Thursday, December 5, 2013

Massachusetts Super Bowl Previews: Divisions 4-6

Doherty's Isaac Yiadom has left defenders in the dust all year.
By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

We've already gone through the necessary introductions in Part I of my Super Bowl previews (Which you can see here), so let's get right to it. Here is what to watch for in the Super Bowls for Division 4, 5 and 6 this Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Division 4

Doherty (10-1) vs Dennis-Yarmouth (9-2) at 11 am

The Storyline: Can Doherty Complete the Journey?

Many prognosticators labeled the Highlanders as state title favorites in Division 4 this preseason, despite the fact that Doherty hadn't won a playoff game in nearly three decades.

Well, it turns out they weren't as crazy as they seemed, as Doherty captured its first Central Mass title since 1980, then overcame an early 16-0 deficit to defeat Western Mass champion Wahconah.

The city of Worcester has gotten behind this Doherty team, and if any squad in the field feels like a "team of destiny," it's the Highlanders. Those feelings are nice and all, but championships are won on the field. Can Doherty do it against talented and experienced Dennis-Yarmouth?

The Breakdown: SPEED!

Yeah, there is going to be a ton of speed on the field in this game, perhaps more than any other Gillette Stadium will host Saturday. D-Y's Swiss Army Knife weapon Mike Dunn is dangerous on the ground and as a receiver, and dual-threat quarterback Spencer Tyler has killed teams with his legs all year, but his abilities as a passer have improved as the season has progressed.

This will most certainly be the fastest offense Doherty has seen all season, but with BC commit Isaac Yiadom and tall athlete Alfred Adarkwah in the secondary, the Highlanders should be able to keep up.

On the other side of the ball, look for Yiadom to be used in every way possible by the Highlanders: Out wide, as a running back, in the Wildcat, you name it. Also, Adarkwah has been a touchdown machine this post season, using his 6-foot-4 frame and outstanding leaping ability, to score in the red zone with ease.

While the Dolphins are known as a running team, Tyler has thrown for 21 touchdowns this season and, while the Highlanders are known as a passing team, running back Jahkari Carpenter may be their MVP for this post season.

It's going to be athletes chasing athletes all day in this one, so buckle up.

Division 5

Northbridge (9-2) vs Bishop Fenwick (11-0) at 8 pm

The Storyline: The Biggest Turnaround in the State?

If you would have told me a month into the season that Northbridge would be here, I would have looked at you a little funny. The Rams started the year 1-2, including a loss to D5 Central rival Auburn, and didn't seem to be able to move the ball at all.

Well, coach Ken LaChapelle allowed his grandson, sophomore quarterback Koby Schofer to take total control of the offense, and Northbridge hasn't looked back since. Nine straight wins later, and here the Rams are, on the verge of the biggest win in their program's illustrious history.

The Breakdown: Speed vs Power

While Northbridge likes to spread you out both to throw and run their veer/read based rushes, Bishop Fenwick is more interested in simply out-muscling you. Massive running back Rufus Rushins is a no-nonsense back that would sooner run you over than try to dodge you, and that could be trouble for the Northbridge front.

But what makes Fenwick's offense unique is they don't run Rushins out of traditional I-Form sets. Instead, they utilize him as the thunder in a zone read based run game with electric quarterback Nick Bona. That nimble signal-caller is the lightning, and this allows the Crusaders to not only push you around with their massive line, but also create numbers in their favor on the play side.

If you commit that backside defender to Rushins, Bona simply pulls the ball and runs the other way.

That's not to say that Northbridge's offense won't create problems for Fenwick. Schofer's success on the ground has been well documented, but he's grown as a passer at a rapid rate this season. Classmate Chandler Brooks is his favorite target, but he'll have to deal with a talented Fenwick secondary to get open.

Look for the Rams to dig deeper into LaChapelle's massive playbook and come up with a few surprises for the Crusaders.

Division 6

Littleton (11-0) vs Cohasset (10-1) at 9 am

The Storyline: Domination

Yeah, it's a small school, but don't let that hide the fact that Littleton has been the most dominant team in the state this year. The Tigers are averaging a CMass best 41 points per game, and the only reason their margin of victory (Around 17 points per game) isn't larger is because most of their games are over by halftime, and they play their reserves more than anybody in the Commonwealth.

Can Littleton complete the most dominant season in the region and state?

The Breakdown: Yards on the Ground

The Tigers will face their biggest test yet, as Cohasset brings in the toughest rush attack the Tigers have seen. The Skippers are powered by junior running back Cole Kissick, who rushed for over 250 yards in Cohasset's EMass final win over St. Clement.

The Tigers bring in a star back of their own in the form of senior Travis Bassett, so expect both teams to try and establish themselves on the ground.

Still, neither team can win this game without a big game from its respective quarterback. The Skippers' senior quarterback Chris Haggerty has been a model of efficiency this season, and he'll need to hit a few shots down field to open things up against the dominant Tigers front.

For Littleton, dual-threat quarterback Alex McLaughlin will have his hand in a little bit of everything on offense. The senior quarterback is, perhaps, Littleton's biggest threat on the ground, but his arm has given the Tigers a balance that has made them borderline unstoppable in recent weeks.

Both teams love to run the ball, but look for the winner to be whichever team can loosen the other up with a few passing plays down the field.

No comments :