Boston High School: Rhett Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: No. 12 King Philip 42, Franklin 21

November, 24, 2011
FRANKLIN, Mass. -– For the first time in the King Philip football program’s 51-year history, the Warriors are playoff-bound.

Senior running back Charles Ruffin carried the load for No. 12 KP (9-1, 3-1) on Turkey Day, rushing 24 times for 196 yards and a touchdown as the Warriors routed rival Franklin, 42-21, on Thursday at Pisini Field. This, coupled with North Attleboro’s victory over Attleboro, created a three-way tie for the Hockomock League title, and gave KP the necessary tiebreaker to earn the league’s postseason berth.

Franklin (4-7, 0-4) actually struck first in the contest, with sophomore quarterback Nick Zucco hitting senior Rhett Davis for a 64-yard score on the Panthers’ second play from scrimmage.

“[The same situation] happened to us a couple of weeks ago with Canton, too,” Ruffin said. “We don’t get nervous about it, we’re just going to stay with the game plan. So it didn’t really bother us, we just knew we had to make some corrections.”

The advantage would not last long, however, as the Warriors received the ensuing kickoff and began hammering away at the Franklin defense with a combination of Ruffin and senior fullback Ryan Dunn.

Ruffin broke runs of nine, seven and 23 yards on KP’s opening drive before Dunn plowed in from a yard out. Holder Sam McDonald bobbled the snap on the extra point, but corralled the ball and ran it in for the two-point conversion to give KP an 8-7 lead.

Dunn finished with 46 rushing yards on 13 carries, and also kicked five extra points.

That would become the theme for the day, as the Warriors employed Ruffin’s speed and Dunn’s power running to control the clock and keep Franklin’s potent spread offense off the field.

After a Franklin missed field goal, KP drove down the field again with a steady dose of Ruffin, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown sneak by quarterback John Dillon.

The sophomore did not need to do much with his arm, but was efficient when he did. Dillon completed 3 of 4 passes for 80 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown strike to Joe Cochrane in the second quarter to stretch the Warriors’ lead to 21-7.

“We didn’t even have to throw if we didn’t want to, we could have just handed it off,” KP head coach Brian Lee said. “But when we asked [Dillon] to make a play, he’s so smart, so calm and collected that he can execute and he does a great job. He really has a lot of upside to him.

KP struck once more 46 seconds before intermission (a 19-yard dash by Ruffin), then again immediately out of the locker room as Cochrane took the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards untouched into the end zone.

Down 35-7 at this point, the Panthers did not pack it in, as Zucco hit Davis again for 33-yard touchdown on Franklin’s next drive.

The passing game was the one bright spot for the Panthers in this contest, as Zucco -- who took over for injured starter Nick Canesi midway through the season -- was able to pick apart the KP secondary. The sophomore completed 7 of 12 passes for 215 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

With the Warriors already having scored on the ground, through the air and via kick return, the defense joined in on the fun in the third quarter. Zucco was stripped in his own end zone and defensive tackle Brian Jones dove on the ball for a KP touchdown and a 42-14 lead.

With that, Ruffin, Dillon and several other starters were relieved for second-teamers and KP milked the clock for much of the fourth quarter.

Franklin managed one final score, a 64-yard bomb from Zucco to junior Brandon Eccher, before KP recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

After the game, players lingered on the field anxiously awaiting the final score of the Attleboro-North Attleborough game, and erupted into cheers at the announcement of North’s 14-7 victory.

The wins create a three-way tie atop the Hockomock between KP, North and Mansfield, with the Warriors earning the tiebreaker by virtue of having the highest point total in matchups amongst the three teams.

“When you look around, the Hock has been dominated by a few programs for a long time,” Lee said, “And to be part of … a tradition that’s coming up, it’s been exciting. A lot of hard work has been done in taking a program that didn’t have a lot of pride in itself and getting them to believe.”

The Warriors will play in the Division 2 semifinals against undefeated No. 2 Duxbury on Tuesday, at a site that has yet to be determined.

KP (9-1, 3-1) 8 20 14 0 42
FR (4-7, 0-4) 7 0 7 7 21

First Quarter:
F – Rhett Davis 65 pass from Nick Zucco (Mike Carden kick)
KP – Ryan Dunn 1 run (Sam McDonald run)

Second Quarter:
KP – John Dillon 1 run (kick failed)
KP – Joe Cochrane 25 from Dillon (Dunn kick)
KP – Charles Ruffin 3 run (Dunn kick)

Third Quarter:
KP – Cochrane 80 kickoff return (Dunn kick)
F – Davis 33 pass from Zucco (Carden kick)
KP – Brian Jones fumble recovery in endzone (Dunn kick)

Fourth quarter:
F – Brandon Eccher 64 pass from Zucco (Carden kick)