Boston High School: Tim Joy

MHSFCA unveils 'Super 26' All-State Team

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
1:38
PM ET
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches' Association unveiled its annual "Super 26" All-State Team today. Those honored will be presented this spring at Lantana's Restaurant, in Randolph.

Below are the selections. Italicized names indicate they were also a selection to ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett
Cam McLevedge, Weymouth
Matt Montalto, Dennis-Yarmouth

Receivers
Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Don Webber, Duxbury

Offensive Line
Brendan Melanson, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Dan McCourt, Pembroke
Jameson McShea, BC High
Andrew VanderWilden, Concord-Carlisle
Chad Woodfine, Chicopee

Running Back
Sacoy Malone, Springfield Central
Quinton Perkins, Fitchburg
Melquawn Pickney, Springfield Putnam

DEFENSE

Defensive Line/Linebacker
Henry Bumpus, Concord-Carlisle
Nick DiChiara, BB&N
Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Vondell Langston, Everett
Max Randall, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Mansfield
Nick Schlatz, Bridgewater-Raynham
Will Twyman, Lincoln-Sudbury
Camren Williams, Catholic Memorial

Secondary
Todd Collier, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jack Connolly, St. Sebastian’s
Joe Epps, Bourne
Charles Ruffin, King Philip

Chelmsford's Joy is Defensive Player of the Year

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
10:20
PM ET
ESPNBoston.com and its High School section today announced that Tim Joy, senior linebacker of the Chelmsford High Lions, is the recipient of its inaugural Defensive Player of the Year award, to be presented annually to the top high school defensive player in Massachusetts.

[+] EnlargeTim Joy
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.com From L-R: Chelmsford head coach Bruce Rich, LB Tim Joy, ESPNBoston.com's Brendall Hall and Chelmsford athletic director Scott Moreau on Wednesday, when Joy was named defensive player of the year.
The Defensive Player of the Year award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff and correspondents, as well as analysts from Scouts Inc. Joy was honored this afternoon during a presentation at the school, where ESPN Boston co-editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall presented Joy with a custom-made jersey.

"We are excited that Tim Joy will forever be associated with the inaugural Defensive Player of the Year," Hall said. "Over the past two seasons, Tim has been one of the state's elite middle linebackers. His physical prowess is evident, but he took a step forward mentally at one of the most demanding such positions in the game. The team's success this year is proof of that. We are honored to present Tim with this award."

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior has been one of the most dominant linebackers in the state this season, and an integral piece of the Lions' 10-2 season, which ended in a playoff loss to eventual Division 1 Super Bowl champion Boston College High. This fall, from his middle linebacker spot, he recorded 155 tackles (eight for loss) and three sacks. Over the past two seasons, the three-time Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star has recorded 286 tackles (21 for loss), five sacks and three interceptions.

Joy will continue his career next fall at Boston College.

"The mark of a great player is consistency and Tim has proven himself one of the state's most steady performer week and week out in the last couple of year," Barboza said. "He is about as sure-handed a tackler as you will ever see at the high school level and his contributions to the Chelmsford defense haven't been just that. Joy has been the quarterback of the defense, one of the best units in the state."

ESPN Boston MIAA football All-State team

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
7:40
PM ET
OFFENSE
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
Statistically the state’s best all-time quarterback, the ESPN Boston Mr. Football recipient finishes his storied career in Everett as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (103) and passing yards (7,052). This season he broke his own state single-season record for TD passes (44), and threw for over 2,800 yards. In the last two seasons alone, both perfect Super Bowl-winning campaigns, he threw for 87 touchdown passes to better the previous state all-time mark of 85. DiBiaso is undecided on college plans.

QB – Matt O’Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
In his first season as the full-time starter under center, the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was a finalist for ESPN Boston’s Mr. Football award. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder totaled nearly 3,000 yards from scrimmage, throwing for 2,321 yards, rushing for another 670, and totaling 39 scores. O’Keefe, a defender for the defending Division 1 state champion Dragons, is currently ranked as the No. 32 overall lacrosse player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

QB – Matt Montalto, Sr., Dennis-Yarmouth
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder led the Dolphins to their best season in school history, finishing a perfect 13-0 campaign by winning the Division 2A Super Bowl title – their first championship of any kind in the Super Bowl era. For the season he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,065 yards and 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also carried 134 times for 1,219 yards and 16 more scores. Montalto is fielding various college interest, including, New Hampshire, Albany, Colgate, Brown, Sacred Heart and Bentley.

QB – Michael Walsh, Sr., Swampscott
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was a force on both sides of the ball for the 9-2 Big Blue, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with 930 rushing yards and 13 more scores. Defensively, he totaled 47 tackles from the free safety position, forcing three fumbles and making two interceptions. Walsh will continue his career next fall at Brown as a safety.

RB – Melquawn Pinkney, Sr., Springfield Putnam
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mr. Football finalist ended his career with the Beavers in record-breaking fashion. With 341 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 48-6 win over Commerce for the Division 2 Super Bowl title, Pinkney broek Cedric Washington’s 15-year-old state all-time record for single-season yardage (2,889), and set the new state single-season mark for rushing touchdowns (43). Earlier in the season, Pinkney set a Western Mass single-game record with 421 rushing yards in a win over Agawam. For the season, he averaged 8.4 yards a carry. Pinkney is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
Both Malone and his cross-town foil Pinkney eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark on the season, as the Eagles returned to the Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl for the second straight year. On the season, Malone had 257 carries for 2,001 yards and 22 touchdowns; since the start of the 2010 season, he’s accumulated over 3,200 yards and 35 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Malone is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 FCS schools.

RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
Craan, the reigning Dual County League MVP, was the catalyst for the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl-winning season. He followed up a 1,900-yard junior season with just as explosive numbers in 2011, carrying 220 times for 1,761 yards and 24 touchdowns, as the Patriots went 13-0. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Craan is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Charles Ruffin, Sr., King Philip
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is the second Warrior in four seasons to capture Hockomock League Offensive Player of the Year honors. On the season he amassed over 1,300 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and led the Warriors to their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era. Ruffin, who also stars in lacrosse and track and field, is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 schools.

TE – Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
One of several All-Staters previously known most for their lacrosse exploits, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was a force to be reckoned with for the 9-4 Rockets. Utilized as both a receiver and tight end, Riley caught 72 balls for 1,266 yards and a school record 15 touchdowns. He is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest in lacrosse.

TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Temple commit didn’t put up eye-opening numbers in the passing game, but his support in the running game was without peer as he helped paved the way for both Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe. As a defensive end, he recorded 68 tackles (12 for loss) and was named the Catholic Conference’s Lineman of the Year.

WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
One of the state’s best deep-ball threats, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder tallied 936 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the 9-2 Wildcats this fall. Since the start of his junior season, Bailey-Smith has caught over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is also a state champion in track and field, having cleared 6-foot-10 in the high jump. Bailey-Smith is fielding interest from Division 1 schools.

WR – Gordon McLeod, Sr., BC High
One of the most versatile threats on the Eagles’ Division 1 Super Bowl champion squad, McLeod was one of the leading receivers in Eastern Mass., with 755 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as they captured their second title in four seasons.


WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
Considered one of the state’s best route-runners, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was the 13-0 Dragons’ most dangerous weapon in space. Webber led the team with 52 receptions for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns, as the Dragons won a second consecutive Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium and extended the state’s longest winning streak to 26 games. Webber is leaning towards the Ivy League for college plans.

WR – Malcolm Brown, Sr., Pope John XXIII
Statistically, the 6-foot-1 Brown graduates from the Everett campus as one of the state’s most decorated receivers of all-time. This fall he caught 71 passes to set school records of 1,306 yards and 20 touchdowns, both tops in the state. He also racked up 918 return yards and three touchdowns, ran for 328 yards, and threw for another 267. Defensively, he recorded 65 tackles (10 for loss) and three interceptions, including a pick-six. For his career, he has 192 receptions for 3,447 yards and 44 touchdowns, and 56 total scores. Brown currently has interest from schools in the Northeast-10 and MEAC conferences.

OL – Andrew VanderWilden, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
At 6-foot and 245 pounds, VanderWilden was arguably one of the most efficient pound-for-pound centers in the state. He led a Patriots rushing attack that racked up 53 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards the ground, part of one of the state’s highest scoring averages (35.4). VanderWilden, a two-time Dual County League Lineman of the Year, will continue his career at Brown next fall.

OL – Keith Sullivan, Sr., Oliver Ames
The 6-foot-9, 300-pounder was arguably the most crucial two-way player for the Tigers’ historic run, winning their first Hockomock title since 1964 and qualifying for their first championship game of the Super Bowl era. Sullivan is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest.


OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
DiBiaso’s blind side is quickly rising as one of New England’s top Class of 2013 prospects. The last two seasons the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has allowed DiBiaso to throw 87 touchdown passes and keep his jersey clean. Montelus received four offers before his 16th birthday this fall, and counts UConn, Syracuse, NC State, Virginia and Boston College.

OL – Gordon Acha, Sr., Duxbury
Acha, the Dragons’ left tackle, was named ESPN Boston’s inaugural Lineman of the Year this week after helping pave the way to a second straight 13-0 season. The Dragons averaged 302 yards of offense and had 36 touchdown passes. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Acha is currently fielding interest from Division 1 schools, including Boston College and Maryland.

OL – Rob Kosharek, Jr., Duxbury
Together with Acha, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kosharek created one of the state’s best tandems on the left side of the 13-0 Dragons’ line. Behind Kosharek at left guard, the Dragons won their second straight Division 2 Super Bowl title and rang their winning streak up to a state-best 26 games.


ATH – Geeavontie Griffith, Sr., Boston Cathedral
The 12-1 Panthers experienced one of the state’s most dramatic turnarounds under first-year head coach Duane Sigsbury, and leading the charges was Griffith. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Randolph native carried 152 times for 2,244 yards and 29 touchdowns, as the Panthers advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl. He is currently undecided on college plans.

ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Don’t let the Mr. Football finalist’s limited touches fool you. Reeves, a Penn State commit and the state’s No. 1 overall prospect, was electric practically every time he touched the ball. He ran for 1,001 yards on just 46 touches, caught another 205, and returned a punt for a touchdown to total 15 scores for the 7-2 Knights. That averages out to almost a touchdown every three touches.

K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian
Murphy has been known to regularly hit from 40 yards and further, and while he didn’t have many opportunities this season, he was a near-perfect 27-of-28 on extra points. Murphy is undecided on college plans.


DEFENSE
DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was a mainstay of the Crimson Tide's back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams and a defense that allowed just over 12 points per game this season. Jonathas has received interest from multiple Division 1 programs, but is undecided on college plans.


DL – Brendan Battles, Sr., Nauset
At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the UConn commit was one of the most feared defensive presences in the state. But the bruising lineman also did double time, serving as the play-caller in Nauset's single wing offense, paving the way as the lead blocker out of the backfield. Battles also won the Division 1 and All-State wrestling crowns in the 215-pound divsion, advancing to the New England finals.

DL – Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr., Xaverian
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle was a physical presence in the middle of the Hawks defense. Hurst finished the season with 61 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Hurst also showed off his athleticism in one of the more improbable performances of the season, rushing for over 200 yards in the Hawks' win over St. John's of Shrewsbury, including an awe-inspiring 75-yard touchdown run.

DL – Henry Bumpus, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound defensive end was one of the more imposing physical presences in the state, as well as an important part of C-C's rushing attack at tight end. The senior captain helped to guide the Patriots to a Division 3 Super Bowl championship. A feared rusher off the edge, Bumpus finished with 9.5 sacks and 66 tackles. He also nabbed four interceptions on the season. Bumpus will attend Brown University next year.

LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound 'backer was the heart and soul of the Lions defense, leading the team with 155 tackles, including eight for a loss and three sacks. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also had an interception in addition to three passes defensed. Joy was also a steady contributor to Chelmsford's offense, as a punishing lead blocker at full back in front of running back Eddie Sheridan.

LB – Luke Catarius, Jr., BC High
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder lead the Eagles in tackles, despite playing 10 regular season games with 129 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss. Catarius was also a mainstay of BC High's offense, providing lead blocks at fullback in front of Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe for the Division 1 Super Bowl champions.

LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
The Crimson Tide senior captain was an integral part of Everett's offensive and defensive units in each of their back-to-back Super Bowl championship seasons. As a linebacker, Langston was tough against the ran and a threat to drop back in coverage, coming away with three interceptions on the season. Langston tallied 15 touchdowns on the season at running back. He is undecided on his college choice.

LB – Cam Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was named one of 50 national finalists for the high school Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker. The Penn State commit totaled 119 tackles (81 solo), including 18 tackles for loss. Wiliams was also effective in pass defense with an interception and seven passes defensed.

LB – Nick Schlatz, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Trojans' senior captain was part of a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back along with Brandon Morin, totaling nine touchdowns. Schlatz was the fulcrum of Bridgewater-Raynham's defense, which allowed just under 14 points per game this season.


LB – Dan Flink, Sr., Auburn
Flink was the heart of the Rockets' defense, which surrendered just over 10 points per game this season. He totaled 141 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss, along with seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and eight sacks. Flink played running back with the same mentality he brought to his play at linebacker with 1,393 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season. The three-year starter was part of four Super Bowl championship teams at Auburn and is looking to study at Mass Maritime Academy next year.

DB – James Burke, Sr., Duxbury
The senior captain was a stalwart in the Dragons' defense in their back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The 6-foot, 165-pounder formed a vicious safety duo along with Reilly Naton and led the secondary with 76 total tackles (50 solo) and had three interceptions with nine passes defensed. Also a standout on Duxbury's state-title winning lacrosse team, Burke has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Penn State.

DB – Quinton Perkins, Sr., Fitchburg
The 6-foot, 170-pound wideout and safety was one of the most dynamic talents in the state, nevermind Central Mass. Perkins, who holds offers from UConn and UMass-Amherst, tallied 35 tackles and two interceptions on defense. He racked up 20 total touchdowns with 10 rushing, nine passing and a kickoff return. Perkins also racked up over 1,300 all-purpose offensive yards. He also racked up 200 all-purpose offensive yards and three touchdowns in the Red Raiders' playoff loss to Leominster.

DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The University of New Hampshire commit was one of the most electrifying offensive talents in the state this year, but also played lock-down corner for the Vikings. DeAndrade tallied one interception in his senior season to push his career total to 11, a testament to opponents' weariness in throwing in his direction. The multi-talented athlete tallied 22 touchdowns with nearly 1,400 all-purpose offensive yards.

DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
The UConn commit was a big-play threat on both sides of the football for Grafton, leading the Indians with three interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder also ran for nearly 1,400 yards in a shortened season along with 17 touchdowns.


RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr. Woburn
Ortiz was a jack of all trades while taking MVP honors of the Middlesex League Large division. In racking up 24 touchdowns, Ortiz tallied two pick-sixes, and a pair punt returns and kick returns for scores. Ortiz had six interceptions on defense while finishing a shade under 1,200 rushing yards. He also handled place kicking duties for the Tanners, connecting on 15 PATs and one field goal.

Best of the Rest
A.J. Baker, Sr. WR, Swampscott
Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills
Kenny Calaj, Jr. WR, Everett
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick
Aaron Dyke, Jr. OL, Auburn
Andrew Ellis, Jr. LB, Barnstable
Joe Epps, Sr. RB, Bourne
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Brett Harrington, Sr. DL, Chelmsford
Jack Harris, Sr. TE, Lincoln-Sudbury
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee
Thomas Kleyn, Sr. LB, Concord-Carlisle
Zack Hume, Jr. LB, Nashoba
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth
Reilly Naton, Sr. S, Duxbury
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Mike Prendeville, Sr. OG, BC High
Will Quigley, Sr. RB, Marblehead
Deontae Ramey-Doe, Sr. RB, BC High
Max Randall, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Sr. LB, Mansfield
Eddie Sheridan, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Jarod Taylor, Jr. RB, Mashpee
Shawn Whouley, Sr. WR, Weymouth

Recap: BC High 34, Chelmsford 13

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
12:36
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. -- They say it is always tough to beat a team twice in a season. On Tuesday night, BC High accomplished that feat defeating Chelmsford for the second time this season, 34-13, in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal at Lowell’s Cawley Stadium.

Chelmsford began the game with a drive that saw them move the ball all the way down to the BC High 23-yard line. BC High linebacker James Moynahan then made the play of the first quarter as he picked off Chelmsford quarterback Colby Emanouil at the 18-yard line. The interception set up a Bartley Regan 14-yard out to Gordon McLeod followed by a 68-yard touchdown burst from senior Deontae Ramey-Doe.

[+] EnlargeJameson McShea
Ryan Kilian for ESPN.comTemple-bound Jameson McShea and the BC High defense kept Chelmsford's offensive stars in check.
“It was a toss to the outside,” Ramey-Doe said. “ I saw that the defense was heading to the outside so I had to cut it back and I only had one tackle to break until it was just wide open.”

Chelmsford would answer back on the second play of the second quarter as Emanouil got wide and took it around the left side for a 6-yard touchdown run.

After a Regan strike to Lincoln Collins made it 14-7 BC High in the second quarter senior defensive back Yosa Nosamiefan stepped in front of an Emanouil pass and took it 47 yards to the end zone to extend the Eagles' lead to 21-7 heading into the half.

BC High kept Emanouil and running back Eddie Sheridan in check for most of the night as the two Lions’ offensive stars struggled to break their typical “big plays”.

“They [Chelmsford] were tough, but we worked real hard in practice over the past few days and knew that their running game was going to be a challenge,” BC High junior linebacker Luke Catarius said.

Chelmsford also proved stout against the run on the evening which gave Regan more opportunities to throw the ball. The BC High senior signal caller found his favorite target McLeod to open the second half on a 12-yard corner end zone strike to extend the lead to 27-7 with 8:05 remaining in the third.

“Each game we have a different scheme,” BC High head coach Jon Bartlett said. “We wanted to throw the ball a little more tonight. They had great pressure and our guys did a good job of picking them up.”

Sheridan finally found the end zone in the third quarter as the senior scored his 25th rushing touchdown of the season on a 4-yard burst through the middle of the line. The touchdown cut the lead to 27-13 and gave the Lions momentum heading into the fourth quarter.

“I thought our defense responded well,” said Bartlett. “We stress all the time that if big plays happen you just have to forget about it and get to the next play.”

BC High stepped up their effort after Sheridan’s score and used the clock to their advantage as Moynahan capped off the game in the final quarter with an 18-yard touchdown run to seal the win and send BC High to the Division 1 Super Bowl.

“It feels great,” said Ramey-Doe of getting to Gillette and the Super Bowl. “A lot of us have been here (BC High) for four or even five years now, from our middle school class. It is a real great experience and we are all happy.”

Trusting the O-Line
Ramey-Doe also credited his offensive line for their strong play on the evening. Along with Temple-bound tight end Jameson McShea the Eagles scored 34 points on one of the state’s stingiest defenses.

“Our offensive line has been getting better and better each week,” Ramey-Doe said. “I trust them that if I just work hard and hit the holes they will be there.”

Ramey-Doe has seen his carries and role dramatically increase as he became BC High’s primary ball carrier with the season ending ankle injury to star senior tailback Preston Cooper against Everett during the regular season.

Chelmsford recap
Chelmsford concludes their season with a 10-2 record and graduates a stellar senior class led by Boston College-bound linebacker Tim Joy, linebacker Corey Everleigh, defensive end Brett Harrington, along with Emanouil and Sheridan.

“I am real proud of our kids,” Chelmsford head coach Bruce Rich said. “These guys are outstanding. They have great size and great talent over there.”

1st Quarter
B – Deontae Ramey-Doe 68 run (Jackson Bockhorst kick)

2nd Quarter
C – Colby Emanouil 6 run (Charlie Calenda kick)
B – Lincoln Collins 13 pass from Bartley Regan (Bockhorst kick)
B – Yosa Nosamiefan 47 interception return (Bockhorst kick)

3rd Quarter
B – Gordon McLeod 12 pass from Regan (kick failed)
C – Eddie Sheridan 4 run (kick failed)

4th Quarter
B – James Moynahan 18 run (Bockhorst kick)

ESPN Boston names Mr. Football Award Finalists

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
1:25
PM ET
ESPNBoston.com and its high school sports staff today have named the five finalists for the second annual ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award, to be announced on December 5. The winner will be presented with an award and jersey on the field at Gillette Stadium, prior to Dec. 4's matchup between the Patriots and Colts.

Last year, Everett wide receiver Matt Costello won the award. His quarterback, Jonathan DiBiaso, is one of the five finalists this season.

Here are the five finalists:

JONATHAN DIBIASO, EVERETT
Senior Quarterback
6-foot-1, 197 lbs.
Jonathan DiBiaso
Jonathan DiBiaso
The returning All-Stater more than lived up to his hype so far in the 2011 season, breaking the state's all-time mark of 85 career touchdown passes late last month. And with as many as three games left on the slate, he could not only put it into triple-digits (he currently has 97), but out of reach. Through 10 games for the undefeated No. 1 Crimson Tide, he has completed 148 of 250 passes for 2,407 yards and 38 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Since the start of the 2010 season, DiBiaso has thrown 81 touchdown passes to just 10 interceptions.

ARMANI REEVES, CATHOLIC MEMORIAL
Senior Athlete
5-foot-10, 185 lbs.
Armani Reeves
Armani Reeves
The Penn State commit and returning All-State athlete has been labeled as the state's No. 1 overall Class of 2012 prospect, at times teetering in the ESPNU 150. Suffice it to say that he has made the most of his limited touches, for a Knights squad that has been averaging nearly 32 points per game over the last seven games. Lining up at both running back and wide receiver for the No. 5 Knights (7-1) as well as cornerback and retuner, he has been dazzling. He's run for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns on 42 carries, and caught 294 yards and another three, with a total of 15 touchdowns. That breaks down to an average of one touchdown for every three touches.

MATT O'KEEFE, DUXBURY
Senior Quarterback
6-foot-3, 185 lbs.
Matt O'Keefe
Matt O'Keefe
The Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit is ranked as the No. 32 overall player in the ESPNHS 100, as a defender, but he's made plenty of noise on the gridiron this fall as well. In his first season as the full-time starter under center, he has completed 66 percent of his passes (136 for 206), for 1,992 yards and 30 touchdowns to just six interceptions. On the ground he has been just as tough for the No. 2 Dragons (10-0), carrying 72 times for 493 yards and four scores.

TIM JOY, CHELMSFORD
Senior Linebacker
6-foot-2, 220 pounds
Tim Joy
Tim Joy
The Boston College commit is the third finalist on this list who made ESPN Boston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team in 2010, and so far he has lived up to his billing as one of the state's premier middle linebackers. After registering 131 tackles last season, Joy has nearly matched that total through 10 games this year for the No. 4 Lions (9-1); and with potentially three games left on the slate, it isn't out of the realm to think he could surpass 300 tackles in the last two seasons.

MELQUAWN PINKNEY, SPRINGFIELD PUTNAM
Senior Running Back
5-foot-9, 170 lbs.
Melquan Pinkney
Melquan Pinkney
After rushing for over 1,000 yards in part-time duty as a junior, Pinkney has been electric in 2011, leading the No. 8 Beavers (9-1) through one of their most historic seasons in recent memory. In the first month of the season, he ran for a Western Mass. record 421 yards and six touchdowns; it took him just three weeks to go over the 1,000-yard plateau. Through 10 games, he has carried 262 times for a state-best 2,113 yards and 33 touchdowns, for averages of 8.1 yards a carry and 211 yards a game.

Chelmsford team offers support for LaSpada

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
2:55
PM ET
CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Chelmsford head football coach Bruce Rich and several members of the team offered their support this morning for Billerica quarterback Nick LaSpada, the star player of their Thanksgiving Day archrivals who is currently hospitalized with blot clots in his lung.

The condition was first reported last night by the Lowell Sun; since the news broke last night, Boston Globe high school editor Bob Holmes reported that LaSpada additionally has a hole in his heart, citing Billerica head football coach Peter Flynn.

Flynn has since been advised by Billerica officials not to comment anymore, in accordance with privacy laws under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Billerica athletic director Dave Lezenski said the school will not be releasing any statements regarding LaSpada. Officials, administrators and members of the football program have also been advised not to comment.

Rich was being presented with the New England Patriots Coach of the Week award this morning in the gymnasium, and said he was "shocked" when he first heard the news last night.

"He's a great kid," Rich said. "I was in shock to hear that...just, tough luck. He's a great competitor, and he's a class act. It's a shame he's not going to be able to finish his high school career. Hopefully, he'll make a full recovery.

"I wish him all the best, I hope he has a full recovery, and again I can't say enough about him as an athlete representative of not only Billerica High School, but the Merrimack Valley in football. He's a great athlete, and a great person."

Asked what he would say to the Billerica program, Rich said, "I don't know what they're going to do, it's got to be a shock to their system, to their coaching staff and players. Knowing what Billerica kids are capable of, and what Billerica people are capable of, I think there will be lots of kids stepping up and going beyond what they're capable of doing. It will be a emotional game that they'll play this weekend, and the following week."

Senior linebacker and Boston College commit Tim Joy called LaSpada, "honestly the best player I've ever played against", and expressed remorse.

"Right away I just thought as a player, you know, I have a little bit of an ankle injury, and you feel bad for yourself," Joy said. "But then then you think about something like that and it shows you how much he's going through, how much his family must be going through. Your heart goes out to him and his family. You really hope he gets better."

Said senior defensive end Brett Harrington, "No one wants to suffer anything like that. I remember last year when I broke my leg, I was out for the season. I know exactly how he feels. I know it's a lot more serious, but hopefully he gets better soon."

What We Learned: Week 9

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
12:15
AM ET
IN RAIDER NATION, FUTURE IS NOW
The knock on Barnstable the last few years has never been that they've been short on talent, but rather they always seemed a year away.

One five-yard touchdown scamper in overtime, from a floppy-haired sophomore named Hayden Murphy, has suddenly changed everything about that perception. Since junior Nick Peabody took over for the injured D.J. Crook at quarterback, the Red Raiders are 3-1, and a point-after field goal in overtime from being 4-0, led by their youth movement on defense and some above-average speed at the skill positions.

All of it came to a head on Friday night in Hyannis, when the Raiders (5-4, 3-0) emerged with a 26-20 overtime win over previous No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham to win the Old Colony League outright and punch their first ticket to the playoffs since 2002.

"I just wanted it so bad for the kids," first-year head coach Chris Whidden said following the game. "They've done so much, so much off the field as a team, and they worked so hard in the offseason, I just felt like they deserved it so much."

The Raiders will face Dual County Large champion Lincoln-Sudbury in a Tuesday night playoff following their Thanksgiving showdown with archrival Falmouth. By all accounts, this figures to go a lot more swimmingly than the Raiders' last appearance, a 42-6 stomping by a St. John's Prep squad that saw two kids go to the NFL, another get drafted 17th overall by the Padres, and another go on to play hockey at Boston University.

This time around, the Raiders have speed in all sorts of places, and smart coach in the young Whidden. Witness the B-R game, in which he made a few tweaks on his defensive line to free up hawking linebackers Andrew Ellis, Bryan Hardy and Ryan Litchman, allowing them to get to the sidelines quicker and contain those outside power sweeps that has been the calling card of the Trojans for so many years.

Offensively, speedsters like Murphy have their best days ahead of them. But just as integral to the turnaround has been the emergence of running back Theo France. We've long mused that, given more carries, the senior will prove his worth. Off the field, France is reportedly a workout warrior; and Friday night, it showed, racking up nearly 160 yards on the ground to keep the Trojans honest.

HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER
You might have thought the loss of Preston Cooper would be catastrophic for BC High.

As tight end Jameson McShea put it, "He was our offense."

However, the Eagles have gotten along just fine without Cooper because of Deontae Ramey-Doe's hard-nosed running out of the backfield in the last two weeks. The rangy senior running back put in a huge 206-yard, two-touchdown performance against No. 13 Xaverian at a windswept Viola Stadium on Friday night, powering the Eagles to an important Catholic Conference win.

And, while Ramey-Doe admits he could never hope to replace Cooper, he's understanding his new role as a feature back within the Eagles' offense.

"Coach [Jon Bartlett] has told me that he doesn't expect me to be Preston," Ramey-Doe said after Friday's victory. "I just have to run the way that I know that I can run."

What that means is the Eagles have a versatile runner who's tough enough to run in between the tackles, but also fast enough to run on sweeps to outside behind BC High's hulking line, as they exhibited on Friday night.

"We just want him to run hard," Bartlett said, "and he did that.”

Of course, Ramey-Doe didn't do it alone. He had his biggest fan on the sideline for Friday's game, none other than Cooper, himself. After scoring his first touchdown of the game, Ramey-Doe ran over to Cooper with a high five, saying, "That one's for you."

LIONS HOLD STRONG
With Lowell quarterback R.J. Noel working his magic again and wreaking havoc with his arm and his feet, Chelmsford was playing for their lives in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's game at Cawley Stadium. The Red Raiders came back to tie the Lions, 14-14, and for all intents and purposes had gained momentum. Not only had Chelmsford lost the lead, they also lost BC-bound linebacker Tim Joy on the game-tying PAT by Lowell. A bad night had just gotten worse.

Then, the Lions offense took over behind running back Eddie Sheridan (168 yards, 2 TDs).

Chelmsford marched down the field on two straight series and the Lions' defense tightened, including Lou Ferrer's huge fourth-down stop. So the Lions escaped and inched closer to a Merrimack Valley Large title.

"My favorite part of the game is getting that one yard," Sheridan said. "I love it."

BAY STATE CAREY WIDE OPEN
Several weeks ago, Needham was in the driver's seat to claim the Bay State's large division title. A few key injuries later and a last-second win by Framingham (22-21) last week and the Carey is ripe for the picking.

Flyers quarterback Greg Finley connected with Mike Stearns on a 4-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining to lift Framingham to an improbable comeback win that's thrown the league race into limbo.

Framingham, Needham and Weymouth now all stand at 6-2 in league play. Needham holds an advantage over Weymouth in their head to head record, but with the loss to Framingham, the Flyers can sneak by with a win over the Wildcats in Framingham Friday night. Meanwhile, Needham hosts Newton North on Friday.

FAMILIAR FOES
To think of the last time a team besides Natick or Walpole represented the Bay State Conference's Herget division in the playoffs, you have to go all the way back to 2002, when a Kyle Beatrice-led Swampscott squad torched division champ Norwood 51-22 in Division 3. That's a decade-long run that, following Friday night's showdown in Walpole, is about to get longer.

The Hockomock League has Mansfield-North Attleborough. The Dual County League has Acton-Boxboro versus Lincoln-Sudbury. In the Bay State, the premier matchup year in and year out is Natick-Walpole, and this year's installment should be no different.

From Reshaude Goodwin to Billy Flutie to Ryan Izzo and Scott McCummings, the rivalry has always featured premiere Division 1 talent going at it. This year's installment will be more of a youth movement, with a strong junior class leading Walpole's stout defense that hasn't allowed a point since its lone loss of the season, to Needham in Week 7.

Natick, also 8-1, battles Walpole's youth with uber-youth. Their starting quarterback, sophomore Troy Flutie (yes, Darren's kid), is on track for 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing. Their leading receiver, freshman Brian Dunlap, is closing in on 1,000 receiving yards and is one of the state's leaders in touchdown receptions (12). Running back Nick Lee, a junior, is 33 yards short of 1,000.

SOUTH SHORE SHOWDOWN
Of all of the league championships up for grabs on Friday night, one of the most underrated has got to be the one going down in Mashpee, where the Falcons will host No. 19 East Bridgewater in a battle of unbeatens, for the South Shore League's playoff berth.

By now, East Bridgewater's superstar, UNH-bound running back Casey DeAndrade, is a household name for his breathtaking speed. Some have even gone as far as to call him one of the best to come through the league in the last two decades. But flying under the radar has been Mashpee senior running back Jordan Keli'inui.

A patient runner with a long frame, live hips, and a compact yet powerful frame at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he's paved his way to over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, one of the leading scorers in Division 4. (Check out his highlights here)

This could be a high-scoring affair -- even by the down-tempo South Shore League standards.

Scouts Inc. player rankings updated

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
11:52
AM ET
ESPN Scouts Inc. has updated its player rankings in its football recruiting database, and there is a new No. 1 at the top. Catholic Memorial athlete Armani Reeves, a Penn State commit, has been named the state's new top prospect for the Class of 2012, and it's a well-deserved spot based on the returns this year so far. Reeves -- who, along with CM teammates Cam Williams and A.J. Doyle were named to the ESPNU 150 Watch List earlier this year -- has 11 touchdowns in four different ways thus far for the 5-1 Knights, who are ranked No. 9 this week in our statewide MIAA Top 25 poll.

You can view the full database rankings by clicking here.

Here's how the new Top 10 looks, with college commitment in parentheses:



1. Armani Reeves, ATH, Catholic Memorial (Penn State)
2. Cam Williams, LB, Catholic Memorial (Penn State)
3. Abner Logan Jr., ATH, Dexter
4. Canaan Severin, ATH, Worcester Academy (Virginia)
5. Eric Olson, OT, BB&N (Northwestern)
6. Jameson McShea, TE, BC High (Temple)
7. Vondell Langston, RB/LB, Everett
8. Tim Joy, LB, Chelmsford (Boston College)
9. Jason Sylva, LB, Tabor Academy (UConn)
10. Preston Cooper, RB, BC High


Midseason football staff superlatives

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
8:02
PM ET
Continuing with our mid-season theme today, ESPN Boston high school editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall check in with quick-hit thoughts on the area's best.

BRENDAN HALL
Coach of the Year: Paul Funk, Dennis-Yarmouth
Best offense: Everett
Best defense: Duxbury
Biggest surprise: Needham
MVC Large winner: Chelmsford
Hockomock Kelly-Rex winner: Mansfield
Hockomock Davenport winner: Stoughton
Catholic Conference winner: BC High
DCL Large winner: Westford
South Shore winner: Mashpee
ISL Bowl invites: Governor’s Academy, Belmont Hill
Best offensive player: Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Best defensive player: Tie – Tim Joy, Chelmsford; Maurice Hurst Jr., Xaverian
Best small-school player: Casey DeAndrade, East Bridgewater
Second-half breakthrough to watch: Jonathan Thomas, Soph. RB, St. John’s Prep

Mr. Football Top 5:
1. Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett
2. Matt O’Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
3. Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam
4. Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
5. Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial

SCOTT BARBOZA
Coach of the Year: Dave Duffy, Needham
Best offense: Everett
Best defense: Duxbury
Biggest surprise: Brockton
MVC Large winner: Chelmsford
Hockomock Kelly-Rex winner: Mansfield
Hockomock Davenport winner: Oliver Ames
Catholic Conference winner: BC High
DCL Large winner: Lincoln-Sudbury
South Shore winner: East Bridgewater
ISL Bowl invites: Governor’s Academy, Belmont Hill
Best offensive player: Melquawn Pinkney, Putnam
Best defensive player: Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Best small-school player: Malcolm Brown, Pope John XXIII
Second-half breakthrough to watch: Austin DeCarr, Xaverian

Mr. Football Top 5:
1. Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam
2. Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
3. Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett
4. Tim Joy, Sr. LB, Chelmsford
5. Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham

10 thoughts from the first half of football season

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
7:19
PM ET
ARE TRIPLE-DIGITS OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR LIL’ DIBS?
Barring catastrophe, we fully expect Everett quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso to break Tom Colombo’s all-time passing touchdown mark of 85 before the month is over. He’s four away, and he’s got two games to do it – this Saturday against BC High, and on Oct. 28 in the Crimson Tide’s Greater Boston League opener against Medford.

The question now is that, with seven games left on the schedule (let’s just declare them Super Bowl-bound now), whether he can surpass the century mark. Last season, he threw for 16 scores in the Tide’s four GBL contests, and another five in two playoff wins over Andover and St. John’s Prep.

All evidence points to DiBiaso shattering the state mark and putting the record nearly out of reach, when all is said and done.

IS NO. 16 NEEDHAM FOR REAL?
A few weeks ago, when the Rockets upset then-No. 6 Weymouth, we would have told you yes. Even before that, when the Rockets went toe-to-toe in an eventual 36-30 loss to Mansfield, we’d have told you Needham’s on to something.

Now? We’re not sure what to think. Drew Burnett , a senior quarterback with Division 1 offers, broke his ankle in two places during Saturday’s 49-14 win over Milton, putting an end to one of the more promising seasons in the Bay State Conference. With a healthy Burnett, we like their chances of not only controlling their destiny in the Bay State Carey, but against whomever comes out of the Big 3 conference for the Division 1 playoffs.

Head coach David Duffy told ESPNBoston correspondent Matt Noonan earlier today that he will use a rotation of three guys at quarterback in Friday’s crucial tilt with No. 17 Walpole. The Rockets have shown to lineup quality athletes in Dan Pierce, Nico Panepinto, Ian Riley and Mark Riley (no relation), but you have to wonder how quickly the understudy can adapt to Duffy's system, which has begun to diversify the last few years.

AUBURN’S OFFENSIVE LINE IS A WAGON
We’ve sung their praises several times before, but it bears mentioning again: even after a bump in the road, No. 14 Auburn’s line is rising as one of the state’s best units.

Comprised entirely of juniors and sophomores – including a 6-foot-4, 305-pounder who is just 15 years old – this makes the Rockets at team to watch over the next few years. With short splits and a precise zone-blocking scheme, these guys are a cohesive unit up front and have been blowing teams off the ball to the tune of 17 rushing touchdowns. Dan Flink is the Rockets’ Peyton Hillis, but give speedster Fred Taylor some room to run and he is one of the shiftier players in the Worcester area.

Within the Central Mass sphere, this will continue to be one of the more dangerous teams in Division 3.

HOW TOUGH WILL THE ALL-STATE RACE BE AT RUNNING BACK?
Extremely tough.

But such is the beauty and the beast of picking a true statewide All-Star team that doesn’t just simply reward the 25 best running backs in Eastern Mass. – when you’ve got just four slots to pick from 300-plus schools, an elite player inevitably gets left off the list.

Andover’s Andrew Coke came into the season as the lone returning All-State running back (Catholic Memorial’s Armani Reeves was an athlete selection). But as good as he’s been for the 4-2, Golden Warriors, there have been better resumes through the first half of the season.

BC High’s Preston Cooper has 14 rushing touchdowns through six games and is coming off a 202-yard performance in a 32-0 blanking of a tough Marlborough squad. Concord-Carlisle’s George Craan would be on pace for a ridiculous senior season if not for the emergence of Tyquan Culbreath, and the overall ease with which the Patriots have disposed of opponents so far.

Meanwhile, a trio of Western Mass. tailbacks have emerged on the scene forcefully, all averaging seven yards or more per carry.

Springfield Putnam’s Melquawn Pinkney currently leads the state in rushing yards (1,526) and rushing touchdowns (24). Longmeadow’s T.J. Norris (1,003 rushing yards, 15 TD) is a fire hydrant at 5-foot-8 and 220 pounds. Folks within the Everett program still tell us Springfield Central’s Sacoy Malone (916 yards, 7 TD) is one of the best backs they’ve faced in two years. If his performance in the Eagles’ 21-20 upset of Longmeadow last week is any indication (194 yards, 2 TD), he could be in for a terrific second half.

Also not to be forgotten is King Philip’s Charles Ruffin, who is coming on strong after a 147-yard performance in last week’s win over North Attleborough. The track star’s elite speed is known about statewide, but he’s starting show his toughness between the tackles. Health will be key, as he’s already missed some time with injury.

GIVE P-FUNK CREDIT
Back when Paul Funk was still an assistant at Everett, the program at Dennis-Yarmouth was in such shambles that the school was thinking of dropping the program altogether.

In his first year, back in 2001, the Dolphins played only JV games. Since then, he’s slowly built up a program that has become arguably the Cape’s most consistent over the last half-decade. Since their last losing season in 2006, the Dolphins are 38-12, including a 6-0 mark this year; if the Dolphins stay the course, they will wrap up their third 10-win season in six years, and their second-straight Division 2A playoff berth after earning their historic first a season ago.

This year, the Dolphins boast one of the state’s elite jump-ball receivers in Damion Johnson and arguably the toughest pound-for-pound quarterback in Matt Montalto. But it’s not about the superstars that make this program go.

More often than not, D-Y wins with undersized players who are neither big nor athletic, but embrace contact and love to hit. With little depth, most of the starters go both ways, and guys like 5-foot-7 defensive tackle Tommy Kennedy are relied upon to shoot the gaps rather than fill them. At the end of the day, this is a well-conditioned, disciplined team that has to be one of the favorites in Division 2A if all goes to plan.

WILL THE KNIGHTS BE RIDING COME DECEMBER?
Have you heard about Catholic Memorial's four FBS recruits? Have you heard about their opening day loss to Marshfield?

It’s all old news, but now the question is whether the Knights can heed the lessons learned from the Rams debacle and translate that into a Catholic Conference championship.

Following a bye week last week, the Knights will embark on their four-game conference schedule, which is bisected by a matchup with Brockton in two weeks, on Friday against Malden Catholic. The biggest of those game occurs in their Thanksgiving Day game against BC High, provided there are no missed steps along the way. You have to like CM’s chances against Malden Catholic and the Prep, but if CM can knock off Xaverian, that would set up the winner-take-all matchup at the end of their regular season schedule.

There’s no question the Knights have the talent to beat Xaverian, or the third-ranked Eagles for that matter. But, as has been the case in the last couple of seasons, it’s not about if, it’s about when. Is this the time that the group led by A.J. Doyle, Donovan Henry, Armani Reeves and Camren Williams prove good on their promise?

CAN NEW BEDFORD WIN THE BIG 3 AGAIN?
When New Bedford knocked off Brockton in their Big Three meeting last November, it was a shocking upset.

If the Whalers are to repeat the feat this year, a New Bedford victory wouldn’t be greeted with such surprise.

Myles Medeiros (11 TD passes) has the Whalers offense firing with a legitimate down-field threat in receiver Jaraud Wood, while running back Marcel DePina needs only a yard to shake loose from defenses in the open field. In addition, the defense, led by junior lineman Tyler Arena has been strong.

Meanwhile, Brockton pulled off an upset last week against New Hampshire behemoth Pinkerton Academy (its fifth straight win against the Astros), so you can’t count out the Boxers quite yet, despite a slow start (1-3) to the season. But clearly the balance of power in the Big Three (read: Brockton, Brockton and, ahem, Brockton) isn’t quite what it used to be.

… THAT BEING SAID
The most encouraging thing you can say about Brockton’s season thus far has been the emergence of quarterback Austin Roberts. The junior signal-caller had his biggest game yet last week against Pinkerton. Roberts completed 14 of 22 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns to down the Granite State’s top team.

If Roberts can keep the big plays coming, Brockton is still very much a threat.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM
No. 4 Chelmsford showed once again last week why the Merrimack Valley Conference Large runs through them in a thorough victory over Andover on Saturday.

But let’s not crown the Lions and Mr. Football challenger Tim Joy champions just yet. After all, they still have a pesky Central Catholic team on the schedule, in addition to huge games at Lowell and at Billerica to finish on Turkey Day. Both the Red Raiders and Indians made their debuts in our Top 25 this week after both teams have been flying under the radar a little at 5-1. Dynamic quarterback R.J. Noel has Red Raider nation believing that this could be the team to unseat Chelmsford, while the Indians feature a defense that is much improved from last year’s edition.

Plus, Billerica still has that LaSpada kid causing havoc for defenses and you can’t underestimate that.

ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM: PART DEUX
Akin to the MVC, the Hockomock League always fields one of the most competitive leagues in the state from top to bottom. And we’ve seen that parity play out in the first half, what with Stoughton’s shocking win over Mansfield.

What is for certain is that the league, which now has two playoff bids for the first time for its Davenport and Kelley-Rex winners, is still wide open.

Mansfield remains in the driver’s seat in the large division with wins over King Philip and Attleboro, but the Hornets’ game against North still looms. In the Davenport, the likely winner-take-all meeting between Oliver Ames and Stoughton is still three weeks away, but the Tigers’ matchup with Mansfield on Friday will be a good indicator of how far they’ve come this season.

Our midseason All-State team

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
2:46
PM ET
HS Football Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.com Bridgewater-Raynham's Nick Schlatz has earned a reputation for being a hard-nosed player on both sides of the ball, resulting in his selection as a linebacker on our midseason All-State team.


The 2011 season is halfway over, and we've had our fair share of ups, downs, thrillers and surprises. Here are the staff's picks for ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State team at the midway point of the season.

NOTE: The finalized ESPNBoston MIAA All-State Team roster and second annual ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award will be announced on Monday, December 5.

OFFENSE
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
QB – Nick LaSpada, Sr., Billerica
QB – Matt O’Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
RB – Melquawn Pinkney, Sr., Springfield Putnam
RB – Preston Cooper, Sr., BC High
RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
RB – T.J. Norris, Sr., Longmeadow
TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
TE – Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
WR – Damion Johnson, Sr., Dennis-Yarmouth
WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
WR – Malcolm Brown, Sr., Pope John XXIII
OL – Andrew VanderWilden, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
OL – Keith Sullivan, Sr., Oliver Ames
OL – Gordon Acha, Sr., Duxbury
OL – Rob Kosharek, Jr., Duxbury
OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
ATH – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian

DEFENSE
DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett
DL – Brendan Battles-Santos, Sr., Nauset
DL – Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr., Xaverian
DL – Henry Bumpus, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
LB – Luke Catarius, Jr., BC High
LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
LB – Dan Flink, Sr., Auburn
LB – Nick Schlatz, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
LB – Zack Hume, Jr., Nashoba
DB – Gordon McLeod, Sr., BC High
DB – Reilly Naton, Sr., Duxbury
DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
RET – Geeavontie Griffith, Sr., Boston Cathedral

Recap: No. 4 Chelmsford 48, No. 13 Andover 28

October, 15, 2011
10/15/11
11:13
PM ET
CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Saturday's matchup between No. 4 Chelmsford and No. 13 Andover was the epitome of a seesaw battle. Ultimately, it was Chelmsford that came away with a 48-28 victory.

The teams traded possessions for most of the first quarter. It was not until there was 0:46 left in the quarter that Chelmsford’s Eddie Sheridan broke through the Golden Warriors' defensive line and outran the Andover defense 75 yards down the sideline.

The Lions (5-1) scored again in the second when quarterback Colby Emanouil snuck through the heart of the Andover defense on a designed quarterback sneak an ran 57 yards for a touchdown.

Andover (4-2) answered back when C.J. Scarpa hit Will Heikkinen on with a deep pass down the right sideline. Luck was on their side during the extra point attempt. Mark Zavrl, the kicker, was not set to kick, but the ball was snapped anyway. Adjusting on the fly, he took off towards the pylon. The holder pitched him the ball and he ran it in for the unintentional two-point conversion.

The Golden Warriors took the lead later in the quarter after Andy Coke, the prolific Andover running back, took a pitch to the right, but rather than run, he passed it to a wide open Cam Farnham for an easy score. The Chelmsford defense was so committed to the run that they moved towards the ball after Coke took the pitch, allowing Farnham to slip behind them for the score.

Chelmsford answered right back when Sheridan took the ensuing kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, giving Chelmsford a 19-15 lead.

Coke took a pitch 14 yards for a score two minutes before the half, once again swinging the lead back in Andover’s favor.

Chelmsford’s running game came out and asserted itself in the second half. It helped Chelmsford execute a 70-yard drive that took almost six minutes off the clock that was capped off with a one-yard Sheridan run to once again swing the lead back in his team’s favor.

“A problem we had in the first half was our scoring drives were one play,” said Chelmsford coach Bruce Rich. “That put our defense back on the field too soon and that Andover spread offense can wear you down. That was a big difference in the game. I think the key to the game was in the second half when we got the ball we were able to sustain a long drive and I think that took a little bit out of them.”

Its defense also started creating turnovers, something it did not do in the first half. With Andover pinned deep in its own territory, linebacker Tim Joy jumped in front of a slant pass intended for Heikkinen, intercepted it, and took it down to the 3-yard line. That set up one of Eddie Sheridan’s three rushing touchdowns.

Sheridan ended the game with 20 carries for 145 yards and three rushing touchdowns. His quarterback, Colby Emanouil, only attempted nine passes all game, but had 11 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

“(Eddie) just sees the field so well and he has that great breakaway speed,” said Rich. “He ran the ball tough tonight. He got some hard yards.”

Later in the third, defensive tackle Brett Harrington intercepted a tipped pass and brought it back for a touchdown, giving him a rare defensive touchdown.

“I was trying to read the tight end and finally they threw it to him and I was there for it,” he said.

At one point in the third, Chelmsford had scored 20 unanswered points, putting all the pressure on the Andover offense to produce. The defense was able to hold Coke to only 90 yards on the ground. He contributed in other ways however, including six catches for 45 yards and the 40-yard halfback pass that went for a touchdown.

Scarpa was 13-of-30 for 126 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Emanouil added a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it a three-score game with under three minutes left to go, putting the exclamation point on the game for the Lions.

Penalty woes: Neither team made it easier on itself in the first half. They collectively committed 11 penalties. Before Andy Coke’s rushing touchdown in the second quarter, Chelmsford was called for 35 penalty yards on that drive alone. Since that drive started at the Andover 37, that was the same as if the Golden Warriors started deep in Chelmsford territory.

“The problem in the first half was that we had too many penalties,” said Rich. “That was an adjustment at halftime: we just told the kids they have to play smarter. Those penalties just killed us. They were able to sustain drives because of it.”

In the second half, the Lions were only called for two false start penalties, not giving Andover as much free yardage as it did in the first half.

Switching it up: Because Andover was having so much offensive success in the second quarter, Chelmsford made defensive adjustments at halftime, getting them better equipped to deal with the spread in the second half.

“The coaches switched out our defensive ends, made us more of a four-front instead of an odd-front like we usually play,” said Harrington. “It just worked out a lot better. We contained them really well and everyone read their keys and did a good job. We didn’t come out ready to play in the first half. I don’t know if it was the Saturday night game or what but all I know was in the second half we came out flying ready to play.”


Joy-ful fruition: Tim Joy’s third quarter interception was a product of tape study and seeing the play multiple times already in the game. Scarpa looked for Heikkinen four times on the same slant pattern to the left earlier in the game, which each time resulted in an incomplete pass. The fifth time, Joy jumped in front of the pass and put his team in a great position to score.

“He predicted he was going to do that,” said Rich. “We saw that on film so we knew that was a big play for them. We worked on it all week and Timmy actually said that he was going to go back and get one of those and he did. You saw the athlete that he is.”

He showed off the athlete he is again in the fourth quarter when he ran back and extra point attempt 95 yards for two points.


NO. 4 CHELMSFORD 48, NO. 13 ANDOVER 28
CHE (5-1) 7 12 20 9 --- 48
AND (4-2) 0 22 0 6 --- 28

1st quarter
C - Eddie Sheridan 75-yard run (Charlie Calenda kick)

2nd quarter
C - Colby Emanouil 57-yard run (rush failed)
A - Will Heikkinen 47-yard pass from CJ Scarpa (Mark Zavrl run)
A - Cam Farnham 40-yard pass from Andy Coke (Zavrl kick)
C - Sheridan 96-yard kickoff return (rush failed)
A - Coke 13-yard run (Zavrl kick)

3rd quarter
C - Sheridan 1-yard run (Calenda kick)
C - Sheridan 3-yard run (kick blocked)
C - Brett Harrington interception return (Calenda kick)

4th quarter
A - Farnham 4-yard pass from Scarpa
C - Tim Joy extra point block return
C - Emanouil 43-yard run (Calenda kick good)

Recap: No. 9 Chelmsford 42, Lawrence 16

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
1:27
AM ET



LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Sorry, no bulletin board material this time around.

A week after boldly guaranteeing a victory over BC High in an interview with ESPN Boston (his No. 8 Chelmsford Lions lost by three scores), quarterback Colby Emanouil bounced back efficiently in tonight's 42-16 win over Lawrence at Veterans Memorial Stadium. He ran, threw and caught his way to the tune of 162 total yards and two touchdowns, as the Lions won their Merrimack Valley Conference opener.

The Lions dictated the tempo right from the get go, marching 51 yards in seven plays on their first drive to score easily. Setting up the run was a 29-yard scamper by Eddie Sheridan (128 total yards, 3 total TD) off a sweep down the left sideline, breaking loose for 29 yards and running it down to the two thanks in no small part to split end Vinny Maniscalco.

Split wide to the near sideline out of a twins left I-formation, Maniscalco sustained his block 15 yards downfield and kept the Lawrence defensive back pinned towards the sideline, to open up the perimeter for Sheridan and make it a footrace. Sheridan plunged in from two yards out on the next play (with Boston College-bound linebacker Tim Joy as the lead blocker), and tapped on a two-point rush for the game's opening score with two minutes left in the first quarter.

Chelmsford scored three more times in the second quarter on a Sheridan plunge, a 30-yard Connor Brimley interception return, and a back-breaking 44-yard throwback pass from Eric Van Gelder to Emanouil, making it 29-0 headed into the half.

Spoken like a kid on double secret probation, Emanouil was all smiles yet all vanilla following the win.

"We were just looking to get our confidence back after that loss," Emanouil said. "It felt great to get our confidence back again. That's all we wanted."

The momentum swing following last week's loss to No. 3 BC High was evident tonight.

"Sometimes a loss can help you," Lions head coach Bruce Rich said. "Last week we were able to take a good look at ourselves, and we improved. We watched film from that BC game, and I thought our kids showed up with the right attitude tonight. I thought they had a good attitude last week, but we were just able to fix more things with that loss under our belt."

Said Lawrence head coach Mike Yameen, "They just played faster than us. We knew we were facing a good team, they just played faster and were a better team. We're not playing as well as I know we can, but we just lost to a better team today. That's just the bottom line."

Play of the game: Undoubtedly, Emanouil's impromptu flea-flicker (more on that in a second) shifted whatever momentum left on the fence all the way in favor of Chelmsford. The Lions came out in a four-receiver shotgun set, with three receivers in trips to the far right sideline and fullback Matt Rabbito in a three-point stance in the slot one yard off the ball.

Emanouil planted and immediately fired to Van Gelder, who started towards the left sideline like it was an end-around. The play was designed as a change-of-pace play to catch the Lancers off guard, with Van Gelder pushing north around the left side; but with the receiver in trouble, Emanouil broke off his blocking defender and hauled in a short bloop of a pass. Emanouil then reversed direction and raced to the near right pylon some 40 yards downfield, untouched, for the score.

"It wasn't designed for me at all, actually," Emanouil said. "I was supposed to be blocking over there, and I saw him struggling, so I called for the ball. Then I did my thing. It was improvised -- well-improvised."

Said Rich, "I can't tell you if it was exactly by design, with Colby finally catching the ball and running it in, but it's going to make more people work in practice. So, it worked."

Pound and stretch: Rich is known across the state for using the I Formation to pound it hard between the tackles, and tonight wasn't too much of a deviation. The Lions used primarily double-tight and twins packages; in goal line and short-yardage situations, they deployed two fullbacks and a tailback stacked linearly (known more popularly as the "Stack I" or "Maryland I"), with Joy as the lead blocker.

"That's the best play, my favorite play of the game," Joy laughed. "It just comes down to whoever's tougher, and you're not going to be tougher than me."

But in the final four minutes of the first half, the Lions abandoned that altogether and stretched the field, deploying double-slot and trips sets out of the shotgun, or in one instance putting Emanouil under center with four receivers in a diamond formation to the right.

The change of pace was efficient in the Lions' final drive of the first half, as they marched 75 yards in 41 seconds and four plays, capped with Emanouil's 44-yard touchdown reception.

"We're capable of opening up, we've always been," Rich said. "I know it's generally out of the I, running power, but we're able to open it up. Our quarterback is dangerous, he's got good wheels. We're able to run with him, and we've got some pretty good receivers as well. We got protection tonight [too], which I thought was good."

Happy feet, red zone miscues: To accomodate for its lack of size, Lawrence deploys a run-and-shoot scheme, with undersized quarterback Nathan Baez (5-foot-3, 145 pounds) executing bubble screens to the flats, and running backs like Kelvin Severino motioning from either slot and taking a jet sweep handoff.

Coupled with constant pre-snap movement, it's a scheme that keeps you on your toes. But the Lions countered with plenty of movement of their own, with linebackers Joy, Joey Christopher and Corey Everleigh hopping back and forth, and the secondary disguising Cover-2 at times to look like a Cover 0.

"I think when you face the spread offense, you really have to disguise, mix things up up front," Rich said. "They're trying to read from upstairs and tell the people down below what to call, so with all the movement in the secondary and up front, that causes confusion, and I thought it worked tonight.

One of the more commonly-voiced flaws about spread attacks is that they break down in the red zone. The Lancers were certainly able to move the ball, putting up 110 yards at the half to Chelmsford's 176; but twice they had the ball inside the Lions' 20 yard line, and both times they turned the ball over.

Harrington's mix and match: Senior defensive end Brett Harrington is one of the most versatile players on the defensive side of Chelmsford's squad, with his agility as a basketball center allowing him to shade outside in a two-point stance; play a five technique outside the tackles; or kick down to the nose, and shoot the A-gap. And at 6-foot-3 and a lean 220 pounds, he can overpower with force and speed.

It's a welcome change for a guy who before last year's switch to a 3-4 had spent his whole career in a two-point stance.

"Last year, we put him down in that d-tackle spot, and he took to it," Rich said of Harrington. "It was fantastic. He only played three football games for us last year (due to injury), but I think he's as good as they come. He's got great size, great agility. He plays basketball, he's a center on the basketball team, he's a main factor for us on that defensive line. He wreaks havoc, gets his hands up and can change directions and track quarterbacks."

Promise in secondary: Yameen had to be encouraged by the play of senior Demitiro Leonardo at safety. The 5-foot-9 senior was efficient in the second half, coming up with a few jarring stops in run support and keeping a few passes from turning into big gains with a few big hits.

"We had specific keys on them, tendencies we saw on film, which we didn't cover in the first half," Yameen said. "But he did a nice job tonight."

Fire it up: Just before kickoff, Lawrence emerges from the locker room with a lance, a spear and a sledgehammer. The players carrying those items are awarded them as "hit sticks" and "battle sticks" for delivering the game's best hit. The sticks were made a few years ago by an alum, according to Yameen.

"We got fired up tonight," Yameen said. "But after tonight, we've got to go back to the drawing board, see what we can do."

CHELMSFORD 42, LAWRENCE 16

CHM (3-1, 1-0 MVC) 8 21 0 13 --- 42
LAW (2-2, 1-1 MVC) 0 0 0 16 --- 16

First Quarter
C - Eddie Sheridan 2 run (Tim Joy rush) 2:02

Second Quarter
C - Sheridan 5 run (Charlie Calenda kick) 8:08
C - Connor Brimley 30 interception return (Calenda kick) 7:09
C - Colby Emanouil 44 pass from Eric Van Gelder (Calenda kick) 0:00

Fourth Quarter
C - Sheridan 22 pass from Emanouil (Calenda kick) 9:33
L - Joel Rodriguez 32 pass from Nathan Baez (Brian Montero-Ford rush) 5:41
C - Jeff D'Auria 2 run (kick failed) 2:22
L - Tim Lemasurier 85 kickoff return (Bobby Sullivan pass from Baez) 2:04

The View from No. 8 Chelmsford

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
7:01
PM ET
NORTH CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- We swung by Chelmsford High this afternoon to check in with the No. 8 Lions as they prepare for their highly-anticipated battle with No. 5 BC High.

Head coach Bruce Rich:




Senior linebacker and Boston College commit Tim Joy:




Senior linebacker Corey Everleigh:




Senior quarterback Colby Emanouil:




Senior defensive end Brett Harrington:


Mr. Football Watch: Week 3

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
12:11
PM ET
Here's how things played out this past weekend in the ESPN Boston Mr. Football race:

HOW THE CONTENDERS FARED

Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Ran for three touchdowns in the Golden Warriors' 33-14 win over Gloucester.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett - Threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-13 win over Springfield Central.
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth - Caught seven passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns in the Dolphins' 28-27 thriller over Barnstable.
Tim Joy, Sr. LB, Chelmsford - Recorded 10 tackles in the Lions' 26-0 shutout of Acton-Boxborough
Jordan Knowles, Sr. DE, St. Peter-Marian - Recorded eight tackles in the Guardians' 27-20 win over Shepherd Hill.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Threw for 200 yards and totaled three scores, including the go-ahead goal line dive in the fourth quarter, as the Dolphins downed Barnstable 28-27.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Threw for 234 yards and totaled three scores in a 35-21 win over Plymouth North.
Karl Sery, Sr. RB, Hudson - Carried 22 times for 109 yards and a score in the Hawks' 27-6 win over Leominster.
Mike Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - Had his second straight game with 300 all-purpose yards, throwing for 194 yards, running for another 111, and totaling five scores in the Big Blue's 34-14 win over Winthrop. Walsh was also 20 of 24 passing, and recorded six tackles.

ON THE RISE

Malcolm Brown, Sr. WR, Pope John XXIII - Recorded a school record six touchdowns in the 62-38 win over Pope John Paul II of Hyannis. He caught four, returned an interception, and ran back an 82-yard kickoff return.
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills - Tied a career-high with five touchdowns as he ran for 276 yards in a 34-13 win over Case.
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable - In the heartbreaking loss to rival D-Y, he threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns, putting him within 16 touchdown passes of the state all-time record.
P.J. Dorsey, Sr. RB, Lynn English - Ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-6 win over Wakefield.
Obi Melifonwu, Sr. RB, Grafton - The UConn commit ran for 201 yards and had five total touchdowns in the Indians' 44-13 win over Uxbridge.
Paul Mroz, Sr. QB, Brockton - Threw for 150 yards and three scores in a 27-7 win over Taunton.
R.J. Noel, Sr. QB, Lowell - Vaulted himself into the conversation with a school-record 500 passing yards and 114 rushing yards, totaling five scores, in a 44-41 loss to Nashua South.
Marcus Odiah, Jr. RB, Burlington - Ran for 179 yards and three scores in a 48-6 win over Arlington.
Charles Ruffin, Sr. RB, King Philip - Ran for three touchdowns in the Warriors' 42-7 rout of Medfield.
Don Webber, Sr. WR, Duxbury - Caught seven passes for 134 yards in a 35-21 win over Plymouth North.

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