Boston High School: Shane Farley

Player of the Week: D-Y's Spencer Tyler

September, 10, 2013
After getting walloped by Cape rival Barnstable a year ago, Dennis-Yarmouth returned the favor Friday.

Senior quarterback Spencer Tyler led the Dolphins to a 37-9 win over the Red Raiders and, for his efforts, is our ESPN Boston Player of the Week for Week 1.

Tyler threw for two touchdowns, while completing 9 of 15 pass attempts for 180 yards. He also ran for another score on a 100-yard rushing performance, with 139 yards on 14 carries.

On Monday, Brendan Hall caught up with Tyler at Dolphins' practice to talk about his stellar performance:

Along with Tyler, here's our Top 5 performances for Week 1:
  • Spencer Tyler, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth: 9 of 15, 180 yards, 2 TD, INT; 14 carries, 139 yards, TD vs. Barnstable.
  • Cameron McMillian, Sr. QB, Cambridge: 5 0f 9, 152 yards, 2 TD; 5 carries, 158 yards, TD vs. Greater Lawrence.
  • Christian Perez, Sr. FB, Northeast Metro Tech: 15 carries, 240 yards, 3 TD vs. Manchester-Essex.
  • Shane Farley, Sr. QB, Burlington: 14 completions, 225 yards, 5 TD vs. Billerica.
  • Jeff Trainor, Soph. WR, Billerica: 12 receptions, 174 yards, 2 TD vs. Burlington.

Recap: Wakefield 14, Burlington 6

October, 21, 2011
WAKEFIELD, Mass. — Wakefield took a big step towards making sure the Middlesex League Large Division goes through them when the Warriors pushed their way to a 14-6 victory over Burlington last night at Landrigan Field.

The Warriors needed a little pick-me-up in the second half to get their offense going as they scored 14 unanswered points in the final 22 minutes of the game, while holding the Red Devils offense in check.

Just as the offense got going for the Warriors on the legs of Josh Puccio and his 102 yards and a score on 23 carries, the defense started to respond as well. Tyler MacDonald came up with an interception of a Shane Farley pass and Dan Cardillo made a game-saving strip and recovery deep in the Warriors territory in the waning minutes of the game.

Wakefield now sits at 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the Middlesex League, while Burlington drops to 4-3 and a game behind the Warriors in the standings.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this tight contest, so let’s get right to them.

Momentum swing: The first half was all Burlington, and the Red Devils wasted little time proving its worth on the road. Marcus Odiah scored from 1-yard out on the opening possession, and the offense looked like it would put home a back-breaking score right before the half.

The Red Devils were plodding down the field and using their timeouts wisely with less than two minutes on the clock. Farley hit Jirair Manoukian over the middle for a 20-yard gain on third-and-6 to get the Red Devils down the to Warriors 10-yard line with 18 seconds left.

Farley went right back to Manoukian on the next play, and the receiver was trying to carry the pile into the end zone, but a host of defenders did well to stand him up at the 2-yard line and the pile up after the play didn’t allow for the ball to be snapped again in the half.

“I told my kids anything in bounds you’ve got to gang tackle and try to keep him up on his feet and then when he is down lay on him so they couldn’t get the ball,” said Warriors head coach Mike Boyages. “That was a big break. It took any kind of momentum away.”

Return of the power: The running game was clearly not working out for the Warriors spread offense in the first half, as they netted nine yards on nine carries, so Boyages went to a two-back set to begin the third quarter and put the game in Puccio’s hands.

The Warriors’ offense responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive, ending with Puccio finding the left side on a sweep to tie the game at 6. Brian Auld knocked in the extra-point to give the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The nail(s) in the coffin: Notice the plural of nails.

The offense and the defense of the Warriors did a good job of driving this game home on their own turf.

After a punt set the Warriors up with great field position near midfield, the offense methodically moved the ball inside the 10-yard line with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Puccio lost a yard on his first carry and the Warriors were called for a holding penalty to back the ball up to the 20-yard line on second down.

Bourque’s second-down pass fell incomplete, but his third-down pass did not. He avoided a rush and just got rid of the ball as he was being taken to the ground. Matt McKenna made a good adjustment on the ball in the end zone connecting for a 14-6 advantage.

“I think just stepping up gave him some extra time and he made a nice throw,” said Boyages.

Added Bourque: “I knew we had our best receiver out there. Our line gave me enough time and I just stepped up and kind of put faith in him to catch it.”

Bourque watched from the sidelines as Cardillo came up with the defensive stand of the game. Farley hit his receiver on an inside slant down to the 17-yard line, but Cardillo knocked the ball away from the ball-carrier and pounced on it to secure the game.

BUR (4-3) 6 0 0 0 --- 0
WAK (6-1) 0 0 7 7 --- 14

First Quarter
B – Marcus Odiah 1 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter
W — Josh Puccio 7 run (Brian Auld kick)

Fourth Quarter
W — Matt McKenna 20 pass from James Bourque (Auld kick)

Recap: Burlington 21, Melrose 20

October, 15, 2011
BURLINGTON -- Anthony Cruz blocked a point-after attempt and returned a punt 83 yards early in the fourth quarter to give the Burlington Red Devils an edge, in knocking off previously undefeated Melrose, 21-20.

“I knew we needed something big,” said Cruz of his team. “So I thought what better thing could I do than get a nice punt return, get the team up.”

Cruz scored with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter, so if Burlington was going to have a chance to strike, they would have to do it quick.

Taking the ball from their own 31, Melrose suffered a setback in a holding penalty then three plays before they were forced to punt. This time, the ball went to Jonathan Dube who returned the kick about 25 yards and across the 50 to the Melrose 49. Junior running back Marcus Odiah carried the ball down to the 32, but a holding call on the next play brought it back to the 40.

Senior captain Kyle Shields took the next handoff from quarterback Shane Farley and brought it past the plane, tying the game up 20-20 with 7:36 left in the game. An offsides penalty by Melrose brought the ball to the 1-1/2 yard line, and kicker Chris Arria booted the point after to put the Red Devils ahead, sealing the win.

“Man Up”: Even after Burlington went ahead, Melrose had two opportunities to score. The first an unfruitful drive that was stymied by the “man up” defensive mode that Burlington switched into in the second half.

“We had a little attitude adjustment at halftime,” said Burlington coach Shawn Maguire. “We wanted everyone to just man up on their own and be accountable for themselves.”

With multiple threats on offense, Melrose put on long, sustained drives in the first half, but after taking a gut check, Burlington slowed down the offensive attack to a crawl. “We were where we should have been sometimes but we just weren’t tackling. When you are where you should be, you should make the tackle.”

Lightning Strikes Twice: With 36.8 seconds left in the second quarter, after Melrose’s Bryan Reale scored his third rushing touchdown of the night, lightning struck in the area and the game was put on a 30-minute delay. After that delay, the ball was given to an official as another bolt struck near the field, causing a second 30-minute delay.

“I’ll take it as long as I can, if that’s what did it,” said McGuire.

A Little Extra is Required: The term "extra point" is not optional in Burlington football, it is needed. "It's not an extra point, that's necessary," added McGuire. "That's a winning point right there. We stress those little things all the time. We work on our special teams and kicking extra points [in practice]."

Strong, Silent Type: Anthony Cruz is a playmaker. He blocked an early point after attempt which sealed the win for his team, ran the 83 yard punt return for a touchdown, but per his usual cool, he didn't say much before performing his duties.

"I'm not really that loud in the locker room," said Cruz. "I try to lead by example."

MEL (5-1) 7 13 0 0 --- 20
BUR (4-2) 0 7 0 14 --- 21

First Quarter
M – Bryan Reale 1 run (Matthew DeSimone kick)

Second Quarter
M – Reale 5 run (kick blocked)
B – Shane Farley 4 run (Chris Arria kick)
M – Reale 16 run (DeSimone kick)

Fourth Quarter
B – Anthony Cruz 83 punt return (Arria kick)
B – Kyle Shields 40 run (Arria kick)

Recap: Reading 32, Burlington 27

October, 7, 2011

BURLINGTON, Mass. -- Reading's first month of the 2011 season was a forgettable one to say the least. After starting the year off in the top 20 of ESPNBoston's statewide MIAA poll, the Rockets stumbled to a 1-3 record out of the gates.

Headed into training camp, this was a squad viewed as green, with minute varsity experience, but talented no less. Tonight at Burlington High, the fruits of the latter trait were on display, as promising sophomore quarterback Drew Belcher completed 14 of 18 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, and added a fourth rushing score, as Reading (2-3) staved off a dangerous Burlington Red Devils squad, 32-27.

"I can't say enough about how our kids played tonight," Reading head coach John Fiore said. "They played to win, they played loose, they played together, they played as a team. They just played so hard on defense. I mean, in a short week, we came off a short week with a real physical game against Melrose (a 14-12 loss), and to get your body ready, they worked very hard this week with great enthusiasm. Just can't say enough about the maturity they exhibited tonight."

Down 32-14 with two minutes left in the third, the Red Devils (3-2) rallied with two quick scores to cut the lead to five with 5:56 remaining. First, quarterback Shane Farley (16 of 23, 187 yards, 2 TD) hit Nick Ciardi with a 48-yard fade just before time ran out in the third. Six minutes later, Ciardi came up big again, hauling in a 61-yard halfback pass from Anthony Cruz.

Burlington forced a three-and-out and took over at the Rockets' 41 with 4:38 to go. But on fourth and 11 from the 20, Stephen Mattos hauled in a Farley pass over the middle and was dragged down by Bill Carnes a yard short of the first down marker.

Reading then sealed the win by converting a fake punt on fourth and one with 40 seconds left.

And while Fiore spoke high praises for the mettle his players showed tonight, Burlington head coach Shawn Maguire was left frustrated with what he thought could have been. Reminded of Ciardi's resolve in the second half, Maguire fired back, "Yep, but again, when it came crunch time, we couldn't make plays."

"We just didn't step up and make plays when we were supposed to," he said of his team, which surrendered 12 points off turnovers. "You can't give up 32 points and win. We're not tackling good enough, we're not covering well enough, we just didn't play good enough to win. That simple. We got outmanned out front, blocking and tackling. We lost the line of scrimmage tonight."

Fourth and Guts: The Rockets are never a team afraid of rolling the dice (see: last year's Division 2 playoff and Super Bowl contests), and that playcalling pluck reared its head again tonight on fourth and one with 40 ticks left in the ballgame.

A turnover on downs would have given the Red Devils first down at the Rockets' 34 -- with, as we saw in spurts tonight, ample time to put together a game-winning drive. Convention says in this instance to run a sneak up the middle, given Belcher's size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and the way the line of Matt Commeford, Peter Fodera, Andrew Ferrano, Tom Beucler and Vaughn Wilder were getting push most of the night.

Instead, Fiore called for a direct snap to Anthony DeSimone out of a punt formation, and the senior tailback took off down the right sideline for 18 yards. Keying the run was Liam Kenneally, who sustained his block 10 yards downfield on a Burlington defensive back, long enough to open up a wide seam outside of the hash marks.

Asked about his inclination against just running it up the middle, Fiore channeled his inner Les Miles.

"I think we just decided we didn't want to be crazy, but we wanted to be a little crazy," Fiore laughed. "We wanted to play to win, and you know what, he has the option to punt it if it's there. But you know what, that's Anthony DeSimone making a great athletic, hardcore play. He made the right read and took off, and that's what we needed."

Obstructing Odiah: Junior Marcus Odiah is considered arguably the Red Devils' most dangerous big-play threat, if not the highest ceiling for college recruiters. And while he finished the night with 109 yards and score on 19 carries, he was unable to sustain that pressure against the Rockets' defense throughout the game.

It's not often you see a no-huddle team that operates from under center, but it's a style that plays to the Devils' strengths -- that is, the running game, and the short passes to the flats -- and we saw flashes of brilliance tonight.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Odiah runs in an upright style and demonstrates great body control; the Devils called many zone and stretch plays to left side of the field, whereupon Odiah would strafe Northwest before cutting 45 degrees and accelerating very quickly upfield.

All that said, he had just three runs of 10 yards or more, one of which was a 38-yard scamper down the left sideline, showcasing that 4.5 speed. His lone score of the night, a six-yard plunge, ironically came after he fumbled in the backfield.

Credit the outside rush -- led by ends Fodera and Joe Staffier, and outside linebackers Kyle McCarthy and Mark Sheehan -- as well as improved run support from safeties DeSimone and Greg Connery.

"Look, they're not chop liver over there as far as their offensive line and tight ends," Fiore said of Burlington's run game. "We have to fit everything perfectly against them, especially a tailback like Marcus who can stop and go, zero to 100. You have to fit your blocks the right way, get off them, and we have to have some run support there, get that edge set firm where it needs to be, and have our pursuit get there.

"We mixed up some fronts, mixed up some coverages, and I thought we played hard to the run. I thought our safeties did a much better job playing to the run tonight."

Ciardi turned it up: For all the talk of Belcher's improving arm, and the tricky two-back read option scheme the Rockets deployed adequately tonight with tailbacks Alex Valente and DeSimone, it was Burlington's Ciardi that may have ended up stealing the show in the end.

Simply put, the 6-foot-1 senior brought the burners out of the locker room to put in a monster second half, hauling in three catches for 118 yards and two scores on the Red Devils' final two scoring drives. On the first score, Maguire called up a 48-yard fade to Ciardi, who was left in single coverage and had his man beat by about three yards when Farley's pass came into his hands. The second score was more of the same, leaving his defender in the dust.

Overall, Ciardi caught six passes for 156 yards.

Making the grade: Belcher first impressed last season when he relieved the injured Brian Bourque in the second quarter of a one-score game and stormed the Rockets to a victory over Lexington; this summer, watching him in 7-on-7's, he showed considerable poise for a kid just 15 years old.

There's still a ways to go, but Belcher's getting passing grades from Fiore for his progression in the mental aspect of the position.

"It's not a 7-on-7, it's not practice, it's competition," Fiore said. "It's game-planning, scheming up against teams, and he's doing a better job of reading the defense. I'd say that's where he's improved a lot. It's good, it's great."


REA (2-3) 14 6 12 0 --- 32
BUR (3-2) 7 7 7 6 --- 27

First Quarter
R - Drew Belcher 1 run (kick blocked) 8:45
B - Anthony Cruz 10 pass from Shane Farley (Chris Arria kick) 4:51
R - Ryan Maney 31 pass from Belcher (Anthony DeSimone run) 3:39

Second Quarter
R - Maney 17 pass from Belcher (kick failed) 4:44
B - Marcus Odiah 6 run (Arria kick) 1:03

Third Quarter
R - Liam Kenneally 30 run (rush failed) 9:29
R - Jared Barros 24 pass from Belcher (pass failed) 2:02
B - Nick Ciardi 48 pass from Farley (Arria kick) 0:43.8

Fourth Quarter
B - Ciardi 61 pass from Cruz (pass failed) 5:56

Brighton dominates boards en route to D2 North final

March, 11, 2011
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Describe Brighton’s win in one word?

Speedy. No, aggressive. Rebounding, maybe?

One word: complete.

The eighth-seeded Bengals took control from the opening tip, churning out an 18-3 run in the first six minutes against a Burlington squad still trying to establish tempo.

After 32 minutes of play, what appeared inevitable after one quarter became reality, as Brighton took down the No. 12 seed Red Devils, 68-46, with scoring from 10 different players, and double-digit contributions from four.

All told, the one statistic that encapsulates this Division 2 North semifinal was the rebounding margin. Brighton (14-5) surpassed Burlington, 58-18, in seizing missed shots.

Leading the way on the glass were senior forwards Bernadin St. Vil (11 points) and Mike Arnead, who hoarded ten rebounds (five offensive) and eight, respectively. In addition, senior forward Edward Toney (nine points, three blocks) amassed seven boards, while senior shooting guard Ronald Mack (10 points) grabbed five.

“It dictated everything,” Brighton head coach High Coleman said. “Defensive rebounding allowed for us to fast-break. We had a lot more fast-break points in this game than I think we had most of the season. Offensively, it allowed us to get second chances and it took a lot of the pressure off of us.”

The Bengals brought down 17 offensive rebounds to just five from the Red Devils (14-9). Subsequently, Brighton awarded itself more shot attempts, totaling 25-for-61 (Five three-pointers) from the field, compared to Burlington, who went 17-for-58 (One three-pointer).

By and large, senior point guard Kevon Young played frontrunner for the victors, tallying a game-high 15 points -- 13 in the first half -- to accompany his ten rebounds and four assists. Young’s vision and ball handling were instrumental to Brighton’s up-tempo style.

“Our coach told us, ‘rebound and box out,’” Young said. “That’s a big part of the game. And we pushed the fast break. When we got the rebound, we’d go.”

For a Burlington squad faithful to its 2-3 zone, installing full-court pressure and a man-to-man defense in the second half -- an effort to disrupt Brighton’s offense and force turnovers -- was a decision Burlington head coach Tom Lyons said he was reluctant to make.

“[Zone defense] has worked all year,” he said. “That’s what these kids know. For us to play man-to-man, it’s difficult.”

Nonetheless, the Red Devils did force 22 turnovers on the contest.

And that turnover statistic is an issue, albeit one of minimal importance in regards to this particular contest, Coleman said.

“I’m almost like a perfectionist,” he said. “I’m a point guard at heart, naturally, so I want us to take care of the ball. But I thought that today, the turnovers were overshadowed by the fact that we were rebounding and we got more points. So I really didn’t notice the amount of turnovers.

“It bothers me to an extent, especially in a tight game, obviously, and even in a game like this, so that we don’t get complacent. So when we get into a tight game, we stress taking care of the ball.”

For the Red Devils, offensive production came predominantly from the dribble penetration of senior guard and tri-captain Ryan Putney. The soon-to-be two-time Middlesex League All-Star also posted a game-high 15 points while pulling down five rebounds.

“[Putney] is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever come across,” said Lyons. “He’s one of these kids that I constantly yell at, but I know he can take it. He was a league all-star last year. He should be again this year. He’s had a great career at Burlington.”

Alongside Putney, Burlington welcomed eight points from junior guard and tri-captain Connor Gallivan and seven from seven from freshman substitute Shane Farley.

Moving forward, Brighton’s Coleman wants his squad to maintain it’s simple, yet oh-so-vital modus operandi when it faces New Mission -- who took the two regular season contests with Brighton -- in the sectional finals: box out and gain control of errant shots.

“I’m very happy that we rebounded well tonight,” the former Charlestown guard said. “One of the reasons I wanted to emphasize rebounding is because of New Mission. They are big and they pound the boards. So we have to box out and rebound."

And limiting New Mission’s production in the paint?

“Can you eliminate that in some way?” Coleman joked. “Good luck...we’ll just try and do what we’ve been doing all year. Try to have a mix of inside-outside and see what happens. I think it’ll be a really good game.”