Boston High School: Quinton Perkins

Recap: Charlestown 55, No. 25 Fitchburg 52

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
10:25
PM ET




FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Unsatisfied with the way his team was playing man-to-man defense, Charlestown head coach Edson Cardoso did something very un-Charlestown-like. At 2 p.m. yesterday during practice, he installed a Syracuse-style 2-3 zone.

And with a much anticipated rematch with archrival East Boston on tap for Tuesday, the switch -- coupled with the return of two key players -- might be just what the skidding Townies needed to snap out of their funk. After trailing by a slim margin through three quarters, the Townies broke through in the fourth, and held on for a crucial 55-52 win over Fitchburg, this afternoon at the Doug Grutchfield Field House.

"I said, you know what, I've never played zone before in my life, but tomorrow against Fitchburg we're going to try it," Cardoso said of yesterday's practice. "We just feel like the 2-3 zone makes us a better rebounding team, we weren't getting too many offensive boards, and tonight I think might be the first time we've outrebounded a team."

Said junior swingman Tyrese Hoxter (23 points) of the switch, "We're real long, so we knew it work to help us get out in transition."

Hoxter catapulted the Townies (9-3) in the fourth quarter with some impressive play around the rim. The 6-foot-3 slasher didn't miss in the final frame, going 5-for-5 from the field and hitting both of his free throw attempts -- both converting three-point plays -- to total 12 points and give Charlestown enough cushion to hold off an inspired Fitchburg rally in the final minute.

First, Hoxter took a deep outlet pass from Omar Orriols (20 points) for an easy layup and 48-42 advantage with under two minutes to go. Fitchburg's Mick Snowden (12 points) returned the favor on the ensuing Red Raiders (9-4) trip down the floor, hitting a three from the left wing. But Hoxter answered again, picking the pocket of Quinton Perkins (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and slipping in a soft breakaway layup.

The next trip down, Hoxter threw a dagger. Gathering himself behind the right elbow, he took his defender to his right, took off from the right block, and delivered a reverse windmill layup through two bodies, picking up a foul in the process. He hit the free throw to make it 53-46 with 50 seconds to go.

"The dude [his man] kind of ran with his hands down at me," Hoxter explained. "So I kind of just went after him. As I was getting into the lane, the guy that was sticking Tyrik (Jackson) had his back to me. So I knew he was going to see me, and once he saw me I went up on the left side."

Hoxter got one more basket, a cherry-pick off an intercepted entry pass by Taris Wilson, before Chuck Doss (10 points) cut the lead to 55-52 with 4.9 seconds left on a three. The Townies threw the ball away from contact on the inbounds to ice the win.

Abi Akanni also chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds for the Red Raiders, who have now dropped two straight.

Stars return: It was a first return to action for two of the Townies' stars, Orriols and Rony Fernandez, in several weeks. Orriols was suspended from the team for two weeks, while Fernandez had missed the previous month for personal reasons.

Fernandez finished with eight points and a few assists, but Orriols' play was especially encouraging. He was 3-for-4 from three-point range in the third quarter, and in the fourth quarter he came down with several long rebounds and steals that opened up transition play, where the Townies excel the best.

"Now you get to see how we play Charlestown basketball," Cardoso said. "The young guys did a great job stepping up, but our veteran guys are gonna take us where we need to go. Our younger guys are gonna step up when they have to, but it just feels better having Rony at the point to get us under control."

Said Hoxter, "It opens up the court for me. Two shooters, I can pass to my left or to my right, or if it's open I can just attack the hole."

Playing through pain: Cardoso applauded the efforts of Hoxter, who is playing through a sprained right wrist and was estimated to be at roughly "70 percent" health.

"We hope he's 100 percent by the time we play East Boston," Cardoso said. "But he's giving us what he can. He gives us a problem on the matchup zone, because he's so long and athletic. He did a great job for us."

Building Momentum: One of the reasons we like Fitchburg's chances come playoff time is how their aggressive non-conference scheduling conditions them for the month of February. Headed into next week, the Red Raiders sit at 5-0 in the Mid-Wach A, with losses to Charlestown (today), LaSalle (R.I.) (Dec.29), BC High (Jan. 7) and a surging St. John's of Shrewsbury squad last Wednesday that has suddenly won eight of their last nine after starting the year 3-4.

Closing out games has been a problem at times this year for the Raiders -- they led 40-39 after three quarters, and 27-22 at the half. But head coach Paul DiGeronimo was encouraged by the effort in the loss, and how it will affect them going forward.

"We're only going to benefit from this game today," DiGeronimo said. "We've played better than we played on Wednesday. So, if we can play better in a loss, than we're headed in the right direction. We wanted to win, but I felt better coming out of this one than I felt on Wednesday against St. John's.

Mid-season Boys Hoop Superlatives

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
2:57
PM ET
With many teams across the state reaching the midway point of their schedule this week, here are my mid-season picks for our annual MIAA All-State, All-Defensive, and Coach of the Year awards.

THE SUPER TEAM
G – Aaron Calixte, Jr., Stoughton
G – Steve Haladyna, Sr., St. John’s Prep
G – Tyrese Hoxter, Jr., Charlestown
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
F – Isshiah Coleman, Jr., New Mission

BEST OF THE REST
Yadoris Arias, Sr. G, Lawrence
Tyler Delorey, Sr. G, Holy Name
Matt Droney, Sr. G/F, Catholic Memorial
Joey Glynn, Sr. F, Cardinal Spellman
Leroy Hamilton, Sr. F, New Mission
Jameilen Jones, Jr. G, BC High
Kevin LaFrancis, Sr. C, Acton-Boxborough
Alex Lopez, Sr. G, Springfield Commerce
Damian Lugay, Sr. G, Weymouth
George Merry, Sr. C, Danvers
Marcus Middleton, Jr. G, Stoughton
Matt Mobley, Sr. G/F, St. Peter-Marian
Brian Mukasa, Soph. G, Sharon
Tyler Nelson, Soph. G, Central Catholic
Quinton Perkins, Sr. G, Fitchburg
Luis Puello, Sr. G, Central Catholic
Colin Richey, Jr. G, Whitinsville Christian
Kamari Robinson, Jr. F, Springfield Central
Tyrell Springer, Sr. G, Springfield Central
Michael Thorpe, Sr. G, Newton North

ALL-DEFENSIVE
G – Luis Puello, Sr., Central Catholic
G – Anthony Hodges, Sr., Holy Name
F – Jake Layman, Sr., King Philip
F – Antonio Ferreira, Sr., Stoughton
C – George Merry, Sr., Danvers

COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Scott Boyle, Lowell
Hugh Coleman, Brighton
Paul Connolly, Newton North
Paul DiGeronimo, Fitchburg
John Gallivan, Stoughton
Paul Neal, Lawrence
Brendan Smith, Boston Latin
Malcolm Smith, East Boston
Mike Vaughan, Mansfield
John Walsh, Danvers

Recap: No. 9 BC High 61, No. 20 Fitchburg 52

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
10:28
PM ET




DORCHESTER, Mass. -- Standing toe to toe with No. 9 BC High basketball, No. 20 Fitchburg tied the game up at 49 with 3:35 to go.

However, in the dwindling minutes of the game, the Eagles were able to tag on another 12 points, sending the Red Raiders away with a long ride home and a 61-52 loss, despite Quinton Perkins' 14 points Saturday afternoon.

“I told the guys you’ve got to respond,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane, referring to the Red Raiders' late run.

With the score tied, 39-39 going into the fourth quarter, Loughnane's message was clear and direct: “We’ve got to win the next eight minutes.”

BC opened up the lead to six at 47-41 in the fourth, but by the 3:35 mark, Fitchburg had knotted the game up again at 49. A spate of field goals and free throws from Fitchburg’s Abi Akanni (20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, block) propelled the Red Raiders back into the hunt for an upset. But lack of offensive production from therein, coupled with BC’s Charles Collins (21 points, six steals) and Oderah Obukwelu (12) dropping buckets for the Eagles, stymied any chances of that happening.

13-1 Run – Both Coaches Worried?
The game began with BC High playing steal, rebound and shoot, amounting to an early 13-1 lead over Fitchburg. It’s clear why Fitchburg head coach Paul DiGeronimo was concerned about his team.

But with his team up 13-1, what could Loughnane have been thinking about?

“We were worried. We didn’t want them to get happy with themselves because we’ve seen Fitchburg, we know how good they are and we knew there were going to be a couple of runs coming at us.”

DiGeronimo hoped for the same thing, and got it.

“We came out like… they weren’t taught anything, like they weren’t prepared but they were well prepared for this.”

After a couple of timeouts, the Red Raiders closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run, allaying DiGeronimo’s fears some and making Loughnane’s prediction come true. All else aside, DiGeronimo was not disappointed in his team. With BC High a ranked team, DiGeronimo thinks that his guys may have been intimidated in the beginning of the game, accounting for BC High’s 13-1 opening run. “What started out as a bleak day turned into a tremendous effort to get us back into the game… Once they got over the shell shock, start talking on defense a lot more, stay aggressive, stay confident, nothing that they’re not told all of the time.”

Stamina
Although the Eagles nearly doubled up Wachusett (50-29) on Thursday, they also defeated St. John’s Prep 53-47 on Tuesday night. A busy week for the Eagles, and playing on a Saturday afternoon, attributed to their play late in the game according to Loughnane.

“That was our third game in five days against three quality opponents. They dug down and they took care of business... Our legs were a little spent but they did a nice job of digging down and getting it.”

MHSFCA unveils 'Super 26' All-State Team

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
1:38
PM ET
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches' Association unveiled its annual "Super 26" All-State Team today. Those honored will be presented this spring at Lantana's Restaurant, in Randolph.

Below are the selections. Italicized names indicate they were also a selection to ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett
Cam McLevedge, Weymouth
Matt Montalto, Dennis-Yarmouth

Receivers
Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Don Webber, Duxbury

Offensive Line
Brendan Melanson, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Dan McCourt, Pembroke
Jameson McShea, BC High
Andrew VanderWilden, Concord-Carlisle
Chad Woodfine, Chicopee

Running Back
Sacoy Malone, Springfield Central
Quinton Perkins, Fitchburg
Melquawn Pickney, Springfield Putnam

DEFENSE

Defensive Line/Linebacker
Henry Bumpus, Concord-Carlisle
Nick DiChiara, BB&N
Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Vondell Langston, Everett
Max Randall, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Mansfield
Nick Schlatz, Bridgewater-Raynham
Will Twyman, Lincoln-Sudbury
Camren Williams, Catholic Memorial

Secondary
Todd Collier, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jack Connolly, St. Sebastian’s
Joe Epps, Bourne
Charles Ruffin, King Philip

ESPN Boston MIAA football All-State team

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
7:40
PM ET
OFFENSE
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
Statistically the state’s best all-time quarterback, the ESPN Boston Mr. Football recipient finishes his storied career in Everett as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (103) and passing yards (7,052). This season he broke his own state single-season record for TD passes (44), and threw for over 2,800 yards. In the last two seasons alone, both perfect Super Bowl-winning campaigns, he threw for 87 touchdown passes to better the previous state all-time mark of 85. DiBiaso is undecided on college plans.

QB – Matt O’Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
In his first season as the full-time starter under center, the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was a finalist for ESPN Boston’s Mr. Football award. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder totaled nearly 3,000 yards from scrimmage, throwing for 2,321 yards, rushing for another 670, and totaling 39 scores. O’Keefe, a defender for the defending Division 1 state champion Dragons, is currently ranked as the No. 32 overall lacrosse player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

QB – Matt Montalto, Sr., Dennis-Yarmouth
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder led the Dolphins to their best season in school history, finishing a perfect 13-0 campaign by winning the Division 2A Super Bowl title – their first championship of any kind in the Super Bowl era. For the season he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,065 yards and 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also carried 134 times for 1,219 yards and 16 more scores. Montalto is fielding various college interest, including, New Hampshire, Albany, Colgate, Brown, Sacred Heart and Bentley.

QB – Michael Walsh, Sr., Swampscott
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was a force on both sides of the ball for the 9-2 Big Blue, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with 930 rushing yards and 13 more scores. Defensively, he totaled 47 tackles from the free safety position, forcing three fumbles and making two interceptions. Walsh will continue his career next fall at Brown as a safety.

RB – Melquawn Pinkney, Sr., Springfield Putnam
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mr. Football finalist ended his career with the Beavers in record-breaking fashion. With 341 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 48-6 win over Commerce for the Division 2 Super Bowl title, Pinkney broek Cedric Washington’s 15-year-old state all-time record for single-season yardage (2,889), and set the new state single-season mark for rushing touchdowns (43). Earlier in the season, Pinkney set a Western Mass single-game record with 421 rushing yards in a win over Agawam. For the season, he averaged 8.4 yards a carry. Pinkney is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
Both Malone and his cross-town foil Pinkney eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark on the season, as the Eagles returned to the Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl for the second straight year. On the season, Malone had 257 carries for 2,001 yards and 22 touchdowns; since the start of the 2010 season, he’s accumulated over 3,200 yards and 35 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Malone is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 FCS schools.

RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
Craan, the reigning Dual County League MVP, was the catalyst for the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl-winning season. He followed up a 1,900-yard junior season with just as explosive numbers in 2011, carrying 220 times for 1,761 yards and 24 touchdowns, as the Patriots went 13-0. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Craan is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Charles Ruffin, Sr., King Philip
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is the second Warrior in four seasons to capture Hockomock League Offensive Player of the Year honors. On the season he amassed over 1,300 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and led the Warriors to their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era. Ruffin, who also stars in lacrosse and track and field, is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 schools.

TE – Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
One of several All-Staters previously known most for their lacrosse exploits, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was a force to be reckoned with for the 9-4 Rockets. Utilized as both a receiver and tight end, Riley caught 72 balls for 1,266 yards and a school record 15 touchdowns. He is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest in lacrosse.

TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Temple commit didn’t put up eye-opening numbers in the passing game, but his support in the running game was without peer as he helped paved the way for both Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe. As a defensive end, he recorded 68 tackles (12 for loss) and was named the Catholic Conference’s Lineman of the Year.

WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
One of the state’s best deep-ball threats, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder tallied 936 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the 9-2 Wildcats this fall. Since the start of his junior season, Bailey-Smith has caught over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is also a state champion in track and field, having cleared 6-foot-10 in the high jump. Bailey-Smith is fielding interest from Division 1 schools.

WR – Gordon McLeod, Sr., BC High
One of the most versatile threats on the Eagles’ Division 1 Super Bowl champion squad, McLeod was one of the leading receivers in Eastern Mass., with 755 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as they captured their second title in four seasons.


WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
Considered one of the state’s best route-runners, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was the 13-0 Dragons’ most dangerous weapon in space. Webber led the team with 52 receptions for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns, as the Dragons won a second consecutive Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium and extended the state’s longest winning streak to 26 games. Webber is leaning towards the Ivy League for college plans.

WR – Malcolm Brown, Sr., Pope John XXIII
Statistically, the 6-foot-1 Brown graduates from the Everett campus as one of the state’s most decorated receivers of all-time. This fall he caught 71 passes to set school records of 1,306 yards and 20 touchdowns, both tops in the state. He also racked up 918 return yards and three touchdowns, ran for 328 yards, and threw for another 267. Defensively, he recorded 65 tackles (10 for loss) and three interceptions, including a pick-six. For his career, he has 192 receptions for 3,447 yards and 44 touchdowns, and 56 total scores. Brown currently has interest from schools in the Northeast-10 and MEAC conferences.

OL – Andrew VanderWilden, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
At 6-foot and 245 pounds, VanderWilden was arguably one of the most efficient pound-for-pound centers in the state. He led a Patriots rushing attack that racked up 53 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards the ground, part of one of the state’s highest scoring averages (35.4). VanderWilden, a two-time Dual County League Lineman of the Year, will continue his career at Brown next fall.

OL – Keith Sullivan, Sr., Oliver Ames
The 6-foot-9, 300-pounder was arguably the most crucial two-way player for the Tigers’ historic run, winning their first Hockomock title since 1964 and qualifying for their first championship game of the Super Bowl era. Sullivan is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest.


OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
DiBiaso’s blind side is quickly rising as one of New England’s top Class of 2013 prospects. The last two seasons the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has allowed DiBiaso to throw 87 touchdown passes and keep his jersey clean. Montelus received four offers before his 16th birthday this fall, and counts UConn, Syracuse, NC State, Virginia and Boston College.

OL – Gordon Acha, Sr., Duxbury
Acha, the Dragons’ left tackle, was named ESPN Boston’s inaugural Lineman of the Year this week after helping pave the way to a second straight 13-0 season. The Dragons averaged 302 yards of offense and had 36 touchdown passes. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Acha is currently fielding interest from Division 1 schools, including Boston College and Maryland.

OL – Rob Kosharek, Jr., Duxbury
Together with Acha, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kosharek created one of the state’s best tandems on the left side of the 13-0 Dragons’ line. Behind Kosharek at left guard, the Dragons won their second straight Division 2 Super Bowl title and rang their winning streak up to a state-best 26 games.


ATH – Geeavontie Griffith, Sr., Boston Cathedral
The 12-1 Panthers experienced one of the state’s most dramatic turnarounds under first-year head coach Duane Sigsbury, and leading the charges was Griffith. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Randolph native carried 152 times for 2,244 yards and 29 touchdowns, as the Panthers advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl. He is currently undecided on college plans.

ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Don’t let the Mr. Football finalist’s limited touches fool you. Reeves, a Penn State commit and the state’s No. 1 overall prospect, was electric practically every time he touched the ball. He ran for 1,001 yards on just 46 touches, caught another 205, and returned a punt for a touchdown to total 15 scores for the 7-2 Knights. That averages out to almost a touchdown every three touches.

K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian
Murphy has been known to regularly hit from 40 yards and further, and while he didn’t have many opportunities this season, he was a near-perfect 27-of-28 on extra points. Murphy is undecided on college plans.


DEFENSE
DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was a mainstay of the Crimson Tide's back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams and a defense that allowed just over 12 points per game this season. Jonathas has received interest from multiple Division 1 programs, but is undecided on college plans.


DL – Brendan Battles, Sr., Nauset
At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the UConn commit was one of the most feared defensive presences in the state. But the bruising lineman also did double time, serving as the play-caller in Nauset's single wing offense, paving the way as the lead blocker out of the backfield. Battles also won the Division 1 and All-State wrestling crowns in the 215-pound divsion, advancing to the New England finals.

DL – Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr., Xaverian
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle was a physical presence in the middle of the Hawks defense. Hurst finished the season with 61 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Hurst also showed off his athleticism in one of the more improbable performances of the season, rushing for over 200 yards in the Hawks' win over St. John's of Shrewsbury, including an awe-inspiring 75-yard touchdown run.

DL – Henry Bumpus, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound defensive end was one of the more imposing physical presences in the state, as well as an important part of C-C's rushing attack at tight end. The senior captain helped to guide the Patriots to a Division 3 Super Bowl championship. A feared rusher off the edge, Bumpus finished with 9.5 sacks and 66 tackles. He also nabbed four interceptions on the season. Bumpus will attend Brown University next year.

LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound 'backer was the heart and soul of the Lions defense, leading the team with 155 tackles, including eight for a loss and three sacks. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also had an interception in addition to three passes defensed. Joy was also a steady contributor to Chelmsford's offense, as a punishing lead blocker at full back in front of running back Eddie Sheridan.

LB – Luke Catarius, Jr., BC High
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder lead the Eagles in tackles, despite playing 10 regular season games with 129 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss. Catarius was also a mainstay of BC High's offense, providing lead blocks at fullback in front of Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe for the Division 1 Super Bowl champions.

LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
The Crimson Tide senior captain was an integral part of Everett's offensive and defensive units in each of their back-to-back Super Bowl championship seasons. As a linebacker, Langston was tough against the ran and a threat to drop back in coverage, coming away with three interceptions on the season. Langston tallied 15 touchdowns on the season at running back. He is undecided on his college choice.

LB – Cam Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was named one of 50 national finalists for the high school Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker. The Penn State commit totaled 119 tackles (81 solo), including 18 tackles for loss. Wiliams was also effective in pass defense with an interception and seven passes defensed.

LB – Nick Schlatz, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Trojans' senior captain was part of a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back along with Brandon Morin, totaling nine touchdowns. Schlatz was the fulcrum of Bridgewater-Raynham's defense, which allowed just under 14 points per game this season.


LB – Dan Flink, Sr., Auburn
Flink was the heart of the Rockets' defense, which surrendered just over 10 points per game this season. He totaled 141 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss, along with seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and eight sacks. Flink played running back with the same mentality he brought to his play at linebacker with 1,393 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season. The three-year starter was part of four Super Bowl championship teams at Auburn and is looking to study at Mass Maritime Academy next year.

DB – James Burke, Sr., Duxbury
The senior captain was a stalwart in the Dragons' defense in their back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The 6-foot, 165-pounder formed a vicious safety duo along with Reilly Naton and led the secondary with 76 total tackles (50 solo) and had three interceptions with nine passes defensed. Also a standout on Duxbury's state-title winning lacrosse team, Burke has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Penn State.

DB – Quinton Perkins, Sr., Fitchburg
The 6-foot, 170-pound wideout and safety was one of the most dynamic talents in the state, nevermind Central Mass. Perkins, who holds offers from UConn and UMass-Amherst, tallied 35 tackles and two interceptions on defense. He racked up 20 total touchdowns with 10 rushing, nine passing and a kickoff return. Perkins also racked up over 1,300 all-purpose offensive yards. He also racked up 200 all-purpose offensive yards and three touchdowns in the Red Raiders' playoff loss to Leominster.

DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The University of New Hampshire commit was one of the most electrifying offensive talents in the state this year, but also played lock-down corner for the Vikings. DeAndrade tallied one interception in his senior season to push his career total to 11, a testament to opponents' weariness in throwing in his direction. The multi-talented athlete tallied 22 touchdowns with nearly 1,400 all-purpose offensive yards.

DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
The UConn commit was a big-play threat on both sides of the football for Grafton, leading the Indians with three interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder also ran for nearly 1,400 yards in a shortened season along with 17 touchdowns.


RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr. Woburn
Ortiz was a jack of all trades while taking MVP honors of the Middlesex League Large division. In racking up 24 touchdowns, Ortiz tallied two pick-sixes, and a pair punt returns and kick returns for scores. Ortiz had six interceptions on defense while finishing a shade under 1,200 rushing yards. He also handled place kicking duties for the Tanners, connecting on 15 PATs and one field goal.

Best of the Rest
A.J. Baker, Sr. WR, Swampscott
Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills
Kenny Calaj, Jr. WR, Everett
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick
Aaron Dyke, Jr. OL, Auburn
Andrew Ellis, Jr. LB, Barnstable
Joe Epps, Sr. RB, Bourne
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Brett Harrington, Sr. DL, Chelmsford
Jack Harris, Sr. TE, Lincoln-Sudbury
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee
Thomas Kleyn, Sr. LB, Concord-Carlisle
Zack Hume, Jr. LB, Nashoba
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth
Reilly Naton, Sr. S, Duxbury
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Mike Prendeville, Sr. OG, BC High
Will Quigley, Sr. RB, Marblehead
Deontae Ramey-Doe, Sr. RB, BC High
Max Randall, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Sr. LB, Mansfield
Eddie Sheridan, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Jarod Taylor, Jr. RB, Mashpee
Shawn Whouley, Sr. WR, Weymouth

Recap: No. 14 Leominster 21, Fitchburg 14

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
9:05
PM ET
FITCHBURG, Mass. -- There was not a spot in the playoffs up for grabs Thanksgiving morning. Each team already had one of those. Fitchburg and Leominster played for pure pride and bragging rights, with Leominster holding on for a 21-14 victory.

It was the 128th meeting between the two Mid-Wach A schools, so it is a storied rivalry to say the least. With the two teams so familiar with each other, one could almost expect to see something it had not seen before.

On Fitchburg’s first offensive play, quarterback Connor Lemieux lined up in the shotgun and handed the ball off to Demitri Brasili. He ran left, then pitched the ball to Quinton Perkins for what appeared to be a designed reverse for the speedy wide receiver. Instead of running around the right end, he heaved the ball downfield to a wide open Berny Platel for a 68-yard touchdown.

“We knew it was going to happen, we told them, ‘Don’t bite up on that,’ and we bit up,” said Leominster coach Dave Palazzi. “But it’s a game of what you do after you’re down. I told the kids that’s what this game is all about. There’s going to be plays, there’s going to be big plays, it’s how we respond to those big plays that’s going to be the test of who we are.”

Game on.

After going three-and-out on its first drive, Leominster (8-3) responded with a five-minute scoring drive. The pivotal play came when Palazzi decided to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Fitchburg 10-yard line. Quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie (5-of-18, 93 yards) took the snap and sprinted off left tackle with his running back to his right, available for the option pitch if needed. Instead, he decided to keep the ball and got into the end zone to put his team ahead 8-7 after the two-point conversion.

The momentum swung towards Leominster on the ensuing drive when it stopped Fitchburg (6-5) on 4th-and-5 around midfield. This gave the Blue Devils short field position, which they capitalized on early in the second quarter when running back Geraldo Rivera (18 carries, 60 yards; three catches, 71 yards) ran in from seven yards out to put his team ahead 14-7.

Fitchburg tied up the score on its next possession, but Leominster came up with a big play when Brandon Herrick knocked the ball out of Perkins’ hands on a running play. Jason Valera picked up the fumble and ran it back 40 yards for the deciding touchdown.

“It’s one of those Leominster-Fitchburg games,” said Palazzi. “It’s always the same thing, same deal. One or two plays here and there is the deciding factor and we just held strong until the end.”

Palazzi reflects: This marked the first Fitchburg-Leominster Thanksgiving Day matchup for Palazzi as the head coach of Leominster. When asked after the game if the game had a special feeling to it, he quickly put the attention back on the players.

“I’m just happy for our 32 seniors,” said Palazzi. “Starting out the season 0-3, and to be standing on this field 8-3 beating Fitchburg on their home field and just letting our seniors take it all in is fantastic. We’re just fortunate to do what we’ve done. My hat goes off to Ray Cosenza and his entire team. That’s a good football team over there. They battled all game and we’ll see what happens in the playoffs.

D1 Playoff field set: The playoff eligibility was already decided for the two teams coming into Thanksgiving, so the result of the game only told the two teams who they would play Tuesday night in the playoffs. Fitchburg will play St. John’s of Shrewsbury, while Leominster is scheduled to face Shrewsbury. This marks a short preparation time for all teams involved.

“We have tomorrow off, then we’ll practice Saturday, Sunday, and Monday,” said Palazzi. “We’ll have a Tuesday night playoff game. Maybe you guys will figure out who we’re playing and when. I know it will be at Doyle Field, I’m just not sure of the time.”

Perkins goes down: In the third quarter, Fitchburg’s Quinton Perkins went down with an apparent cramp and was forced to leave the game. After getting stretched out on the sidelines by the trainers, he gave it another shot and reentered the game later in the quarter. After one running play, the pain appeared again, but this time Perkins left the game for good.

This time, no stretching or hydration could help. It was a big loss for Fitchburg because until that point, he was giving the Leominster defense fits. The Fitchburg offense was noticeably sluggish with him not in the lineup. Perkins was lining up as a receiver, running back, and even a Wildcat quarterback until that point. He ended the game with 9 carries for 74 yards and the 68-yard touchdown pass.

Defense holds: Both defenses showed up when its team needed it to in the second half. However, it was Leominster’s defense that made the bigger impact by intercepting Connor Lemieux three times in the second half.

“I knew once they started throwing the ball and Perkins went out of the game, that really hurt them,” said Palazzi. “Let’s be honest, he’s an unbelievable player. You take our best player away from us and those things happen. They had to change their gameplan a little bit, throwing the ball around, and I had a little more confidence once they started to throw the ball. We defended the pass pretty well all year and we did it in the second half.”


LEOMINSTER 21, FITCHBURG 14
LEO (8-3) --- 8 - 13 - 0 - 0 --- 21
FIT (6-5) --- 7 - 7 - 0 - 0 --- 14

First Quarter
F - Berny Platel 68-yard pass from Quinton Perkins (Eric Comeau kick)
L - Garrett DelleChiaie 10-yard run (Kevin O'Connor pass from DelleChiaie)

Second Quarter
L - Geraldo Rivera 7 run (pass failed)
F - Comeau 33 pass from Connor Lemieux (Comeau kick)
L - Jason Valera 40 fumble return (Pawel Kubiak kick)

Mr. Football Watch: Week 11

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
11:32
AM ET
HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Carried 28 times for 164 yards and two scores in the Patriots' 27-0 shutout of Lincoln-Sudbury.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - Ran for 116 yards on 19 carries, and returning a kickoff 71 yards to the house, in a 16-6 loss to Mashpee.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns, and added 97 rushing yards and a fifth score, in the Crimson Tide's 42-20 win over Malden that clinched their 17th straight Greater Boston League title. DiBiaso is now at 97 career touchdown passes.
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial - In the No. 5 Knights' win over Xaverian, threw for 167 yards and three scores and added 72 rushing yards and a fourth score.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Completed 14 of 15 passes for 170 yards and 3 TD, and added 124 rushing yards and two more scores on just three carries, in a 42-7 win over Sandwich.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 14 times for 94 yards in a 34-25 win over Holyoke, the first time since the Eagles' season-opening loss to Putnam that he's been held to under 100 yards.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Spraing his ankle in the opening five minutes of an 18-6 win over Minnechaug. Reports have surfaced that Norris, who has nearly 1,400 rushing yards on the season, sprained it somewhat significantly.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - In the Dragons' 34-7 league-clinching win over Hingham, completed 14 of 25 passes for 248 yards and four scores, and also added 95 rushing yards and a fifth score.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Carried 33 times for 168 yards and two scores in the Beavers' 22-12 win over South Hadley.
Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial - Opened up the floodgates in the first quarter of a 33-11 win over Xaverian, with a 92-yard touchdown scamper, before Doyle took over.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - In the Big Blue's 33-15 win over Gloucester, he was 13 of 22 passing for 251 yards and four touchdowns, and carried nine times for 63 yards. On the season, the Brown commit has over 2,900 yards of offense.

ON THE RISE

Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston - In the Panthers' 48-22 win over Norton, completed a perfect 7 of 7 passes for 227 yards and three scores, and added two rushing scores.
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Totaled 283 yards of offense and four rushing touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Lowell.
Mike Decina, Sr. QB, Hopkinton - Threw for 300 yards and six touchdowns in the Hillers' 42-13 beatdown of Westwood.
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable - Last week, it was carving up the B-R defense on the ground. This week, he had 103 receiving yards and three touchdowns, in a 20-10 win over Plymouth North.
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee - Carried 18 times for 98 yards in the Falcons' 16-6 win over East Bridgewater.
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth - Threw for four touchdowns in a 50-0 shutout of Framingham, bringing his season touchdown pass total to a Division 1-best 34.
Chucky Ortiz, Sr. RB, Woburn - Did it all in the Tanners' 24-7 win over Lexington, running for two scores, throwing for another, and kicking a field goal.
Matt Owens, Sr. QB, Boston Cathedral - Threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' win over Trinity Catholic that clinched the Catholic Central Small.
Quinton Perkins, Sr. RB, Fitchburg - Ran for four touchdowns in the Red Raiders' 26-15 win over Holy Name.
Karl Sery, Sr. RB, Hudson - The Bryant commit carried 34 times for 239 yards and two scores in the Hawks' 25-14 win over Clinton.

ESPN Boston's Preseason All-State Team

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
6:55
AM ET
Below is our Preseason MIAA All-State Football Team, along with some other players to watch. Returning All-Staters are bolded.

OFFENSE

QB – Nick LaSpada, Sr., Billerica
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
QB – Brandon Walsh, Sr., North Andover
RB – Andrew Coke, Sr., Andover
RB – Preston Cooper, Sr., BC High
RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
TE – Lucas Bavaro, Jr., St. John’s Prep
WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
WR – Efrain Montalvo, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
WR – A.J. Baker, Sr., Swampscott
OL – Tyler Loring, Sr., Catholic Memorial
OL – Peter Salem, Sr., Dracut
OL – Ryan Anger, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
OL – T.J. Leeman, Sr., Andover
OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
ATH – Karl Sery, Sr., Hudson
K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian

DEFENSE

DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett
DL – Dino Hyppolite, Sr., Brockton
DL – Brendan Battles-Santos, Sr., Nauset
DL – Brett Harrington, Sr., Chelmsford
LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
LB – Max McDaniel, Sr., Lexington
LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
LB – Max Randall, Sr., Duxbury
LB – Buck McCarthy, Sr., Everett
LB – Camren Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
DB – Jesse Monteiro, Sr., Brockton
DB – Reilly Naton, Sr., Duxbury
DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr., Woburn

Watch List:
Chris Burke, Sr. LB, Gloucester
Drew Burnett, Sr. QB, Needham
Chris Calvanese, Sr. QB, Xaverian
Luke Catarius, Jr. LB, BC High
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Donovan Henry, Sr. RB/DB, Catholic Memorial
Kurt Hunziker, Sr. RB/LB, Masconomet
Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr. DL, Xaverian
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Matt King, Sr. RB/LB, Scituate
Jake Lazarus, Sr. QB, Longmeadow
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Paul Mroz, Sr. QB, Brockton
Terry Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Chuddy Nwachukwu, Jr. OL, Dighton-Rehoboth
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington
Matt O’Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
Quinton Perkins, Sr. RB, Fitchburg
Joe Previte, Jr. OL/DL, Brockton
Bartley Regan, Sr. QB, BC High
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip
Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham
Mike Walsh, Sr. QB/S, Swampscott

Ludden shocks Fitchburg in Double OT

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
9:23
PM ET
LEOMINSTER, Mass. -- Understand, Cortez Ludden might have missed a few people when he was listing everyone responsible for his game-winning touchdown in double overtime for Leominster High School.

Ludden somehow didn’t mention the cheerleaders, the band, the principal, the custodians, the cops on the sidelines, the vendors hawking hot chocolate on this chilly Thanksgiving morning, his parents, his future wife and kids. But the junior running back had just about everybody else covered, and given enough time, he probably would have gotten around to the others, too.

“It was amazing,’’ said the gracious Ludden, a 5-foot-8, 225-pounder who is built low to the ground and tough to knock off his feet, as he demonstrated while pushing his way into the end zone from three yards out to score the deciding points in Leominster’s 24-18 win over archrival Fitchburg High in Doyle Field.

“We were the underdogs with the newspapers and everybody, and we pulled through. My offensive line, my defensive line, the whole team, the wide receivers, everyone, the specialists, they all did their job.’’

What Ludden didn’t mention, until prodded, was that in the end, Leominster coach John Dubzinski had the confidence to call his number with the game on the line, after a disastrous sequence earlier in the game had led directly to Fitchburg’s first touchdown.

“It was all in my hands,’’ said Ludden, whose winning score came after the Leominster defense stopped Fitchburg on its second series of extra downs, senior lineman David Ferguson recovering a fumble by Fitchburg’s Steph’fon Teague on a third-down play from the five.. “I had to prove myself right there, show them what I was made of. We put all the energy of the mistakes we had made into that touchdown, and that’s how we got it.’’

Fitchburg, whose do-everything backfield star Quinton Perkins missed much of the first half after taking a shot in the head while making a tackle on defense, had been just stopped at the Leominster one, safety Geraldo Rivera making a touchdown-saving tackle of Fitchburg quarterback Kyle Phillips, with Leominster holding a 6-0 lead late in the second quarter.

But four plays later, an anxious Fitchburg crowd -- whose team had come in as heavy favorites in the 127th meeting in this ancient rivalry of two old mill towns in central Massachusetts -- exploded with unexpected joy when defensive back Tyrie Osby ripped the ball out of Ludden’s hands, and went in untouched from 18 yards out for the game-tying score.

It happened so quickly, it took a moment to register. How did Osby wind up with the ball?

“They were a little dirty,’’ said Ludden, who fumbled again later but was bailed out when teammate Josh Caouette fell on the ball. “They were trying to punch me and stuff in the stomach and I was trying to hold onto it. I thought I was down on one knee but two guys pulled it out.’’

Fitchburg, with a chance to take the lead, failed to click on a pass from Anthony Figueroa intended for D.J. Wilson on the two-point conversion attempt, and Leominster took the second-half kickoff 67 yards for the go-ahead score. Senior quarterback Kyle Ford, who threw sparingly during the game, executed some beautiful sleight of hand before connecting with senior Justin Bailey on a 25-yard play-action pass that gave the Blue Devils a 12-6 lead with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

Perkins, who had scored six touchdowns in Fitchburg’s previous game against a good Gardner team, had watched much of the first half disconsolately from the Fitchburg bench while the team doctor hovered, concerned that the 18-year-old junior had sustained a concussion. Without him, the Fitchburg offense sputtered. “Of course,’’ Ford said when asked whether Perkins’s absence had been a big factor. “He’s a huge playmaker.’’

But after he was re-examined in the locker room at halftime, Fitchburg coach Ray Cosenza reinserted him in the game.

“I kind of had a feeling we’d see him again,’’ Dubzinski said. “He’s a great back.’’

In Fitchburg’s spread offense, Perkins lines up as a wide receiver, a slot back, even a quarterback in the shotgun. And indeed, he showed signs of taking over the game upon his return, ripping off gains of 12 and 18 yards as Fitchburg crossed into Leominster territory. Lined up wide to the left, Perkins ran a fly pattern down the sideline as Fitchburg went for it all from the Leominster 48, but junior Shaunsagh Addo made a leaping interception at the eight.

But there was the inescapable sense that Leominster had not seen the last of Perkins. Indeed, after the Red Raiders got the ball back at their own 34 after a short Leominster punt with 5:47 to play in regulation, he took Fitchburg down the field in just six plays for the game-tying touchdown, going in himself from 10 yards out for the tying score with 3:21 to play.

At that moment, Leominster’s two failed conversion kicks loomed large. “I thought our special teams had gotten us in real trouble,’’ Dubzinski said.

But the Leominster defense once again came up with the kind of stop that made you wonder how the Blue Devils had lost five straight coming into this game. The kind of stop a team makes when it knows a trip to the playoffs does not await, and that this would be its bowl game.

With Perkins prepared to work some more magic after taking a handoff out of the slot, junior Brandon Herrick broke through Fitchburg’s line and flung him down for a huge loss on the two-point conversion attempt.

The Blue Devils, faced with a 4th and 2 on their own 47 with 44 seconds left, elected to go for it rather than punting and putting the ball back into Perkins’ hands. With the Fitchburg defense stacked for the run, Ford put the ball in the air, connecting with sophomore tight end Rocco Daigneault for a 26-yard gain. “We’d been working on that play all week in practice,’’ Ford said.

Two plays later, Nicholas Wilford’s 12-yard gain on a draw play brought the ball to the 11, and Ford spiked the ball, bringing on sophomore Leonardo Trento for a potential game-winning field goal. Teague, however, broke through the line to block the kick, and for the second time in three years, this game would require extra time. Four downs for each team from the 10-yard line, with a two-point conversion try required after any score.

Wilford punched through from a half-yard out on fourth down to give Leominster an 18-12 lead, but was stopped by linebacker Eric Myles on the conversion try. It took Fitchburg just two downs to answer, Teague running it in from eight yards, but he, too, was denied on the conversion.

Fitchburg had the ball first in the second overtime, but after two runs by Perkins gained just five yards, Ferguson made his fumble recovery.

Dubzinski had some trickery left in his playbook -- a flanker reverse by Caouette -- though he credited offensive coordinator Roger Mercier with the call. “Coach wanted to go with it,’’ Ford said, acknowledging initially there was some resistance. “But coach said, ‘Let me do what I want to do.’’’

Caouette gained seven on the trickery. In the huddle, Ludden heard his play called.

“I knew he’d come through,’’ Ford said. “I knew he would.’’

And when Ludden sprawled across the goal line, the Leominster students lined up behind the end zone rushed the field. Tears streamed down the face of some of the Leominster seniors who had just played their final game, as parents alternately hugged and comforted them. A skirmish briefly broke out between the teams. An emotional Perkins hurled his helmet to the field. The coaches decided between them that the Fitchburg team should leave without the traditional postgame handshake.

Fitchburg (7-4) will play again, with a first-round playoff game looming against Holy Name.

Leominster (4-7)? Dubzinski, walking off the field with his wife Donna and daughter Jane, laughed when asked if this win meant he’d been taken off dish-washing duty for the day. “A tough season,’’ he said, “but we told our kids that winning this one would be something for them to savor all winter and spring.’’

Or maybe longer. “The rest of my life,’’ said Ford, the quarterback, flashing a beautiful teen-aged smile. “For the rest of my life.’’

LEOMINSTER 24, FITCHBURG 18

FIT 0 6 0 6 6 0 --- 18
LEO 6 0 6 0 6 6 --- 24

First Quarter
L - Geraldo Rivera 2 run (kick failed) 3:25

Second Quarter
F - Tyrie Osby 18 fumble return (pass failed) 1:51

Third Quarter
L - Justin Bailey 25 pass from Kyle Ford (kick failed) 3:49

Fourth Quarter
F - Quinton Perkins 10 run (rush failed) 2:49

First Overtime
L - Nick Wilford 1 run (rush failed)
F - Steph'fon Teague 8 run (rush failed)

Second Overtime
L - Cortez Ludden 3 run

What We Learned: Week 10

November, 15, 2010
11/15/10
6:35
PM ET
ANDOVER 88, LOWELL 82...NATIONAL RECORD?
This past October 30, two Texas high school football teams combined for 165 points in a battle for playoff position, with Jacksonville High defeating Nacogdoches High, 84-81, in the 12th overtime. According to KLTV, the Tyler, Texas-based ABC affiliate covering the game, that set a national record.

If all that's true, then what went down last Friday night at Cawley Stadium is a national record. Andrew Coke ran for eight touchdowns for Andover to lead the Golden Warriors to an 88-82 victory over Lowell in the eighth overtime. Meanwhile, Raiders quarterback Kyle Edwards threw for eight touchdown passes in the loss, four of them to Josh McGlauflin.

The Red Raiders had an opportunity in the eighth overtime to score, but were stopped inches short of the goal line on a fourth-and-three play. The game was tied at 28 after regulation, and the teams traded touchdowns in seven straight overtime periods -- including six straight successful two-point tries by either side -- before Coke marched in from 10 yards out on the Golden Warriors' first play of their eighth-overtime possession.

"I've never seen anything like that," Andover head coach E.J. Perry told ESPNBoston's Scott Barboza. "It was a tremendous accomplishment by this team to put it all on the line. Now we'll have the chance to play with all the marbles on the line against Central Catholic on Thanksgiving Day. It's been a great honor to coach kids like this that are so resilient.

"But I give a lot of credit to those Lowell kids as well. I went over to talk to them after the game and I told them that they had nothing to be ashamed of."

With that win, the Warriors have set up a winner-take-all battle with Central Catholic on Thanksgiving for the Merrimack Valley Large's playoff berth. But it's a pyrrhic victory, as Boston College-bound tight end Brian Miller went down with a knee injury in the first half; his status for Thanksgiving is unknown right now.

"No real update right now," Perry told correspondent Roger Brown in his recruiting blog today. "Brian was not able to get an MRI over the weekend. The orthopedist who was on hand was somewhat optimistic it wasn't an ACL, but without an MRI there now way to know for sure. He's getting that [Monday]."

D-WHAT? D-Y!
Paul Funk arrived at Dennis-Yarmouth in 2001, fresh off a successful stint as an assistant at storied Everett, to find a Dolphins program so barren that it had relegated itself to junior varsity status. D-Y faced problems not only with numbers, but with plain old futility -- the Dolphins had won just six games in the 1990's.

Fast forward to Friday night, and the Dolphins are staring at their second Atlantic Coast League title in four years, thanks to a gritty 14-7 win over Plymouth North.

"In nine years, this is what we've got, and I'm pretty proud of that," Funk told ESPNBoston's Brendan Hall. "It's alot of hard work from alot of people."

It was the usual recipe to success for the Dolphins, with linebackers Tommy Kennedy and Victor Andrade leading a swarming defense that marked hard-nosed fullback Matt Walsh all night and kept the Eagles' vaunted running game stalled in first gear. Meanwhile, Matt Montalto wasn't putting up video-game numbers as usual, directing Funk's high-octane spread attack, but he was good enough in the second half, running and throwing for a touchdown each.

Montalto now joins his brother, Nick, as quarterbacks to lead the Dolphins to a share of the ACL.

"He is as good a competitor, as a winner, as you'll ever find," Funk said. "He's been a winner since he was seven. You always have a chance with him at the helm. His older brother was the same way, (Matt's) just an unbelievable person."

As for that elusive playoff berth...

With the league slates of both D-Y (9-1, 4-1) and Marshfield (5-4, 4-1) wrapped up, fate lies in the hands of North (7-3, 3-1), which has one ACL game left -- Thanksgiving archrival Plymouth South (4-6, 2-2). A North win on Thanksgiving creates a three-way tie for the ACL, and would give the playoff berth to the team that has gone longest without making the playoffs -- in this case D-Y, which has never played past the holiday in the Super Bowl era.

You can be rest assured the Dolphins will be scoreboard-watching on this one. This same scenario played out in 2007, when they went 10-1 but with a loss to Marshfield needed a North win on Thanksgiving to create a three-way tie. South took down North in what was considered a big upset, and the Rams went on to the Division 1A Super Bowl before bowing to Chelmsford on a late field goal.

WHALERS ROCK BIG 3 BOAT
New Bedford could've let its boat sink after suffering four straight losses to start the season, however Dennis Golden's squad righted ship with four wins entering Saturday's matchup against Brockton. Then, the Whalers did the unthinkable, upsetting the Boxers, 23-21.

"Well, we've been much better in the last month than we were in the first month," Golden told Scott Barboza on Sunday. "I'm really proud of the way that our kids have battled back when they very easily could have let things slide."

Now, New Bedford can clinch a Division I playoff berth with a win over Durfee on Thanksgiving Day.

The Whalers jumped ahead of the Boxers, 14-0, at halftime and never trailed in the contest. To close out the win, New Bedford embarked on a 20-play drive, spanning eight minutes and forty seconds of the fourth quarter. Although the Whalers didn't score, Brockton got the ball back with only five seconds remaining, scant time for the Boxers to get a game-winning score.

"Our offensive line was amazing on that final drive," Golden said. "They were just amazing and that was huge for us, keeping the ball out of the hands of their offense at the end of the game."

BLUE RAIDERS PILLAGE EAC CROWN
The Somerset sideline dumped the water bucket over head coach Nick Freitas' with around 30 seconds remaining.

Still, Freitas wasn't about to go Gore v. Bush on calling his team's number in the Eastern Athletic Conference race.

"I didn't feel safe until it was down to point-six second left on the clock there," Freitas said after the Blue Raiders' 49-28 win over Bishop Feehan on Friday.

The Shamrocks once again proved that the EAC runs through them, despite losing their first five games of the season. Feehan won when it counted, taking their first three EAC contests before falling to Somerset.

And the Blue Raiders weren't about to look past their opponent.

"That's all we could think about this year," lineman Ian Levesque said Friday about their matchup with Feehan. "We knew it was going to come down them in our last [conference] game. We knew we had to be ready for them. We had a hard week of practice. We watched extra film. We knew it was going be that tough."

HEAD OF THE CLASS
VALVOLINE PEAK PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK: NEW BEDFORD'S OFFENSIVE LINE
The Whalers line of Jason Brierly, Lance Burlingame, Janny Dosreis, Jacob Medeiros, Oliver Pires and Darian Sousa-Bizarro carried New Bedford in its upset over Big Three rival Brockton.

THE CLASSMATES
Andrew Coke, Jr. QB/RB, Andover - The leading scorer in Division 1 added immensely to his already-impressive totals by scoring eight touchdowns in the Golden Warriors' 88-82, eight-overtime win over Lowell.

Matt Costello, Sr. WR, Everett - The senior had another tremendous day receiving in the Crimson Tide's 45-0 win over rival Malden, making eight catches for 195 yards and three scores.

Seth DeMello, Sr. RB, Somerset - He provided the biggest spark in the Blue Raiders' 49-28 win over Bishop Feehan to clinch their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era, carrying 20 times for 245 yards and scoring six touchdowns (four rushing, two passing).

Ryan Lipka, Sr. WR, Bishop Fenwick - With six catches in the first half of a 36-0 loss to St. Mary's last Friday, Lipka became the first player in the state of Massachusetts to catch more than 100 balls in a season.

Quinton Perkins, Jr. ATH, Fitchburg - The versatile speedster was vicious on the ground for the Red Raiders, carrying the ball 17 times for 278 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-33 shootout win over Gardner.

Andreas Robinson, Soph. QB, Phillips Exeter - In a 56-33 win over archrival Phillips Andover, Robinson ruled the day with 297 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries.

What We Learned: Week 7

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
1:41
PM ET


It was a weekend of wild finishes and even wilder individual performances, and now we're trying to make sense of it all. Here's to the week that was...

TROJANS SHOW GRIT

Dan Buron’s Bridgewater-Raynham team might have been the only concerned parties who truly believed they had a chance to knock off Xaverian on Friday.

It had been a mixed bag so far for the Trojans (5-2) who prior to their 21-19 overtime win over the Hawks had yet to win a game over an opponent that had a winning record. B-R had also incurred losses to D-IIA powers Duxbury and Plymouth North.

But let Friday’s performance be a warning to all as to how dangerous the Trojans can be.

“I told them all week long, only the guys in this room, on this football field, think we have a shot and I said if you don’t think we have a shot don’t come out with me,” Buron told The Enterprise of Brockton. “I go out to win every game.

“I told them when we came out, if you play as a team, we’ve got a shot tonight. If you play as individuals, and run around, we won’t have a shot against this team.

However, like any good football coach, Buron also warded off any question as to what the win over Xaverian meant; it was just that, a win.

“It was just a great victory for the program, but it doesn’t mean anything because we start league play next week and win or lose it doesn’t mean a thing,” Buron went on to say in The Enterprise recap. “All it does is give us confidence. Hopefully, we can use this as a catalyst to get ready for the regular season (league play).”

The Trojans host Dartmouth on Friday in their first Old Colony League contest. B-R then welcomes Barnstable — which has already pocketed two league wins after slipping by Taunton over the weekend — in what should be a make-or-break game for the OCL’s playoff berth.

PANTHERS HAVE BITE

It’s not as though Holliston isn’t accustomed to putting large results on the board, but the Panthers simply looked a little more focused entering Friday night’s game at Norton.

“We had really good week of practice and it showed,” Holliston head coach Todd Kiley said after Friday’s 42-0 win.

That sentiment has particularly rung true with the Panthers since their Week 4 loss to Medway. Since then, Holliston has picked itself up by the boot straps. Following the 28-16 loss to the Mustangs, the Panther’s attack, which has averaged 42 points per game, has put results of 42, 50 and 42 points, respectively, on the board in the last three weeks.

So it’s clear the upset at the hands of Medway has been a motivating factor.

“If anything, it made us hungrier to want to get back to the top,” Panthers quarterback Sean Mayo told ESPN Boston’s Scott Barboza. “After being the TVL champs last year, we wanted to act like that tonight. We wanted to play well and we did.

“We just want to keep getting better, get back to the playoffs and go for another TVL championship.”

And with their win over the Lancers, Holliston has put itself back in position to do so as the top four Tri-Valley League teams now stand at 6-1 with the league playoffs set to kick off in two weeks.

Certainly, Norton would like another chance to prove they’re the TVL’s top team when it really counts.

A FEW GOOD BREAKS

The animosity between bordering rivals Abington and Rockland goes deep -- decades deep -- and so Rockland running back and captain Mike Driscoll recalled the back and forth with a half-dozen friends from a town over with delight, all week.

"This rivalry is unbelievable," Driscoll said. "We were all shooting texts back and forth all week, having fun with each other. To come out and see these guys, I feel...God goes out to them. They still have a shot, though."

The Bulldogs were more than happy to escape with a win, and take sole possession of first place in the South Shore League, with a 21-12 comeback win over their archrivals. Abington held the Bulldogs to minus-12 yards of offense on six plays in the first half, but could not solve them over the game's final 15 minutes, as Rockland exploded for 235 yards and 21 unanswered points.

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Rockland's D.J. Austin threw a flare pass into the left flat that took a backwards skip, and Abington's Dylan Pietresak pounced on the loose ball and marched 50 yards to paydirt. However, the play had been blown dead at the spot of the incompletion. Local announcers Shawn Reilly and Kevin Whalen screamed in disagreeance with the call, and it didn't help that two plays later, backup quarterback Ricky Witt came in and promptly tossed the 52-yard game-winning bomb, a wide-open strike to Tim Fitzgerald.

Asked about the call, Rockland head coach Ken Owen channeled his inner Gregg Popovich.

"The referee blew it dead, OK?" Owen deadpanned. "Next question."

But let's not totally put this on the officiating. Holding a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Green Wave had some breakdowns in the secondary. And with time winding down and half of the field to go, they should have done a better job anticipating a deep strike.

MIDDIES IN FIFTH GEAR

Any questions about Dracut's capability to put points on the board have to be shunned at this point. Last Friday, the Middies traveled to Chelmsford to take on one of the area's best defenses and promptly hung 42 on them in a dominating win. Since starting the season 0-2, they've won five straight and averaged 41.9 points per game, including 60 over Billerica. The triggerman? Who else but Matt Silva, a scrawny 170-pounder whose violent running style often leaves him limping and bracing after games. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I want the ball in my hands at all times," Silva told ESPNBoston's Neil Carroll. "I’m the quarterback. If I make a mistake it's my fault, if I throw an interception it's my fault, if I get sacked it's my fault."

The Middies' defense, which is allowing nearly 27 points, remains a quandary. Only Tewksbury failed to score at least three touchdowns, in a 35-14 loss two weeks ago. A trip to Andover this week before meetings with Lawrence and Haverhill should give us a better idea of Dracut's ability in that area, before they head into their Thanksgiving matchup with Methuen, a team that has eaten run defenses alive at several points this season.

EAGLES ON PERCH FOR NOW

After dealing Falmouth its first loss of the season, 28-7, Plymouth North seized the moment, climbing to the top of the Atlantic Coast League.

However, things are still wide open.

“We have three league games left and every week you play for controlling your own destiny,” Eagles head coach Dwayne Follette told correspondent Brian Fabry on Friday. “We talked [last season's loss] up, but this was a big enough game that we didn't need the extra motivation.

While Plymouth North assumes the perch for now, the road to the ACL title will likely run through Dennis-Yarmouth, as both the Eagles and Clippers still have yet to play the Dolphins. Looking beyond the aforementioned, Marshfield (although they stand at 3-4 overall) also could still get in the fray, if they take care of business against Falmouth this weekend.

Additionally, Friday’s loss could prove a bit more costly for Falmouth if the injury to Clippers running back Nelson Baptiste, sustained during the upset against Plymouth North, has any long-term implications. That is a situation that also bears watching.

HEAD OF THE CLASS

VALVOLINE PEAK PERFORMER OF THE WEEK: BEN PATRICK, SR. RB, RIVERS
The Roxbury resident torched Milton Academy for 325 yards on 26 carries and six touchdowns, both school records, in a 69-40 shootout win Saturday night at Milton High School. Through five games, the 5-foot-9 senior has rushed for at least 200 yards in every game, and piled up 1,162 yards on 112 carries for an average of 10.3 yards a carry. With the performance, Patrick has now clinched 5-0 Rivers its first winning season since 1982. But with these kinds of performances each week from Patrick and his cousin Taariq Allen (718 yards of offense), the Red Wings are thinking NEPSAC Bowls.

THE CLASSMATES

Chris Coady, Jr. RB/LB, BB&N - The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior carried 31 times for 284 yards in a 21-14 win over Groton School.

Brett Kidik, Sr. QB, Bishop Fenwick - In a record-setting day, Kidik threw for 389 yards and six touchdowns in the Crusaders' 44-40 win over Archbishop Williams.

Connor Reardon, Jr. RB, Littleton - Reardon carried the day for the Tigers, carrying the ball 23 times for 232 yards and four touchdowns in a 39-26 shootout win over Bay Path.

Oshane McCreath, Jr. RB, Malden - McCreath ran for 260 yards and four touchdowns in a 36-7 win over Cambridge that improved the Golden Tornadoes to 3-4.

Kyle Murray, Jr. RB, Mashpee - In a 41-12 win over Carver, Murray carved up the defense to the tune of 239 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Quinton Perkins, Jr. ATH, Fitchburg - The speedy junior showed off his wheels in a variety of ways in the Red Raiders' 38-19 win over Shrewsbury. Perkins accumulated 239 all-purpose yards and scored in four different ways -- running, receiving, passing and a fumble recovery.

Melquan Pinkney, Sr. RB, Springfield Putnam - Pinkney dominated Ludlow in a 46-6 win last Friday, totaling 270 yards and four touchdowns. Even more impressive, he racked up 192 yards on five carries in the first quarter.

Mike Ozella, Sr. RB, Medway - Ozella turned in another strong performance for the Mustangs, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-6 win over Hopkinton.

Matt Silva, Sr. QB, Dracut - The tough-minded senior would not be stopped in Friday's 42-21 win over Chelmsford, completig 12 of 19 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and carrying 13 times for 100 yards and two more scores.

Ben Ticknor, Sr. RB, Milton Academy - Ticknor was strong in his own right in the Mustangs' 69-40 loss to Rivers, carrying 21 times for 341 yards and five touchdowns, including a run of 94 yards.

Vassar breaks through as No. 4 SJS rolls

October, 1, 2010
10/01/10
10:29
PM ET




FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Dan Light was the catalyst once again for No. 4 St. John's of Shrewsbury, racking up 279 yards of offense and five touchdowns, but quietly having a solid night himself was the tailback in the Pioneers' no-huddle, shotgun spread offense, senior John Vassar.

The Pioneers rolled easily 56-12 Friday night at Crocker Field to improve to 4-0. But it was the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Vassar who gave St. John's the initial cushion, plunging from 4 yards out for a 14-0 lead, then ripping off a nifty 31-yard scamper for a 21-0 lead just 10 minutes into the first quarter. Coming around the right sideline on an off-tackle run, Vassar made two quick jukes back to the inside, made a quick jump-cut on a Fitchburg defender at the 15, stiff-armed another at the 10, then glided into the end zone.

St. John's led 42-6 at the half over Fitchburg, the No. 3-ranked team in Central Mass.

When asked about the second touchdown scamper, Vassar deferred credit to the offensive line.

"That was the line, they opened up the hole pretty well so I could make a good move on the linebackers," said Vassar, who finished with 70 yards on eight carries. "One on one with [Fitchburg safety Quinton] Perkins, I mean he plays hard. But I guess, I don't know, I think I got pretty lucky on that one. I went low, he went low, and I was surprised I kept my balance."

With the win, the Pioneers are now averaging 42.2 points per game and have outscored the opposition 169-27. Just what kind of statement does this make for the rest of Central Mass.? Head coach John Andreoli wouldn't go there -- "Next week [against Shrewsbury] is all we're caring about right now," he said -- but Vassar said he thinks it made a resounding one.

"We'll play you hard, doesn't matter what you do," Vassar said. "They [Fitchburg] came out and they beat St. Peter-Marian, 24-0 [last week], we just come back and smash them back."

Light, of course, was Light. In the first half, he racked up 151 yards passing with scores of 30 (to Drew Ortone) and 53 yards (to Cal-bound Richard Rodgers), and added 75 yards and two scores on the ground.

"In our spread offense, when you've got five on seven -- they came out in a 3-3, looked like six guys in the box," Andreoli said. "But Danny, we create our offense by spreading guys out and creating the run -- which, you know, he's a bruising runner, and he makes very good decisions with the ball."

Early on, however, Fitchburg's speedy junior Perkins (134 yards of offense, two touchdowns) got into the teeth of the Pioneers' passing game, breaking up several long balls with his coverage over the top at free safety (including a nice breakup of a potential Rodgers touchdown). He made arguably the best run of the night late in the third quarter, taking an option pitch at the right sideline, turning 90 degrees to the opposite field, cutting up right and putting on his 4.5-40 burners, stiff-arming the last defender at the Pioneer 35 and marching to pay dirt.

"Our game plan on defense was to get in his face quickly, not give him any space," Andreoli said of Perkins. "I think our outside linebackers did a really good job, Shaun Burlinson and John Vassar, on the other side when he went in motion. We didn't want to give him the ball in space."

Said Fitchburg head coach Ray Cosenza, "We had some chances, but things just didn't go our way early, and we didn't react well to it. They played awesome. They were clearly better tonight, and we'll have to go back to work."

ST. JOHN'S 56, FITCHBURG 12

SJS 21 21 7 7 --- 56
FIT 0 6 6 0 --- 12

First Quarter
S - Drew Ortone 30 pass from Dan Light (Richard Rodgers kick) 8:32
S - John Vassar 4 run (Rodgers kick) 6:15
S - Vassar 31 run (Rodgers kick) 2:40
Second Quarter
S - Rodgers 53 pass from Light (Rodgers kick) 8:14
S - Light 29 run (Rodgers kick) 6:09
F - Quinton Perkins 5 run (kick blocked) 3:05
S - Light 2 run (Rodgers kick) 0:03
Third Quarter
F - Perkins 63 run (pass failed) 3:02
S - Light 14 run (Rodgers kick) 1:14
Fourth Quarter
S - Sean Wilson 7 run (Sean Gavin kick) 4:31

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