Boston High School: Methuen

Recap: No. 14 Tewksbury 41, Methuen 14

October, 13, 2013
10/13/13
12:17
AM ET
TEWKSBURY, Mass. -– The cold rain just couldn’t cool off Tewksbury’s dominant defense on Saturday afternoon.

After pitching a shutout in the first half, the Redmen held steady in the second—knocking off a talented Methuen Rangers squad 41-14 on Homecoming weekend at Tewksbury. James Sullivan was the star of the afternoon for the Redmen, pulling in three interceptions off of Methuen quarterback Austin George-Williams (10-14, 158 yards 1 TD, 4 INT). Ryan Bednarik also had in INT for the Redmen.

“Sully did great, he’s one of those guys that you see growing up as a kid that he has the potential to be very good if he has the right kind of work ethic and the right kind of character -— he’s got all of that,” Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward said. “He’s a great kid to be able to coach, he can do everything that we have to do in a football game: he runs hard, he blocks hard, he’s 100 miles an hour in practice all the time.”

While Aylward praised his star junior, Sullivan downplayed the big day like it was just another day at the office.

“Getting into your reads, getting depth, and just making a play on it. We preach that all time, we preach that all week, and I just trusted my reads and everything worked out,” Sullivan said. “I was getting calls from the sideline that they were probably gonna pass, probably play action, so I kind of knew it from the start and he happened to run where I was -— just made a play on the ball.”

The Redmen were led offensively by quarterback Johnny Aylward (9-11, 88 yards 3 TD) and running backs Tom Casey (5 carries, 64 yards, TD) and Sullivan (9 carries, 75 yards, TD). Aylward got things started in the first quarter, running it in from the Methuen two yard-line to put Tewksbury on the board first. Soon after George-Williams’ interception to Sullivan, Sullivan helped anchor a drive downfield, punching in a touchdown to give Tewksbury a commanding 14-0 lead.

Before halftime, Aylward extended the lead when he threw a touchdown pass to John Saunders to give the Redmen a 21-0 lead after two quarters.

Methuen responded early in the third quarter on a touchdown by Brian McAndrew to cap off an 11 play, 75 yard drive. However, Aylward and the offense came back quick, as the quarterback strolled into the endzone minutes later to help build what seemed to be an insurmountable lead. After an Aylward fumble on the next drive, Sullivan intercepted a George-Williams pass. Casey took care of the rest, running it in from 15 yards out.

“I think a lot of it had to do with different kinds of things we were doing, we were trying to run a couple things every week that we hadn’t run before, so when I tell ya I don’t know what we’re going to do next week...I don’t," Aylward said. "I’ll critique myself more than anything else before we move on to next week. I thought we got a big conservative, and [Methuen] had a lot of firepower to get some points on the board quickly. They have good, hard-nosed kids."

Going up against one of his own former assistants, Methuen head coach Tom Ryan, the older Aylward admitted it was a bit of a trip around memory lane. Aylward joked that since he and Ryan used to wake up at 6:30 on the morning of every game day to work out together, he laughed that he almost extended the invitation for old-times’ sake.

“He’s a good friend. We’ve been through so many battles, and we’ve gone through all the prep work together,” Aylward said. “I told him this morning I was gonna give you a call at like 6:30 this morning and say ‘hey, you wanna get a lift in before the game?’ He laughed at that.”

Recap: Haverhill 17, Methuen 0

October, 5, 2013
10/05/13
12:55
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METHUEN, Mass. – It was all about team defense on Friday night as the Haverhill Hillies received a balanced and poised effort from their defense to shut out the previously unbeaten Methuen Rangers, 17-0.

Haverhill (3-1) used a ground-and-pound approach offensively to complement their staunch defensive effort as running back Tommy Maguire exploded for 160 yards rushing on 17 carries to go with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead the Hillie offensive attack.

Proving to be one of the state’s most dynamic one-two punches, Maguire and Ian Kessel (20 rushes, 91 yards) ran around and though the Methuen (4-1) defense, doing the majority of their work in the second half of play.

“We knew we were going to have to win close games this season,” Maguire said after the game. “We pride ourselves in our defense and we came out and played hard to earn the win.”

Despite a scoreless first half Haverhill defensive back Josh Dion made a big interception at the Haverhill goal line to thwart a promising Methuen drive deep in Hillie territory.

With the teams scoreless, Haverhill mounted their strongest drive of the game late in the third quarter, highlighted by a spectacular 35-yard reception by John Ramsdell (5 receptions, 52 yards) on a deep toss from quarterback Shane Finn.

Still scoreless, deep in to the third quarter of play, Patrick Yale calmly stepped in and nailed a 36-yard field goal to give Haverhill the game’s first points and a 3-0 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the third.

It would be all Haverhill and Maguire in the fourth quarter as the senior ripped off touchdown runs of 26 and 61 yards to help solidify the team win.

“I think it really just came down to preparation this week,” Haverhill head coach Tim O’Connor said after the game. “The game was supposed to be Saturday and got moved to Friday and we ended up practicing a little longer than usual ad we put it on the kids and they came though.”

Running back Will Weinhold (85 yards from scrimmage) and linebacker Luis Sanchez played well for Methuen in the loss.

Game Balls and Team-D: O’Connor handed his game balls in the post-game talk to linebacker Phil Panici and defensive lineman Matt Burns. Both players helped lead the shutout effort and played strong games up front. The did a good job stuffing the Methuen run, forcing long third downs and providing pressure in the Ranger backfield all night long.

“If you want to be the best you need to beat the best,” O’Connor said. “They were the best at 4-0 and that is what we did tonight.”

It was a true team effort on defense as a number of Hillies stepped up and made big plays. Whether it was linebacker Michael Kwegyir-Attah setting the edge, linebacker Stephane Bristol making big hits over the middle, or defensive lineman Sammy Al-Ziab firing in to the Methuen backfield for a sack, the Hillie defense was up to the challenge.

“We knew that we were going to be strong defensively this year,” O’Connor said. “We returned nine kids on the defensive side of the ball and I told people, that if we start clicking, watch out.”

The Hillie defensive backfield also played a disciplined game as they stayed at home and read their keys with Dion and Chiedozie Onwuka (big late-game INT) also stepping up to secure two of the three Methuen turnovers on the night.

“We did a lot of film study,” O’Connor said. “It is a credit to the staff, and a credit to the kids. These kids work real-hard in the film room, staying late and just preparing.”

Despite a 40-0 loss to Central Catholic two weeks back, Haverhill has defeated two strong offenses in Beverly and Lawrence and held both teams below 20 points at 19 and 12 points, respectively.

MVC D2 Race: Both teams were coming off big Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 wins last weekend, as Haverhill defeated Lawrence, 26-12, and Methuen shut down Dracut, 35-20.

The victory on Friday night was an important one for Haverhill as they look to keep pace with No. 17-ranked Tewksbury (4-0), at the top of the MVC Division 2 standings.

The Hillies will get their crack at the Redmen on Oct. 18, as The Redmen host the Hillies in a Friday night game at Doucette Stadium in Tewksbury. The Hillies must first tangle with Dracut next Friday as they play host to the dangerous and upset-minded Middies in a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Methuen will travel to Tewksbury next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and will play their final MVC D2 contest at home against North Andover on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

ESPN Boston Week 5 football picks

October, 3, 2013
10/03/13
2:53
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No. 14 PLYMOUTH SOUTH (3-0) at DENNIS-YARMOUTH (1-2), Friday 6 p.m.

Scott Barboza: I think Dylan Oxsen could play on one leg, with arm tied behind his back and the Panthers will be just fine. Plymouth South, 14-7.

Brendan Hall: I think South’s archrival, Plymouth North, laid out a good game plan for shutting down D-Y after the Dolphins looked like world-beaters in Week 1. Like their cross-town enemies to the North, much of South’s running game is predicated on power and counter sets; spliced in with all of the misdirection element the pistol offense brings, and I think the Panthers can stay in control here. Plymouth South, 24-14.

No. 7 BROCKTON (2-1) at BC HIGH (1-2), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: I like the Boxers’ chances at controlling the line of scrimmage behind Aaron Monteiro and Co. Brockton, 30-21.

Hall: Given BC High’s difficulties defending the pass, but stout ability at defending the run (for the most part), the Eagles can pull off the upset here as long as they stay disciplined. The bye week has been pretty kind to teams looking to re-charge the batteries or clean up some deficiencies – just look at what it did for Everett, Barnstable and Springfield Central. BC High, 18-16.

LONGMEADOW (2-1) at No. 3 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (2-1), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: The Lancers are wont to play ball-control and keep the Golden Eagles’ offense off the field; it’s just a matter of whether they can keep pace with them. Central, 21-14.

Hall: I think the Lancers end Central’s shutout streak, but the Golden Eagles have made a habit lately of dispatching opponents early in the game. This is the premier non-Thanksgiving rivalry in Western Mass. right now, but if the Lancers get into a track meet with these guys this could get untracked. Central, 35-21.

No. 11 ST. JOHN’S OF SHREWSBURY (2-1) at NASHOBA (3-0), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Credit to the Chieftains who simply reload year after year, but the streak comes to a halt at No. 29. St. John’s, 34-28.

Hall: I have a feeling this could be a high-scoring game, with the amount of possessions St. John’s offense surrenders to the opposition. Andrew Smiley and Co. do just enough to stay ahead of the Chieftains, and end their state-best 29-game win streak, but this Wing-T offense for Nashoba is fluid. Helps that the coaching staff went from one Tucker to another this past offseason – continuity is pivotal. St. John’s, 40-30.

HAVERHILL (2-1) at METHUEN (4-0), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Hillies RB Ian Kessel can play foil, but the Rangers keep sailing along. Methuen, 28-20.

Hall: Just because it’s the MVC, let’s set the over/under at 65 total points scored in this one. Haverhill, 35-30.

BISHOP FENWICK (3-0) at No. 21 CARDINAL SPELLMAN (3-0), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: The Crusaders do not have an answer for Rory Donovan. Spellman, 32-27.

Hall: Talk about adapting to your talent. It wasn’t too long ago the Crusaders’ leading receiver caught 106 passes. Now, they have a bull in the backfield by the name of Rufus Rushins, and they are unleashing him thoroughly. Fenwick, 28-17.

No. 1 MANSFIELD (3-0) at No. 23 ATTLEBORO (3-0), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: If the Blue Bombardiers can force turnovers the way they did last week against Franklin, the Hornets could be in for a real fight. But otherwise … Ding, dong, the curse is dead. Mansfield, 42-38.

Hall: Not sure if my brain can process the spectre of having a sixth straight week with a new No. 1. Mansfield, 20-13.

No. 12 DUXBURY (2-1) at HINGHAM (2-1), Friday 7 p.m. (At Scituate H.S.)

Barboza: This was supposed to be the Harbormen’s night to shine, with a new field, new attitude and all. But the karma just sides with the Dragons somehow. Duxbury, 13-10.

Hall: Every year we keep saying the same narrative: “The Dragons still have one more good run in them”. At some point, we’re all going to have to accept the fact that these guys just re-load every year. Still, this has always been a difficult matchup for the Dragons. Duxbury, 10-7.

CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (1-2) at No. 5 XAVERIAN (2-1), Saturday 2:15 p.m.

Barboza: Think the bounce-back factor is in play here, after the Hawks saw their No. 1 ranking go up in smokes at Barnstable. A.J. King will come in even greater focus in Xaverian’s attack with the loss of D.J. Sperzel. Xaverian, 34-21.

Hall: Even with the loss to D.J. Sperzel, the Hawks have more than enough in the tank to stay ahead of CM in this one. Xaverian, 24-10.

No. 25 WALPOLE (2-1) at WELLESLEY (1-2), Saturday 2:30 p.m.

Barboza: I think the Rebels’ defense is better suited to shutting down Wellesley’s offense, as opposed to Needham a few weeks ago. Walpole, 16-10.

Hall: Upset City, part 2. We saw what a team with spread packages like Needham can do to the Walpole defense, and the Rebels are going to have their work cut out for them trying to solve Wellesley quarterback John Fadule. Like Chris Sarni last year, Fadule is a gunslinger who is as unpredictable as he is creative. Good luck, gents. Wellesley, 31-28.

LAWRENCE ACADEMY (1-1) at MILTON ACADEMY (2-0), Saturday 3:30 p.m.

Barboza: Justin Yoon comes in clutch with the last-minute field goal. It’s formulaic but effective. Milton Academy, 23-20.

Hall: Good start to the season for Milton, but I like LA’s athletes on the perimeter a little bit more. LA, 20-7.

GOVERNOR’S ACADEMY (2-0) at ST. SEBASTIAN’S (1-1), Saturday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Akin to Nashoba, the streak ends this week. St. Seb’s, 14-10.

Hall: Arrows are looking mighty impressive after that commanding win over Roxbury Latin, but the Governors just continue to cruise along. Will they ever lose again? There is some voodoo going on up there in Byfield. Govs, 27-17.

GAME OF THE WEEK – HOLLISTON (4-0) at No. 20 WESTWOOD (2-1), Friday 7 p.m.

Barboza: Wolverines head coach Ed Mantie really likes his linebacking corps, led by Scott McManus, this year. They’re the difference. Westwood, 31-27.

Hall: Zach Elkinson is averaging a touchdown for every 2.8 touches, and 21.3 yards every time he gets the ball. That’s just insane, I don’t care who the opponents have been. Holliston, 28-24.

Last Week’s Picks:
Barboza: 8-4 (31-16 overall)

Hall: 9-3 (31-16 overall)

Faradie takes over for Methuen boys hoop

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
2:07
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Anthony Faradie confirmed to the Boston area media tonight that he has left his post as the head boys basketball coach at Medford High after six years, and accepted the vacant head job at Methuen.

Faradie, a former star at Framingham State and assistant coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, inherited a fledgling Mustangs program and was able to turn it into a competitive outfit by the time of his departure. The Mustangs ended an 11-year playoff drought in 2010, his third year with the program. This past season, the Mustangs went 13-8, losing in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 North tournament to Andover; WPI-bound captain Sean Doncaster was named Co-MVP of the Greater Boston League, alongside Malden's Rodney Morton.

Faradie explained his decision in an email to the Boston area media:



I accepted the head coaching position at Methuen High School last Friday and it obviously came official today. It was a really hard decision to leave Medford High School. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears have went into the program over the last 6 years when I first took the job. Prior to arriving at Medford in 2007-08 the team had not made the state tournament since 1999 and the team was coming off a 1-19 season. By the third year we were able to clinch a bid to the state tournament at 12-8. We've been able to add to the resume since by getting to the state tournament 3 out of the last 4 years. We're coming off back-back state tournament appearances and we had our first state tournament win 2 years ago. All of which were firsts since 1999. We've had 2 GBL MVP's and many players move on to play college basketball and other sports.

I've built tremendous relationships with my former players and the current players at Medford High and I will cherish those forever. My coaching staff over the years has been incredible and they deserve all the credit in the world. I've had a tremendous relationship with my athletic director Bob Maloney and he has given me and the program all the support in the world to succeed. I want to thank him and the athletic dept along with the administration and faculty at Medford. The community of Medford has been great. There will always be a special place in my heard for Medford. I'm confident that Medford will continue to steer the program in the right direction.

After coming off a 13-8 season this year I've decided to move on to Methuen High School and the Merrimack Valley Conference. I'm excited about the opportunity. I think it's a program with a lot of support and great potential. The community has great feeder programs, facilities, and they have made great steps as a school district with a beautiful newly remodeled high school and advances in technology.


Roundtable: Bigger things to come for Xaverian?

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
1:59
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1. SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYED A MAJOR FACTOR IN XAVERIAN'S 49-13 DRUBBING OF BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM, RETURNING TWO BLOCKED PUNTS FOR TOUCHDOWNSW, BUT A.J. KING (2 TDs) DIDN'T HAVE A BAD DAY EITHER. IS THIS XAVERIAN SQUAD CAPABLE OF ROUTINELY PUTTING UP BIG NUMBERS?

Brendan Hall, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: If this were 2012, or any other recent year for that matter, I would lean towards labeling that game an anomaly. Xaverian squads typically aren't known for blowing up the scoreboard, instead moving the chains rather steadily behind a conservative multiple offense and relying on change-of-pace backs to grind out the tough yardage. I've been in this for 10 years, and this year's Xaverian team feels like one of the more unpredictable squads that I can recall. And when I say that, I mean you just don't know that they're going to throw at you. Certainly, Jake Farrell brings about an escapeability intangible they typically haven't had with quarterbacks, and there is some promising sophomore talent.

By the way, whoever the special teams coach is at Xaverian, give that man a raise. If you think the B-R game was an aberration, ask the BB&N coaches how their scrimmage with the Hawks went.

Scott Barboza, ESPN Boston High Schools editor: I know we all thought the Hawks’ defense would be ahead of the offense entering the season, but this looks like a much-improved group thus far. I like the one-two punch Shayne Kaminski and Noah Sorrento provide in the backfield. They have some legit targets in the passing game with King and D.J. Sperzel and Jake Farrell has looked great at quarterback. If the offensive line keeps creating holes and pass protecting the way they have in the first two weeks, I don’t foresee a slowdown.

John McGuirk, ESPN Boston correspondent: With the talent Xaverian has they should continue to put up decent numbers. They have four 'big' games left on the schedule in Barnstable, Brockton, BC High and St. John's Prep. All four of those programs are outstanding but all have issues on defense as well which should work in the Hawks' favor.

2. NASHOBA OWNS THE STATE'S LONGEST ACTIVE WIN STREAK (28 GAMES), BUT TWO TOUGH OPPONENTS LAY AHEAD IN WACHUSETT AND ST. JOHN'S OF SHREWSBURY. DO YOU SEE THE CHIEFTAINS MAKING IT TO 30 STRAIGHT?

Hall: Wachusett matches up evenly on paper with Nashoba, but watch out for St. John's. Andrew Smiley is heating up (380 passing yards the last six quarters), and the running game seems to be hitting a groove with St. Louis transplant Shane Combs taking over the feature role. The "blur" offense is a whirlwind to handle when all is going right, and you always have to watch where Davon Jones lines up. I see the Pioneers stopping Nashoba's streak at 29.

Barboza: I think it’ll end at No. 29. The Chieftains will get by Wachusett, but I think the Pioneers’ athletes, particularly on the perimeter, will prove too much to handle.

McGuirk: I see Nashoba reaching 30 straight wins. Wachusett is going through a down year, having already lost to St. Peter-Marian and Fitchburg. And what has been noted many times, St. John's biggest weakness the last couple of seasons has been its porous defense and inability to make tackles consistently. If you look past those next two games, the Chieftains will face a pair of unbeatens (Marlborough and Leominster). That is where the streak could possibly come to a close.

3. BETWEEN THE SUPERB STARTS FROM BROCKTON, TAUNTON, TEWKSBURY AND WESTFIELD, THE TRIPLE OPTION IS MAKING A COMEBACK. WHICH TEAM RUNS IT BEST?

Hall: It's tough to argue against Westfield's ridiculous numbers -- there are running backs that will go a whole season not putting up as many rushing yards as the Bombers have their first two games of the season. But it's hard to argue against Brockton's talent. Aaron LeClair and Jamal Williams get to the perimeter quick, and the Boxers can steamroll you inside with counters and dives. All four of these teams have a dynamic playmaker in the backfield -- LeClair, Tewksbury's Eddie Matovu, Westfield's Ben Geschwind and Taunton's Domingo Jenkins -- but I will give Brockton the edge here because of what they have in the trenches. Aaron Monteiro, the Boxers' prized prospect at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, is a road grader at left guard with a pretty high ceiling.

Barboza: As of right now, I don’t see how you can argue with Westfield. The Bombers are running roughshod over opponents behind senior fullback Ben Geschwind. After running for 348 yards and six touchdowns as a team during last week's 49-20 win over West Springfield, Westfield has scored 109 points in two games, with Geschwind averaging more than 150 yards per game.

Josh Perry, HockomockSports.com: I can’t say whether or not Taunton runs it better than other teams in the state, but I can say that the Tigers do make it look fun. With Gerald Cortijo and Steven Harrison giving star back Domingo Jenkins some help in the backfield, the Tigers have speedy and shifty runners. It’s almost enough to make you forget just how good the ground game would have been without Jamal Williams’ move to Brockton. Taunton’s ability to run the triple option will of course get a much tougher test this week against King Philip and its strong defense, but the Tigers are unique among the other Hockomock teams and it can be fun to watch.

McGuirk: The way Westfield is dominating the competition (109 points in two games), I would say the the triple option is working best for them. They have the right personnel to execute it and coach Bill Moore is very good at putting the right players in place to keep it rolling effectively, especially his tandem of Ben Geschwind and Jake Toomey, who are both averaging over 10 yards-per-carry.

4. TWO OF THE MERRIMACK VALLEY CONFERENCE'S BEST SQUADS, CENTRAL CATHOLIC AND LOWELL, SURRENDERED A COMBINED 73 POINTS AGAINST NON-LEAGUE TOP 10 OPPONENTS LAST WEEKEND. ARE WE HEADED FOR ANOTHER SEASON OF HIGH SCORES IN THE MVC?

Hall: Tough to tell, because Tewksbury has more than pulled its weight in the defensive end so far. If there's one team that can avoid track meets, it's the Redmen. Everyone else, good luck. We anointed the MVC "Death By 1,000 Shallow Crosses" a year ago, and with the amount of spread offense and no-huddle tempo deployed in this league, we could very well be in for another season of Wild West scores.

Barboza: I'd take my chances with the defensive units of Andover, Central Catholic, Lowell and Tewksbury against just about any offense in the state, but what comes into play in the MVC is the teams' offensive style of play. With so many teams in its ranks adopting the spread offense, the big numbers put up seemingly on a weekly basis are more a function of the pace of the game, with shortened drives as opposed to rushing-oriented, ball-control styles of play. But as long as MVC teams continue to live and die by the sword (or the spread), I think we'll continue to see some lopsided numbers.

Mike Abelson, ESPN Boston correspondent: Yes and no. Central and Lowell, when the blur is working as advertised, can drop basketball scores on lesser teams because of the athletic talent. That being said, through three weeks there are only two MVC teams averaging 30 or more points. Central is one, and the other, North Andover, hasn't won a game. The only two remaining undefeated teams, Tewksbury and Methuen, are averaging 27 and 18 points a game, respectively, and winning games without all the flash and dash of putting up buckets of points. Yes, the MVC will have it's share of high-scoring contests (I'll put the over/under for Central-Chelmsford at 90.5), but it won't consistently translate to W's.

5. AFTER A ROUGH FIRST WEEK, HAS BARNSTABLE FIGURED IT OUT? CAN THEY KNOCK OFF NO. 1 XAVERIAN?

Hall: I feel like this is a sneaky good matchup. Let's not forget Barnstable was our preseason No. 12 before getting shell-shocked by Dennis-Yarmouth in the opening weekend. There is talent, between versatile athlete Hayden Murphy, shutdown corner Derek Estes and elusive scatback Justus Chafee.

Defensively, Barnstable typically likes to stretch vertically and keep everything in front of them, which can be a bad matchup against spread teams like Dennis-Yarmouth. Last week against BC High, they looked like they cleaned up a lot of their mistakes. Xaverian's offense, while a bit more creative, has some similarities to BC High's. Going the other way, the Red Raiders use some funky misdirection in the run game to prevent linebackers from filling gaps. On their first touchdown against BC, for instance, a receiver backpedaled off the line of scrimmage, feigning a bubble screen, putting several defenders on their heels as Chafee came up the gut on a zone read.

That kind of stuff can keep even the best defenses on their toes. Expect some fireworks, and some dynamic playcalling, in this one.

Barboza: This is a yes-and-no proposition to me. I think the Raiders righted ship after an embarrassing loss to Cape rival Dennis-Yarmouth in Week 1, going on the road to beat another Catholic Conference foe in BC High. But I think Barnstable would need to play a near perfect game, while forcing the Hawks into some turnovers in order to make it four straight defeats of an ESPN Boston No. 1 squad. I'm not saying it will not be a close game, I just like Xaverian a little bit more.

Perry: In a preseason roundtable, I said that Barnstable was a team that was getting overlooked because of the players that it lost from last year. I’ll stick by that and say that the Raiders give Xaverian a run for their money. The No. 1 ranking has been more of an albatross than an honor this year, so I’ll say that Barnstable has a good chance of causing the Hawks problems.

McGuirk: Barnstable is good but Xaverian is playing with a lot of confidence, especially following the huge win over B-R last week. The Hawks should take care of the Red Raiders who gave up 37 points to D-Y in Week One but did bounce back nicely last week against BC High.

Abelson: In Hayden Murphy I trust. In the ESPN Boston poll curse I believe. Barnstable, 27-21.

6. THE HOCKOMOCK LEAGUE'S KELLY-REX DIVISION MIGHT BE THE STATE'S MOST UNPREDICTABLE RACE THIS FALL. AS LEAGUE PLAY OPENS UP THIS WEEK, PROJECT YOUR CHAMPION AND DARK HORSE.

Hall: Mansfield was the prohibitive favorite in most minds heading into the season, and so far they've done little to suggest otherwise. Consider that nearly three weeks out from their shocking upset of Dunbar (Md.), the Hornets are still without five starters. They're already a dynamic offense, between quarterback Kyle Wisnieski, 6-foot-5 flex tight end Brendan Hill, and space-carving tailback Miguel Villar-Perez. Hard to go against that.

For dark horses, I like Attleboro. I think it's understated how big their line is, particularly at defensive tackle, and there are plenty of weapons on offense between quarterback Tim Walsh, tight end Luke Morrison and receiver Brendan Massey. This program has long been a sleeping giant, and new coach Mike Strachan has re-awakened those sentiments.

Barboza: All along, I've penciled in Mansfield as the team to beat in the Kelley-Rex. I believe they had the most complete group of talent on either side of the ball, and also had the most upside. The scary part is that, due to injury, the Hornets might not have yet hit their apogee and will continue to strengthen as the season progresses.

Now, for the sleeper, I know we've talked up Attleboro up a lot in the early going -- to the point that I really think they're a threat in Division 1 South. Seeing that the Blue Bombardiers are for real in the first two weeks of the season, I'm going to go with Taunton. I don't think Chris Greding has gotten enough credit for the job he's done turning around the Tigers program in short order. Of course, an infusion of talent led by Domingo Jenkins helps, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Taunton knocks off one of the Hock's "Big Three" -- King Philip, Mansfield, North Attleborough -- at some point this season.

Perry: The favorite heading into the Hockomock League season is defending champions Mansfield and its new spread attack that takes advantage of its great weapons like senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski and junior tight end Brendan Hill. Attleboro has gotten a lot of hype from media, me included, in the preseason as a sleeper in the Hock. A new coaching staff, a new field, and new schemes on both sides of the ball have made the Bombardiers a much more confident crew and better utilize the weapons that it has. The Bombardiers were only a few mental mistakes from beating Mansfield last season and Tim Walsh is on fire running the spread formation – watch out for Attleboro. Of course, watch out for KP, Franklin, and North Attleborough, too. It really is up for grabs

McGuirk: The Kelly-Rex Division is solid with four teams still unbeaten (Mansfield, Attleboro, North Attleboro and Taunton). When it is all said and done. I believe it will come down to Mansfield and North Attleborough for the title because of their high-octane offenses. Attleboro has to be considered the darkhorse here because of its stingy defense which could carry them through. It will be interesting to watch all four of these team beat up one another during the season and see who survives.

10 Off the Top: Week 3 edition

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
11:57
PM ET
A smattering of observances, trends, anecdotes, factoids and musings collected from around Massachusetts football in the last week or so:


10. One way-too-early prediction: Marblehead is going to cause some waves in Division 3 Northeast.


9. It might still be early, but Middleborough looks to have a playmaker for some years to come in sophomore running back Eddie Hart. While not the tallest in stature (he's 5-foot-7), the shifty Hart dazzled again in Week 2 with a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown in addition to 130 rushing yards on 15 carries, with two touchdowns, in the Sachems' victory over Coyle-Cassidy.


8. It was a rough second half for Weymouth's defense against Bay State rival Natick last Thursday, but someone worth keeping an eye on is Wildcats middle linebacker James Bradley. The senior showed good instincts and sideline-to-sideline pursuit (against a fleet-footed Redhawks squad nonetheless).


7. And while we're on those Redhawks ... After a week, it looks as though Alex Hilger will be Troy Flutie's go-to target with Brian Dunlap lost for the season to injury. But while teams might soon begin giving Hilger a Dunlap-like treatment with bracketed coverage, that's only to create more space for fellow senior wide receiver Justin Robinson to work, particularly along the seems of the field, as he did with increasing frequency during later stages of Natick's win at Weymouth.


6. As in six hundred. In a wild 64-39 win over Swampscott, St. Mary's (Lynn) accumulated just shy of 600 rushing yards -- well, 570 to be exact -- but Connor Sakowich, Jordan Manthorne and Abraham Toe put on a show no one will soon forget.


5. After making his college decision on Monday, Central Catholic senior running back/defensive back D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie offered his evaluation of the Merrimack Valley Conference this year -- as well as a pet peeve about scheduling.


"Very, very good competition," he said. "Lowell's great. Andover's good. Chelmsford's always tough. Billerica looks really good, too, their quarterback [Jordan Bolarinho] is putting up crazy numbers right now."


But then, again, "We don't get to play Methuen any more though. I'm a little bummed about that. It was always a great game atmosphere."


4. And another thing about Drummond-Mayrie ... When you talk to Raiders head coach Chuck Adamopoulos about his star two-way player, the first trait he'll bring up to you is his humility. Adamopoulos added that the most difficult thing for Drummond-Mayrie in his recruiting process was informing the five other offering schools of his decision. He took the time Monday to call all of the prospective coaching staffs before announcing his commitment to local media.


3. The number of consecutive wins No. 1 Bridgewater-Raynham holds over No. 14 Xaverian entering Saturday's Game of the Week matchup.


2. Speaking of those aforementioned Trojans, here's another factoid for you. In Saturday's 13-10 win over Duxbury, B-R did not surrender an offensive touchdown. It marked the first game during Duxbury head coach Dave Maimaron's 9-year tenure in which the Dragons did not score an offensive touchdown.


1. Undoubtedly, the story of Week 2 was how B-R quarterback Matt Clement dutifully played in the midst of a chaotic day for his family.

Saturday morning, Scott Clement suffered a heart attack while running the track at B-R. He'd been training for an upcoming 5K race. If not for a couple of Good Samaritans who were also around the athletic complex at the time and called 911, Scott Clement's life could have been in even greater peril.


He was rushed to Brockton Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to insert a stent.


With Matt by his side, Scott Clement had one final message for his son before being wheeled into the O.R.: "Focus on what's at hand."


"I couldn't believe that's what he told me," Matt told me Tuesday. "He's the one going into surgery and he's telling me to do that? I told him he needed to focus on what he was doing more."


Scott Clement, a quarterback in his days at Holbrook High, also told his son he was to play that night against the Dragons. Matt led the Trojans to their second straight road win, en route to seizing the No. 1 ranking in our Top 25 poll.


The first thing Matt did after passing through Saturday's postgame handshake line was pick up the phone.


"I was just sad that he missed it," Matt said. "It was a great game, and he loves this program. He loves football."


Scott Clement was released from the hospital Monday evening.

Exeter (N.H.) ready to host Northeast 7v7

July, 19, 2013
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Some of the best high school football talent in New England will gather at Exeter (N.H.) High School on Saturday, where the third annual Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 tournament will kick off with the North Regional.

Exeter is one of three tournament sites. The South Regional will be held Sunday at Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, and the East Regional will take place July 27 at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody. Each site will feature 40 teams.

“These 7-on-7 tournaments are really big in other parts of the country, and they're starting to grow here,” Dover (N.H.) coach Ken Osbon said. “If other teams are doing it, you have to do it or you're going to be left behind.”

The finalists from each regional and four wildcard teams will advance to the New England 7-on-7 championship, which will be held July 30 at Bishop Fenwick.

Three states -– Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire -– will be represented in Exeter. Each team is guaranteed four games in pool play, and then two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination portion of the event. The first games are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

St. John's Prep of Danvers and Exeter are among the teams that will compete in the North Regional. St. John's Prep, which won last year's Division I Super Bowl, has the top-ranked recruit from Massachusetts in running back Johnathan Thomas. Thomas has committed to the University of Maryland.

Exeter has defeated Pinkerton Academy of Derry in New Hampshire's last two Division I championship games. For Exeter, which runs a Straight-T offense, competing in 7-on-7 tournaments is as much about defense as it is the passing game.

“There are a lot of spread teams out there,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “It helps your linebackers and the secondary.”

The field also includes Methuen, which defeated The Pingree School of South Hamilton to win last year's North Regional.

Marshwood High School of South Berwick, Maine, reached the Class B championship game last season and is also entered. Former Longmeadow coach Alex Rotsko is entering his second year as Marshwood's head coach. Rotsko guided Longmeadow to 11 Super Bowl championships in 19 seasons.

“We came last year and the kids loved it,” York, Maine, coach Randy Small said. “It allows your quarterback and his receivers to work on their timing. The competition is great. Makes you better.”
Undefeated Bridgewater-Raynham assumes the top position in our latest MIAA softball Top 25 poll, the first time the Trojans have ever claimed the No. 1 spot.

B-R takes the top billing from Milford, which saw a 35-game win streak go by the wayside in a 1-0, 10-inning loss to new No. 2 North Attleborough. It also marks the first time since the midway point of last season that Milford wasn't No. 1. The Red Rocketeers jump 10 spots from No. 12 following the win over the defending Division 1 state champions.

The shakeup at the top wasn't the only movement in this week's poll, however, as six new teams enter the rankings.

COME ON DOWN

Among those six teams entering the Top 25 this week, five are making their season debuts. Sandwich checks in at No. 17, in their first appearance of the season, bolstered by the three no-hitters spun by Julia Sullivan during the first month of the season.

Danvers makes its first-ever Top 25 showing, sporting a 10-0 record in the Northeastern Conference and check in at No. 20. Methuen and Nashoba -- also making first-time Top 25 appearances -- follow at Nos. 21 and 22, respectively. Leister returns to the poll at No. 23, while Dual County League power Boston Latin cracks the poll for the first time this season at No. 25.

D2 girls: Duxbury 8, Tewksbury/Methuen 0

March, 10, 2013
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BOURNE, Mass. -- At least one team will be wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day on the ice at the TD Garden, and they won’t be there because they got lucky. The top-seeded Duxbury Dragons earned their third consecutive trip to the Division 2 state championship game, where they will be looking to capture their third pot of gold in a row, after pounding upstart Tewksbury/Methuen, 8-0, at Gallo Ice Arena Saturday.

Duxbury’s game plan was to get out fast and quick, and never let up. They did that quite effectively.

“We wanted to stay aggressive, just really attack, attack. I felt that our depth was really going to carry the day and the girls came out with high energy,” Duxbury head coach Friend Weiler said.

It was evident early on that the Dragons (21-1-2) were simply on a higher plane than the Red Rangers and that depth that Weiler spoke of was on display from the outset. Payton Donato, Jacqui Nolan and Liz Collins each scored twice for the Dragons, and Hannah Murphy assisted on three scores, giving her 50 points (27 goals, 23 assists) for the year.

Duxbury scored four times in the first period and cruised from there, adding a pair of goals in the subsequent frames. Duxbury’s first came at 5:22 of the first on a goal by Nolan, who tipped in a slapper by Donato for an early power play goal. Three minutes later, at 8:54, Donato got her first of the day when she unloaded from the left point and it hit a stick on the way, averting the pads of Taylor Lirakis.

The Gallo PA man hadn’t finished announcing Duxbury’s second goal before the third one was hung on the scoreboard. Marissa Fichter put home a nice feed from Murphy to the far post. Closing out the lopsided first period was Collins’ first of two, a blast from the perimeter that hit Lirakis’ shoulder, went high into the air and landed behind her, in the net.

From that point, it was just a matter of getting to the final whistle for the Dragons. Duxbury outshot the Red Rangers, 48-11, in the game and bottled up the Red Rangers’ top weapon, Amanda Conway. The state’s top goal-scorer, who had 52 markers coming into the night, was held to just three shots on goal in the game, and had no serious scoring bids against Duxbury’s Rachel Myette.

Myette kept the Dragons’ run of shut-out hockey going. Duxbury has not been scored upon in the state tournament, and last gave up a goal on Feb. 16. Myette had a rather easy go of it as she earned her eighth shutout of the season, and fifth straight.

“It’s about trying to take away the middle, and that’s what we want to continue to do,” Weiler said. “My defensive core has played really tough all throughout the season and they’ve gotten better as we’ve gone along. It’s just hard work, and focus, and puck protection, that’s the key. The girls were ready to go today, they had high energy, and that’s what you’re looking for, to be peaking at the right time.”

In the second period, Duxbury added goals Nos. 5 and 6. They came off the sticks of Donato and Nolan, during the middle of the frame. In the third, the Dragons’ Collins and Meredith Wright rounded out the shellacking.

Recap: No. 4 Central Catholic 53, Lowell 28

December, 22, 2012
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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Central Catholic made some critical halftime adjustments and held Lowell to just 12 second half points as they defeated their Merrimack Valley Conference counterpart, 53-28, in the first round of the 2012 Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.

Central Catholic (4-0) led 23-16 at the half in a first half that was dominated by the inside presence of Central Catholic senior Casey McLaughlin and Lowell freshman Alexi Schecter.

[+] EnlargeCasey McLaughin
Ryan Kilian for ESPNBoston.com Central Catholic and Casey McLaughlin downed an upstart Lowell and freshman Alexi Schecter with a 53-28 win in the first round of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.
Schecter imposed her 6-foot-3 inch frame in the key and created problems for Central Catholic on the defensive end of the floor. She finished the first half with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We knew we did not play the way we wanted to play in the first half,” Central Catholic head coach Susan Downer said. “That was the first time we played against Schecter and she is very good. We focused on fronting her and helping from behind and I think we did a lot better job in the second half.”

McLaughlin and Central Catholic came out and turned up the defensive intensity in the second half as they extended their defense and caused numerous turnovers in the third quarter resulting in a 12-point Central lead after three quarters.

“We knew we had to pick it up in the second half,” McLauglin said after the game. “We just breathed and focused in the locker room and came out and turned up the defensive effort.”

McLaughlin, who walks off the bus with a double-double, led Central Catholic on the evening with 18 points and 20 rebounds. Her relentless effort on the offensive glass and on the defensive end of the floor proved to be too much for Lowell (3-1) to handle down the stretch.

The fourth quarter would prove to be the most dominant for Central as they outscored Lowell 16-3 in the final frame to earn their fourth victory of the season.

Central Catholic also received strong games from junior forward Amanda Williams (11 rebounds) and junior point guard Courtney Walsh (nine points, four assists).

Veteran team: Despite just having three seniors on their roster Central Catholic returns their starting lineup and a very experienced veteran group.

“Our intensity has been great at practices and we have worked very hard all pre-season,” Downer said of her veteran team.

The Stonehill-bound McLaughlin, one of two seniors and four-year varsity veteran, echoed her coaches thoughts.

“We have a very strong team this year,” McLauglin said. “I think we have a very fast team and we are always looking to push the ball. We want to win every game, starting with this tournament, as we have never won this one.”

Lowell’s fab frosh: Schecter was very impressive for Lowell in the loss. Reminding many in the gym of former Central Catholic standout Katie Zenevitch (Boston College) Schecter showed a mature post-game to go with an aggressive defensive mentality.

Battling double teams and fighting through physical defenders all night Schecter showed why she will be one of the most talked about players in Massachusetts for years to come.

“She made a huge difference in our game plan,” Downer said. “You have to be very smart when you play against someone like her. She is agile and has a good knack for the basketball.

Schecter finished the game with a stat line of 15 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

In other tournament action: In earlier action Andover defeated Lawrence 60-40. Andover’s win sets up a semi-final match-up with rival Central Catholic. Senior guard Devon Caveney led Andover with 17 points.

North Andover and Hartford-bound senior Morgan Lumb defeated Methuen 52-32 in another semifinal contest. Lumb, who is one of the most explosive guards in Massachusetts, led the Scarlet Knights with 20 points.

Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) and Salem (N.H.) play in the nightcap and make up the final two teams in the annual eight-team tournament.

Recap: Lawrence 69, Methuen 58

December, 21, 2012
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LAWRENCE, Mass. -- It took three quarters, but Lawrence found the right mix of effort and execution needed to put away Methuen tonight, 69-58, in the opening round of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.

For the first three quarters, no Lawrence (4-0) lead was greater than six points. Going into the fourth up 46-42, the team ratcheted up its defensive pressure and overall tenacity to outscore Methuen (0-4) 23-16 to pull away and show what it is capable of when clicking on all cylinders.

“I thought the kids were playing hard, and that’s one of the things I’m stressing to the team, that we need to be the hardest working team when we go out there,” said Lawrence coach Raymond Nunez. “In regards to executing, we have a long way to go, especially on the defensive end.”

Methuen was kept in the game in large part because of its outside shooting. When Lawrence went up by four or six points early and appeared to be set to pull away, someone would hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit back down.

Lawrence did most of its damage around the basket, where Tre’von Farley and Roberto Speing each had a double-double. Speing was more active on the boards (16 points, 14 rebounds) while Farley (14 points, 10 rebounds) filled up his stat line in the latter half of the game.

“We really didn’t play together as a team,” said Farley. “We didn’t really play as one. This is a team that we should really be up against and if we play defense, that we should be able to put away. We were really slacking on the defensive end. We have to get better defensively.”

Lawrence will play in the semi-finals of the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament on Dec. 27 against the winner of the Pinkerton Academy-Greater Lawrence game, which will take place Friday.

Double Trouble: Not to say that any player is more important than another, but Lawrence’s success will depend on how Speing and Farley perform in games. When they are being fed the ball in the post or attacking the rim off the dribble, that is when the team has its most success. As the season rolls on, and with the team lacking a consistent long-range shooting threat, their consistency in the paint will be imperative if the team wants to make noise in the Merrimack Valley Conference.

That creates open space for teammates elsewhere if the defense collapses on them, they can draw fouls on the opposing big men, or they can make the most of second chance opportunities on the offensive glass.

“I think we need to do a better job of getting it to them in the post,” said Nunez. “We work our big guys day in and day out and the way you reward them is feed them in the post. I think we had an advantage down low, but we just struggled feeding them in the post. It’s going to come with time though.”

Putting either on the free throw line is also not a winning strategy for the opposition. Both Speing and Farley are above average free throw shooters for players their size. Tonight, they went a combined 8-of-11 from the line.

“We work off each other,” said Farley. “If Roberto’s on one side, we know just to box out and if the ball is going up, we just try to get hungry and go for the rebound. That’s just our main goal: to rebound. That’s our job.”

Trying to Find a Balance: Like most teams early in the season, Lawrence has had difficulty finding consistency on both ends of the floor. That was most evident Thursday, when coaches were yelling for the players to communicate on defense. For three quarters, there were breakdowns in the interior, which allowed players like Tim Galloway-Burke (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Jamal Rene (4 points, 8 rebounds) to occasionally muscle and maneuver their way around the paint.

That changed in the fourth, when the Lawrence players started showing up in hustle plays, where they were not in the first three quarters. Players were diving for balls on the ground, chasing balls and preventing them from going out of bounds, and attacking defensively, whereas earlier in the game, players were shying away from those.

Putting it all together: When a team’s biggest issue is effort, how can it become less of a problem? Is it something that can be taken care of in practice? Does the coaching staff have to pick up its demands on its players? Or is it just a matter of a team growing together and developing chemistry to make it easier to play together?

That is something a team like Lawrence will have to find out soon. There is no doubt the talent is there to be a dangerous team, but can it manifest that talent into a cohesive unit that can compete as it gets deeper into the season?

“It’s going to be a matter of us stressing it in practice,” said Nunez. “We have to get back into practice and just work at it. Then we have to rely on our three seniors coming back (Farley, Denny Gonzalez, and Esmelin Romero). I think those three guys can make a big impact on the defensive end, and also just in a leadership aspect. Just having that experience, I think they can help our young guys that are inexperienced with that.”

Reading wins Northeast 7v7 East Regional

July, 21, 2012
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Drew BelcherBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.com Junior quarterback Drew Belcher showed signs of improvement in leading Reading to the East Regional championship Saturday afternoon.
PEABODY -- The Reading Rockets are heading back to Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2010 -- albeit in a different context.

Propelled by steady play all afternoon from junior quarterback Drew Belcher, the Rockets won the East Regional of the Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 Tournament this afternoon on the turf at Bishop Fenwick High School, beating St. John's Prep, 13-6, to secure themselves one of 10 spots in Wednesday's New England Championship at Gillette Stadium.

This will be the first trip to Gillette for Reading's football program since December of 2010, when the Rockets coughed up a three-score halftime lead to Mansfield in the Division 2 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl. The Rockets figure to be a favorite in Division 2 this season; but due to the inclusion of Central and Western Mass. squads to the six-game Gillette Super Bowl slate, the D2 Super Bowl will be played at another venue.

"It's awesome," Belcher said of winning the tournament. "There's a bunch of great teams out here, and it's really cool to win this thing. It's a big deal to us, because we've been out here all day, so it's good to win."

To win out, the Rockets had to outlast a competitive field full of surprises. After going 2-1 in pool play, they knocked off Northeast Regional champ Methuen, followed by Bedford -- which beat Reading in pool play -- to get to the final four on the Fenwick field turf. There, they had to knock off another surprise team, Manchester-Essex, to face Prep in the finals.

"We lost to Bedford at the beginning, but we got back at them," Belcher said. "That's my uncle [Bedford head coach Jack Belcher], so that was good to get back at them. And St. John's is obviously a great team, so that's a good accomplishment."

In the finals, the Rockets had to overcome a shaky start to pull this out. They went three-and-out on their first drive, then on their second drive, down 6-0, Belcher was picked off at the goal line.

They responded with a pick of their own on the Eagles' ensuing drive. Safety Chris Godwin broke for the right sideline, jumped the receiver's route, and snagged the ball as he tip-toed the sideline. The Rockets went to work quickly, with Belcher nailing a 15-yard strike to put the ball at the half-yard line. From there, Belcher hit Connor Sheehan in the shallow end zone, on a post, then converted the point-after pass for a 7-6 lead.

"That was huge," Belcher said of Godwin's pick. "We needed a big play, and he came up and made it."

The Rockets gave themselves some cushion on the next offensive series, with Belcher hitting his favorite target Ryan Maney on an underneath route through the shallow end zone for a 13-6 lead.

"He gave me a perfect ball," Maney said. "He's the hero today."

First class air: At 6-foot-4 and a sturdy 200 pounds, few at this level of competiton will question Belcher's ability as a runner. A majority of the Rockets' plays last season came out of two-back, shotgun sets, with Belcher calling his own number on options.

As the season went on, Belcher drew his continued praise from his head coach, John Fiore, for the advancements he'd made in the mental aspect of quarterbacking. With a focus on the physical aspect this off-season, Belcher looked polished this afternoon, and is one of the biggest reasons the Rockets are an early favorite to win their fifth consecutive Middlesex League title.

"I've done a lot of footwork stuff, which I need to polish off," Belcher said. "I'm working to make my arm stronger, and then I feel like I'm reading defenses a lot clearer."

Today, that mental aspect came into handy as well.

"I'm diagnosing what kind of defense they're in, and just seeing where the open spots were from there," he said.

The other big reason for the Reading hype? Depth at the receiver positions.

"It's crazy, we're returning every one of our wide receivers," Maney said. "So we've had time this year to get better. This year and last year, we were strong. One more year of maturity, and this is what happens."

Northeast 7v7 tournaments this weekend

July, 20, 2012
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Northeast 7v7 flag football tournament director Steve Dembowski passes along this release today regarding this weekend's tournaments. Be sure to check the blog during the weekend for results and insights:
The Under Armour Northeast 7v7 Tournament has two Massachusetts Regional events this weekend. On Saturday July 21st, Bishop Fenwick High school in Peabody is hosting the East Regional and on Sunday Franklin High School is hosting the South Regional. Both 32-team tournaments begin with pool at 10am and the playoffs begin at 1:30. The finals should start at 3:45. The finalists from both events qualify for the New England Championship at Gillette Stadium on July 25th.

This is the 9th year of the tournament and the biggest with 88 different teams from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont competing for the New England Championship. Under Armour is the title sponsor and provides two compression shirts and a pair of shorts to 20 players on each team.

The New England Championship will feature 10 teams on the turf at Gillette Stadium. Six teams will automatically qualify and four will be selected as "wild cards". Teams will play four games in pool play and the top two from each pool will play single elimination for the title. Methuen (MA) and The Pingree School (MA) qualified from the North Regional at Exeter High School on June 30th. Games begin at 4pm and will finish under the lights before 9pm. This is the second year Gillette has hosted the tournament.

More information about the tournament and its history can be found at northeast7v7.com.

Bay State Games: July 12 recap

July, 13, 2012
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Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's plethora of action:



WOBURN, Mass. -– A busy Thursday at the Bay State Games saw the start of the soccer, field hockey, basketball, ice hockey and boys' lacrosse competitions, as well as the continuation of the 2012 baseball tournament and the conclusion of the girl’s lacrosse event. Friday will see all of these scholastic results continue and baseball will draw to a close with all the medal positions still hanging in the balance. Friday night will also see the beginning of the 2012 Bay State Games swim competition at Harvard University.

GIRLS LACROSSE

Bronze Medal Game: Southeast 14, Metro 6
Gold Medal Game: Northeast 13, West 11

BASEBALL

Northeast 5, Metro 5
Metro almost pulled an upset by taking a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning but had to settle for a tie as Northeast came back to tie the game and then stranded the winning run on base in the bottom of the inning.

Austin Johnson (Brookline) drew a bases loaded walk and Nick Bruno (Lynnfield) followed with an RBI single before Jonathan Santana Arias (Somerville) knocked in two more runs as Metro plated four runs in the sixth. Kyle Hood (Arlington) had scored an unearned run for Metro in the second.

Northeast scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings and then took advantage of three walks and two hit batsmen in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5. Justin Freeman (N. Chelmsford) drove in a run for Northeast, as did Colby Morris (Newburyport), who drew a walk with the bases full.

Central 4, Southeast 1
Southeast scored in the top of the first when Cameron Hanley (Walpole) doubled home Sean Scales (Weymouth), but Central, led by Jake Ryan (Whitinsville), who went 2-2 with a run scored and an RBI double, had taken a 4-1 lead by the bottom of the fifth. Zack Tower (Auburn) also drove in a run for Central, who got good pitching from their rotation, including starter Christian Doskocil (Sterling), who went three inning s and struck out two.

West 3, Coastal 0
Austin Salnitis (Lenox) went five innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven for West, who ran their record t o3-1. West got on the board in the fourth when Kenny Potts (Southwick) drew a walk and scored on a double by Phillip Jasak (Palmer). They added another run in each of the next innings with an RBI single by Andrew Noonan (Springfield) and an RBI double by Jake LaBranche (W. Springfield).

Coastal was led at the plate by Andrew Mancini (N. Easton), who went 2-2 with two singles.


BOYS SOCCER

Metro 1, Southeast 1
Metro scored first in the 20th minute when Thayrone Miranda (Somerville) connected on an assist from Walter Guzman (Chelsea), but the Southeast team equalized in the 67th minute on a connection from Nick Savage (Milton) to Marquardt.

Coastal 2, Central 2
Coastal scored first through Joshua Medeiros (New Bedford) in the 34th minute, but Central scored twice to take a 2-1 lead with Riley Steele (Sutton) and Lukas Ritzer (Sutton) connecting. Coastal salvaged a draw with a 58th minute goal by Ty Catunto (New Bedford).

West 3, Northeast 0
West got three second half goals from Mark Richards (Springfield), David Serafino (Ludlow) and Nicholas Martinelli (East Longmeadow).


GIRLS SOCCER

Northeast 3, Metro 0
North got three goals in the first half, their first just three minutes into the game. Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored the first two goals for Northeast and Alexa Cicolini (Methuen) finished the job in the 31st minute.

Southeast/Coastal 1, Central 0
Lauren Farrell (Rockland) scored the only goal in the 48th minute as Southeast/Coastal edged Central.

West 8, Metro 0
Jennifer Delasco (Lenox) and Mary Edwards (E. Longmeadow) each scored twice, with Stefano adding an assist. Jordan Bates (Chicopee) and Kiley Baran (Granby) added two assists apiece as West rolled to their first win of the tournament.

Northeast 4, Southeast/Coastal 1
Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored four straight goals for Northeast to give them the victory after Jessica Murphy (Norwood) had given Southeast/Coastal a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. Cullen started her scoring spree just a minute later.

West 4, Central 0
West endured an onslaught of Central possession early before scoring four times in the second half. Sharlotte Pernice (W. Springfield) scored twice, and Christina Ferriter (Springfield) and Brianna Voight (Springfield) also tallied for West.


FIELD HOCKEY

Metro/Northeast 3, Southeast 2
Central 2, Coastal 1


BOYS LACROSSE

Southeast 16, Northeast 4
Steve Righini (Weymouth) scored four times for Southeast, while Conor Martin (Plainville), Sean Williams (Scituate), and Jack Vail (Franklin) each tallied twice, with Martin adding two assists. Six other players tallied single goals, including Nicholas D’Innocenzo (Medway), who also added an assist. Tyler Boardo (Weymouth) and Daniel Sprague (Weymouth) combined for nine saves in goal.

Northeast got two goals from Derek Lawton (Bishop Guertin) and a goal apiece from Devlin Crane (Arlington) and John Curcuru (Gloucester). Evan Connolly (Peabody) made 13 stops in net and Joshua Nelson (Medford) spelled him for five saves.

Central 10, Metro 9
Joshua Daigle (Marlborough) and Alex Sabel (Algonquin) each scored twice and added an assist, while Thomas Whiting (Hudson) notched two goals as well. Matthew McIntire (Milford) made ten stops in the winning effort.

Jack Trottier (Tyngsborough), Brian Walsh (Lowell) and Joey Pescatore (Waltham) each scored twice for Metro and Ben Foley (Tyngsborough) added a goal and two assists in a losing effort. Scott Powell (Swampscott) made 9 stops in the Metro net.


BOYS ICE HOCKEY

Northeast 8, Southeast 7
Metro 6, West 1
Central 12, Coastal 2
Southeast 8, Metro 2


GIRLS ICE HOCKEY

Central/West 9, Metro 1
Southeast/Coastal 4, Northeast 2


BOYS 11-12 GRADE BASKETBALL

Central 82, Metro 47
Central was led by Tyler Delorey (Worcester), who scored 22 points, including four three-pointers. Matt Mobley (Worcester) also chipped in 18 points, including two buckets from downtown.

Coastal 75, West 59
Coastal got 25 points from Chris Green (Taunton), including four three-pointers, while Paul Maurice (Taunton) added 22 points.

Central 89, Coastal 80
Central got 26 points from Delorey, who nailed three shots from downtown and also got 17 points from Jacek Louisville (Worcester). Tommy Keyes (Somerset) led the way for Coastal with 19 points.

Northeast 79, West 78
Northeast’s Devin Thompson (Winthrop) led all scorers with 22 points and two three’s in the fourth quarter. Anthony Smith (Springfield) was the top scorer on West with 17 points.


BOYS 9-10 GRADE BASKETBALL

Central 68 Metro 64
Matt Grose led Central with 19 points and Bobby Flanagan put up 15. The Metro squad was led by Keith Burns (Belmont) with 22 points while Christian Lejuene (Waltham) added 14.

West 73 Coastal 41
The West squad was led by Keith Natale (Hatfield), who had 22 points and Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 15. The Coastal region had Tom Galanek (Plymouth) and Kent Mertz (Dennisport) score 8 points each.

Northeast 72 Coastal 60
Anthony Gilardi (Malden) led the Northeast squad with 24 points while Cody Broges (Dartmouth) picked up the slack with 16. Liam Gerrity (Barnstable) was the leading scorer in the game with 26 points and Pat Danner (Plymouth) had 10 points for Coastal.

West 67 Metro 40
West’s Keith Natale (Hatfield) had 20 while Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 11. The Metro squad had Jaewoo Chung (Arlington) score 11 points.


GIRLS BASKETBALL

Northeast 73 Southeast 71
Northeast lead scorer Amanda Williams (North Andover) scored 13 points. Sarah Hood (Burlington) added 12 points to the scoreboard. Katie Lowerre (Sharon) led the way for Southeast with 18 points

Metro 72 Central 24
Melissa Baptista (Somerville) led the Metro region with 15 points. Kaila Duarte (Boston) score 13 points throughout the game which included making both of her free throws in the 4th quarter. Central was led by Kristen Smith (Littleton) chipping in 7 points.

West 66 Coastal 55
Keri Paton (Russell) contributed 17 points to West which included 13 points in the 4th quarter. Tea Spellacy (Belchertown) contributed 11 points to the scoreboard as well. Norma Waggett (Saugus) led Coastal with 25 points.

Southeast 68 Central 39
Lowerre led Southeast to victory against Central contributing 21 points. Montana Burke (Bromfield) and Abrielle Peltier (Leicaster) both chipped in 8 points for Central.

Metro 66 West 32
Metro got 14 points by Maggie Mulligan (Brighton) leading the team. Spellacy scored 11 points for West and Paton added 8 more to the scoreboard.

Northeast 62 Coastal 36
Hood tallied 14 points in Northeast’s last game against Coastal. Williams and Courtney Walsh (Windham) added to the scoreboard. Coastal’s Rachel Camara (Fall River) contributed 10 points and Brianna Camara (Fall River) chipped in 7.


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Bay State Games: July 7 recap

July, 8, 2012
7/08/12
3:32
PM ET
The annual Bay State Games officially kicked off this weekend. Communications Coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along a recap of all the action from yesterday's wrestling tournament:



BOSTON -– The 2012 Bay State Summer Games officially got underway this weekend with the annual wrestling tournament highlighting the first weekend of individual sports competition.

The event saw 450 wrestlers from around New England, including many from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, who were welcomed to the Massachusetts games, compete over the two-day tournament. The games kicked off with Friday’s junior tournament, featuring 100 wrestlers from fifth thru eighth grade.

The scholastic and open tournaments took place on Saturday afternoon and featured 250 of the top high school wrestlers from New England, as well as 100 more competitors aged 19 and up.

More than thirty different wrestling clubs sent wrestlers to the Bay State Games, including Doughboy Wrestling in Lowell, which had two of its combatants face off in both the 106.1 pound weight class, where Ryan Stanton (Melrose) defeated Thomas Hamilton (Lincoln) and the 160.1 weight class, which saw Alec Golner (Lowell) take the crown over Vincent Benincasa (Concord, N.H.).

Ben DeFronzo (Sudbury, Mass.), also of Doughboy, took down the 120.1 weight class. Fellow Sudbury resident Joseph Rottman was victorious in the 138.1 class.

Kyle Streeter (Waitsfield, Vt.), came south to claim the 220.1 weight class in the scholastic division.

The open division featured wrestlers from many of the top colleges in New England. Those winners in the 19 and over group included David Brown (Plymouth State), Bruin Suitor (Boston University), Trevour Smith (Duke), Everett Deslips (Johnson and Wales), Howard Tobochnil (UNH), Andrew Tanner (WPI), Zach Bates (Bridgewater State) and Caleb Crump (Rhode Island College).

The winners in Friday’s Juniors Division were Andrew Fallon (Fall River), Hunter Adrian (Melrose), Cole Wyman (Brockton), Jack Darling (Boxford), Casey Broadhurst (Plaistow, N.H.), Matthew Cabezas (Methuen), Austin Cooley (Somerset), Craig Santos (Londonderry, N.H.), Ahmad Sharif (Chicopee), Ethan Bartley (Somerset), Philip Conigliaro (Dedham), Matt Kelley (Foxborough), Griffin Murray (Chelmsford), Dylan Nottingham (Melrose), Trent Goodman (Blue Hill, Maine), Connor Petros (Ellsworth, Maine), Darius Franklin (Haverhill), David O'Brien (Dalton), Joseph Rodriguez (Merrimack, N.H.) and Mathieu Messian (North Andover).



The Bay State Games continues today with weightlifting and judo competitions. The scholastic sports will begin on Monday, with the baseball and softball competitions kicking off in Waltham.

For full schedules and results, go to baystategames.org.

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