Boston High School: Zach Schwieger

Recap: No. 19 North Attleborough 14, Attleboro 7

November, 24, 2011

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – Hockomock League rivals Attleboro and North Attleborough were equals through much of their Thanksgiving Day clash. The Blue Bombardier and Red Rocketeer lines roughed each other up, sloshing through a muddied turf at North.

Tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, No. 19 North controlled play with a sustained drive that set the Red Rocketeers up with a first-and-goal from the 9-yard line.

However, after a pass attempt and two rushes fell short of the end zone, North’s season came down to a fourth-and-goal at the 1.

Then, North quarterback Spyro Varetimos entered the huddle with a purpose.

“He said, ‘We’re running this in for the championship,’” senior captain Paul Norris said. “Everybody just kind of lifted up at that point.”

Varetimos crossed the goal line with 5:24 remaining and Big Red held on for a 14-7 win over their town border rivals. With the victory, North (9-1, 3-1 Kelley-Rex) earned a share of the Hockomock large division title. And, although the Red Rocketeers’ season ended then and there, due to a tiebreaker won by King Philip, there was an air of accomplishment held by the teammates, not disappointment.

‘We’re co-champions of the league, that’s all we could’ve asked for,” Norris said.

Varetimos had a hand in all of North’s points, connecting with Alex Jette on a 33-yard touchdown pass to open scoring in the second quarter.

North’s lone defensive gaffe of the game came at the end of the third, when Blue Bombardiers running back Malique Clark broke off an 85-yard run to close the quarter.

The Red Rocketeers’ built their game-winning drive off the ensuing kickoff, chewing up more than four and a half minutes of the fourth.

Varetimos (12 of 20, 80 yards, TD; 9 carries, 31 yards, TD) broke the plane of the goal after his previous lunge from the 1-yard line was stopped.

“On that final drive, in the huddle, you could just feel the tension,” Varetimos said. “We needed to get in the end zone.”

North typically favors a north-south running game, but face serious resistance from Attleboro’s front four led by Zach Schwieger. The senior defensive end (3 tackles for loss) was a disruptive force along with linebacker Brandon Mooney.

Schwieger was named Defensive Player of the Game for his efforts along with causing a load of headaches for North’s coaching staff.

“We want to run the ball up the middle when we can, but they were bigger and stronger than us up the middle,” Red Rocketeers head coach Don Johnson said. “When we were trying to run outside, we got overpowered a little bit on the edge … We knew we had to mix the pass in there a little bit.”


Given the way the Blue Bombardiers line controlled the line of scrimmage for portions of the game, North increasingly aired it out, leaning on Varetimos to gain yards via the play-action.

Varetimos’ 31-yarder to Jette was a result of an adjustment made by North against Attleboro’s over-pursuing linebackers.

“Their linebackers kept biting on the quick outs, like that, all game,” said Varetimos, who was named the game’s Offensive MVP.

North’s fourth-quarter drive was a valediction for an offensive group that sputtered early in the season.

That maturation as a group was spearheaded by the No. 15 (no, not that No. 15 in Denver, although there were some similarities) under center.

“We knew going in what kind of kid he was,” Johnson said of Varetimos. “He’s a tough kid, we knew he could run the ball a little bit. I think he’s grown tremendously from the beginning of the year and that’s a big reason for our success.”

Senior lineman and captain Anthony Plante had another way of looking at it, the way the unit finished their season on Thursday.

“We just had a little bit more desire to finish it,” Plante said of North’s drive to victory. “That’s what it comes down to.”


Despite learning the bad news that King Philip had triumphed over Franklin, handing the Warriors the division’s playoff spot, Johnson had strong parting words for his group.

“The fact that we’re not in the playoffs does not diminish that one bit,” Johnson said. “I feel confident that there will be other playoff teams in the state that couldn’t win a Hockomock League championship.

“I’m proud of our guys.”

Attleboro (7-4, 1-3) – 0 0 7 0 -- 7
North Attleborough (9-1, 3-1) – 0 7 0 7 -- 14

2nd quarter
North - Alex Jette 33-yard pass from Spyro Varetimos (Varetimos kick)

3rd quarter
Attleboro - Malique Clark 85-yard run (Tim Walsh kick)

4th quarter
North - Varetimos 1-yard run (Varetimos kick)

Recap: No. 12 Mansfield 28, Attleboro 7

October, 16, 2011
MANSFIELD, Mass. -– Greg Donahue rushed for three touchdowns and Craig Mallett finished the scoring with a 102-yard interception return to bolster the Mansfield Hornets over Attleboro, 28-7. The ground attack from the hornets was vicious, eating up the clock and keeping Attleboro’s offense cool for most of the night.

“We had to have had 250 yards on the ground. We’ve got a bunch of backs with [Blayne] Taylor, Donahue, [Dylan] Finnerty and [Mike] Farrell. That’s our M.O., we’re just going to pound the ball and try to play good d[efense],” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding.

Although the Attleboro offense was able to get with scoring distance by forcing defensive stops and producing in offensive spurts, they just could not get the edge on Mansfield. This tactic of resilience is something that is taught to the players by staff and their teammates.

“Never surrender is one of our biggest mottos on this team,” added senior defensive end Zach Schafer. “We’ve got a lot of soul and hope on our defense out here and we took it to them.

Attleboro coach Kevin Deschenes agreed. With an offense that has found a way to make it work, the level of play by the Mansfield defense left his team with little room to breathe.

“They were able to play swarm defense, they were able to get penetration on Chris [Walsh] and he had no time to throw the ball,” said Deschenes. “They stepped it up and were able to get the job done up front.”

One More Chance: With 3:54 left in the game, Blue Bombadiers got a chance to score and make it a one score game. Quarterback Chris Walsh threw three passes, two to Zach Schweiger for 20 yards and one to Malique Clark for 38, the Hornet defense brought pressure up front and shut down Attleboro’s air show. After two sacks, 4th and 23 didn’t allow Attleboro many options, but they got the ball back on a Shawn Reardon fumble recovery. Unable to convert that, the game three touchdowns away was out of their bombing range.

The Donahue Show: Greg Donahue put on a running drill clinic tonight. Following blocks and filling open gaps quickly, he burst through lineman attempting to arm tackle and running through the secondary and linebacker core trying to grab onto his jersey.

“I knew they were big, much bigger than me, so I had to get my center of gravity low so when they hit me I still had a lot of power to stay and I said ‘stay up, get that extra yard," he said.

During the week at practice is where Donahue hones his running skills. Going up against the toughest competition during the week seems to be paying off for Donahue.

“Danny Gimore nails me and I just stay up. If it wasn’t for him, I’d get tackled easy," he said.

ATL (4-2) 0 7 0 0 --- 7
MAN (5-1) 0 7 6 15 --- 28

Second Quarter
A – JJ Jolaoso 65 fumble recovery (Chris Walsh kick)
M – Greg Donahue 22 run (Mike Hershman kick)

Third Quarter
M – Donahue 5 run (failed kick)

Fourth Quarter
M – Donahue 3 run (Donahue rush)
M – Craig Mallett 102 interception return (Hershman kick)

Medway comes back to advance in TVL playoffs

November, 6, 2010

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- The Medway Mustangs showed their resiliency in the inaugural game of the Tri-Valley League playoffs on Saturday at Westwood High School.

The No. 3-seeded Mustangs took down the No. 2 seed Norton Lancers 28-18, even though Norton owned a 12-0 lead until under a minute to play in the first half.

With 48 seconds to play in the first half, Medway’s Matt Ford hauled in a 22-yard fade from quarterback Joe Henry to give the Mustangs their first score. The Mustangs defense stepped up and the team rallied from behind after a halftime speech from Medway coach Dave McSweeney, as the team advanced to the next round in the TVL playoffs.

“I wasn’t really thrilled at halftime -- that score before the end of the half was huge for us.” McSweeney said bluntly. “[Norton] played really well, and they did some things we weren’t really prepared for and that happens but-- it’s a test to [our] character.”

Norton owned the first quarter as they pounded the run defense of Medway with a heavy dose of tailback Zach Schwieger and quarterback Joe Wilkes. Norton’s first drive of the game went 78 yards for a Wilkes to Phil Rizzo touchdown connection and took six and a half minutes off the clock.

However, the Medway defense rebounded in the second half, and the Mustangs’ run game ate up the clock.

“When we needed to make plays, we made plays tonight,” McSweeney said. “Which I think that is what you hope you can do on defense.

“I don’t care about stats -- I don’t care about any of that stuff -- but when somebody needed to make a play, we made a play.”

Medway running back Mike Ozzella was the workhorse of the offense in the second half, as he tallied over 100-yards in the last two quarters. In total, Ozzella racked up 165 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

“Just keeping with it,” Ozzella said about the key to his success. “Not getting too frustrated. It was tough in the first half but we made some adjustments offensively as well.”

The senior’s offensive line came alive in the second half. Led by Pat Regan and co-captain Kyle McSweeney, the group gained momentum as the game went on.

“The last 22 minutes, it’s just wear them down” said Ozella about the team’s mentality. “They’re getting tired and we’re getting tired too, but we just have to be the more physical team, blow them off the ball and sooner or later you’re going to break one.”

Henry completed 8 of 12 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown for Medway.

“I got a line that I wouldn’t trade with any team in this league,” Henry said. “They’re really the backbone of the offense. If they’re doing well then our running backs are going to do well and that just sets up the pass.”

On the other side of the ball, Wilkes was six of seven in the first half but ended the game 8 of 17 for 105 yards with one touchdown. The Medway defense made adjustments and kept Norton from the endzone until two minutes, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Norton 6 6 0 6 -- 18
Medway 0 7 7 14 -- 28

First Quarter

N - Rizzo 20 catch from Wilkes (Wilkes run failed)

Second Quarter
N - Brendan Curtin 40 catch from Schwieger (pass failed)
M - Ford 22 catch from Henry (Joe Davenport kick)

Third Quarter
M - Greg Amato 11 run (Davenport kick)

Fourth Quarter
M - Ozzella 3 run (Davenport kick)
N - Schwieger 5 run (kick failed)
M - Ozzella 50 run (Davenport kick)