Boston High School: Matt Bukuras
September, 27, 2013
By Mike Scandura | ESPNBoston.com
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield coach Mike Redding is like a kid in a toy store.
But unlike a kid who has an abundance of toys from which to choose, Redding has an abundance of offensive weapons that are designed to dissect the opposition.
That was the case – again – Friday night as the defending Hockomock League champion and No. 2-ranked Hornets began league play by belting North Attleborough, 35-14.
“Miguel (Villar-Perez) is very valuable,” Redding said of one of his weapons. “He’s a good receiver and a really good runner.
“With Mike Hershman and Brendan Hill out there to cover, you have to line up your defense to take away the pass and it opens up things for Miguel, Chris Buchanan and Matt Bukuras. We really have five good skill kids out there. It’s kind of a rare treat for a coach to be able to call plays for five different guys and they all can make plays. We’re developing some nice balance with all five skill guys contributing.”
After opening their Kelley-Rex division slate with a win, Redding talked about the Hornets’ intent to become a more diversified offense.
“That’s what it takes in this league,” Redding said. “If you try to get the ball to one guy too much you’re going to end up getting beat sooner or later. We have the five guys and we’re trying to spread it around.”
Bombs away: The only Hornet not mentioned above was senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski, who completed 11-of-16 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns (sans interceptions).
Wisnieski and Hershman were never better than on two plays, one near the end of the second quarter and the other midway through the fourth.
Mansfield was leading 14-7 when Wisnieski guided an eight-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with him throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Hershman.
Then, with Mansfield up 21-7 and facing a third-and-nine on the Rocketeers 23, Wisnieski unloaded a pass to Hershman who was so wide-open in the end zone he had time to write a term paper before snaring the ball.
“It was a combination of a lot of things,” Wisnieski said while explaining why Hershman was so wide-open. “They were coming with a lot of heat all night. They were blitzing linebackers. The line did a great job of picking up the blitzes and that’s where it started.
“We got lucky. With Brendan out there, he’s obviously going to draw a lot of attention. On the first touchdown they tried to man-up Mike and that’s going to be a tough match-up for anyone to cover Mike one-on-one. He was able to beat them on the inside. On the second touchdown, they were all over Brendan and Mike just came free.”
“Wis’ does a great job running the show,” Redding said. “He’s smart. He’s poised. He handles pressure and does a lot of great things for us. I thought the big one was when they scored and we were able to answer at the end of the half (i.e. the 28-yard TD pass to Hershman). That was the drive that kind of kept them at arms’ length.”
Moving the pile: One Green Hornet who drove through North Attleborough’s defense all night was Villar-Perez, who gained 114 yards and scored twice on 14 carries.
Villar-Perez, in fact, scored Mansfield’s first touchdown when he capped a six-play, 70-yard drive by taking a pitchout and sprinting 15 yards to the end zone.
Then, late in that first quarter, Mansfield capitalized on a short North Attleborough punt and Villar-Perez wedged into the end zone from the 2 for a 14-0 lead.
The Rocketeers countered with a four-yard touchdown pass from James Kummer to Mike Lambert.
But Wisnieski’s 28-yarder to Hershman gave Mansfield that 21-7 lead at the half.
After Wisnieski and Hershman hooked up for that 23-yard touchdown pass, Mansfield closed out the scoring late in the fourth when Buchanan busted 16 yards off right tackle to make it 35-7.
Despite the impressive victory, Redding echoed a note of caution.
“It’s only a beginning,” he said. “Next week we have to go to an Attleboro team that’s probably going to be 3-0. It’s a battle. We’re getting healthier and we’re getting better. But it’s a long road here in the Kelly-Rex.”
MANSFIELD 35, NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH 14
NA (2-1, 0-1) 0-7-0-7 - 14
MAN (3-0, 1-0)
M – Miguel Villar-Perez 15 run (Alex Thompson kick)
M – Villar-Perez 2 run (Thompson kick)
N – Mike Lambert 4 pass from James Kummer (Connor Flynn kick)
M – Mike Hershman 28 pass from Kyle Wisnieski (Thompson kick)
M – Hershman 23 pass from Wisnieski (Thompson kick)
M – Chris Buchanan 16 run (Thompson kick)
N – Lambert 12 pass from Justin Gallagher (Flynn kick)
October, 29, 2011
By Scott Barboza | ESPNBoston.com
MANSFIELD, Mass. – For a time, Mansfield’s second-stringers lined up against Barnstable’s first-teamers in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game.
Then, what Hornets head coach Mike Redding aptly called “a playoff game with no implications” turned into exactly that after the Red Raiders put up 17 unanswered fourth-quarter points to tie the game 27-27.
In the end, No. 11 Mansfield survived with a 34-33 victory in overtime, running their record to 7-1. It was more of the usual from perhaps the state’s most entertaining team.
“Well, we hadn’t done overtime yet this season,” Redding commented on the Hornets’ rash of close shaves this year. “It’s always something.”
The Hornets held a three-score lead as late as the three minute mark of the fourth quarter.
But Barnstable junior quarterback Nick Peabody engineered two quick touchdown drives, both culminating in passing scores to Tedaro France. After Terrence Mudie’s recovery of an on-side kick, the Red Raiders (4-4) moved the ball down the field once more, setting up Tom Mullen’s 26-yard field goal, tying the game with 31 seconds remaining.
Peabody kept the momentum rolling into overtime, punching in a 10-yard touchdown on the first play of the extra session. Playing for the win, Peabody rolled right on a bootleg on the ensuing 2-point try, but Mansfield defensive back Matt Barsomian batted down the pass.
“In our minds, they had missed the two PATs early, so we thought they were going for two anyway,” Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said of the decision to go for two. “We thought our best chance to win was to go for two, but they made a play.”
Greg Donahue scored on a 5-yard run to tie the score once again and Matt Bukuras chipped in the point-after try for the win.
“The good thing is that we found a way to hang in there and win in the end,” Redding said. “The bad is all those little things that let them hang around and come back and haunt you.”
TWO TEAMS LOOKING AHEAD
No doubt both sides played their hardest, but both sides realized there’s more to the season than the non-league matchup. So Friday’s battle could serve well for both teams chances as they face critical league challenges in the coming weeks.
Barnstable, for one, has a penultimate Old Colony League contest with No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham next week. And Mansfield hopes to close out a Hockomock large division title with two more victories.
“We wanted to get our kids out and gear up for Franklin and North [Attleborough],” Redding said, “but that backfired.”
Nonetheless, Barnstable can take with it the confidence of hanging with one of the state’s premiere programs year after year while building confidence in Peabody, who’s filled in admirably in D.J. Crook’s absence. After a slow start in the first half, when Barnstable had just 18 offensive snaps, Peabody was able to move the chains when it counted most.
“He’s proved that he’s a high quality quarterback,” Whidden said of Peabody. “That’s one position that we knew, coming into the year, that we had a lot of depth. But we just weren’t aware how good he could be and we didn’t realize we were going to have to use him.”
VIVE LA FRANCE
Whether its Theo France in the running game or Tedaro France streaking down field to snatch a pass, the Red Raider brothers pose matchup problems for opposing defenses.
On Friday night, it was the younger France stealing the show.
“Tedaro’s a playmaker and he wants the ball in his hands,” Whidden said. “He’s proven that he’s a kid that we have to find a way to get the ball into his hands. Nick [Peabody] was a receiver before he became our quarterback, so he developed the rapport before he played that position and know it’s paid off.”
GUTTING IT OUT
Although they had problems containing the Hornets rushing duo of Donahue and Blayne Taylor at times, the Red Raider defense made some significant plays down the stretch that shouldn’t be ignored.
Defensive lineman Jason Freih (2 sacks) was a disruptive force throughout and recovered a fumble that set up Barnstable’s second touchdown of the fourth quarter.
Barnstable (4-4) 0 3 7 17 6 -- 33
Mansfield (7-1) 6 6 8 7 7 -- 34
M - Greg Donahue 2-yard run (kick failed)
B - Tom Mullen 25-yard field goal
M - Mike Blackman 11-yard pass from George Busharis (kick failed)
M - Zach Schafer 22-yard pass from Busharis (Dan Gilmore pass from George Busharis)
B - Hayden Murphy 23-yard run (Mullen kick)
M - Mike Farrell 6-yard run (Matt Bukuras kick)
B - Tedaro France 49-yard pass from Nick Peabody (Mullen kick)
B - Tedaro France 28-yard pass from Peabody (Mullen kick)
B - Mullen 26-yard field goal
B - Peabody 10-yard run (pass failed)
M - Donahue 5-yard run (Matt Bukuras kick)