Boston High School: Trumbull

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
2:55
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Recappping last weekend's CIAC state championship games in boys and girls basketball:

ConnecticutCLASS LL BOYS: Top-seeded St. Joseph used an 18-0 run in the second half to knock off second-seeded Hillhouse 62-54.

St. Joseph (27-1) received a game-high 26 points from James Jennings, and 18 from Timajh Parker. Parker made 14 of his 15 free throw attempts.

St. Joseph didn't make a field goal in the second quarter, and Hillhouse (24-2) led by 13 in the third. It was the 11th state title for St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli, who has won a state-record 880 games (all at St. Joseph). Montelli guided St. Joseph to victory over Fairfield Prep in last year's Class LL championship game.

CLASS LL GIRLS: A Jessica Lynch layup with 21 seconds to play gave ninth-seeded Newtown the lead for good in its 44-42 triumph over 10-seeded Mercy.

Mercy (21-6) overcame a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 42-41 lead with 29 seconds to play, but Lynch's basket came on the ensuing possession. Riley Wurtz tossed in a team-high 18 points for Newtown (22-4).

Mercy has lost the Class LL championship game in each of the last three seasons.

CLASS L BOYS: Treyvon Moore scored a game-high 25 points to help second-seeded Career, Magnet defeat top-seeded Northwest Catholic 51-49.

The victory handed Career Magnet (27-2) the program's first state title.

Northwest Catholic (23-4) missed 17 of its 20 field goal attempts in the first half and trailed 29-13 entering the third. Kuran Iverson scored 20 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in the loss.

CLASS L GIRLS: A strong finish handed third-seeded Bacon Academy a 38-34 victory over top-seeded E.O. Smith.

Bacon (22-3) closed the game with a 12-0 run. E.O. Smith (25-2) failed to score in the final 5:49 and made one field goal in the fourth quarter.

Taylor McLaughlin led Bacon Academy with 13 points.

CLASS M BOYS: Senior Nolan Long, a 6-foot-9 center, scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as second-seeded Waterford collected the program's first state championship by beating fourth-seeded Watertown 71-57.

Senior guard Geary McLeon added 18 points, seven assists and five steals for the Lancers (25-2). It was the fourth loss for Watertown (24-4).

CLASS M GIRLS: Guard Fifi Walcott scored 16 points as top-seeded Weaver won its first state championship with a 55-47 triumph over second-seeded Tolland.

The Beavers (25-2) set a school record for victories en route to the title.

Kristin Schatzlein, Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, scored a game-high 32 points in the loss. Tolland (24-4) committed 32 turnovers.

CLASS S BOYS: Vitor Melo collected 14 points and 13 rebounds to help top-seeded Immaculate defeat third-seeded Capital Prep 67-53.

Capital Prep (23-4) entered the game averaging 85.9 points per game, but was held to its lowest point total of the season. Immaculate (26-1) outrebounded Capital Prep, 49-30.

CLASS S GIRLS: Three players scored in double figures for top-seeded Coginchaug, which won its first state championship by beating second-seeded Capital Prep 58-48.

Lauren Esposito scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Coginchaug (25-2). Audrey Biesak scored 11 and Jessica Solomon added 10 for Coginchaug.

DeJane James tossed in 19 for Capital Prep (23-4).

HOCKEY: VIZZO PROPELS NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN

Billy Vizzo scored three goals as second-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven (20-3-1) defeated fourth-seeded Glastonbury (20-5-0) 5-0 in the Division I championship game.

It was the only time Glastonbury has been shut out this season.

In last weekend's other championship games, fifth-seeded Trumbull scored five third-period goals during a 5-3 triumph over seventh-seeded Branford in the Division II championship game; and Drew O'Leary made 18 saves to help top-seeded Newington/Berlin beat third-seeded Northwest Catholic 2-1 in the Division III championship game.

Sophomore Brendan Strobel scored twice for Trumbull (17-9-0). His second goal gave Trumbull a 4-3 lead with 1:35 to play.

Brandon Ralph and Brendon Richard scored in Newington/Berlin's victory.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
1:02
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Tolland High School's Kristin Schatzlein was named Connecticut's top girls high school basketball player last week. She's hoping to make even bigger news this weekend.

ConnecticutThree days after Schatzlein became the first Tolland player to be selected as Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, second-seeded Tolland advanced to the Class M championship game by defeating third-seeded Ellington 60-38 in Friday's Class M semifinals.

Tolland (22-2) will meet top-seeded Weaver (23-1) for the title. Weaver advanced with a 48-39 victory over fifth-seeded Cromwell.

“Schatzlein never gets rattled on the floor and always wants the ball when the game is on the line," Bloomfield coach Dan Matthews said. "She shoots the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, but she also handles the ball well."

Schatzlein scored 15 points in the semifinal win against Ellington. She entered that game averaging 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. The Eagles had lost in the semifinals in each of the past two years.

The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

Schatzlein has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Fairfield next season.

Recent winners of the Gatorade Player of the Year Award include Katie Mahoney (2010-11, Bacon Academy), Kastine Evans (2009-10, Norwich Free Academy), Symone Roberts (2008-09, New Britain), Heather Buck (2007-08 and 2006-07, Stonington), Shamika Jackson (2003-04, East Catholic), and Amanda Pape (2002-03, Trinity Catholic).

WHITE WASHING
It's probably safe to say the Hamden boys' hockey team has seen enough of Fairfield Prep forward David White.

White scored eight goals in three victories over Hamden this season. Two of those goals came during Saturday's 2-0 victory over eighth-seeded Hamden in the Division I quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Fairfield Prep (19-3-0) will face fourth-seeded Glastonbury (18-4-0) in Wednesday's Division I semifinals. No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (18-3-1) will meet No. 6 West Haven (15-7-0) in the other semifinal.

The Division II semifinals will be played Monday, and the Division III semifinals will be held Tuesday.

Division II: No. 1 Guilford (12-7-2) vs No. 5 Trumbull (13-9-0); No. 7 Branford (13-9-0) vs. No. 3 North Branford (13-8-1).

Division III: No. 1 Newington-Berlin (19-2-0) vs. No. 4 NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon (12-9-0) vs. No. 3 Northwest Catholic (17-4-0).

GRAPPLING WITH SUCCESS
Five Connecticut wrestlers won individual titles at the 48th New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships held March 3 in Providence, R.I.

Sean Marinan, who helped Xavier win the 2012 State Open championship, prevailed at the 220-pound weight class. Marinan defeated Masuk's Eric Tucker to win the title.

Marinan will join the University of Connecticut football program as a preferred walk-on next season.

Middletown's Devon Carrillo (182), Newington's Chris Chorzepa (170), Hand's Will Crisco (120) and Westhill's Pascal Medor (106) also won New England titles in their respective weight class.

Timberlane (Plaistow, N.H.) won the team title. Hand-Madison was the runner-up.

RUNNERS GET HOLMES-SCHOOLED
Hillhouse junior Precious Holmes didn't disappoint her followers at the 25th New England Indoor Track Championship earlier this month.

Holmes set meet records by prevailing in the 300-meter run (:38.22 seconds) and the 600 (1:30.79). Her time in the 600 also established a New England record.

In addition, Holmes ran a leg on Hillhouse's 4x400 relay team, which finished first in 3:56.84. Johnesse Peterson, Jayvona McDaniel and Lanja Carr were the other members of the 4x400 team.

Roger Brown publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. He has been covering high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
1:52
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Paula Hagopian's talent on the soccer field is so obvious she was named Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year even though her Kingswood Oxford team finished with a record below .500 last season.

ConnecticutHagopian, a senior forward, collected 13 goals and 10 assists as a senior, when Kingswood Oxford went 5-7-2. She was also the 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches' Association Player of the Year, and has twice been selected as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America.

“Paula is so strong that defenders bounce off her,” said Matt Micros, a club coach with Connecticut FC. “She can hold the ball up well and also spin defenders with ease. What she lacks in technique she more than makes up for with power and pace.”

Hagopian led Kingswood Oxford to the 2010 New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class B championship and completed her career with 56 goals and 35 assists. She will continue her soccer career at Yale next fall.

Past winners of the award include Riley Houle (2010–11, Windham), Kate McCarthy, (2009-10, Loomis Chaffee), Jessica Schloth (2008–09, St. Joseph), Alex Uscilla (2007-08, St. Joseph), and Bianca D’Agostino (2006-07, Loomis Chaffee).

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:37
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How good was Arkeel Newsome's sophomore season?

ConnecticutSo good that you could argue it's the best season ever turned in by a Connecticut high school running back.

Newsome, a sophomore at Ansonia High School, capped the season by running for 364 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries during a 38-0 triumph over Ledyard in Saturday's Class M championship game at Rentschler Field.

That performance gave Newsome the state record for yards rushing in a season (3,763). Former Ansonia running back Alex Thomas set the previous record (3,596) in 2007.

Newsome also completed the season as the leading rusher in the nation. Johnathan Gray of Aledo, Texas is second with 3,447 rushing yards. Gray has one game to play.

“We had high expectations, but it's kind of hard to expect a sophomore to lead the country in rushing,” Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett said. “He's such a dynamic player. Obviously college football is all about speed, and in terms of high school his speed is on another level.

“He's also dangerous in the kick-return game. I think he has a chance to be a big-time [college] running back.”

Newsome also set the state record for touchdowns scored in a season with 62 (58 rushing). He scored on runs of 13, 50 and 95 yards in the victory over Ledyard, which handed the Ansonia program its state-best 17th state championship.

Ansonia became the first team to complete a season with a 14-0 record. The Chargers outscored teams 624-154 this season.

Ledyard completed its season with an 11-2 record.

“We've already heard from BC, Connecticut, Miami and Iowa,” Brockett said. “People are just trying to get in on the process. I think college coaches will come after him as a running back, but he could definitely play on the other side of the ball. He'll have [scholarship] offers by the time he takes the field for his junior year.”

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
2:21
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Until this year, the Glastonbury High School girls' soccer program had always lacked a finishing kick.

ConnecticutGlastonbury had reached the Class LL championship game six times since 1983, and came away second best each time. That all changed when top-seeded Glastonbury defeated 18th-seeded Trumbull 2-1 Friday to win this year's Class LL title.

“I was doing this for all the [Glastonbury] girls who have been here before us,” Glastonbury senior midfielder Liz Otto said. “I'm just so excited we finally got it done.”

Otto gave Glastonbury a 1-0 lead when she headed Kayla Orozco's corner kick into the Trumbull goal with 19:45 to play. The Tomahawks doubled their lead when junior Kristen Dragotta scored with 2:41 left.

Trumbull made things interesting by scoring with 2:23 to play, but the Tomahawks hung on to finish the season with a 17-0-2 record.

In last weekend's other girls soccer championship games No. 2 Avon defeated No. 8 Farmington 2-1 to win the Class L title; No. 1 Northwest Catholic beat No. 2 Granby Memorial 4-0 in the Class M championship game; and No. 5 Immaculate defeated No. 7 Litchfield 3-0 to win the Class S title.

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
1:22
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We're starting off this week with five games to watch during Week 7 of the Connecticut high school football season:

DARIEN (6-0) at STAPLES (5-0), Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
ConnecticutThis may be the most important game during the FCIAC regular season, since the winner will have an excellent chance to reach the FCIAC championship game Nov. 18 at Trumbull.

Darien overcame an eight-point deficit in the final minute and remained unbeaten by defeating Wilton 35-34 in double overtime last weekend. The Blue Wave has outscored its opponents 178-94 this season.

Staples has given up more than 16 points once in its five games and has allowed 64 points this season.

HILLOUSE (4-2) at XAVIER (6-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle is expected to return from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 1. Boyle, junior, has scholarship offers from Boston College and Syracuse.

The Xavier defense has allowed 34 points (three shutouts) this season. Cheshire is the only team that has scored more than seven points against Xavier.

Hillhouse has won four in a row and nearly knocked off an unbeaten Xavier team last year (9-6). Hillhouse has scored 182 points during its four-game winning streak.

WEST HAVEN (5-1) at HAND (6-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Intriguing matchup between a team from Class LL (West Haven) and a team from Class L (Hand). Both teams have scored 214 points through six games.

West Haven has won two in a row since suffering its only loss against Notre Dame-West Haven (28-15). The Blue Devils have scored at least 28 points in each of their five victories, but will be facing a defense that has surrendered 55 points all season.

MASUK (6-0) at NEW MILFORD (3-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Masuk, the No. 2 team in ESPN Boston's New England Top 10, has been an offensive machine, scoring at least 49 points in each of its six victories, but has done so against opponents that are a combined 6-30. Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran, who has committed to the University of Connecticut, needs three touchdown passes to reach 100 for his career.

Things figure to get a little tougher for Masuk this weekend. New Milford has won three of its last four and has scored 106 points in those three victories.

COGINCHAUG (5-0) at VALLEY REGIONAL/OLD LYME (5-0), Friday, 6:30 p.m.
A matchup between unbeaten Class S teams that have each been playing excellent defense.

Coginchaug has won three games by shutout, and Valley Regional/Old Lyme has outscored four opponents 172-14 since opening the season with a 48-47 triumph over North Branford.

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What We Learned: Week 2

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
5:57
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D-Y, JOHNSON ARE FOR REAL
In the moments following Dennis-Yarmouth’s thrilling 28-27 win over Cape rival Barnstable, neither team could do enough evangelizing about the talent on display before them just minutes earlier.

Of D-Y wideout Damion Johnson, first-year Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said, “If I'm a college coach and I'm anywhere near Cape Cod recruiting, I'm all over Damion Johnson. He's a hell of a football player.”

Of the duel between D-Y quarterback Matt Montalto and Barnstable quarterback D.J. Crook (who is inching closer to the state all-time touchdown pass record), Dolphins head coach Paul Funk sung high praises.

“You just saw three of the best players in the state, I don’t care where they’re from,” he told a group of reporters. “Montalto, Crook and Johnson. Those guys can play anywhere in the country, I’ll tell you that right now. They’re as good as anyone around.”

Minutes later outside the D-Y locker room, Montatlo was asked about Johnson’s jump-ball ability, and the senior put it bluntly: “Best one I’ve ever seen in high school. I’ll put it down, I think he’s the best wide receiver in high school football right now. That’s what I’ll say about him, yeah.”

All the talk is justified, though. The 6-foot-2 Johnson, with his seven catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns, showed what makes him one of the region’s more difficult players to defend with his adjustments in the game. Early on, the Red Raiders pressed Johnson heavily and brought safeties over the top; Johnson merely muscled his way to jump balls on deep fades. When they backed off the line of scrimmage, Johnson beat them with crisp comeback routes on the sideline.

“That’s what’s so difficult about Damion," Montalto said. "When you press him, right away I saw him getting off the press – he’s so good with his hands, his feet, everything – he got off the press and got over the top of them, when we’re giving him fades. And then they finally loosened up, so we came back to our crossing routes, same thing, he’s just as good at that as he is with the deep ball.”

Said Johnson, “They kinda loosened up on me a bit, but me and Matt have had our timing down since the summer. We worked on it all summer, preseason, everything.”

LINE KEEPS ROLLING ALONG
Coming into this season, questions surrounded New Bedford and how the Whalers would get along without Lance Burlingame anchoring their offensive and defensive lines. While you can never hope to replace a player like that, the Whalers have shown they'll be just fine this season. Without bookends Burlingame and Janny DosReis, guard Darian Sousa-Bizarro has moved over to tackle and provides senior leadership on the offensive side of the ball.

On defense, New Bedford showed they have multiple players ready to step up and make up for the pass rush Burlingame accounted for. In Saturday's 41-20 win over Silver Lake, the Whalers' big men put on a show with Carl Santos picking up three sacks, while Ricky Moraes had two of his own. Junior Tyler Arena is also a player worth keeping tabs on and was disruptive force against both the running and the passing rhythym of the Lakers' offense.

“They’re doing well,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said of the group. “Coach [Nick] Salmon and Coach [Marc] Hayes are doing a great job with them every day. They’re giving a good effort in practice. The kids are coming and playing hard consistently. It’s a good thing, it’s a good situation.”

TANNERS SHUT DOWN BILLERICA
While the number of true upsets in Week 2 paled in comparison to the wild Week 1 slate, among the more suprising results of the young season was Woburn's 12-7 triumph over Billerica.

After suffering a 25-point loss to Acton-Boxborough in Week 1, the Tanners bounced back, particuarly on defense to shut down the Indians.

While Billerica quarterback Nick LaSpada got his share of yards through the air and the ground, hovering near 200 all-purpose yards, here's betting Woburn head coach Rocky Nelson would take that result all day, every day. In addition, the Tanners got the big play on offense they need early on with Chucky Ortiz, a legitimate Mr. Football Award candidate, flashing his speed on a 71-yard run that set up his 2-yard touchdown run in the first.

From there, all the Tanners had to do was dig in.

“We tried to change up our fronts and our coverages and send people to try to confuse [LaSpada],” Nelson said of Woburn's defensive game plan. “We were in his face and he didn’t take a broken play and take it to the house. We contained him. We were sending our outside linebackers sometimes right from the line, sometimes inside. We had some line stunts that we put in that kept pressure on and we didn’t let him scramble and beat us like he did a year ago.”

ONE AMAZING CATCH
Skip to the 30-second mark of this highlight package from Friday night’s Mansfield-Needham game, and tell us Mark Riley isn’t one of the most underrated tight ends around.



"That's one of the nicest catches I've ever seen, that I can remember," Needham head coach David Duffy said. "That was tremendous. He's very fast and instinctive, he's more of an Aaron Hernandez type of tight end, we'll split him out wide sometimes. He's a matchup nightmare for teams, but he can also block."

Needham has sent just one player to a Division 1 school in three decades – Eric Johnson, former Yale tight end and seven-year NFL veteran (and also new beau of Jessica Simpson). For sake of technical terms, we’re not counting current Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, who played soccer at Needham then Middlebury before walking on to North Carolina State as a grad student.

But in this year’s Needham squad – an underrated one based on the run it gave Mansfield on Friday – they might have two. Quarterback Drew Burnett already claims an offer from Bryant, while Riley (brother of WEEI announcer Mike Riley, a good friend of ours here at ESPNBoston) has been seeing interest anywhere from the Ivy and Patriot Leagues down to the NESCAC. He's also a returning All-American in lacrosse, and may head down that route for college.

A few more catches like that, and maybe this story changes.

And by the way, Duffy isn't afraid to make the comparison to the future Mr. Jessica Simpson.

"He reminds me of Eric Johnson -- he could do anything," Duffy said of Riley. "The kid can catch, receive, run, catch a block, anything you ask of him to do he can do it."

FROM THE BIZARRE FILE...
Maybe there’s just a proverbial rain cloud hanging over Baker Street, or maybe Catholic Memorial is just encountering bad luck. Either way, this was hardly the start they expected after coming in as the preseason No. 4 in our statewide MIAA poll.

One week after suffering a surprise shutout upset at the hands of unranked Marshfield, the Knights took a 14-0 second-quarter lead over Connecticut Class LL runner-up Trumbull, only to have two of the four lights go out at the stadium. The two teams hit the locker room early for halftime, on the suggestion from officials that they shut all four lights off and try to reboot from there.

And as luck would have it, the lights never came back on, and Trumbull made the three-hour trek back to Connecticut. Reached Monday morning, CM head coach and athletic director said a decision hasn’t been made on how this game will go down in the books.

Three weeks, one game. Here’s the good news: the Knights will be playing a Saturday afternoon game in Shrewsbury against St. John’s. And like every other week, they stand a good chance of probably coming away victorious.

Then again, nothing has gone as planned so far.

WEEK 2 CHAMPIONSHIP
It's hard to tab a second-week game as having playoff implications, but Saturday's South Coast Conference battle between Dighton-Rehoboth and Apponequet is about as close as you'll get. The Falcons and Lakers were the co-champions of the SCC last season, but Apponequet is looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008.

The teams were very much evenly matched and resemble each other in many ways with both teams featuring a dual threat at running back with D-R's Adam Benvie and Bryan Rocha and Apponequet's Nate Michael and Zach Nanfelt.

So did D-R take a step closer to their third straight postseason appearance with a 21-7 win?

“I guess this is what they’d say is the first big game in the league,” D-R head coach Dave Driscoll told correspondent Adam Kurkjian. “The way the schedule’s been it’s happened early the last three years. As a result, you get a little bit of a leg up if you win the game. It certainly doesn’t mean anything other than you have a win because you have to play the whole season, but it’s nice to win.

ESPN Boston's Week 2 Picks

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
12:33
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NO. 6 ST. JOHN'S (SHREWSBURY) (1-0) AT NO. 8 LONGMEADOW (1-0)
The Skinny: After getting outscored 79-20 in its previous two meetings with the Pioneers, Longmeadow will be looking to exact some revenge. And with the graduation of two of St. John's all-time greats in quarterback Dan Light (Fordham) and wide receiver Richard Rodgers (Cal), this might be the Lancers' best chance yet. That said, 'Meadow will be missing injured starting quarterback Jake Lazarus, though they got a solid week 1 performance out of one of Western Mass' best in T.J. Norris. St. John's is coming off a thrilling 22-21 victory over Holy Name, but the feeling is that many of the Pioneers' new parts will be more prepared this week.
Scott Barboza: Here's betting the Pioneers were scared stiff after last week's nail-biter against Holy Name. St. John's, 24-20.
Brendan Hall: Think it's safe to say the Lancers are relieved Richard Rodgers has moved on to Cal. Longmeadow, 20-17.

NO. 7 ANDOVER (1-0) AT GLOUCESTER (0-1)
The Skinny: The Golden Warriors put up 30 points in last week's win over North Andover, while the Fishermen had 41 points put up against them as they saw their 26-game winning streak turn to dust. On the surface, it looks like this one could get out of hand, but we're intrigued to see what kind of fight the Fishermen have in them.
Barboza: Coach Zerilli's going to have to wait another week for win No. 1. Andover, 31-14.
Hall: When was the last time you had this many MVC teams looking at 2-0 headed into league play? Andover, 27-7.

SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL (0-1) AT NO. 1 EVERETT (1-0)
The Skinny: One can only imagine what kind of gameplan the No. 1 Crimson Tide have in store to slow down talented running back Sacoy Malone. Everett was solid up the middle last week, in spite of miscues elsewhere in its 47-12 win over Leominster, while the Golden Eagles dropped out of our statewide Top 25 after falling to city rival Putnam. Also look for a change under center at Central, where Cody Williams has taken over the starting job at quarterback. A week ago, Everett's new crop of receivers had a half-dozen drops; we don't expect to see that again.
Barboza: Malone gets his feet under him and is a factor, still the Crimson Tide have too many weapons. Everett, 34-21.
Hall: Two weeks ago, this was looking like it could be our game of the week. Then Central fell to a talented Putnam squad, and Everett put up 47 points in a clunker. Everett, 28-0.

NO. 10 AUBURN (1-0) AT NO. 25 HOLLISTON (1-0)
The Skinny: Fred Taylor provides the fuel behind the Rockets' offense, but Auburn is truly propelled by its offensive line, which averages over 250 pounds across. Meanwhile, the Panthers have a slightly different look on offense with Dan Barone taking over from Sean Mayo. Yet, Holliston's spread attack remains equally as potent with a sprinkle of Jake Frechette and the ground game.
Barboza: This is the week. Holliston, 21-20.
Hall: If Auburn can hold onto the ball and put together some long drives, I like their chances at pushing this win streak to 39. Auburn, 7-6.

BARNSTABLE (1-0) AT NO. 12 DENNIS-YARMOUTH (1-0)
The Skinny: In what has evolved into one of the Cape's strongest football rivalries, D-Y is looking to take two straight in this series. The Dolphins won last year's contest, 41-38, while Barnstable won a 21-20 thriller in 2009. Two of the state's most prolific passers go head-to-head in this one; Barnstable's D.J. Crook had two touchdown passes in a 65-0 win over Durfee (bringing him within 18 of the state all-time record), while D-Y's Matt Montalto threw for 280 in the season-opening 41-7 win over Taunton.
Barboza: I feel like I'm being overly conservative here saying the teams will combine for 41 points here. That could easily come in one quarter with these teams. D-Y, 27-14.
Hall: Last year's game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate -- the Dolphins got in Barnstable's head. And with all due respect to Crook, who's on a good pace to break the state's all-time passing touchdown mark, Matt Montalto will win this duel once again. D-Y, 41-28.

TRUMBULL (CONN.) (0-0) AT NO. 19 CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (0-1)
The Skinny: After a mound of preseason hype, Catholic Memorial fell victim to the biggest upset of Week 1, getting shutout 24-0 at Marshfield. The road doesn't get any easier for Armani Reeves, Cam Williams, A.J. Doyle and Co. this week. Trumbull is coming off a spectacular 2010 season in which they advanced to the Class LL State Championship at Rentschler Field, losing to powerhouse Xavier 24-13.
Barboza: Yeah, it's an out-of-stater, but we'll learn a lot about the Knights this week. CM, 17-14.
Hall: The Knights can't afford an 0-2 start here. I'm calling a big night for Armani Reeves. CM, 30-20.

LEOMINSTER (0-1) AT HUDSON (0-1)
The Skinny: The Dave Palazzi era got off to a rocky start as Leominster took a 47-12 loss in Everett, but the Blue Devils showed plenty of promise in the earlygoing, including junior quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie and senior wide receiver Kyle Sanders. After having trouble solving the Crimson Tide's hard-charging duo of Vondell Langston and Kenny Calaj, they face another challenge in Hudson's Bryant-bound running back Karl Sery. Hudson is coming off a hiccup itself, getting upset by Gardner last week to fall out of our statewide Top 25.
Barboza: A Gatorade shower for Palazzi. Leominster, 20-14.
Hall: These Leominster boys can hit. Credit to Coach Murph for that....Leominster, 21-14.

READING (0-1) AT NO. 24 NORTH ANDOVER (0-1)
The Skinny: Let's put it this way, if Reading were to start the season on a two-game losing streak, the two losses will have equalled the number of games the Rockets have lost in the last three seasons combined. Meanwhile, the Knights had Andy Coke and the Andover offense run amok over the defense last week.
Barboza: Brandon Walsh gets things going in a big way. North Andover, 37-30.
Hall: After the Lawrence upset, a solid win over a Top 25 program would put the green but talented Rockets in a firm position when they start Middlesex play. Reading, 18-13.

NO. 4 MANSFIELD (1-0) AT NEEDHAM (1-0)
The Skinny:
Both teams put a little something extra into their Week 1 wins with Mansfield traveling all the way to Syracuse to beat Christian Brothers Academy of New York, while the Rockets needed overtime to escape with a 19-12 win over Norwood.
Barboza: George Busharis engineers a late fourth-quarter drive for the win. Mansfield, 21-13.
Hall: This Needham squad is flying under the radar, and I think they're going to give the Hornets a game. Mansfield, 16-14.

NO. 3 BC HIGH (1-0) AT DEPAUL CATHOLIC (N.J.) (0-1)
The Skinny: If CM suffered the biggest upset of Week 1, then their cross-city archrivals on Morrissey Blvd. scored the most eye-opening margin of victory, wiping out previous No. 5 Brockton 42-0. It's hardly just the Preston Cooper show, as Bartley Regan, Gordon McLeod and Jameson McShea all showed promise for big seasons in the opening week. Wayne, N.J.-based DePaul is coming off a 43-3 pounding at the hands of St. Joseph Regional, which memorably beat our current No. 5 Xaverian 6-3 back in 2007 in Westwood. In spite of the loss, the Spartans still managed to put up close to 260 yards of offense.
Barboza: The Eagles keep rolling with the momentum off of last week's win. BC High, 27-20.
Hall: This from my old friend and former Massachusetts Daily Collegian colleague S.P. Sullivan, currently an associate producer at MassLive.com: "Long before anyone knew what a blowout was, we in North Jersey called it 'Wayne Hair'...Wayne is known for blowouts and the rich folks mall we hung out at in high school." BC High, 24-7.

NO. 20 ST. JOHN'S PREP (0-1) AT CENTRAL CATHOLIC (0-1)
The Skinny: This rite of fall between preeminent programs of the Catholic and Merrimack Valley finds the squads in a bit of different position this year as both graduated substantial parts of their 2010 teams. Both teams are young on the lines, but also return starting quarterbacks with Prep's Tommy Gaudet and Central's Matt McDermott.
Barboza: The kicking game pays dividends. Prep, 13-10.
Hall: Another week figuring out these Georgia Tech-style "flex" packages they've been trying out, and the ol' ball coach Jim O'Leary might be up to something good. Prep, 13-10.

DIGHTON-REHOBOTH (1-0) AT APPONEQUET (1-0)
The Skinny:
It may be premature, given that it's Week 2, but this very well could be the South Coast Conference championship game. Both teams feature deep backfields with the Falcons Bryan Rocha and Adam Benvie going head-to-head with the Lakers' Nate Michael and Zach Nanfelt.
Barboza: Experience pays a dividend for the Falcons, who had a taste of the postseason last year. D-R, 23-16.
Hall: I like the way these Falcons move bodies off the ball. And I do mean move. D-R, 27-19.

SILVER LAKE (0-1) AT NEW BEDFORD (1-0)
The Skinny: The Lakers were running stride for stride with Minnechaug last week before falling. Not a bad start for a team that returns just two starters from last year. On the other hand, the Whalers made easy work of Wareham, 40-6, behing Myles Medeiros' five touchdown passes.
Barboza: Can we zoom forward to the Whalers' meeting with Brockton, please? New Bedford, 30-23.
Hall: Too many athletes on the Whalers' side of the ball not to think they're going to run away with this one. New Bedford, 28-10.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
2:30
PM ET
Xavier High School proved to be the wrecking ball in Connecticut high school football last season, when the Falcons went 13-0 en route to the Class LL championship.

ConnecticutXavier may have an even better team this season.

The Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance picked the Falcons as the state's No. 1 team in its preseason poll. Xavier edged Masuk by one point.

“You have to worry about complacency,” Xavier coach Sean Marinan said. “We haven't played a game yet. Pretty much everything they say at this point in the season is based on last year.”

It's based on returning talent as well, and the Falcons have plenty of it. On offense Xavier has two Division I quarterbacks in junior Tim Boyle and senior Pat D'Amato. Boyle has scholarship offers from Boston College and Syracuse, and D'Amato recently committed to Stony Brook.

The QBs split time last season. D'Amato will play wide receiver when Boyle is the team's quarterback.

“Tim's got a very strong arm and he's 6-4,” Marinan said. “He chose not to do too much this summer. If he had I'm sure he'd have more offers. He's what everybody's looking for in a quarterback.

“Pat's a faster kid, and a little more elusive. Basically we have two No. 1 quarterbacks.”

The offense also returns senior running back Mike Mastroianni, who rushed for 1,889 yards last season. In addition, wide receiver Ryan Murphy is drawing interest from several FBS schools.

The defense must replace linebacker Graham Stewart, who was the state's Gatorade Player of the Year and is now playing for the University of Florida, but returns seven starters. Linebacker Jovan Santos is among the returnees. Santos has committed to the University of Massachusetts.

The Falcons also have three linemen – Ryan Jacobucci, Austin Wezenski and Sean Marinan Jr. (coach's son) – who are being recruited by FBS programs.

“I think our defense will be strong again,” Marinan said. “I don't know if it will be as strong as it was the year before. Replacing Graham Stewart is virtually impossible. We do have some holes to fill and he's obviously one of them.”

Xavier, which beat Trumbull to win last year's LL title, will open its season Friday against Notre Dame-West Haven.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

June, 21, 2011
6/21/11
2:20
PM ET
Losses don’t come much tougher than the one the Southington High School baseball team suffered against Newington in the Class LL championship game.

ConnecticutSouthington thought it had won the title when Matt Spruill scored on Sal Romano’s double in the eighth inning Monday, but the teams played on after home plate umpire Dave Bindas ruled that Spruill never touched home plate and Spruill was called out on an appeal play.

Newington went on to claim the championship by posting a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

“I heard the crowd and it was their side cheering,” Southington coach Charlie Lembo told WFSB Channel 3 in Hartford. “Then I found out the umpire ruled that he missed home plate. I didn’t see it, but Dave’s a good umpire so I’ll have to go with that call.”

Pat Meucci reached on a single in the 10th and scored the game-winning run from second base on an infield throwing error.

That gave 17th-seeded Newington (17-8) the program’s first state championship.

Newington’s Cole Bryant pitched all 10 innings to earn the win. He threw 176 pitches, struck out 16 and held Southington to six hits.

Romano also pitched a complete game (146 pitches). All three Newington runs were unearned.

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Tags:

Football, Baseball, Connecticut, Lacrosse, New England Roundup, Softball, Ridgefield, St. Joseph, New Canaan, Tyler Matakevich, Sean Goldrich, Brian Kelly, Southington, Notre Dame, Notre Dame-West Haven, Farmington, Wilbur Cross, Montrell Dobbs, Mike Georgalas, Bacon Academy, New Fairfield, West Haven, Brookfield, Joe Della Vecchia, Trinity Catholic, Fairfield Prep, Graham Maybell, New Milford, Lyman Hall, North Haven, East Catholic, Sal Romano, Matt Spruill, Dave Bindas, Charlie Lembo, Pat Meucci, Cole Bryant, East Hampton, Jim Riccitelli, New Haven-Shelton, Zach Miller, Tucker Schumitz, James Ward Jr., Kevin Phillips, Steve Dejournette, Alec Pacelli, Tyshon Shields, Riley Lefebvre, Kunimel Lomotey, Chris Laporte, Andrew McCloskey, Shaun Reiss, Paul Perrotti, Andrew Bielefield, Conor Shea, Dashon Riley, Scott McNeil, Zach Salazar, Cody Kitson, Austen Ahern, Kyle Kalanta, Marquis Leigh, Matt Murray, Nick Donofrio, Oxford (Conn.), Robert Williams, Kosy Broderick, Jordan Sebastian, Ruben Berger, Anthony Vorio, North Branford, Rohan Ifili, Sacred Heart-Waterbury, Anthony Sanders, Tyvon Williams, Trevor Keyes, Robert Fairweather, Mike Marini, Jeff Wright, Evan Opdahl, Justin Waltzer, Immaculate, Pat Murray, Chris Coyne, Jason Mawicke, Ryan Phillips, Mike Rivas, Phil Terio, Willie Maxen, Kevin Maxen, Dion Koumoutseas, Zach Emilcer, Jacqui Tuck, Shabazz McIntosh, Alex Delaney, James Barrett, Steven Buczek, Matthew Becker, Max Nacewicz, Kevin Harrigan, Dominic Williams, Zaire Reiph, St. Luke's, Alvin Garcia, Giuseppe Parisi, Shea McGorty, Matt Datin, Nick Adzime, Eddie Hutchins, Weston (Conn.), Clement Abonyi, Brandon Davis, Mark Robinson, Nicolas Rodriguez, Bullard Havens, Sacred Heart (Conn.), Terryville, Torrey Martone, Case Matheis, J.P. Walsh, Eric Parnon, Michael Francia, Pat Holland, Sam Somers, Andrew Buckanavage, Matthew Shannon, Parker Burr, Joe Costigan, David Dickson, Ryan Mallon, Sean Wilkinson

New England Roundup: Connecticut

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
2:55
PM ET
Although the school has not extended a verbal scholarship offer, it appears that the University of Connecticut may be a likely landing spot for Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran.

ConnecticutCochran, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior, took his second unofficial visit to Connecticut on Saturday, when he attended spring practice. He also attended a junior day in February.

"I wanted to get a look at the new offense," Cochran said. "It was up-tempo, and a lot of pro-style, which fits me.

"I don't think I'll get an offer until they see me in person at one of their summer camps. It would be an honor to play for my home state."

Cochran, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season, has an offer from Boston College and said he will attend BC practice this weekend. He made an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt in March, and is scheduled to visit Rutgers, Harvard, Virginia, Duke, Penn State and Notre Dame this month.

Cochran is on pace to graduate in January. He led Masuk to a 13-0 record and the Class L state championship last season, when he completed 200 of 295 pass attempts for 3,345 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led New London to the Class SS championship during his freshman season, and then transferred to Masuk.

Cochran said Vanderbilt, Connecticut, Rutgers and Boston College are the schools he hears from most frequently.

"Hopefully I'll get more offers in the spring,” Cochran said. “I'm in no rush, but I'd like to have it done before my senior season to get the distractions out of the way. If it takes longer, it takes longer."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
5:00
PM ET
Masuk High School coach Dave Strong has won more games than any other girls high school coach in Connecticut, but he may not win any more.

ConnecticutStrong, 66, announced his resignation Monday after winning 704 games in 35 seasons as a head coach. Strong told the New Haven Register that the move was made for health reasons.

“I’m not in danger of dying, but there are some health things I’ve ignored over the years through coaching,” Strong said.

Strong guided Masuk to the state tournament every season since the tournament was formed in 1974. The Panthers reached the state final seven times and won three state titles during that span. Masuk also won 19 league championships.

His daughter, Julia, was part of his first state championship team in 1990.

Strong was inducted into the National High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Strong was also an assistant coach with the Masuk boys basketball program for seven seasons. In addition, he served as the school’s athletic director for 10 years before he retired in 2005.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of coaching at Masuk,” Strong told the Courant. “I’m certainly going to miss it.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
4:28
PM ET
A year when the Danbury High School wrestling team fails to win the Class LL title is nearly as rare as a winter without snow.

ConnecticutDanbury entered this year’s tournament having won the last 14 Class LL state championships, but the program’s stranglehold on the title ended last weekend. Xavier won three matches in the championship round and claimed this year’s LL title by earning 200 points during the state meet at Trumbull High School. Danbury finished second with 181 points.

It was Xavier’s first Class LL championship.

“It was quite enjoyable,” Xavier coach Mike Cunningham told the Danbury News-Times. “When we got the trophy, it kind of hit me. It’s something you’ve been striving for your whole career – to beat Danbury – and then it happened.”

Cunningham’s son, Tyler, won the 145-pound title; Will Chowanek earned the 103-pound title; and Elliot Antler prevailed in the 160-pound weight class.

All but two players on Danbury’s roster are eligible to return next season.

(Read full post)

Connecticut football review

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
1:42
PM ET
St. Joseph may have resuscitated its season.

Written off and out of the state’s top 10 following two losses and the temporary loss of its best player, St. Joseph returned its name to the statewide mix Saturday with a thrilling 28-27 victory over New Canaan.

Drama defined this one. After New Canaan — ranked No. 2 in the state and seventh in the latest ESPNBoston.com New England poll — tied the game at 21-all in the fourth quarter, Pat Mulligan returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to put St. Joseph back up a score. But New Canaan clawed back again with a 10-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to make it 28-27. But they too were dashed when St. Joseph’s Jerry Kramer broke up the potential game-winning two-point conversion pass attempt.

When the dust settled, St. Joseph pumped new life into its playoff hopes following early-season losses to Wilton and Darien.

Tyler Matakevich, who missed the first five games with a broken bone in his right foot, rushed seven times for 26 yards and a touchdown. But the emotional lift of his return and defensive play couldn’t be measured.

New Canaan (5-1) had outscored its previous opponents, 237-21. Those five foes also had combined for just three wins before the weekend.

In other games:
  • Top-ranked Xavier, the No. 3 team in the ESPNBoston.com New England poll, held off Shelton, 14-7, Friday thanks to Jovan Santos’ strip of Shelton quarterback Jonathan Groth with 30 seconds to play inside Xavier’s 10-yard line. It was just another drag-it-out victory for Xavier (6-0) in the Southern Connecticut Conference, which is proving itself again as the best league in the state.
  • Another day, another blowout: Masuk-Monroe, ranked sixth by ESPNBoston.com in New England, routed Weston, 56-7, on Friday. Masuk (6-0) has now outscored its six opponents, 288-21, though Friday marked its first 50-point game of the year after five 40-point efforts. If Xavier wasn’t so good at winning the close ones, it’d be difficult to find a team more deserving of the state’s top ranking than Masuk.
  • No. 7 West Haven (6-0) continued defending Class LL champion Cheshire’s hard-luck fall from grace this season with a 34-29 victory on Friday. Cheshire has now lost four straight, but every loss came to a team that is or has been ranked in the New Haven Register’s state top 10 this season. And they’ve come by a combined 13 points. Ouch.
  • If it wasn’t for St. Joseph’s thriller, Stamford’s 27-19 victory over No. 6 Trumbull would have been the state’s most notable upset. Bryant Boderick completed 14-of-26 passes for 280 yards, rushed for a touchdown and threw the game-sealing score 54 yards to Chandler Foster. After starting the season with losses to Ridgefield and Greenwich, Stamford (4-2) has now won four straight. Bridgeport Central (4-2) — which fell to Trumbull, 34-12, on Oct. 8 — visits Friday.
  • An unusual scheduling choice didn’t keep Darien from staying perfect. Chris Allam rushed for a touchdown and threw a 50-yard score to Clay Barker to help rally Darien (6-0) past visiting Red Lion Christian Academy (Bear, Del.), 21-20, on Saturday. Graham Maybell’s six-yard run was the game-winner. Red Lion quarterback David Sills, an eighth-grader, has already verbally committed to USC.
  • Wethersfield joined the ranks of 6-0 teams with a 55-21 victory over Fermi. Steve Vasques threw for 90 yards and rushed for another 100.
  • Josh Clements threw for three touchdowns and New London — forgotten by some following a Week 1 loss to Montville — won its fifth straight, a 47-21 rout of previously unbeaten Fitch at the Coast Guard Academy on Saturday. New London hasn’t played a true home game yet his year as its field is being replaced, and yet, has beaten Waterford (in Waterford) in a game that was counted as a Whalers home game and now Fitch, which knocked Montville from the state rankings.
  • And finally, East Haven ended the fourth-longest losing streak in state history on Friday with a 42-14 win over Platt Tech. The Easties hadn’t won since Thanksgiving Day 2006, a span of 36 games and three winless seasons.
CIAC PLAYOFF POINTS STANDINGS:
(Top eight teams in each division make playoffs)
Class LL
1. Norwich Free Academy (6-0) 128.33
2. Xavier (6-0) 126.67
3. Hall (6-0) 126.67
4. Staples (6-0) 121.67
5. West Haven (6-0) 110.00
6. Glastonbury (5-1) 110.00
7. Trumbull (5-1) 106.67
8. Southington (5-1) 106.67.

Class L
1. Masuk (6-0) 131.67
2. Darien (6-0) 126.67
3. Wethersfield (6-0) 121.67
4. Naugatuck (6-0) 120.00
5. Bristol Eastern (6-0) 120.00
6. Hand-Madison (110.00)
7. Windsor (5-1) 98.33
8. Fitch (4-1) 98.00.

Class M
1. Berlin (6-0) 116.67
2. New London (5-1) 113.33
3. Plainville (5-1) 108.33
4. Enfield (5-1) 101.67
5. Cheney Tech (5-1) 101.67
6. Platt (5-1) 98.33
7. Lyman Hall (5-1) 96.67
8. Coventry/Windham Tech (4-1) 94.00.

Class S
1. Ansonia (6-0) 136.67
2. Valley Regional/Old Lyme (6-0) 128.33
3. Hyde Leadership (6-0) 126.67
4. Montville (5-1) 116.67
5. Coginchaug (5-0) 116.00
6. Woodland (4-2) 95.00
7. Sacred Heart (4-2) 91.67
8. St. Joseph (4-2) 88.33.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 13, 2010
10/13/10
12:30
PM ET
To those outside the Ansonia football program, the six new faces crouching on its offensive line meant lowered expectations.

For the man running behind them, it meant old times.

Wouldn’t you know it, it’s turned out the same way for the Chargers.

ConnecticutIn a season that could have marked a downturn for one of the state’s perennial state title contenders, Ansonia is rolling toward another league title and playoff berth, thanks in part to its young offensive line and bulked up senior running back Montrell Dobbs.

Some probably didn’t expect them to. The six juniors who make up the Chargers’ line — Matt Hall, Arek Kaszuba, Hakeem Martin, Dylan Vano, Tyler Williams and tight end Jake LaRovera — are all first-time starters. In fact, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Dobbs is the only returning senior starter the Chargers have.

No matter. At 4-0, Ansonia has already trounced defending Naugatuck Valley League champion, Holy Cross, 31-0, and is coming off a 46-6 victory over Wilby in which a banged-up Dobbs didn’t even play.

He still has 787 yards and eight touchdowns this season, carrying the ball a career-high 43 times for 387 yards and five touchdowns three weeks ago against Crosby.

“I’ve played with most of these guys [on the line] since I played Pop Warner,” Dobbs said. “They worked so hard in the offseason, and it’s paying off.”

Yet, that’s the culture around Ansonia, the king of sustained success in Connecticut high school football. The Chargers own 16 state titles (the last coming in 2007), have played for a state championship a record 22 times and have missed the playoffs just once (2005) in the last 13 seasons.

Expectations don’t change. Only the faces do. And the one that didn’t may be the biggest reason why.

(Read full post)

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