn English's Malcolm Brown-Simpson to open the third quarter, Walsh rebounded to lead Swampscott on three scoring drives, with the Brown commits scoring once with his feet and throwing for another two touchdowns.

A sloppily played first half rife with penalties and (you guessed it) turnovers meant both teams weren’t able to establish much by the way of offensive momentum. But Swampscott (4-0) clung to a 12-5 halftime lead after Walsh found his favorite target, wide receiver A.J. Baker on an 11-yard touchdown pass.

In the second half, Big Blue had its opportunistic defense to thank for several scores and good field position. Defensive back Aiden Lang recovered two key fumbles, thwarting promising Bulldogs drives and setting up Swampscott scoring drives.

“We go over all week that we need to get turnovers,” Lang said. “Joe DeSalvo had one and Frank Legere had a pick and a couple of kids had forced fumbles. But it was basically a team effort throughout the week.”

FAMILIAR FACES, FAMILIAR SCHEMES
There is much in common in the offensive schemes run by both Dembowski and Holey. So Saturday’s matchup was a little bit like boxing against your shadow.

“It’s the same way we see it against Lynn English in practice,” Holey said. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect them to do.”

Add to the equation that Lynn English senior quarterback Jermaine Kelly started his high school career at Swampscott before moving across the town line, so Big Blue was more than familiar with the quarterback’s tendencies.

“It’s always nice getting to practice against a spread because our scout team knows what they’re doing,” Lang said. “We knew Jermaine’s cadence so we could figure out when to move and stuff, so it helps.”

Lining up against a spread team plays into Big Blue’s strengths with a host of athletic players on the second and third tier of the defense. But, more than that, Swampscott’s defensive line was able to keep Kelly, who can make plays happen with his feet as well and is a hard-to-tackle runner in the open field, in check for the most part.

“They run a lot of the same stuff that we do [offensively], so we were prepared,” said Walsh, who also plays at safety. “[Defensive backs] Coach [Peter] Bush prepared us the whole week for this offense. It really started up front though, Mike Wynne, Patrick Sheehan. Joe DeSalvo and Mark Lausier got penetration the whole day and the linebackers filled the gaps.”

The familiarity paid off.

“We thought we had a great game plan going in against them, for the most part,” Dembowski said. “I thought we did a good job except for when we went into a little bit of a prevent there. Our defense, overall, was awesome today.”

FRIENDLY RIVALRY
Even after beating up on each other all afternoon, a host of Swampscott players took extended time to talk with and extend best wishes to Kelly following the contest, including a hug from his former head coach.

But, in between the lines, friendship was put aside.

“I’ve talked to Jermaine a lot and he’s still a friend of mine,” Lang said. “But it meant a little bit more [to beat him].”

What We Learned: Week 1

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
6:01
PM ET
The best and brightest from a helter-skelter Week 1 of MIAA football:

A RAM-BUNCTIOUS UPSET
Catholic Memorial plummets 15 spots to No. 19 after getting shut out 24-0 at Marshfield, and today there is undoubtedly some intense conversation going down on Baker Street. But to totally make the story about the heavily-favored Knights failing to get out of first gear is to forget what a well-coached team Marshfield is.

As we predicted last Thursday, this was going to be a bad matchup for the Knights. The talk at CM is often centered around its four BCS commits in Armani Reeves, Cam Williams, A.J. Doyle and Donovan Henry, while the line is considered a weakness in spite of its size.

Let's not forget that Marshfield is one of the South Shore's more historic programs over the last two decades (Sean Morey, Austin Giles, anyone?). For as long as we can remember, Lou Silva has been running an unorthodox Wing-T scheme and has always been strong in the trenches. Think back 10 years ago when Sean Morris was the Rams' feature back, and remember that every starter on that line went on to earn a college scholarship. Like those gritty Acton-Boxborough squads of the early 2000s, year after year the Rams' emphasis has been on beating you at the point of attack not with size, but speed.

For the Knights, who have garnered a lion's share of preseason hype the past few seasons, a hard lesson was learned. Games are still won on grass, not paper.

BE ON GUARD FOR ST. PETE
St. Peter-Marian debuts in the poll this week at No. 23 after scoring one of the more significant victories west of I-495 traveling up to Crocker Field and taking down a Quinton Perkins-less Fitchburg squad, 20-6. Those in the know will tell you it's far from an upset.

Could we be headed for a return to the golden era of Jerry Azumah, Ricky Appiah and the late legendary coach Owen Kilcoyne? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Still, the Guardians certainly have some talent that is blooming late, but worth your consideration.

Senior defensive end Jordan Knowles is a force coming off the edge at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, able to overpower with a bull rush but also come across the face with a shifty swim move. He racked up two sacks and nine tackles in the loss, and barring injury could end up with 12 to 15 this season. Meanwhile, the Guardians were stout in the secondary, with Roosevelt Westbrook, Tyler Kmon, and Jonathan Harrigan all coming up with a pick each. Tre Watson, a star during basketball season, is another key cog.

But the sleeper of the bunch might be senior quarterback Steve Flynn, who threw for 240 yards and two scores, and also led the way defensively with 11 tackles from the defensive end spot opposite Knowles. This is Flynn’s first season as the full-time starter under center, and he’s still somewhat new to the sport (he didn’t pick up a football until his sophomore year).

You might remember his older brother Frankie –- a baseball standout at SPM, and one of the stars of the 2002 Jesse Burkett squad that lost to Louisville, Ky. in the Little League World Series final –- and the apple hasn’t fallen too far. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Steve is an imposing force on the mound for the Guardians’ baseball squad, with a fastball that has touched 90 miles per hour.

On the gridiron, though, he’s just as intimidating.

“He’s definitely the real deal,” Guardians head coach Tom Henrickson said of Flynn. “He’s thrown the ball 75 yards downfield. It’s insane. You have to see his arm to appreciate it. He’s thrown a 20-yard out from the short side of the field all the way across, and it’s a laser. You just don’t see that in high school football, he’s a real good one.”

Not to mention, Flynn will be a tough one to tackle this season. While he runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, he also reportedly benches upwards of 350 pounds, one of several reasons he’s just starting to get Division 1 looks.

“He’s not fast, but he’s not slow either,” Henrickson said. “People go to sack him, you try and grab him and he just tosses you…[against Fitchburg] our running back didn’t pick up a blitz, so he took a sack once, but it took four guys to take him down. He’s like an unknown commodity.”

ANOTHER NAIL-BITER, ANOTHER CLASSIC
Once again, the Central Mass clash between St. John's of Shrewsbury and Holy Name went down to the wire. And, once again, the Pioneers emerged victorious over the Naps.

What also was displayed in the annual rite of autumn, in rare form, was the gut and determination of Mike Pucko's team to overcome what they might lack in depth. With an unseasonably warm day and playing on artificial turf at Assumption College, the matchup was a battle of attrition. Pucko commented postgame that his team was "gassed" by halftime.

"We knew we were going to be in for a long second half," he told Scott Barboza on Saturday.

With many of his players running on empty by the third quarter, three of the Naps starters would be taken to the hospital by ambulance while fighting dehydration. Lineman Sean Zuromsky was overcome by the heat at the end of the third. After receiving a double-team block from the Pioneers offensive line, Zuromsky doubled over, face first into the turf, unable to breathe.

"He was so dehydrated, his mouth was white," Pucko said.

Outsiders might think it extreme, the savagery of a brutal game, which football can be. But the underlying truth is that pound-for-pound, Holy Name teams remain toughest team in the state. Pucko gets his players to show up and play, no matter who the opponent, no matter what the circumstance.

That doesn't necessarily fit into the "What We Learned" category, but it's worth reaffirming.

CRIMSON CHURNING
The feeling among the Everett contingent following last Friday’s 47-12 win over Leominster was not of satisfaction, to say the least.

“We take good out of it, but we have a long way to go,” quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso said.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve upon,” said his father, long time head coach John DiBiaso.

Fact: right now, there isn’t a player in the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s program at the talent level of either of its graduated wide receivers Matt Costello (Princeton) and Manny Asprilla (Boston College), considered two of the greatest in program history.

But here’s another fact: The Tide could have put up 60 on Friday if not for a few drops in the end zone. Jakarrie Washington and Jaylen McRae are two potential home-run threats with burners (filling Costello’s deep-ball role) while Kenny Calaj and Vondell Langston are tough to bring down, when taking handoffs out of the backfield or coming over the middle (much like Asprilla’s role there).

Consider Everett’s new batch of receivers like a baseball glove. It’s going to take a few games to get broken in.

But when they’re broken in, look out.

DEFENSE IS KING
As much as folks might dwell on the 42 points the Eagles posted on the Boxers at Viola Stadium, equally if not more impressive was the true shutout the BC High defense posted.

The Eagles' defense thrives behind junior middle linebacker Luke Catarius, who again set the tone with 15 tackles, including three for a loss, along with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.

"We just really practiced the coverages and where they set up," Catarius told ESPN Boston correspondent Adam Kurkjian on Friday. "I just read my keys well and made the plays."

Easier said than done, but the Eagles were effective in shutting down the Boxers' ground game behind Josh Brewster and quarterback Paul Mroz was held to completing just two passes for 10 yards with an interception.

The Eagles simply never Brockton in the game.

BIG WEEKEND FOR THE SMALL
The Merrimack Valley Small went 4-1 on this opening weekend, including eye-opening upsets by Lawrence (33-14, over then-No. 17 Reading) and Dracut (13-7, over then-No. 12 St. John’s Prep). If you can recall, the Small had another strong start a season ago, but this time around the feeling is that momentum will stick.

By now, Dracut’s read-option attack is a well-oiled machine, and despite some obvious signs of rust – and without returning MVC lineman of the year Peter Salem due to injury – the Middies sold play fakes well and at times took the outside lanes at will. It’s also got a strong junior class led by quarterback Jimmy Ryan and running back/linebacker Zach Bassett.

For anybody that saw Reading this summer or in scrimmages, this Lawrence upset comes as a surprise. The Rockets are stout at the line of scrimmage and feature a core of youngsters that is talented in spite of its inexperience. But what the Lancers lack in size they more than make up for in speed, and that should make waves in this spread-happy conference.

Some predicted a drop-off at Methuen after the graduation of Cal Carroll and Raudy Minaya, and the departure of head coach Pat Graham. But they’ve picked up right where they left off, with quarterback Eric Lacroix racking up nearly 300 yards of total offense and having a hand in every score, as the Rangers exacted revenge on Plymouth North with a 27-13 win.

And last but not least, Haverhill snapped a 32-game losing streak forcefully, with an impressive 39-12 win over a Malden squad that isn’t as thin as some people are saying. The Hillies reportedly took it to Central Catholic in a preseason scrimmage, so don’t be surprised if they make some noise when it comes to the gauntlet that is the MVC slate. It’s too early to predict hypothesize on the chances of their first postseason berth since 2002, but this will be a fun team to watch.

STREAKING NO MORE
While Auburn extended its state best 37-game winning streak on Friday, Eastern Massachusetts' longest football winning streak came to an end for Gloucester. The Fishermen's 26-game winning streak was derailed by a motivated Lynn English team at the Manning Bowl.

Bulldogs quarterback Jermaine Kelley went off for six touchdowns and 279 yards while earning ESPN Boston Player of the Week honors for Week 1. Kelley, a transfer from Swampscott, spread the ball around with Josh Batista accounting for four touchdowns and top target Malcolm Brown-Simpson, a Pope John transfer, providing big-play potential to the aerial attack.

Lynn English head coach Peter Holey wasn't about to get ahead of himself even after the victory, adding that there's a long way to go before deeming the season a success during practice in Lynn on Monday afternoon. However, with a talented offense led by Kelley and a talented running back in senior P.J. Dorsey, the Bulldogs will be worth watching all season long.

BAROMETER OF THE WEST?
Springfield's Putnam High beat previously ranked Central (No. 20 in preseason poll) on Friday, showing that the Beavers are the early favorites to claim the Division 2 crown in Western Mass. While the Division 1 race out West always runs through Longmeadow, the question is who will be the team to stand up to the Lancers this year?

We think Central can still be that team -- this weekend's test against No. 1 Everett will be an every greater indication -- but Putnam could serve as a great measuring stick. With a schedule that includes Westfield, Chicopee and West Springfield, the Beavers should prove a barometer as to who can take the fight to Longmeadow. After all, that is because Putnam might be the best team in Western Mass not named the Lancers.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 1

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
5:41
PM ET
Last year, Everett wide receiver Matt Costello was the inaugural recipient of the ESPNBoston Mr. Football Award, annually given to the top high school football player in Massachusetts.

It was a unanimous decision for the Princeton freshman, who also took home the state's Gatorade Player of the Year honors. But with the wealth of quality quarterbacks and running backs this season, this year's field appears to be much more wide open.

Check back with us each Monday leading up to the announcement on December 5, as we track the players in the running across the state. Below is our initial list of 15 players to watch for the award:

(Note: The award is not eligible to players in their fifth year of high school)

PRESTON COOPER, Sr. RB, BC High
The ESPN Boston preseason All-State selection will be looking to lead the Eagles back to the top of the Catholic Conference. Cooper ran for more than 1,500 yards last season.

GEORGE CRAAN, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle
The Dual Country League Small 2010 Player of the Year is coming off a 1,914-yard rushing performance. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound back also led Division 2A with 24 touchdowns and will be a major factor in the Patriots’ quest for another Super Bowl appearance this year.

CASEY DeANDRADE, Sr. ATH, East Bridgewater
DeAndrade is a true triple threat for the Vikings at running back, defensive back and kick returner. He racked up over 1,000 offensive yards with 750 rushing yards. DeAndrade scored 23 total touchdowns last season with four defensive touchdowns on his nine interceptions. For his career, DeAndrade has accumulated over 2,000 yards of offense with 14 interceptions.

JONATHAN DiBIASO, Sr. QB, Everett
The coach’s son had a junior year for the ages, throwing for a state-record 43 touchdown passes to just four interceptions and accumulating 2,885 yards. What’s next? With 59 career scoring strikes, another monster season could put him atop the all-time record books (Brockton’s Tom Colombo holds the record at 85).

TIM JOY, Sr. LB, Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound, two-time Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star made a name for himself as one of the state’s best defensive players, racking up 131 tackles from his middle linebacker position, including 13 for losses and adding three interceptions.

NICK LaSPADA, Sr. QB/S, Billerica
In his swan song at Billerica, where he’s assured every school record when all is said and done, LaSpada is looking to lead the Indians back to the playoffs after a 5-6 campaign. The 2009 Mass. Gatorade Player of the Year has over 9,300 yards of offense for his career; last season, he totaled 3,802 yards and 40 scores.

SACOY MALONE, Sr. RB, Springfield Central
The Golden Eagles didn’t have quite enough to knock off perennial power Longmeadow in Western Mass. last season, but Malone was a big reason for the Golden Eagles’ Super Bowl berth. Malone has average over six yards per carry for his career and posted a 1,200-yard rushing performance with 16 touchdowns.

MATT MONTALTO, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
In the Dolphins’ historic 2010 campaign, Montalto threw for over 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while adding 1,123 yards and 15 more scores on the ground. He could be in for an even bigger campaign this fall.

PAUL MROZ, Sr. QB, Brockton
After a junior season that hinted at promise, the 6-foot-1 senior could be in for a big 2011. A season ago, he threw for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns; on the ground, he ran for another eight scores and averaged nearly seven yards per carry.

T.J. NORRIS, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
As the Lancers gun for their 11th Super Bowl title in the last 15 seasons, Norris will again be the feature back in coach Alex Rotsko’s Wing-T offense. Norris eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau despite missing the final two games of the season while racking up 1,148 yards and 14 touchdowns.

ARMANI REEVES, Sr. ATH, Catholic Memorial
The Knights plan on using the Penn-State bound scatback and his 4.4 speed in every conceivable fashion in their quest for the Catholic Conference title. He racked up over 1,250 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns in four different ways – rushing, receiving and returning both punts and kicks.

NICK SCHLATZ, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound was an Old Colony League All-Star in both football and track and field and is about as good a two-way player as you’ll find in the state. Schlatz ran for 1,300 yards last season with 18 touchdowns and was a key cog to the Trojans’ defense that led the team to its second straight Eastern Mass Division 1A Super Bowl appearance.

KARL SERY, Sr. RB/CB, Hudson
After leading a rapid turnaround a year ago, the Bryant-bound Sery has the Hawks in Super Bowl conversation again. Last year he ran for 1,430 yards and 18 touchdowns, and added 32 tackles and three interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.

BRANDON WALSH, Sr. QB, North Andover
Walsh’s remarkable interception-free streak came to an end at the most inopportune times, but that shouldn’t tarnish a spectacular junior season. He threw for 1,525 yards and 23 touchdowns while adding another 695 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground while leading the Knights to a Division 2A playoff appearance.

MIKE WALSH, Sr. QB/S, Swampscott
After playing most of last season just on the offensive side of the ball, Walsh, who’s commited to playing safety at Brown, will hold down duties on both sides of the ball this year. The Northeast Conference’s 2010 Offensive MVP combined to put up over 3,000 yards of offense last year.

Northeast pitches 6th shutout to advance

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
1:17
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. – Northeast Regional quarterback Donato Dipietrantonio called it his team’s most complete game of the season, and it would be hard to argue otherwise.

Northeast scored in every quarter and posted its sixth shutout of the season Tuesday night, when it advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl by dominating Pope John 42-0 at Cawley Stadium.

Dipietrantonio tossed three touchdown passes, and Bobby Novello added two touchdowns on the ground in the victory. Northeast held Pope John to 109 yards of total offense (7 yards rushing).

“Don’t let the score fool you -- they’re a good football team,” Dipietrantonio said. “We came to play. We’ve had a lot of scores like that, but that was definitely our most complete performance. Great football team. Great coaching.”

Northeast even recovered three onside kicks, two of which came in the second half when Pope John was limited to two offensive possessions.

Northeast, which improved its record to 10-2, led 14-0 after one quarter, 22-0 at halftime and 36-0 entering the fourth. The loss dropped Pope John’s record to 8-3.

“I knew they were going to score points,” Pope John coach Brian Vaughan said. “Offensively, the game didn’t go as we planned. We had trouble moving the ball in the first half, and in the second half we didn’t really have the ball. We thought we were going to have to score (a lot) of points, and we didn’t score any. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Pope John also committed four turnovers, three of which were interceptions.

Northeast will face Brighton in Saturday’s 4A Super Bowl. Brighton advanced by beating West Bridgewater 36-13 Tuesday night.

Pope John gained 30 yards on 20 plays in the first half. The Tigers had minus-16 yards rushing through the first two quarters.

“We have a very big, dominating defensive line,” Northeast coach Don Heres said. “It’s all a matter of preparation and them being coachable. This team is very coachable.”

Northeast put the game out of reach in the third quarter, when Dipietrantonio tossed two TD passes to Corey Thurell. The first was a 20-yard pass with 7:29 left in the third, and the second was a 41 yard pass with 5:26 to play in the quarter.

Dipietrantonio completed 5 of 7 passes for 85 yards and was intercepted once. Mike Cross caught Dipietrantonio’s other touchdown pass, which covered nine yards. When Dipietrantonio added the two-point conversion Northeast had a 22-0 lead with 1:28 left in the first half.

Northeast passed the ball 48 times in its first 11 games.

“He doesn’t have gaudy numbers, but he can throw the ball,” Heres said. “We don’t throw the ball very often, but he runs the show. We grind it out and when they bring everyone up we try to throw it over the top. It happened a couple times tonight.”

Novello gained 126 yards on 14 carries. He’s run for 1,244 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Pope John quarterback Malcolm Brown-Simpson completed 14 of 25 passes for 110 yards.

“We played a better team and the scoreboard showed it,” Vaughan said.

NORTHEAST REGIONAL 42, POPE JOHN 0
PJ 0 0 0 0 -- 00
NE 14 8 14 6 -- 42


1st quarter
N – Brandon Sullivan 5 run (Mike Cross rush)
N – Bobby Novello 39 run (rush failed0

2nd quarter
N – Cross 9 pass from Donato Dipietrantonio (Dipietrantonio rush)

3rd quarter
N – Corey Thurell 20 pass from Dipietrantonio (pass failed)
N – Thurell 41 pass from Dipietrantonio (Novello rush)

4th quarter
N – Novello 16 run (rush failed)
N – Jack Murphy 39 run (rush failed)

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