Boston High School: Shayne Kaminski

Recap: No. 4 Xaverian 15, La Salle (R.I.) 12

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
PROVIDENCE, R.I . – Granted, defending MIAA Division 1 boys’ lacrosse champion Xaverian Brothers and two-time defending Rhode Island Division 1 champion La Salle Academy play in different leagues as well as in different states.

But what if the Hawks and the Rams either played in the same conference or played each other more than once per season?

“Obviously, ‘O.D.’ (La Salle coach Steve O’Donnell) has them fired up, they run good patterns and they know what they want to do,” Xaverian coach Tim Gardner said on a frigid, rainy Saturday after the Hawks beat the Rams, 15-12.

“They have a heck of an athlete in No. 22,” he said of the Rams’ Joe Manown, who scored three goals and assisted on two. “I think they’d fit right in the Catholic Conference with us. If we played them a couple of times a year, it would be a tough game every time. I think that’s what every Catholic Conference game is like.”

Xaverian’s 1-2 punch of Jake Cox (five goals, one assist) and Jack Wheeler (three goals, one assist) paced the Hawks while Manown’s younger brother, Matt, also scored three goals and recorded two assists.

Lukas Buckley contributed one goal and two assists for the Hawks (6-2) while Evan McGreen scored twice for the Rams (3-2).

As far as O’Donnell is concerned, the tougher the non-league opponent the better.

“My philosophy here is we have a league and then we go out of league,” O’Donnell said. “We’re going to challenge ourselves in our league and out of our league. As for Xaverian Brothers, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

“The same is true with Medfield and Bishop Guertin. They’re three of the best teams I think in New England. But I think we’re a very good team. We’re young. But I think the difference today was discipline.”

For the first seven minutes, the Hawks gave every indication that they would blow the Rams off the field since they grabbed a 4-0 lead on goals by Cox, Peter Thorbahn, Cox again and Nick Shaw.

La Salle battled back and recorded unanswered goals by Matt Manown, Joe Manown and Drew Edwards (his goal came after a half-field pass from Matt Manown). But Xaverian scored a killer of a goal with exactly two-tenths-of-a-second left in the first quarter when Zach Bloom whipped home a shot from a good 40 yards out.

“We got up and we’re seeing it a little bit,” Gardner said. “The weather plays into a lot of the things we do. I think we got the better of that first quarter. But they chipped back. They have a lot of good athletes all over the field and were able to make some good plays on groundballs … unsettled situations … and climbed back into it and made it closer.”

La Salle pulled within 5-4 on a Matt Manown goal 52 seconds into the second period. And the Rams tied it when McGreen scored a man-up goal at 6:33.

Then, after Wheeler and Joe Manown traded goals to make the score 6-6, Xaverian’s Shayne Kaminski scored a key goal – 10 seconds after Manown’s goal to put Xaverian ahead for good at 7-6.

“We certainly have a lot of guys that are capable of scoring,” Gardner said. “I think defense is a little tough because of the weather and the ball’s skipping around. There were a couple of wild situations with the penalties and being multiple-men down a couple of times.

“It was a weird game in that sense. But Cox is a great shooter. Wheeler can take over a game by carrying the ball from midfield. He’s just a tremendous athlete. They’re seniors and we depend a lot on those guys.”

Wild finish: To say the final two minutes of regulation were bizarre would be an understatement.

Seemingly in an eye blink, Xaverian was whistled for three consecutive penalties. And during a span of 47 seconds, La Salle was playing with a two-man advantage. But either Mike Toomey (11 saves) made a save or La Salle missed the cage.

“I think at the end, when push came to shove, it was a close game (McGreen’s goal pulled La Salle within 15-12 with 3:17 remaining) and we had some man-up opportunities and we imploded,” O’Donnell said. “We made some bad decisions. But I have some seniors and juniors who can play.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t come our way today. Our goal with these games is to get better. I think it was a very winnable game. I’m sure they thought at one point it was a 50-50 game. We made some mistakes early and a let them jump on us quickly which probably was the difference in the game.”

Central Catholic LBs pull their weight

December, 7, 2013

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Even without Shayne Kaminski, Xaverian's rushing attack was still strong enough to pose massive problems for Central Catholic in last night's Division 1 title game.

Insert Central linebackers Nick Boes and Markus Edmunds: Xaverian's problem.

Edmunds and Boes combined for 10 1/2 tackles and played a major role in shutting down Noah Sorrento and holding the Hawks to 122 total rushing yards.

“We practiced they're plays all week so we knew what they were going to run,” Boes said. “We knew they were a good team but we knew we'd have to keep battling. The defensive tackles set the edge along with our outside linebackers. They kept them inside and we made plays.”

After Sorrento scored in the second quarter to cut the Central lead to 13-7, the tandem buckled down. Sorrento was held to only 48 yards on the night. Boes and Edmunds also both got through to hassle Xaverian quarterback Jake Farrell.

“Our unsung guy is Nick Boes,” Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos said. “He's inside their with Markus and he's been consistent all season for us. They played well today.”

Central won the battle of wills by game's end, but Xaverian pressed the physicality throughout. It took a few key stops in the fourth quarter by Central to close out the game.

“The lineman hit very hard; the running backs hit very hard, obviously,” Edmunds said. “They're an excellent all-around football team.”

The on-field chemistry is a byproduct of the close relationship Boes and Edmunds have off the field. Boes and Edmunds have played together dating back to their time on the J.V. squad in 2011.

“Nick and I are best friends,” Edmunds said. “We know each other very well.”

Edmunds pitched in on the offensive side of the ball as well. The junior rushed the ball five times for 64 yards, including runs of 22 and 26 yards that led to the touchdown that clinched Central's win.

“I love being able to contribute to the team any way I can,” Edmunds said. “The blocking on the perimeter was great.”

As far as winning Central's first state title in 15 years, Edmunds and Boes said that this was dream and capturing it was sweet.

“Before the season this was the ultimate, but we knew it would be tough,” Edmunds said. “We knew we'd have to buckle down to win the game. The feeling's indescribable.”

“This is one of the greatest feelings I've ever experienced in my life,” Boes said.

D1 final: Central Catholic 34, Xaverian 17

December, 7, 2013

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns to lead Central Catholic to its third Super Bowl title and first since 1998. The Raiders held off Xaverian, 34-17, in the Division I championship game at Gillette Stadium.

Central Catholic head coach Chuck Adamopoulos noted that his team has the belief that it can beat anyone in the state and showed that it can by beating Everett in the DI North final and then Xaverian on Saturday.

“They just keep pulling out games and they’ve gotten better as the year has gone on,” explained Adamopoulos. “They have a lot of confidence and they believe that they can play with anyone. We had to beat two really good programs to win this; two of the marquee programs in the state.”

The Raiders jumped out to a great start, scoring on their first two possessions. Junior quarterback Michael Milano (6 of 13, 81 yards, 2 TD) capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Manning.

Central Catholic forced a second three and out on the next Hawks possession and Blades Shields raced into the backfield to block the punt, which set up the Raiders at the Xaverian 24. Two plays later, Drummond-Mayrie scored the first of his touchdowns on an eight-yard run.

“That was huge … at that point it was definitely a huge factor to getting that two touchdown lead,” said Adamopoulos. “Letting us play with the lead was big.”

Xaverian’s offense kicked into gear on its next possession with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that ended in a Noah Sorrento touchdown that made it 13-7, but the Raiders did not allow the Hawks to have momentum for long.

Drummond-Mayrie, a University of New Hampshire-commit, took off on a 52-yard touchdown run that restored a two-score lead for Central Catholic.

“There was a huge hole and then I just saw the corner come up one-on-one and I knew if I made a move that I would get tackled,” described the senior. “I got yelled at earlier this season for putting a move on, so I just ran him over and looked at the screen to see how close they were and just sprinted.”

His head coach admitted that he is going to miss the running back both on the field as a presence in the locker room.

“He’s one of my favorite kids that I’ve ever coached,” remarked Adamopoulos. “I said to him that this was going to be his day and he responded on offense, on defense…UNH is getting a great player.”

A Joe Gaziano 30-yard field goal made the score 20-10 at the half. Xaverian then made a stop on the Raiders opening possession, but a Hawks player unnecessarily tried to cover the punt and the Raiders grabbed the loose ball to regain possession at the Xaverian 32. Three snaps later, Drummond-Mayrie scored again and made it 27-10.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Xaverian looked like it may have some more magic like it had in the second half comeback against Attleboro in the semifinal. An interception by D’Aundre Holmes gave the Hawks the ball at the Raiders 22. On the next play, Jake Farrell (6-19, 80 yards, 10 carries for 47 yards) hit A.J. King for a touchdown to bring them back within 10 points.

Xaverian would get the ball back, but the Raiders defense made several key plays to force another three and out. The Hawks offense, playing without stars D.J. Sperzel and Shayne Kaminski, could not sustain drives and struggled against the hard-hitting Raiders.

“Well, I would’ve liked to have an offensive turnaround right there,” said Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson about the fourth quarter sequence. “The clock was kind of against us and, you know, we give them credit. They made the plays on both sides of the ball when they needed to.”

He added, “I thought they were a good football team; they outplayed us. I congratulate them; they deserved to win the game tonight. We had a hard time matching up with them all over the board.”

Central Catholic wrapped up the victory with a highlight-reel catch by senior wide receiver Cody Demers for a 19-yard touchdown with just 2:33 remaining.

Drummond-Mayrie noted, “We’re kind of used to it but we kind of like it - being the underdog, coming from behind, picking everybody off one-by-one and it just makes the win that much better.”

Recap: Xaverian 28, St. John's Prep 22

November, 28, 2013
DANVERS, Mass. -- Xaverian fought through adversity on Thanksgiving Day to hold off a fierce upset bid by Catholic Conference rival St. John’s Prep. The Hawks lost four players, including star running back Shayne Kaminski to injury in the first half, but prevailed in the second half for a 28-22 victory over the Eagles, securing the Catholic Conference title.

“The Prep came out hard like we expected them to. It was just a matter of who wanted it more and today we wanted it more,” said Xaverian junior quarterback Jake Farrell.

Kaminski got the Hawks off on the right foot as the senior jolted up the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage for the Hawks. The score stood 6-0 after a failed extra point attempt.

“The [second] play of the game we had a big play from Shayne [Kaminski],” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “He went 90 yards for a touchdown and then after that things went a little south for us in terms of injuries. We lost some key guys early on in Shayne, Kenny [Kern] and John Dean, and were playing with a lot of subs out there.”

The tide quickly turned as injuries mounted for Stevenson’s team. After forcing a St. John’s fumble on the goal line, Xaverian fumbled the ball one play later, leading to a safety.

Michael Fawehinmi returned the ensuing free kick 75 yards for a touchdown and all the momentum had swung the way of the Eagles. St. John’s running back Cody Harwood broke free for a 46-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to extend the Eagles lead to 10.

“Whenever something bad happens, it just tumbles out of control,” said Farrell. “They had us on our heels. It was a matter of whether we could pick ourselves back up.”

Pick themselves up they did. The turning point in the game was a 60-yard touchdown bomb from Farrell to Damion Wood to cut the St. John’s Prep lead to three heading to halftime. It allowed the Hawks to gain some confidence and get back in the game before the second half.

“We’ve been trying to get that going for a couple weeks now,” said Farrell. “[Wood] is a great athlete and we finally got him going. I just threw it up there and he jumped up, hauled it down and took it in.”

Billy Leroux gave the visitors the 20-16 lead after the break with a five-yard score on the ground, but Jim O’Leary’s team answered back.

Eagles quarterback Mike Geaslen capped off a nice drive by rolling out to the right and finding Jack Lambert for the touchdown. The Eagles failed to convert the extra point, but the Prep had taken the 22-20 lead with just over two minutes to play in the game.

Xaverian would not be deterred as Farrell led his team down the field with a beautiful series. The junior signal-caller was a perfect 5-for-5 on the drive. His touchdown pass to A.J. King with just 28 seconds left gave the Hawks a 28-22 lead after a successful two-point conversion.

“Everyone was counting on me to get it done and I didn’t want to let my teammates down and they didn’t want to let me down. It was a group effort. The offensive line – that last drive was a credit to them. They were amazing,” said Farrell of the game-winning march down the field.

“At the end of the game we were playing with our fifth, sixth and seventh linebackers, but they gave us enough to win the football game,” Stevenson said. “I guess that’s what being a good team is all about. That was a great win for us. I’m really proud of our guys overcoming adversity, sticking with it and bringing the win home for us.”

Despite the loss O’Leary recognized what a great game it was: “It was back and forth. It was one of the classic games we have with Xaverian every year. It’s why people come. It was a very physical game today.”

The season is over for St. John’s Prep, but Xaverian has one last game against Central Catholic at Gillette Stadium to decide the Division 1 state title.

“We just have to work with what we have,” Farrell said. “Obviously, we hope that Shayne [Kaminski] and Kenny get better. They might be back or they might not, but we had a bunch of guys step up today and play really well. We got to see what we can do with that.”

Mr. Football Watch: Playoffs, Week 3

November, 20, 2013
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch", following the third weekend of MIAA State Championship Playoffs. As always, coaches and/or statisticians are encouraged to send statistics to editors Brendan Hall ( and/or Scott Barboza (

EDITOR'S NOTE: This will be the final "Mr. Football Watch" of the 2013 season. The five finalists for our Mr. Football Award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 25, with the winner announced on Dec. 9.



Luke Brennan, Sr. QB, Doherty
Threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns, but most importantly delivered the game-winning touchdown pass to Isaac Yiadom with five seconds left, as the Highlanders captured their first Central Mass. title since 1980 with a thrilling win over Shepherd Hill.

Davon Jones, Jr. FS, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Totaled 10 tackles and an interception, in the Pioneers' 51-42 thriller over Leominster for the D2 Central title. He leads the team in tackles (91) and interceptions (5).

Neil O'Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
Totaled 289 passing yards and two touchdowns, in a 51-42 loss to St. John's in the D2 Central Final.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Carried a career-high 39 times for 160 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 7-6 win over rival Plymouth North for the D3 Southeast title. He is the state's leader in playoff rushing yardage, with 737.

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Completed 14 of 22 passes for 250 yards and three scores, and added 201 yards rushing and three more scores on 20 carries, in the win over Leominster. That puts him over the 2,000-yard passing mark for the second straight season; he currently has 2,787 yards of offense with 38 touchdowns.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Completed 15 of 22 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' win over Westfield in the D2 West Final.

Ju'an Williams, Sr. WR, Springfield Central
Made five catches for 119 yards in the Golden Eagles' 48-22 dismantling of Westfield in the D2 West Final.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 20 of 27 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns in the Hornets' 41-16 win over Barnstable in the D2 South Final. He is completing 70 percent of his passes in the playoffs.


Olan Abner, Sr. RB, Bedford
Ran for 139 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' overtime win over Pentucket for the D4 North title, his third straight week going over 100 yards rushing.

Jahkari Carpenter, Jr. RB, Doherty
Ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Highlanders past Shepherd Hill for the D4 Central title. He has 230 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Michael Dunn, Jr. CB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Held Holliston's top target Zach Elkinson without a catch, and made an interception for his own cause -- his sixth of the season -- as the Dolphins captured the D4 South title.

Michael Hershman, Sr. WR, Mansfield
Exploded for seven catches for 132 yards in the Hornets' 41-16 win over Barnstable, for the D2 South title.

Shayne Kaminski, Sr. RB, Xaverian
Ran for 200 yards and two scores to help rally the Hawks past Attleboro for the D1 South title, his second 200-yard rushing game in three playoff games.


Kyle Wisnieski, Sr., Mansfield – 689 yards, 9 TD
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 647 yards, 5 TD
Luke Brennan, Sr., Doherty - 607 yards, 11 TD
Drew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 588 yards, 10 TD
Neil O’Connor, Sr., Leominster – 575 yards, 5 TD
Mike Milano, Sr., Central Catholic – 516 yards, 4 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 504 yards, 6 TD
Dana Parello, Sr., Waltham – 494 yards, 6 TD
Tim Walsh, Sr., Attleboro - 469 yards, 8 TD
Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central – 417 yards, 5 TD

Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 737 yards, 8 TD
Alex Givins-Perry, Sr., Bartlett – 710 yards, 5 TD
Christian Carr, Jr., Plymouth North – 618 yards, 8 TD
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 512 yards, 6 TD
Koby Schofer, Soph., Northbridge – 466 yards, 8 TD
Malik Garrett, Sr., Melrose – 466 yards, 7 TD
Shayne Kaminski, Sr., Xaverian – 447 yards, 5 TD
Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham – 418 yards, 6 TD
Olan Abner, Sr., Bedford – 395 yards, 3 TD
Shane Combs, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 386 yards, 5 TD

Player of the Week: Xaverian's Shayne Kaminski

November, 19, 2013
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- With his teams trailing by two scores in the second half of Saturday's Division 1 South final against Attleboro, Xaverian senior running back Shayne Kaminski put his team on his back while ensuring the Hawks first Gillette Stadium appearance since 2009.

Kaminski racked up 151 of his 200 rushing yards in the final two quarters, scoring two touchdowns as part of a string of 28 straight points the Hawks posted against the Blue Bombardiers, en route to a 35-28 victory.

For that effort, Kaminski was named our ESPN Boston Player of the Week.

Brendan Hall caught with Kaminski on Monday for this interview:

Along with Kaminski, here are our five top performers from this weekend:
  • Shayne Kaminski, Sr. RB, Xaverian – Racked up 200 yards, 151 of which came in the second half, with two touchdowns in a come-from-behind win over Attleboro in the Division 1 South final.
  • Jesse Gwodz, Sr. RB, Governor’s Academy – Ran for 208 and six touchdowns in just one half of service in Governor’s 67-19 romp over Hamden Hall in the NEPCAS football championships.
  • Dana Parello, Sr. QB, Waltham – Had four total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing, one interception return) while throwing for 182 yards. Parello forced three turnovers, returning an interception 100 yards for a score while recovering two fumbles against Lincoln-Sudbury.
  • Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – Surpassed the 200-yard mark via the air and on the ground, throw for 250 passing yards while adding 201 yards rushing and combining for 5 TD in the Pioneers’ win over Leominster in the Division 2 Central final.
  • Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield – Completed nearly 75 percent of his passes (20 of 27) while throwing for 284 yards and four touchdowns in the Hornets’ win over Barnstable in the Division 2 South final.

D1 South final: Xaverian 35, Attleboro 28

November, 16, 2013

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Xaverian senior Shayne Kaminski had 151 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns in the second half alone as the top-seeded Hawks beat Attleboro, 35-28, in Saturday afternoon’s Division 1 South final.

Attleboro took a 14-7 lead into halftime and extended it to 21-7 on the opening drive of the second half, but Xaverian responded quickly and continued to gain momentum, scoring 28 straight points.

"We came out in the second half and we needed to run the football because obviously we didn't want to give them more opportunities offensively because they're very explosive," Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. "We really took control of the line of scrimmage in the second half and Shayne was just a monster."

[+] EnlargeXaverian football
Scott Barboza for Xaverian claimed the Division 1 South title and will face North champion Central Catholic at Gillette Stadium.
The Hawks opened scoring in the second quarter when quarterback Jake Farrell was able to escape Attleboro defenders in the backfield before firing a pass down field to a wide open Coby Tippett for a 48-yard touchdown. Attleboro responded on its next drive, taking it to the Xaverian 32 before Attleboro quarterback Tim Walsh found Brenden Massey in one-on-one coverage for a touchdown, making it 7-7.

Patrick Dunn then intercepted Farrell on the next drive and Attleboro marched 63 yards before Walsh hit a wide open Luke Morrison, who had just made a spectacular one-handed, 35-yard catch on the previous play, for a 6-yard touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the half.

But the second half belonged to Kaminski, who finished with 30 carries for 200 yards.

After Attleboro made it 21-7, Xaverian drove 70 yards on eight plays — five of them runs by Kaminski — before the senior went through a big hole towards the right side for an 18-yard touchdown. On the next series, Xaverian junior defensive back Ernest Simon picked off Walsh. Though the offense was forced to punt, the kick pinned Attleboro inside their own 30 and after a hold, Attleboro's offense was forced to punt. However Walsh, who also handles punting duties, decided to run with the ball and was taken down short of the first down, giving Xaverian the ball at the Attleboro 31.

The Bombardier defense held its own, stopping the Hawks on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line, but the Hawks defense again stepped up, forcing a punt and Xaverian took over at the Attleboro 37-yard line. Two plays later, Kaminski went to the right, losing his shoe before scampering all the way for a touchdown to tie the game 21-21.

"That was a credit to the offensive line, that was probably the biggest hole I've seen all season," Kaminski said. "Shoe or no shoe, it's expected for me to take that to the house."

It was the Hawk's defense stepping up big again as Walsh had three straight incompletions on the ensuing drive and was forced to punt again. On Xaverian's first play, Farrell was able to hit Nick Colantuoni for a 53-yard touchdown and Xaverian had their first lead since the second quarter at 28-21, with just 5:47 to play.

"Jake [Farrell] is a competitor and things might not have gone his early but he stayed after it and they were tough defensively," said Stevenson. "I'm sure their quarterback had some frustration too with our defense. I think [Farrell] made some big plays for us when he had to and he completed that big pass to Nick [Colantuoni], great fake on his part."

As Attleboro tried to respond on their next drive, defensive back Damion Wood put the final touches on a superb Xaverian defensive effort in the second half. As Walsh looked for an open receiver, he floated one across the field but Wood came away with the interception, taking it 24-yards for the pick-six and giving the Hawks a 35-21 lead with 5:14 left.

"They're a very good football team and very well coached and have good skill players," Stevenson said. "They gave us everything we could handle all over the field on both sides of the ball. I really have to congratulate Coach [Mike] Stratchan for the job he's done there, he's really done a fantastic job there. Those kids really played their hearts out. I really give all the credit to him and all of his players and his staff."

Attleboro took their next drive 68 yards in less than two minutes, capped off with a Damon Belin 16 yard touchdown catch from Walsh, but Xaverian recovered the onside kick attempt and used seven straight Kaminski runs that resulted in three first downs, allowing the Hawks to take a couple of kneel downs to run the clock out.

"They did a great job, they had seven in the box all day and they played pressed coverage on us and their athletes matched up very well with us and then they got momentum," Stratchan said. "That was the end of it for us.

"I gotta’ give a lot credit to them. They're physical and they're well coached and they have good match ups."

Xaverian will now play for the Division 1 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 7. They will face off against Central Catholic, which defeated Everett, 20-14, in Saturday’s Division 1 North final.

Recap: No. 4 Xaverian 19, No. 11 BC High 0

October, 25, 2013
BOSTON - Before Kenny Kern ever played a game for the No. 4 Xaverian football team, and before he was even born, the school was already a big part of his family as both his dad graduated from there.

On Friday night, he added a page of his own to the family history, powering the Hawks to an impressive 19-0 win over No. 11 BC High, clinching the Catholic Conference and likely sealing the top seed for the Division 1 South playoffs in the process.

The junior tailback paced the offense, rushing 16 times for 91 yards and notching the first score of the game for the Hawks (6-1). Kern also scooped up a fumble deep in Eagles’ territory in the fourth quarter to set up Shayne Kaminski’s first touchdown.

“Kenny’s a great player right now and gives a lot to us,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “Not only is he a good running back, a good blocker, a good linebacker, he really bleeds gold and blue. His dad went to Xaverian, as did some of his uncles. Kenny is a really special player.”

It was the Eagles (4-3) though who looked like they might steal the show early on. After receiving the opening kick, BC High picked up three first downs and marched into the red zone.

When a third down pass slipped the hands of a wide-open Eagles wideout, BC High was forced to try a 33-yard field goal. Jack O’Brien’s drive fell just short and the Hawks took over.

"The biggest thing was missed chances," said Eagles coach Joe Gaff. "We move down the field on the first drive and drop a pass that probably goes for a touch down then we miss a field goal, you can't drop those.

"We had a couple other chances later on, but in all those key spots we just shot ourselves in the foot."

Xaverian’s defense seemed to flip a switch going forward, completely bottling up the Eagles offense. They allowed just another four yards of offense in the first half, held BC to just 68 total yards in the game and didn’t surrender another first down until the fourth quarter.

“A lot of it was just on the field and in the huddle,” Kern said. “Our captains, Shayne Kaminski was pumping us up and A.J. King was pumping us up. In the huddle, we just told each other, ‘They planted us for three first downs. We have to pick it up.’ And we did.”

It took the offense a little bit longer to figure things out, but it was Kern who kick-started thing for the Hawks in the second quarter.

After a BC High punt resulted in Xaverian starting at the 50-yard line, Kern took a handoff up the middle for three yards on the first play. The next play, he ripped off a dive right up the gut for 16 yards. One play later, Kern was slicing through the middle again, this time going 31 yards to paydirt.

“We knew against the four-four, if we got our blocks the middle would be open and we just got it done,” Kern said. “If you do a play and it goes for big, you want to do it again. It was coach’s call, and it was a great call.”

Kaminski made it 12-0 with 9:19 to go in the game plowed into the end zone from two yards out after Kern scooped up a fumble and rumbled down to the 10-yard line.

On the first play following the kickoff, BC High quarterback Sean Holleran broke off a 25-yard run up the middle, but fumbled the ball when he was hit from behind at the end of the play. A slew of Hawks collapsed on the ball and put them back on the offensive.

They ran more than five minutes off the clock over the next nine plays before Kaminski (12 carries, 77 yards) plunged in once again, this time from three yards out, to seal the win.

A quick three-and-out for the Eagles resulted in a punt, and Xaverian was able to run out the clock and complete the shutout of their rival.

“In a game like this, the defense was big for us all night long,” said Stevenson. "There was a few times where the offense put them in tough situations and they came through every time and made the play we needed them to. It really was a great defensive effort. Coming in, everyone was talking about the BC High defense and how great they were, but we're not too bad ourselves."

Recap: No. 5 Xaverian 14, No. 15 Brockton 0

October, 12, 2013
WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Just when you think you’ve seen the best out of Xaverian’s defense, the Hawks just keep dialing it up another notch.

[+] EnlargeXaverian football
Brendan Hall,/ESPNBoston.comJoe Gaziano (4 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 INT) led the way for Xaverian as the No. 5 Hawks held Brockton to just 70 yards of offense.
Three weeks ago, three blocked punts led the Hawks to a 49-13 rout of then-No. 1 Bridgewater-Raynham. Last week, the Hawks’ defense put down the clamps in the second half as they blew out Catholic Memorial, 43-7.

Under gray, drizzly skies this afternoon at the Hawk Bowl, Xaverian held Brockton’s vaunted triple-option attack to just 70 yards of total offense, sealing the game late with a 57-yard interception return to come away with a hard-earned 14-0 shutout victory.

“I thought our defense played really outstanding, they really bailed us out today,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “We had trouble getting our offense in gear, we’d make a play and then we wouldn’t make a play.”

The Hawks (4-1) took their initial lead late in the first quarter, starting at their own 45 and stringing together a nine-play, five minute drive that was punctuated by a 21-yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Jake Farrell. The right-handed junior saw pressure coming from his front side, rolled to his left and found a running lane open up, sprinting up field for the scoring scramble.

After that, the Hawks played it conservatively –- mostly feeding the ball to running backs Shayne Kaminski (17 carries, 64 yards), Kenny Kern and Noah Sorrento –- and let the defense take over.

And boy, did they take over. Led by junior defensive end Joe Gaziano (four sacks, two tackles for loss, interception) and Dan Benvie (sack), the Hawks dropped Boxers (2-3) quarterback Pat Burke for six sacks on the afternoon. The Boxers have been known to create confusion at the point of attack with its “Flex Bone” option scheme, but there were no such tricks today, as the Hawks routinely filled the interior gaps and muddied what has been at times a pretty crisp three-headed backfield.

Perhaps most impressive was the Hawk defense’s ability to get off the field quickly. Brockton had just two first downs on the afternoon and crossed the 50-yard line into Hawk territory just twice, both times coming in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks sealed it late in the fourth quarter when Burke’s screen pass attempt was broken up, then returned 57 yards to the house on a tip-drill pick-six. Sorrento was there to greet the Brockton running back in the right flat, squaring up his shoulders as the back attempted to haul in the pass and slamming into his midsection. The ball took a high bounce off of the player’s shoulder pads, and Kerns was there to pluck the ball out of the air and take it down the left sideline to paydirt.

“I’m really happy with the way our guys hung in there,” Stevenson said. “They [Brockton] are a really physical team. They’re getting much better from week to week. When I see the way they played early on to now, they’re playing very very well defensively.”

Brockton has allowed just 20 points in its last two games, but its offense has some kinks to work out following a second straight shutout loss. The Boxers have not scored a point in the last eight quarters, and have produced just 182 yards of offense over that same timespan.

Joe of all trades: Of all the Swiss Army knives in Stevenson’s drawer this fall, Gaziano might be the sharpest. Few athletes in the Catholic Conference have demonstrated as much versatility as the 6-foot-3, 230-pound five-technique end.

Offensively, he had one of the most impressive plays of the game at tight end, hauling in a 21-yard pass from Farrell in which he used his long outstretched arms to wrestle the ball away from two Brockton defenders dogging him all over. He also factored into the running game, setting the edge for the Hawks’ stable of backs.

In special teams, Gaziano is everywhere. His punts at times can pin the opposition deep, and he registered a touchback today kicking the ball off. In the return game, he is a constant threat to block a punt (the Hawks registered another one today), and also excels at blocking for returners.

Defensively, his prowess is already well-known. He is a rangy player with a long, athletic frame, that they take full advantage of. In one second-half play, Gaziano got hang time as he leaped high to pick off a middle screen from Burke. Gaziano is also called on occasionally to drop back into pass coverage from the defensive end spot.

“Gaziano is a beast,” Stevenson said. “Gaziano had a great game today, he picked off the screen pass they tried and sacked the quarterback at huge times –- it’s not just that he had a sack, [he had them] at huge times in the game. He’s a good player for us, and I’m glad he’s going to Xaverian High School again next year. He’s just getting better week to week.

“We certainly were concerned about their perimeter game, we didn’t want to let their speed guys outside, so he was coming up field a little more than we normally do. He’s such a good athlete that he can do that kind of stuff and come back down inside if we need him to. As you guys know, he’s a jack of all trades.”


BR 0 0 0 0 --- 0
XB 7 0 0 7 --- 14

First Quarter
Jake Farrell 21 run (Matt Rogers kick) :06

Fourth Quarter
Kenny Kern 57 interception return (Rogers kick) :47

Recap: No. 5 Xaverian 43, CM 7

October, 5, 2013

WESTWOOD, Mass. – It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.

And one week after a rough finish in a loss at Barnstable, No. 5 Xaverian learned its lesson heading into Saturday’s Catholic Conference matchup with Catholic Memorial.

The Hawks hadn’t played their finest half against the Knights and held just a slim three-point lead (10-7) at the intermission. But Xaverian showed up for the second half, outscoring the Knights 33-0 en route to a 43-7 win.

Xaverian (3-1, 1-0) pounded the ball in the second half behind a trio of running backs in Shayne Kaminski, Kenny Kern and Noah Sorrento. Meanwhile, the Hawks defense produced points as well, as junior defensive back Damion Wood returned two interceptions for touchdowns, turning a once competitive struggle into a manhandling.

“We weren’t really making the plays we needed to, we hurt ourselves a little bit there,” Xaverian head coach Charlie Stevenson said of his team in the first half. “We took some bad penalties.”

In fact, the Hawks were so generous they accounted for three of CM’s five first downs in the first half, with one leading up to the Knights’ lone touchdown of the day – a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Claflin to Kevin Bletzer roughly a minute before the break.

Xaverian’s defense would be much more stingy in the second half.

After the Hawks extended their lead to 23-7 following a 1-yard touchdown run by Kaminski (11 carries, 79 yards), Wood collected his first pick-six with a 90-yard return with 22 seconds remaining the third quarter.

On the ensuing Knights possession, Ernest Simon collected the second of three Hawks interceptions during the half. That set up a six-play touchdown drive, culminating in a 4-yard touchdown by Sorrento (15 carries, 66 yards).

CM (1-3, 0-1) then committed its third straight turnover with Wood taking a 67-yard interception to the house, providing Xaverian with its final margin of victory.

“I just saw an opportunity and I took it,” Wood said of his pair of scores.

Meanwhile, the Knights were left asking, what went so very wrong?

“Xaverian’s a good football team, they can score without us helping them,” CM head coach Alex Campea said. “I think they just decided that they were going to wear us down and were kind of pounding us [in the second half].”

Next man up: Xaverian’s ball-hawking secondary was a major factor Saturday, forcing three turnovers. But what’s most surprising is how the group came together so quickly, especially considering the loss of senior captain D.J. Sperzel for the foreseeable future.

“ D.J. being out, that’s a big loss for us,” Wood said postgame. “But we practiced well, got all aspects together … everything’s fine with our defense even though we’re missing [Sperzel].”

Sperzel, who was lost to injury during the Hawks’ loss to Barnstable last week, had quarterbacked the secondary along with fellow captain and corner A.J. King (36-yard TD reception in the third quarter). But the group can still be a strength for the Hawks, with Wood making such a bold statement. Along with sophomore Peter Thorbahn, who slotted into Sperzel’s spot for most of Saturday’s contest, and freshman standout Mekhi Henderson, the newly formulated group has come together quickly.

“I think they’re good young players, but they’re young,” Stevenson said. “So you never know what you’re going to get.”

Give it up for the Big Man: The Hawks held their first-half lead thanks to senior offensive lineman Jeff Perez.

Xaverian opened scoring at 3:42 of the first quarter, when the 6-foot-1, 220-pound guard fell on a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, pulling his best impression of Logan Mankins in the 2006 AFC Championship Game. After Kern ran up the middle for 24 yards on a fullback draw, he was stripped from behind. The loose ball bounded into the end zone, and Perez, who was trailing the play, alertly fell on the ball for the score.

Recap: Barnstable 15, No. 1 Xaverian 14

September, 28, 2013

HYANNIS, Mass. – Trailing 14-12 to No. 1 Xaverian and facing a fourth-and-5 from the Hawks 15-yard line with less than two minutes to go, Chris Whidden had a choice: try to pick up the first down or trot out his place kicker for a 32-yard field goal try.

Barnstable place kicker Dereck Pacheco had already missed an extra point and a 28 yard attempt. And so the Red Raiders head coach called timeout and brought on his field goal unit.

Seconds later, the Red Raider faithful erupted as the 32-yard field goal split the uprights and proved to be the game winner in an emotional 15-14 comeback victory over No. 1 Xaverian, the fourth consecutive week that the top ranked team has been upset.

“Kicking to me, I learned from last year, is all about confidence,” said Pacheco. “You have to have confidence in yourself, just clear your mind.“

Barnstable quarterback Kristian Lucashensky had the team on his back in the fourth quarter, throwing for 90 of his 138 yards in the final period.

“This win has changed the morale of the team completely,” said Whidden. “Going back to BC High, once the opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown our morale was down. We have seen a change in what this team is about and you can see that in the last seven and a half quarters.”

Xaverian (2-1) scored with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter after A.J. King came down with a 33-yard pass from Jake Ferrell (4 of 9, 99 yards), setting up a 5-yard touchdown run from senior Shayne Kaminski, giving the Hawks a 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But it was all Hayden Murphy (13 rushes, 51 yards; 4 catches, 50 yards) and Lucashensky after that.

Barnstable answered with a 10-play 69-yard drive that was capped off with an athletic 15-yard touchdown catch from Derek Estes. Lucashensky fumbled on the two point conversion and the score remained 14-12 with 6:38 remaining.

“With Kristian, he’s so good with putting the ball in a spot where it going to be caught or incomplete,” said Whidden. “Estes went up and made a play.”

The Red Raiders defense rose to the occasion and forced the Hawks to punt, giving Barnstable the ball at their own 39 with 2:21 left to play.

Two plays later, Lucashensky hit senior Colby Blaze down the right sideline for a 39-yard gain down to the Xaverian 15-yard line. Barnstable picked up five yards before calling on Pacheco for the game winning field goal.

Meanwhile, Kaminski was a force all game, rushing for a game-high 135 yards on 20 carries. He drew first blood with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter when he was on the receiving end of a 54-yard screen pass.

The Hawks got a scare midway though the fourth quarter when Kaminski stayed down after a three-yard rush. Kaminski limped off the field under his own power but the following two plays resulted in fumbles and the drive ended with a punt.

The turning point: With 1:28 remaining in the second quarter and already up 7-0, the Hawks A.J. King fair caught a punt at his own 19-yard line. On the next play, Kaminski coughed up the football and the Red Raiders recovered at the 25-yard line.

On the next play, Lucashensky found Colby Blaze on a deep slant across the middle so give the Raiders some life heading into the half.

“It swung momentum going into halftime,” said Whidden. “Our halftime was full of life and the kids were excited.

While Xaverian had the only scoring in the third quarter, the Raiders defense had a jump in their step. On a punt midway through the third quarter, Junior Clyde Perry broke through the line and partially blocked a punt.

The defense forced two fumbles in the fourth quarter and while they didn’t recover, stalled out the Hawks offense. Xaverian only mustered up 26 yard off offense in the final quarter (266 in first three quarters), compared to 114 from the Red Raiders.

The Hawks were uncharacteristically sloppy all game. Xaverian had two turnovers and put the ball on the ground three times. They were also called for six penalties for 50 yards, including a big pass interference call on the opening drive and a huge personal foul on the Raiders first possession of the fourth quarter.

The final drive: With the opportunity to knock off the top team in the state for the second year in a row (Everett, 2012), Lucashensky took the field like it was any other drive.

When he stepped into the huddle trailing 14-12 on his own 39-yard line and 2:21 to play he calmly addressed his teammates.

“On the first play, I came to the huddle and said ‘listen, we got to win this game, got to win this game,” said Lucashensky. “They all looked me in the eye and shook their heads.”

Lucashensky called his own number on the first play, picking up two yards. On second and 8, he found Blaze who had his man beat for a 39 -yard gain, already in field goal range.

“We had run that earlier with Blaze and got him over the top, said Lucashensky. “So we knew if we needed a big play we’d come back to it. And we went over the top of the safety and I rolled out and hit him. He was wide open.”

Barnstable went conservative for the next three plays. Hayden Murphy rushed up the middle for two, an incomplete screen pass and Murphy to the left for three set up fourth and 5.

“We ran the toss because he likes to kick from the left hash,” said Whidden. “We ran the toss and if he (Murphy) broke he broke it if not were on the left hash for him to kick it.”

Pacheco split the uprights on the next play to polish off the perfect drive and improve Barnstable to 2-1 with New Bedford up next.

Perfect time for a bye: When Barnstable’s schedule was released this summer, Chris Whidden was unsure how a Week 2 bye week would effect his. As it turns out, that bye week seems to have saved the Red Raiders season.

The Raiders were dismantled by Dennis-Yarmouth, 37-9, in Week 1 and BC High returned the opening kickoff back for a touchdown in week three. Since then, Barnstable has been a different team.

“The bye week let us get back to square one to really break down what wasn’t working and why it wasn’t working,” said Whidden. “And we had film to prove it. That bye couldn’t have come at a better time.

Coming off two huge victories, teams will be gunning for Barnstable, starting next week at New Bedford. With Friday night’s win, the Raiders will almost certainly jump back into the Top 25 poll.

“It puts a target on our back just like we had one last year,” said Lucashensky. “Now its back, a big fat bull’s-eye.”

Barnstable 15, Xaverian 14

X 0 7 7 0 --14

B 0 6 0 9 --15

Second Quarter

X-Shayne Kaminski 54 pass from Jake Farrell (Matt Rogers kick) 4:16

B-Colby Blaze 25 pass from Lucashensky (kick fail) 1:17

Third Quarter

X-Kaminski 5 run (Rogers Kick) 0:10

Fourth Quarter

B-Derek Estes 15 pass from Lucashensky (run fail) 6:38

B-Dereck Pacheco 32 field goal 1:28


Roundtable: Bigger things to come for Xaverian?

September, 26, 2013

Brendan Hall, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor: If this were 2012, or any other recent year for that matter, I would lean towards labeling that game an anomaly. Xaverian squads typically aren't known for blowing up the scoreboard, instead moving the chains rather steadily behind a conservative multiple offense and relying on change-of-pace backs to grind out the tough yardage. I've been in this for 10 years, and this year's Xaverian team feels like one of the more unpredictable squads that I can recall. And when I say that, I mean you just don't know that they're going to throw at you. Certainly, Jake Farrell brings about an escapeability intangible they typically haven't had with quarterbacks, and there is some promising sophomore talent.

By the way, whoever the special teams coach is at Xaverian, give that man a raise. If you think the B-R game was an aberration, ask the BB&N coaches how their scrimmage with the Hawks went.

Scott Barboza, ESPN Boston High Schools editor: I know we all thought the Hawks’ defense would be ahead of the offense entering the season, but this looks like a much-improved group thus far. I like the one-two punch Shayne Kaminski and Noah Sorrento provide in the backfield. They have some legit targets in the passing game with King and D.J. Sperzel and Jake Farrell has looked great at quarterback. If the offensive line keeps creating holes and pass protecting the way they have in the first two weeks, I don’t foresee a slowdown.

John McGuirk, ESPN Boston correspondent: With the talent Xaverian has they should continue to put up decent numbers. They have four 'big' games left on the schedule in Barnstable, Brockton, BC High and St. John's Prep. All four of those programs are outstanding but all have issues on defense as well which should work in the Hawks' favor.


Hall: Wachusett matches up evenly on paper with Nashoba, but watch out for St. John's. Andrew Smiley is heating up (380 passing yards the last six quarters), and the running game seems to be hitting a groove with St. Louis transplant Shane Combs taking over the feature role. The "blur" offense is a whirlwind to handle when all is going right, and you always have to watch where Davon Jones lines up. I see the Pioneers stopping Nashoba's streak at 29.

Barboza: I think it’ll end at No. 29. The Chieftains will get by Wachusett, but I think the Pioneers’ athletes, particularly on the perimeter, will prove too much to handle.

McGuirk: I see Nashoba reaching 30 straight wins. Wachusett is going through a down year, having already lost to St. Peter-Marian and Fitchburg. And what has been noted many times, St. John's biggest weakness the last couple of seasons has been its porous defense and inability to make tackles consistently. If you look past those next two games, the Chieftains will face a pair of unbeatens (Marlborough and Leominster). That is where the streak could possibly come to a close.


Hall: It's tough to argue against Westfield's ridiculous numbers -- there are running backs that will go a whole season not putting up as many rushing yards as the Bombers have their first two games of the season. But it's hard to argue against Brockton's talent. Aaron LeClair and Jamal Williams get to the perimeter quick, and the Boxers can steamroll you inside with counters and dives. All four of these teams have a dynamic playmaker in the backfield -- LeClair, Tewksbury's Eddie Matovu, Westfield's Ben Geschwind and Taunton's Domingo Jenkins -- but I will give Brockton the edge here because of what they have in the trenches. Aaron Monteiro, the Boxers' prized prospect at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, is a road grader at left guard with a pretty high ceiling.

Barboza: As of right now, I don’t see how you can argue with Westfield. The Bombers are running roughshod over opponents behind senior fullback Ben Geschwind. After running for 348 yards and six touchdowns as a team during last week's 49-20 win over West Springfield, Westfield has scored 109 points in two games, with Geschwind averaging more than 150 yards per game.

Josh Perry, I can’t say whether or not Taunton runs it better than other teams in the state, but I can say that the Tigers do make it look fun. With Gerald Cortijo and Steven Harrison giving star back Domingo Jenkins some help in the backfield, the Tigers have speedy and shifty runners. It’s almost enough to make you forget just how good the ground game would have been without Jamal Williams’ move to Brockton. Taunton’s ability to run the triple option will of course get a much tougher test this week against King Philip and its strong defense, but the Tigers are unique among the other Hockomock teams and it can be fun to watch.

McGuirk: The way Westfield is dominating the competition (109 points in two games), I would say the the triple option is working best for them. They have the right personnel to execute it and coach Bill Moore is very good at putting the right players in place to keep it rolling effectively, especially his tandem of Ben Geschwind and Jake Toomey, who are both averaging over 10 yards-per-carry.


Hall: Tough to tell, because Tewksbury has more than pulled its weight in the defensive end so far. If there's one team that can avoid track meets, it's the Redmen. Everyone else, good luck. We anointed the MVC "Death By 1,000 Shallow Crosses" a year ago, and with the amount of spread offense and no-huddle tempo deployed in this league, we could very well be in for another season of Wild West scores.

Barboza: I'd take my chances with the defensive units of Andover, Central Catholic, Lowell and Tewksbury against just about any offense in the state, but what comes into play in the MVC is the teams' offensive style of play. With so many teams in its ranks adopting the spread offense, the big numbers put up seemingly on a weekly basis are more a function of the pace of the game, with shortened drives as opposed to rushing-oriented, ball-control styles of play. But as long as MVC teams continue to live and die by the sword (or the spread), I think we'll continue to see some lopsided numbers.

Mike Abelson, ESPN Boston correspondent: Yes and no. Central and Lowell, when the blur is working as advertised, can drop basketball scores on lesser teams because of the athletic talent. That being said, through three weeks there are only two MVC teams averaging 30 or more points. Central is one, and the other, North Andover, hasn't won a game. The only two remaining undefeated teams, Tewksbury and Methuen, are averaging 27 and 18 points a game, respectively, and winning games without all the flash and dash of putting up buckets of points. Yes, the MVC will have it's share of high-scoring contests (I'll put the over/under for Central-Chelmsford at 90.5), but it won't consistently translate to W's.


Hall: I feel like this is a sneaky good matchup. Let's not forget Barnstable was our preseason No. 12 before getting shell-shocked by Dennis-Yarmouth in the opening weekend. There is talent, between versatile athlete Hayden Murphy, shutdown corner Derek Estes and elusive scatback Justus Chafee.

Defensively, Barnstable typically likes to stretch vertically and keep everything in front of them, which can be a bad matchup against spread teams like Dennis-Yarmouth. Last week against BC High, they looked like they cleaned up a lot of their mistakes. Xaverian's offense, while a bit more creative, has some similarities to BC High's. Going the other way, the Red Raiders use some funky misdirection in the run game to prevent linebackers from filling gaps. On their first touchdown against BC, for instance, a receiver backpedaled off the line of scrimmage, feigning a bubble screen, putting several defenders on their heels as Chafee came up the gut on a zone read.

That kind of stuff can keep even the best defenses on their toes. Expect some fireworks, and some dynamic playcalling, in this one.

Barboza: This is a yes-and-no proposition to me. I think the Raiders righted ship after an embarrassing loss to Cape rival Dennis-Yarmouth in Week 1, going on the road to beat another Catholic Conference foe in BC High. But I think Barnstable would need to play a near perfect game, while forcing the Hawks into some turnovers in order to make it four straight defeats of an ESPN Boston No. 1 squad. I'm not saying it will not be a close game, I just like Xaverian a little bit more.

Perry: In a preseason roundtable, I said that Barnstable was a team that was getting overlooked because of the players that it lost from last year. I’ll stick by that and say that the Raiders give Xaverian a run for their money. The No. 1 ranking has been more of an albatross than an honor this year, so I’ll say that Barnstable has a good chance of causing the Hawks problems.

McGuirk: Barnstable is good but Xaverian is playing with a lot of confidence, especially following the huge win over B-R last week. The Hawks should take care of the Red Raiders who gave up 37 points to D-Y in Week One but did bounce back nicely last week against BC High.

Abelson: In Hayden Murphy I trust. In the ESPN Boston poll curse I believe. Barnstable, 27-21.


Hall: Mansfield was the prohibitive favorite in most minds heading into the season, and so far they've done little to suggest otherwise. Consider that nearly three weeks out from their shocking upset of Dunbar (Md.), the Hornets are still without five starters. They're already a dynamic offense, between quarterback Kyle Wisnieski, 6-foot-5 flex tight end Brendan Hill, and space-carving tailback Miguel Villar-Perez. Hard to go against that.

For dark horses, I like Attleboro. I think it's understated how big their line is, particularly at defensive tackle, and there are plenty of weapons on offense between quarterback Tim Walsh, tight end Luke Morrison and receiver Brendan Massey. This program has long been a sleeping giant, and new coach Mike Strachan has re-awakened those sentiments.

Barboza: All along, I've penciled in Mansfield as the team to beat in the Kelley-Rex. I believe they had the most complete group of talent on either side of the ball, and also had the most upside. The scary part is that, due to injury, the Hornets might not have yet hit their apogee and will continue to strengthen as the season progresses.

Now, for the sleeper, I know we've talked up Attleboro up a lot in the early going -- to the point that I really think they're a threat in Division 1 South. Seeing that the Blue Bombardiers are for real in the first two weeks of the season, I'm going to go with Taunton. I don't think Chris Greding has gotten enough credit for the job he's done turning around the Tigers program in short order. Of course, an infusion of talent led by Domingo Jenkins helps, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Taunton knocks off one of the Hock's "Big Three" -- King Philip, Mansfield, North Attleborough -- at some point this season.

Perry: The favorite heading into the Hockomock League season is defending champions Mansfield and its new spread attack that takes advantage of its great weapons like senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski and junior tight end Brendan Hill. Attleboro has gotten a lot of hype from media, me included, in the preseason as a sleeper in the Hock. A new coaching staff, a new field, and new schemes on both sides of the ball have made the Bombardiers a much more confident crew and better utilize the weapons that it has. The Bombardiers were only a few mental mistakes from beating Mansfield last season and Tim Walsh is on fire running the spread formation – watch out for Attleboro. Of course, watch out for KP, Franklin, and North Attleborough, too. It really is up for grabs

McGuirk: The Kelly-Rex Division is solid with four teams still unbeaten (Mansfield, Attleboro, North Attleboro and Taunton). When it is all said and done. I believe it will come down to Mansfield and North Attleborough for the title because of their high-octane offenses. Attleboro has to be considered the darkhorse here because of its stingy defense which could carry them through. It will be interesting to watch all four of these team beat up one another during the season and see who survives.

Recap: No. 10 Xaverian 49, No. 1 B-R 13

September, 21, 2013

WESTWOOD, Mass. – Let there be no doubt who’s No. 1.

At least for another week, that is.

For the third straight week to begin the MIAA football season, the No. 1 team in ESPN Boston’s Top 25 poll suffered a sound defeat. This time, on Saturday in the grand unveiling of the extensive renovations to Xaverian’s Hawk Bowl, Bridgewater-Raynham became the most recent squad to be dethroned.

No. 10 Xaverian systematically beat the Trojans in each and every facet of the game, administering a 49-13 beat-down of yet another No. 1.

It also marked the second straight week in which the Hawks (2-0) beat the poll No. 1 after a road victory at Everett last week.

“Playing two No. 1 teams, that’s what we aim to do here,” Hawks senior running back/ linebacker Shayne Kaminski said. “There are high expectations at this school. Playing a No. 1, it’s just a whole different situation – that just gets you pumped up for the game.”

Kaminski, who missed Xaverian’s opener due to injury, celebrated his return to game action with a 31-yard touchdown run at 5:02 of the first quarter, providing the Hawks with an early 7-0 lead.

On B-R’s ensuing possession, Kaminski also announced his return, defensively, falling on a fumble created on a strip-sack from defensive end Joe Gaziano. Two plays later, fellow running back Noah Sorrento rumbled in from 13 yards out for a quick two-score lead.

However, the Trojans (2-1) would respond on their next possession with Matt Clement hitting Ryan Martin in tight coverage for a 29-yard touchdown pass.

After the teams exchanged a couple of fruitless drives, the Hawks began pulling away just before the half – thanks to quarterback Jake Farrell and senior wideout A.J. King.

Inside the final two minutes of the first half, Farrell and King linked up for two quick-strike passing plays. First, King came down with a ball, despite bracketed coverage, and raced 62 yards for a score. Then, with two seconds remaining, Hawks head coach Charlie Stevenson eschewed taking the knee and, instead, dialed up a dazzling 47-yard connection with Farrell hitting King in stride along the left-hand sideline on a fly route.

And the Hawks took a 28-6 lead to the locker room.

Xaverian’s special teams had their chance to shine in the third quarter, when the Hawks blocked two punt attempts with one turned for a touchdown and another setting up a first-and-goal situation.

After B-R’s opening drive of the second half sputtered out, Gaziano got his mitts on a punt, allowing freshman Mekhi Henderson to pick up an easy scoop and score from 30 yards out.

Then, following a Trojans’ three-and-out, Xaverian sophomore lineman Elijah Pierre registered a second block. B-R’s recovery set up the Hawks at the Trojans’ 2, setting up Kaminski (10 carries, 138 yards) for his second of three rushing scores.

Kaminski later added a 54-yard run, providing the Hawks with a 49-6 lead.

“I felt like every guy today wanted to get in there and make a contribution,” Kaminski said, “And we did that.”

Run differential: Aside from some padded stats B-R tacked on once the game was out of reach, Xaverian lopsidedly won the battle of the rushing attacks.

While holding Trojans preseason All-State running back Brandon Gallagher under 40 yards rushing for the game, the Hawks consistently dominated the point of attack against a depleted B-R offensive line.

“We really did a good job of stopping their run, I thought,” Stevenson said. “[Gallagher] is tough and I was really worried about us being able to match up with him and stop him.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks’ offensive line continued to create holes. And, with the additional shot in the arm Kaminski injected along with Sorrento, Xaverian’s off and running.

Star in the making: During the preseason, Stevenson highlighted freshman cornerback Mehki Henderson as a player to watch as the year progressed.

But, through two weeks, it appears as though Henderson is coming along just fine.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder showed good instincts undercutting a route to the end zone pylon and snatched his first interception at the end of the second quarter. The pick helped set up the Hawks’ last-minute drive at the half.

That was before Henderson also snatched up six points with his second-half punt block return for touchdown.

“He’s a really good athlete,” Stevenson said of Henderson. “He’s young and a little inexperienced, but I think he’s going to be a good player.”

Recap: No. 14 Xaverian 20, No. 1 Everett 8

September, 14, 2013
EVERETT, Mass. – One would have thought Xaverian’s offense would be behind the 8-ball entering Friday night’s showdown with No. 1 Everett. Without starting running back (and linebacker) Shayne Kaminski in the lineup, lost to a leg injury suffered during a scrimmage last week, the Hawks were playing without perhaps their best athlete.

No sweat.

Junior quarterback Jake Farrell was nearly perfect in the passing game, while junior Noah Sorrento (15 carries, 98 yards) picked up the slack in the backfield as the No. 14 Hawks surged past the top-ranked Crimson Tide during the second half in a 20-8 win.

With the victory, Xaverian (1-0) ended Everett’s 10-game winning streak against Catholic Conference foes and, in the process, started 2013with bang for a squad coming of a sub-.500 2012 campaign.

“It’s a huge statement for everybody on our team,” said Farrell, who started the game going 9-for-9 in completions, a streak extending into the third quarter. “We showed we can beat one of the elite teams in Massachusetts, and people are going to know about this.”

Sorrento, who worked in two-back sets with Kaminski throughout the preseason, set the Hawks off in the right direction with a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Xaverian would maintain the 7-0 lead until 4:13 remaining in the half, when Everett quarterback Raheem Wingard (149 rushing yards) broke off a 29-yard touchdown on an option keeper. Although the point-after try was blocked, an offsides penalty against Xaverian gave the Crimson Tide (1-1) another crack. Another yard closer, Marquis Holman ran in the 2-point conversion over left guard.

The scoring drive was enabled by a fourth-down stand by Everett’s defense at their 40-yard line.

The Crimson Tide’s one-point lead stood until the fourth quarter, when another crucial fourth-down decision from the Xaverian sideline would come into play.

Facing a fourth-and-11 at the Everett 25, and with a little more than eight minutes remaining, the Hawks broke huddle looking for something special. When the play broke down around Farrell, he improvised and took off toward the end zone. Twenty-five yards later, the first-year starter scored what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

After the Hawks defense came away with another key fourth-down stop on the ensuing Everett possession, Farrell capped his evening with a perfectly thrown 23-yard fade to D.J. Sperzel for an insurance strike.

“It was just reading the quarterback,” Sperzel said. “I knew I had the receiver in front of me and broke on the ball.”

“We felt like that was the time to take a shot,” Hawks head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “He went up and got it, and Jake put it right where he needed to.”

For added measure, Sperzel closed out the special evening with an interception of Wingard on the following drive.

Shuffling the deck: While Kaminski’s absence forced Stevenson to alter his offensive game plan, the Hawks still played to their strengths.

“We lose a lot of firepower without Kaminski in the backfield,” Steveson added. “But I thought Noah Sorrento did an unbelievable job.”

Also key to the victory was the play of Xaverian’s offensive line. Anchored by senior captain Jeff Perez, the line created holes ample for any running back to walk through.

“If we block like that and Shayne’s with us, I think we’ll be OK as we go forward,” Stevenson said.

They also drew rave reviews from their quarterback.

“The O-line was excellent,” Farrell said. “I had a ton of time to throw and the receivers just ran good routes. They made it easy for me.”

Work in progress: Meanwhile, after a sloppy Week 1 win over another Top 10 foe in Springfield Central and Friday night’s loss, Crimson Tide head coach John DiBiaso was less than enthused with his team’s work thus far.

“There were no positives,” DiBiaso said of Friday’s loss. “They kicked our butts up and down the field, in every aspect of the game – special teams, offense, defense.

“We didn’t play well, we didn’t execute.”

Lax the key for No. 15 Xaverian football?

August, 27, 2013
Forgive the Xaverian Hawks if they have a chip on their shoulders this season.

They're (how do you say in a politically correct manner?) a little ticked off about the way last season went. It was a losing season (4-7), and, as a result, the Hawks again fell short of a Catholic Conference championship, having last won it in the magical 2009 undefeated season.

Expectations never waver at the Hawk Bowl, and there's no exception for 2013. But with returning Conference champion and statewide preseason No. 1 St. John's Prep holding the gate and a stacked gauntlet of opponents in the newly formed Division 1 South sectional, Xaverian's path to postseason glory is wrought with peril.

“I think every year we have high expectations for ourselves,” junior defensive end and tight end Joe Gaziano said. “And, obviously, last year was a disappointment. But I feel this year we’re really motivated to work hard and we expect even more of ourselves this year, knowing what it takes to win and how hard it is to win.”

While the wins may have come up short in the fall, for Gaziano and several of his teammates who were members of the Hawks lacrosse team’s Division 1 state championship in June -- the program's first -- they might have found a springboard into football season. It’s certainly not unprecedented in recent MIAA history that a program wins championships in both lacrosse and football in a calendar year, with Massachusetts lacrosse scions Duxbury pulling the feat most recently in both 2011 and 2012. On both those Dragons squads, a number of players shared responsibilities in both the spring and fall.

Xaverian fits a similar mold this year, with seniors Shayne Kaminski and D.J. Sperzel (Providence College lacrosse recruit) and Gaziano starring in both seasons.

Yet, Kaminski wasn’t about to buy into the idea that one success necessarily begets another.

“It’s a different game. But we’re really trying to push the defense this year and I think we can be good.”

He continued, “Our goal for right now is just to beat Everett [in Week 1]. That’s as far as we’re looking right now.”

Coach: Charlie Stevenson (20th season, 162-59-1)
Last year: 4-7
Key returnees: Shayne Kaminski, Sr. RB/LB, 5-11, 198 lbs.; Joe Gaziano, Jr. DE/TE, 6-3, 230 lbs.; D.J. Sperzel, Sr. WR/S, 6-2, 190 lbs.; A.J. King, Sr. WR/S, 5-10, 180 lbs.; Nick Colantuoni, Sr. TE/DE, 6-3, 215 lbs.; Noah Sorrento, Jr. RB/LB, 5-9, 180 lbs.
Strengths: Depth at wide receiver, experienced pass rush.
Weaknesses: Depth at offensive line, experience on interior defensive line.

Outlook: The word around Clapboardtree Street is that defense has been the imperative this preseason. And it’s not a stretch to hint that the Hawks might have one of the best units in the state this season. Gaziano and Nick Colantuoni present a serious pass rush threat from the ends, while Kaminski, Noah Sorrento and Kenny Kerns will feature at the linebacker spots. Of course, the Hawks have to find a replacement for the departed Mo Hurst, now a freshman at Michigan. Well, you can’t really replace a player like that can you? “We’ll have a cast of hundreds,” head coach Charlie Stevenson said, alluding to the pool of players his staff is considering to fill the defensive tackle positions. On offense, there’s a quarterback battle that continues with senior Peter White and junior Jake Farrell vying for the job. Xaverian has depth at running back with Kaminski and Sorrento providing able options. But the Hawks are auditioning a several new starters along the offensive line. The early returns have been positive. “Our offensive line has been great so far,” Gaziano said. “We have a lot of new guys stepping up on the line with Joe Parsons, Ryan Mellen and Jeff Perez. I expect them to do a great job up front and help the run game and be a big, physical presence.”