Boston High School: St. Peter's Prep

What We Learned: Week 3

September, 25, 2012
At least, statistically speaking. In a blowout of Arlington Catholic last weekend, the Holy Name senior tailback needed just five carries to rack up 216 yards and three touchdowns. Two weekends ago in another blowout win, this one over Westborough, Wright carried six times for 160 yards and three scores. So after garnering a Yeoman's workload in a Week 1 shootout loss to parochial rival St. John's of Shrewsbury (28 carries, 282 yards, 4 TD), Wright's stat line looks like this: 39 carries, 658 yards, 10 touchdowns, for a ridiculous average of 16.5 yards a carry.

Forget the opponents. That, folks, is just insane. Especially considering the Lilliputian scatback's generously-listed size of 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, and the Naps' brutal double wing scheme that predicates itself on an intense measure of physicality at the point of attack.

But sometimes, it's the little guys that are the most durable -- just ask Ray Rice or Darren Sproles. And perhaps even moreso, Wright has the benefit of a particularly huge offensive line. Basit Dennis (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) gets the most attention on account of being the lone senior, but from tackle to tackle this is a unit that moves people off the ball, aided by junior Joe Fitton (6-foot, 245 pounds), freshman Liam Perry (5-8, 235) and sophomores Antonio Paulino (6-0, 255) and Nick Geneva (6-4, 310). Throw in the one-inch splits and convoy-style sweeps, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Last year, we were spoiled with unheard-of performances by running backs, between Melquawn Pinkney's 2,900 rushing yards for Putnam, Jared Taylor's 308 yards at Gillette Stadium for Mashpee, and Armani Reeves averaging a touchdown almost every three touches for Catholic Memorial. It's still a bit premature to stack Wright up against any of these guys just yet, but none of them have averaged 16.5 yards a carry over a full season.

As it stands, Wright is on pace to break his school's record for career rushing yards, held by current Philadelphia Eagles fullback Emil Igwenagu. If Wright keeps it up at this clip, though, he could be in for a lot more accolades.

Through the first three weeks of the season, No. 6 Reading has kept its opponents' offenses pin-drop quiet. But allow Jaddiel Polanco to break the silence with some self-awareness.

"Hey @BHallESPN just want to say I think I'm the only person to score on Reading #4 #LawrenceHigh #JustSaying", the Lawrence High senior cornerback wrote to ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall in a tweet early Monday evening.

There has been some stout defense demonstrated by some of the state's top teams in the first month of the season. Nashoba, Beverly, and Everett come to mind so far, either locking up in crucial moments or -- in the case of the former two -- never letting the opponent get out of first gear. But nothing compares to what Reading is doing right now. Since Polanco's safety in the third quarter of Reading's 46-2 blowout of the aforementioned Lancers, the Rockets have pitched nine straight quarters of shutout football, outscoring the opposition 80-2 so far in 2012. That includes a very nice 12-0 shutout of Brockton on the Rockets' home turf.

We can credit a lot of things for the stifling start to Reading's season, as it looks to win a sixth straight outright Middlesex League title. But most importantly, it starts at the line of scrimmage, and few players in the state have been as dominant in the interior as senior Matt Comerford. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has surprising agility for a player his size (blame his skills in net as a lacrosse goalie, if you must), and that trait has been contagious.

Where does it go from here? The Rockets figure to have an interesting time slowing Burlington running back Marcus Odiah when they meet the Red Devils on October 5. Last year's 32-27 Reading win will surely be on Burlington's minds, as Odiah quietly crossed the 100-yard plateau but was held in check for good stretches of the game.

The injury woes that have beset BC High in the early season are on par with a Greek tragedy, or at least a comedy of errors on par with NFL replacement referees. A seemingly impossible string of seven starters missed BC High's Week 2 loss to North Attleborough.

While the Eagles were fortunate to get a few bodies back for Friday night's non-league matchup with Dartmouth, including run-stuffing defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, they suffered yet another potential big blow. In the midst of running away with a 31-0 win over the Indians, BC High saw starting running back Brandon Owens go down with a high ankle injury. While the Eagles got into the win column on the season, the road doesn't get easier with a trip to New Jersey and St. Peter’s Prep.

But, as Eagles head coach Joe Gaff sees it, things are only getting better.

Gaff cited last year’s game against St. Peter’s as a formative experience in the Eagles eventual run to a Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl title. After Friday’s win, Gaff had positive memory of last year’s encounter, despite a loss. Having to play against the speed of the New Jersey powerhouse (ask Xaverian about competition in the Garden State), Gaff said the Eagles were better prepared to take on their Catholic Conference and playoff schedule.

Plus, there’s another pot of gold coming in Week 5 for BC High – a bye.

“That will be an important week for us,” Gaff said, “it’ll give us a chance to get some bodies back hopefully and let us regroup a little bit.”

The Eagles have done their best plugging holes in the interim. Dan Collins has effectively taken the reins of the offense from Brendan Craven in his absence and Skyler Evans showed good instincts running the ball during the second half at Dartmouth, filling in for Owens.

For the Eagles now, it’s just a matter of time.

Jesuit Shootout broadcast live stream

January, 27, 2012
Fifth-ranked BC High hockey is among four teams participating in this weekend's Jesuit Shootout being held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The Eagles, along with Fairfield Prep (Conn.), Canisius Prep (N.Y.) and St. Peter's Prep (N.J.), will play two games at the tournament, with all the action called by the host Marauders Radio Network.

You can catch the calls here.

BC High will face off against Fairfield Prep at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the winner advancing to tomorrow's championship game and loser playing in a consolation game.

ESPN Boston's Week 4 Picks

September, 30, 2011
The Skinny: Is Chelmsford reeling after last week’s 35-14 loss to BC High? Hardly. Eddie Sheridan was impressive out of the backfield, and if not for a few special teams breakdowns the game would have been closer. The Tim Joy-led defense finds itself in another challenge this week, as the Lancers were one of the MVC’s higher-scoring teams before a 21-0 shutout by Lowell last Friday. They boast a promising back in Kelvin Severino.
Scott Barboza: With the new-look Lions' offense, this could turn into a track meet. I'm going to go a little more conservative though. Chelmsford, 31-24.
Brendan Hall: Neither of these teams is afraid to spread the ball around, which means we could have a high-scoring affair. Chelmsford, 38-35.

The Skinny: The last time the Knights made the drive up to Nashua to face this Granite State power was a forgettable trip – a dominating 52-13 Guertin win. This time? Once again, we’re not sure. The Gaels have outscored the opposition 91-20 in the three games since getting shut out opening weekend to juggernaut Pinkerton. Meanwhile, the Knights finally scored themselves some badly-needed momentum in Shrewsbury after holding off St. John’s for their first win of the year.
Barboza: I think this game has fourth-quarter field goal written all over it. Guertin 23-20.
Hall: Since the Pats are traveling to Oakland on Sunday, I have some fitting advice for the Knights: Just Win, Baby. CM, 28-20.

BILLERICA (2-1) AT NO. 22 DRACUT (2-1)
The Skinny: Nick LaSpada and the Indians have struggled to score points of late. On the other hand, Peter Salem has recovered from his early season injury and leads a physical offensive line that is able to control a game in the trenches. And, of course, the MIddie can spread 'em out, too.
Barboza: Same old story for the Indians, unfortuately. Dracut, 12-7.
Hall: If we ever venture into doing an ESPNBoston Lunch Pail Award, I think Zach Bassett would have a stranglehold on the Watch List. Dracut, 13-7.

ST. SEBASTIAN’S (1-0) AT BB&N (0-1)
The Skinny: The Arrows were off to an impressive start with a 34-0 blanking of Nobles & Greenough on Saturday to get their ISL season started with Sam Hodgson and Brendan Daly each scoring two touchdowns. On the other hand, BB&N found itself in unfamiliar territory with the Knights' first loss to Belmont HIll in four years after a second-half comeback by the Hillies.
Barboza: Chris Coady gets the Knights headed in the right direction by using what else? His feet.BB&N, 16-10.
Hall: When was the last time the Knights lost two in a row under John Papas? BB&N, 20-12.

ST. PETER’S PREP (N.J.) (1-2) AT NO. 3 BC HIGH (2-1)
The Skinny: The Eagles hope to play better than the last time they played a New Jersey foe - a loss to DePaul Catholic - and welcome St. Peter's Prep, the last time to defeat vaunted Don Bosco Prep in the Garden State. BC High bounced back with a huge win over Top 10 opponent Chelmsford last week.
Barboza: Homefield advantage plays dividends in this one. The Eagles will be rested and ready. BC High, 20-17.
Hall: Another game the Eagles circled on their calendar long ago. You best believe they’re circling the wagons for this one. BC High, 31-28.

The Skinny: The top-ranked Crimson Tide currently hold the state’s third-longest active winning streak (15 games) and have outscored the opposition 124-25 in the first three games of the season. But the Red Raiders might be their best test through the air yet. Quarterback D.J. Crook is inching closer to the state’s all-time passing touchdown record, and has been distributing the ball evenly to a number of athletic targets. Defensively, the Raiders have been living on the edge the last few weeks, beating Sandwich by two last week after losing by one to Dennis-Yarmouth, but are active in the secondary.
Barboza: Let's make sure we have an extra set of light bulbs for the scoreboard just in case. Everett, 30-21.
Hall: …And they’ll still talk about being rusty. Everett, 40-20.

The Skinny: This might be the game of the season on Saturday at Memorial Park. The Wildcats come into town having not lost a Bay State Conference contest since Thanksgiving 2009, and boast a very talented backfield led by Ozzy Colarusso, Khary Bailey-Smith, Cam McLevedge and sophomore Derrell Fernandez. But Needham is talented in its own right between quarterback Drew Burnett, tight end Mark Riley, and a well-stocked receiving corps. The Rockets are OK with flying under the radar, but it's hard to ignore their talents.
Barboza: The difference could come on defense for the Wildcats with inside linebacker Jon Hachey averaging over 16 tackles per game. Weymouth, 27-26.
Hall: All week long, coach David Duffy has been hammering home to his kids to play mistake-free. I’ve got to keep rolling the dice here, but these are cerebral kids, and always well-coached on defense. Needham, 21-13.

No. 19 NASHOBA (3-0) at NO. 24 HOLY NAME (2-1)
The Skinny: The No. 19 Chieftains have been rolling to start the season, but hit the injury bug last week with Trevor Wyand leaving during a 33-0 win over Algonquin. Still, between the rushing attack led by Carroll Bailey and Jon Ojukwu, and one of the state’s fastest-rising prospects in junior linebacker Zach Hume, this is a Nashoba squad not to be taken lightly. Meanwhile the Naps are no pushover themselves, with an led by Quron Wright and Anthony Hodges.
Barboza: Wright is one of the most explosive players I've seen this year. Holy Name, 22-20.
Hall: Are we allowed to make references to “The Bodybag Game” on a high school page? Because I think Herschel Walker might be taking snaps by the third quarter. Holy Name, 22-21.

The Skinny: The Bulldogs endured a crushing comeback bid by Beverly last week and things don't get any easier with a trip over to Swampscott. Lynn English quarterback Jermaine Kelley has shown flashes of brilliance, but turnovers were a problem last week. But be rest assured that the former Big Blue gridder would like nothing better than to hold bragging rights over his old mates. Big Blue quarterback Mike Walsh also leads an opportunistic, ball-hawking secondary from the strong safety position.
Barboza: Walsh is the difference. It'll be his usual 100-yard passing, 100-yard rushing and one pick performance. Can we call it a Mike Walsh hat trick? Swampscott, 33-20.
Hall: I wouldn’t be surprised if these two squads combined for over 1,000 yards of offense. Both these quarterbacks sling it out there. But after last weekend, I like Swampscott’s defense better in the crunch time. Swampscott, 41-38.

The Skinny: B-R turned in what head coach Dan Buron called the most complete performance of the season thus far for the Trojans during last week's win over Marshfield, while the Whalers had a long day against No. 2 Duxbury. However, New Bedford can present some matchup problems for B-R, especially with scat back Marcel DePina operating in the open field; he's tough to catch. Look for this to be an intense battle between two young, but physical offensive lines.
Hall: Did I hear that right, Buron ran a trips formation on Saturday?!?!? Yeesh. Next you’ll be telling me the Red Sox went 7-20 in September. B-R, 23-10.
Barboza: Yeah, Brendan. That wasn't a dream. (Gulp.) B-R, 27-20.


Last Week: 8-2
Overall: 29-9

Last Week: 7-3
Overall: 25-13