Boston High School: Myles Medeiros

Recap: Brockton 38, New Bedford 9

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
8:51
PM ET
Austin RobertsScott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comRunning the option behind QB Austin Roberts, Brockton wrapped up the Big Three regular-season title with a 38-9 win at New Bedford.


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- Although their postseason fate has yet to be determined, Brockton football can emerge from Saturday’s 38-9 thumping of Big Three rival New Bedford with a couple of certainties.

The first point is that junior quarterback Austin Roberts with 15 carries for 146 yards can shoulder the load, though that’s not all that much of a surprise at this point in the season. The second, and perhaps most encouraging sign, was that the Boxers’ defense was downright dominant in the second half, allowing the offense to score 29 unanswered points with the benefit of turnovers and tremendous field position.

That led Boxers head coach Peter Colombo to exclaim that his team had played their finest half of the season in an up-and-down kind of season.

“The defense allowed us to get our bearings and win this football game,” Colombo said. “It was just a tremendous job by the D.”

The Boxers (5-5, 2-0) spotted the Whalers (4-5, 0-1) an instant 9-0 lead with New Bedford’s defense coming up with a safety before quarterback Myles Medeiros took in a 1-yard touchdown run.

Brockton closed the gap with Roberts’ 48-yard bomb to Jerrod Shelby in the second quarter. Then, the Boxer defense made it first of a string of pivotal stops on defense, twice halting the Whalers from getting first downs inside the red zone in the final minute of the half. That kept the score within two points at the half.

“I think, momentum wise, it was huge. We don’t want to come back here, down a touchdown-plus.”

From there, the persistent thumping of Roberts in the ground game and the tenacious defense carried Brockton.

“I’ve never seen a quarterback have to the throw the ball away that much in a game,” Colombo said, “and that’s a credit to Bob O’Neill, our defensive coach, and the kids executing his game plan.”

RUN IT AGAIN, AUSTIN
The Boxers found success in the running game by repeatedly running the option behind Roberts, mixed in with the hard-nosed running of Richard Marsh and the highlight-reel flash of speedster Josh Brewster.

But it was the 5-10, 175-pound quarterback that frustrated the Whalers so. Roberts runs with a low center of gravity, making him hard to tackle. He also carries a running back’s mentality, often initiating contact with defenders and driving for extra yards past the initial hit.

“I just take whatever I’m given,” Roberts said.

IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE … OR IS IT?
With Brockton claiming the Big Three’s regular season title with Saturday’s win, the scenario for Brockton’s postseason prospectus is simple: they win, they’re in.

Having beaten the Whalers, all the Boxers have to do is beat 11-th ranked Bridgewater-Raynham in the team’s Thanksgiving Eve matchup. However, if the Boxers lose to the Trojans, they might not represent the conference in the playoffs, despite being league champions.

Nonsense you could say.

Well, opinions aside, the Big Three football league charter directs that the league’s playoff representative must have at least a. 500 record. So if the Boxers falter against B-R and dip to 5-6 on the season, the Whalers would be playing past Turkey Day, providing they win over Durfee.

“We can’t control anything that any other team does,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said. “We have to worry about playing the best Thanksgiving game that we can play … We’ll take it as it comes.”

With offensive playmakers Marcel DePina and Jaraud Wood leaving the game in the second half due to injuries and coupled with the copious amount of turnovers the Whalers committed on Saturday, they have other matters to worry about.

But, somehow, New Bedford might still live to play another day past Thanksgiving Day.

Wild.

Brockton (5-5, 2-0) - 0 7 14 17 -- 38
New Bedford (4-5, 0-1) - 9 0 0 0 -- 9

1st quarter
NB - Safety
NB - Myles Medeiros 1-yard run (Mike Rapoza kick)

2nd quarter
B - Jerrod Shelby 48-yard pass from Austin Roberts (Lucas Depina kick)

3rd quarter
B - Roberts 26-yard run (Depina kick)
B - Richard Marsh 5-yard run (Depina kick)

4th quarter
B - Depina 42-yard pass from Paul Mroz (kick blocked)
B - Josh Brewster 1-yard run (Depina kick)
B - Lucas DePina 30-yard field goal

10 thoughts from the first half of football season

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
7:19
PM ET
ARE TRIPLE-DIGITS OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR LIL’ DIBS?
Barring catastrophe, we fully expect Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso to break Tom Colombo’s all-time passing touchdown mark of 85 before the month is over. He’s four away, and he’s got two games to do it – this Saturday against BC High, and on Oct. 28 in the Crimson Tide’s Greater Boston League opener against Medford.

The question now is that, with seven games left on the schedule (let’s just declare them Super Bowl-bound now), whether he can surpass the century mark. Last season, he threw for 16 scores in the Tide’s four GBL contests, and another five in two playoff wins over Andover and St. John’s Prep.

All evidence points to DiBiaso shattering the state mark and putting the record nearly out of reach, when all is said and done.

IS NO. 16 NEEDHAM FOR REAL?
A few weeks ago, when the Rockets upset then-No. 6 Weymouth, we would have told you yes. Even before that, when the Rockets went toe-to-toe in an eventual 36-30 loss to Mansfield, we’d have told you Needham’s on to something.

Now? We’re not sure what to think. Drew Burnett , a senior quarterback with Division 1 offers, broke his ankle in two places during Saturday’s 49-14 win over Milton, putting an end to one of the more promising seasons in the Bay State Conference. With a healthy Burnett, we like their chances of not only controlling their destiny in the Bay State Carey, but against whomever comes out of the Big 3 conference for the Division 1 playoffs.

Head coach David Duffy told ESPNBoston correspondent Matt Noonan earlier today that he will use a rotation of three guys at quarterback in Friday’s crucial tilt with No. 17 Walpole. The Rockets have shown to lineup quality athletes in Dan Pierce, Nico Panepinto, Ian Riley and Mark Riley (no relation), but you have to wonder how quickly the understudy can adapt to Duffy's system, which has begun to diversify the last few years.

AUBURN’S OFFENSIVE LINE IS A WAGON
We’ve sung their praises several times before, but it bears mentioning again: even after a bump in the road, No. 14 Auburn’s line is rising as one of the state’s best units.

Comprised entirely of juniors and sophomores – including a 6-foot-4, 305-pounder who is just 15 years old – this makes the Rockets at team to watch over the next few years. With short splits and a precise zone-blocking scheme, these guys are a cohesive unit up front and have been blowing teams off the ball to the tune of 17 rushing touchdowns. Dan Flink is the Rockets’ Peyton Hillis, but give speedster Fred Taylor some room to run and he is one of the shiftier players in the Worcester area.

Within the Central Mass sphere, this will continue to be one of the more dangerous teams in Division 3.

HOW TOUGH WILL THE ALL-STATE RACE BE AT RUNNING BACK?
Extremely tough.

But such is the beauty and the beast of picking a true statewide All-Star team that doesn’t just simply reward the 25 best running backs in Eastern Mass. – when you’ve got just four slots to pick from 300-plus schools, an elite player inevitably gets left off the list.

Andover’s Andrew Coke came into the season as the lone returning All-State running back (Catholic Memorial’s Armani Reeves was an athlete selection). But as good as he’s been for the 4-2, Golden Warriors, there have been better resumes through the first half of the season.

BC High’s Preston Cooper has 14 rushing touchdowns through six games and is coming off a 202-yard performance in a 32-0 blanking of a tough Marlborough squad. Concord-Carlisle’s George Craan would be on pace for a ridiculous senior season if not for the emergence of Tyquan Culbreath, and the overall ease with which the Patriots have disposed of opponents so far.

Meanwhile, a trio of Western Mass. tailbacks have emerged on the scene forcefully, all averaging seven yards or more per carry.

Springfield Putnam’s Melquawn Pinkney currently leads the state in rushing yards (1,526) and rushing touchdowns (24). Longmeadow’s T.J. Norris (1,003 rushing yards, 15 TD) is a fire hydrant at 5-foot-8 and 220 pounds. Folks within the Everett program still tell us Springfield Central’s Sacoy Malone (916 yards, 7 TD) is one of the best backs they’ve faced in two years. If his performance in the Eagles’ 21-20 upset of Longmeadow last week is any indication (194 yards, 2 TD), he could be in for a terrific second half.

Also not to be forgotten is King Philip’s Charles Ruffin, who is coming on strong after a 147-yard performance in last week’s win over North Attleborough. The track star’s elite speed is known about statewide, but he’s starting show his toughness between the tackles. Health will be key, as he’s already missed some time with injury.

GIVE P-FUNK CREDIT
Back when Paul Funk was still an assistant at Everett, the program at Dennis-Yarmouth was in such shambles that the school was thinking of dropping the program altogether.

In his first year, back in 2001, the Dolphins played only JV games. Since then, he’s slowly built up a program that has become arguably the Cape’s most consistent over the last half-decade. Since their last losing season in 2006, the Dolphins are 38-12, including a 6-0 mark this year; if the Dolphins stay the course, they will wrap up their third 10-win season in six years, and their second-straight Division 2A playoff berth after earning their historic first a season ago.

This year, the Dolphins boast one of the state’s elite jump-ball receivers in Damion Johnson and arguably the toughest pound-for-pound quarterback in Matt Montalto. But it’s not about the superstars that make this program go.

More often than not, D-Y wins with undersized players who are neither big nor athletic, but embrace contact and love to hit. With little depth, most of the starters go both ways, and guys like 5-foot-7 defensive tackle Tommy Kennedy are relied upon to shoot the gaps rather than fill them. At the end of the day, this is a well-conditioned, disciplined team that has to be one of the favorites in Division 2A if all goes to plan.

WILL THE KNIGHTS BE RIDING COME DECEMBER?
Have you heard about Catholic Memorial's four FBS recruits? Have you heard about their opening day loss to Marshfield?

It’s all old news, but now the question is whether the Knights can heed the lessons learned from the Rams debacle and translate that into a Catholic Conference championship.

Following a bye week last week, the Knights will embark on their four-game conference schedule, which is bisected by a matchup with Brockton in two weeks, on Friday against Malden Catholic. The biggest of those game occurs in their Thanksgiving Day game against BC High, provided there are no missed steps along the way. You have to like CM’s chances against Malden Catholic and the Prep, but if CM can knock off Xaverian, that would set up the winner-take-all matchup at the end of their regular season schedule.

There’s no question the Knights have the talent to beat Xaverian, or the third-ranked Eagles for that matter. But, as has been the case in the last couple of seasons, it’s not about if, it’s about when. Is this the time that the group led by A.J. Doyle, Donovan Henry, Armani Reeves and Camren Williams prove good on their promise?

CAN NEW BEDFORD WIN THE BIG 3 AGAIN?
When New Bedford knocked off Brockton in their Big Three meeting last November, it was a shocking upset.

If the Whalers are to repeat the feat this year, a New Bedford victory wouldn’t be greeted with such surprise.

Myles Medeiros (11 TD passes) has the Whalers offense firing with a legitimate down-field threat in receiver Jaraud Wood, while running back Marcel DePina needs only a yard to shake loose from defenses in the open field. In addition, the defense, led by junior lineman Tyler Arena has been strong.

Meanwhile, Brockton pulled off an upset last week against New Hampshire behemoth Pinkerton Academy (its fifth straight win against the Astros), so you can’t count out the Boxers quite yet, despite a slow start (1-3) to the season. But clearly the balance of power in the Big Three (read: Brockton, Brockton and, ahem, Brockton) isn’t quite what it used to be.

… THAT BEING SAID
The most encouraging thing you can say about Brockton’s season thus far has been the emergence of quarterback Austin Roberts. The junior signal-caller had his biggest game yet last week against Pinkerton. Roberts completed 14 of 22 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns to down the Granite State’s top team.

If Roberts can keep the big plays coming, Brockton is still very much a threat.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM
No. 4 Chelmsford showed once again last week why the Merrimack Valley Conference Large runs through them in a thorough victory over Andover on Saturday.

But let’s not crown the Lions and Mr. Football challenger Tim Joy champions just yet. After all, they still have a pesky Central Catholic team on the schedule, in addition to huge games at Lowell and at Billerica to finish on Turkey Day. Both the Red Raiders and Indians made their debuts in our Top 25 this week after both teams have been flying under the radar a little at 5-1. Dynamic quarterback R.J. Noel has Red Raider nation believing that this could be the team to unseat Chelmsford, while the Indians feature a defense that is much improved from last year’s edition.

Plus, Billerica still has that LaSpada kid causing havoc for defenses and you can’t underestimate that.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM: PART DEUX
Akin to the MVC, the Hockomock League always fields one of the most competitive leagues in the state from top to bottom. And we’ve seen that parity play out in the first half, what with Stoughton’s shocking win over Mansfield.

What is for certain is that the league, which now has two playoff bids for the first time for its Davenport and Kelley-Rex winners, is still wide open.

Mansfield remains in the driver’s seat in the large division with wins over King Philip and Attleboro, but the Hornets’ game against North still looms. In the Davenport, the likely winner-take-all meeting between Oliver Ames and Stoughton is still three weeks away, but the Tigers’ matchup with Mansfield on Friday will be a good indicator of how far they’ve come this season.

Recap: New Bedford 31, Barnstable 17

October, 8, 2011
10/08/11
1:10
AM ET


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- It seemed as though the Barnstable defense was not going to let New Bedford running back Marcel DePina beat them by himself. The shifty Whaler back was limited to just 11 yards on 10 carries through the greater portion of three quarters in Friday night’s game.

But, with New Bedford trailing 17-15, DePina broke loose in the passing game. His 48-yard connection from Myles Medeiros was a Barry Sanders-like highlight to the Whalers’ 31-17 comeback win over the Red Raiders.

“It was a broken play,” DePina said of the game-winning score. “My quarterback [Medeiros] got it off and we got good blocking and then I just found the right spots on the field and got to the end zone.”

There were a multitude of issues at play as New Bedford (3-2) scored 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points.

First off was a risky maneuver on the behalf of Whalers head coach Dennis Golden. Trailing 17-7, Golden rolled the dice on a fake field goal pass play with the capable Mike Rapoza running on the bootleg left and hitting Nathan Ojuri in the back of the end zone with a 3-yard touchdown pass.

“It came from the fact that they’d blocked the first one,” Golden said of the play call. “It was a good opportunity for us.”

Next, the Whalers forced the potent Barnstable (3-2) offense three-and-out with quarterback D.J. Crook (13 of 19 for 135 yards) throwing his only pass attempt of the second half. Crook later confirmed to ESPN Boston that he dislocated the thumb of his throwing hand, apparently coming on a carry in the third quarter.

Junior Nick Peabody finished the game at quarterback for Barnstable.

“We didn’t know what was wrong with D.J. to start with,” Red Raiders head coach Chris Whidden said. “At first we thought there was something wrong with his elbow and then we realized it was his thumb.”

New Bedford continued their onslaught behind a highly efficient game from Medeiros, who finished 17 of 26 for 227 yards and one touchdown to go along with 53 rushing yards on six carries.

Medeiros put the icing on the Whalers’ victory with a perfectly placed 15-yard touchdown pass to Jaraud Wood, putting up a jump ball that only the rangy receiver could pluck.

SCREEN GAME
The Red Raiders offense was prodigious in the first half and beyond in its screen game. Running back Theo France (11 carries, 81 yards, TD) found big holes underneath on the New Bedford defense with wide receiver Dylan Morris catching everything in sight in the flat.

It looked as though Barnstable had gotten yet another big play with a bubble screen on what would’ve been a 68-yard touchdown by France to tie the score. However, the play was called back on an illegal block penalty. The Red Raiders had yet another huge play whistled dead two plays later.

After those opportunities fell by the wayside, the Red Raiders were done in.

MOVING FORWARD
This Barnstable-New Bedford series has yielded some classics in recent memory with games in each of the last four years being decided in the fourth quarter, along with a couple on the game’s final play.

In the bigger picture, this was a potential season-shifting win for the Whalers. After getting roughed up by Top 10 opponents in Duxbury and Bridgewater-Raynham in the last two weeks, New Bedford was eager to snap a two-game losing skid.

“This gets our wheels turning,” junior end Tyler Arena said. “It boosts our morale and maybe next week we keep on rolling.”

As for Barnstable, the question surely to follow the Red Raiders in the coming weeks is the health of Crook. While Peabody, a natural wide receiver, showed that they’re in capable hands indeed if Crook cannot play, the loss of one of the top quarterbacks in the state would surely hurt.

SHAKE ‘N’ BAKE
As Golden puts it, DePina can simply do things on a football field many cannot.

“That’s what Marcel does best,” Golden said, commenting on DePina’s 48-yard score. “We don’t have anybody who can change directions like him; he can do it with the best of them. We’re fortunate he’s on our team.”

On the play, DePina shook no fewer than three Red Raiders defenders clear out of their boots on the way to rumbling upfield for the game-winning score. He’d also turned in a key 28-yard gain on a screen from Medeiros several plays earlier to set up the score.

While Barnstable, with talented junior linebacker Andrew Ellis, showed that DePina, if contained to running in between the tackles, can be slowed, there’s simply nothing a defense can do when he hits the open field. Coupled with the hard-nosed running of Rapoza (9 carries, 60 yards), that makes the Whalers that much more difficult to stop.

Barnstable (3-2) 7 3 7 0 -- 17
New Bedford (3-2) 7 0 0 24 -- 31




1st quarter
Barnstable Theo France 44-yard run (Tom Mullen kick)
New Bedford Mike Rapoza 7-yard run (Mike Rapoza kick)

2nd quarter
Barnstable Tom Mullen 35-yard field goal

3rd quarter
Barnstable Hayden Murphy 29-yard run (Mullen kick)

4th quarter
New Bedford Nathan Ojuri 3-yard pass from Rapoza (Tyler Arena pass from Rapoza)
New Bedford Marcel DePina 48-yard pass from Myles Medeiros (Jaraud Wood pass from Medeiros)
New Bedford Wood 15-yard pass from Medeiros (DePina pass from Medeiros)

Recap: No. 2 Duxbury 42, No. 20 New Bedford 19

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
8:24
PM ET
DUXBURY, Mass. -- This was supposed to be New Bedford’s chance to show the rest of Eastern Mass. that they were a force to be reckoned with this season.

Duxbury quickly took that notion and passed it to the side.

The No. 2 Dragons (3-0) dominated the No. 20 Whalers (2-1) with a razor-sharp offensive attack in a battle of undefeated teams with a 42-19 victory yesterday at Raymond P. Chandler Memorial Field.

Matt O’Keefe completed 14-of-20 throws for 220 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The senior quarterback also added two touchdowns on the ground when the Whalers defense was able to flush him out of the pocket.

“We tried to prepare hard for this game and it obviously didn’t go our way,” said Whalers coach Dennis Golden. “So we are going to prepare harder this week and do what we can to be successful.”

The Whalers were riding high coming into the game with wins against Wareham and Silver Lake. The team was averaging over 40 points coming into the game, but the Dragons defense wreaked havoc on the skill position players.

Myles Medeiros looked out of sync through the air, although he did rush for two scores and also hit Jaraud Wood for a 49-yard touchdown pass, as he was held to 12-of-26 for 148 yards.

Marcel DePina was gobbled up for 58 yards on nine carries.

Despite the big loss to one of the class teams in the state, Golden believes there are things that he and his team can learn even though the scoreboard was well in favor of Duxbury in this one.

“We have to make sure that we play our responsibilities on defense,” said Golden. “We had some turnovers and penalties that hurt us in the first half when we were in scoring position a couple of times. We need to eliminate those and just battle the whole game.”

DUXBURY’S DUAL THREAT QB
The Dragons quarterback may have played on a part-time basis last season, but he looked like a seasoned veteran out there running the Dragons’ offense at a blistering pace.

O’Keefe accounted for five touchdowns and led six touchdown drives out of the eight — one drive only lasted one play with a kneel down to end the half — times he took the field. The Dragons were efficient in everything they wanted to accomplish, whether it was by the arm or legs of the talented senior quarterback.

The Dragons signal-caller hit eight different receivers on the afternoon and finished with 71 rushing yards.

“It really goes back to our practice all week,” said O’Keefe. “We really focused on having good routes on every play. We executed. The receivers played great and the offensive line gave me the time I needed.”

O’Keefe was sharp in the first half, but he was pin-point accurate in the third quarter, which just happened to be the last quarter he played. He finished the third quarter 8-for-9 for 125 yards and a touchdown.

“It was a phenomenal performance through the air and on the ground,” said Duxbury head coach David Maimaron. “He manages the whole offense.”

HEADS UP PLAY BY SEAMUS
The Whalers tried a little New Orleans Saints Super Bowl magic to begin the second half, when they tried to fool the Dragons with an onside kick to begin play.

The Dragons didn’t have the right front to deal with an onsides attempt, but Seamus Connelly stuck his nose in there and pounced on the ball to maintain possession.

“We always say that coming out of the half is the most important drive of the game,” said Maimaron. “We always preach that and the kids know that. (Connelly) came up with a huge football play.”

With a short field at their own 45-yard line, O’Keefe was able to direct the Dragons on a six play, 55-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by Khai Perry’s touchdown plunge from 2 yards out to push the lead to 35-7.

DRAGON TRICKERY
It was a play that the Dragons put in earlier in the week, but it was one that looked like it had been practiced over and over again from the beginning of camp.

After stopping the Whalers on fourth-and-9, the Dragons grabbed possession with 1:19 left from their own 38-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Don Webber came around and grabbed a reverse.

This wouldn’t surprise anyone if Webber kept it and used his blazing speed to get around the right edge, but he stopped and delivered a strike to Reilly Naton down the field for a 52-yard gain.

O’Keefe took care of the rest with a 1-yard keeper to score with 35 seconds left on the clock before the half.

“The right time for the right call I guess,” said Maimaron. “That put us right down there and kind of changed the momentum of the game and made sure it would stay in our favor in the second half.”

New Bedford (2-1) 0 7 6 6 19
Duxbury (3-0) 14 14 14 0 42

DUX – James Burke 27 pass from Matt O’Keefe (Tucker Hannon kick)
DUX – Joe Guilfoile 33 pass from O’Keefe (Hannon kick)
NB – Myles Medeiros 7 run (Jared Tavares kick)
DUX – O’Keefe 37 run (Hannon kick)
DUX – O’Keefe 1 run (Hannon kick)
DUX – Khai Perry 2 run (Hannon kick)
NB – Jaraud Wood 49 pass from Medeiros (kick failed)
DUX – Perry 8 pass from O’Keefe (Hannon kick)
NB – Medeiros 4 run (rush failed)

Recap: New Bedford 40, Silver Lake 21

September, 17, 2011
9/17/11
9:06
PM ET


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The question coming into this season was whether New Bedford football would be able to parlay the momentum from last year’s Big Three co-championship and playoff appearance into big things this year.

So far so good as the Whalers put up 40-plus points for the second week while rolling to a 41-20 win over Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon.

Even though it was a non-league matchup, it was an important early season marker for New Bedford, as the Lakers have held the upper hand in the teams’ recent meetings.

New Bedford (2-0) ran out to a 26-0 halftime lead, outgaining the Lakers with 205 yards of offense compared to Silver Lake’s 11 yards gained. Whalers quarterback Myles Medeiros threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns by the half, giving way to Mike Rapoza in the third quarter as the Whalers continued racking up points.

Whalers running back Marcel DePina also got into the act with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter before returning a punt 82 yards for a score, giving New Bedford a 20-0 lead in the second.

“Marcel has the ability to change directions very quickly,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said. “He’s got great vision as a back. “

Medeiros added his third touchdown pass of the game to Jaraud Wood, a 13-yard completion in the third quarter.

Xavier Barros capped New Bedford’s scoring in a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:27 remaining in the third.

Silver Lake (0-2 ) finally got on the board inside of two minutes remaining in the third with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dana Nemes to John Hurley.

Matthew Pinnetti and Jeffrey Reynolds added late rushing touchdowns for the Lakers in the fourth.

New Bedford now eyes next week’s challenge against No. 2 Duxbury. While everyone is anticipating the Whalers’ eventual date with Brockton, Golden’s team has their attention fixed on a worthy opponent.

“Duxbury’s one of the best teams in the state, everybody knows that,” Golden said. “They haven’t lost in a long time and we have our work cut out for us.”

BUILDING A LINE
The talk of the offseason was how New Bedford would be able to replace their talented bookends on the line from last season in Lance Burlingame and Janny DosReis. Two weeks in, the Whalers are building an identity as capable pass protectors and run blockers, led by returning starter Darian Sousa-Bizarro. Not to mention, the defensive line has been downright dominant, evidenced by a three-sack day for Carl Santos, two sacks by Servulo Pires and a fumble forced by Ricky Moraes. Throw in an impressive junior in end Tyler Arena and New Bedford once again has the makings of a D-line that can hang with the Boxers. “They’re doing well,” Golden said of the group. “Coach [Nick] Salmon and Coach [Marc] Hayes are doing a great job with them every day. They’re giving a good effort in practice. The kids are coming and playing hard consistently. It’s a good thing, it’s a good situation.”

HOLDING IT DOWN


Medeiros stepped into the starting quarterback role midway through last season and hasn’t looked back. He’s become more comfortable in the Whalers’ offense and stated his experience as a prime factor. “Especially with the O-line, they’re giving me great time to throw,” said Medeiros, who has eight touchdown passes through two games. “I’m making good reads, the receivers are where they need to be. Our practices have been good. Everything’s going good this year, everything’s falling into place.” Medeiros is a long, lanky passer with the ability to pull the ball down and take off running. However, his pocket presence has improved, has good arm strength and showed good touch on the ball in his 27-yard touchdown pass to Wood in the second, coming on a fade route to the near side pylon. It also helps having a weapon like Wood, a tall 6-foot receiver with the ability to separate himself from defenders with a long reach.

DePINA SHINES
DePina takes over as the feature back in New Bedford’s offense this year, following talented track star Phito Gondre. However, the Whalers’ aren’t loosing much in terms of speed with DePina, a good athlete in his own regard as a member of New Bedford’s basketball team. Although he’s listed at 5-foot-6, DePina’s not afraid to run inside, but it’s in the open field where his value is found. Consider the 82-yard punt return he fielded on one hop, juking his way past two Laker defenders and then streaking down unabated down the left sideline as evidence.

Moore takes wind out of Whalers' sails

November, 30, 2010
11/30/10
11:59
PM ET


TAUNTON, Mass. – The winning equation for St. John’s Prep this season has pretty much gone as follows: Give it to Tyler Coppola.

While the talented running back did tear off 212 yards -- eclipsing the 2,000-yard rushing mark -- and a touchdown, it was another of the Eagles’ running backs who left his immediate imprint on a 35-7 win over New Bedford in their Eastern Mass Division I semifinal.

On the first series of the game, Alex Moore promptly read the eyes of New Bedford quarterback Myles Medeiros, coming over the route of a Whalers receiver and returned the pick 61 yards for an instant 7-0 lead with Connor Shaw’s point after try.

“I dropped back into my deep quarter and I saw the ball come a little high,” the sophomore said, “I ran behind the receiver and it came to me.”

After forcing the Whalers three and out on the ensuing possession, Dillon Gonzalez spun off one tackler and got a de-cleater of a block from Nate Cyr while rumbling 84 yards on a punt return for a touchdown. However, Shaw’s following kick was blocked for a 13-0 Eagles’ lead.

“I didn’t really see what happened,” Gonzalez said about the monster block that set him free. “All I know is that I was looking downfield and seeing who I had to beat.”

Then, Moore got back in the act in the second quarter, ripping off a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 21-0 lead heading into the half.

“That’s really my one running play.”

Moore added, “It’s really designed to score a touchdown every time.”

The Eagles (8-4) kept things going in the fourth quarter when quaterback Tommy Gaudet hit tight end Ryan Delisle in the flat on a 21-yard touchdown pass. Gaudet was a perfect 4 of 4 for 44 yards, as head coach Jim O’Leary sprinkled in the pass here and there.

“Coach has all the confidence in the world in our offensive line, that’s what got us here,” Gonzalez said. “As a wide receiver, it’s nice to see a little bit of both. We’ll take it anyway it comes.”

Coppola put the exclamation point on the win with a 70-yard score in the fourth.

New Bedford (6-5) got on the board late on Marcel Depina’s 6-yard touchdown catch from Medeiros, who finished 15 of 27 for 145 yards.

“We’re proud of them,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said of his Big Three championship team. “We’re proud of them for not quitting on one another and becoming a team. That’s something we feel is significant, very significant.”

The Eagles will face Everett for the Eastern Mass Division 1 Super Bowl Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

SJP 13 8 0 14 -- 35
NB 0 0 0 7 -- 7


First quarter
SJP Alex Moore 61-yard interception return (Connor Shaw kick)
SJP Dillon Gonzalez 84-yard punt return (Kick blocked)

Second quarter
SJP Moore 20-yard run (Tommy Gaudet to Gonzalez)

Fourth quarter
SJP Ryan Delisle 21-yard pass from Gaudet (Shaw kick)
SJP Tyler Coppola 70-yard run (Shaw kick)
NB Marcel Depina 6-yard pass from Myles Medeiros (Justin St. Pierre kick)

Thanksgiving football leftovers

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
7:00
PM ET
WHALERS' ACES IN THE HOLE
No. 21 New Bedford's worst fears were realized in the first quarter against Durfee. Although mired in a scoreless tie, the Hilltoppers carried play early behind their Wing-T attack and running back Keith Omosefunmi. Things only got worse when Whalers offensive and defensive lineman Lance Burlingame when down with a meniscus injury on a defensive play in the first quarter. Durfee later scored the first touchdown of the game, but New Bedford got it right back on the ensuing kickoff with Nate Lewis' 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Although the Whalers had to mix and match their line, New Bedford was more efficient on offense in the second half. The line provided ample time for junior quarterback Myles Medeiros to throw and created the lanes in which running back Phito Gondre could run. Darian Sousa-Bizarro moved over from guard to left tackle in Burlingame's absence and Tyler Ollivierre filled in at left guard, showcasing New Bedford's depth on the line. Ollivierre was also instrumental in clogging up the middle at defensive tackle.

"The way Coach [Dennis Golden] runs practices, all the linemen get time to practice," Medeiros told Scott Barboza on Thursday, "so when somebody goes down we have the confidence that the next guy can get the job done."

However, the Whalers might miss Burlingame more on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to Tuesday's Division I semifinal playoff game against St. John's Prep. Burlingame was dominant in New Bedford's Big Three win over Brockton in neutralizing Boxers running back Trevon Offley. The same could be said for the Eagles' physicla offensive line and speedy running back Tyler Coppola.

"We're just taking it one game at a time and one day at a time," Medeiros said. "We got to where we wanted to be. We're Big Three champions. Now, we'll focus on what comes next."


IT IS NOT A THIN LINE

The St. John’s Prep offensive line is becoming somewhat legendary. Besides from opening up holes, they also escort their running backs down the field for touchdowns.

“Those are the plays that you get pumped for,” said Dan Culkeen, a 5’11’’, 252-pound senior. “As a lineman, you don’t get much glory, but those are the plays that people will see. I’m out there leading my best friend Tyler, and he does his thing. I get one block and he’s gone.”

The quarterback draws worked well for St. John’s, running them through almost every hole on the line, to the point that it seemed that Tommy Gaudet was just looking to run through an open space, but that wasn’t the case.

“We’re not a read team,” Gaudet said. “On the option we are, but mostly we’re running where we’re blocking. We try to move it up and down the line...get them to where they’re not comfortable in their defense. We were just trying to make it hard for them.”

“Every lineman on our team is All-Conference,” lauded Gaudet. “No matter what hole we run to, it’s the same. They’re all unbelievable at what they do.”

MIDDIES UP TO TASK
Dracut turned in one of its best defensive performances of the season during Thursday’s 19-12 triumph over No. 6 Methuen, which entered the contest averaging 31.6 points per game.

The Middies held the Rangers to 268 yards of total offense, but 105 of those 268 yards came on two plays – a 58-yard pass from quarterback Cal Carroll to Eric Lacroix, and Ryan Savastano’s 47-yard run.

“They got a couple of big plays, but they didn’t really drive the ball against us,” Dracut head coach Jason Houston said. “We wanted to stop the run. We felt that was the key, and we did a pretty good job of doing that.”

Dracut came up with three turnovers, including two interceptions in the second half.

Savastano, who entered the game with 1,225 yards rushing, was held to 75 yards on eight carries. The Middies (8-3) had surrendered at least 21 points in six of their other 10 games.

“It was one of the better defensive efforts I’ve seen in a while,” Houston said.

The victory gave Dracut a 26-19-3 edge in its series with Methuen, which dates back to 1963.

BIG PLUNGE FOR 'BIG A'

Malden senior Aaron Samano, the team's captain and a humanitarian (literally) off the field, was rewarded for his dedication on Thanksgiving morning in a unique way only befitting for a 6-foot-1, 300-pound nose tackle -- with the rock.

On the Golden Tornadoes' opening drive of their 29-0 win over storied archrival Medford, with the ball at the Mustangs' one yard line, head coach Joe Pappagallo called for a "tackle right", one of their standard plays, only with Samano as the ballcarrier. Samano admitted he was nervous at first when quarterback Kevin Valley came into the huddle with the call.

"It was almost like, I can't believe he's actually calling this right now," said the humble lineman, affectionately called "Big A" by his teammates. "I never thought it would come so early in the game, that we'd open up with it. I didn't want to let anyone down, so I held the ball as tight as I could."

Samano followed his blockers left, then took a reverse pivot and plunged right for the one-yard score, and then celebrated his score with a LaDainian Tomlinson-style flip of the ball and jumping around with his teammates.

"I was excited, I was fired up," Samano said. "It felt great to actually score a touchdown, after four years of blocking, then to actually run one in, it just feels great."

After a slew of preseason hype, the 2010 season was a disappointing one for the Tornadoes, who finished 5-5 and 3-1 in the Greater Boston League. But things are just heating up for Samano, who is being recruited by several Division 1 schools, including Harvard and Duke.

TWO JARRING COINCIDENCES

Flashback #1: It was two years ago, when Longmeadow traveled to East Longmeadow riding a state-best 47-game win streak into Thanksgiving Day weekend 2008. Longmeadow was trailing 16-13 but rallied behind junior quarterback Conor Hobert on a drive in the final minutes.

The game came down to a Longmeadow fourth down with 19 seconds left, when Hobert lobbed up a pass from around 20-yards out to Niko Sierra. Sierra dove for the ball but was covered well by East Longmeadow’s Dave Fraboni. Fraboni swatted the ball down in the end zone, and EL upset Longmeadow in thrilling fashion.

2010 implications: Sophomore Austin Sierra, younger brother of Niko, recovered a fumble in the end zone to upend the Spartans 13-7 in overtime on Thanksgiving. The fumble was recovered in about the same spot in the end zone (in front of the right side goal post) where Fraboni knocked down Hobert’s pass in 2008.

The fumble recovery won the AA conference title for the Lancers.

“I just saw it drop and all I was thinking was, ‘jump on it!’” Austin laughed about after the game. “I think it was great, kind of a hard game and we just came out with the win.

“Defensively we did great, offensively, well -- we had a couple of fumbles.”

The Lancers did have several fumbles but only one was recovered by East Longmeadow. It’s safe to say that the Lancers will be alright if Austin keeps picking up the mistakes like he did on Thanksgiving.

Flashback #2: Longmeadow had not lost a home game since 2004, and to lose to East Longmeadow would compound the pain. The Lancers had gone up 21-19 over the Spartans on Thanksgiving but were crossing their fingers on a 45-yard field goal that could win the game for EL.

EL’s Ray Holloway was well short on the field goal (which was pushed back after an intentional grounding call on the previous play) and took the brunt of the blame for the loss after time expired.

2010 implications: Holloway had a chance at redemption. After his team cut up the Longmeadow defense in the fourth quarter. EL was looking to take the lead 10-7 with 18 seconds left. Instead of going for the end zone though, coach Scott Raymond wanted to play it safer with a field goal attempt. He called a timeout, and the team ran a belly to the left to center the ball between the hashes.

Raymond then called another timeout and after a Longmeadow timeout, Holloway stepped up to the plate again. It is hard to imagine that in a rivalry so close and intense, a circumstance would present itself in such similar circumstances two years in a row.

The crowd hushed as Holloway’s kick was pushed well right and short of the goal posts, and Longmeadow survived an epic defensive collapse. The Lancers then seized momentum stopping EL first in overtime and then scoring afterwards.

After the game, it was a tough scene as Holloway and his co-captains let their emotions show on the field. When the fans cleared from East Longmeadow High School, almost 10 minutes had gone by and Holloway was still going over the kick in his mind standing in the same spot.

“You hate to lose the way we lost at the end here, but what are you going to do?” Raymond said after the game.

“I hate to see them hurt. I hate to see them hurt as bad as they are right now,” “Especially a kid like Ray…its an awful lot to put that pressure on a kid two years in a row.”

No one can blame Raymond for the call. No one can blame Holloway for the kick.

Holloway played his heart out on Thanksgiving even if the numbers didn’t show it. He was an integral part of a defense that shut down the number one offense in Western Mass, and a top-15 offense in the state.

Holloway is a stud running back, emotional leader, and certainly in contention for the Daegenais, Bertelli and ESPNBoston.com WMass Player of the Year Award.

COACHING DUEL

Longmeadow coach Alex Rotsko and East Longmeadow coach Scott Raymond both run the Wing-T offense. Both coaches are sticklers for leverage, positioning, timing and execution, and around Western Mass, anyone can tell you that neither call “sexy” plays.

However their bland running styles took a turn on Thanksgiving and both debuted some new additions. In fact, both even showed off an inside shovel pass -- which is uncharacteristic of the Wing-T disciples. East Longmeadow actually brought out a Wildcat set, early in the second half, and used an empty backfield to spread the field on their fourth quarter drive.

“We were trying some different things, but its just that they played so tough,” Raymond said. “…it was pretty good football.”

“I don’t think you could ask for two more evenly matched teams at this point,” Raymond said. “Both teams are the best in Western Mass and they’re so competitive -- you can’t deny that it’s been exciting.”

“Our defense played really well -- except for the last series of the game,” Longmeadow senior Jeff Anderson said. “Our teams run identical offense so we know the insides and outs of them. So we knew basically it was going to come down to who was going to make plays.”

“We couldn’t establish anything with the inside run game or the outside run game,” Rotsko said. “They were just pressing the line of scrimmage.”

Both coaches will have to rally their teams back into shape quickly. The first playoff game is set for Tuesday and both teams are hoping for super bowls this year. After the game Rotsko’s team was very somber during the post game speech listening to the coach intently.

However when asked about the speech Rotsko paused, and then answered: “I actually don’t remember what I said,” Rotsko said with a laugh.

Coaches, players and families were caught up in the emotion across the state on Thanksgiving Day 2010, and it was surely one for the ages.

Perseverance key to New Bedford's Big 3 title

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
10:37
PM ET


NEW BEDORD, Mass. – It’s strange to think that the seeds for New Bedford’s Big Three conference-clinching win, 21-7, over Durfee on Thanksgiving Day were sewn in a time when they were 1-3, in a game that they lost, and by a player that very well could have viewed his coach’s decision as a demotion.

Before the Whalers’ bout with Barnstable in Week 4, head coach Dennis Golden made a quarterback change. He moved senior captain Nate Lewis out from under center to wide receiver and, in his place, junior Myles Medeiros took the snaps.

Medeiros lost his first start to the Red Raiders, but something was different from then on.

“We started out 1-4 and we had a lot of doubters and a lot people who didn’t believe in us,” Lewis said. “But we just believed, believed, believed. When we were watching film, we knew we had a lot of talent on this team. We just got stronger as a team every single day going forward.”

The Whalers’ momentum grew by the week. They rattled off three straight wins before delivering a shocking upset of Brockton, the first time they’d beaten the Boxers since 1999. All that was left was for New Bedford was to follow through on its first Big Three title since 2001 in the centennial edition of the Thanksgiving rivalry.

It was fitting that Lewis and Medeiros were again the driving motion behind the Whalers' triumph over the Hilltoppers.

“Not many kids would have or could have handled it the way Nate [Lewis] did,” New Bedford head coach Dennis Golden said, “and this championship is a result of him doing that. If he didn’t do that, we were dead as a team.”

After Durfee (3-8, 0-2) opened scoring with Tresley Dupont’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:50 remaing in the first half, Lewis wasted little time getting it back.

Hilltoppers head coach Robb McCoy called for an angled squib on the ensuing kickoff. Lewis fielded the kick on a hop at the Whalers’ 28-yard line and gained the edge on Durfee’s coverage unit. With only one Durfee defender left to beat, Lewis hurdled over the lunging would-be tackler and sprinted the rest for a 72-yard return.

Although Durfee had controlled the ball for 14:30 in the first half, they were all square, 7-7, at half.

“I saw the kid going down, so I decided to go up and was lucky enough to score,” Lewis said. “That was a great feeling.”

Meanwhile, McCoy had a familiar sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Oh, man,” he said, letting a big long sigh in the process. “I couldn’t have walked out there and put the ball in a better spot. We just didn’t spread out enough [on coverage] and their kid made a great play.”

New Bedford (6-4, 2-0) looked to strike on its first possession of the second half, after forcing the Hilltoppers three-and-out. However, Jake Brown picked off a Medeiros pass in the end zone to stall the drive.

The Whalers broke the stalemate with 7:47 remaining on Izaiah Baretto’s 1-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a pair passes from Medeiros (11 of 18, 155 yards) to Lewis.

Their chemistry has now been well established.

“Honestly, we just became more of a team,” Medeiros said of the Whalers’ turnaround. “When we started winning, after the Barnstable game, when I had my first start, we started to bond. We became a real family and that’s what we stress. We come in and when we see people walking down the hall in school, we give each other a hug because we’re family. I love every single one of those kids.”

Phito Gondre added an insurance score on a 15-yard carry, marking his seventh straight game with a touchdown.

Durfee wouldn’t go quietly, however, as Keith Omosefunmi (22 carries, 122 yards) continued to pound the ball and McCoy pulled out some football favorites from yesteryear.

In addition to throwing in Wildcat wrinkles into the Hilltopper offense, McCoy started one fourth-quarter drive with three consecutive swinging gate plays, with Omosefunmi taking the snaps. There was also a Muddle Huddle thrown in.

“It’s one of those things,” McCoy said, “with the extra week of practice, you’re able to do more stuff like that.”

McCoy certainly went out with a bang, as it was reported after the game that he had informed the school of his resignation, making his indoctrination into the 119-year rivalry his final turn as well.

“It was awesome, especially with what was on the line this year. It was awesome. It was fun. I’m proud that I was able to be a part of it. I’m proud that I was able to be a part of the 100th anniversary game and I’m proud of the kids, I really am.”

New Bedford also endured the loss of offensive and defensive tackle Lance Burlingame to a meniscus injury suffered in the first quarter.

It was a just another setback that the Whalers had to overcome this season.

“I’m always going to lead this team that best I can,” Lewis said. “I never doubted this team and I know we could do it.”

The Whalers will face Catholic Conference champion St. John's Prep on Tuesday in the Division I playoffs.

Durfee 0 7 0 0 -- 7
New Bedford 0 7 0 14 -- 21

Second quarter

Durfee Tresley Dupont 3-yard run (Cory Burns kick)
New Bedford Nate Lewis 72-yard kickoff return (Justin St. Pierre kick)

Fourth quarter

New Bedford Izaiah Baretto 1-yard run (St. Pierre kick)
New Bedford Phito Gondre 15-yard run (St. Pierre kick)

Upset of the year in Brockton

November, 13, 2010
11/13/10
6:03
PM ET
Say hello to your new Big 3 champion...?

New Bedford landed the knockout punch of the year with an eight-minute fourth quarter drive that iced a 23-21 win over longtime league and state powerhouse Brockton, clinching them a share of their first Big 3 Conference title since 2001.

Senior offensive/defensive lineman Lance Burlingame had the game of his life, coming up with a sack and a slew of quarterback pressures, and paving big holes all afternoon for senior Phito Gondre (26 carries, 107 yards, TD). Junior wide receiver Marcel DePina (130 all-purpose yards) scored the biggest haymaker of the afternoon in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 64-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Myles Medeiros (12 of 18, 185 yards) to make it 23-15.

Paul Mroz (7 of 13, 133 yards) answered back with a six-yard scamper to close it to 23-21 with eight minutes left. But on the two-point conversion attempt, senior running back Trevon Offley (14 carries, 150 yards, 2 TD) was stuffed short of the goal line.

The Whalers then put together an eight-minute, forty-five second drive behind steady runs from the speedy Gondre, marching all the way to the Brockton 15 before turning the ball over on downs with under a minute to go.

New Bedford now heads into its Thanksgiving Day matchup with archrival Durfee with playoff implications on the line. A loss to the visiting Hilltoppers would create a three-way tie for first in the Big 3; league tiebreaker rules give the playoff berth to the team that has gone the longest without making a playoff appearance, which would grant the berth to Durfee. However, league rules also stipulate that a team must have above a .500 winning percentage to be eligible, which does not qualify Durfee at 3-7 but would qualify the 5-4 Whalers.

NEW BEDFORD 23, NO. 2 BROCKTON 21

NB 5-4 1-0
Brock 8-2 1-1

NB 14 0 3 6 23
BR 0 0 15 6 21

First Quarter
N - Phito Gondre 2 run (Justin St. Pierre kick)
N - Izaiah Baretto 5 run (St. Pierre kick)

Third Quarter
B - Trevon Offley 74 run (Ralph Cherry pass from Austin Roberts)
N - St. Pierre 26 field goal
B - Offley 30 run (Lucas Depina kick)

Fourth Quarter
N - Marcel DePina 64 pass from Myles Medeiros (kick failed)
B - Paul Mroz 6 run (rush failed)

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