Boston High School: Mike Panepinto

South Hadley's Fitzell takes MVP in All-American game

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
2:35
AM ET
BOSTON – Two days after the best teams in the state took to Boston University’s Nickerson Field, the best individuals took to the same field in the second annual Bostonlax.net All-American game.

Behind T.J. Fitzell’s (South Hadley) MVP performance (two goals, assist) and four goals a piece from Hunter Arnold (Acton-Boxborough) and Jay Drapeau (Westford Academy), Team Under Armour shook off the early rust and cruised to a 20-14 win over Team Cascade.

But when the final horn sounded, it wasn’t about the final score or the individual performances, but rather soaking in the environment and partaking in a great cause.

All proceeds generated from admission were donated to the Wounded Warrior project.

“It’s for a great cause, it was a great thing to be a apart of and it was at a great venue like BU,” Fitzell said. “To be able to come out and perform it’s quite exciting.”

“It’s a lot of fun, I met a lot of guys, I only knew three or four guys coming down here so I met a lot of guys from the area that have been playing lacrosse so it was a good time, I had a lot of fun.”

Team Cascade jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of goals from James Burr (Middlesex) to go along with tallies from Danny Seibel (Belmont Hill) and Needham’s Mike Panepinto.

With 31 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Kevin Bletzer (Catholic Memorial) scored the second Team Under Armour goal that was the front end of a 7-0 run, keeping Team Cascade off the scoreboard for nearly 12 minutes.

Bridgewater-Raynham’s Travis Reid scored back-to-back goals to end the drought and Team Cascade went into the half trailing by three.

Team Cascade cut the lead down to one with a 3-0 run on goals from Morgan Cheek (Nobles), Seibel and Panepinto but pulled away throughout the second half, and igniting an all-star game feel.

With time winding down, Drapeau scored the goal of the night going behind the back to beat Tyler Blaisdell (Thayer Academy) over his right shoulder for the score.

Arnold’s monster weekend: Hunter Arnold was one of three members of the Div. 1 Champion Acton-Boxborough Div. 1 championship team that took to the field Monday night, joining LSM Austin Wolf (Team Under Armour) and midfielder J.T. Kelly.

Arnold scored a goal in the Colonials’ 5-4 double overtime win over Duxbury and went off for another four goals Monday night on the same field.

“Overall the weekend was awesome,” Arnold recalled. “First the state championship game, there is nothing better, nothing better than beating Duxbury. Double-overtime and then today it was fun a lot of great guys out here.”

Arnold wasn’t the only one who took to the Nickerson Field again, as did Division 2 champion Medfield’s John MacLean, Brian Bissell, Blake Frasca, Matt Crowell and goalie Robert Treiber and Division 3 champion Cohasset’s LSM Tim Gillis.

Jelling together: It was the first time that many of these players had met, let alone played on the same team together. Before the game the players got a 20-minute warm-up to find their rhythm.

It didn’t take Team Cascade long to find their offensive stroke scoring four of the first five goals.

“We gelled together pretty quick after passing and catching drills we all came together,” B-R’s Reid said.

It took Team Under Armour a little longer to figure it out, but once they did, they were too much to handle.

“Well we were a little sloppy on offense so we slowed it down a little but got better shots and pumped in some goals,” Fitzell said.

Arnold added: “It was pretty easy to get along with these guys out here everyone knows how to play. We all know how to move the ball well, it was just a bit rusty to begin.”

Recap: No. 2 A-B 13, No. 1 Needham 6

May, 18, 2014
May 18
1:37
PM ET
ACTON, Mass. -- After the pomp and pageantry of senior night had worn off, Acton-Boxborough was faced with a four-goal deficit 10 minutes into its game against a Needham team that won the first six faceoffs of the game.

The Colonials adjusted and remedied the situation with seven straight goals en route to a 13-6 thrashing of the Rockets in front of nearly 1,000 people at Leary Field.

“We had a slow start,” A-B's Hunter Arnold said. “Senior night we had a lot of guys who don't usually start playing. Everyone stepped up. We were down 4-0 and realized we had to turn it on to win. Needham's a good team, but we brought it tonight.”

Arnold quarterbacked the Colonials’ attack with five goals, four of which came in the second half. Overall, six different Colonials scored.

The tide began turning when A-B figured out Needham's 10-man ride. The Colonials forced the ball through the middle with fast midfielders and pushed the game into transition whenever it could. The defense also did its part pushing the pace, forcing Needham into 11 turnovers.

“I think we had a lot of transition goals,” A-B head coach Pat Ammendolia said. “We have a lot of guys that can score, and any one of them can go off. They can all go off; it just depends on when and where.”

Senior midfielder Chris Wiggins stepped to the moment with a four-goal performance. Fellow seniors Joe Cormier and Joey Biggins also had goals.

“End result was ridiculous,” Wiggins said. “We came in hoping to knock them off. We're looking for a state championship and we knew this could potentially be the final so we wanted to show them what we got. Thirteen-to-six, that's a pretty big deficit.”

Needham dominated at the faceoff X (14 wins) and controlled ground balls (25-14), but couldn't adjust properly on offense to stem the A-B run. The Rockets were held scoreless for a stretch of 25:55 between the first and third quarters.

“They figured us out,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “We got stale on our offense. We threw some balls away and they made us pay. They stepped on our throats and wouldn't let us breathe again. We tried to do some things to get some looks, but it just wasn't in the cards for us tonight. They were prepared and we weren't.”

Jack Walsh had a pair of goals for Needham.

CRIMMINS CONTROL: Every body needs a strong backbone and Sean Crimmins played the role for A-B. The junior goalkeeper turned aside six shots and organized a defense that pressed Needham to the outside and forced into low-percentage shots.

“It all started with number eight in the cage,” Wiggins said of Crimmins. “He held it together; he controls the defense real well. We had a couple guys go at [Mike Panepinto], he's one of the most athletic kids we've seen all year, so I think shutting him down was the main point to stop their offense.”

Crimmins said that the goal was to keep everything simple and slow on the defensive end.

“We were just trying to game manage,” Crimmins said. “They were getting three-minute possessions and a few shots, but they were just moving the ball. We were just trying to keep long possessions, let the time run out. We knew if we got in a gunfight with them we might not win.”

ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award Finalists

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
6:27
PM ET
ESPNBoston.com and its high school sports staff today have named its five finalists for the fourth annual ESPNBoston.com Mr. Football Award, given to the best overall player in Massachusetts. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9, with the recipient being presented the award at Gillette Stadium before an upcoming New England Patriots home game.

St. John's Prep running back/safety Alex Moore took last year's award, joining Everett's Matt Costello and Jonathan DiBiaso among the past award-winners.

Below are the five finalists:

Troy Flutie
Troy Flutie
Troy Flutie
Senior Quarterback
Natick High School

The 6-foot, 178-pound Flutie has heard comparisons to his father (Darren) and Heisman-winning uncle (Doug) since he first set foot in the high school's hallways, but after this latest campaign it is well-merited. Headed into the Redhawks' Thanksgiving day matchup with Framingham, the Boston College commit is the state's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (105) and passing yards (8,741); with four TD passes on Turkey Day, he would tie the single-season mark held by 2011 Mr. Football winner Jonathan DiBiaso of Everett (44). On the season, Flutie has completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,754 yards and 40 touchdowns, and carried 91 times for 812 yards and six touchdowns, as the Redhawks reached the second round of the MIAA Division 2 South tournament.

Dylan Oxsen
Dylan Oxsen
Dylan Oxsen
Senior Running Back
Plymouth South High School

After leading the state in rushing touchdowns (40) a season ago, the 5-foot-10 Oxsen has turned in another fierce campaign despite a hobbled ankle. In nine games, he has carried 272 times for 2,145 yards and 24 touchdowns, his second straight season going over the 2,000-yard mark, as the Panthers have clinched a spot in the MIAA Division 3 State Final. He has also thrown for a touchdown and returned an interception for a touchdown, for 27 total scores.

Mike Panepinto
Mike Panepinto
Mike Panepinto
Senior Running Back
Needham High School

One of the state's shiftiest tailbacks, the 5-foot-10 Panepinto followed up his 2,000-yard junior campaign with another dynamic senior season, carrying 172 times for 1,654 yards and 25 touchdowns as the Rockets reached the MIAA Division 2 South Semifinals. Headed into the playoffs, his 1,240 yards and 18 scores were best among all rushers in Massachusetts.

Andrew Smiley
Andrew Smiley
Andrew Smiley
Senior Quarterback
St. John's High School (Shrewsbury)

For the second straight season Smiley, a Navy lacrosse commit, surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for offense as the Pioneers are once again among the state's leaders in yards per game. Heading into Dec. 7's MIAA Division 2 State Final with Mansfield, the 6-foot-3 Smiley is completing 70 percent of his passes (167 of 239) for 2,290 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions; on the ground, he adds 846 yards and 12 more scores on 94 carries. He's also recorded three interceptions as a part-time safety -- including his one-handed pick with 20 seconds to go in Saturday's D2 State Semifinal, which punched the Pioneers' ticket to Gillette.

Cody Williams
Cody Williams
Cody Williams
Senior Quarterback
Springfield Central High School

One of the state's best pure passers, the Monmouth University commit nearly pulled off the unthinkable in Week 1, nearly upsetting juggernaut Everett, then led the Golden Eagles to their second straight Western Mass. title. In 11 games this season, the 6-foot-3 Williams was 117 of 174 passing for 2,217 yards and 24 touchdowns, with just five interceptions. He also added 560 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Mr. Football Watch: Playoffs, Week 3

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
2:21
AM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch", following the third weekend of MIAA State Championship Playoffs. As always, coaches and/or statisticians are encouraged to send statistics to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This will be the final "Mr. Football Watch" of the 2013 season. The five finalists for our Mr. Football Award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 25, with the winner announced on Dec. 9.

***

THE CONTENDERS

Luke Brennan, Sr. QB, Doherty
Threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns, but most importantly delivered the game-winning touchdown pass to Isaac Yiadom with five seconds left, as the Highlanders captured their first Central Mass. title since 1980 with a thrilling win over Shepherd Hill.

Davon Jones, Jr. FS, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Totaled 10 tackles and an interception, in the Pioneers' 51-42 thriller over Leominster for the D2 Central title. He leads the team in tackles (91) and interceptions (5).

Neil O'Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
Totaled 289 passing yards and two touchdowns, in a 51-42 loss to St. John's in the D2 Central Final.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Carried a career-high 39 times for 160 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 7-6 win over rival Plymouth North for the D3 Southeast title. He is the state's leader in playoff rushing yardage, with 737.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Completed 14 of 22 passes for 250 yards and three scores, and added 201 yards rushing and three more scores on 20 carries, in the win over Leominster. That puts him over the 2,000-yard passing mark for the second straight season; he currently has 2,787 yards of offense with 38 touchdowns.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Completed 15 of 22 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' win over Westfield in the D2 West Final.

Ju'an Williams, Sr. WR, Springfield Central
Made five catches for 119 yards in the Golden Eagles' 48-22 dismantling of Westfield in the D2 West Final.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 20 of 27 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns in the Hornets' 41-16 win over Barnstable in the D2 South Final. He is completing 70 percent of his passes in the playoffs.

FIVE ON THE RISE

Olan Abner, Sr. RB, Bedford
Ran for 139 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' overtime win over Pentucket for the D4 North title, his third straight week going over 100 yards rushing.

Jahkari Carpenter, Jr. RB, Doherty
Ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Highlanders past Shepherd Hill for the D4 Central title. He has 230 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Michael Dunn, Jr. CB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Held Holliston's top target Zach Elkinson without a catch, and made an interception for his own cause -- his sixth of the season -- as the Dolphins captured the D4 South title.

Michael Hershman, Sr. WR, Mansfield
Exploded for seven catches for 132 yards in the Hornets' 41-16 win over Barnstable, for the D2 South title.

Shayne Kaminski, Sr. RB, Xaverian
Ran for 200 yards and two scores to help rally the Hawks past Attleboro for the D1 South title, his second 200-yard rushing game in three playoff games.

PLAYOFF STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing
Kyle Wisnieski, Sr., Mansfield – 689 yards, 9 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 647 yards, 5 TD
Luke Brennan, Sr., Doherty - 607 yards, 11 TD
Drew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 588 yards, 10 TD
Neil O’Connor, Sr., Leominster – 575 yards, 5 TD
Mike Milano, Sr., Central Catholic – 516 yards, 4 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 504 yards, 6 TD
Dana Parello, Sr., Waltham – 494 yards, 6 TD
Tim Walsh, Sr., Attleboro - 469 yards, 8 TD
Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central – 417 yards, 5 TD

Rushing
Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 737 yards, 8 TD
Alex Givins-Perry, Sr., Bartlett – 710 yards, 5 TD
Christian Carr, Jr., Plymouth North – 618 yards, 8 TD
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 512 yards, 6 TD
Koby Schofer, Soph., Northbridge – 466 yards, 8 TD
Malik Garrett, Sr., Melrose – 466 yards, 7 TD
Shayne Kaminski, Sr., Xaverian – 447 yards, 5 TD
Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham – 418 yards, 6 TD
Olan Abner, Sr., Bedford – 395 yards, 3 TD
Shane Combs, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 386 yards, 5 TD

Mr. Football Watch: Playoffs, Week 2

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
3:16
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch", following the second weekend of MIAA State Championship Playoffs. As always, coaches and/or statisticians are encouraged to send statistics to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS

Zach Elkinson, Jr. ATH, Holliston
In two playoff games, Elkinson is averaging 16.9 yards per touch. That includes nine carries for 91 yards and four touchdowns, and nine catches for 221 yards and four more scores.

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Threw his 102nd career touchdown pass in Friday night's loss to Barnstable. He needs one more TD pass to tie the state's all-time mark, and he has two more chances, starting this Friday against Needham.

Brendan Hill, Jr. TE, Mansfield
Caught seven passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the Hornets' win over Needham.

Hayden Murphy, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Recorded 21 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns, four catches for 36 yards, 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Red Raiders' 27-13 win over Natick.

Neil O'Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
In two playoff games, he has amassed 487 yards of offense, including 11.2 yards per rush, with seven touchdowns.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers' 21-7 win over Dartmouth, punching their ticket to the D3 Southeast Final.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Carried 23 times for 182 yards and two scores in the Rockets' loss to Mansfield

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Completed 13 of 16 passes for 193 yards and three scores, and added five carries for 73 yards and two more scores, in the Pioneers' throttling of Marlborough in D2 Central.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Totaled 134 yards of offense and two touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' 35-12 win over Longmeadow

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 14 of 18 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns, in the Hornets' 42-35 win over Needham.

FIVE ON THE RISE

Christian Carr, Jr. RB, Plymouth North
Ran for 351 yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Eagles' win over Dighton-Rehoboth, setting up a much-anticipated battle with cross-town rival Plymouth South for the D3 Southeast Championship this Friday.

Mike Elcock, Sr. WR, Needham
Caught six passes for 148 yards and a score in the Rockets' loss to Mansfield. He leads D2 Eastern Mass with 13 touchdown receptions.

Lubern Figaro, Sr. DB, Everett
The Wisconsin commit came up with two crucial interceptions, and some tremendous defense on top receiver Jack Galvin, in the Crimson Tide's 21-0 shutout of Lowell.

Malik Garrett, Sr. QB, Melrose
Through two playoff games, the dual threat signal-caller has accumulated nearly 550 yards of offense. He has 364 yards rushing and five TDs on just 29 carries, while he is 12-for-20 through the air for 185 yards and two more scores.

Tim Walsh, Attleboro
Led the Blue Bombardiers in rushing with 122 yards on 11 carries, while completing 7 of 11 pass attempts for 146 yards and 3 TD in their Div. 1 South semi-final win over Bridgewater-Raynham.

PLAYOFF LEADERS

Passing
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 528 yards, 5 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 504 yards, 6 TD
Kyle Wisnieski, Sr., Mansfield – 405 yards, 5 TD
Mike Milano, Jr., Central Catholic – 371 yards, 3 TD
Ryan Charter, Sr., Needham – 361 yards, 4 TD
Luke Brennan, Sr., Doherty – 359 yards, 7 TD
Marcus Collins, Jr., Cambridge – 355 yards, 4 TD
Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 338 yards, 7 TD
Dana Parello, Sr., Waltham – 312 yards, 4 TD
Neil O'Connor, Sr., Leominster - 286 yards, 3 TD

Rushing
Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 577 yards, 7 TD
Christian Carr, Jr., Plymouth North – 551 yards, 7 TD
Alex Givins-Perry, Sr., Bartlett – 477 yards, 3 TD
Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham – 418 yards, 6 TD
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 383 yards, 5 TD
Malik Garrett, Sr., Melrose – 364 yards, 5 TD
Hayden Murphy, Sr., Barnstable – 353 yards, 6 TD
Chris Dumont, Sr., Manchester-Essex - 321 yards, 5 TD
D.J. Engelke, Sr., Pentucket – 299 yards, 3 TD
Kevin Rosado, Jr., Northeast – 284 yards, 6 TD

Receiving
Alex Hilger, Sr., Natick – 278 yards, 4 TD
Mike Elcock, Sr., Needham – 258 yards, 3 TD
Brendan Hill, Jr., Mansfield – 228 yards, 3 TD
Elijah Booker, Sr., Cambridge – 225 yards, 2 TD
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 221 yards, 4 TD

D2 South: Mansfield 42, Needham 35

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
11:46
PM ET
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Joe Montana had Jerry Rice. Tom Brady had Wes Welker.

Kyle Wisnieski has Brendan Hill.

The latter of the above trio is a major reason why No. 1 Mansfield remained undefeated Friday night and out-gunned No. 4 Needham, 42-35, in a Division 2-South semifinal game.

Wisnieski completed a mind-boggling 14-of-16 passes (87.5 percent) for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

Hill caught seven of those passes for 152 yards and three scores.

“It’s obviously been a lot of hard work,” said Wisnieski. “As a freshman, (Hill) played on jayvees so I’ve been throwing to him for three years. We’ve played in passing leagues in the summer … coming out on the turf and just working out in the summer. It’s been a lot of reps and a lot of time has been put in and it’s paying off now.

“I figure this goes back to the chemistry we have between us. I know he’s going to get open at some point for me. I know he’s obviously a mismatch nightmare at 6-5. I know he’s eventually going to get open for me so I know if I can buy enough time, if he’s not open initially, I know I’ll be able to find him eventually.”

If there was one play that underscored the chemistry that exists between Wisnieski and Hill, as well as the confidence coach Mike Redding has in this duo, it was the one that came late in the fourth quarter with the Hornets nursing a 42-35 lead.

Mansfield faced a second-and-10 on the Rockets’ 38 and virtually everybody this side of the Berkshire Mountains expected the Hornets to run the ball and take more time off the clock.

Wrong.

Instead, Wisnieski completed a 29-yard pass to Hill for a first down, which enabled Mansfield to run out the clock and advance to next week’s sectional finals.

“I think their whole defense was expecting a run,” said Wisnieski. “I think Coach [Mike] Redding recognized that. It was a good play call by him and it worked.”

Even though the Hornets stung the Rockets en route to a seemingly comfortable 35-7 lead late in the third quarter, Mansfield needed everything to work down the stretch because it was unable to stop Needham running back Mike Panepinto.

Panepinto torched Mansfield for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and, after the Hornets’ Miguel Villar-Perez (17-123 yards, 2 TD) scored on a one-yard dive for a 35-7 lead, returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a score which sparked a Needham rally.

“We thought we had it kind of put away at 35-7 but we made the mistake of kicking to Mike [Panepinto] and he hurt us with the return,” Redding said in a massive understatement. “It seemed like all of a sudden their juices started flowing. They played good ‘D.’ They score again. They get the onside kick.

“I thought both teams showed unbelievable character. A lot of teams would have quit at 35-7. They kept battling. Then, all the momentum went their way and we sucked it up and found a way to get a score to get the lead back to 14 (42-28), which we needed. It was great playoff football and a lot of great efforts on both sides of the ball.”

The sequence Redding referred to went as follows.

After Panepinto’s kickoff return, quarterback Ryan Charter (8 of 14, 166 yards, 2 TD) threw a 68-yard touchdown bomb to Mike Elcock (6-148 yards) on the first play of the final quarter which pulled Needham within 35-21.

Then, Needham successfully executed an onside kick with Carter Christensen smothering Auggie Coll’s kick at Mansfield’s 44.

Four plays player, Panepinto broke one tackle and ran 13 yards for a touchdown that sliced Mansfield’s lead to 35-28.

After the ensuing kickoff, Wisnieski cranked up his right arm and heaved a 51-yard touchdown pass to Hill with 5:51 left which gave Mansfield a 42-28 lead.

Needham needed just 2:42 to get back on the board when Charter threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Elcock.

But after Wisnieski completed that 29-yard pass to Hill, Mansfield fans finally were able to exhale.

“I’m glad we’ve got Brendan Hill catching the football for us,” said Redding. “Throw it near him and he’s going to make a play.

“Kyle’s a cool customer. Most teams would have run the ball (on that aforementioned second-and-10 play). But we just have so much faith in our guys to be able to throw it late in the game. I thought that got us a big first down which didn’t let them get the ball back one more time.”

MANSFIELD 42, NEEDHAM 35
Needham (7-2) 7-0-7-21 - 35
Mansfield (9-0) 14-21-0-7 - 42

First quarter
M – Miguel Villar-Perez 19 pass from Kyle Wisnieski (Alex Thompson kick)
N – Mike Panepinto 76 run (Auggie Coll kick)
M – Villar-Perez 1 run (Thompson kick)

Second quarter
M – Brendan Hill 18 pass from Wisnieski (Thompson kick)
M – Hill 25 pass from Wisnieski (Thompson kick)

Third quarter
M – Villar-Perez 1 run (Thompson kick)
N – Panepinto 91 kickoff return (Coll kick)

Fourth quarter
N – Mike Elcock 66 pass from Ryan Charter (Coll kick)
N – Panepinto 13 run (Coll kick)
M – Hill 51 pass from Wisnieski (Thompson kick)
N – Elcock 13 pass from Charter (Coll kick)

D2 South: Needham 42, Duxbury 28

November, 2, 2013
11/02/13
12:34
AM ET
NEEDHAM, Mass. –- With all the momentum on the Duxbury (5-2) sideline going into the fourth quarter, the Needham Rockets (7-1) needed a spark after giving up 21 unanswered points to the Dragons and losing their halftime lead.

As he has all year, star tail back Mike Panepinto (26 carries, 232 yards, 4 TD) provided that very spark, rushing for 144 yards in the second half and leading Needham over Duxbury 42-28 in impressive fashion.

Down 28-21 early in the fourth, Rockets quarterback Ryan Charter (7-of-13, 173 yards, 2 TD) found Panepinto on a screen pass. The UMass lacrosse commit proceeded to shed two Dragons’ tacklers and fly down field for a 50-yard touchdown and a tie ballgame.

“We decided as a team in that fourth quarter that we were not going to lose, and we haven’t lost a game here since Natick in 2011...We weren’t about to let it happen tonight,” Panepinto said.

The big play from Panepinto was nothing new for Needham head coach Dave Duffy.

“He was in space, and when Mike is in space, he’s trouble," Duffy said. "He got tripped up a little bit, then regained his balance and he was off to the races. They didn’t have enough guys over there to catch him, they can’t account for him at all times. It was definitely a momentum changer."

Panepinto helped anchor the next drive as well, but it was receiver Mike Elcock (4 catches, 110 yards, 2 TD) who was there in the end zone to recover a Panepinto fumble on the goal line and score a Needham touchdown.

“Before the game, I said we hadn’t been down in a game since Westwood earlier in the year," Panepinto said. "At the end of the game we can’t crumble, we can’t start pointing fingers and stuff. We did a great job of coming together as a team and capping off two great scoring drives there at the end."

Moments later, Cliff Kurker picked off a Bobby Maimaron pass and brought it back to the Duxbury 35 yard line. Panepinto did the rest, busting off two straight first downs followed by a 12-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the host Rockets.

The star senior chose not to address his individual performance as much, but instead the fact that great performances from teammates like Charter, Elcock, and Jack Walsh (79 yards rushing) helped open up the running game.

“I thought that we did a good job of spreading the ball around tonight, we showed the rest of the state that we have kids who can do stuff all over the field. Mike Elcock played great, and Jack Walsh played really well too,” Panepinto said, “Ryan Charter threw the ball well. When all those guys are playing well, it really opens up the running game for me. It’s good to see the whole team getting the ball.”

Duxbury came out flat and at one point was down 21-7 in the second quarter, but Maimaron, a freshman, had something else in mind.
Maimaron found Wes Quinzani for a 69-yard touchdown pass down the sideline in the second quarter, then ran a score in himself to tie the game in the third quarter. With the ball on the Needham 15 to start the fourth, Maimaron hit Drew Hadley near the front left pylon to give the Dragons their first lead since being up 7-0.

“We did fight back, we had some troubles on our own end and they punched in two quick ones. But the kids never panicked, we’re a senior-laden team. We’ve got 32 seniors,” Duffy said, “The kids did a great job of not getting down on themselves and not bickering...just working hard. They’re a great team over there that we beat tonight.”

The Rockets will go on to face top-seeded Mansfield team next Friday in the D2 South semis. Though the Hornets will be favored in the minds of most, the Rockets will continue to embrace the role of talented underdog.

“With all these great teams, I don’t think a lot of teams are counting Needham into this...we have a pretty good team over here in Needham,” Panepinto said, “I think we’re going to give Mansfield a run for their money next weekend. I wouldn’t count us out of it by any means. We’ve got a good team.”

Player of the Week: Natick's Troy Flutie

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
1:09
AM ET
NATICK, Mass. -- Call it a touch of Flutie Magic.

Like his uncle (and father) before him, Natick quarterback and BC commit Troy Flutie has a penchant for the dramatic, and Friday's thrilling 56-55, overtime win over Bay State Herget rival Walpole was no exception.

Flutie threw for 370 yards, while adding 191 on the ground, and accounting for seven touchdowns (4 passing, 3 rushing) in the victory over the Rebels. For that, he was named our Player of the Week for Week 8.

Editor Brendan Hall caught up with Flutie before Monday's practice:



In addition to Flutie, here are this week's Top 5 performers:
  • Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick - Totaled 561 yards of offense (370 passing, 191 rushing) and seven touchdowns in overtime win vs. Walpole.
  • Drew Jacobs, Sr. RB/LB Milton Academy - Totaled 4 scores (3 rushing, 1 INT) with 194 yards rushing while helping to end Governor's Academy's ISL-best 23-game winning streak.
  • Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham - Ran for 301 yards, along with a school-record 6 TD in 42-28 win vs. Weymouth.
  • Xavier Santiago, Sr. DE, Lawrence - While notching a season-high 14 tackles, credited with 7 sacks in a win vs. Billerica.
  • Ju'an Williams, Sr. WR, Springfield Central - Hauled in 2 TD catches in his five receptions, averaging more than 32 yards per catch in a win vs. West Springfield.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 7

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
12:58
AM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch" following Week 7 of the 2013 season. Statistics can be sent to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)



THE CONTENDERS*

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Completed 13 of 25 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns, in a 42-19 win over Milton.

Brandon Gallagher, Jr. RB, Bridgewater-Raynham
Carried 24 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, in the Trojans' 20-14 loss to Barnstable.

Hayden Murphy, Sr. RB/WR, Barnstable
In the Red Raiders' thrilling win over Bridgewater-Raynham, carried 14 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 43-yard TD run with less than a minute to go.

Neil O’Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
In the Blue Devils' 40-15 rout of Nashoba, completed 11 of 19 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and also had 50 yards rushing with a fourth score.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the Rockets' 33-6 win over Brookline.

Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB, Bishop Fenwick
Carried 19 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns in the Crusaders' 34-6 rout of St. Mary's of Lynn.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. RB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Completed 6 of 6 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, and added 91 rushing yards with two more scores, in the Pioneers' 34-9 win over Wachusett.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Was 5 of 11 passing for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and added a rushing touchdown, in the Golden Eagles' 34-6 win over Putnam.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 12 of 27 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in the Hornets' 20-7 win over King Philip.

Isaac Yiadom, Sr. WR/DB, Doherty
Boston College commit caught a touchdown pass and threw for another, in the Highlanders' 28-0 shutout of Worcester North.



FIVE ON THE RISE

Emmanuel Almonte, Jr. QB/DB, Boston English
Totaled 254 yards of offense (190 rushing, 64 passing) and three touchdowns in the Blue & Blue's 24-6 win over West Roxbury. Through six games he is one of the state's leading rushers (1,025 yards, 8 TD, 9.5 yards per carry), in directing a read-option attack; he's also the team's leader in tackles (43).

Shaquille Anderson, Sr. RB, Cambridge
Led the way for the Falcons with 219 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in their 34-20 win over Medford.

Dan Henrickson, Sr. WR, St. Peter-Marian
Totaled 123 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Guardians' 14-13 loss to Shepherd Hill.

Chris Lindstrom, Jr. OL/DL, Shepherd Hill
Leading a double-wing rushing attack that has accounted for 1,661 yards, 21 touchdowns and 7.2 yards per carry through six games, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound interior guard has been a road grader so far for the Rams.

Jack Sylvester, Sr. RB, Andover
Carried 14 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns, and also hauled in a 15-yard TD catch, in the Golden Warriors' 49-32 win over Rhode Island power La Salle Academy. In the last weeks, he's gained 402 yards with five touchdowns; on the season, he's averaging 8.3 yards per carry.



TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Rushing
Chris Ahl, Sr., Millis/Hopedale – 1,098 yards, 14 TD
Mark Wright, Sr., Auburn – 1,084 yards, 12 TD
Emmanuel Almonte, Jr., Boston English – 1,025 yards, 8 TD
Zered McCoy, Sr., Ware – 963 yards, 7 TD
Rufus Rushins, Jr., Bishop Fenwick – 957 yards, 15 TD

Receiving
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 662 yards, 10 TD
Nick Thyden, Sr., Quabbin – 643 yards, 9 TD
Jake Bradway, Sr., Belchertown – 638 yards, 7 TD
Dan Henrickson, Sr., St. Peter-Marian – 559 yards, 7 TD
Isaac Yiadom, Sr., Doherty – 534 yards, 3 TD

Passing
Dylan Kierman, Sr., Quabbin – 2,070 yards, 21 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 1,617 yards, 26 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 1,543 yards, 18 TD
John Rumney, Sr., Marlborough – 1,499 yards, 19 TD
Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 1,320 yards, 15 TD



*Does not include players who had a bye week


Mr. Football Watch: Week 6

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
10:54
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch" following Week 6 of the 2013 season. Statistics can be sent to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Completed 15 of 22 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns, with no interceptions, in the Redhawks’ 42-10 win over Dedham.

Brandon Gallagher, Jr. RB, Bridgewater-Raynham
Ran for 232 yards and a score, and added a 70-yard touchdown reception, in a 27-7 win over Dartmouth.

Hayden Murphy, Sr. RB/WR, Barnstable
In the Red Raiders' 29-20 comeback win over Marshfield, carried 12 times for 116 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 74 yards and another score.

Neil O’Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
Accounted for a season-high 359 yards of offense (287 passing, 72 rushing) and two scores in the Blue Devils' 47-26 win over Doherty.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
In the Panthers' 27-7 win over Nauset, carried a personal record 37 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Carried 18 times for 132 yards and a score in the Rockets' 21-0 shutout of Braintree.

Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB, Bishop Fenwick
Ran for 80 yards and a score in the Crusaders' 48-18 rout of Austin Prep.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. RB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Completed 19 of 33 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the Pioneers' upset loss to cross-town rival Shrewsbury.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Completed 12 of 17 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns in the Golden Eagles’ 40-12 rout of Minnechaug.

Ju’an Williams, Sr. WR, Springfield Central
Caught five passes for 69 yards in the Eagles’ win over Minnechaug.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 13 of 15 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in the Hornets’ 47-8 rout of Taunton.

FIVE ON THE RISE

Matt Banchs, Sr. FB/LB, Leominster
In the Blue Devils' win over Doherty, recorded 22 tackles and two sacks, and also added 40 yards rushing with a score on offense. Banchs is slowly rising as one of the top defensive players in Central Mass.

Christian Carr, Jr. RB, Plymouth North
In the Eagles' 33-6 win over Falmouth, carried 35 times for 254 yards and four touchdowns, giving him over 700 yards rushing on the season.

Mike Maggipinto, Soph. RB, East Longmeadow
Carried 20 times for 259 yards and five touchdowns in the Spartans’ 40-34 win over Springfield Putnam. He currently leads all Western Mass. running backs in rushing touchdowns (13).

James Sullivan, Jr. RB/DB, Tewksbury
Collected three of the Redmen’s four interceptions, while adding 75 yards on nine carries with a touchdown on offense vs. Methuen.

Miguel Villar-Perez, Jr. RB, Mansfield
Caught three passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the Hornets’ 47-8 win over Taunton. Through five games he has 575 yards of offense as a pass-catching running back, with eight touchdowns.

TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Rushing
Mark Wright, Sr., Auburn – 950 yards, 11 TD
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 931 yards, 9 total TD
Chris Ahl, Sr., Millis/Hopedale – 895 yards, 11 TD
Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 852 yards, 14 total TD
Zered McCoy, Sr., Ware – 843 yards, 5 TD

Passing
Dylan Kierman, Sr., Quabbin – 1,680 yards, 17 TD
John Rumney, Sr., Marlborough – 1,372 yards, 17 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 1,360 yards, 22 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 1,298 yards, 13 TD
Ryan Barabe, Jr., Pope John Paul II – 1,255 yards, 14 TD

Receiving
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 513 yards, 14 total TD
Jake Bradway, Jr., Belchertown – 489 yards, 7 TD
Brian Daly, Jr., Marblehead – 487 yards, 10 TD
T.J. Hairston, Jr., Watertown – 472 yards, 5 TD
Jack Galvin, Sr., Lowell – 438 yards, 8 TD

Mr. Football Watch: Week 5

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
5:45
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch" following Week 5 of the 2013 season. Statistics can be sent to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS*

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Boston College commit completed 14 of 27 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns, and added 47 yards on the ground, in a 28-0 shutout of Norwood.

Brendan Hill, Jr. TE, Mansfield
Caught four passes for 76 yards and a score in the Hornets’ 49-42 win over Attleboro.

Hayden Murphy, Sr. ATH, Barnstable
Ran for 115 yards and three touchdowns in the Red Raiders’ 35-14 win over New Bedford.

Neil O’Connor, Sr. QB/S, Leominster
In just one half of football in the Blue Devils’ 34-0 shutout of Wachusett, accounted for 201 yards of offense and capped things off with a nifty 90-yard interception return to the house.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the Rockets’ 34-12 win over Framingham.

Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB, Bishop Fenwick
Carried 24 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns in the Crusaders’ commanding 42-20 rout of Cardinal Spellman.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
In the Pioneers’ 49-21 win over Nashoba, completed 23 of 29 passes for 335 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and added 67 rushing yards.

Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
Monmouth commit completed 13 of 18 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and added 118 yards and a third score on the ground, in the Golden Eagles’ 19-7 win over Longmeadow.

Ju’an Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
Caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in the Golden Eagles’ 19-7 win over Longmeadow

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 19 of 28 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in the Hornets’ 49-42 thriller over Attleboro.

Isaac Yiadom, Sr. WR/DB, Doherty
Recorded a touchdown catch, his second of the year, in the Highlanders’ 40-12 rout of Worcester South. Through four games he is averaging 30.9 yards per catch, and has recorded 37 tackles on defense.


FIVE ON THE RISE

Bo Berluti, Sr. QB, Westwood
Accounted for 255 yards of offense and three total touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 43-41 double-overtime epic over archrival Holliston. But it will be his gutsy 25-yard, fourth and goal TD pass in the second overtime that will go down in folklore.

Derrell Fernandez, Sr. RB, Weymouth
Carried 225 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 42-18 win over Brookline.

Mike McGillicuddy, Sr. WR, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
The elusive slot receiver caught nine passes for 113 yards in the Pioneers’ 49-21 win over Nashoba.

Tom Rodrick, Sr. LB, Leicester
The UConn commit recorded 12 tackles, a sack, and blocked field goal in the Wolverines’ 15-6 win over Auburn.

Alex Valles, Sr. RB, Danvers
Carried 24 times for 211 yards and three scores in the Falcons’ 20-12 win over Revere.


TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Rushing
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 889 yards, 9 total TD
Johnathan Thomas, Sr., St. John’s Prep – 748 yards, 8 total TD
Mark Wright, Sr., Auburn – 760 yards, 8 TD
Olan Abner, Sr., Bedford – 733 yards, 7 TD
Christian Perez, Sr., Northeast – 725 yards, 8 total TD

Passing
Dylan Kierman, Sr., Quabbin – 1,230 yards, 19 TD
John Rumney, Sr., Marlborough – 1,086 yards, 14 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 1,072 yards, 11 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 1,035 yards, 17 TD
Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 955 yards, 11 TD

Receiving
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 405 yards, 7 TD
Brian Daly, Sr., Marblehead – 395 yards, 8 TD
Dan Henrickson, Sr., St. Peter-Marian – 380 yards, 5 TD
Isaac Yiadom, Sr., Doherty – 371 yards, 2 TD
Mike Bombard, Sr., Chicopee Comp – 369 yards, 3 TD

Dual Threat
Dylan Kierman, Sr., Quabbin – 1,230 passing yards, 284 rushing yards, 21 total TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 1,035 passing yards, 316 rushing yards, 18 total TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 1,072 passing yards, 167 rushing yards, 14 total TD
Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 955 passing yards, 169 rushing yards, 16 total TD
Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central – 851 passing yards, 254 rushing yards, 13 total TD



*Not including teams who were idle last weekend.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 4

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
5:03
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch" following Week 4 of the 2013 season. Statistics can be sent to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS*

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Did it all in the Redhawks’ 35-14 win over Wellesley, completing 20 of 30 passes for 236 yards and five touchdowns, and adding 170 rushing yards.

Brandon Gallagher, Jr. RB, Bridgewater-Raynham
Carried 20 times for 232 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojans’ 32-0 shutout of New Bedford.

Jack Galvin, Sr. WR, Lowell
Caught four passes for 39 yards and a score in the Red Raiders’ 32-6 win over Billerica.

Brendan Hill, Jr. TE/DE, Mansfield
Caught four passes for 31 yards in the Hornets’ 35-14 win over North Attleborough, but where he did most of his damage was on the defensive side, setting the edge and containing.

Neil O’Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
Threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns, and added 40 rushing yards, in the Blue Devils’ 41-14 win over Shepherd Hill.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Ran for 191 yards and a touchdown, and added a 90-yard interception return – his second pick-six and three games – in the Panthers’ 21-14 win over cross-town rival Plymouth North.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Carried 12 times for 147 yards and two scores in the Rockets’ 41-12 rout of Newton North.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Completed 12 of 21 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Pioneers’ wild 20-15 thriller over rival Fitchburg.

Johnathan Thomas, Sr. RB, St. John’s Prep
Carried 19 times for 96 yards in the Eagles’ loss to Everett. But even worse, he is reportedly undergoing season-ending knee surgery later this week after getting hurt in the second half of the game.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
In another easy rout, this one a 49-0 drubbing of Holyoke, Williams completed 9 of 12 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

Ju’an Williams, Sr. WR, Springfield Central
Caught two passes for 42 yards and score in the Golden Eagles’ 49-0 blanking of Holyoke.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 11 of 16 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Hornets’ 35-14 win over North Attleborough.

FIVE ON THE RISE

Ryan Barabe, Jr. QB, Pope John Paul II
In the Lions’ 26-22 loss to Boston Cathedral, completed 18 of 25 passes for 279 yards and three scores and an interception. On the season, he is completing 68 percent of his passes for 776 yards and eight scores, which is among the state’s best.

Derek Estes, Sr. CB, Barnstable
Came up with two interceptions in the Red Raiders’ upset of then-No. 1 Xaverian last Friday, helping seal a 15-14 win at the end. He leads the Raiders with three interceptions through three games.

Ian Kessel, Soph. RB, Haverhill
Slowly establishing himself as one of the premier pass-catching tailbacks in Eastern Mass. Through four games he has 245 receiving yards and three touchdowns to go along with 331 rushing yards and five more scores.

Dylan Kierman, Sr. QB, Quabbin
Currently leads all passers in Central Mass. with 774 yards and nine touchdowns.

Brooks Tyrrell, Jr. RB, Marblehead
The Notre Dame lacrosse commit continues his torrid tear through the first half of the season, the latest a 27-carry, 181-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 35-7 win over rival Swampscott.

TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Rushing
Johnathan Thomas, Sr., St. John’s Prep – 748 yards, 8 total TD
Mark Wright, Sr., Auburn – 728 yards, 8 TD
Isaiah White, Sr., Beverly - 682 yards, 6 total TD
Brooks Tyrell, Jr., Marblehead – 634 yards, 7 total TD
Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 609 yards, 10 total TD

Passing
Jordan Bolarinho, Sr., Billerica – 955 yards, 7 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 807 yards, 13 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 785 yards, 8 TD
Michael Whitsett, Jr., Chicopee Comp – 781 yards, 4 TD
Ryan Barabe, Jr., Pope John Paul II – 776 yards, 8 TD

Receiving
Cole Bernier, Jr., Old Colony – 339 yards, 3 TD
Mike Bombard, Sr., Chicopee Comp – 335 yards, 3 TD
Brian Daly, Sr., Marblehead – 328 yards, 7 TD
Jack Galvin, Sr., Lowell – 322 yards, 7 TD
Jeff Trainor, Soph., Billerica – 317 yards, 3 TD

Dual Threat**
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 807 passing yards, 269 rushing yards, 14 total TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 785 passing yards, 156 rushing yards, 10 total TD
Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central – 647 passing yards, 169 rushing yards, 10 total TD
Jermal Brevard Jackson, Jr., Boston Cathedral – 262 passing yards, 514 rushing yards, 6 total TD
Neil O’Connor, Sr., Leominster – 542 passing yards, 193 rushing yards, 12 total TD



*Not including teams who were idle last weekend.
**To qualify, quarterbacks must have rushing yards account for at least 15 percent of their total offensive production.


Mr. Football Watch: Week 3

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
2:35
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch" following Week 3 of the 2013 season. Statistics can be sent to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS*

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
The Boston College commit completed 14 of 21 passes for 282 yards and five scores, and added 32 yards on the ground, in a 41-6 win over Acton-Boxborough.

Jack Galvin, Sr. WR, Lowell
Caught two passes for 90 yards and two scores in the Red Raiders’ 33-20 loss to Leominster.

Neil O’Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
In the Blue Devils’ 33-20 defeat of Lowell, threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns, and added 66 yards and a score on the ground.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Carried 18 times for 256 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 21-7 win over Sandwich. In the first two games, he has 418 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
The UMass lacrosse commit ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the Rockets’ 26-6 win over Walpole.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
In the Pioneers’ 42-24 win over Catholic Memorial, the Navy lacrosse commit completed 20 of 25 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns, and added 47 rushing yards with a fifth score.

Johnathan Thomas, Sr. RB, St. John’s Prep
The Maryland commit carried 27 times for 228 yards and two scores, and added a spectacular 107-yard pick-six that made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, in a 40-21 win over Central Catholic.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
In the Golden Eagles’ 49-0 rout of East Longmeadow, the Monmouth commit completed 8 of 9 passes for 148 yards and three scores, and added 37 yards and a score on seven carries on the ground.

Ju’an Williams, Sr. WR/DB, Springfield Central
Was a factor in all three phases of the game in the Golden Eagles’ 49-0 blanking of East Longmeadow. He caught three passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns, recorded four tackles and a 92-yard interception return for a third score, and was a perfect 7-for-7 on extra point field goals.

Isaac Yiadom, Sr. WR/DB, Doherty
The Boston College commit caught four passes for 92 yards and a score, and recorded 13 tackles defensively, in the Highlanders’ 19-12 win over Holy Name.

FIVE ON THE RISE*

Zach Elkinson, Jr. ATH, Holliston
Registered 232 yards and three scores in three different methods – rushing, receiving and punt return – in the Panthers’ 43-7 win over Milford. Through three games, he has 514 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns by four different methods.

A.J. King, Sr. WR, Xaverian
Blew the doors open for the Hawks in their battle with Bridgewater-Raynham, catching four balls for 129 yards and two scores in the first half en route to a 49-13 rout.

Jimmy Sullivan, Sr. QB/S, Nauset
In the Warriors’ 34-8 win over Falmouth, carried 10 times for 167 yards and two scores, and added 38 passing yards and a third score, as well as four tackles on defense. Through two games, he has 419 all-purpose yards, five touchdowns, 13 tackles and an interception.

Olan Abner, Sr. RB, Bedford
Carried 38 times for 262 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 34-13 win over Belmont. Through two games, he has 398 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Ricardo Edwards, Sr. RB, Brighton
Had a record six touchdowns in the Bengals’ 44-22 win over East Boston. He ran for 233 yards and five scores, and returned an interception for a sixth.

TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Rushing
Johnathan Thomas, Sr., St. John’s Prep – 652 yards, 8 total TD
Christian Perez, Sr., Northeast – 574 yards, 5 TD
Mark Wright, Sr., Auburn – 558 yards, 6 TD
Isaiah White, Sr., Beverly – 558 yards, 5 TD
Brooks Tyrell, Jr., Marblehead – 453 yards, 6 total TD

Passing
Jordan Bolarinho, Sr., Billerica – 872 yards, 7 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 604 yards, 5 TD
Brendan Smith, Soph., Seekonk – 575 yards, 6 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 571 yards, 8 TD
Ryan Barabe, Jr., Pope John Paul II – 497 yards, 5 TD

Receiving
Kevin Casey, Jr., Billerica – 309 yards, 2 TD
Jack Galvin, Sr., Lowell – 283 yards, 6 TD
Jeff Trainor, Soph., Billerica – 254 yards, 3 TD
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 252 yards, 7 total TD
Isaac Yiadom, Sr., Doherty – 244 yards, TD

Dual Threat QB*
Cameron McMillian, Sr., Cambridge – 397 passing yards, 437 rushing yards, 10 total TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 604 passing yards, 118 rushing yards, 7 total TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 571 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, 9 total TD
Tyler Bassett, Sr., Dracut – 355 passing yards, 312 rushing yards, 4 total TD
Kyle Dance, Sr., Latin Academy – 373 passing yards, 237 rushing yards, 10 total TD
*Not including teams who were idle last weekend.
**To qualify, quarterbacks must have rushing yards account for at least 15 percent of their total offensive production.

Recap: Needham 26, No. 12 Walpole 6

September, 21, 2013
9/21/13
1:22
AM ET
NEEDHAM, Mass. –- It couldn’t have gotten any worse for Needham’s defense. But after a rough 36-26 loss to Westwood in Week 1, the Rockets (who were a preseason Top 25-ranked team) had last week’s bye to get their house in order before meeting Bay State Conference rival No. 12 Walpole on Friday.

Head coach Dave Duffy and his staff used the off week to its fullest, preparing a perfect game plan for the Rebels.

Of course, a 15-carry, 196-yard performance from senior Mike Panepinto didn’t hurt, but the key to the Rockets’ head-turning 26-6 win over the Rebels was their defense. The unit, which had in its debut struggled, couldn’t have been more different. While Walpole was able to move the ball, evidenced by quarterback Will Bolster’s 249 passing yards, while completing 23 of 40 pass attempts, Needham simply made plays when it mattered most.

Twice the Rebels were presented with promising red zone situations and were held without a single point.

“I wanted them to get a zero,” said Panepinto, who broke off touchdown runs of 88 and 20 yards. “We were giving them [the business] in practice after we gave up 36 points to Westwood. And I think they really took it personally after Westwood, and they were ready for tonight.

“They made a statement tonight.”

The first Rockets (1-1) defensive stand came at the end of the first half. With the Rebels (1-1) driving, Needham stalled Walpole’s attempt to get on the board in the final minute of the second quarter. The Rebels attempted a 27-yard field goal attempt as time ran out before the half – following a botched snap on third and goal from the 5 – but when the kick sailed wide left, the Rockets took a 12-0 lead to the intermission.

Needham rode the momentum into the second half, scoring on the opening drive. With an efficient five-play, 67-yard drive, Panepinto found the end zone for a second time with a 20-yard run, following his electrifying 88-yarder in the second quarter.

Walpole again knocked on the door on the ensuing drive, but again the Rebels failed to score. On fourth and 1 from the Rockets’ 4-yard line, Needham again showed its renewed defensive resolve. Senior linebacker Carter Christenson was first in among a group of Rockets defenders plugging the holes on the fullback dive up the middle.

The Rockets again seized the opportunity, capping an emphatic 96-yard drive on Ryan Charter’s 44-yard pass to Mike Elcock on the post for a 26-0 lead with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter.

Walpole finally got on the board with 9:11 remaining with a 4-yard touchdown connection from Bolster to Steve Cuqua on a bootleg roll-out.

Elcock in on the play: Hardly a play elapsed – on offense or defense – where senior wide receiver/defensive back Mike Elcock didn’t factor.

Elcock, who’s also a standout member of the Rockets lacrosse squad, hauled in two touchdown receptions, but really made his presence felt in the secondary. He recorded a game-high five passes defended, including an interception on Walpole’s Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the game.

“He played great,” Duffy said of Elcock. “He’s a senior, he’s a real leader. He’s the real leader of the secondary. He’s a smart kid and he plays tough.”

Elcock wasn’t the only Rockets defensive back making a contribution. Jake Schernecker and Cliff Kurker also contributed pass break-ups in key spots.

While Needham allowed for Bolster and the Rebels offense to operate underneath, Elcock and his teammates sealed off the deep portion of the field.

“I think once [they] got on our side of the field,” Elcock said of Needham’s bend-but-don’t-break defense, “the line would not give up an inch on the run, we stuffed them. And all they could get is five-yard completions, we weren’t letting anything behind us.”

But it was Elcock, himself, who provided the biggest passing play of the evening, out-running the Rebels coverage on a 44-yard score off play-action.

“We’d just been running all over them and we in a double-tight formation, so they were expecting run all the way,” Elcock said. “Then, we just burned them deep with the one high safety.”

A must win?: It’s a little too early in the season to call it a must-win, but Friday’s game was nearly that for Needham.

In a loaded Division 2 South field, the Rockets could ill-afford a loss to the ranked Rebels following their Week 1 letdown against Westwood.

Not that they were about to pay attention.

“I don’t really understand how the whole thing works,” Panepinto said candidly about the MIAA’s new playoff system.

“Coach Duffy and the staff do a good job keeping us from looking too far ahead. On Monday, we’ll be on to [Newton] North, that’s what we’ll be concerned with.”

Cause for concern?: Aside from Friday's loss, the most costly thing to happen to Walpole might be the loss of senior running back Conor Moriarty.

Moriarty, who rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries, left the game after an apparent injury after a 7-yard gain in the third quarter and did not return.

Football Notes: High praise for breakout candidates

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
12:01
AM ET
A few notes and observations from the first week of MIAA preseason football:

Lofty, Loyte-y Comparisons: It's probably the worst-kept secret at St. John's Prep that junior tight end Jake Burt had one of the best summers in the program. All summer long, the 6-foot-4, 224-pound Lynnfield native dazzled in passing leagues and 7-on-7 tournaments, out-muscling defenders on 50/50 balls and boxing out others on goal line plays.

All summer long, coaches at the Prep program have raved about his development; and melded with his prowess on the school's basketball and volleyball teams, many are projecting highly for Burt, who is entering his first season as full-time starter after serving in part-time duty with the varsity last fall.

But perhaps no praise yet has been as high as the name head coach Jim O'Leary dropped on Tuesday morning, following a press conference to introduce the school's new baseball coach. Making a comparison to former great Jon Loyte -- an All-American who starred at Vanderbilt and Boston College, and had a brief cup of coffee with the New York Giants in 2010 -- O'Leary was blunt.

"I love Jon Loyte, but he [Burt] is more athletic," O'Leary said. "He's not as physically imposing as Jon was. Now, he weighed in last night [Monday, Aug. 19] at 6-4-1/2, 224 pounds, [and] he ran a 4.8 40. I thought that was impressive last night."

Burt dabbled last year in an H-back role, lining up both in the backfield and on the perimeter, and also took some snaps at quarterback in "Wildcat" packages. Expect him to take a similar role this fall, as the Eagles try to live up to their preseason billing as the state's No. 1 team and capture a second straight Division 1 title in the first year of a true MIAA State Championship.

It could be a similar situation to what St. John's of Shrewsbury had in 2010 with Richard Rodgers, the monster tight end/defensive end currently entering his third season at Cal. The 6-foot-4 Rodgers lined up both in the slot and split out wide, creating a matchup problem compounded with the added running threat of quarterback Dan Light, a converted tight end who is now manning a similar spot at Fordham.

"It's not our first rodeo here, we're probably going to use the talents that our people have," O'Leary said. "I think that you saw that situation last year, running some wildcat stuff. The trouble is, he sets the edge so well blocking, that it's going to be difficult to take him out of that tight end position. And his ability because he's 6-foot-4-1/2, to be split out as a wideout, similar to what St. John's Shrewsbury did with the kid that went to Cal, Rodgers, they used to split him out.

"It's a good matchup for us out there. Honestly, as weird as this sounds, we're probably gonna have to throw the ball more than we did last year. We need to take people out of the box."

High remarks from a former coach: One week of preseason in the books, and senior transfer Joe D'Onofrio is already making his presence felt at Everett High, scoring twice in yesterday's scrimmage with Lynn English. That comes as no surprise to his former coach at Pope John XXIII, which has since co-oped its program with Chelsea due to lack of numbers.

"You can quote me, Joey’s a stud. He’s a stud, man," said Brian Vaughan, now the head coach at Boston English. "Not a lot of people know about him, people try telling me he's not gonna play at Everett, and I laugh. I'm shocked he was with me at Pope John -- he's a stud. Some of the things he's done for me the last two years is just ridiculous. He's a perfect fit for them."

After his freshman season at Everett, D'Onofrio transferred across town to Pope John, and made his impact felt immediately in Vaughan's patented spread attack. In D'Onofrio's sophomore season of 2011, he ranked second on the team in receiving behind ESPN Boston All-State selection Malcolm Brown, while also rushing for 1,106 yards on just 105 carries.

Last fall, D'Onofrio earned Catholic Central Small MVP honors after carrying 174 times for 1,356 yards and 16 scores. Offensively, blessed with high-4.5 speed, he got touches in every skill position, including quarterback; defensively, he was just as vicious, making downhill plays from both the safety and outside linebacker spots.

Among the most talented players he's worked with in his two-plus decades of coaching, Vaughan recalls back to his time as an assistant at his alma mater Lynn English, and to former defensive tackle Matt Curtis, an athletic savant who overcame dramatic hardships to captain Harvard's football team in 2008.

"[Joe] would always wow you on offense, but when he'd come upfield from an outside linebacker or safety spot, he comes up and he's laying the wood," Vaughan said. "I've been coaching high school sports for a long time, and he's up there with my favorite athletes. He’s up there with Matt Curtis from the early 2000's. Obvioulsy he was a defensive tackle, but his athletic ability was crazy. He was a defensive tackle that returned kicks for us."

So what should folks in Everett expect from D'Onofrio this fall?

"What they should expect is someone who will work hard and do whatever it takes to win," Vaughan said. "He's definitely a team player, whatever you ask him to do he's gonna do it 120 miles an hour. Personally, I expect nothing but a lot of good things over there. [Everett head coach] John DiBiaso does an excellent job with the talent that he has, and Joe is going to fit right in and continue to have the success he's had at the high school level."

Secret ingredient? The first touchdown of No. 21 Needham's preseason came from a name familiar to the hardwood.

John Madsen, the 6-foot-6 senior star forward for the Rockets' basketball squad, is back out for football for the first time since his freshman year. You could say he's made his impact felt already, scoring the first of two Rockets touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage with Newton South, hauling in a pass from senior quarterback Ryan Charter.

Needham is one of those programs that typically draws unique crossover talent, led this year by Mike Panepinto, a 2,000-yard rusher last fall who is committed to UMass for lacrosse. Two years ago, lacrosse star Mark Riley was a stud on the gridiron, stretching the field vertically as a flex tight end to earn ESPN Boston All-State honors.

Basketball backgrounds typically translate well to the tight end position -- see Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham at the NFL level. It's a work in progress, but you can't teach size, and so far Madsen has demonstrated a wide catching radius. He will likely stick at wide receiver, and won't play defense.

"He can catch, and he’s tall, and in terms of playing wide receiver those are two very good intangibles," Rockets head coach David Duffy said. "If we can get him up to speed on the offense...I'm hoping he improves every week, but he’s working hard at it. He's gonna be another weapon we can utilize, because everybody is going to be keying on Mikey [Panepinto]."

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