Boston High School: Matt Ford

Medway comes back to advance in TVL playoffs

November, 6, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- The Medway Mustangs showed their resiliency in the inaugural game of the Tri-Valley League playoffs on Saturday at Westwood High School.

The No. 3-seeded Mustangs took down the No. 2 seed Norton Lancers 28-18, even though Norton owned a 12-0 lead until under a minute to play in the first half.

With 48 seconds to play in the first half, Medway’s Matt Ford hauled in a 22-yard fade from quarterback Joe Henry to give the Mustangs their first score. The Mustangs defense stepped up and the team rallied from behind after a halftime speech from Medway coach Dave McSweeney, as the team advanced to the next round in the TVL playoffs.

“I wasn’t really thrilled at halftime -- that score before the end of the half was huge for us.” McSweeney said bluntly. “[Norton] played really well, and they did some things we weren’t really prepared for and that happens but-- it’s a test to [our] character.”

Norton owned the first quarter as they pounded the run defense of Medway with a heavy dose of tailback Zach Schwieger and quarterback Joe Wilkes. Norton’s first drive of the game went 78 yards for a Wilkes to Phil Rizzo touchdown connection and took six and a half minutes off the clock.

However, the Medway defense rebounded in the second half, and the Mustangs’ run game ate up the clock.

“When we needed to make plays, we made plays tonight,” McSweeney said. “Which I think that is what you hope you can do on defense.

“I don’t care about stats -- I don’t care about any of that stuff -- but when somebody needed to make a play, we made a play.”

Medway running back Mike Ozzella was the workhorse of the offense in the second half, as he tallied over 100-yards in the last two quarters. In total, Ozzella racked up 165 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

“Just keeping with it,” Ozzella said about the key to his success. “Not getting too frustrated. It was tough in the first half but we made some adjustments offensively as well.”

The senior’s offensive line came alive in the second half. Led by Pat Regan and co-captain Kyle McSweeney, the group gained momentum as the game went on.

“The last 22 minutes, it’s just wear them down” said Ozella about the team’s mentality. “They’re getting tired and we’re getting tired too, but we just have to be the more physical team, blow them off the ball and sooner or later you’re going to break one.”

Henry completed 8 of 12 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown for Medway.

“I got a line that I wouldn’t trade with any team in this league,” Henry said. “They’re really the backbone of the offense. If they’re doing well then our running backs are going to do well and that just sets up the pass.”

On the other side of the ball, Wilkes was six of seven in the first half but ended the game 8 of 17 for 105 yards with one touchdown. The Medway defense made adjustments and kept Norton from the endzone until two minutes, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Norton 6 6 0 6 -- 18
Medway 0 7 7 14 -- 28

First Quarter

N - Rizzo 20 catch from Wilkes (Wilkes run failed)

Second Quarter
N - Brendan Curtin 40 catch from Schwieger (pass failed)
M - Ford 22 catch from Henry (Joe Davenport kick)

Third Quarter
M - Greg Amato 11 run (Davenport kick)

Fourth Quarter
M - Ozzella 3 run (Davenport kick)
N - Schwieger 5 run (kick failed)
M - Ozzella 50 run (Davenport kick)

Henry delivers knockout of No. 16 Holliston

October, 2, 2010

HOLLISTON, Mass. -- With 2.2 seconds left in the first half, Medway quarterback Joe Henry pump-faked and lofted a pass into the hands of receiver Matt Ford for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired. Although the Mustangs trailed the Holliston Panthers 10-7 at halftime, the touchdown rallied Medway on its way to hard-fought 28-16 win in Holliston.

The drive started with under a minute to go in the second quarter, and Medway was on its own 23-yard line. Tailback Mike Ozella’s 41-yard run to Holliston’s 19 keyed the possession, but the touchdown pass capped it off as time expired.

"I think that was the key to the game," quarterback Joe Henry said of the touchdown. "No one expected that we would come down and make that play. That changed the whole game right there."

"I think it showed a lot of character that we were down 10 to nothing," said Medway coach Dave McSweeney. "We didn’t panic and we made plays when we had to. Michael [Ozella] broke a nice run off that set up the last second pass so we kind of lucked out there, but I’ll take it anyway we can get it."

Henry had a slow start to the game, but finished strong. On the night, he completed 5 of 16 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

On a fourth and 19 with under two minutes to play, Medway led 21-16 and Holliston needed a defensive stop. It was then that Henry hit Ford with another touchdown pass, to take away any chance Holliston had at a comeback.

Heavy rain plagued the early goings of the game, and both teams struggled to find their rhythm offensively.

"It affected us," Holliston head coach Todd Kiley about the rain. "But both teams have to play under it. It benefited them more tonight, but they just played better than us."

However, Holliston quarterback Sean Mayo had a solid first half. He went into the locker room at the break completing 8 of 12 passes for 82 yards, and also had four rushes for 24 yards and a touchdown. But he began the second half on a bad stint, completing one of five passes with two interceptions.

A raucous crowd at Kamitian field created an intense atmosphere. Mustang fans attempted to get retribution for last season’s matchup, when the red-clad Holliston fans came out in droves and filled up a good chunk of Medway’s home stands.

That resulted in large contingents from both schools coming to Holliston early to secure their seats. Fans from both sides were painted with their school colors and offered chants back and forth throughout the night.

Medway's double-headed running attack of Ozella and junior Greg Amato took the clock down significantly in the second half. Amato had a stellar game, carrying the ball 12 times for 108 yards and a touchdown, and also intercepted Mayo on defense.

"It was a couple big plays that killed us obviously," Kiley said. "Then they chewed the clock up and did a nice job there in the late third early fourth."

And in the end, it was the Medway's Ozella that quieted the home crowd. He ran for 123 yards on 23 carries, but was especially dependable to kill the clock in the fourth quarter.


MED (3-1) 0 7 7 14 --- 28
HOL (3-1) 7 3 0 7 --- 16

H - Sean Mayo 11 run (Dan Barone kick)
H - Barone 26 field goal
M - Matt Ford 19 catch from Joe Henry (Joe Davenport kick)
M - Greg Amato 70 run (Davenport kick)
M - Henry 12 run (Davenport kick)
H - Mayo 1 run (Conversion failed)
M - Ford 34 catch from Henry (Davenport kick)

ESPNBoston's Week 4 picks

October, 1, 2010
NO. 5 BC HIGH (2-1) AT NO. 13 FALMOUTH (3-0), Friday 7 p.m.
The skinny: Twenty-two to twenty inside two minutes: BC High's two-point attempt is stopped by the Clippers defense and they escape with a win that puts Falmouth football back on the map. This week's matchup moves down Route 28 to Falmouth and will likely come down to which team's running back -- BC High's Preston Cooper and Falmouth's Nelson Baptiste -- has the bigger game.

Hall: Eagles feel like they’re coming into town on a mission. And you’ve got to admit, they haven’t exactly been stiffs so far. BC, 21-12

Barboza: With the weather potentially wreaking havoc on this one, it's two teams slugging it out on the ground. BC, 14-7

No. 17 ST. JOHN’S PREP (2-1) AT NO. 3 BROCKTON (2-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
The skinny: The Boxers have to move past last week's overtime loss to Xaverian and there will be no letdown this week against Top 25 opponent St. John's Prep. The Eagles are also trying to put last week's loss to Everett in the rear-view mirror. This one could come down to either team's running game with Trevon Offley (who run very hard against the Hawks last week) going toe-to-toe with Tyler Coppola.

Hall: The upside with Paul Mroz is tremendous, and I’ve even heard a few comparisons to former Boxer and NFL quarterback Mark Hartsell. I expect him to get back on track tonight. Brockton, 28-13.

Barboza: Trevon Offley will go off in this one. Brockton, 27-7

No. 24 BARNSTABLE (2-1) AT NO. 2 EVERETT (2-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The skinny: Both teams like to throw the ball, which could make this either a shootout or a one-sided affair. The tale of the tape figures to favor Everett, which has a stellar secondary led by Manny Asprilla, Matt Costello, Ra’ees Wingard and Kenny Calaj. But Barnstable’s D.J. Crook, meanwhile, has thrown for 14 scores and nearly 1,000 yards through the first month.

Hall: I don’t know what’s cooler, Barnstable going for two every time out of a Tebow-like formation, or Shaquille Taylor lining up as the lead blocker in Everett’s goal line packages. Everett, 35-14

Barboza: The Red Raiders have to play ball control to have a chance in this one. Mr. Reddy, get at your ready. Still, too much on the Crimson side. Everett, 31-20

BISHOP GUERTIN (3-0) AT NO. 8 CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The skinny: Guertin, the No. 3 ranked team in New Hampshire, owned the Knights in the two teams’ meeting last season in Nashua, winning 52-13 and outgaining them 450-121 in yards of offense. CM, led by a highly-touted junior class that includes Armani Reeves and Camren Williams, is coming off a dominant win over Hartford, one of the top teams in Vermont.

Hall: If Reeves looks as good tonight as he does on film, there will be some happy heads in West Roxbury. CM, 28-14

Barboza: Ditto. Reeves will be the name on everybody's tongue come Monday morning. CM, 27-21

MEDWAY (2-1) AT NO. 16 HOLLISTON (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The skinny: Holliston and its no-huddle "blood" offense, is scoring at a blistering pace, averaging 48 points per game and already racking up over 1,000 yards of offense in the first month of the season. Medway, a TVL dark horse led by Mike Ozella and Matt Ford, has rebounded with two very nice wins following a 23-14 loss to Norton on opening weekend.

Hall: This was such an epic game last season, however I just think the Panthers have too many weapons. That said, the Mustangs have been candid in the past about their tendency not to blitz (back when I was at The Globe, a player once told me the coaches "tell us blitzing is just covering up your weaknesses"); I wonder if that strategy might actually benefit the Mustangs, with the Panthers’ spread tendencies and the talent Medway’s got in the trenches. Holliston, 35-28.

Barboza: Is a tropical wind the only thing that can slow the Panthers' attack? Maybe not. Holliston, 28-26

NEEDHAM (3-0) AT WEYMOUTH (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The skinny: In a matchup that some feel has huge implications on the Bay State Carey race, Weymouth enters tonight’s game coming off a 41-14 defeat of Milton. Led by brothers Dylan and Aussie Colarusso, the Wildcats are strong and deep in the running game (nothing new here). Needham, led by senior quarterback Kevin Brennan, is high-powered on offense again, averaging 32.6 points per game.

Hall: Kevin Mackin’s squads are always well-coached on the line. Perhaps not coincidentally, he’s a great wrestling coach. OK, so I was also born at South Shore Hospital, way back in ’85. Weymouth, 24-7.

Barboza: Colarusso (squared) for the win. Weymouth, 21-14

REVERE (3-0) AT SWAMPSCOTT (2-1), Saturday, 12 p.m.
The skinny: Trae Weathers has been playing like Carl Weathers (aka "APOLLOOO CREEEEED") in the last year or so and has picked up where he left off (1,225 rushing yards, 16 TDs in 2009) in 2010 for the 3-0 (3-0?!) Patriots. The key, however, will be how Revere's defense can contain Steve Dembowski's spread offense.

Hall: I like feel-good stories. I also like ordering a Super Roast Beef with sauce and mayo at Kelly’s. Revere, 27-21

Barboza: This one's purely sentirmental and what it would mean if Revere got out to a 4-0 start. Revere, 14-7

No. 4 St. John’s (S) 28, Fitchburg 14
No. 15 King Philip 21, Foxborough 7
No. 12 Reading 24, Melrose 3
No. 21 Dennis-Yarmouth 35, Marshfield 21
Rockland 14, Mashpee 0
Hopkinton 17, Norton 10
Andover 28, Haverhill 7
Acton-Boxborough 17, Concord-Carlisle 14
Somerset 23, Dartmouth 17
Billerica 38, Dracut 35
Nashoba 13, Holy Name 6
Wilmington 16, Lexington 7
Methuen 27, Lowell 13
No. 22 Westford 21, Masconomet 20
Marlborough 14, Shrewsbury 10
Silver Lake 13, Scituate 0
Central Catholic 25, Tewksbury 19
Lincoln-Sudbury 28, Wayland 24
No. 1 Xaverian 30, Somerville 20
Dexter 21, New Hampton 10
BB&N 24, St. Sebastian’s 17
Rivers 35, Governor’s Academy 17
Burlington 31, Belmont 28
No. 25 Plymouth North 26, Aquinas Institute (N.Y.) 21
New Bedford 16, Bridgewater-Raynham 3
Minnechaug 27, East Longmeadow 23
South Hadley 17, West Springfield 14