Boston High School: Ryan Delisle

No. 12 Prep eyes Super Bowl return

August, 31, 2011
St. Johns PrepScott Barboza/ESPN.comSeniors Tommy Gaudet and Owen Lynch captain a relatively young St. John's Prep team that will need to reassemble its offensive line in order to repeat at Catholic Conference champions.
DANVERS, Mass. -- On a splendid late summer day in the late afternoon, the St. John's Prep coaching staff is holding an open audition for which place kicker will handle kickoff duties. The No. 12 Eagles have four lively legs in camp, including seniors David Pope and Connor Shaw who shared responsibilities last year.

One by one the kickers lofted the ball into the air, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the coaching staff. The hangtime of each kick was shouted out by assistant Jameson Pelkey.

"Look at us, all standing out here, a half hour after practice watching kids kick off," head coach Jim O'Leary said with a half smile. "What do we do with our time?"

The place kicking duties will be just one of a few pressing questions following the defending Catholic Conference champions through the preseason. The most glaring of those questions will be who's on the offensive line? The five road-graders who led the way for Tyler Coppola's Conference MVP performance and 2,000-yard season in 2010 have all graduated and O'Leary's left with a group of 10 or so unproven junior and sophomore linemen.

"We're very green there," O'Leary said of the returning linemen.

It's a theme throughout Prep's ranks; the Eagles return just 15 senior gridders out of the 100-plus players who've been in Prep camp in August.

Still, the returning group has placed big goals in front of the team, which walked off the Gillette Stadium field dejected after a rough bout with Everett in the Division 1 Super Bowl.

"We all know that wasn't our best game," senior captain and quarterback Tommy Gaudet said.

"I think our goal is to get to the Super Bowl and do what we weren't able to do last season," co-captain Owen Lynch added.

Gaudet, for one, would like to forget the painful memories of watching the Crimson Tide roll all over the Eagles, 31-7. Following a shoulder injury sustained during the Prep's win over Catholic Memorial in Danvers, Gaudet played the remainder of the season while wearing a shoulder brace. He could barely throw the ball by the time the Eagles faced off against Xaverian for the conference title on Thanksgiving Day and into December.

Gaudet had surgery to repair the damage to his shoulder in the offseason and he's back to feeling 100 percent.

"The spot that I'm in, as the starting quarterback for St. John's Prep, I'd never give that up," Gaudet said of playing through the pain in last year's postseason, "not just because of some injury."

That attitude is what O'Leary hopes will carry his team against the stiff competition of the Catholic Conference. With BC High and Catholic Memorial returning teams laden with Division 1 recruits and the Hawks constantly circling, the road will not be easy.

"We've had a pretty intense camp and Coach O'Leary has kept telling us that nothing's going to be easy," Lynch said, "and nothing's going to be given to us this year."

2010 record: 8-5 (Lost Division 1 Super Bowl to Everett)
Coach: Jim O’Leary (28th year, 186-89-2)
Players to watch: Lucas Bavaro, Jr. WR/S, 5-11, 165; Tommy Gaudet, Sr., QB, 5-11, 190 lbs.; Owen Lynch, Sr. TE/DL, 5-11, 200; Alex Moore, Jr. RB/DB, 5-11, 175; Gerry Kahari, Jr. RB/DB, 5-7, 140; Johnathan Thomas, Soph. RB/DB, 5-7, 140;
Strengths: Defensive experience, kicking game.
Weakness: Lack of experience on offensive line.
Outlook: Many will ask how the Eagles can ever hope to replace Tyler Coppola, but the concern over the backfield pales in comparison to the lack of experience on the offensive line. "We have to replace 2,000 yards with Tyler, but we're looking to do that with two or three people instead of one," O'Leary said. Part of the backfield solution will be Alex Moore, who stood out in Prep's playoff victory over New Bedford last year with both an offensive (rushing) and defensive (interception return) touchdown. Don't expect O'Leary to deviate from his playbook of counter-trap sweep and options, but look for the newly healed Gaudet to air things out a bit more in play action. For as inexperienced as most of the offensive unit will be, a majority of the Prep defense either started or saw significant action last season. And it all starts with safety/linebacker/rover/human missile Lucas Bavaro. The kid can flat out hit and bring a Rodney Harrison-like blend of intelligence and physicality to his game. Look for Lynch to pick up the pass rush slack left by graduated defensive end Ryan Delisle.

Shriners Football Classic rosters announced

May, 5, 2011
The North-South game of the 33rd Annual Shriners Football Classic kicks off this June 17 at 7 p.m., and for the second year in a row the contest will be held at Gillette Stadium. Below are the rosters for both squads participating in the game:

Ryan Adams, Northeast, DE
James Aloisio, Masconoment, OT
Eric Apgar, Acton-Boxborough, RB
Anthony Arcari, Tewksbury, RB
Manny Asprilla, Everett, WR
Derek Bent, Shawsheen, TE
Brian Bourque, Reading, DB
James Brao, Hamilton-Wenham, LB
Cal Carroll, Methuen, QB
Brendan Casey, Boston Latin, DT
Thomas Chub, Masconomet, OL
Mitchell Colley, Arlington, LB
Sean Connolly, Tewksbury, FS
Tyler Coppola, St. John's Prep, RB
Matt Costello, Everett, WR
Anthony Courtouis, Lowell, WR
Jeff Covitz, Reading, OL
Nate Cyr, St. John's Prep, OL
Ned Deane, Andover, LB
Ryan Delisle, St. John's Prep, TE
Jake Giovanucci, Dexter, DE
Mike Grassa, BB&N, DB
Will Guinee, Malden Catholic, OL
Mike Harper, Methuen, LB
Zach Hayes, Chelmsford, S
Justin Hood, Billerica, DE
Brian Hurley, Wilmington
Zach Ingalls, Westford, DB
George Kallas, Beverly, OT
Ben Koopman, Marblehead, C
Chris Malonis, Dracut, WR
Tyllor MacDonald, Lynn English, DB
Tom Meade, Malden Catholic, LB
Trae Musumarra, Central Catholic, LB
Zach Nardone, Bishop Fenwick, DT
Paul Nwokeji, Thayer Academy, OL
John O'Connell, Northeast, DL
Daniel Omorgie, Lynn Classical, DE
Xavier Peralta, Central Catholic, DB
Ony Ramos, Lawrence, DB
Peter Savarese, BB&N, RB
Jordan Shairs, Gloucester, RB
Matt Silva, Dracut, QB
Bradley Skeffington, Salem, DB
Zach Smerlas, Lincoln-Sudbury, DL
Brian Strachan, St. Sebastian's, WR
Dave Summiel, Shawsheen, DT
Chris Unis, Gloucester, DE
Trae Weathers, Revere, RB
Sean Whittaker, Methuen, OL
Peter Yasi, Swampscott, DE

Matt Allen, Pembroke, SE
Ryan Barrett, Holliston, TE
Rob Barrus, Weymouth, LB
Adam Boari, King Philip, OL
Blaise Branch, Cardinal Spellman, RB
Lance Burlingame, New Bedford, OL
Jack Carrier, Cohasset, SE
Dylan Colarusso, Weymouth, RB
Joe Colton, Xaverian, DB
Tom Condon, Whitman-Hanson, OL
David Conroy, Walpole, SE
Nate Crary, Dennis-Yarmouth, DL
Seth DeMello, Somerset, RB
Mike Devin, Bridgewater-Raynham, OL
Mike Driscoll, Rockland, FB
Connor Fraser, Abington, DL
Jake Golden, Hingham, OL
Mitchell Graziano, Silver Lake, DB
William Greene, Oliver Ames, DE
Ernest Guy, Foxborough, OL
Joseph Hak, East Bridgewater, OL
Matt Hallisey, Duxbury, SE
Brian Harrington, Rockland, DE
Jordan Henderson, Barnstable, WR
D.J. Jamieson, West Bridgewater, RB
Randall Jette, Martha's Vineyard, DB
Dan Johnson, North Attleboro, SE
Andrew Kestenbaum, Dartmouth, OL
Matt Lockwood, Seekonk, RB
Albert Louis-Jean, Brockton, SE
Denis Maguire, Duxbury, LB
Jamel Marshall, Mansfield, RB
Zach Martin, Mashpee, RB
Alec May, King Philip, TE
Sean Mayo, Holliston, QB
Paul McCarthy, North Attleboro, DB
Kyle McGuire, Mansfield, OL
Dave McSweeney, Medway, OL
Obum Obukwelu, BC High, OL
Trevon Offley, Brockton, RB
Jon Page, Bourne, RB
Tyler Park, Scituate, QB
Liam Porter, Natick, OL
Ethan Rayner, Holliston, OL
Nate Robitaille, Attleboro, DB
Andrew Siden, Natick, TE
Kevin Stanton, Cardinal Spellman, LB
Jeff Synan, Plymouth North, OL
Chris Tamasi, Xaverian, LB
Ryan Vaughn, Norwell, OL


Football, Albert Louis-Jean, St. John's Prep, Andrew Kestenbaum, Liam Porter, Lynn English, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Gloucester, Tyllor MacDonald, Lincoln-Sudbury, Plymouth North, Manny Asprilla, Matt Costello, Central Catholic, Obum Obukwelu, Barnstable, Bridgewater-Raynham, Paul Nwokeji, Zach Smerlas, Andrew Siden, Matt Silva, Matt Hallisey, Acton-Boxborough, Eric Apgar, Chris Malonis, Lance Burlingame, Joe Colton, Chris Tamasi, Trevon Offley, Oliver Ames, Ryan Barrett, Ethan Rayner, Paul McCarthy, Dan Johnson, Trae Musumarra, Xavier Peralta, King Philip, Adam Boari, Mike Devin, Tyler Coppola, Ryan Delisle, Brian Bourque, Jeff Covitz, Zach Hayes, Jordan Henderson, Zach Ingalls, Cal Carroll, Mike Harper, Sean Whittaker, Justin Hood, Chris Unis, Jake Giovanucci, Jamel Marshall, Kyle McGuire, Malden Catholic, Will Guinee, Dennis-Yarmouth, Nate Crary, Jordan Shairs, Anthony Arcari, Sean Connolly, Cardinal Spellman, Blaise Branch, Peter Savarese, Connor Fraser, Silver Lake, Seth DeMello, Trae Weathers, Lynn Classical, Martha's Vineyard, Randall Jette, New Bedford, Rob Barrus, Dave McSweeney, St. Sebastian's, Brian Strachan, Peter Yasi, Mike Driscoll, Brian Harrington, Whitman-Hanson, Bishop Fenwick, Masconomet, Jeff Synan, East Bridgewater, Boston Latin, David Conroy, Foxborough, Hamilton-Wenham, West Bridgewater, Derek Bent, George Kallas, Tyler Park, D.J. Jamieson, James Brao, Ryan Adams, Denis Maguire, Thayer Academy, Marblehead, Ben Koopman, Wilmington, Brian Hurley, Shriners Football Classic, James Aloisio, Brendan Casey, Thomas Chub, Mitchell Colley, Anthony Courtouis, Mike Grassa, Zach Nardone, John O'Connell, Daniel Omorgie, Bradley Skeffington, Dave Summiel, Matt Allen, Jack Carrier, Tom Condon, Jake Golden, Mitchell Graziano, William Greene, Ernest Guy, Joseph Hak, North Attleboro, Matt Lockwood, Zach Martin, Kevin Stanton, Ryan Vaughn

Football Signing Day is here

February, 2, 2011
The first day of the football National Letter of Intent signing period has arrived, and we've got you covered all day (though we'll probably be buried under snow ourselves). Here is a list of Massachusetts athletes committed to Division 1 programs headed into today's big day.

Any commitments can be sent to Scott Barboza at or Brendan Hall at

(NOTE: The Ivy League does not recognize National Letters of Intent)

Taariq Allen, Rivers – Nebraska
Manny Asprilla, Everett – Boston College
Dalton Gifford, Bridgton Academy (Maine)/Barnstable – UConn
Marcus Grant, Lawrence Academy – Iowa
Harry Keselman, Oliver Ames - Temple
Anthony Knight, Lawrence Academy – Nevada
Albert Louis-Jean, Brockton – Boston College (enrolled in January)
Brian Miller, Andover – Boston College
Paul Nwokeji, Thayer Academy – UConn
Rodman Noel, Milford Academy (N.Y.)/Everett – NC State
Mike Orloff, Lawrence Academy – UCLA
Liam Porter, Natick – Boston College
Max Ricci, Lawrence Academy – Boston College
Richard Rodgers, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – Cal
Andrew Siden, Natick – Tulane

Jeff Anderson, Longmeadow - Brown
Ryan Barrett, Holliston – Bryant
Connor Candito, Bridgton Academy (Maine)/St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Sacred Heart
Jamie Casselbury, Philips Andover - UMass
Connor Caveney, Cushing Academy - Sacred Heart
Matt Costello, Everett – Princeton
Jeff Covitz, Reading - Bryant
Ryan Delisle, St. John’s Prep – Harvard
Anthony Fabiano, Wakefield – Harvard
Ryan Flannery, North Attleborough - Columbia
Justin Flores, Tilton School/Woburn - Maine
Dan Giovacchini, Lawrence Academy – Brown
Will Guinee, Malden Catholic - Dartmouth
Greg Hilliard, Suffield Academy (Conn.)/Brockton – UMass
Clay Horne, Lawrence Academy – Villanova
Brandon Howard, Worcester Academy/King Philip - UMass
Randall Jette, Martha’s Vineyard – UMass
Isaiah Jones, Mahar - Maine
Andrew Kestenbaum, Dartmouth – Rhode Island
Ben Koopman, Marblehead – Holy Cross
John Lavin, Falmouth – Bryant
Dan Light, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – Fordham
Harrison Lyons, Avon Old Farms (Conn.)/Norwell - Bryant
Alec May, King Philip - Georgetown
Brian McDonald, Hebron Academy (Maine)/Westwood - Sacred Heart
Andrew Mizzoni, Gloucester – Holy Cross
Obum Obukwelu, BC High – Harvard
Ben Patrick, Rivers – UMass (preferred walk-on)
Jason Richard, Milford Academy (N.Y.)/Weston - Sacred Heart
Peter Savarese, BB&N - Dartmouth
Zach Smerlas, Lincoln-Sudbury – Brown
Keshaudas Spence, Taft (Conn.)/Catholic Memorial - Sacred Heart
Charlie Storey, Milton Academy - Dartmouth
Brian Strachan, St. Sebastian’s – Brown
Cam Sullivan, Westfield - Bryant
Jeff Synan, Plymouth North - Bryant
Ben Ticknor, Milton Academy - Dartmouth
John Wallace, Somerville – UMass
Ryan Welch, Lawrence Academy – UNH
Conor Wyand, Nashoba - Brown

Nick Broughton, Marblehead - Merrimack
Matt Delaney, Barnstable - Assumption
Chris Mooney, Stoneham - Assumption
Mike Muir, Xaverian - Bentley
Bobby Richman, North Attleborough - Bentley
Chris Unis, Gloucester - Merrimack

Eric Bertino, BB&N - Middlebury
Ned Deane, Andover - Amherst
Mike Devin, Bridgewater-Raynham, Bowdoin
James DiBlaisi, BB&N - Trinity
Josh Friedland, Marblehead - Bates
Jake Giovanucci, Dexter - Bowdoin
Mike Gustafson, Belmont Hill - Washington & Lee
Brett Harasimowicz, Duxbury - Middlebury
Mike Hogan, St. John's (Shrewsbury) - Wesleyan
Matt Perlow, Marblehead - Bowdoin
Mike Tomaino, Gloucester - Bates

SJP's Delisle commits to Harvard

January, 4, 2011
St. John's Prep senior tight end Ryan Delisle has verbally committed to Harvard University for the fall of 2011, he confirmed tonight.

Delisle, a captain this past season, was a key component to the Eagles' vaunted rushing attack, which saw Tyler Coppola run for over 2,000 yards. He also played a pivotal role in their run to the Division 1 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, where they lost to Everett 31-7. Delisle was also considering Brown before he made his commitment to head coach Tim Murphy last night.

Super Saturday breakdown and picks

December, 3, 2010

Yesterday, coaches and captains from each of the teams participating in the six Eastern Mass Super Bowls played at Gillette Stadium toured the field in anticipation of Saturday's games. We caught up with Bridgewater-Raynham quarterback Billy Zolga and Everett wide receiver and defensive back Matt Costello yesterday.

Both players were at Gillette last year when their respective teams lost their Super Bowl bids. Now, the seniors are looking to leave a lasting imprint in their final high school football games.

This is for all the marbles, so let's get straight into the action:

Everett (11-0) vs. St. John's Prep (8-4), 6 p.m., Gillette Stadium
Everett players to watch:
ATH Manny Asprilla, WR Matt Costello, QB Jonathan DiBiaso, RB/LB Vondell Langston, LB Buck McCarthy, WR/DB Kenny Calaj, OL/DL Nick Chiarello, DL Shaquille Taylor.
St. John's Prep players to watch: RB Tyler Coppola, OL/DL Nathan Cyr, TE Ryan Delisle, TE/ROV Lucas Bavaro, OL/DL Dan Culkeen.
The skinny: In his third year under center, DiBiaso has exploded to lead one of the state's most prolific offenses (37.5 points per game), and re-write the record book (he threw his state-record 40th touchdown pass of the season in Tuesday's 21-0 win over Andover). But you best believe he is thanking his lucky stars for the exploits of Costello (20 touchdowns) and Asprilla. The Boston College-bound Asprilla, who lines up at both tailback and wide receiver, is one of the state's most dangerous threats in the short passing game, and known to rip off huge gains out of underneath routes. Prep, meanwhile, has rode a powerful ground game (what's new?) to victory, led by Coppola, who has nearly 450 yards on the ground in the last two games. The Eagles are anchored by a powerful line led by Cyr and Culkeen, while Bavaro has emerged as an intimidating presence over the middle on defense.
X-factor: The matchup of the Trinity-boud Cyr, one of the state's best o-linemen, versus Taylor, one of the state's best d-linemen, will be one of the most intriguing battles of the day. Both are built low to the ground, with an explosive first step, and you've got to wonder if one key block will spring either team to victory.

Barboza: A Prep win would be the fitting culmination to an emotional ride, but this has been the Crimson Tide's year. Everett, 27-21

Hall: This has been a remarkable run for the Prep, after all the program has been through these last two seasons, and they're winners in my book either way. I'm going with one of the unsung guys, Gilly DeSouza, to win it late with his feet for the Crimson Tide. Everett, 24-21.

Bridgewater-Raynham (10-2) vs. Gloucester (12-0), 8 p.m. at Gillette Stadium

B-R players to watch: QB/QB Billy Zolga, RB/LB Nick Schlatz, OL/DL Mike Devin, RB/LB Mike Chicoine, RB Brandon Morin.
Gloucester players to watch: TE/DE Chris Unis; RB/LB Gilbert Brown; FB/LB Jordan Shairs; OT/DE Andrew Mizzoni; C/NT Anthony Latassa.
The skinny: Do you like running the football? This game is for you. The Trojans and Fishermen do it better than just about anybody and certainly have the book on each other after facing off in last year’s Super Bowl. You’d be hard pressed to find a more consistent pair of backs than Gilbert Brown and Jordan Shairs of Gloucester. The Trojans ran behind Brandon Morin to a win over Weymouth in the semifinals after starting in place of injured tailback Nick Schlatz. It would give B-R a lift if Schlatz can recover from a shoulder injury sustained in a Thanksgiving Day win over Brockton
X-factor: Really it just comes down to which team blocks its assignments better. It’s simple as that.

Barboza: This might be the most difficult game to forecast, but I’m giving the edge to Gloucester’s experience. Gloucester, 16-14.

Hall: This might be the best matchup of the day. Power versus power, strength versus strength. Gloucester has more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, but I like the way this B-R team has been running the ball this last month. Against Dan Buron’s wishes, of course, I’m picking the Trojans to avenge 2009 and put an end to the Fish's 25-game win streak. B-R, 17-14.

Mansfield (11-1) vs. Reading (12-0), 3:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium
Mansfield players to watch:
RB Jamel Marshall, QB George Busharis, WR Blayne Taylor, OL/DL Sean Otto, OL/DL Kyle McGuire, OL/DL Anthony Todesco, WR Jeff Hill.
Reading players to watch: QB/DB Brian Bourque, OL/DL Jeff Covitz, OL/DL Anthony Fodera, RB Larry Gilligan, RB Zack Bates, WR Sean Gildea, WR Connor Sheehan.
The skinny: The defending Division 2 Super Bowl champ Rockets come into Saturday on a 25-game win streak, albeit by a thread after some late heroics from Bourque and Covitz allowed them to escape their home turf with a 15-14 thriller over Dracut. With Bourque spearheading a shotgun-oriented rushing attack, the Rockets have amassed 42 rushing touchdowns going into Saturday. The Hornets, meanwhile, are back at Gillette for the second time in three years thanks to a stalwart defense led by McGuire at defensive tackle, and the workhorse carrying load of Marshall. This Mansfield squad, known for its Wing-T, isn't afraid to pass the ball more than in years past, with the arm of Busharis. Taylor and Hill, the latter of whom caught three touchdowns in Tuesday's 28-0 shutout of Walpole, have emerged as downfield threats the last few weeks.
X-factor: Covitz, with his above-average leg strength and low center of gravity, has been the most irreplaceable guy on the offensive line, and is generally been a nuisance for opposing offensive linemen coming off the edge. With that in mind, picking up the blitz will be crucial for the Hornets.

Barboza: When it's on the line, Marshall is just too explosive. Mansfield, 17-14.

Hall: Stan Andre, the one who kicked off this whole win streak, was in the house Tuesday night to take in the Reading game. I'm sure he said something to them in the ecstatic locker room after the game, and I'm sure it's going to count late in the fourth quarter. Reading, 28-27.

Duxbury (12-0) vs. Concord-Carlisle (10-2), 1:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium
Duxbury players to watch:
QB Matt O’Keefe, DB/QB Kane Haffey, OL/DL Brett Harasimowicz, TE/DE Don Webber, RB/DB Reilly Naton.
Concord-Carlisle players to watch: RB George Craan; QB Peter George; RB/LB Jabrail Coy; LB Evan Boynton.
The skinny: These are two very stingy defenses with the Green Dragons allowing just 10.8 points per game and the Patriots have surrendered a shade under 13 points per game. Make no mistake, these teams can also move the ball. Duxbury thrives with its complement of Kane Haffey and Matt O’Keefe at quarterback. Concord-Carlisle can always depend on George Craan and his 1,600-plus yards out of the backfield.
X-factor: The Patriots and their fans know what to expect out of Craan, but if sophomore Tim Badgley can repeat his five-carry, 109-yard performance from their semifinal against North Andover, C-C’s chances for victory would greatly improve.

Barboza: One last time, I’ll pull this one out. The “Double Dragons” of O’Keefe and Haffey will lead them to victory. Duxbury, 21-20

Hall: Yes, that’s right, I called Duxbury’s defense “Duxbury Swag District” yesterday on our podcast. I am tragically lame, and slightly out of control. Duxbury, 24-10

Beverly (6-6) vs. Somerset (12-0), 11 a.m. at Gillette Stadium
Somerset players to watch:
RB/LB Seth DeMello; RB/DB Jaron Spear; OT/DT Ian Levesque; RB/LB Alex Estrella; QB Adam Ledoux.
Beverly players to watch: RB/DB Brendan Flaherty, QB/DB Joe Wioncek, OL/DL George Kallas, RB/DB Nick Theriault, LB Mark Giles, OL/DL Andrew Cannata.
The skinny: Somerset’s 28-0 win over Dighton-Rehoboth in the semifinals was a prototypical Blue Raiders game. Both Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear finished with over 100 yards rushing as Somerset bled the clock dry in the second half. Meanwhile, Beverly – the official Cinderella squad of the 2010 playoffs — showed that they truly belonged with a 41-14 thrashing of Scituate. Will the Blue Raiders prevail and finish a perfect season? Or can the Panthers keep the magic alive? It’s the quintessential favorite vs. underdog.
X-factor: The teams’ lines. For Division 3 schools, both of these squads have good sized linemen. Six-foot-five, 315-pound lineman Ian Levesque is a mountain on the Blue Raider line, but is agile as well. George Kallas is an immovable object on the Panther line.

Barboza: Not only is the double wing difficult for any team to run, but the Blue Raiders have all the right elements to run it to its best. Somerset, 28-14

Hall: Clock strikes midnight on Beverly, as two wings are better than one. Somerset, 21-10

Holliston (11-1) vs. Cardinal Spellman (12-0), 9 a.m., Gillette Stadium
Holliston players to watch:
RB/LB Kevin Curry, QB Sean Mayo, TE/DE Ryan Barrett, RB/DB Jake Frechette, WR/DB Christian Baker, OL/LB Ethan Rayner, OL/DL Kevin Lamarcque.
Spellman players to watch: RB/DB Blaise Branch, FB/LB Jared Lordi, RB/DB Jordan Williams, QB Zac Cooney.
The skinny: The 11-1 Panthers come into Saturday averaging just a hair under 40 points a game, with Mayo as the triggerman. Even in limited playing time -- the Panthers often pulled their starters in the third or fourth quarter -- the dual-threat quarterback put up 1,723 yards through the air, with 21 touchdown passes to only five interceptions, and also added 456 yards and nine scores on the ground. Spellman, in its third year under Ron St. George, had a remarkable turnaround, going from 2-9 to undefeated and in its first Super Bowl since 1992. At the forefront of St. George's vaunted Wing-T scheme is the senior Branch, who leads Eastern Mass with 36 rushing touchdowns. But over the last few games, defenses have had to worry more and more about Lordi and Williams.
X-factor: The Bryant-bound Barrett, at 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds, was a matchup problem all year long in the Tri-Valley League. And while he's not putting up the most gaudy numbers at tight end and was used more as a blocking back, his combination of size, speed and athleticism demands airtight coverage from the linebackers and helps open up the Panthers' offense.

Barboza: Panthers' rallying cry: 'We Don't Get Fooled Again". Holliston, 31-24

Hall: The Panthers came to Gillette last December and got manhandled. Guarantee you that's been fresh on their minds this week, and for that I think they avoid the same early mistakes that doomed them in 2009. Holliston, 25-20

Shawsheen (10-1) vs. Blue Hills (10-1), 10 a.m., Curry College
Shawsheen players to watch: OL/DL David Summiel, QB Ryan Woolaver, RB Andrew Dascoli, WR Rob Greenwood.
Blue Hills players to watch: RB Vincent Burton, RB Isaiah Teixeira, OL/DL Jamarr Goff, QB John Curran
The skinny: Shawsheen, on the heels of a 21-0 shutout of Madison Park in Tuesday night’s playoffs, is on a roll defensively. The Rams haven’t allowed a point in 19 quarters, dating back to a 41-6 win over Lynn Tech on October 15. Dascoli is the Rams’ workhorse back, while Greeenwood is their top threat at receiver. The Warriors, rested from a bye on Tuesday night, are led by Vincent Burton and his Division 4-best 30 touchdowns.
X-factor: The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Summiel might be the biggest catalyst for this incredible Shawsheen run. Playing right offensive tackle and left defensive end, Summiel paved the way for 118 rushing yards from leading rusher Dascoli, and also preserved a fourth straight shutout.

Barboza: The week off will certainly benefit Blue Hills, but the Rams defense is stout. Shawsheen, 14-7

Hall: Logic says to go with Blue Hills, as they’ll be well-rested thanks to their bye. But this Shawsheen defense is an absolute wagon by Division 4 standards, and for that I’m giving them another shutout to finish off what’s been a remarkable run over the last six weeks. Shawsheen, 21-0

Brighton (9-2) vs. Northeast (10-2), 1 p.m. at Curry College

Brighton players to watch: RB/LB Andrew Maestre, RB Dwight Kennedy, QB Jonathan Marrero, OL/DL Patrick Jean, WR Olumide Olukoga.
Northeast players to watch: RB/DB Bobby Novello; RB/DB Mike Cross; OL/DE Ryan Adams; FB/DE Ian Bagby; TE/LB A.J. Ortiz.
The skinny: You'd be hard pressed to find a hotter defense in the state than the Golden Knights, who have now pitched six shutouts after a 42-0 blanking of Pope John Tuesday. Their next challenge lies in the Bengals. A Division 4-A Super Bowl participant last year, Brighton’s offense is led by running back Andrew Maestre and quarterback Jonathan Marrerro, each of whom ran for two touchdowns in their 36-13 win over West Bridgewater on Tuesday.
X-factor: Brighton wide receiver Olumide Olukoga is the favorite target of Marrerro, but he’s also dangerous in the return game. Olukoga had a 41-yard kickoff return to set up Maestre’s first touchdown of the game. At this stage, with two talented teams, special teams play always comes to bear.

Barboza: Can’t pick against the Northeast defense, but the Bengals will put some points on the board. Northeast, 23-17

Hall: I used to live in Brighton Centre, and my neighbors were awesome. Go grab a bite at Smoken’ Joe’s when you get a chance, and make sure you get the Kansas City Sticky. Brighton, 21-17.

Stage is set for Gillette Stadium

December, 2, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is every teenager's dream to one day put on the shoulder pads and helmet and play in a Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium with everyone watching. On Saturday, that dream will be realized for players on twelve high school football teams, as the Division 1-3A MIAA Eastern Mass Super Bowls return to Foxborough.

“It is amazing,” Concord-Carlisle running back Jibrail Coy said, standing in the shadows of the stadium of the New England Patriots. “It feels good that we get to be on this field and we have an opportunity to play at Gillette.”

The MIAA invited the Super Bowl teams’ coaches and captains to Gillette Stadium for a breakfast on Thursday, and for some players it broke the ice of being on an NFL stadium’s turf for the first time.

“It’s breath-taking,” Beverly quarterback Joe Wioncek remarked. “Being here today helps take away the feeling a little bit, but it’s amazing.”

The Eastern Mass Super Bowls have been played at Gillette Stadium since 2007, and every year has provided a notable experience. In 2009, a snow storm clobbered Foxborough –- creating obstacles for the players, particularly in the night cap between Gloucester and Bridgewater-Raynham –- but the weather also gave the athletes a chance to get as close as they would ever come to feeling what it is like to be Tom Brady and company in December.

“It’s obviously the way you want to go out,” Duxbury quarterback Kane Haffey said about the opportunity. “I mean, I’m standing on the 50-yard line, where Tom Brady plays every Sunday.”

While some players gawked and took pictures or videos of the surroundings, others tried to remain stone-faced and stoic in front of their peers.

“The venue doesn’t matter,” St. John’s Prep senior Ryan Delisle said about Saturday. “It’s the game that counts.”

That somber attitude in the face of the excitement of the Super Bowl may come from the path that each team took to get to the Super Bowl.

Some teams have taken the hard road to get to this point, while others have skated in, coasting past playoff opponents. For instance, St. John’s Prep overcame an up-and-down year and snuck into the playoffs by virtue of a Thanksgiving Day win against defending Division 1 Eastern Mass Champion Xaverian. St. John’s then advanced after a 35-7 win over New Bedford, and will face Division 1 powerhouse Everett on Saturday.

“We have to give the credit to our young defense,” Delisle said about St. John’s season. “They started off the year as rookies with no experience. As the year has progressed they’ve gotten so much better, it is just incredible.”

On a similar note, Beverly lost its first five games of the season and was considered done by most teams in Division 3. Yet the Panthers rallied together, won all of their Northeastern Small Conference opponents, and dominated Scituate in the Division 3 semifinals to advance. Beverly’s opponent on Saturday is Somerset, who is coming off an equally impressive win, after shutting out Dighton-Rehoboth 28-0.

But it seems that there is no defined path to Gillette Stadium.

It is true that each team had to earn every victory, but teams like Everett and Gloucester (playing in the Division 1 and 1A Super Bowls, respectively) have a long tradition of playing on Super Bowl Saturday.

Longtime Everett head coach John Dibiaso has gathered seven Super Bowl rings in his tenure at the helm of the Crimson Tide, and this year has a talented group of seniors led by wide receivers Matt Costello and Manny Asprilla. Although the Crimson Tide lost to Xaverian in the Super Bowl last year, this year’s class is trying to redeem themselves against St. John’s on Saturday.

In the Division 1A semifinals, undefeated Gloucester traveled to Lincoln-Sudbury and shut out the Warriors 21-0. On Saturday, the Fishermen will face Bridgewater-Raynham for the second year in a row – last year winning the matchup 33-13. Bridgewater-Raynham serves as the underdog in that game, but could play spoiler after a 34-22 win over Weymouth on Tuesday.

And the theme of teams returning to Gillette doesn’t stop in Division 1. In Division 3A, Holliston, led by senior quarterback Sean Mayo – advanced out of the Tri-Valley League after a 35-20 victory over Rockland and is hoping to win its second-straight 3A Super Bowl. However standing in their way is undefeated Cardinal-Spellman powered by running back Blaise Branch.

In Division 2, Mansfield’s offensive weapons Jamel Marshall and George Busharis look to take down Reading. Mansfield is coming off of a 28-0 win over Walpole (, while Reading boasts linemen Jeff Covitz and a stout defense. In the Division 2 semis, Covitz had two sacks on elusive Dracut quarterback Matt Silva to secure a Super Bowl berth.

Although these games are the climax of most of these players’ athletic careers, it also makes for a bittersweet end. Yes, they will be playing in Gillette Stadium on the state’s biggest high school stage, but it marks the end of their playing career.

For the seniors there will be no more Friday night lights. Instead, in their place will be the fond memories of the glory days, that pinnacled at Gillette Stadium.

“We’re going to be a little bit nervous,” Concord-Carlisle’s Ryan Ruiz said. “But we’re going to take everything under control and do what we’ve been doing all year.”

“There will be a lot of emotions out there on the field,” Beverly’s Wioncek said about playing his last game. “We’re going to just go out there and try to make them the most positive as possible.”

Moore takes wind out of Whalers' sails

November, 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s really my one running play.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. 3 Brockton holds off No. 17 SJP

October, 2, 2010
BROCKTON, Mass. -- On fourth and goal from the Brockton 14-yard line, senior defensive back John Bright deflected a pass to Ryan Delisle, stopping a 69-yard and nearly 6-minute drive by St. John's Prep to seal the 17-14 win for No. 3 Brockton at Rocky Marciano Stadium.

"They're a good, physical, tough football team," Brockton head coach Peter Colombo said. "They can control the football, and I was proud of our defense for hanging in there."

On St. John's final drive, the Brockton defense was put to the test. After 12 snaps, No. 17 St. John's Prep (2-2) was at the three yard line, and having averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the drive up to that point, not showing any sign of letting up before they broke the plane on another 60-plus-yard drive.

Late in the second quarter, the Eagles flew 66 yards in 33 seconds, landing in the Brockton (3-1) end zone on the heels of senior Tyler Coppola's 3-yard bum rush, where he carried a Brockton defender across the goal line for St. John's first score in the game.

Getting the ball back early to start the third, St. John's Prep looked like they were going to give up a three-and-out after a holding call pushed the Eagles back, with the ensuing pass going for what would have been a first down without the penalty. After a rush for lost yardage by Coppola, the Eagles' punt was mishandled by Brockton, and they regained control of the ball.

Three plays later, on third and inches, St. John's Prep senior quarterback Tommy Gaudet rolled right and into the end zone from 38 yards out.

Back on the 3-yard line with less than three minutes to go, a St. John's offside penalty set them back to the 8. A loss of six yards on a Coppola rush and a pair of passes (one overthrown and the other dropped) would leave the Eagles 14 yards out and one opportunity to win.

The pass was well on its way into Delisle's hands, but Bright batted the ball down to raise the spirits of the Brockton faithful.

"They're kids, it's emotion, they're excited", St. John's head coach Jim O'Leary said about the off sides call on the goal line. "You can see the goal line from there. The play is away [from the direction the off sides was called].

"Like I told the kids, it's not one play that makes that difference. We had a couple of dropped balls down there [on the goal line] and it gets us into doing things that we don't want to do."

After St. John's took the lead early in the second half.

Brockton responded promptly with a simple two-minute drill: A Paul Mroz quarterback sneak; a 39-yard bomb down the left sideline from Mroz to Albert Louis-Jean; a jarring three-yard effort by Trevon Offley; and a pair of rushes by Mroz, the second a one-yard sneak past the plane in a pile. Lucas Depina's extra point gave the Boxers back the lead, which they were able to hold onto for the rest of the game.

"Good teams win tough games under adversity," added Colombo. "We've got a lot of work to do. We got a win, we're 3-1 after playing the iron of the Catholic Conference; it's a good place to be."

What can three points do for you?

Before St. John's prep scored in under a minute to close out the first half, Brockton's 6-foot-1 junior kicker, Lucas Depina, sailed a 41-yarder straight through the uprights, which brought the City of Champions stands to their feet and gave Brockton their margin of victory.

"Lucas is raising some eyebrows," said coach Colombo. "He's got a big-time leg and he's only a junior. He kicks it off the grass. We're allowed to use a tee but he kicks it right off the grass, which is the way that the college kids have to kick it. Lucas gives us a weapon, that with the schedule we playing, having the ability to make three [points on a field goal] and to convert the extra point."

"I didn't want to miss," said Depina.

He doesn't differentiate between extra points (he made both) and long kicks. He even thinks he could've gone for more yards if he needed to.

"I could've gotten it in from 50 [yards] at that point."

SJP 0 8 6 0 14
B 7 3 7 0 17

B – Jesse Monteiro 8 pass from Paul Mroz (Lucas Depina kick)
B – Lucas Depina 41 FG
SJ – Tyler Coppola 3 run (Copolla rush)
SJ – Tommy Gaudet 38 run (rush failed)
B – Mroz 1 run (Depina kick)

Coppolas inspiration to St. John's Prep

September, 2, 2010
DANVERS, Mass. -- Since the second grade, Tyler Coppola has always shared the football field and the spotlight with two of his brothers. But now he is the only Coppola playing football for the No. 19 St. John’s Prep Eagles.

It started two years ago when Tyler’s brother Brandon fractured his fifth cervical vertebra making a hit in practice. Although he did not undergo surgery, doctors said he could never play contact sports again.

Then, last year, another one of the triplets suffered another career-ending injury. This time it was Jared, the middle child of the three, who fractured the same vertebra.

But this injury was worse.

Jared, who was starting at safety going into last year, could not move after colliding with a Lynn English player during a scrimmage in September. He was then taken to Children’s Hospital Boston where Doctors operated on his C5 vertebra and stabilized his spine.

According to St. John’s head coach Jim O’Leary, initially the injury shocked the community so much that some parents took their children off of the team.

“It was a lot of adversity for last year’s team,” said O’Leary.

Jared spent last fall at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta trying to regain motion in his limbs. Now — just one year removed from the injury — he has regained motion in his upper body, and is rehabbing his lower extremities. Even though doctors still consider Jared a quadriplegic, the high school senior proclaims he will walk again.

The most impressive part is that the brothers will once again share the same field.

Tyler is St. John’s starting tailback and a co-captain. Brandon helps younger players learn their plays and run their routes. Jared serves as a constant motivation by cruising the sidelines in his wheelchair.

“Although we didn’t have a great season last year, he was a lot of motivation for us to pick up our game and play,” co-captain Ryan Delisle said. “It’s good to have him back home though. He is just showing us how precious life is.”

Last year, the community rallied around Jared’s injury and helped the family through tough times. A local public-access television station even streamed the Eagles’ games online so Jared could watch in Atlanta.

“It was just good to know that I had the support, they were there for me and that I knew they had my back,” said Jared about the school’s reaction.

St. John’s players wrote the initials “J.C.” and No. 34 on everything from their athletic tape to their helmets in memory of their injured teammate.

Coming into this year O’Leary and the triplets’ mother, Dawn Coppola, had a lot of discussions about whether or not Tyler should play football. Doctors were brought in to study Tyler’s spine and compare it to Jared and Brandon’s.

In the end, they deemed the two injuries rogue accidents, and Tyler decided that he wanted to play this season for his two brothers.

“I just have to play like nothing happened even though I know that in the back of my mind they both got hurt,” said Tyler.

Along with Delisle and quarterback Tommy Gaudet, Tyler will be one of the go-to options on the Eagles offense. This year with both of his brothers on the sideline, Tyler is ready to produce under pressure.

“It would be better if they could play because we’ve been playing on the same team since second grade,” said Tyler of his brothers’ presence. “But I just have to step up my game because I have to carry the weight for the three of us.”

2009 record:
Coach: Jim O’Leary (27th year, 178-84-2)
Players to watch: Danny Culkeen, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 245 lbs.; Blair Friedensohn, Sr., C/DE, 6-3, 220 lbs.; Nate Cyr, Sr., LB/OG, 6-2, 250 lbs.; James Ferguson, Sr., OT, 6-3, 270 lbs.; Tyler Coppola, Sr., RB/CB, 5-9, 185 lbs.; Chris Ryan, Sr., FB/ILB, 5-9, 230 lbs.; Tommy Gaudet, Jr., QB, 5-11, 190 lbs.; Ryan Deslisle, Sr., TE/DE, 6-5, 245 lbs.
Strengths: Size, Senior leadership.
Weakness: Depth.
Outlook: The Eagles lost four games by seven points or less last season, and had a tough time against Catholic Conference and non-conference opponents. However according to O’Leary, this year’s schedule “didn’t get any easier”. While St. John’s offensive and defensive line can match up against anyone and they have experience at the skills positions, they are unproven at quarterback. Look for Gaudet to throw primarily to Delisle and use Coppola to complement him in the Eagles' option offense.