Boston High School: Quincy

Recap: Duxbury 35, No. 23 Quincy 14

October, 25, 2014
Oct 25
12:48
AM ET


QUINCY, Mass. -- While Duxbury and Quincy have put up big offensive numbers this season, it was the Dragon defense that helped Duxbury score a 35-14 road win and lock up a seventh consecutive Patriot League Keenan division title.

“We were just trying to be tough and make all the hustle plays,” senior linebacker Hunter Marston said. “We wanted to just smash them right in the face and get after it.”

The day started out with some offensive fireworks though, as Duxbury marched 94 yards in 14 plays on its first drive of the night. The drive was aided by a 24-yard fake-punt pass from sophomore Ryan Reagan to Marston. The pass converted a fourth-and-16 at midfield for the Dragons.

Five plays later, sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron (3 passing TD, 1 rush TD) put Duxbury up 7-0 with a three-yard rushing score.

Quincy would answer with a 60-yard scoring drive of its own when senior quarterback James Lam (1 passing TD, 1 rush TD) found senior J.T. Bain for an 8-yard score, but a missed extra point kept Duxbury ahead.

Bain would make his presence felt again moments later on defense. Just after Maimaron found senior Brian Zec for a 55-yard gain to set the Dragons up at the Presidents 20 yard line, Bain won a jump ball in the end zone to keep Duxbury off the board and get the ball back for Quincy.

But after a three-and-out by the Presidents, Maimaron was back to his old tricks, converting a fourth-and-four with an 11-yard rush, then finding Zec for a 28-yard score to put Duxbury up 14-6.

“Zec ran a real nice route,” Maimaron said. “We got the post (inside) to take the safety out. He made a nice catch and got in.”

Just seconds before intermission, Lam would score from a yard out for the Presidents, then find sophomore Jake Bergonzi for the two-point conversion, sending us to the half tied at 14.

After a defensive third quarter that saw each team force a turnover on downs, Duxbury began the fourth going 95 yards in 15 plays, culminating in another Maimaron touchdown pass to Zec, this one from eight yards out.

A pair of outstanding pass breakups by junior Will Macaluso helped the Dragons end Quincy's next possession in just four plays, and the Presidents were forced to punt on the following series after Marston sacked Lam for a 15 yard loss on 3rd down.

"I just saw a hole kind of open up," Marston said of his timely sack. “I saw their guard moving back and he didn’t really pick me up, so I just went and it was open.”

With just four minutes left and Duxbury clinging to a 21-14 lead, the Presidents bobbled the snap and junior linebacker Brady Burke came out of the scrum with the ball for the Dragons. Moments later, Maimaron found senior Cam Walsh for an eight-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.

On Quincy's next series, Reagan intercepted Lam to give Duxbury the ball back, and junior running back Collin Prudente capitalized with an eight-yard touchdown following the turnover.

While the Dragon defense did struggle to stop Lam on the ground, as the senior rushed for an impressive 235 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, they did twice stop him on fourth and less than five when he carried the ball. They also dominated the Presidents’ passing offense, holding Lam to just 60 yards and a touchdown on 5 of 25 passing, with three interceptions.

“The defense played so well,” Maimaron said. “That Lam kid is ridiculous, and he played a great game. They did the best they could and helped us come out with the victory.”

The win marked Duxbury's seventh straight league championship, and the Dragons will enter the Division 2 South playoffs in the top half of the bracket.

For Quincy, it was a bitter end to an otherwise stellar regular season, but the Presidents will make their first playoff appearance since 2003. They will also compete in D2 South.
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Football

Quincy's Reardon named Patriots Coach of the Week

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
12:03
PM ET
Quincy High's Bill Reardon was named this week's New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week, following a win over Plymouth North last weekend that put them at 5-0.

Courtesy of the New England Patriots, here is the official press release:



Foxborough, Mass. – Quincy High School’s Bill Reardon has been named this week’s New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week in recognition of his team’s 12-7 victory over host Plymouth North High School on Friday, Oct. 10. The Presidents are now 5-0 and tied for first place in the Patriot League’s Keenan Division. Quincy used a powerful running game to capitalize on four Plymouth North turnovers and recovered an onside kick attempt at the end of the game to preserve the victory. The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Quincy High School’s football program in Reardon’s name in recognition of his Coach of the Week selection.

Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, the team’s executive director of community affairs, visited Coach Turner and his team on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Quincy High School. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the team’s weekly television show, “Patriots All Access,” which airs live tonight at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV in Boston and will be available immediately after on Patriots.com.

This is the 19th year in which the Patriots join the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. Tippett oversees the program as part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s commitment to youth football initiatives.

“Congratulations to Quincy High School, Coach Bill Reardon and his players on a win at Plymouth North this week,” Tippett said. “A 5-0 start is a great way to keep their advantage atop the Patriot League standings. Defense played a huge role –- forcing three fumbles and an interception – not to mention a key onside kick recovery. I enjoyed visiting Tuesday’s practice and am pleased to present Quincy High School and Coach Bill Reardon this week’s Coach of the Week award.”

At the conclusion of the season, one high school coach will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution toward the school’s football program.

This is the fourth year that Tippett has taken the award on the road to visit the schools that benefit from the program. This year is also the fourth year the Patriots will accept nominations for High School Coach of the Week. Anyone who knows a high school football coach in New England who has a great week or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to submit a nomination to nominatecoach@patriots.com.

The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the non-profit through which the Patriots support charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants, in-kind donations and player appearances. The foundation assists a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout New England by supporting their educational, family and health initiatives.


Our 2014 Summer Football Primer

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:52
AM ET
Don't look now, but the first day of MIAA football practices is just 40 days away. Per our tradition every summer, ESPN Boston High Schools editors Brendan C. Hall and Scott Barboza whet your appetite for the gridiron with some players on the rise, surprise teams to watch, top teams and some food for thought.

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


FIVE PLAYERS ON THE RISE

Drew Jean-Guillaume, Sr. QB/DB, Shepherd Hill
With a powerful frame and impressive speed honed during track and field season, Jean-Guillaume is a throwback-type option quarterback, a converted running back who’s as adept at powering through defenders as he is at evading or blowing by them. The Rams will be heavy favorites in Division 4, and Jean-Guillaume will have plenty of room to work behind a reportedly heavy line led by Boston College commit Chris Lindstrom.

Mekhi Henderson, Soph. DB, Xaverian
In a defense full of household names, Henderson is one of the Hawks’ brightest young stars. Often last season, he was left on an island against an opponent’s top target, and often he held his own. With his coverage skills and raw ability, the coaching staff has a luxury to get creative in the secondary.

Shane Combs, Sr. ATH, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
It’s assumed that Combs, a Notre Dame baseball commit and ESPN Boston All-State selection during the spring, will take the reins at quarterback from last year’s Mr. Football finalist Drew Smiley. The Missouri transplant was one of the state’s most productive rushers during the playoffs, going over the century mark in all five postseason contests as the Pioneers reached the Division 2 state final.

Mike Maggipinto, Jr. RB, East Longmeadow
Somewhat quietly, the 5-foot-5 scatback eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark last year for the Spartans, running behind a great blocking scheme that continued to find unique ways to get him in space. Between Maggipinto and Plymouth North’s Christian Carr, this could be the year of the pint-sized running back.

Jahkari Carpenter, Sr. RB, Doherty
Among the area’s most elusive, Carpenter was a weekly highlight reel during the Highlanders’ run to the Division 4 state title, with runs like THIS, or THIS, or THIS. Junior Tavian Vassar is expected to have a bigger role in the backfield this year, which could make for an imposing thunder-and-lightning combination.

FIVE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Billerica
The Indians hit a home run this offseason with the hiring of Duane Sigsbury as their new head coach, though they are considered a year or two away. Still, Sigsbury is one of the area’s brightest offensive minds, with a track record of making programs relevant in a hurry (see: Boston Cathedral). Similar to his other stops, there are already some terrific talents coming up the pipe.

Boston English
The Blue and Blue made history last fall to end Brian Vaughn’s first season at the helm, beating Boston Latin for the first time since 1997. Now, with dynamic dual threat Emmanuel Almonte leading the offense, they’ll look to continue last year’s momentum.

Cambridge
Long considered a powder keg for skill talent, head coach Ryan Saulnier has tapped into it, and found a lot of success running his brand of spread offense in his first season last fall. With Marcus Collins returning under center, and a new home in the Dual County League, the Falcons ought to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in Division 2 North.

Leominster
Blue Devils graduated one of their most talented classes ever, but this is a program built to reload, not rebuild, under a great offensive mind in Dave Palazzi. Defensive coordinator Charlie Raff left to take over at Oakmont, but in his place comes former North Middlesex coach John Margarita. It’s too early – not to mention, lofty – to make any Neil O’Connor comparisons yet, but keep an eye on sophomore Noah Gray this fall.

Springfield Central
Similar to Leominster, the Golden Eagles have many holes to fill on the heels of its most successful season in school history. But they should have a solid defense again, led by lineman Kaleb Hunter-Sams, and the coaching staff should get a boost from the addition of former Putnam head coach Bill Watson.

Hall's Preseason Top 10:

[+] EnlargeJoe Gaziano
Brendan Hall/ESPNESPN Boston's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Northwestern commit Joe Gaziano, leads a stacked Xaverian defense.
1. Xaverian
Little drama here as to who’s the top dog. With a star-studded defense that includes the likes of Northwestern commit Joe Gaziano, ESPN Boston’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013; linebackers Noah Sorrento, Kenny Kern and D’Aundre Holmes; and defensive backs Damion Wood and Mekhi Henderson; as well as a potent running game behind UMass-bound tackle Joe Parsons, and an innovative playmaker in quarterback Jake Farrell; the Hawks figure to start the year No. 1 in many polls.

2. Everett
Crimson Tide are licking their chops after a disappointing end to 2013 season, and as usual they reload with some of the most gifted skill players in the area. The interesting question is how they’ll fit Boston College-bound cornerback Lukas Denis into the offense; originally slotted as the successor to Jonathan DiBiaso at quarterback before injuries derailed his sophomore season in 2012, Denis showed flashes of brilliance in a multitude of positions last year.

3. Central Catholic
The Raiders’ featured one of the state’s best defenses a year ago in their D1 state title run, and they’ll be held in high regard again thanks to linebacker Markus Edmunds and safety Mike Balsamo, who is fielding multiple Division 1 FCS offers at the moment. Also keep an eye on Matt Milano, who was statistically one of the state’s most productive quarterbacks in the playoffs last year.

4. Mansfield
The Hornets dramatically altered their offense on the fly late in the season following a season-ending injury to wideout Brendan Hill, and it worked out as they took the D2 state title. A fully healthy Hill and another year of running back Miguel Villar-Perez, one of last fall’s most pleasant revelations, should make the Hornets the favorite in a tough D2 South.

5. Bridgewater-Raynham
Trojans always get the benefit of the doubt for their powerful running game and their “anyone, anywhere, anytime” approach to scheduling, and they’ll be a force again with Brandon Gallagher returning at tailback. But the question is whether the Trojans can sustain momentum and avoid last year’s fate, when they reached No. 1 in our statewide poll early, only to sputter in the second half.

6. Shepherd Hill
In short, Boston College-bound offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom Jr. is a force. But the fact that he is the Rams’ most dominant, yet possibly their lightest, should tell you something about what to expect in 2014. They’re arguably Central Mass.’s most talented team this fall, and while there’s a couple other heavy hitters contending in D4 – Holliston, Dennis-Yarmouth and Wahconah, for starters – these guys are my odds-on favorite. Look for them to put up a ton of rushing yards in head coach Chris Lindstrom Sr.’s double wing scheme.

7. Lowell
The Red Raiders made one of the biggest statements of the playoffs last fall in blanking St. John’s Prep 41-0 in the first round of the D1 North tournament. Syracuse commit Shyheim Cullen was exceptional at interior gap blitzes, baiting and confusing potential blockers to create chaos up the middle, and he’ll lead a talented defense that includes linebacker Nicolau Coury and defensive back Theo Bryant.

8. St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Boston College-bound free safety Davon Jones is one of several early candidates for Defensive Player of the Year after recording 125 tackles and eight picks a year ago. Offensive coordinator Chris Moriarty is as creative as they come, and how he utilizes Jones and athlete Shane Combs in the offense will be one of the more interesting storylines of the season’s earlygoings.

9. Brockton
We’re still in wait-and-see mode after another season of unrealized expectations in Brockton, but it’s hard to deny the talent the Boxers have coming back. Keep an eye on Boston College-bound lineman Aaron Monteiro, who has some raw potential and a powerful frame at 6-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds.

10. Dennis-Yarmouth
Division 1 recruit Michael Dunn lined up at nearly every offensive position last year for the Dolphins in their run to the D4 state final, and he may very well do it again. Defensively, this kid is a treat, regarded as one of the state’s premier shutdown corners. As usual, Paul Funk’s frenetic read option scheme will be a tall task to keep up with.

Others to Watch: Attleboro, Barnstable, BC High, Doherty, Holliston, Marblehead, Oliver Ames, Plymouth North, Pope John Paul II, St. John’s Prep, St. Peter-Marian, Tewksbury, Wahconah, Walpole

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

1. Spread offense has been the growing trend in Massachusetts over the last decade, and we’re now seeing its influence at all levels of the game. But at the other end of the spectrum, we’re seeing more and more teams dip into playbooks from decades and decades ago for some wild success in the running game. We’ve romanticized Nauset’s Single Wing offense for years. At Holy Name, Mike Pucko dug into Dutch Meyer’s World War II-era playbook and installed a fullback-less “Triple Wing” offense for the Naps’ Thanksgiving contest with Milford, a game they won 35-14. Last year’s D5 West Final featured a Pistol Flex Bone (Hoosac Valley) versus a Wishbone (Easthampton). Tewksbury, last year’s D3 state champ, calls running plays out of an encyclopedia of formations from every family of offense. Factor in all of the traditional Double Wing success stories like Shepherd Hill, Holy Name and Somerset-Berkley, too. Running offense continues to diversify in this corner of the country, and if you’re an X’s and O’s junkie like me, you are having a blast watching it.

2. LSU took some negative backlash last fall when they received a verbal commitment from a freshman early in his season after an apparently intense summer of recruitment from a number of SEC schools, but this doesn’t appear to be a trend going away any time soon. Early offers are still fairly uncommon for football prospects in this part of the country, though it’s worth noting St. Sebastian’s incoming sophomore Blake Gallagher received an offer from Nebraska last month. Beyond the concerns about pressure and bloated expectations, the biggest question I have is this: What if the recruit stops growing, or has just peaked earlier than his peers? I’m interested to see if Maryland head coach Randy Edsall’s proposals for recruiting reform gain any traction. Among other things, his plan stipulates schools can’t make a written offer until a player’s senior year, and that the offer must come with permission from the school’s admissions department.

3. I’m on record as saying I hope the true state championship format the MIAA rolled out last year is here to stay, but I’m also in favor of giving it some tweaks. First and foremost, get rid of the second automatic qualifier for leagues. Weak leagues were rewarded at the expense of teams like Medway and Pope John Paul II, teams who finished with winning records in qualification period but were pushed all the way out of the eight-team field in their respective divisions to satisfy undeserved automatic berths. Leagues should be restricted to one automatic qualifier, or two if it is a two-tier league. I also question whether a seven-game regular season is enough of a window to properly gauge a team’s strength. Expanding to an eight-game season and starting it on Labor Day Weekend could satisfy that, and could be a good gate opportunity for many schools as well.

***

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


FIVE PLAYERS ON THE RISE

Michael Balsalmo, Sr. RB/FS, Central Catholic
A standout on the Raiders’ Division 1 championship season a year ago, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder holds a couple of offers (Bryant, Wofford) entering the season. Here’s better there will be more to follow.

Christian Carr, Sr. RB, Plymouth North
For what Carr might lack in stature, he makes up for in elusiveness. A consistent 100-yard-per-game rusher in his junior season, he broke out with a 351-yard performance in the Eagles’ playoff win against Dighton-Rehoboth.

Jake Gibb, Jr. QB, Stoughton
In his first season under center, Gibb led the Knights to the Division 3 South final before falling to Plymouth South. Gibb will have them contending for the Davenport division title again.

Kyle Murphy, Jr. OL/DL, Attleboro
The two-way lineman was a driving force behind the Blue Bombardiers’ breakout season last year. It’s only a matter of time before the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder starts getting colleges’ attention.

James Sullivan, Sr. RB/S, Tewksbury
Sullivan announced himself to a statewide audience on the biggest stage last year, racking up 125 yards and three touchdowns in the Redmen’s win over Plymouth South in the Division 3 state title game. With graduations, Sullivan will take on an even bigger role this year.

FIVE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Braintree
The Bay State Carey should again be one of the more interesting races to watch across the state this year, and the Wamps might be primed to take a big step forward after last year’s 4-7 mark. One to watch is inside linebacker Derek Anson, who’s only added to his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame.

Doherty
The Highlanders were historically good in 2013, capturing their first state title while beating Dennis-Yarmouth for the Division 4 championship. Although several key contributors have graduated, they can still make a run

Natick
It might not be the aerial display we’ve seen in recent years with Troy Flutie at quarterback, but the Redhawks will be one worth watching as Brian Dunlap returns from a season missed due to injury (Lisfranc fracture) last year.

Quincy
After a 7-4 campaign last season, are the Presidents ready to challenge for the Patriot Keenan title? With promising running back Jhave Handsom-Fields (8 TD as a sophomore) and quarterback James Lam returning, the time could be now.

Somerset-Berkley
The Raiders return a big class of juniors, including feature back Chip Wood back in the fold and Jacob Cabana rushing off the edge. Another EAC title could be in the cards.

Barboza's Preseason Top 10:

1. Xaverian
The Hawks will have some questions to answer on offense, but deserve the top spot on defense alone, with Defensive Player of the Year Joe Gaziano returning along with the state’s best secondary group.

2. Central Catholic
The Raiders peaked at precisely the right time last year, capturing the first true statewide Division 1 title. Some of their biggest playmakers have graduated, but Michael Balsamo’s primed for a breakout year.

3. Everett
The Crimson Tide are undoubtedly still smarting over last year’s home playoff loss to Central Catholic. We all know what that means.

4. Bridgewater-Raynham
Here’s betting tight end/defensive end Connor Reagan is one of next year’s breakout performers.

5. St. John’s (S)
You never know what you’re getting from the Pioneers’ offense game to game, and it’ll be intriguing to see how the group develops this season. But you have to like any group with athletes of ilk of Shane Combs and Davon Jones.

6. Lowell
I’ll take my chances with the linebacking corps the Red Raiders have returning, anchored by Shyheim Cullen and Nicolau Coury.

7. Brockton
The Boxers will not be pushed around inside the tackle box, with perhaps the biggest returning offensive line in the state, including Aaron Monteiro (6-6, 300) and Uzziah Hilliard (6-0, 280)

8. Mansfield
Mike Redding will come up with creative schemes to avoid Brendan Hill being double-teamed on both sides of the ball. Connor Finerty will also look to expand on a promising sophomore season.

9. Dennis-Yarmouth
The Dolphins fell just shy of the Div. 4 state title in a riveting matchup with Doherty. They might not be denied this year.

10. Tewksbury
The Redmen might not match the size and physicality of last year’s state championship squad, but having James Sullivan in the backfield is still enough to win.

Others to watch: Arlington, Attleboro, Billerica, BC High, Holliston, Leominster, Oliver Ames, Shepherd Hill, Stoughton, Wahconah, Walpole.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

1. The football playoff system is here to stay – well, at the very least for two more years. While there are still pockets of dissent, the sentiment across the state is that the first year determining true state champions across six divisions was a success. It even drew over some who’d been opposed to the playoff proposal originally and voted against the measure. The build up and drama of the first seven weeks leading up the start of the tournament brought a different dimension of intrigue to the season. Still, detractors remain and, as Brendan ruminated earlier in this feature, there’s still room for improvement regarding the means of automatic qualifiers and the discrepancies that exist between the respective athletic conferences’ rubrics – including, most importantly, the weight of league games. But with one year in the books, I declare the system to be a success. Now, let’s start tweaking the framework.

2. Which brings me to my next point: get rid of Thanksgiving. This is going to be a highly unpopular opinion in some neck of the woods, but it’s simply a reality of what’s put in front of us. At the end of last season, I talked to many athletic directors who complained about a diminished gate return from their Thanksgiving Day games. That’s a natural feedback of the playoff system – which in some place requires teams to “double up” with their Thankgiving rivals. In change, that has deemphasized the pomp and circumstance surrounding Turkey Day. As a result, that left some Thanksgiving Day matchups to resemble more of an exhibition game in tone – althought don’t tell that to St. John’s Prep and Xaverian, or Foxborough and Mansfield. The result is a hodgepodge of situations that follow teams into what used to be the biggest day of the regular-season football calendar: ie a non-playoff team vs. a team that’s bound for a championship game, or two teams who are playing out the string on a season that’s already ended. I counter those scenario’s are really no different than what existed in the year B.P. (Before Playoffs), but the current arrangement has only emphasized was already apparent – Thanksgiving is an exhibition. Minus the Catholic Conference or Merrimack Valley Conference duels which resulted in playoff berths in previous years, Thanksgiving largely was such. Only now have the detractors used the playoff system to highlight the faults in Thanksgiving Day that already existed. What Thanksgiving Day has always been about is the rivalry. I ventured to North Attleborough last year when the Red Rocketeers (already eliminated from the playoffs) hosted Attleboro (who were just eliminated the previous week in the sectional final). The scene was what you’d become accustomed to – with an overflow crowd at Community Field. They were all there to watch an exhibition game. Why not make that game mean something more again? Why not play the game before the first frost?

D1 South: North Quincy 64, Quincy 56

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
11:35
PM ET
QUINCY, Mass. -– All season long, Solomon Umoren has been a defensive stalwart for the North Quincy stalwart. So naturally, he turned in perhaps the biggest offensive play of the season as the top-seeded Red Raiders downed crosstown rival Quincy, 65-54, in a Division 1 South Sectional quarterfinal match-up.

As the clock fell under three minutes to play, Quincy was surging and had cut North’s lead to just five points. The Presidents were on the verge of forcing a turnover as the shot clock neared zero. Point guard Kyle Richardson hit Umoren with a pass on the wing. The junior forward caught the pass and sent the pass toward the hoop as he was falling out of bounds.

“I just threw it up. It’s been a while since I hit a 3, I usually just attack,” said Umoren. “I didn’t know it was going in.”

The shot couldn’t have been more true, and it snapped through the twine to push North Quincy’s lead up to eight. From there, the Red Raiders just needed to hit free throws down the stretch to advance to a semifinal rematch with Newton North.

“We’ve got a hand in his face, the shot clock was on one, that was just a heck of a shot,” said Quincy coach Dave Parry. “From that time on, we really had a hard time. To me, that was the play of the game.”

Added NQ senior Efthim Butka: “That shot was incredible. It was better than any shot I’ve hit in my life. He was fading away, shot clock winding down, falling into coach’s arms, and then, nothing but net. It’s like there was a boulder on our back and Solo was just like ‘I’m Superman’ and took it away."

Super sidekicks: Umoren, who scored all seven of his points in the fourth, might have hit the biggest shot on the night, but throughout the contest Butka and Anthony Green shouldered much of the offensive load for the Red Raiders.

Butka was held scoreless in the first quarter but heated up in the second, notching seven points. He caught fire in the third, pouring in another 11 on his way to a game-high 23, including five 3-pointers, in the win.

“He’s tough to keep down,” said Barrett. “You can contain him for a little while but he’s an inside-out guy so he’s going to find ways to score. He’s going to manufacture points. The ones he missed early on, he didn’t miss by much. I told him to keep shooting the basketball and they started dropping.”

Butka was especially happy with both the win and his performance after Quincy handed North it’s first and only loss of the season just a couple weeks ago.

“We were just unbelievably motivated. They took the undefeated season away from us,” said Butka. “That was stuck in my head. I played really bad in that game, and it wasn’t just shooting, it was all aspects of the game. I made it my mission to come out defensively and play as hard as I could. The offense just came as the game went on.”

Green was impressive on both ends of the floor for NQ, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He flashed solid athleticism throughout the contest, best showcased in the waning seconds of the first quarter. He caught a pass beyond the free throw line, used a couple dribbles and a spin move and exploded by his defender, finishing with a thunderous two-handed slam that ignited the already boisterous NQ crowd.

“It happened a couple of times tonight, where he alleviated some pressure by putting the ball on the deck two, three, four times,” said Barrett. “He’s capable of doing that. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter tonight, but he’s been a consistent elbow jump shooter for us all year.

"He’s a skilled kid. People are fooling themselves if they think he’s just a back to the basket player. He can pass the ball, he reads the double team really well, he throws out of it really well. He’s the full package.”

Both players benefitted from the sound play of Richardson throughout the game. He finished with nine points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals in the win.

Callahan for President: On the other side, Quincy was led by Christian Callahan, a Swiss Army Knife kind of player with an impressive approval rating. He came off the bench to give the Presidents a 20 point, 12 rebound, maximum-effort kind of performance.

“Just an incredible, incredible athletic specimen,” said Parry. “He does thing a lot of guys don’t. I like the energy coming off the bench, and he can play all five positions. Whether it’s the point, forward, the off guard position, he can come in for anybody and play anywhere.”

Bouncing all over the floor, he certainly caused fits for North Quincy’s defense. His ability to get to the hoop and finish, coupled with his ability to generate second chances (he had nine offensive rebounds) allowed Quincy to keep pace all night.

“We talked about it during several timeouts and certainly at halftime,” Barrett said. “He’s just an aggressive, tenacious kid when the ball goes up. We weren’t doing a great job of locating him and boxing him out, but he makes it hard.”

Video: Quincy's Beach beats the buzzer

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
12:51
AM ET
Quincy High downed Patriot League rival Duxbury on Tuesday night, 70-52, thanks to a stellar second half effort. Perhaps the Presidents' surge was kick-started late in the first by this prayer of a buzzer-beater.

Watch as junior guard Tyler Beach heaves up this 60-footer from the volleyball line and sinks it, nothing but net, to give Quincy a 26-25 lead going into the break. Roger Homan has the call as well.

(Video courtesy Dennis Knudsen of VarsityHD)

Recap: No. 22 North Quincy 72, Quincy 64

December, 24, 2013
12/24/13
12:13
AM ET
QUINCY, Mass. -- Every day over this past summer, North Quincy forward Efthim Butka rose early from his bed with this basketball season on his mind. Originally, the plan was to put on some size and some strength to benefit his low-post game.

As the summer wore on, the plan evolved into something more -- and his offseason workouts resulted in his game not being played just inside the paint anymore, but out well beyond the 3-point line.

“It’s very new,” Butka said. “I’ve been working on it all off-season. I saw how effective it was with Dan (Gould) last year.It really showed me that if you have an overall game you can be a bigger threat and that’s what I wanted to be.”

On Friday night, as the No. 22 Red Raiders downed cross-town rival Quincy, 72-64, Butka showed the Presidents what his overall game was capable of as he poured in a game-high 27 points to go with 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.

Butka’s 3-point shooting -- he hit six times from behind the arc -- ensured the Presidents (2-1) wouldn’t complete an impressive second half comeback.

“A lot of people didn’t expect to see this, but he worked so hard in the offseason to extend his range and develop his game,” said North Quincy coach Kevin Barrett. “That’s a new piece now that he has as a weapon. It’s going to be pretty hard to defend going forward, I would say.”

“None of our scouting reports had Butka throwing up three,” said Quincy coach Dave Parry. “We concentrated on his down low stuff, because he’s very good down low. When he pops up and he’s got James (Lam) in his face, I can’t ask for any more than that.”

Friday may have served as a coming out party for Butka’s newly minted skill set, but it’s one that didn’t happen by chance, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight.

“Every day, I was shooting for about three hours straight -- threes, twos, just everything,” said Butka. “I really worked on my shot off the dribble because I can’t just be a catch and shoot shooter, people would just lock me down. The three came along with, I don’t know, maybe a 1,000 shots a day.”

For North Quincy, that improved range meant stymying an improbable comeback attempt. Just before halftime, the Red Raiders opened up what appeared to be an insurmountable 16-point lead.

After the Presidents outscored them, 22-7, in the third quarter, NQ headed for the fourth clinging to a one-point lead.

On the opening possession, Butka took a pass about five behind the arc, straight on, and let loose another arcing shot toward the hoop. His fourth 3-point of the contest snapped through the twine.

“At a certain point, it just feels like you’re throwing the ball into an ocean,” Butka said. “It just felt automatic, I didn’t hesitate for a second.”

That was just as true two other times in the fourth when Quincy slipped into the lead, briefly. His final two 3’s of the game both erased deficits for North Quincy, ensuring they’d remain unbeaten.

Teammate Matt Gerakis, who added 15 points, also connected on a lead-changing fourth quarter 3-pointer.

North Quincy also got 13 points and eight rebounds from 6-foot-9 center Anthony Green, as well as 11 points and seven assists from speedy point guard Kyle Richardson.


PRESIDENTS' RACE FOR VICTORY FOILED

The Presidents knew they’d dug themselves quite a hole headed into halftime, and set to use the third quarter to work back into contention.

“I’m proud of the way the kids came back,” said Parry. “I asked them to cut the lead to eight. I just thought if we went into the fourth down only eight, we’d have a chance to win. They did better and got it down to one.”

Shifting out of a trap-based zone full court press into a man-to-man coverage one wreaked havoc on the Red Raiders offense in the third, forcing a bevy of turnovers and less than desirable shots.

“We tried to contain Kyle a little bit, we switched up our press a little bit and tried to take the ball away from and make somebody else make some plays,” said Parry. “For the most part, it worked. The man to man gave them less open looks. They worked harder for everything they got in the second half.”

Lam was perhaps the biggest key to the second half surge, acting as the President’s do everything Swiss Army knife. He poured in 13 points to go with eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks.

“James was the quarterback of our football team, and he sees everything out there,” said Parry. “He sees the whole court and just always knows where to be.”

J.T. Bain notched a team-high 18 points and Brendan Cunningham chipped in with 10 in the loss.

MIAA Boys Hoop Countdown: Nos. 25-21

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
3:41
PM ET
To kick off the start of the MIAA basketball season, ESPNBoston.com will spend the next five days counting down the teams in our Preseason MIAA Top 25 Poll, starting with Nos. 25 through 21 today and concluding with the state’s top five teams on Friday.

Today’s previews include Hockomock members Taunton and Sharon, a Bishop Feehan squad who is moving up to Division 2 with a solid core coming back, and Central Mass. foes South and Wachusett, along with our “Last 10 out”.

For a refresher on how the final 2012-13 poll ended up, CLICK HERE.

Be sure to check back each day this week for the latest in the boys basketball top 25 countdown.

Last 10 out: Braintree (13-10), Doherty (14-7), East Boston (11-7), Fitchburg (13-9), Franklin (16-8), Lynn Classical (15-9), Milton (15-9), North Quincy (18-6), Quincy (14-7), Watertown (13-8)

25. WACHUSETT
Coach: Tom Gibbons
2012-13 results: 19-5, reached Division 1 Central Semifinals
Key players: Tyler Dion, Justin Bowker, Kevin Durkin, Brian Quinn
Analysis: The Mountaineers lost a lot of leadership off of last year’s team, including graduated seniors Zack Berman, Jesse Maresca, Trevor MacNeil, Zach Knapp, and Alex Cooper, but Coach Tom Gibbons returns what may be the biggest frontcourt in Central Mass. in juniors Kevin Durkin and Justin Bowker. At 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-5, respectively, the Mountaineers’ twin towers will man the post, while sophomore point guard Tyler Dion, who picked up plenty of big-game experience last year, will be expected to fill Berman’s shoes at point guard.

24. BISHOP FEEHAN
Coach: Matt Freeman
2012-13 results: 18-4, Division 3 South quarterfinals
Key players: Mike Nelson, Frank Oftring, Austin Burlone
Analysis: Feehan has to be one of the favorites in Division 2 following their run in last year’s playoffs. The Shamrocks return senior Austin Burlone, junior Frank Oftring, and sophomore star Mike Nelson in hopes of building off an 18-win season last year. With games in the opening few weeks against Archbishop Williams, Westford Academy, and Martha’s Vineyard, we’ll find out soon enough just how far this Feehan squad can be expected to go this year.

23. WORCESTER SOUTH
Coach: Pat Williams
2012-13 results: 14-7, lost in Division 1 Central First Round
Key players: Kasheen Cunningham, Nate Mensah, Khalil Bryan-Robinson, Aaron Maday
Analysis: The Colonels will be living life without last year’s star Rod Milton, but the cupboard is far from bare for South coach Pat Williams. South returns three of their top four scorers from last year, including point guard Kasheen Cunningham, combo guard Nate Mensah, and forwards Khalil Bryan-Robinson and Aaron Maday. As has been the case for the last three years, the top dog in the Inter-High will likely come down to South or Doherty, a fierce rivalry that has been a must-see matchup every time the two meet.

22. SHARON
Coach: Bruce Jackman
2012-13 results: 15-8, Division 2 South semifinals
Key players: Brian Mukasa, Jimmy Firtzson, Erik Kushner, Ade Bright
Analysis: There aren't many backcourts in the area that are going to be stronger than the pair of seniors Brian Mukasa and Jimmy Fritzson. Both finished in the top 10 in scoring in the Hockomock last year and both have the chance to eclipse the 1,000-point mark this season. The biggest question will be down low, were the Eagles graduated Kevin Bartas and Ian Beach, but they will rely heavily on Erik Kushner and players from last year's JV squad, who only had one loss last season.

21. TAUNTON
Coach: Charlie Dacey
2012-13 results: 16-7, reached Division 1 South semifinals
Key players: Gerald Cortijo, Shaq Davis, Corey Green.
Analysis: Taunton had a strong first campaign in the Hockomock League last season, and will look to try and upset Mansfield as the top team in the Kelley-Rex this year. Shaq Davis, who has been making plays for Taunton for some time now, will be back with another year of experience under his belt as. Sharpshooter Gerald Cortijo and Corey Green, who is just a junior, will also be big playmakers for the Tigers.

Newton North makes jump in girls' soccer poll

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
12:00
PM ET
Central Catholic continues its run at the top of our statewide MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll after extending its perfect run to 12-0. The Raiders have allowed a preposterous one goal in 12 games this season, and that was way back on Sept. 9.

There was a lot of shake-up in the rankings this week after several big games between ranked teams on Saturday.

In one marquee match, Newton North shockingly beat up on Beverly and jumps into the No. 2 spot because of it. The 5-0 win was enough to allow the Tigers to move ahead of a Belchertown team that's similarly dominant out west. Nashoba also added a big victory over Lincoln-Sudbury, and the Chieftains, a perennial power in D1, move up into the Top 5.

Also jumping up into the Top 5 is Duxbury, which swept the season series with Whitman-Hanson and clinched its first Patriot League title since 2007. The Dragons beat Scituate, Whitman-Hanson, and Quincy in the past week and all without injured striker Emily Weimer, who has nearly 20 goals on the season.

Two teams dropped out of the rankings this week: Medfield and Needham. Both will be considered teams that no one wants to play in the tournament, but both have struggled to get victories in the last week.

Jumping into the Top 20 are Medway, which is near the top of the TVL, and Algonquin, which tied Nashoba on Tuesday.

The parity in the girls' game is impressive as a number of teams could be considered Top 20-caliber (i.e., Canton or North Attleborough from the Hockomock or Wilmington and Winchester of the Middlesex) and this should lead to a lot of excitement and more than a few upsets come tourney time.

For this week's complete Top 20 poll, click HERE.
The Patriot League recently announced its softball All-Star teams.

Here's a look at the list, as provided by Silver Lake athletic director Martha Jamieson:

Editor's note: League all-star lists may be sent to editors Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com) or Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com).

Keenan Division:
Abby Alexiades, Jr. 3B, Silver Lake
Angelina Avitabile, Soph. C, Quincy
Alex Barone, Sr. C, Silver Lake
Maddie Barone, Frosh. P, Silver Lake
Saxon Bresnahan, Soph. P, Quincy
Emily Colton, Jr. SS, Silver Lake
Brianna Connolly, Sr. OF, Duxbury
Christina Curley, Sr. SS, Duxbury
Caitlin Hughes, Soph. C, Whitman-Hanson
Alyssa Kates, Sr. 3B, Duxbury
Micaela Lannon, Jr. P, Duxbury
Heather McIntosh, Frosh., Hingham
Caroline McSherry, Sr. C, Duxbury
Jess Smith, Jr. 3B, Silver Lake
Devon Varmahmoodi, Sr. CF, Quincy
Maxine Vincent, Frosh. 3B, Whitman-Hanson

Fisher Division:

Katie Albanese, Jr. LF, Scituate
Sophia Czarowicz, Sr. P/OF/Inf., Hanover
Kelsey Hardiman, Sr. LF, Middleborough
Hannah Johnson, Soph. 2B, Middleborough
Liz Kelly, Sr. SS, North Quincy
Jackie Kielty, Sr. P, Middleborough
Callie MacDonald, Frosh., Hanover
Molly MacNeill, Sr. SS, Hanover
Malinda McCartney, Frosh. 3B, Pembroke
Michelle Muriph, Sr. SS, Pembroke
Traci Perry, Sr. CF, Middleborough
Natasha Saulter, Jr. P, North Quincy
Katherine Skordinski, Sr. 3B, Hanover
Sydney Stoddart, Jr. C, Pembroke
Janet Taylor, Sr. C, Hanover

Bay State Games: July 10 recap

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
8:57
PM ET
Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's baseball action:



WALTHAM, Mass. -– The second day of the 2012 Bay State Games baseball tournament saw a pitcher’s duel and two convincing wins as the Northeast and West teams picked up their second wins of the tournament. Those two teams will try to stay undefeated tomorrow when they play in the first game of Day 3 at 9:00 pm at Bentley University.


Coastal 2, Central 0
The Coastal Region out-dueled Central and scored the only two runs in the game in the fourth inning to improve to 1-1 in the 2012 tournament. A sacrifice fly from shortstop James Marcello (Duxbury) and an RBI single from right fielder Joshua Cabucio (East Freetown) brought across Cody Younger (Middleboro) and Matthew Peterson (South Dennis). Coastal had loaded the bases on walks to Younger and Peterson and a hit batsman.

Mike Bruemmel (Bridgewater) was outstanding on the mound for Coastal, pitching three innings and scattering just two hits while striking out three.

Central had their best threat in the sixth inning, loading the bases on singles by Owen Shea (Northborough) and Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn) but Bruemmel, who struck out four, shut the door. Central was held to just three hits in the game.

Central starter Jack Riley (West Boylston) went the first two innings and struck out two, allowing just one hit.

West 11, Metro 1
West got on the board early and often and scored six unearned runs in their second win of the tournament. The damage started in the first on a bloop RBI single from catcher Phillip Jasak (Palmer). Andrew Noonan (Springfield) followed with a single through the left side to plate another run, and Mackenzie Hale (Florence) drew a bases loaded walk to give the West a 3-0 lead.

West tacked on another run in the third inning, two more in the fourth and five unearned runs in the fifth, capped by a two-run double by Kenny Potts (Southwick). Metro escaped further damage when center fielder Mark Fusco (Medford) made a spectacular diving catch to end the top of the third inning with West stranding two base-runners.

West got great production out of their four-spot as Evan Delaney (Hadley) walked, singled and hit an RBI double and scored three times. He crossed the plate after his run-producing hit on Jasak’s second RBI single of the day before giving way to Potts.

West second baseman Mike Paleologopoulos (South Hadley) was 3-5 in the game, scoring twice and driving in a run.

Metro grabbed their lone run in the fifth when Tom McDonald (Quincy) doubled to lead off the inning and crossed the plate on after singles by Nathan Spielvogel (Brookline) and Seth Coiley (Arlington).

John Lavoie (Medford) pitched a perfect final two innings of relief for Metro, striking out four.

Northeast 9, Southeast 3
Northeast broke open a tight game with five runs on five hits in the top of the seventh inning to squash a Southeast comeback attempt. The Southeast, down 4-1, had scored twice in the bottom of the sixth.

Rory McHarg (Wayland) smacked a two-run single in the seventh and Jordan Roper (Lynnfield), Colby Ingraham (Georgetown) and Nicholas Comei (Bradford) also drove in runs for Northeast.

The top of the order for the Northeast was on base four times. Leadoff starter Cam Farnham (Andover) singled in the first and fourth, the second time driving in two runs before bein replaced by Ingraham.

Dan Connors was 2-2 with two RBI singles for the Northeast, who got five innings of one-run ball from starter Ryan McAuliffe (North Reading).

Southeast tied the game at one run apiece in the second inning when Gino Larossa (Braintree) doubled and scored on a single by center fielder Jake Fishman (Sharon). They pulled within a run in the sixth when substitute catcher Connor Goetz (Cohasset) delivered a two run single to center, scoring Sean Roche (Rockland) and Mark Saulnier (Norwood).

Northeast leadoff man Cam Farnham (Andover) opened the game with a single and stole second before scoring on a two-out single by second baseman Dan Connors (Danvers).

Southeast could have grabbed a run in the fifth as well on a single by Steven Gilbert (Franklin), but a tremendous play and a great lead by Northeast catcher Jose Cedrano (Lawrence) gunned out Brandon Eccher (Franklin) who was trying to score from second base.


D1 softball: North 2, New Bedford 1 (10 inn.)

June, 3, 2012
6/03/12
5:42
PM ET
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. –- Look in a sports encyclopedia under the category “rubber arm” and you’ll see a photo of North Attleborough pitcher Megan Colleran.

Colleran, a sophomore right-hander, was at her best Sunday as the sixth-seeded Red Rocketeers outlasted 1th-seeded New Bedford, 2-1 in 10 innings, in an MIAA Division 1-South Sectional first-round softball game.

Besides going the distance, Colleran allowed only three hits plus one walk and struck out 10. And when her final pitch total was added up it computed to 133.

Moreover Colleran got stronger as the game progressed.

After New Bedford’s Alexis DeBrosse belted a lead-off homer in the fourth, Colleran retired 21 of the next 23 Whalers she faced.

North Attleboro (17-4) rewarded her efforts when catcher Megan Wynn singled home the winning run in the last of the 10th.

TIRELESS WORKER
“[Colleran] is a funny kid,” North Attleborough coach Bill Wallace said. “She throws on off days to keep that strength.

“I was going to give her a break the last week of the season because we had back-to-back games. She was like ‘No, coach. I want to pitch back-to-back.’ And she was better in the second game than the first game.”

In retrospect, the game Colleran pitched Sunday paled in comparison with the one she pitched last year.

“She threw an 18-inning game and struck out 30 when we beat Quincy last year,” Wallace said. “I would say probably 22 strikeouts came after the seventh inning. She’s such a competitor. She’s a big, strong kid but she’s also a very cerebral kid. She eats right. She works out. She loves this and wants to do this in college. She has good parents who keep her in check.

“She’s only a sophomore so, hopefully, we’ll get two more years of this.”

What made Colleran’s performance even more impressive was the fact New Bedford (15-7) came into the game with a team batting average just over .400 and a runs-per-game average of 6.9.

“That’s a great hitting team,” Wallace said. “Everything I heard about New Bedford was true.”

As has been the case other times this season, Colleran again will be pitching on zero rest when North Attleborough plays at third-seeded Sandwich on Monday afternoon in a quarterfinal round game.

“After a game like this, you’re ready to go out and play the next day,” Colleran said. “We’re going to be ready and do our best Monday.”
North Attleborough tied the game in its half of the fourth against New Bedford ace Brittany Carvalho (who had thrown two no-hitters this season).

After Colleran reached on a fielder’s choice, Wynn singled her to second and she advanced to third on a grounder by Jackie Delbonis. Colleran then raced home when Carvalho uncorked a wild pitch.

Wynn finished the game going 3-for-5 which included reaching on an error.

“She had an amazing game,” Colleran said of her battery mate. “Meg did really, really well all around today.”

WYNN ENDS MARATHON
Just when it appeared the game might last until sunset, Lauren Johnson grounded a leadoff single to right and Mikaela Caracciolo walked.

Wallace then gave the bunt sign and Colleran dropped one down between the first base line and the mound. When nobody on New Bedford covered first base, Colleran wound up with a hit.

Wynn then lined the first pitch to left for the game-winning hit.

“I was really surprised,” Colleran said of New Bedford’s snafu. “I figured there would be somebody there because generally with two runners on base and nobody out you put the bunt down.

“I was really excited.”

Wallace, for his part, was both excited and extremely satisfied about his team’s second victory in the tournament.

“We’ve been in the tournament five years in a row and it’s not that we haven’t gotten respect because you don’t deserve it until you make big leaps,” he said. “But it’s like every year we’d win a round in the tournament and then we’d lose in the next round.

“Now, we’re going to the quarterfinals. I think people are starting to say ‘Wow, this team is pretty good.’ Going into the season I think everyone thought New Bedford was the darling because it had the big tournament run last year. This is good for our program. It’s good for the kids and the parents.”

Boys' lacrosse FAB 50 update

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
12:15
PM ET
All three MIAA boys' lacrosse teams included on the ESPNHS national FAB 50 poll held serve this week.

ESPN Boston Top 25 No. 1 squad Duxbury remains at No. 4, after taking an opening-day win over Quincy and await a visit from New York power, No. 18 Irondequoit, on Saturday.

Wellesley moved up a tick to No. 36 as the Raiders open up their season against Billerica on Thursday while Needham moved into the Top 40 at No. 39. The Rockets open their season against Hingham on Saturday.

Updated girls hoop Top 25 poll

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
10:39
PM ET
We've updated the MIAA Girls Basketball Top 25 poll, and much like the boys' poll, there are some sweeping changes on the back end.

Five new teams enter the poll this week, starting with Lynn English at 21 and followed by Westford (22), Braintree (23), Newton North (24) and Quincy (25).

Andover and Central Catholic maintain the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. But with Amherst losing to East Longmeadow and sliding 11 spots to 14, that makes room for bumps up in Reading (3), Acton-Boxborough (4) and Arlington Catholic (5).

As always, let us know how we're doing in the comments section below, or by emailing Brendan Hall at bhall@espnboston.com

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