Boston High School: Waltham

Four hockey coaches get MSHCA hall call

May, 5, 2014
5/05/14
1:42
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STONEHAM, Mass. -- It was a grand night for the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association (MSHCA). The well-established organization inducted four head coaches into its Hall of Fame, Sunday evening.

Before a capacity crowd inside Montvale Plaza filled with past and present coaches, family and friends, Mike Nanartowich (Hudson), Brian Murphy (St. John's of Shrewsbury), Dan Mark (Stoughton) and John Maguire (Waltham) became the latest members of the fraternity. Combined, the four coaches have spent a total of 112 years behind the bench.

Also inducted was Arlington Catholic long-time assistant coach Jim Hunt. Coach of the Year accolades went to John Devany (St. Joseph's Prep) in the boys’ category while Arlington Catholic's Maggie Taverna received the honor as girls’ coach. Tim Hooton was given the Brian “Trooper” Sullivan award for officials and UMass-Dartmouth coach John Rolli was awarded the William J. Stewart, Jr. Award for outstanding service and contribution to Massachusetts Secondary Schoolboy hockey.

Included in the festivities, the MSHCA recognized six high school players for their athletic and academic excellence. They included, Luke Amato (Arlington Catholic), Ian Lapham (Reading), Kevin Dober (Newton South), Alex Tepper (Nashoba Regional), Ryan McKennedy (Lowell) and Colin MacDonald (Marshfield).

“All of these student-athlete's academic distinctions are off the charts,” said former Lincoln-Sudbury coach and 2010 inductee Dan Doyle.

MSHCA secretary and 2003 inductee Charlie Driscoll, who spent 16 season guiding Medford as well as stints at Archbishop Williams, Malden Catholic, Wakefield and Reading, served as emcee.

Nanartowich, who won a Division 3 state title in 2012, was introduced by former Marlborough coach and 2012 inductee John Butler along with 20-year assistant coach Mike Correa.

“Mike Nanartowich was one who was always prepared for every game he coached,” Butler said. “He helped bring a lot of credibility and entusiasm to Central Mass. Hockey. Mike has always been a student of the game and is always looking to learn new things constantly.”

Added Correa, "Mike wrote the script on how to run a successful hockey team," he said. "Players at Hudson have succeeded because they had a meaningful relationship with their head coach.”

Nanartowich, who was named Mass. State High School Coach of the Year in 2012, expressed humility of the honor bestowed on to him.
“I think the best word that describes what hockey means to me and what Hudson High School means to me is the word blessed. I've been blessed with great players and great assistant coaches. For me, it's not about numbers, it's about the players.”

Murphy, who stepped down as Pioneers coach at the end of the 2013 season, having earned seven Super 8 appearances along the way, was introduced by former Shrewsbury coach and Class of 2004 member Phil Irving.

“To be here, it takes a tremendous amount of support from a large number of people over a long period of time,” Murphy said. “I had a wonderful experience coaching at St. John's and enjoyed every minute of it. As any coach will admit, you are only as good as your players so I would be remissed if I didn't offer my sincerest thanks to all of my players over the years.”

Former Bridgewater State coach Bob Carpenter spoke on behalf of Mark, who served as a team captain under Carpenter his senior year there.

Mark offered a special thank you to former Stoughton coach Jim Gormley, who coached Mark for four seasons at the varsity level and later brought him on as an assistant coach.

“Probably the biggest influence of my life is Jim Gormley,” said Mark. “I cannot thank him enough for everything he taught me. I really want to thank MSHCA for inducting me. When I look at the number of people inducted into this Hall of Fame it's pretty over-whelming and now my name will be there with theirs and is greatly-appreciated.”

Doyle introduced Maguire and began saying, “Coach Maguire's moral compass is always in order yet he is his own man. His teams have always achieved above the level of their talents because John coaches them the right way.”

Maguire, who is closing in on 350 victories with the Hawks and took home a Division 1 state title in 2002, had nearly half of the banquet hall filled with family and friends in recognition of his honor.

“In my first three years the Hawks were 3-15 three years in a row and I remember our mailbox being run over by a disgruntled player,” laughed Maguire. “I am certainly humbled by this introduction.”

The event ended with the news that Marshfield coach Dan Connolly will be stepping down as MSHCA president this year.

“It has been extremely humbling being president of this organization,” Connolly said. “As coaches, we don't coach for the money, but for the love of the game and the kids.”

Recap: No. 11 Archies 3, Waltham 1

February, 21, 2014
2/21/14
12:07
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FALMOUTH, Mass. – With the Super 8 tournament selection meeting set for Saturday, teams are looking to leave a lasting impression.

In the consolation game at the Buddy Ferreira Classic on Thursday, Archbishop Williams was looking to a final stamp on its season with a 3-1 win over Waltham.

It was a performance that Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis found to be a little uneven.

“We were never really able to get on track, but we’ll take the win,” he said. “We just had way too many penalties and there was just no momentum.”

Archies (12-5-3) never trailed, but never found its rhythm either, giving the Hawks (8-8-5) the benefit of seven power-play chances.

All-tournament team selection Mike Jessman opened scoring at 9:05 of the first, with assists from Mike Sorrenti.

Ryan Dunn netted his first of two goals on the evening at 11:07 of the second on a beautiful end-to-end rush.

Waltham interrupted Steve Jenner’s shut-out bid at 6:04 of the third on a Ben Macewen goal.

Now, all the Bishops can do is wait and see which tournament they will enter next week.

“We should have beat HIngham, but we won the next two games,” Curtis said of his team’s performance on the Cape this week. “That’s the way it can be sometimes, but I’m happy.”

Recap: No. 4 Austin Prep 5, Waltham 1

February, 16, 2014
2/16/14
7:11
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FALMOUTH, Mass. – “We should have just stayed on the Bourne Bridge.”

Waltham head coach John Maguire was not enthused about his team’s first few shifts against No. 4 Austin Prep (12-3-4), Sunday at the Buddy Ferreira Classic. The Cougars established their dominance right out of the gate, scoring three times over a span of just under three minutes early in the first period and never looked back as they rolled to an easy 5-1 victory in the opening round of the annual Cape Cod tournament.

“For us to hand them three goals like that. We didn’t really show up, that was depressing,” Maguire said. “They’re probably three or four goals better than us, but I didn’t like the way we played early. After that we settled in okay.”

AP’s bunched first period goals started just 84 seconds into the contest when Jake McKenelley broke the seal, cutting across the middle and wristing a quick one past starting goalie Brendan Develin.

At 3:55 the Cougars went up by a pair with a power-play goal from Mike Egan, who collected a rebound in the left wing corner and bounded in a Plinko chip from there. Eighteen seconds later Ryan McDonough broke with speed up the seam and beat Develin with a nifty crossover move to make it 3-0.

AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro liked the early hop that his club had.

“We came out strongly. After that I thought we were a little complacent,” the coach said. “In any tournament, the most important game is the first one and I thought we had had good puck movement and puck possession.”

Waltham (7-7-5) had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the game in the first period. AP outshot the Hawks 13-1 for the frame, with the first bid to reach the net coming with just 15 seconds left in the first, off the stick of Jake Miller.

The Hawks got their skates under themselves in the second and played a much better frame. A Brendan Hopkins power play goal at 5:08 cut the deficit to two goals, as the forward jammed in a rebound of a Kevin Snow shot.

AP got that one back late in the period, regaining their three-goal lead when Bob Carpenter floated a wrister from the high slot. Cam Russo, camped in front with his back to the net, redirected it past Waltham goalie Shamus Egan, beating the relief netminder to the stick side to make it a 4-1 game. Carpenter later capped the scoring, with seven seconds left to play, with a power play goal sniped from high in the zone.

AP squares off with No. 2 BC High Monday at 1 p.m., in what promises to be the game of the tournament at the Classic.

The Hawks are back at it tomorrow against Falmouth. They need to pick up three points in their last three games to qualify for the MIAA tournament.

On Tuesday, Waltha squares off with Westford Academy and will have one more Buddy Ferreira Classic contest later in the week.

Recap: No. 3 Central Catholic 4, No. 17 Waltham 1

January, 7, 2014
1/07/14
12:41
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SALEM, N.H. – In a battle of the top two teams in the MVC/DCL 1, Central Catholic showed that it liked its perch at the top.

The Raiders scored two goals in the first period and controlled tempo for most of the game en route to a 4-1 win Monday over Waltham at the Icenter.

Richie Greenberg led the Raiders with a goal and an assist.

“It was a big game,” Greenberg said. “[It] meant a lot to win and beat an undefeated team like that. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

Central's offense swirled for long stretches of the game and dominated possession.

The Raiders (6-0-1, 3-0-1) made it a busy night for Waltham goalie Shamus Egan, who had to deal with 37 shots. Greenberg got the action going by poking a turnover to initiate a two-on-one before finding linemate Eric Robbins who buried a shorthanded goal midway through the first.

Greenberg gave Central some insurance with an unassisted goal with only five seconds left in the first.

“They were able to convert tonight which was nice to see,” Jankowski said of the line of Greenberg, Robbins and Kevin Regan. “They've been doing everything but finding the back of the net and finish, and they were able to do that tonight — real happy for them. They were able to capitalize tonight.”

Waltham (4-1-2, 2-1-1) broke through early in the second when Ben MacEwen forced home a shot in a scrum in front of Central goalie Colin Soucy. The Hawks were able to get 16 shots on cage, but quality scoring chances were hard to come by.

Central gave Waltham numerous chances to inflict damage, but the Hawks were unable to convert on any of their eight power plays, including a pair of 5-on-3 situations.

“To be honest with you we're down 2-0 after one, but it could have been more, but popped one on the first shift of the second and we made it competitive,” Waltham coach John Maguire said. “They're as good as advertised. They just came at us in waves.

“Our power play is struggling and has been struggling. We've got to find a way to get that fixed and hopefully soon.”

Conrad Jepson ferried home a goal from the point to put Central up 3-1 late in the second. Jepson led a tough defensive effort by Central that curtailed Waltham all over the ice while also adding to the offensive attack.

“They transition so well and take care of business in their own zone,” Jankowski said. “Offensively, it's nice of them to chip in because they do all the dirty work that no one seems to get credit for, but tonight they were able to get the back of the net. They rewarded themselves for a change and got a bit of the limelight.”

Central's Jeff Thompson scored his second career goal with just over five minutes left in the game.

THAT’S A BIG POND: A standard ice hockey rink is 200 by 85 feet. But the main sheet at the Icenter is 200 by 100 feet. That extra 3000 square feet allowed Central's speed to flourish and set the tempo of the game. It's an advantage that Jankowski did not understate.

“It's nice because it takes a while for teams to adjust to that surface,” Jankowski said. “Once they do. it's a little less of an advantage, but at the beginning especially when we know we have that extra space and we have the speed to utilize that space. It's a fun team to watch. I'm excited to see where it's going to go down the road.”

Maguire said he thinks the rematch, in Waltham's smaller rink, will be closer but did not make any excuses.

“I think they're so good it's not going to make a difference in terms of win and loss, but it certainly makes a difference in terms of their ability to skate,” Maguire said. “I think it would have been a more competitive game in terms of shots and flow of the game in a smaller rink like Waltham.

“That being said, the reason they won the game today is that they're a better team than us.”

Maguire and his Hawks will get that second crack against Central on Feb. 12.

Five teams enter boys' hockey Top 25 poll

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
1:32
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It was a nearly unprecedented week, as five teams entered our MIAA boys' hockey Top 25 poll this week.

While little change, outside of reshuffling of order, came to our Top 10, the back half of the poll was full of upheaval.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

Here are a few notes from this week:

Welcome back: Of the five teams breaking and entering this week, three (No. 15 Melrose, No. 19 Barnstable and No. 21 Waltham) made the cut of the end of last season and were in the Last 10 Out to begin this season.

No. 22 Braintree returns after it's last appearance at the tail end of last season, while No. 17 Milton enters the poll for the first time since the postseason poll of the 2011-12 season.

High-water mark: For the first time in our poll's history, Archbishop Williams joined the Top 5. The No. 5 Bishops made a move this week after securing a hard-fought 3-2 win at previous No. 3 Springfield Cathedral. Archies was spurred on by a pair of goals from Eric Keefe, including the game-winner late in the third period.

Mr. Football Watch: Playoffs, Week 3

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
2:21
AM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch", following the third weekend of MIAA State Championship Playoffs. As always, coaches and/or statisticians are encouraged to send statistics to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

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

***

THE CONTENDERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIVE ON THE RISE

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYOFF STATISTICAL LEADERS

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

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

Waltham's Bourque named Coach of Week

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
3:40
PM ET
Waltham coachCourtesy of New England PatriotsJohn Bourque receives this week's honor in recognition of his teams 34-7 playoff victory over Lincoln-Sudbury.


After a huge Division 2 North final win over Dual County League rival Lincoln-Sudbury, Waltham football head coach John Bourque was named New England Patriots Coach of the Week on Tuesday.

Here's more from the team's release:
Waltham High School’s John Bourque has been named this week’s New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week in recognition of his team’s 34-7 playoff victory over Lincoln-Sudbury on Friday, Nov. 15, at Leary Field in Waltham. Entering the second half locked in a 7-7 tie, the Hawks exploded for 27 straight points, including a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, to capture the Division 2 North title. The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Waltham High School’s football program in Bourque’s name in recognition of his Coach of the Week selection.

Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, the team’s executive director of community affairs, visited Coach Bourque’s team on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Waltham High School. The visit and check presentation will be featured on the Patriots weekly television magazine show, “Patriots All Access,” which airs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, on WBZ-TV in Boston and will be available immediately after on Patriots.com.

This is the 18th year in which the Patriots join the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England. Tippett oversees the program as part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s commitment to youth football initiatives.

“Congratulations to Coach John Bourque and his team,” Tippett said. “Waltham played dominating football in the second half of this game, scoring 27 unanswered points to pull away from Lincoln-Sudbury and win the Division 2 North championship. This was a great win for the Hawks.”

At the conclusion of the season, one high school coach will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution toward the school’s football program.

Player of the Week: Xaverian's Shayne Kaminski

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
1:30
AM ET
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- With his teams trailing by two scores in the second half of Saturday's Division 1 South final against Attleboro, Xaverian senior running back Shayne Kaminski put his team on his back while ensuring the Hawks first Gillette Stadium appearance since 2009.

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

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

Brendan Hall caught with Kaminski on Monday for this interview:



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

Mr. Football Watch: Playoffs, Week 2

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
3:16
PM ET
Here is our latest "Mr. Football Watch", following the second weekend of MIAA State Championship Playoffs. As always, coaches and/or statisticians are encouraged to send statistics to editors Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) and/or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

THE CONTENDERS

Zach Elkinson, Jr. ATH, Holliston
In two playoff games, Elkinson is averaging 16.9 yards per touch. That includes nine carries for 91 yards and four touchdowns, and nine catches for 221 yards and four more scores.

Troy Flutie, Sr. QB, Natick
Threw his 102nd career touchdown pass in Friday night's loss to Barnstable. He needs one more TD pass to tie the state's all-time mark, and he has two more chances, starting this Friday against Needham.

Brendan Hill, Jr. TE, Mansfield
Caught seven passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the Hornets' win over Needham.

Hayden Murphy, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Recorded 21 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns, four catches for 36 yards, 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Red Raiders' 27-13 win over Natick.

Neil O'Connor, Sr. QB, Leominster
In two playoff games, he has amassed 487 yards of offense, including 11.2 yards per rush, with seven touchdowns.

Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South
Ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers' 21-7 win over Dartmouth, punching their ticket to the D3 Southeast Final.

Mike Panepinto, Sr. RB, Needham
Carried 23 times for 182 yards and two scores in the Rockets' loss to Mansfield

Andrew Smiley, Sr. QB, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Completed 13 of 16 passes for 193 yards and three scores, and added five carries for 73 yards and two more scores, in the Pioneers' throttling of Marlborough in D2 Central.

Cody Williams, Sr. QB, Springfield Central
Totaled 134 yards of offense and two touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' 35-12 win over Longmeadow

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Completed 14 of 18 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns, in the Hornets' 42-35 win over Needham.

FIVE ON THE RISE

Christian Carr, Jr. RB, Plymouth North
Ran for 351 yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Eagles' win over Dighton-Rehoboth, setting up a much-anticipated battle with cross-town rival Plymouth South for the D3 Southeast Championship this Friday.

Mike Elcock, Sr. WR, Needham
Caught six passes for 148 yards and a score in the Rockets' loss to Mansfield. He leads D2 Eastern Mass with 13 touchdown receptions.

Lubern Figaro, Sr. DB, Everett
The Wisconsin commit came up with two crucial interceptions, and some tremendous defense on top receiver Jack Galvin, in the Crimson Tide's 21-0 shutout of Lowell.

Malik Garrett, Sr. QB, Melrose
Through two playoff games, the dual threat signal-caller has accumulated nearly 550 yards of offense. He has 364 yards rushing and five TDs on just 29 carries, while he is 12-for-20 through the air for 185 yards and two more scores.

Tim Walsh, Attleboro
Led the Blue Bombardiers in rushing with 122 yards on 11 carries, while completing 7 of 11 pass attempts for 146 yards and 3 TD in their Div. 1 South semi-final win over Bridgewater-Raynham.

PLAYOFF LEADERS

Passing
Matthew Jeye, Sr., Holliston – 528 yards, 5 TD
Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick – 504 yards, 6 TD
Kyle Wisnieski, Sr., Mansfield – 405 yards, 5 TD
Mike Milano, Jr., Central Catholic – 371 yards, 3 TD
Ryan Charter, Sr., Needham – 361 yards, 4 TD
Luke Brennan, Sr., Doherty – 359 yards, 7 TD
Marcus Collins, Jr., Cambridge – 355 yards, 4 TD
Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) – 338 yards, 7 TD
Dana Parello, Sr., Waltham – 312 yards, 4 TD
Neil O'Connor, Sr., Leominster - 286 yards, 3 TD

Rushing
Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South – 577 yards, 7 TD
Christian Carr, Jr., Plymouth North – 551 yards, 7 TD
Alex Givins-Perry, Sr., Bartlett – 477 yards, 3 TD
Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham – 418 yards, 6 TD
Brooks Tyrrell, Jr., Marblehead – 383 yards, 5 TD
Malik Garrett, Sr., Melrose – 364 yards, 5 TD
Hayden Murphy, Sr., Barnstable – 353 yards, 6 TD
Chris Dumont, Sr., Manchester-Essex - 321 yards, 5 TD
D.J. Engelke, Sr., Pentucket – 299 yards, 3 TD
Kevin Rosado, Jr., Northeast – 284 yards, 6 TD

Receiving
Alex Hilger, Sr., Natick – 278 yards, 4 TD
Mike Elcock, Sr., Needham – 258 yards, 3 TD
Brendan Hill, Jr., Mansfield – 228 yards, 3 TD
Elijah Booker, Sr., Cambridge – 225 yards, 2 TD
Zach Elkinson, Jr., Holliston – 221 yards, 4 TD

Quick hits from last weekend, looking ahead

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
1:13
AM ET
Some quick thoughts from last weekend’s second round of MIAA State Championship football playoffs, and looking ahead to this week’s sectional finals:

1a. Springfield Central’s Valdamar Brower and Leominster’s Dave Palazzi were my two front-runners for Coach of the Year headed into Friday, but Barnstable’s Chris Whidden has to be firmly in any discussion from herein, following Friday’s impressive stifling of Natick. At the beginning of the year, Whidden righted the ship before it even began to sink, making conditioning a high point of emphasis following their season-opening 37-9 whupping at the hands of archrival Dennis-Yarmouth. The Red Raiders came out of their bye week and proceeded to take down two Catholic Conference teams, BC High and Xaverian, in back to back weeks.

Last week, Whidden installed a Cover 2 defense –- a look they’ve never run all season long –- in three days to combat the wizardry of Troy Flutie. In what some would consider a shrewd move, Whidden opted not to match up his top defensive back (Derek Estes) with Natick’s most dangerous target (Alex Hilger), instead sticking a linebacker on Hilger and sagging the corners into zones. Whidden is a smart, smart coach, who knows how to quickly evaluate his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and devise a flexible gameplan to counter. This was a team that some thought would not compete as well as they did a year ago, when they reached the D1A Super Bowl, yet here they are, two wins away from a return to Gillette Stadium.

We’re three years into the Whidden era, and I’ve already lost count of how many wins the Raiders have had over Top 10 opponents. By now, this is no fluke. The guy can flat out coach.

1b. All that said, this Friday’s D2 South Final could be Whidden’s best challenge yet. Long-time Mansfield coach Mike Redding is a chess grand master, but he’s never had a king piece quite like Brendan Hill. The 6-foot-6 junior already holds a Division 1 FBS offer (UMass), leads the Hornets in receiving (43 catches, 631 yards, 7 TD) and lines up everywhere on the perimeter, from tight end to slot receiver to split end. Back in Week 6, King Philip held Hill to his lowest receiving total of the season (3 catches, 43 yards) in a 20-7 loss to the Hornets, and they mixed up their coverage quite a bit on him – rolling coverages, pressing, bumping and passing him along to another zone.

But here’s the thing. If they decide to deploy special coverage on Hill, I think the Hornets are that kind of team that would use him as a decoy to open up other parts of the field for two of their other most dangerous targets, Michael Hershman and Miguel Villar-Perez. Just a great matchup here between two of the best schemers across the state. Expect some funky stuff.

2. Crazy stat line of the week, singles division: In two playoff games, Doherty wide receiver Alfred Adarkwah has four catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns. That’s right, literally every touch this postseason for the lanky 6-foot-4 senior has been for a score.

During the summer, coaches and players over on Highland St. hinted that the Highlanders had been experimenting Boston College-bound athlete Isaac YIadom and Adarkwah on the same side of formations during passing leagues, to positive results. For the most part, that hasn’t been the case. Rather, leaving Adarkwah on an island opposite Yiadom’s side of the formation has yielded dramatic results (see: Quabbin, first round). And here’s the dilemma: the moment you shade off of Yiadom, the threat of him ripping off a big gain increases threefold.

Monday film sessions at Doherty are called “Moss Monday” for a reason. When talking about players who have elevated their stock for All-State consideration with their playoff performances, Adarkwah is certainly in the discussion.

3. Crazy stat line of the week, pairs division: In two playoff games, Plymouth South’s Dylan Oxsen and Plymouth North’s Christian Carr have combined for 1,128 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Apart, they are the state’s two top playoff rushing leaders, with both scoring seven times and Oxsen holding a 26-yard edge. That alone should be reason enough to go see these two teams square off. Now put the Division 3 Southeast title on the line, and factor in the intensity of his heated cross-town rivalry (Romano Field was over capacity in the first meeting in September, a 4 p.m. start), and this has the makings of something special.

4. Leominster is going for an unprecedented sixth straight win over rival St. John’s of Shrewsbury, dating back to the start of 2011, when the two teams meet on Friday at Doyle Field for the D2 Central title, but I don’t think this is such a shoe-in for the Blue Devils. How quickly people forget that, after a dismal first half, quarterback Andrew Smiley lit up the Leominster defense in the second half with a slew of screen passes, with Mike McGillicuddy the primary benefactor. If they get off to a good start in the screen game, and stay committed to it, I think an upset is in play here for the Pioneers.

5. Another reason to love the new playoff format: four teams from the Hockomock League and three from the Atlantic Coast Leagues are playing for district titles this weekend. Under the former system, Hockomock Kelley-Rex runner-up Attleboro would not be playing for a D1 South title on Friday night, nor would Davenport runner-up Stoughton (D3 Southwest), while Kelley-Rex champ Mansfield (D2 South) and Oliver Ames (D3 Southwest) would be still in play. Meanwhile, ACL champ Plymouth South (D3 Southeast) would be playing while Plymouth North (D3 Southeast) and Dennis-Yarmouth (D4 South) would be sitting at home. Up North, we have an All-DCL D2 Final (Lincoln-Sudbury vs. Waltham) and an All-Middlesex D3 Northwest Final (Woburn vs. Melrose). Honestly, what’s not to like about that?

6a. I’ve asked to several coaches playing non-playoff games about their approach, and whether they try to get underclassmen experience or let the seniors finish out their glory. Most of them said the same thing –- you have to balance the two. But the overarching theme I sensed with their talks was that, like a lower-tier college bowl game, there isn’t a lot of pressure so you might as well have some fun.

There’s still some interesting storylines to be played out there. For a football junkie like me, I actually look forward to some of these unique matchups, such as last weekend’s matchup between Somerset-Berkley’s “double wing” scheme and Nauset’s unique “Notre Dame Box” variation of the Single Wing, complete with spinning fullbacks. Elsewhere, Natick’s Troy Flutie needs one touchdown pass to tie the state’s all-time mark, and assuming he’s healthy enough to play, he could very well do it Friday against Needham.

6b. Which brings us to our final crazy stat line of the week, non-playoff division: In two post-qualification games, Pope John Paul II junior quarterback Ryan Barabe is completing 86 percent of his passes (31-of-36) for 488 yards and six touchdowns. That’s right, 86 percent, or 18 points higher than his regular season percentage. I’m on record saying the Lions were snubbed in D6 South, an unfair casualty of second league automatic qualifiers, and I’m wondering if this non-playoff run will help build a case for detractors.

Roundtable: Predicting MIAA Football District Champs

October, 31, 2013
10/31/13
4:21
PM ET
EDITOR'S NOTE: Picks for Western Mass. are omitted, as the district concludes its final week of regular season this weekend)

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


Division 1 North: Everett
Plain and simple, I just don’t see John DiBiaso getting outcoached in this field.

Division 1 South: Attleboro
One of several surprise picks I’m going to lay down here. The Blue Bombardiers’ program has long been a sleeping giant, and they’ve finally awoken this fall with a slew of skilled athletes, including quarterback Tim Walsh, tight end Luke Morrison, receiver Brenden Massey and promising young two-way lineman Kyle Murphy. The key may be junior Damon Belin, a speedy pass-catching running back who is elusive in space.

Division 2 North: Haverhill
Hard to think just two years after an 0-11 campaign, the Hillies are the No. 1 seed in a playoff tournament. Sophomore running back Ian Kessel, one of the area’s leaders in yards from scrimmage, has been at the forefront of the renaissance, and I expect him to have a breakout campaign this next month.

Division 2 South: Natick
If there is one player capable of carrying his team on his back, it is quarterback Troy Flutie, who has put up video game numbers yet again (2,500-plus yards, 35 TD) with an assortment of supporting cast members.

Division 2 Central: Leominster
This is the most talented team of Dave Palazzi’s tenure, and it may be his best coaching job yet. They are not the most physically intimidating team, but they are one of the most disciplined, and they squeeze every inch out of their talents, led by dual threat QB Neil O’Connor. The Blue Devils brought the biggest crowd ever to Gillette Stadium two years ago. I can only imagine what kind of caravan from this football-mad city would show up this year.

Division 3 Northeast: Tewksbury
There may be some bumps in the road in this field, but at the end of the day there isn’t a team as deep as the Redmen in this field. They were the most dominant team in the MVC this season, and with a stable of running backs led by James Sullivan and Eddie Matovu, along with a scheme that draws formations from seemingly every family of offense throughout history, I just don’t see how anyone knocks these guys off.

Division 3 Northwest: Arlington
Two Dubzinskis are better than one, and the father-son duo of head coach John Jr. and his father John Sr. as defensive coordinator has taken the Middlesex by storm this fall after showing promise a year ago. I don’t know what direction this bracket is headed in, but the Spy Ponders are a safe pick.

Division 3 Southeast: Plymouth South
As long as Dylan Oxsen is carrying the rock, I don’t see anyone but the Panthers taking this bracket. It’s a different story after that, though.

Division 3 Southwest: Walpole
The Rebels’ ground game has come along well, after hitting a few bumps. As long as the defense can hold up, their multi-dimensional stable of backs can do the rest.

Division 4 North: Bedford
Another field that can go in an assortment of directions, the ground game dictated by Olan Abner could be the difference.

Division 4 South: Dennis-Yarmouth
The Dolphins typically hit their stride in the second half of the season, and the way this offense is clicking, it’s going to take a flawless defensive performance to shut down Spencer Tyler, Michael Dunn and company.

Division 4 Central: Doherty
Twitter follower and familiar 98.5 The Sports Hub caller “Aidan From Worcester” guarantees Shepherd Hill beats Doherty in this bracket. The Rams are a dangerous bunch, but the Highlanders have arguably the best grouping of pure athletes statewide across Division 4, so I'm sticking to my gut.

Division 5 North: Bishop Fenwick
Rufus Rushins gets much of the glory in this dominant run for the Crusaders, and deservedly so, but quarterback Nick Bona is the catalyst of this offense, and will be the difference in a close game somewhere down the line.

Division 5 South: Abington
The Green Wave lost some key bodies to start the year, but have been rolling ever since, capped with a convincing 36-7 rout of East Bridgewater. The versatile backfield of Al Freeman, Jason Halpin, quarterback Bryan Dwyer and promising sophomore Shawn Donovan will wear front sevens down.

Division 5 Central: Leicester
Tom Rodrick has been the driving force on both sides of the ball, but quarterback Drew Mazzeo puts the Wolverines over the top.

Division 6 North: Latin Academy
There are trendier picks in this field, such as Boston Cathedral, but the Dragons have one of the better overall athletes in this field in quarterback/safety Kyle Dance. He will be the difference.

Division 6 South: Upper Cape
Mike Hernon has done a fantastic job with this program, and while the Rams are a low seed headed into this wide-open field, Jon Dumont is a dangerous asset to this triple-option scheme who can take them deep.

Division 6 Central: Blackstone Valley Tech
Nic Wojnar is as elusive with his feet as he is throwing the ball in the Beavers’ read option scheme. Expect big numbers from the senior this postseason.

***

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


DIVISION 1 NORTH: Lowell
I’ve gone on record since the summertime months saying the Red Raiders are making an appearance at Gillette Stadium this year. Lowell has a tough road there, staring with a first-round road game at St. John’s Prep in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 swing matchup, but I’ve like the strides this defense has made behind Alex Quintero and Shyheim Cullen.

DIVISION 2 NORTH: Haverhill
One of the tougher races to project in Eastern Mass., the Hillies enter as the No. 1 seed. Preseason favorite Reading, a buzz worthy Waltham team and old stalwarts Lincoln-Sudbury could all claim the prize, but I’m going with the upstart Hillies, vindication for the terrific job Tim O’Connor has done since taking over the program.

DIVISION 3 NORTHEAST: Tewksbury
Marblehead might have the best athlete in the field with two-sport standout Brooks Tyrrell, but Tewksbury proves too much to handle, with a three-headed rushing attack and a stout defense.

DIVISION 3 NORTHWEST: Melrose
The Red Raiders lone loss of the regular season came against Middlesex Freedom division rival Wakefield, coming on a late field goal, but I like Melrose the second time around. The teams couldn’t meet until the sectional final and who wouldn’t love ensuring a third meeting of the season by Thanksgiving rivals.

DIVISION 4 NORTH: Watertown
Perhaps a surprise pick coming out of the division, the Red Raiders have some athletes on the boundaries with T.J. Hairston. I think Bedford might be the team to watch here, but just playing a hunch.

DIVISION 5 NORTH: Bishop Fenwick
Pick the Crusaders to go all the way, on a tear through Gillette. They haven’t just beaten teams, they’ve annihilated the CCL’s best, including St. Mary’s (first-round opponent) and Austin Prep, which they both will/can see down the road.

DIVISION 6 NORTH: Cathedral
Another North-based team I have running the field. As I mentioned earlier in the state championship Roundtable, I think the Panthers are just hitting their stride now. This could be the second championship of more to come.

DIVISION 1 SOUTH: Xaverian
Almost wanted to pull the trigger and go with Bridgewater-Raynham here, but I think the Hawks’ defense, which has carried them through the regular season, continues to be the story in the postseason, leading them to Gillette.

DIVISION 2 SOUTH: Mansfield
If this were the World Cup, this would be referred to as the “Group of Death.” Seriously, whichever team survives this gauntlet will be battle-tested. Ever since Week 1, it seems as though Mansfield’s been a team of destiny; they follow through.

DIVISION 3 SOUTHEAST: Plymouth South
An intriguing bracket, littered with some of the Atlantic Coast League’s finest, so look no further than the Panthers, the league’s playoff representative from last season. Nauset and Plymouth North are lurking, but also don’t look past an underrated rivalry game between Somerset-Berkley and Dighton-Rehoboth as a first-round appetizer.

DIVISION 3 SOUTHWEST: Oliver Ames
Another division strongly influenced by the presence of one particular league, in this case the Hockomock. OA and Stoughton drew the top two seeds, but let’s not sleep on No. 4 seed North Attleborough, which plays up in the Kelley-Rex division. Whichever team emerges from the Red Rocketeers’ first-round duel with Walpole could be a dark horse for the sectional title.

DIVISION 4 SOUTH: Westwood
Tons of Tri-Valley League talent to go around here, but I’m sticking with the regular-season champion. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if Dennis-Yarmouth wears the sectional crown, but the Wolverines are a team that simply seems to get it done when the chips are on the table, led by dynamic senior quarterback Bo Berluti.

DIVISION 5 SOUTH: Cardinal Spellman
Old Rochester Regional enters the tournament with the No. 1 seeding, having posted some gaudy offensive numbers throughout the year behind running back Richie Phillips. I picked the Cardinals to win the state title from the start of the season, and while I like Fenwick a little more in terms of the state championship, I still envision Spellman returning to Gillette.

DIVISION 6 SOUTH: Millis/Hopedale
Perhaps no injury will have a greater impact on the outlook of the division than that of the Mohawks and lineman Jon Baker. Granted, I still like M/H’s chances emerging from a wide-open field, thanks to running back Chris Ahl. That being said, the Mohawks’ first-round date with Mashpee could determine the sectional champion.

DIVISION 2 CENTRAL: Leominster
I like the Blue Devils to advance to Gillette, but the sectional field is fraught with peril, too. Marlborough and St. John’s (Shrewsbury) can score with the best of them, but I don’t think anything short of an act of god slows down the Leominster caravan.

DIVISION 4 CENTRAL: Doherty
From season’s start, I’ve tabbed the Highlanders as my statewide Division 4 championship favorite. However, the toughest matchup in the path might very well in their first-round test against No. 6 seed Quabbin.

DIVISION 5 CENTRAL: Leicester
Coming into the season, it would have been easy to project Auburn running away with another championship of sorts, but I’m going with the No. 1-seeded Wolverines, led by linebacker Tom Rodrick – a strong Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

DIVISION 6 CENTRAL: West Boylston
This is a case of what have you done for me lately? While No. 1 seed Littleton rolled through its Mid-Wach schedule undefeated, scoring at a clip of nearly 43 points per game, West Boylston notched a thorough win over previously mentioned Leicester two weeks ago. Granted, the Lions’ lone loss of the season came at the hands of Littleton, but after a one-possession loss in Week 1, I’m banking on the second meeting having a different outcome.

Recap: Acton-Boxborough 43, Waltham 8

October, 26, 2013
10/26/13
12:11
AM ET
WALTHAM, Mass. -- The primary intangible, that has become Waltham's staple throughout the season, failed to appear when it needed to most.

With a head-turning figured of just 4.8 points allowed per game, it was the Hawks' defense that put them the unique position to win their first Dual County League Large title. But it was not meant to be.

Acton-Boxborough's triple-threat Wing-T backfield blasted through Waltham with considerable ease Friday. The Colonials scored 27 unanswered points en route to a 43-8 shellacking at John L. Leary Field.

For A-B, it is the first DCL title won in five years and 21st overall.

"It's been a while, so I'm happy for the kids," said 28-year Colonials coach Bill Maver, his team improving to 6-1 and 4-0 in the DCL. "We have three good backs who block for each other just as well as they run the ball. I can't say enough about our guys up front. They really played well tonight. Our kids came to play tonight."

The Colonials offense shaked, rattled and rolled the Hawks (4-2, 3-1) throughout the chilly evening. The offense proved dominant, finishing with 517 yards, including 327 during the first half.

With A-B holding a 16-8 lead early in the second quarter, the Colonials took their game to another level soon after. After a J.T. Kelly 95-yard kickoff return was called back due to a holding penalty, the Colonials simply shrugged it off and started their drive in the shadow of their own goal post. A-B didn't stay there long once senior running back Tom Saponaro busted downfield for a 90-yard jaunt padding the Colonials advantage to 22-8.

Soponaro finished with 116 yards on eight carries.

However he wasn't A-B's leading ball carrier. That distinction belonged to William Tejeda. The senior rushed 15 times, gaining 157 yards with three touchdowns. Tejeda was virtually unstoppable breaking free on touchdown runs of 22, 3 and 80 yards, respectively.

"Our line had a great game today," Tejeda said. "The holes were there and I just hit them. During the first quarter we were winning the line of scrimmage battle against them. There was a lot of hype about their defense coming in but I don't think they had seen the Wing-T all year so it's a big difference and I think that is what got them."

A-B took an 8-0 lead on its second possession. A Tejeda 22-yard run into the end zone on fourth down followed by his conversion rush seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night. With Waltham's offense stubbing its toe with some ill-advised penalties to snuff out drives, the Colonials managed to go on top by 16 points early in the second quarter. Marching 63 yards, Tejeda closed the deal with a 3-yard sprint around right end followed by quarterback Hunter Arnold's conversion dive over the goal line.

The Hawks did make a mild run in this one. Following A-B's second score, Waltham senior quarterback Dana Parello (6-of-19, 133 yards) engineered a 54-yard drive capped off by a 23-yard scoring pass to Brendan Bonadio. Any momentum gained following the score quickly evaporated into thin air following Saponaro's sprint with just under five minutes remaining before halftime.

"Tejeda is a track guy who is pretty fast and runs hard," said Maver. "Saponaro is just a great football player. But overall this was a team effort throughout."

The Hawks didn't help their cause after Parello was picked off by Arnold at the A-B 26. The Colonials wasted little time turning that miscue into points.

On its fourth play of the drive, Tejeda broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown giving A-B an comfortable 28-8 halftime lead. The Colonials got the ball to open the second half and would add to their total. Two Arnold (6-of-7, 122 yards) completions sandwiched around some strong running by Tejeda, Saponaro and junior Gabe Cormier (48 yards on 13 attempts) set up Arnold's 1-yard plunge to make it 36-8 with just 3 minutes gone in the third.

While Waltham's offense (215 yards) continued to remain stuck in neutral, the Colonials' second unit came in and found a way to add more salt to the wound. A Kelly 3-yard carry across the goal line midway through the fourth completed A-B's 35-point margin of victory.

Now in their sixth year as a DCL member after leaving the Greater Boston League, the Hawks blew an opportunity to secure their first league crown.

However, like the Colonials, Waltham has already secured a postseason berth.

Now it is just a matter of getting the ugly taste of this defeat out of their mouths.

"This is certainly not the way we wanted to perform in a big game like this," third-year Hawks coach John Bourque said. "We made some bad penalties and turnovers and that can't happen in a game like this.

“Next week is a fresh start so we look forward to that and getting better. This is a little medicine for us. We'll take our licks and make a decision as to what we do as a team. We'll figure it out and fix it and move forward."
In the past two years, Plymouth South senior running back Dylan Oxsen has more than carried the load for the Panthers. But, even in a string of tough-nosed performances, Oxsen may have outdone himself in Friday's 27-6 win over Atlantic Coast League rival Nauset.

Oxsen ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries against the Warriors. Even more impressive is the fact that Oxsen put up those numbers after missing the Panthers' previous game with an ankle injury.

For his efforts, Oxsen was named our Player of the Week, presented by Sports Authority and the Bay State Games.

Editor Brendan Hall caught up with Oxsen for this interview Monday:



Including Oxsen, here are the Top 5 performances from Week 6:
  • Dylan Oxsen, Sr. RB, Plymouth South - Ran for 243 yards on 37 carries with 4 TD vs. Nauset.
  • Joe Gaziano, Jr. DL, Xaverian - Put on a defensive clinic with four sacks, two tackles for loss along with an interception vs. Brockton.
  • Peter Graves, Sr. DE, Milton Academy – 4. 5 sacks, blocked punt (returned for touchdown) vs. Roxbury Latin.
  • Dana Parello, Sr. QB, Waltham – Racked up 270 offensive yards (150 rushing, 120 passing) and also pocketed an interception in the Hawks’ shut-out win vs. Lincoln-Sudbury.
  • James Sullivan, Sr. RB/DB, Tewksbury – Collected three of Redmen’s four interceptions, while adding 75 yards on nine carries with a touchdown on offense vs. Methuen.

MSHCA announces Hall of Fame class

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
7:35
PM ET
The Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Associaiton recently announced its 2014 Hall of Fame induction class.

The honorees will be enshrined during a May ceremony.

Here's a look at this year's class:
  • John Maguire, Waltham
  • Dan Mark, Stoughton
  • Brian Murphy, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
  • Mike Nanartowich, Hudson
  • Assistant Coach - Jim Hunt, Arlington Catholic
  • Referee's Award - Tim Houghton, EMHOA
  • Stewart Award - John Rolli, UMass-Dartmouth

The 42nd Annual Coaches Hall of Fame Dinner will be held Sunday, May 4 at 4 p.m. at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham.

For ticket information, contact Charlie Driscoll at 978- 777-7075 or email mshca2005@yahoo.com.

D1 North: Winchester 4, Waltham 2

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
1:50
AM ET


NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The crowd was even and the student sections were equally loud, but only Winchester had Nolan Redler and Brendan Greene.

The junior duo combined five points to power Winchester past Waltham, 4-2, and into Monday’s Division 1 North final.

Redler had a pair of goals and an assist while Greene scored a goal and had a helper.

“They see the ice so well,” Winchester head coach Matt Spang said. “I’d be lying if I told you I was teaching that to them. They just see the ice so well and do a good job.”

Waltham (13-9-2) struck first when junior Justin Provencher shot across his body and tucked the puck into the top corner.

Winchester (16-5-3) responded less than three minutes later when Redler found Danny Marx on the power play to tie it heading into the break.

“It took us a little bit to get our legs, but once we did and we settled in I thought we played we played well,” Spang said. “I’ve got a young team, so it just takes them a little while to get settled in. We knew that coming in. We thought the first five minutes would be tough on us. We handled it, we got out of the first period 1-1, and then we just played from there.”

The Sachems controlled the second period and Redler and Greene each had their moments. Greene stuffed a rebound home less than three minutes into the period to put the Sachems ahead for good. Greene later found Redler with a perfect tape-to-tape pass that Redler easily guided into the goal.

Waltham pressed physically and — with a bigger team — was able to dole out some impressive hits.

However, the Hawks’ attack had trouble cracking netminder James Offner. The sophomore had 19 saves for the Sachems.

“Part of it is a credit to them, but part of it we have to play better puck possession,” Waltham head coach John Maguire said. “They took advantage of our mistakes.

“They have some skilled kids. It’s unfortunate that we made it even easier for those skilled kids in turning the puck over. It’s tournament hockey. [It] could have went either way for a little while.”

Redler added his second after an incredible one-man effort early in the third period to put Winchester up three. Waltham’s Sean Kelley scored three minutes later to cut the deficit, but that’s how the game would end.

FIRST-LINE CHEMISTRY
In sports consistency is king. Playing with the same people, over time, will develop a sense of timing and awareness that’s almost instinctual.

That’s how it is for Redler and Greene.

“We’ve been playing together since we were eight years old,” Greene said. “We have such good chemistry.

“We’re always with each other in school, out of school, always hanging out. So it just shows on the ice. We always know where each other are. We love each other on and off the ice.”

Coming into the tournament, the duo had combined nearly 40 percent of Winchester’s points, and there’s still more hockey left in 2013 for Redler and Greene.

ALL MIDDLESEX AT TSONGAS
Monday’s North sectional final will pit the Sachems against league-rival Burlington. The teams met in Burlington on Jan. 19, when the Red Devils coming away with a 3-0 win.

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