Boston High School: Paul Norris



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Dennis-Yarmouth quarterback Matt Montalto strode on to the field at Gillette Stadium for his first series under center during Friday’s Shriners Eastern Mass. All-Star hoping to get the South squad’s offense churning.

During his career with the Dolphins, which he guided to a Division 2A Super Bowl championship in the fall, Montalto had a knack for the big play. So when he aired out a pass to BC High receiver Gordon McLeod on a skinny post over the middle during the second quarter, it’s no surprise it inspired awe.

Even if Montalto feels he had little to do with it.

“He [McLeod] was making me look good on that,” he said of the Eagles receivers’ diving catch on the play. “When I threw that ball, I thought I overthrew him and he came up huge. That was awesome.”

In short, Montalto made every moment count. His numbers weren’t gaudy, but were impressive considering his lack of reps. He completed two of five passes for 84 yards and touchdown and earned South’s Offensive MVP award.

Along with a stifling defense that combined for seven sacks on North quarterbacks, the South held on for a 15-12 win.

“I didn’t play the biggest role in that, the whole D-line did unbelievable job,” said North Attleborough’s Paul Norris, who earned the Defensive MVP nod with two sacks. “The whole rest of our team did great and played well. The defensive line just dominated that game. They controlled the line of scrimmage, they pushed them back. They made the QB step up in the pocket, which led to more sacks.

The North squad was led by ESPN Boston Mr. Football award winner and Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, who paced his team to a 6-0 lead in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Burlington’s Kyle Shields.

However, DiBiaso likely required ice bags by the end of the evening, as he was on the receiving end of six of the South side’s seven sacks.

South tied the game less than minute after the North’s opening score. Montalto lofted a pass for Franklin’s Rhett Davis at the goal line. Davis hauled in the 40-yard score while falling backward into the end zone with 4:22 to play in the first half. A fake on the point-after try gave South a 2-point lead with Catholic Memorial quarterback A.J. Doyle finding Bridgewater-Raynham’s Nick Schlatz in the corner of the end zone.

The South struck again before the half, forcing the North three-and-out on the ensuing possession with a key third-down sack from Schlatz. A 5-play, 56-yard drive culminating in a 2-yard touchdown run by King Philip’s Charles Ruffin had the South to a 15-6 lead, with a successful PAT from Whitman-Hanson’s David Colclough.

North score on the opening drive of the second half on a 5-yard touchdown run by Concord-Carlisle’s George Craan (North Offensive MVP). The Boston College-bound running back pounded out 56 of the North’s 66 yards on the drive.

DOMINATING D
The defensive line of the South was effective throughout and downright unstoppable at times.

No finer example was during the North’s final possession of the game. The South tallied sacks on three consecutive plays – from Braintree’s Mykel Lane, Stoughton’s Brandon Alves and Walpole’s Craig Hanley -- to thwart any comeback plans of the North

“I was scared [coming in] hearing about the North tackles, I heard that they were 300 pounds and stuff like that, these big, huge guys,” Norris quipped. “I was just thinking, ‘God help me in this game. Just let me walk out of it with no injuries.’”

HANGIN’ WITH MR. COOPER
Perhaps no player was as happy to be back on the playing field Friday as BC High running back Preston Cooper.

Cooper’s final high school football memory prior to the Shriners game was being carted off the field during the Eagles’ 35-21 loss to Everett on Oct. 22, when he dislocated his ankle.

After watching from the sidelines as his Eagle teammates won the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl at Gillette, Cooper made his return to the gridiron on Friday in the same spot.

“It felt great,” the Wareham native said. “It’s always nice to come back, especially when everybody doubts you, that’s the main thing. I had fun out there, my leg felt great.”

Cooper will attend Curry College next year where he hopes to regain the attention of some of the New England-based Division 1 college programs that had expressed interest earlier.

Recap: No. 19 North Attleborough 14, Attleboro 7

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
10:25
PM ET


NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – Hockomock League rivals Attleboro and North Attleborough were equals through much of their Thanksgiving Day clash. The Blue Bombardier and Red Rocketeer lines roughed each other up, sloshing through a muddied turf at North.

Tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, No. 19 North controlled play with a sustained drive that set the Red Rocketeers up with a first-and-goal from the 9-yard line.

However, after a pass attempt and two rushes fell short of the end zone, North’s season came down to a fourth-and-goal at the 1.

Then, North quarterback Spyro Varetimos entered the huddle with a purpose.

“He said, ‘We’re running this in for the championship,’” senior captain Paul Norris said. “Everybody just kind of lifted up at that point.”

Varetimos crossed the goal line with 5:24 remaining and Big Red held on for a 14-7 win over their town border rivals. With the victory, North (9-1, 3-1 Kelley-Rex) earned a share of the Hockomock large division title. And, although the Red Rocketeers’ season ended then and there, due to a tiebreaker won by King Philip, there was an air of accomplishment held by the teammates, not disappointment.

‘We’re co-champions of the league, that’s all we could’ve asked for,” Norris said.

Varetimos had a hand in all of North’s points, connecting with Alex Jette on a 33-yard touchdown pass to open scoring in the second quarter.

North’s lone defensive gaffe of the game came at the end of the third, when Blue Bombardiers running back Malique Clark broke off an 85-yard run to close the quarter.

The Red Rocketeers’ built their game-winning drive off the ensuing kickoff, chewing up more than four and a half minutes of the fourth.

Varetimos (12 of 20, 80 yards, TD; 9 carries, 31 yards, TD) broke the plane of the goal after his previous lunge from the 1-yard line was stopped.

“On that final drive, in the huddle, you could just feel the tension,” Varetimos said. “We needed to get in the end zone.”

PLANS DISRUPTED
North typically favors a north-south running game, but face serious resistance from Attleboro’s front four led by Zach Schwieger. The senior defensive end (3 tackles for loss) was a disruptive force along with linebacker Brandon Mooney.

Schwieger was named Defensive Player of the Game for his efforts along with causing a load of headaches for North’s coaching staff.

“We want to run the ball up the middle when we can, but they were bigger and stronger than us up the middle,” Red Rocketeers head coach Don Johnson said. “When we were trying to run outside, we got overpowered a little bit on the edge … We knew we had to mix the pass in there a little bit.”

A CHANGE OF PLANS


Given the way the Blue Bombardiers line controlled the line of scrimmage for portions of the game, North increasingly aired it out, leaning on Varetimos to gain yards via the play-action.

Varetimos’ 31-yarder to Jette was a result of an adjustment made by North against Attleboro’s over-pursuing linebackers.

“Their linebackers kept biting on the quick outs, like that, all game,” said Varetimos, who was named the game’s Offensive MVP.

North’s fourth-quarter drive was a valediction for an offensive group that sputtered early in the season.

That maturation as a group was spearheaded by the No. 15 (no, not that No. 15 in Denver, although there were some similarities) under center.

“We knew going in what kind of kid he was,” Johnson said of Varetimos. “He’s a tough kid, we knew he could run the ball a little bit. I think he’s grown tremendously from the beginning of the year and that’s a big reason for our success.”

Senior lineman and captain Anthony Plante had another way of looking at it, the way the unit finished their season on Thursday.

“We just had a little bit more desire to finish it,” Plante said of North’s drive to victory. “That’s what it comes down to.”

STRONG SENTIMENT


Despite learning the bad news that King Philip had triumphed over Franklin, handing the Warriors the division’s playoff spot, Johnson had strong parting words for his group.

“The fact that we’re not in the playoffs does not diminish that one bit,” Johnson said. “I feel confident that there will be other playoff teams in the state that couldn’t win a Hockomock League championship.

“I’m proud of our guys.”

Attleboro (7-4, 1-3) – 0 0 7 0 -- 7
North Attleborough (9-1, 3-1) – 0 7 0 7 -- 14

2nd quarter
North - Alex Jette 33-yard pass from Spyro Varetimos (Varetimos kick)

3rd quarter
Attleboro - Malique Clark 85-yard run (Tim Walsh kick)

4th quarter
North - Varetimos 1-yard run (Varetimos kick)

The view from North Attleborough

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
10:56
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NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. -- First there was Bama-LSU. Now, we've got the Hockomock League's answer to Bama-LSU, the annual showdown between No. 10 Mansfield (8-1) and North Attleborough (7-1).

Can the Red Rocketeers avenge last season's loss to Mansfield and turn the tables on the No. 10 Hornets? A Big Red win tomorrow night would force a three-way tie in the Hockomock's Kelly-Rex division (with No. 15 King Philip), and turn things over to a complicated tiebreaker system.

We checked in with NA captains Paul Norris, Anthony Plante and Will Kummer following Thursday's practice at North Attleborough Middle School:


The View from No. 25 North Attleborough

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
9:25
PM ET
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. -- No. 25 North Attleborough football lost a lot in terms of senior leadership and skill from last year's squad, but that hasn't prevented the Red Rocketeers from running out to a 5-0 record. But things are just starting to pick up with North's battle against No. 18 King Philip in Wrentham on Friday.

We caught up with the Red Rocketeers captains to break down the key Hockomock Kelley-Rex division test:

Andrew Plante

Paul Norris

Will Kummer

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