Boston High School: Tim Badgley

Recap: No. 8 Concord-Carlisle 9, No. 16 Reading 7

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
12:52
AM ET
READING, Mass. – No. 8 Concord-Carlisle lacrosse stormed out to a 5-0 lead after one quarter and never looked back as they defeated No. 16 Reading, 9-7, behind an intelligent and disciplined defensive effort.

Despite a furious second-half comeback, Reading (16-2) cou;d not overcome a six-goal second half deficit on Wednesday in both team’s final tune-up before post-season play begins next week.

[+] EnlargeBrozowski
Ryan Kilian for ESPNConcord-Carlisle long-stick midfielder Nick Brozowski collected eight ground balls in the Patriots' 9-7 win over Reading.
The Patriots would maintain their 5-0 lead through the second quarter and in to the half as their senior defensive unit of Evan Boynton, Sam Barrett and Javier Flores did an excellent job of containing the explosive Reading attack unit.

“This is the best we have played defensively,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Tom Dalicandro said after the game. “I was really worried about the match-up because the have three really good attackmen. Sam Barrett had his best game of the year for us today and Evan [Boynton] and Javy [Flores] also played well. They are three all-league kids on defense and I think they rose to the occasion today.”

Don’t look now but the defending Division 2 state champion Patriots (12-5) have won four games in a row and seven of their last eight, including wins over Lincoln-Sudbury and now Reading, as they head into tournament play with plenty of momentum.

“We feel really good about ourselves,” Dalicandro said. “I think we can compete with anyone but we need to do the three key things we talk about. We need to value and share the ball, play great team defense and get saves from our goalie.”

Concord-Carlisle completely dominated the start of the game and led 6-0 until 2:58 on the clock in the third quarter when Greg Connery would score the Rockets’ first goal of the game.

Reading goalie Matt Comerford (10 saves) would then come up with a big save as the clock ticked down in the third quarter and Conor Frazier would take a deep outlet and find Charlie Colvin (2 Goals) for a goal with point-one seconds remaining on the clock.

Trailing 6-2 heading into the final quarter of play, Reading would come to life and begin to get out in the open field as they would cut the Concord-Carlisle lead to 8-4 with 6:36 to play.

“We want to play our style of lacrosse,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said. “We are a little more run and gun and we want to get out in transition.”

After Reading (16-2) started to seize momentum, Concord-Carlisle attack Tim Badgley (2G, 1A) would score and important ninth goal with 5:40 on the clock to give Concord-Carlisle a 9-4 lead.

Reading would not let down, however, as Charlie Colvin, Mark Dente and Eric O’Brien all netted goals to cut the C-C lead to 9-7 with one minute remaining in the game.

“I think the kids put a lot of spirit into the comeback,” Hardy said. “The team you saw at the end is the team that we have.”

C-C middie Will Blumenberg would help the Patriots secure a key late possession in the final minute of play to seal the win.

Blumenberg led C-C with three goals on the day while middie Peter Anastos (1G, 1A) also played well offensively for C-C.

“You can’t spot a team like that goals,” Hardy said. “They are too sophisticated and they are too well coached.”

Concord-Carlisle and Reading will now both await the seeding selection for Division 2 on Friday to see whom they will face next week.

“We love playing them as it is a character game,” Hardy said of the annual end-of-year game with C-C. “We want to play them at the end of the regular season so now we get to see what we need to work on.”

Concord-Carlisle also received a strong game from long stick middie Nick Brozowski, who had his usual strong game on groundballs, scooping up eight, and using his quick stick to force multiple turnovers.

Andrew Kielar also played well in net for C-C as the sophomore came up with five of his nine saves in the first half.

Recap: Long day for defending lax champs

April, 6, 2013
4/06/13
5:18
PM ET
ALLSTON, Mass. -- The defending Division 1 and Division 2 state champions of MIAA boys' lacrosse had a long day Saturday morning in a double-header against out-of-state powers at Harvard.

Duxbury went down in a 10-1 defeat to one of the best public school programs in the country in Garden City (N.Y.). Meanwhile, Mercer Island (Wash.) continued its tour of the Northeast -- having lost an 8-4 decision to Duxbury on Tuesday -- with a 7-2 victory over reigning Div. 2 champion Concord-Carlisle.

While there weren't many highlights to go around for the local sides, here are a couple of parting thoughts from today's action:

PLUSSES TO THE MINUSES
Concord-Carlisle (2-1) were largely done in by a string of four Mercer Island goals in roughly five minutes to start the game. While it immediately put the Patriots behind the 8-ball, head coach Tom Dalicandro was

"We played pretty even after that, but we just couldn't recover from that start," Dalicandro said. "I thought the play after that was pretty even."

The bright spot for C-C was its man-up unit, which produced both goals. The Patriots also got a lift from their goal-scorers -- senior attack Tim Badgely and sophomore midfielder Will Blumenberg. Both players are coming up to game-speed after out-of-season injuries.

Aside from the goal-scoring boost, Dalicandro has been pleased by the progress of the two players, who carry a heavy height if the Patriots hope to capture their fifth state title in a repeat.

"They're ahead of where I thought they'd be at this time of the year, which is a good thing," Dalicandro added.

'EYE ON JUNE'
After registering a neat and tidy win while playing host to Mercer Island, Duxbury was simply overmatched by Garden City -- a team Dragons head coach Chris Sweet affirmed as one of the nation's best.

While the Trojans stifling defense afforded Duxbury few clean looks at the cage, holding the Dragons scoreless until inside the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Sweet felt his team didn't do themselves any favors either.

"We didn't hit our shots. We certainly got outplayed in a lot of phases of the game, but I like the way our guys played."

Junior attack Tanner Williams broke up Garden City's shutout bid off a feed from James Higgins working behind the cage.

Sweet emphasized the ability for his team to learn their weaknesses facing such competition.

"We schedule this game for the sole purpose of having our eye on June," Sweet said. "We'd like to win a game like this, but trust me we got a lot of game out of this that'll make us a much better team going forward.

"You can't find what your weaknesses are when you're winning fourteen to one."

ESPN Boston Week 9 football picks

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
2:58
AM ET
ACTON-BOXBOROUGH (6-2) AT LINCOLN-SUDBURY (7-1)
The Skinny: Although the Colonials enter this rivalry game after a letdown against Waltham last week, these teams always have a say in the determination of the Dual County League crown. The Warriors have worked toward reclaiming the division title with help from a talented cast of seniors who have two-way success with the football and the lacrosse teams, including Chris Giorgio, Henry Guild and John Sexton. A-B’s wing-T attack is led by a pair of promising juniors in William Tejada (14 TDs) and Tom Saponaro.

Scott Barboza: Bill Maver has the building blocks for a strong group next year, but this senior group from L-S has been primed to make their run during the last two years. The seal the deal for the division, but it’s a rivalry game, so throw the records out. L-S, 20-14.

Brendan Hall: The Warriors take the inside track to their third consecutive postseason berth, but because it’s A-B they do it in knock-down, drag-out fashion. L-S, 17-10.

DIGHTON-REHOBOTH (6-1) AT WAREHAM (7-1)
The Skinny: Both teams sport a perfect South Coast Conference record entering Friday’s tête-à-tête and their only loss came against a common non-league opponent in Somerset-Berkley. Since their opening day loss, the Falcons have run off six straight wins, including a 5-0 record in the SCC. D-R’s ground attack is keyed by 6-foot-7 tackle Chuddy Nwachukwu, but the Falcons have also seen dividends in the passing game behind sophomore quarterback Nathan Kowalski. The Vikings, also undefeated in the SCC, have big-play ability with the electrifying Darien Fernandez in the backfield. Yet, Wareham has also brought the lumber on defense, surrendering just 26 points through five league games.

Barboza: In big SCC games, it’s hard to pick against a Dave Driscoll-led team. D-R, 16-14.

Hall: As usual, our loyal correspondent Corey comes up with some innovative names, this one “The Fernandez Express”. As long as Darien’s legs keep churning, the Vikings will stay ahead. Wareham, 17-13.

STONEHAM (7-1) AT BURLINGTON (7-1)
The Skinny: The Red Devils can sew up the Middlesex League Freedom division title with a win over the upstart Spartans. Stoneham saw its undefeated record blemish last week in a 42-28 loss to Wakefield, but the Spartans are capable of throwing a monkey wrench into the race behind Aaron Louis and Darius McPherson. Meanwhile, Burlington’s backfield tandem of Anthony Cruz and Marcus O’Diah has few equals in Eastern Mass.

Barboza: Cinderella’s ball comes to a halt. Burlington, 33-24.

Hall: Stoneham appears to have a quality foundation for the long haul, but in the short term this Burlington rushing attack will be too much for the Spartans to handle. Burlington, 28-14.

GOVERNOR’S ACADEMY (6-0) AT MILTON ACADEMY (4-2)
The Skinny: The defending ISL champs put their undefeated record on the line in a road game. Gov’s 40-6 win over Brooks last week kept its point-per-game average above 41 points a game as Tate Jozokos and Eli Morrissey continue their assault on opposing defenses. Mustangs junior running back Drew Jacobs continued his breakout season with four touchdowns last week in a throttling of Belmont Hill.

Barboza: Opposing teams better hope they have Jacoby Jones or Ellis Hobbs returning kicks for them because it’s a 108 yards or bust with Justin Yoon kicking off. Still, Gov’s offense takes over. Governor’s, 31-24.

Hall: The Governators haven’t lost a game since Jim O’Leary took over in 2011. How crazy is that? Governor’s, 30-20.

WAYLAND (5-3) AT CONCORD-CARLISLE (4-4) (
The Skinny: Wayland looks for the inside track in the Dual County League’s Small division, entering the game with one of the league’s stingiest defenses (10.6 points allowed), and two versatile targets in senior wideout Mark Bonner and junior tailback Robert Williams. C-C, the defending league and Super Bowl champs, lost Tim Badgley in the preseason, but running backs Evan Boynton and Shayne McCloskey have picked up the slack.

Barboza: Yeah, I went with the Patriots winning a long time ago, in fact before we learned Badgley would be out for the year. It’s political season, so consider me a swing voter here. Wayland, 14-7.

Hall: I have the feeling this game is going to be possession-based. In that case, give me the better defense. Wayland, 10-6.

LOWELL (6-2) AT ANDOVER (8-0)
(The Skinny: Lowell has been on an offensive tear the last four games, going 3-1 and averaging 43 points per game over that span. Cam Latta has spearheaded the surge, but can he outduel Andover’s C.J. Scarpa? The 5-foot-8 senior hasn’t thrown an interception since Oct. 6, meanwhile the Golden Warriors are averaging over 370 yards of offense a game.

Barboza: Calculators ready? Andover, 46-38.

Hall: Remember the 88-80, eight-overtime game between these two in 2010? Let’s do the honorable thing here and move the venue to the Tsongas Center. Andover, 45-40.

NORTHBRIDGE (7-1) AT AUBURN (8-0) (
The Skinny: Auburn, one of the state’s stingiest defenses (5.1 points per game), holds first place in the SWCL A division, and can put a vice grip on it with a win over the Rams. Offensively, the Rockets have rode one of the state’s biggest lines to bull their way to over 2,000 yards rushing and over 2,700 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Drew Goodrich and Tyler Desjardins. But Northbridge quarterback Matt Phelan (1,344 passing yards, 11 TD; 673 rushing yards, 19 TD) will be one of the more slippery athletes the Rockets will have seen all season long. Can they contain him?

Barboza: Again, more than the score, I’m wondering what the line would be set at on these occurrences: how many times the Rockets venture to pass versus the Rams keeping it on the ground. Think it’s a push, but … Auburn, 31-27.

Hall: Classic clash of philosophies here: Jeff Cormier’s power running scheme versus Northbridge guru Ken LaChapelle and his pioneering run-and-shoot. Give me the team with the better line, in a physical battle. Auburn, 20-13.

BC HIGH (3-4) AT XAVERIAN (2-6) (
The Skinny: What would you have said if we told you back in August these two teams would be meeting in November with a combined 10 losses? But that’s what we have here, as the two Catholic Conference foes will fight to stay alive in a conference that St. John’s Prep is favored to take a hold of. If linebacker Luke Catarius is a go for BC High, that should provide an interesting matchup for Xaverian and its talented skill corps of Austin DeCarr, D.J. Pagliuca and Hunter Taute. The key matchup will be in the interior, where two close friends and Division 1 commits will square off – Xaverian defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (Michigan) versus BC High guard Jack McDonald (Virginia).

Barboza: Going with my preseason Catholic Conference pick in this one for whatever that’s worth – though it’s still probably worth more than Facebook stock. BC High, 21-17.

Hall: Give both teams credit here, they’re still fighting hard. But at this point, the Eagles have a little bit more momentum. BC High, 21-10.

BARNSTABLE (7-0) AT BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-3)
The Skinny: Once again, these teams engage in a winner-takes-all battle for the Old Colony League crown in this week’s Game of the Week. Some elements to watch entering this one will be to see how the Red Raiders secondary is able to shake off a lackluster performance last week against Billerica. Similarly, B-R had its troubles with La Salle Academy and its spread attack a couple weeks back, so we’ll see how the Trojans’ secondary is able to deal with Barnstable quick and nimble wideouts. Let’s not overlook the running backs in this one, however. Hayden Murphy figured prominently into last year’s win by Barnstable in this game and Trojans sophomore sensation Brandon Gallagher (12 TDs) will be one to watch for years to come.

Barboza: Because it’s what Dan Buron wants us to do anyway, and for the fact I think the Red Raiders repeat. Barnstable, 30-24.

Hall: Any time you have an NFL veteran coaching the secondary, you have to think things will shore up after a bad week. Barnstable, 35-28.

ESPN Boston Week 1 football picks

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
11:06
PM ET
FRIDAY
NO. 1 EVERETT AT NO. 7 LEOMINSTER
The Skinny: Leominster has never beaten the Crimson Tide since this series began in 2002, but the Blue Devils have usually been a tough out. In 2009, the teams played to a 14-6 Tide win. The last two meetings, the Blue Devils got under the Tide’s skin early before Everett’s talent took over. But Leominster is brimming with excitement, its proud football culture awakened again following their first Super Bowl championship in a decade last fall. Everett, meanwhile, seems to be settled at every position but quarterback – and with a line averaging over 315 pounds, that will suffice. If Leominster is to pull off the upset, they’ll have to a find a way to contain electric wideouts Jakarrie Washington and Jalen Felix.

Scott Barboza: Leominster turns it into a game, but still too many horses in the stable for Everett despite the questions. Everett, 27-20.

Brendan Hall: It’s going to be a majestic crowd at Doyle, and some readers will undoubtedly conclude I’m biased towards Leominster because their defensive coordinator coached me 10 years ago at Oakmont. But I’m not. Even I’m not foolish enough to pick against the Tide in this one. Everett, 24-13.

NO. 2 BC HIGH AT NO. 22 BROCKTON
The Skinny: Injuries were an overarching theme of the preseason and both of these teams were affected. Bad news for BC High is Luke Catarius is out with a hairline ankle fracture, but Brockton should have Micah Morel in the lineup for their Week 1 challenge. We’ll get a look at the reigning Div. 1 Super Bowl champions new-look offense with Brendan Craven under center and Brandon Owens in the backfield while the Boxers will be sporting a Georgia Tech-inspired scheme with Auggie Roberts back at quarterback.

Barboza: A Jackson Bockhurst field goal will be the difference. BC High, 17-14.

Hall: Things unraveled for Brockton pretty quickly in last year’s meeting in Dorchester. The Boxers are fighting an uphill battle again this year, but at least it will be respectable. BC High, 28-14.

NO. 23 SPRINGFIELD PUTNAM AT NO. 14 SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL
The Skinny: With the schools sitting less than a mile from each other along Roosevelt Ave., the season-opening battle between these rival schools has become must-see as of late. Putnam won this contest last season, kick-starting an historic 2011 season that ended with their fifth Super Bowl title in eight seasons. Central will be looking for revenge, but it’s not easy replacing 2,000-yard rusher in Sacoy Malone. Putnam, meanwhile, turns to a plethora of new faces to replace record-setting running back Melquawn Pinkney, including quarterback Kayjuan Bynum and running back Wayne Lowery.

Barboza: I came away very impressed from talking to Central QB Cody Williams last year at Gillette. He blossoms into the real deal this year. Central, 21-16.

Hall: I like the direction Central is headed in over the long run, but Putnam is still Roosevelt Ave (See what I did there?). Putnam, 7-6.

LA SALLE ACADEMY (R.I.) AT NO. 16 NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH
The Skinny: Big Red will have its hands full opening night with their challenger from just across the state line. The Rams feature a high-octane attack led by reigning Gatorade Player of the Year running back Josh Morris and senior quarterback Anthony Francis. The key to this one will be in the trenches where North’s offensive line led by Eric Beckwith and Sean Peters could have the advantage.

Barboza: This Rams team is very talented, but North holds on – just barely. North, 28-26.

Hall: Josh Morris and Co. have been dying for that elusive win over a Massachusetts squad, and I think they finally get it here. La Salle, 17-13.

NO. 12 KING PHILIP AT DOVER (N.H.)
The Skinny: Self-admittedly, we don’t know as much about Dover as we do KP, but we can be some what certain what the Warriors will be showing them on defense. And, of course, that’s a variety of different looks and blitz and coverage schemes. Dover, which sits just outside of ESPN Boston correspondent Marc Thaler’s Granite State Top 10 poll, will also have to contend with KP quarterback John Dillon, who will enjoy a greater role directing the offense in his second year as starter.

Barboza: KP’s “Psycho” package gives Hockomock League teams fits, nevermind an offense that hasn’t seen it. KP, 28-8.

Hall: Knowing little about Dover outside of what our loyal New Hampshire correspondents tell us, I’m going to trust their convictions on this one and say it will be close. But I’m still going with the team closer to Boston. KP, 20-10.

NO. 4 ST. JOHN’S PREP AT DRACUT
The Skinny: The Middies have been a bit of a bugaboo for St. John's Prep in recent years and some around Danvers feel Dracut has simply posed a matchup problem for the Eagles with its spread attack. Good news for Prep is that their secondary, with Lucas Bavaro, Gerry Kahari, Alex Moore and Johnny Thomas, has matured into a strength of the team. Dracut senior linebacker Zach Bassett could be the key to the game, trying to slow down Prep's running attack.

Barboza: Looking for a defensive struggle here. Prep, 14-7.

Hall: Classic trap game for The Prep, against a classic trap opponent that’s had their number in recent years. Dracut, 10-6.

NORTH ANDOVER AT ANDOVER
The Skinny: North Andover's season starts with a Walsh at quarterback, but of another name. Brendan Walsh's younger brother Casey takes the helm of the Scarlet Knights' offense. It also marks North Andover's first Merrimack Valley Conference game. The Golden Warriors will counter with a high-flying attack that impressed during this summer's Northeast 7v7 passing tournament. Quarterback C.J. Scarpa has plenty of targets including Cam Farnham and Will Heikkinen.

Hall: I know it’s a familiar rival that’s been on the schedule for years, but North Andover is still in for a whole new ball game. And since it’s now officially an MVC game, there will be no less than 172 points scored and 1,000 yards of offense. Andover, 35-30.

Barboza: Ditto. Andover, 31-20.

MARSHFIELD AT CATHOLIC MEMORIAL
The Skinny: Last year at this time, Catholic Memorial entered Marshfield’s stadium with plenty of hype, behind three Division 1 FBS commits and a No. 4 preseason ranking in ESPNBoston.com’s poll. They promptly got shut out by the Rams, 24-0, fueling their ensuing seven-game win streak. The Knights will no doubt be looking to exact revenge, and they’ll look to Preseason All-State defensive end Peter Ngobidi to stifle the Rams’ vaunted run game.

Barboza: Ngobidi is a dominant force and asserts his will here. CM, 7-0.

Hall: The Knights got embarrassed last year in Marsh Vegas, and I expect them to exact revenge here. CM, 16-13.

SATURDAY
NO. 24 HOLY NAME AT NO. 17 ST. JOHN’S (SHREWSBURY)
The Skinny: For all of Holy Name’s success under Mike Pucko, the Naps have never beaten St. John’s during his tenure. Could that change on Saturday? Holy Name turns to one of the state’s most elusive scatbacks in Quron Wright, and will hope for a big day. St. John’s has already hit the injury bug, with incumbent QB Connor Kurtz (knee) out for the season, but RB Shadrach Abrokwah is a nice fit for their hurry-up scheme, and is poised for a breakout senior season.

Hall: If the Naps are ever to beat St. John’s, this has to be the year. Holy Name, 9-8.

Barboza: Hate to do this to the Naps, sorry. St. John's, 22-21.

NO. 9 DUXBURY AT NO. 8 BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM
The Skinny: B-R is itching to get over the hump after dropping its season-opener to the Dragons the past two seasons. The Trojans have some terrific talent between the tackles, led by Joey MacInnis, to pave for a big afternoon for junior tailback Arcel Armstead. Duxbury graduated one of its most talented classes ever from the 2011 Super Bowl champion squad, but still has plenty of talent left over to keep the state’s longest active win streak (26) going. Look for guard Rob Kosharek, linebacker Marshall McCarthy and running back Jon Hurvitz to have big days.

Barboza: Now that Dan Buron's nephew Andrew (former Duxbury standout) has graduated, expect the Trojans to get back to their winning ways. B-R, 14-10.

Hall: After graduating one of the program’s most talented classes ever, Marshall the Missile gets the full spotlight. And he usually gives the fans their money’s worth. Duxbury, 14-10.

CONCORD-CARLISLE AT BEVERLY
The Skinny: C-C heads into its non-league tilt with the heavy NEC/CAL Tier 2 favorite already limping, losing its star running back Tim Badgley (ACL tear) for the season. If the Patriots are to repeat last year’s Super Bowl championship success, sophomore quarterback Will Blumenberg will have to grow up quickly. Meanwhile, Beverly features one of the North Shore’s most feared rushing attacks with the three-pronged approach of Kenny Pierce, Brendan Flaherty and Dom Abate.

Barboza: ETA on when the Kenny Pierce hashtag gets rolling again? We're looking at you James Coffey. Beverly, 27-14.

Hall: I’m excited to see what Will Blumenberg can do for the Patriots, but the Panthers just have too much in the tank to be stopped in this one. Beverly, 28-7.

D2 EMass final: Concord-Carlisle 5, Wellesley 4

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
12:38
PM ET


ALLSTON, Mass. -- Concord-Carlisle took one step closer to their dream perfect season on Wednesday night as they defeated Wellesley 5-4 in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 championship.

No. 2 seed C-C (21-0) used their typical blend of strong defense, timely offense and elite goaltending throughout the game and held off a spirited fourth quarter comeback by the Raiders.

“We just made one more play than them,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Tom Dalicandro said. "It could have gone either way. It was a one goal game and they really pressed us at the end."

Wellesley (19-4) jumped out to an early one goal lead at the 7:46 mark in the first quarter as senior midfielder Oliver Saffery (2 Goals) took a pass from behind the cage and flipped it behind his back to beat Concord-Carlisle All-American goalie Doug Gouchoe.

Wellesley dominated the early possessions in the opening quarter but Gouchoe turned away five big shots in the opening frame that could have extended the lead even further for the Raiders.

Concord-Carlisle took momentum right back from Wellesley at the start of the second quarter as freshman Will Blumenberg (1G, 1 A) won the opening face-off and found defensive midfielder Tyler Koning for the game-tying goal at the 11:49 mark in the second quarter..

Junior attack Charlie Painter would give Concord-Carlisle their first lead of the game with just under a minute remaining in the first half. Painter took a feed from classmate and fellow attack Tim Badgley (1G, 1A) and beat Wellesley goalie Connor Darcey low to give C-C a 2-1 lead at the half.

Darcey also kept the Concord-Carlisle lead from getting away from the Raiders as the senior came up with several key saves in the second quarter including two at the end of the half.

“We hit a couple of pipes and Darcey robbed us a couple of times as well,” Dalicandro said. "Both goalies were unbelievable today. They are the two best goalies in the state.”

C-C exploded out of the halftime intermission and scored two quick goals with less than a minute gone off the clock. Blumenberg and senior midfielder Jackson Finigan both added unassisted tallies to give C-C a 4-1 lead. Badgley would fire home another goal in transition on a feed from senior midfielder Mike O’Brien at the 7:06 mark in the third to give C-C a 5-1 lead after three quarters.

After exchanging possessions for much of the fourth quarter Wellesley attack John Caraviello cut the C-C lead to 5-2 as the sophomore’s goal sparked the fourth quarter Wellesley comeback.

Senior attack Peter Crane followed suit with another score to bring Wellesley to within two goals at 5-3 with 3:30 remaining in the game.

When the game appeared to be all but over Saffery would score again with 31 seconds remaining to cut the C-C lead to one goal at 5-4.

C-C would get possession off a Blumenberg face-off win and run the clock out to take the victory and advance to Friday night’s D2 state championship game at Foley Stadium in Worcester.

Elite keepers: Both Gouchoe (Air Force) and Darcey (Penn State) had fantastic games for their respective teams as they drew the praise from fans, coaches, teammates and opponents alike.

“He played great today,” Gouchoe said of Darcey. “He pretty much kept his team in the game the entire time. He had some unbelievable saves against Will Blumenberg, Jackson and kids like that. It sort of makes it hard to play against when he is such a great goalie. You do not want to mess up and make yourself look like a sieve in front of him.”

Next Up: Concord-Carlisle will face Central/ Western Mass. champion Algonquin on Friday night at Foley Stadium in Worcester. The D2 state championship face-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Central Mass. champion Algonquin defeated Western Mass. champion Minnechaug, 11-6, Tuesday evening to set up the state championship match up.

In last year’s D2 state final Medfield defeated Algonquin 13-9. Medfield also defeated Concord-Carlisle at Harvard Stadium last year by a score of 11-5 in the 2011 Eastern Mass. D2 final.

Recap: C-C takes Coaches Challenge Cup title

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
12:04
PM ET
Coaches CupRyan Kilian for ESPN.com
WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Concord-Carlisle got a spectacular defensive effort and timely and effective offensive possessions to defeat fellow Division 2 power Wellesley 8-4 on Saturday in the finals of the 2012 Coaches Challenge Cup.

Concord-Carlisle (6-0) got out to a 6-1 halftime lead and never looked back as they moved the ball efficiently on offense, received strong net play from senior goalie Doug Gouchoe and added great rotational team defense in the second half to seal the victory.

“It has been a great week,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Tom Dalicandro said.” The defense was awesome. “I knew Doug [Gouchoe] would be Doug but I am very impressed with the defense led by Henry [Bumpus]. Henry is the only one back and the other guys played JV last year. Evan Boynton was a short stick d-middie and Sam Barrett transferred back in.”

Wellesley (5-2) got on the board first to open the game as senior midfielder Oliver Saffery scored the first of his two goals on the day to give Wellesley a 1-0 lead. Concord-Carlisle would answer back with six unanswered tallies, including two man-up goals in the second quarter, to take a five goal lead into the half.

“This week we have come out so strong in the first two quarters,” Gouchoe said. “It is up to the defense to preserve that lead. Our offense has proved they can come out and score 8-9 goals now and that is big for our defense.”

Saffery would strike again out of the break for the Red Raiders on a man-up rip to cut the C-C lead to 6-2. Wellesley senior goalie Connor Darcey made 12 saves on the day with four coming in Wellesley’s third quarter shutout.

Trailing 6-2 heading into the fourth quarter Wellesley buckled down on defense and cut the lead to 6-3 as they held C-C scoreless for a 20-minute period before C-C senior attack Mike O’Brien beat the Wellesley defense on a great individual effort to ensure the win for the Patriots.
“We have to play smart,” said O’Brien. “We are not the flashiest players but we have a lot of kids who work hard and are smart with the ball. When we play well we are a really hard team beat.”

Wellesley also received strong play from senior long stick midfielder Ryan Cassidy, who excelled all tournament long for the Red Raiders. The senior followed up a huge semi-final effort in a win over Winchester with another strong performance on Saturday.

“It was great team win,” said C-C’s Bumpus. “We are playing smart and that has been what is getting us ahead in these teams. We do not make mistakes and that is what led to the Coaches Cup win.”

C-C freshman attack Will Blumenberg and junior attack Tim Badgley each scored twice for Concord-Carlisle in the win.

“Our offense starts with our defense,” senior attack Jackson Finigan said. “Without our defense we would not get as many opportunities for our offense. Our defense transitions the ball so well and gives us so many chances. We know that even if we do not get it the first time we are going to get the ball back.”

D-MIDDIES IN FOCUS
As good as Gouchoe and C-C’s close defense was on the day the most unheralded work was done by the d-midfield unit of seniors Tyler Koning (1 G), Anthony West, junior Brendan Finigan and sophomore Nick McCormack.

“Those guys played JV last year,” Dalicandro said. “Brendan, Tyler, Westy, and Nick was even on the freshman team. They all did a great job today.”

CUP REMATCH
The 2012 finals was a rematch of the 2011 Coaches Challenge Cup finals that was held in Winchester. Wellesley defeated C-C 5-2 on a rain soaked Saturday afternoon to win the Cup for Wellesley.

Darcey was the star of last year’s game as the Penn-State bound net minder had 15 saves in the win.

After Saturday’s game Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty graciously handed the trophy over to Concord-Carlisle.

“Concord-Carlisle deserves this trophy,” said Batty after the game as he presented the Cup to C-C. “You won with class and if we are lucky we will get to play you again in June.”

HINGHAM TAKES CONSOLATION
In the third place game Hingham defeated Winchester 9-5 behind four goals from senior attack Noah Ellis and two goals from senior attack Kevin Blair.

Hingham led 7-2 at the half but Winchester stormed back in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 8-5. Hingham midfielder Caleb Brodie would score the lone fourth quarter goal as the Harbormen take home third place in the Coaches Cup.

Lincoln-Sudbury defeated Andover 9-6 and Dover-Sherborn defeated North Andover 6-4 in the first two Coaches Cup consolation games of the day.

Roundtable: Is Milford the new D1 softball favorite?

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
11:34
AM ET
In this week's edition of "Roundtable", ESPN Boston High Schools Editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall are joined by correspondent Bruce Lerch and Brockton Enterprise staff writer John Botelho as we discuss the best hitting lineups, the best faceoff specialist in lacrosse, and whether Milford is now the team to beat in softball.

1. AFTER BEATING KING PHILIP, IS MILFORD THE FAVORITE IN DIVISION 1 FOR SOFTBALL?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Scott Barboza: In a word, yes. Shannon Smith is simply pitching out of her mind right now, but it's not as though we haven't seen this before from the University of Kentucky commit. Two years ago, Smith was named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year after recording a 0.36 ERA. This year, she's been dominant, including a 20-strikeout performance against Shrewsbury and 17 K's against KP. Not to mention, the Scarlet Hawks haven't even been playing with their opening day lineup, after All-State catcher Taylor Archer suffered a leg injury in the first week of the season. Freshman Taylor LeBrun has done a terrific job behind the plate in the interim, but MIlford will only be that much more potent with their top battery in place. I'm certainly not ruling out KP, as anything short of a rematch between the two teams in the state final would be unexpected.

Bruce Lerch, correspondent: While there are several teams with good enough pitching to shut down the Scarlet Hawks bats, how many are strong enough offensively to hit against Milford ace Shannon Smith? The only team that really comes to mind is...King Philip. The Kentucky-bound Smith two-hit the Warriors and struck out 17 Monday afternoon, so you have to think they are the lead horse in the race right now. KP has hit Smith before, however, as a 10-1 result in the state championship game two years ago proves. Of course, Smith was but a freshman then, and having faced King Philip several times since then her knowledge of that dangerous lineup has grown considerably.

Oh yeah...KP also has Meghan Rico. I've heard she's a pretty good pitcher too...something about a reigning player of the year? If both aces are on their game, then the state championship softball game may have to be scheduled for more than one day

John Botelho, Brockton Enterprise: Even with Milford knocking off K-P, it's still hard to call anyone but the Warriors - the two-time defending state champ - the favorite to win it all. This means Milford might have closed the gap, but until someone proves Meghan Rico is possible to beat in the playoffs, the Warriors remain the class of softball in this state. Keep in mind how difficult it is to beat a good team twice, and chances are Milford will have to do just that if they're to bring home the state crown.

2. SEVEN OF THE EIGHT TEAMS PARTICIPATING IN THE COACHES CHALLENGE CUP THIS WEEK ARE RANKED IN OUR TOP 25. WHICH OF THOSE TEAMS HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF WINNING A STATE TITLE IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DIVISION?

Scott Barboza: We might have seen a Division 2 Eastern Mass final matchup preview on Thursday when Concord-Carlisle and Hingham squared off in a Coaches Challenge Cup semifinal. The Patriots beat the Harbormen, 9-4, with Jackson Finigan, Tim Badgley and Kevin Delehey scoring two goals each. If both teams take care of business hereon out, we should expect to see both of them at Harvard Stadium. Of course, none of this makes mention of Dover-Sherborn. The Raiders fell just short of an upset over Lincoln-Sudbury before falling, 12-11, but they've proven their among the elite in Division 3.

Bruce Lerch: That team would Dover-Sherborn. Lincoln-Sudbury will enter the Division 1 tournament as one of the teams best suited to make a run at Duxbury, but betting against the Dragons has been mostly a losing proposition for the past decade. The six Div. 2 teams that participated in the tournament are perennially among the last teams standing in June, so while a state champion could come from this group, picking who it will be requires a crystal ball.

Dover-Sherborn has the talent to compete with the best teams in the state, something the Raiders proved three years running now at the Coaches Challenge Cup, and is likely going to snag one of the top four seeds in the Div. 3 tourney and will be included in the group of favorites that should also include Weston and Norwell.

3. IN BASEBALL, WHAT'S THE BEST HITTING YOU'VE SEEN SO FAR?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall: I have seen both BC High and Lowell multiple times, and I don't think you can go wrong either way.

BC High can mash 1 through 9, but at the top is where they're especially dangerous. UConn signee Bob Melley is the Eagles' most powerful bat out of the No. 3 spot, but he's surrounded by plenty of college-ready talent in seniors Chuckie Connors, Justin Silvestro, Brian Hocking, and juniors Ryan Tufts and Dan Dougherty. I will put the Eagles' top six hitters against any team's top six in the state...

...Unless that top six is Lowell. The Red Raiders are only going to get stronger as the season goes on, but they're showing some real nice stuff through the first three weeks of the season. Rory O'Connor, Derek Reed and Andrew Marasa form what is regarded as the state's best outfield, but they can manufacture runs from the plate, too. Matt Tulley is headed to Virginia Tech for his low-90's fastball, but he's got a heavy swing from the cleanup spot too. My favorite hitter to watch in this lineup is senior Chad Gens, who can square up and plant it deep as good as anyone. After Lexington's Chris Shaw, he might be one of the better power hitters in Eastern Mass. I expect him to be near the top in extra base hits this year.

Also of note, take a look at Dighton-Rehoboth, which comes in this week at No. 18 this week. With a top of the order led by Bryan Rocha, Adam Benvie, Evan Mondor and Mike St. John, the Falcons are averaging 11 runs per game, including shellackings over Somerset (22-0) and Case (17-6). When it comes to manufacturing runs, you can't forget Walpole, between leadoff shortstop Johnny Adams, catcher Dan King, and brothers Cam and Craig Hanley.

John Botelho: Despite getting shutout by Marshfield for their first loss of the season on Thursday, the East Bridgewater Vikings offense is certainly among the best in southeastern Mass, and could be the class of the D3 South Sectional later this season. Even with the setback against the Rams, E-B is still averaging just over 10 runs per game.

In the Hockomock League both Oliver Ames has emerged as a team with an electric pitching staff, but the offense is plenty capable of flexing muscle too. With sweet swinging David MacKinnon - whose emerging as one of the best hitters in the Hock - hitting third and powerful Matt Harding hitting fourth, the Tigers have one of the best 3-4 combos going. Matt Mancini, Ryan O'Shea, Mike McMillan and Jim Sullivan help bolster a lineup that features plenty of hitting ability.

4. AN UNDERRATED ASPECT OF LACROSSE IS THE "FOGO" (FACE OFF, GET OFF) POSITION. WHO IS THE BEST FACEOFF SPECIALIST IN THE MIAA?

Scott Barboza: I think there's no doubt that Clay Richard of Medfield is the best true FOGO in the state, but as we saw during Wednesday's matchup against No. 1 Duxbury, Dragons midfielder Henry Narlee might be the best faceoff man in the state. Sqauring off against Richard and the Warriors, Narlee won an amazing 21 of 28 draws.

Bruce Lerch: The two best were on display Wednesday night in Duxbury as Medfield's Clay Richard went to work against the Dragons Henry Narlee. Richard more than held his own against Narlee in their individual battle, but in addition to the Duxbury junior's elite skill, he also has the advantage of having James Burke and Reilly Naton flying off the wings to grab every loose ball in sight. Not only is Narlee at winning the draws to himself, but is deadly accurate when shooting the ball into space for his two LSM's to chase it down.

5. LOOK AT THE NEXT TWO WEEKS OF SPRING. CALL AN UPSET. AND FEEL FREE TO GO BIG.

Scott Barboza: Don't really know if this would count as such, but I'm calling Duxbury's take down of Garden City (N.Y.) this weekend. Looks like the Dragons' regained their top form in the last week. In softball, I have a feeling about Hudson taking down Shrewsbury this weekend.

Brendan Hall: Boston Latin has a two-game swing at the beginning of next month that could have big implications in the Dual County League: May 4 at Lincoln-Sudbury, and May 7 at Acton-Boxborough. The Wolfpack seem to be everyone's favorite little underdog in the league (no pun intended), but I wouldn't be surprised to see them take one of two here. L-S has some talent, but has been searching for that staff ace; meanwhile A-B has had a knack for the dramatic so far, twice winning one-run games, the latest a 1-0 decision over Waltham on Wednesday. Can Latin pull 1 of 2 here? It might depend on who's pitching.

Elsewhere, I've got May 10's matchup between No. 14 Burncoat and No. 3 St. John's of Shrewsbury circled on the calendar. The Patriots just lost their first game to Danvers the other day, while St. John's sits at 7-0 with a nice win over St. John's Prep. This is building into one of the best regular-season matchups in Central Mass., but I'm going to go with Burncoat in the upset.

John Botelho: On April 26, when No. 16 Barnstable comes to town, Bridgewater-Raynham will take a big step toward winning the Old Colony League by knocking them off in a pitcher's duel. The Trojans have to deal with league foe Dartmouth just two days before, and if the rotation stays the path it's on lefty Pat Chalmers will be throwing that game. That means fellow southpaw Shane Holmes, who has been piling up strikeouts and shutting offenses down, will take the mound against the Red Raiders. The lefty is one of the toughest in the area and B-R could come away with this one without needing much in the way of run support.

Coaches Cup recap: Wellesley, C-C final set

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
10:19
PM ET
DOVER, Mass. -- A pair of teams led by stout defenses and outstanding goalies set the stage for what should be nailbiter of a final as Wellesley and Concord-Carlisle each made their way through the stacked field of the Coaches Challenge Cup.

WELLESLEY 8, WINCHESTER 1: The sixth-ranked Raiders got a tremendous game out of defender Ryan Cassidy, who totaled eight ground balls and played lock-down defense to help slow down the No. 11 Sachems in the first of two semifinals at Dover-Sherborn's Frothingham Field.

Wellesley (5-1) assured itself of a title defense by keeping Winchester's (7-1) dangerous group of shooters far away from Penn State-bound goalie Connor Darcey (11 saves).

At one point in the fourth quarter with the Raider D forcing Winchester to keep passing the ball around the box in hopes of finding any hole to shoot through, Darcey could be heard yelling to his teammates, "You're playing perfect Wellesley! Keep it up!"

"Winchester has shooters and we knew that going in," said Raiders head coach Rocky Batty, whose team took a 7-0 lead into the fourth quarter. "Ryan Cassidy controlled things with Darcey and understood that shooters are shooters, and if they got hot, we would be in trouble. They kept it at 16-18 yards. They drew a line and said 'That's it, this is where you guys will play from.'"

The defensive effort allowed Wellesley to push the transition, and while that didn't always lead to goals, it allowed the Raiders to get settled and at least work long possessions to make the Sachems defense work.

Offensively, Brian Pedersen had a hat trick and Peter Crane notched three assists as Wellesley built a 7-0 lead before Winchester got on the board early in the fourth quarter.

"It was a great team effort overall," Cassidy said. "Our team defense is something we take pride in. We don't have any real stars, we just try to play the fundamentals and work as a unit. This year we have a no-name defense. We try and keep each other as one unit and we do that and stay with the fundamentals, that's when we're most successful."

Despite suffering defeat for the first time this season, Winchester coach John Pirani recalled a similar situation last year where his charges suffered a big loss to Hingham but bounced back to push the Harbormen to a one goal game in the playoffs.

"The reason for the tournament is that we wanted great competition in the middle of the year," Pirani explained. "It's a response to the growth of the game and the risk/reward when you engage in that kind of endeavor is that you might get your head handed to you, 8-1. The reward is that you get the experience of playing a really rigorous opponent who prepares you for tournament play later on."

"We lost to Hingham last year, 16-5, and then came within an eyelash of beating them in the postseason," he continued. "I told the kids, 'I don't know how its going to turn out but I do know that we will be better prepared because we had this experience.'"

CONCORD-CARLISLE 9, HINGHAM 4: The eighth-ranked Patriots will face Wellesley in the title game for a second straight year, getting two goals apiece from Jackson Finigan, Tim Badgley and Kevin Delehey and producing a similarly efficient defensive effort to stifle the No. 3 Harbormen in the day's final contest.

Doug Gouchoe stopped ten shots in the cage while Henry Bumpus and Evan Boynton anchored the defense and didn't allow Hingham's (6-1) talented attack group to get anything going.

The Patriots (5-0) kept Hingham off the scoreboard until the third while sniping five of their own. Dave Freitas and Noah Ellis tried to jumpstart the Harbormen, notching back-to-back goals, but C-C quickly put down any hopes of a comeback by reeling off the next three scores.

"I thought it was a great team win," Gouchoe said. "We were firing on all cylinders and playing together on defense. Our energy feeds off our defense. If our defense plays well, our offense is going to have that confidence to go to the net and score."

Also standing out the crowd for C-C was two-way midfielder Mike O'Brien, who scored the first goal after Hingham's two and basically never left the field as he continually hustled back and forth between both ends.

"Our defense has been phenomenal all year," O'Brien said. "We have four solid defenseman we can rotate, our defensive middies, even our offensive middies that go back and play defense. It's really a six-man effort back there. Doug's at the heart of it making big saves but we also try to limit teams from getting good shots on him."

Added C-C coach Tom Dalicandro, "Mikey's the heart and soul of the team. He's a three-sport star and was a two-way star for us today. We told him after the first game he has to stay on the field as long as he can and not come off until he's dead."

With a big smile, Dalicandro added, "And then he's still going to stay on."

Recap: Concord-Carlisle 42, Oliver Ames 9

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
2:28
PM ET
Robert KraftRyan Kilian/ESPNBoston.com Patriots owner Robert Kraft dropped by the Concord-Carlisle sideline.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Concord-Carlisle made their second consecutive trip to Gillette Stadium a successful one as they defeated Oliver Ames (7-5) 42-9 to win the Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 Super Bowl.

The game plan for C-C was to run the football, just as they had done in each of their previous 12 victories this season. C-C pounded the ball for 298 total rushing yards behind their veteran offensive line and three-headed backfield of seniors George Craan, Tyquan Culbreath, and junior Tim Badgley.

“For those guys to have a great day, particularly George and Ty as seniors, that makes it special,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Mike Robichaud said.

When Concord-Carlisle (13-0) went to the air they also converted as C-C quarterback Ryan Hoey found tight end Henry Bumpus on two separate occasions for touchdown strikes.

“It was a complete team effort,” said Robichaud. “I could not have been more proud of our team today.”




Oliver Ames could never get any sustainable drives going on the day despite solid games from quarterback Jared Schneider (11-22 passing for 123 yards and 2 INT) and running back Sam Langston (14 rushes for 60 yards and one touchdown).

Bumpus rebounds and stars: Bumpus had a strong junior season for C-C last year but had a dropped ball in the end zone that would have been a score for Concord-Carlisle in their Super Bowl loss at Gillette Stadium to Duxbury last year.

“Last year was the worst day of my life,” Bumpus said. “I dropped a big catch that I should have had so this year I knew I had to make up for it. I think I did that today and it feels so good to get that off my back.”

The Dual County League MVP had the biggest game of his career on the biggest stage as the 6-foot-6 defensive end/ tight end had two catches for 34 yards and two touchdowns to go along with an interception where he leaped up and picked off a Schneider pass and returned it deep into Oliver Ames territory.

Bumpus is also the captain of the C-C basketball team as well as a starting defenseman for the Patriots lacrosse squad. He will attend Brown University next season along with teammate and two time DCL lineman of the year Andrew VanderWilden. Together they will team with Henry’s older brother John who was a 2009 captain for Concord-Carlisle.

Right time to shine: Craan has put together one of the all-time great careers for any running back in the history of the Dual County League. This season Craan stepped his game up at the right time for the Patriots as the senior ran for 342 yards (122 in today’s Super Bowl win) and seven touchdowns in C-C’s two playoff wins.

“I remember when I came in as a little cocky freshman, I told my coach we were going to win the state championship before we left here,” Craan said. “We did it and it feels real good to finish big.”

History repeats itself for the Robichaud family: The last time Concord-Carlisle won the Super Bowl was 1978 at Nickerson Field in Boston and the head coach was the legendary Al Robichaud, who manned the Patriots’ sidelines from 1972-1990. Al, a member of the Massachusetts Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, is the father of current head coach Mike Robichaud. He was on hand to witness the championship game and share an emotional moment with his family after the game.

“My dad is my role model,” Robichaud said. “I am just proud of the kids to get this done. It is just a great honor to be in the profession he was in. It was not always about the wins and losses as much as it was the impact that he had on so many kids lives.”

Seniors go out in style: “We got together as freshman and collectively said that we wanted to be the best,” Bumpus said. “I love all these kids and this is the greatest team I have been on.”

The senior class has made it to three straight playoff games, improving each year to win one more game.

“A perfect season feels good,” said Craan. “We all put in the hard work, we all worked out together in the offseason, we had good chemistry and we did it. We are a family. We are more than just a team off the field. Brothers look out for each other and that is what we did today.”

“They were the first class I connected with as sophomores,” Robichaud said. “To execute this way and to end on a perfect season is not just something they deserved or were entitled to. They worked for it. I am just really happy I was able to be a part of it and to spend these lat years with these kids. I am really proud of them.”

CONCORD-CARLISLE 42, OLIVER AMES 9
C-C (13-0) - 13 - 8 - 14 - 7 --- 42
OA (7-5) - 3 - 0 - 0 - 6 --- 9

1st Quarter
C – George Craan 4 run (Evan Boynton kick)
O – Ryan McGrath 26 field goal
C – Craan 9 run (kick failed)

2nd Quarter
C – Bumpus 20 pass from Ryan Hoey (Craan run)

3rd Quarter
C – Tyquan Culbreath 35 run (Boynton kick)
C – Bumpus 14 pass from Hoey (Boynton kick)

4th Quarter
C – Craan 12 run (Boynton kick)
O – Sam Langston 3 run (kick failed)

Recap: Concord-Carlisle 32, Holliston 27

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
1:56
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. --- Concord-Carlisle is heading back to Gillette Stadium for the second consecutive year, as they defeated Holliston 32-27 in one of the most exciting contests of the 2011 Eastern Massachusetts season.

Holliston (9-2) got on the board first in the opening quarter as senior quarterback Dan Barone tossed the first of his three touchdown passes on the evening to a leaping Brody Ciarcello for a 38-yard score.

[+] EnlargeGeorge Craan
Ryan Kilian for ESPN.comC-C's George Craan (35 carries, 220 yards, 4 TDs) put in a heavy workload to keep feisty Holliston at bay.
The constant misdirection, no huddle offense and unbalanced alignments had C-C (12-0) befuddled early, as Holliston moved the ball up and down the field through the air in the first half.

“Holliston is an incredibly tough team to prepare for,” said C-C head coach Mike Robichaud. “I think we did a good job against their run but they are so multi-faceted that they were able to execute in their passing game.”

C-C bounced back in the second quarter on two consecutive George Craan scoring runs. The senior tailback was a workhorse on the day as he carried the ball 35 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

After some great back and forth play through the middle portions of the game it would come down to the final stages of the fourth quarter as both teams had critical defensive stands within the final five minutes of the game.

C-C got a final time-consuming drive that ended in a six-yard surge through the line by Craan to all but ice the game.

Barone, however, would not settle for defeat after the C-C score, as he led Holliston all the way down the field and into the end zone. The quick drive was capped off by a fantastic individual effort, as the senior signal-caller dove for the pylon and scored from five yards out to cut the lead to five, 32-27, with 35 seconds to play.

The ensuing two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and the Patriots recovered the onside kick to advance to the 9 a.m. Eastern Massachusetts D3 Super Bowl game on Saturday morning at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

“We basically knew it was going to be a hard fought game,” said Craan. “Coming into the game Coach said it was going to be a senior game so we all just had to step up.”

Low Numbers, Big Effort: Holliston had one of the smallest rosters in the 2011 Eastern Massachusetts playoffs, with 40 players. With what they lacked in numbers they made up for with experience, skill and effort as the defending Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 Super Bowl Champions did not quit at any point on the night.

“They are really well coached so they knew what we were trying to do,” said Robichaud. “We kind of out physical’d them but they got us a little more one dimensional then we wanted to be.”

Down Lineman: In the fourth quarter C-C lost senior offensive lineman Owen Guattaduaro to a knee injury as they were driving toward the end zone.

After the game, instead of huddling at midfield, the team all ran over to the sideline bench to be with their fallen teammate and celebrate the win while listening to the coaches.

“It was a group effort and without my O-line I would not have got any of the yards I had,” said Craan.

On Saturday’s opponent Oliver Ames: “They have an unbelievable tradition in that town”, said Robichaud of Oliver Ames. “We know that they have been down for awhile but Coach (Jim) Artz has done a great job of getting them back.”

CONCORD-CARLISLE 32, HOLLISTON 27
C-C (12-0) - 0 - 16 - 8 - 8 --- 32
HOL (9-2) - 8 - 6 - 7 - 6 --- 27

1st Quarter
H – Brody Ciarcello 38 pass from Dan Barone (Stephen Hennessy run)

2nd Quarter
C – George Craan 3 run (Craan run)
C – Craan 24 run (Henry Bumpus pass from Ryan Hoey)
H – Ciarcello 17 pass from Barone (rush failed)

3rd Quarter
C – Craan 4 run (Craan run)
H – Max Athy 24 pass from Barone (Barone kick)

4th Quarter
C – Craan 6 run (Tyquan Culbreath run)
H – Barone 5 run (rush failed)

Unheralded linemen help lead No. 6 C-C

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
11:39
PM ET
CONCORD, Mass. -- They may not be the most appealing bunch of football players in Massachusetts, but these three seniors know how to get the job done with the game on the line.

While star running back George Craan may get most of the publicity on No. 6 Concord-Carlisle Patriots, along with backfield sidekicks Tyquan Culbreath and Tim Badgley, it's the guys in the trenches that have kept this dynamic rushing attack well-oiled. Senior captains Andrew VanderWilden, Henry Bumpus, and Thomas Kleyn have been critical in helping the team gut out wins, both on defense and on the offensive line.

VanderWilden, the back-to-back Dual County League lineman of the year and a 220-pound behemoth at center, has anchored one of the best offensive lines in the state and cleared the way for C-C’s talented backs all season long. He serves as the unquestioned leader of a line that includes five seniors and four returning starters, and has been crucial in helping execute the Patriots’ Wing-T offense to the tune of 35.2 points per game this fall.

“Andrew has been a really solid performer for us for three years now,” Patriots head coach Mike Robichaud said. “He’s a really fundamentally sound player, and very, very smart. He knows his assignment, and he’s worked very hard to become a lot bigger, faster, and stronger”

[+] EnlargeConcord-Carlisle
Eitan Tye for ESPN.comSenior captains Thomas Kleyn, Henry Bumpus and Andrew VanderWilden are three of the unheralded players who make No. 6 Concord-Carlisle's high-powered offense go.
Meanwhile Bumpus -- a towering presence at 6-foot-6, and the 2011 DCL MVP -- has made significant contributions on both sides of the ball, starring at both end spots. The three-sport standout remains one of C-C’s most lethal weapons on defense, sealing a big September game against Lexington with a decisive sack and interception, and also serves as the Patriots’ most reliable receiver at tight end.

“Henry has a lot of physical tools. He’s very tall and long, and at the positions he plays, he really uses that length and strength to his advantage. He’s very skilled for his size,” Robichaud said. “He’s deceptively fast and has great reflexes, which comes across both offensively and defensively.”

While Kleyn may lack the size and speed of his teammates, the 2010 DCL All-Star and team's defensive player of the year supplants any physical shortcomings with firm leadership and an immense knowledge of the game. The 5-foot-11 middle linebacker directs a defense that is currently giving up just 8.9 points per game, and shut out the league's long-time powerhouse, No. 16 Lincoln-Sudbury (9-1) on November 11.

Robichaud pointed out that while Kleyn may not be “the biggest guy going [or] the fastest guy going, he has tremendous heart and is really smart and fundamentally sound."

"He’s really been a key to holding our defense together,” Robichaud said. “He’s a kid who out on the field knows what’s going on and is able to make a lot of our calls on the fly; he literally is like having another coach out there.”

Although C-C’s gifted rushing attack of Craan, Culbreath, Badgley and Evan Boynton have gained most of the yards and scores in the Patriots’ offense, Robichaud maintained that above all else, senior leadership and control of the line of scrimmage have been key to the team’s success this season. And no three players have exemplified the coach’s words more than VanderWilden, Bumpus, and Kleyn.

“In the game of football, experience really does count for consistency,” Robichaud said. “[VanderWilden, Bumpus, and Kleyn] took their lumps, and weren’t great players as sophomores, but they got better and better. Their work ethic- how they approach the game and how they prepare- has really helped not just their senior peers, but the underclassmen as well.”

The coach also underlined his captains’ humbleness, and stressed their sole dedication to victory over any form of credit or acknowledgment. While Craan has been featured in numerous articles in the Boston media, and has been a mainstay on ESPN Boston's Mr. Football Watch List for much of the season, his blockers have continued to linger in the relative anonymity of small-town Concord.

Nevertheless, VanderWilden insisted that he would rather have it that way.

"The offensive line has played really well, but we don’t need all the recognition,” he said. “George and Tyquan are having great years, and we know when the running backs are playing well, it means that we are doing our jobs too.”

“These guys don’t care about who gets the recognition as long as the end result is a win,” Robichaud added.

When asked to explicate the team’s 10-0 start, VanderWilden emphasized familiarity with the game and team chemistry.

“We’ve all been playing together since Pop Warner and we really count on each other to execute everyone’s blocks,” he said. “We are all very confident in each other to get the job done.”

Bumpus, however, highlighted the Patriots’ success in the trenches, explaining, “Our blocking has really helped us seal the edge so we can run in the middle, outside, whatever; so we can have really good success on offense.”

Kleyn, undoubtedly the most intense and cerebral of the three, simply pointed to the team’s aggressive approach to games.

“Our mindset is to be relentless in all our basic plays and execute them to perfection,” the linebacker said.

Although any fan happening upon Walden Street on a Friday night could plainly see the enormous passion that VanderWilden, Bumpus, and Kleyn exhibit on the field, football is not the only arena in which the three captains excel.

“Going to Concord-Carlisle, the importance of academics has always been drilled into us,” said Kleyn, who will be suiting up for Amherst College next fall.

VanderWilden and Bumpus also value their education and classroom achievements highly, and both will be playing for Brown University next September.

Bumpus explained that his decision was slightly more difficult, choosing between Brown, Dartmouth, and University of Pennsylvania, institutions known more for producing Rhodes Scholars and Nobel Laureates than NFL prospects. Nevertheless, Bumpus pointed out how Brown’s experienced coaching staff, coupled with advice from his brother John, who plays defensive end for the Bears, made the choice easier.

“Ultimately, I really liked the players and the team,” he said. “Coach [Phil] Estes has a great staff who have been together for a long time, and I really like the way they coach. Going into high school, I knew I wanted to excel in academics and worked really hard to keep my grades up so I would have opportunities like this in the future.”

This week, though, the focus is all on Thursday afternoon. With a mammoth game coming up against league-rival Bedford, a Thanksgiving win is all that separates the Patriots from a playoff spot and a likely return to the D2 Super Bowl. While Concord residents are buzzing with excitement, anticipating an easy win over the 6-4 Buccaneers and salivating over the team’s championship possibilities, the players remain committed to the task at hand.

Offering a Belichickian response when queried on C-C’s postseason chances, VanderWilden declared, “All we’re worried about is Thanksgiving. We know what’s at stake, and we’re going to put a great effort out there on Thursday.”

And as if on queue, Kleyn added, “this is just another week for us, and we’ve been preparing just like we do for every team.”

The captains’ refusal to divulge any information or speculate on their team’s future hints at their supreme maturity and intellect, and their beaming coach was clearly telling the truth when he pronounced them “great leaders [and] great kids to coach.”

ESPN Boston Week 10 picks

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
1:29
AM ET
ST. JOHN’S PREP (4-4) at No. 3 BC HIGH (6-3)
The Skinny: The young Eagles bounced back from an 0-3 start to win four or their last five games behind electrifying sophomore Jonathan Thomas. Lucas Bavaro and the defense will have their hands full with Eagles running back Deontae Ramey-Doe who’s coming off a 200-yard game behind a talented, big offensive line led by senior Mike Prendeville and Adam Richard.

Scott Barboza: Coming off a stellar effort against Xaverian, the Eagles roll into their Turkey Day showdown with CM. BC High, 28-14.
Brendan Hall: Going with the big ol' goose egg on this one. BC High, 24-0.

OLIVER AMES (4-4) at STOUGHTON (5-4)
The Skinny: The Knights proved they’re for real with a statement win over Hockomock Kelley-Rex power Mansfield early this season. But now it’s the Davenport division title on the line and Stoughton controls their own destiny. With wins over OA and Canton, the Knights can clinch outright.

Barboza: The Knights secondary can shut down an offense, but I like Tigers running back Sam Langston to have a big game. OA, 26-24.
Hall: You think these Stoughton DB's something to watch in the deep field? Wait 'til basketball season. Stoughton, 17-10.

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (7-1) at No. 10 MANSFIELD (8-1)
The Skinny: The Hornets control their own destiny when it comes to the Hockomock Kelley-Rex title. A loss and Mansfield would be hard pressed to prevail in the league’s tie-breaker system. The matchup also features some of the area’s best running backs with the Red Rockets’ Alex Jette and the Hornets’ Greg Donahue and Blayne Taylor.

Barboza: In the typical fashion of this season, the Hornets go down to the wire, but win. Mansfield, 21-20.
Hall: Don Johnson was trying to explain to me the tiebreaker scenario this afternoon, and I'm still confused. So naturally, I want to see it enacted. North Attleborough, 14-10.

SOMERSET-BERKLEY (4-5) at BISHOP FEEHAN (5-4)
The Skinny: The Shamrocks defense has rolled through Eastern Athletic Conference play thus far, not allowing a single point. The league race was decided by these two teams last year with the Blue Raiders hanging 49 points on Feehan in Somerset to clinch a playoff berth, so the Shamrocks will be looking to return the favor.

Barboza: The EAC title was decided by this very game last season, as it will this year. Only difference is the result. Feehan, 21-14.
Hall: TD Garden is the Garden, the Comcast Center is the Great Woods, and whatever they're calling this school now, it'll always be just Somerset to me. Anyways, I still owe a steak dinner to somebody down there, and Nick Freitas is a terrific coach. Somerset, 21-7.

BROCKTON (4-5) at NEW BEDFORD (4-4)
The Skinny: These teams have had their shares of ups and downs throughout the season, but the fate of the Big Three title hinges largely on this matchup. The Boxers seemed to right ship with a 3-game wining streak in the middle of the season, but are coming off two straight losses. The Whalers are still smarting over two rough losses to Dartmouth and Dennis-Yarmouth (106 points surrendered in those games) in their last three.

Barboza: The question of the year has been when will the Boxers get on track? Is this the week? Maybe, but Whalers win. New Bedford, 28-20.
Hall: One of the most feast-or-famine teams south of Boston is going to have a three-course meal Saturday. New Bedford, 17-0.

BELMONT HILL (7-0) at GOVERNOR’S ACADEMY (7-0)
The Skinny: The last two remaining ISL football squads meet in what should prove to be an emotional game as it is Hillies head coach Kevin Fleming’s final regular season game. Belmont Hill’s offense finally caught fire last week with a 42-point performance against Lawrence Academy, but the Hillies’ defense has been stifling throughout, allowing less than a touchdown per game. Gov’s is averaging 36 points per game on offense and weren’t held under 30 points until last week’s win over Milton Academy.

Barboza: Gov’s QB Tate Jozokos might be the best player in the state nobody is talking about. Maybe it’s because his lacrosse star overshadows his football ability? Gov’s, 17-14.
Hall: I know what I said on the podcast earlier. But thinking about this one again, it just wouldn't be fair for both of us to pick against Kevin Fleming in his final ISL game. Belmont Hill, 13-6.

NO. 19 EAST BRIDGEWATER (9-0) AT MASHPEE (9-0)
The Skinny: The matchup everyone's been waiting for in the South Shore League gauntlet, the No. 19 Vikings come into the game with a bit more hype, what with UNH-bound running back Casey DeAndrade (18 touchdowns) putting in another fine season and the Vikings averaging over 37 points per game. But the Falcons are no slouch, either, averaging 30.7 points per game and getting leadership out of their underrated tailback Jordan Keli'inui.

Barboza: I’ve said this is the Vikings’ year from the very beginning. EB, 20-14.
Hall: Text from our good friend Joe Burke: "I'm not just rooting for Mashpee because they're a Cape team, but because head coach Matt Triveri is a 'Barnstable guy'." Mashpee, 21-17.

NO. 6 CONCORD-CARLISLE (9-0) AT NO. 12 LINCOLN-SUDBURY (9-0)
The Skinny: This game means nothing for playoff implications, but is one of the weekend's most anticipated matchups. We know all about C-C's three-pronged rushing attack of George Craan, Tyquan Culbreath and Tim Badgley; but overlooked is one of the area's more stout defenses, led in the trenches by Andrew VanderWilden and Henry Bumpus, a unit allowing 10 points a game. Then again, the No. 12 Warriors have been even stingier, allowing just 8.1 points per game while getting plenty of production offensively from players like Chris Giorgio and Matt Cahill.

Barboza: This might be the first time this season C-C’s starters are required to play a full four quarters. C-C, 31-28.
Hall: Three heads, one monster. C-C, 30-20.

NO. 21 NATICK (8-1) AT NO. 23 WALPOLE (8-1)
The Skinny: Since losing to Needham on Oct. 21, the No. 23 Rebels haven't allowed a point. Overall, the Walpole defense is the stingiest by a wide margin, allowing just 8.1 points per game. They'll be saddled with the task of stopping a Natick offense that, one week after that Walpole contest, hung 49 on that same Needham team in a blowout win. Sophomore Troy Flutie (2,465 offensive yards, 28 total TD) has a shot at surpassing both 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing by season's end; meanwhile, freshman wideout Brian Dunlap (52 catches, 896 yards, 12 TD) is one of the state's leaders in touchdown receptions. Oh, and did we mention the Bay State Herget title is on the line again?

Barboza: If the Rebels get some early stops and a turnover or two to slow down the Red & Blue attack, they can pull it out. Walpole, 14-13.
Hall: The Red and Blue would have you believe their youth may very well show through on this one. Sorry fellas, not fooling me. Natick, 24-14.

LYNN ENGLISH (7-2) AT NO. 25 NORTH ANDOVER (8-1)
The Skinny: The CAL/NEC Division 1 title is on the line in this one. Both teams come into this contest riding a hot streak, with the unranked Bulldogs have won five straight since dropping two in a row to Beverly and Swampscott in September. The No. 25 Knights, meanwhile, haven't lost since the opening-weekend contest to rival Andover; but an injury to senior quarterback Brandon Walsh in last week's win over Masconomet has some concerned.

Barboza: Walsh’s status might be questionable after last week’s injury, but I’m sure he’ll be ready for this one. North Andover, 34-28.
Hall: I don't see the elder Walsh missing this one, and I think the Knights overall are a bit more disciplined. North Andover, 38-35.

CARDINAL SPELLMAN (9-0) AT ARLINGTON CATHOLIC (8-0)
The Skinny: The Catholic Central Large title is up for grabs here. Given the way both teams are playing on defense right now, this may be one of the weekend's more underrated matchups. AC comes into this contest having pitched shutouts in two of its last three contests. Down the road in Brockton, Spellman is allowing just 4.6 points per game, second in the state to Blue Hills (4.4), with four shutouts. A garbage-time touchdown by Austin Prep in last weekend's rout marked the first time all season an opponent got out of single digits.

Barboza: The Cardinals’ experience of going to the Super Bowl last year is the difference. Spellman, 20-14.
Hall: AC is the team absolutely no one's talking about, but Ron St. George's coaching mettle in games like this will shine through. Spellman, 20-18.

NO. 5 CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (6-1) AT NO. 13 XAVERIAN (5-4)
The Skinny: It's a simple command for CM -- win this one, and set up a Thanksgiving showdown with archrival BC High for the Catholic Conference title. The execution may be more complex, given the diversity head coach Charlie Stevenson has shown with his offense the last few weeks. One week, it was a "Wildcat" look deploying both quarterbacks Austin DeCarr and Chris Calvanese. The next, it's a "500-pound backfield" of Hunter Taute and 270-pound defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. combining for over 200 yards on the ground. But the Knights wield the ultimate X-factor: Armani Reeves, the state's most electric player out of the backfield.

Barboza: Because we’re all looking forward to a potential Thanksgiving Day battle for the Catholic Conference title. CM, 16-10.
Hall: As always, the Knights will find a way to make this one interesting. CM, 28-24.

What We Learned: Week 7

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
1:45
AM ET
UNEQUAL AT 11 ON 11
It might be even in man power, but Everett's receivers feel they're always at an advantage.

“There’s 11 men on both sides, but they can’t cover all of us," junior wideout Jalen Felix said after the Crimson Tide's 35-21 win over BC High on Saturday.

Felix had a coming out party as a legitimate big play receiver an Everett touchdown drive in the second quarter. On that drive, Felix made an other-wordly one-handed grab laying on his back with a BC High defender in his back pocket.

Still, the Everett offense isn't a one-man show. Kenny Calaj, Jakarrie Washington and Jaylen McRae all bring different elements to the Crimson Tide passing attack. Not to mention, Vondell Langston is running out of his mind of late (two straight 100-plus yard games).

“If I make a good play, it’s because of my teammates,” Felix said. “It’s not because of me., it’s because they did their jobs that I had the opportunity to do mine and vice versa.”

ALL EYES OUT WEST
Springfield's Blunt Park bustled with activity on Monday afternoon. Two junior varsity football game were ongoing, the were a soccer game being played at Springfield Central HIgh in the distance, cheerleading practice, along with that of both Central and Springfield Putnam's varsity football practice.

There you could find two of the elite rushers in Massachusetts this year, practicing within about a football field's distance from each other.

Melquawn Pinkney has garnered plenty of headlines with his multiple 300-plus yard games as a legitimate Mr. Football Award contender.

But, last weekend, it was Central's Sacoy Malone who stole the show in another record-setting performance.

Malone fell one touchdown shy of a Western Mass. record with a school-record seven-touchdown performance against Northampton to go along with 301 yards on the ground.

It's just another in the long line of weighty accomplishments compiled by the best the Springfield area has to offer.

"I think the me, Melquawn [Pinkney] and T.J. [Norris of Longmeadow] and what we've done this year, we're out to show that there is talent actually out here," Malone said during an interview for ESPN Boston's Player of the Week segment.

"Hopefully, we show that there's a possibility that you can make it to play in college coming from here."

So far, Malone has college offers from Fordham along with Central Connecticut State. Something tells us there might be more to come.

NEEDHAM SETTING NEW CHARTER

With star quarterback Drew Burnett (broken ankle) done for the year, Needham head coach David Duffy told the media early last week that he would likely use a rotation of three kids under center to fill the role in last Friday’s pivotal matchup with Walpole.

Few could have expected a sophomore by the name of Ryan Charter to make such an impact on such a crucial Bay State Conference tilt, albeit on less than a half-hour’s notice.

“Honestly, I found out (that I would start about) 20 minutes before the game,” Charter told ESPNBoston correspondent following the Rockets’ 31-22 win. “A couple kids were telling me, ‘You’re going to get in the game.’ I was, like, ‘Alright, that’s all I need.’ But I didn’t know until today.”

The numbers Charter put up in his debut (5 of 10 passing, 222 yards, 2 TD) suggests that the X-factor with this Rockets squad falls upon two Rileys.

Mark Riley had touchdown catches of 67 and 74 yards to pace the Rockets early, and showed once again why he is one of the state’s premier pass-catching tight ends. Armed with a lacrosse skill set and an athletic frame, the senior takes on an Aaron Hernandez-like role with the team – that is, a tight end by nature, but one that lines up all over the field to create mismatches. Ian Riley, meanwhile, went over the century mark again as the team’s primary weapon out of the backfield.

Coupled with guys like Nico Panepinto, Mike Vespa and Dan Pierce, that's a vicious group to deal with.

CONCORD-CARLISLE IS OFFICIALLY A WAGON

Like probably a lot of you, we raised our eyebrows at the final of Concord-Carlisle's vicious romp of Westford two weeks ago: 61-14, and with relative ease. Tyquan Culbreath kicked things off with two long touchdowns on his first three carries, part of a combined 336-yard effort between himself, Tim Badgley and midseason All-State selection George Craan.

But as the old saying goes, you never look as good in your best win, and as bad in your worst loss (or something like that). But we couldn't help but rush to judgment this week, given the Patriots' historic win over long-time Dual County League powerhouse Acton-Boxborough. C-C knocked off A-B in convincing fashion, 35-12, for its first win over the Colonials since 1987.

Patriots head coach Mike Robichaud admits the offense has been ahead of the defense in many games this year -- and the score sheet (39.1 points per game) undoubtedly reflects that. But not to forgotten is the precision of the offensive line and the swarming style of play the defense has demonstrated.

Robichaud and his staff gush about the skills of center Andrew Vander Wilden, an ESPN Boston midseason All-State selection and a horse at 6-foot, 245 pounds. Combined with Tom Gregory, Thomas Kleyn, Trevor Castrichini, and Owen Guattaduaro, the Patriots boast an offensive line on par with some of the state's other top units like Everett, Duxbury, BC High or Auburn. Add 6-foot-6 tight end Henry Bumpus into the mix, and that's quite a chore.

“Henry Bumpus is one of the best blocking tight ends I have ever seen at the high school level,” Robichaud told correspondent Ryan Kilian following the A-B win. “He has been doing this for us for three years now. On defense teams cannot run at him at this point. He just does a great job and plays the entire game for us.”

Defensively, Bumpus makes his impact felt at the defensive end position, and has been a load to handle.

“I was really proud of our defense,” Bumpus told Kilian. “That is a very good offensive football team and we did a good job stepping up tonight. On offense we have five of six returners back on the line and we are really focused on getting back to where we were last year. We are blocking well right now and the backs are hitting the holes well so it is all coming together for us.”

IS THE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE WIDE OPEN NOW?

That's the question on everyone's mind in the wake of a devastating season-ending ankle injury to BC High's Preston Cooper -- a Darren Sproles-like fixture for the No. 5 Eagles, the reigning Catholic Conference MVP, an ESPNBoston Mr. Football candidate, and arguably the state's top prospect at tailback.

Nobody will argue the Eagles have one of the state's most competitive schedules in arguably the state's toughest conference. There isn't a bad loss on the schedule, including the New Jersey teams, and there isn't a poor win. And personally, we feel Deontae Ramey-Doe is a more than suitable backup, should the Eagles go that route -- his upright running style, while a change of pace from the low-moving Cooper, has an air of deception to it.

But there's four teams with a shot here. Xaverian, with competitive losses to each of our Top 3 teams, has too good of a coaching staff and defensive line not to throw some haymakers in conference place. Catholic Memorial is showing signs of life, and has to be encouraged by A.J. Doyle's four touchdown passes and 200-plus yards last week.

The wild card in all of this is St. John's Prep. With a green line, quarterback change and an offense that sputtered out of the gates, many had written off the Prep as a team in rebuilding mode. But the emergence of sophomore Jonathan Thomas the last two weeks has some giving second thoughts, especially after putting up 41 points on St. John's of Shrewsbury two weeks ago.

This could be one of more exciting races for conference supremacy, and it all starts Friday when the Prep takes a visit to Catholic Memorial. Get your popcorn ready.

THE BEST QUARTERBACK NOBODY'S TALKING ABOUT

Write this name down: Greg Heineman.

Quietly, the Minnechaug senior is putting together one of the state's finer seasons for a signal-caller. While he didn't register a touchdown pass in last week's 21-14 win over Westfield, he finished up with 347 yards on 26 of 37 passing.

Through seven games for the 7-0 Falcons, who come in at No. 22 this week in our statewide MIAA poll, Heineman is completing nearly 62 percent of his passes for 1,742 yards and 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions (our friends at MassLive have his stats tracked here). Seven different Falcons players have caught a touchdown pass, which suggests Heineman demonstrates good reads and hits the open man.

Recap: No. 8 C-C 35, A-B 12

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
12:36
AM ET
CONCORD, Mass. -- Streaks are meant to be broken, and Concord-Carlisle broke a 2-1/2 decade-long winless streak over Acton-Boxborough with a 35-12 win on Friday night.

Defense and a strong ground game powered Concord-Carlisle to their seventh consecutive win to start the 2011 season.

“The flow so far this year has been that the offense has been a little ahead of the defense,” said Concord-Carlisle Head Coach Mike Robichaud. “The defense was just huge for us tonight. I think we were really well prepared and our Defensive Coordinator Tom Dalicandro is phenomenal. They (A-B) never stop with all the formations and showed that in the third quarter comeback but our defense was enormous.”

C-C was led offensively by senior running back George Craan, who ran for 244 yards, three touchdowns and one 2-point conversion on the night.

C-C also got touchdown runs from junior Tim Badgley and senior Tyquan Culbreath. Badgley provided the game’s first score on 21-yard burst through the line and Culbreath provided the game’s final score on the night’s prettiest run. The senior shed tackles and danced around others on his way to a 37-yard touchdown run.

C-C led from start to finish and took a 22-2 lead into the half. A-B came out of the half and put together a patient and effective 4:21 drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Matt Brogie. A Jack Perry extra point made it 22-9.

A-B would then drop a squib-like onside kick on the ensuing kickoff that they would recover to turn the momentum in the game. A-B drove down field and came away with a Perry 27-yard field goal to cut the lead to 22-12 in the third quarter.

C-C and A-B would exchange possessions and C-C would grind it out down the stretch with Craan and Culbreath scoring fourth quarter touchdown runs in the win.

“George and Tyquan were huge for us tonight, “said Robichaud.

Jackson Finigan (2 pass break ups), Evan Boynton (1 INT), and Tyler Koning (6 tackles) also had strong defensive games for the Patriots.

Jake Pilecki (two catches for 67 yards) and Mike Duggan (nine tackles and blocked PAT) played well for the Colonials on the night.

Bumpus shines: Henry Bumpus made his presence felt all night as he had his hand on a few deflected balls, made two big tackles for loss and helped open huge holes for the C-C running backs to run through all night.

“Henry Bumpus is one of the best blocking tight ends I have ever seen at the high school level,” said Robichaud. “He has been doing this for us for three years now. On defense teams cannot run at him at this point. He just does a great job and plays the entire game for us.”

The 6-foot-6 senior defensive end is also an Dual County League All-Star basketball player as well as a star defenseman on the Concord-Carlisle

“I was really proud of our defense,” said Bumpus. “That is a very good offensive football team and we did a good job stepping up tonight. On offense we have five of six returners back on the line and we are really focused on getting back to where we were last year. We are blocking well right now and the backs are hitting the holes well so it is all coming together for us.”

West crushes momentum: A-B stopped Craan on a fourth down run early in the fourth quarter and got the ball back trailing by just 10 points. As A-B quarterback Hunter Arnold rolled out to his right he was met by a monster hit from C-C defensive back Anthony West. The hit knocked the ball free and C-C ‘s Jack Donovan recovered at the A-B 33 yard line. The turnover proved to be the difference maker in the game as C-C would score on the next possession to pull away.

The road ahead: Both teams get back to league play next week as Concord-Carlisle travels to Weston on Friday night. C-C plays three straight games on the road with Wayland and Lincoln-Sudbury following Weston. C-C concludes their regular season with their final home game against Bedford on Thanksgiving Day this year.

Acton-Boxborough plays their next three games at home as they begin with Waltham next Saturday afternoon. L-S and Newton South follow on the next two Friday nights before A-B finishes their regular season on Thanksgiving Day at rival Westford Academy.

CONCORD-CARLISLE 35, ACTON-BOXBOROUGH 12
C-C (7-0) --- 14 8 0 13 --- 35
A-B (4-3) --- 2 0 10 0 --- 7

First Quarter
C – Tim Badgley 21 run (kick blocked)
A – Billy Jackman blocked PAT return
C – George Craan 22 run (Craan run)

Second Quarter
C – Craan 6 run (Jason Finigan pass from Ryan Hoey)

Third Quarter
A-B – Matt Brogie 2 run (Jack Perry kick)
A-B – Perry 27 Field Goal

Fourth Quarter
C – Craan 18 run (kick failed)
C – Tyquan Culbreath 37 run (Evan Boynton kick)

Player Perspective: George Craan

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
11:13
AM ET
George CraanRyan Kilian for ESPNBoston.comSenior running back George Craan (700 rushing yards, 11 TDs) has No. 8 Concord-Carlisle off to a 6-0 start and averaging 39.8 points per game.


CONCORD, Mass. -- Concord-Carlisle senior running back George Craan has been on a mission ever since losing in the Division 2A Super Bowl last season to Duxbury at Gillette Stadium.

Craan has put on 20 pounds since last season (up to 210) to go along with his 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash. He is also determined as ever to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, albeit taking each week “one game at a time”.

The returning Dual County League Small Offensive Player of the Year has run for nearly 700 yards and 11 touchdowns this season through the first six games of the season for the No. 8 Patriots (6-0). Craan, who ran for 1,914 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, has shared carries in a talented and balanced backfield along with senior Tyquan Culbreath and junior Tim Badgley.

Craan and the Patriots have outscored their opponents by a score of 239-56 to date, with the majority of the scoring coming before the halftime whistle has blown.

The Patriots face their biggest test to date this Friday when they host Acton-Boxborough. The Colonials (4-2) have had the better of Concord-Carlisle for past 30-plus year,s as C-C has not defeated A-B since 1987. Both teams played to a tie in 1992, and despite many close games over the recent years, A-B has maintained their dominance. In last year’s game, A-B defeated C-C, 14-7, at Leary Field in Acton.

We caught up with Craan this week to discuss the season and the big game Friday night in Concord.

Q: Can you talk a little about the 6-0 start of the season?
A: “It has been a total team effort as we have taken each game week to week. Our running backs, offensive line, and defense have all prepared hard each week. The coaching staff has prepared us well and pushed us each week and that has been a big factor. Practices have been competitive and the completion at each practice has made us all better.”

Q: With the balanced attack you guys have this year and the big scores that you have put up it has resulted in less carries than last season. Can you talk about how you feel physically at the mid-point in the season?
A: “I am feeling fresh. I have been working hard when I get the ball and working hard when I don’t have the ball. Whether I am called on to block or carry out a fake I make sure to go 110 percent. The other backs have been ready and the line has been ready and it has made teams have to focus on all of us.”

Q: Your offensive line has played great this year. What are your thoughts on the unsung group in front of you?
A: “Our line is tremendous. They are big, athletic and they go out to get people. Center Andrew VanderWilden is the anchor. He is a senior and has put in a lot of work in the offseason to get better. Tom Gregory, Thomas Kleyn, Trevor Castrichini, and Owen Guattaduaro have all stepped up as seniors. They have executed, focused and not quit on any play. They make us running backs look good when they do their job.”

Q: You put on some good weight heading into your senior season bulking up to 210 lbs. What was your off-season conditioning like?
A: “During the winter season I trained indoors at Katz Training at Acton indoor. I trained intensely for about four hours a day after school. Along with Katz this summer, I also did a lot of track work every day and a lot of football specific workouts. The training has a done a great job preparing me as I feel a lot stronger more mature and have gained a lot from the work.”

Q: You guys have done a great job coming out early in games and getting up early. On teams Can you talk about your execution early in some of your wins?
A: “Before the game Coach Robichaud gives us a pre-game talk that gets us fired up and we get ourselves fired up. We want to come out on the field, make that first hit or make that first play from the opening kickoff. We want to set the tone.”

Q: Acton-Boxborough is coming up this Friday. They have had a lot of success against Concord-Carlisle over the years. Can you talk about A-B and the games you have been in over the last few years with them?
A: “This has been a game I have wanted to win since freshman year. They beat us as freshman on freshman football by one point, my sophomore year we lost by a point and last year we lost by a touchdown. It has been frustrating and we will be prepared for Friday night. They will be ready and we will be ready.”

Q: What has the preparation been like for this week’s game with A-B?
A: “We have treated it like every other game where we have been going hard all week. Nothing has really been different but we know that this game will be intense and we will be prepared.”

Q: What are your thoughts on schools for next year?
A: “I am focusing on high school right now. I want to make sure my grades keep improving and that I continue to do well. Coach has been talking to a bunch of coaches but I am not sure yet on plans. I want to keep focusing on my school work and doors will open up.”

Q: What are your favorite subjects in school?
A: “I enjoy English and Math. I like the challenge in Math of problem solving. It is sort of like the football field where you have to do a lot of repetitions to get it right.”

Q: What do you like to do off the field and outside of school?
A: “I like to eat and I like to hang out with my friends.”

Q: What does the typical pre-game meal consist of?
A: “We always get together as a team. We go to VanderWilden’s house and usually get a pasta and meatballs going with a Gatorade.”

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