Boston High School: Mike Ozzella

No. 24 Holliston captures TVL playoff crown

November, 14, 2010
HOLLISTON, Mass. -- With the Tri-Valley League title on the line, No. 24 Holliston defeated Medway 33-14 on Saturday night at home, using motivation from a matchup earlier in the season when Medway came out the victor.

The two familiar foes battled it out again in the inaugural Tri-Valley League championship game, but Holliston willed its way to victory and used the results of the teams’ previous meeting to keep its focus.

“Revenge is sweet, like they say,” Holliston’s Kevin Curry said after the win. “It’s perfect.”

“The coaches didn’t want to say revenge, but it was definitely building up inside of us,” Holliston quarterback Sean Mayo said. “We wanted another crack at Medway and we got it and took advantage.”

In the teams’ first game, Holliston fought hard to stay even with Medway, but the Mustangs took over in the second half and ended up winning 28-16. However Holliston seized the opportunity of the rematch in the TVL playoffs.

“You play that team ten times and it’s a dogfight all ten times and it can go either way,” Holliston head coach Todd Kiley said. “We just got them this time around, but they outplayed us last time.”

Medway’s offense staggered throughout the game because the team never broke out the big play. The Mustangs’ running attack managed to heat up, but the team did not connect on play-action passes, and couldn’t convert in key situations.

Tailback Michael Ozzella ran the ball 25 times for 158 yards -- including a 28-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter -- but Medway couldn’t catch up because the run game used up too much time.

Kiley said that the Panthers looked at the film from the teams’ Oct. 1 matchup, and took a different approach coming into Saturday night’s game. Holliston did not change its scheme completely, but just altered what they were doing in certain formations.

“They are a sound defensive football team…” Kiley said about Medway. “We thought with different formations we could out-leverage them with some things and the kids did a great job executing it.”

Those changes helped get Holliston’s offense in gear. Curry racked up 143 yards on 20 carries and also had two touchdowns in the game.

“The keys in the run game were getting up to the linebackers,” Curry said. “They have some of the best ‘backers in the league -- the same with their [defensive line], they’re so strong -- so all we had to do was get up to them, and make our blocks.”

The senior running back was elated after the game, as fans came onto the field as Holliston was handed the TVL trophy.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling…it’s absolutely amazing,” Curry added about the setting.

The Panthers set the tone with a good first drive, but more importantly scored on their first three offensive possessions and only gave up seven points in the first half.

The inaugural TVL playoff system got mixed reviews among coaches and players, but Medway has now repeated as league champions.

“I don’t like it.” Medway head coach Dave McSweeney said about the new playoff system. “To not have those non-league games -- I don’t like that -- you have to jump into a tough Tri-Valley schedule right from the beginning -- I like the old system. I’m a traditional guy, I just like the old system.”

“I know there were a lot of coaches who were not in favor of it, but [we said] ‘Let’s embrace this thing, have fun with it, and go out and win it’,” Kiley said about his impressions of the playoffs. “Our kids took that approach and it obviously worked out for us.”

M 0 7 7 0 -- 14
H 6 6 7 7 6 -- 33

H - Mayo 1 run (kick blocked)

H - Curry 10 run (conversion failed)
M - Kevin Moreau 8 run (Joe Davenport kick)
H - Christian Baker 57 catch from Adam Camilli (Camilli kick)

H - Mayo 4 run (conversion good)
M - Ozzella 28 run (Davenport kick)

H - Curry 18 run (conversion failed)

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)