Monday, December 28, 2015

Central Mass HS Football All-Stars and Award Winners 2015

West Boylston's Cole McCubrey rushed for over 2,000 yards on offense and starred as a linebacker on defense for the Lions.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Better late than never, I always say. I've been out of the country for a few weeks, then we had the holidays, so this football All-Star team comes, unfortunately, just as Winter sports are getting going.

My apologies for that, but congratulations to all the kids that earned All-Star status, and one of our postseason awards.


1. Koby Schofer, Sr. Northbridge
2. Tim Cassidy, Sr. St. John's
3. Max White-Cohen, Jr. Uxbridge

Honorable Mention (HM): Noah Gray, Jr. Leominster; John Hogan, Sr. Quaboag

Running Back

1. Cole McCubrey, Jr. West Boylston
2. Kevin Mensah, Jr. Holy Name
3. Matt O'Brien, Sr. Grafton
4. Jake Keenan, Sr. Tyngsboro
5. Anthony Baldino, Sr. St. Peter-Marian

HM: Zach Uglevich, Sr. Maynard; Gabe Souza, Jr. Assabet


1. Thomas Lech, Jr. Holy Name
2. Jake Fire, Jr. Nashoba

HM: Deven Senya, Sr. Grafton

TIght End

1. J.J. Howland, Sr. Tantasqua
2. Sean McKeon, Sr. Shepherd Hill

HM: Harley Richards III, Jr. Quaboag

Wide Receiver

1. Chandler Brooks, Sr. Northbridge
2. Oliver Sawyer, Sr. Uxbridge
3. Chris Renaccio, Sr. Littleton
4. Evan Paquette, Sr. Quaboag
5. Cam Lucey, Sr. St. John's
6. Collin Sweeney, Jr. Quabbin

HM: P.J. Barry, Jr. St. Peter-Marian; Tariq Massenburg, Sr. Doherty

Offensive Line

1. Sean Ragan, Sr. St. John's
2. Mike Curtin, Sr. Nashoba
3. Ed Cuddahy, Sr. Leominster
4. Liam Shanahan, Sr. Marlboro
5. Alec Lindstrom, Jr. Shepherd Hill
6. Matt Maranda, Sr. Grafton
7. Keenan Quinama, Sr. Northbridge
Jake Hicks, Sr. Nashoba

HM: Liam Perry, Sr. Holy Name;
Bobby Denaro, Jr. Nashoba


Defensive Line

1. Chad Vaudreuil, Jr. Northbridge
2 Alec Simonovitch, Sr. St. Peter-Marian
3. Will Phaneuf, Sr. Nashoba
4. Danny George, Jr. Leicester
5. Mike Phillips, Sr. Marlboro
6. Brian Abosi, Sr. St. John's
7. Ali Boothe, Sr. Doherty
8.  Flynn McGilvray, Jr. St. John's

HM: Egan Bachtell, Sr. Nashoba; Antonio Centofanti, Sr. Leominster


1. Mike Quinn, Sr. Northbridge
2. John Fields, Jr. St. John's
3. Nick Zottoli, Sr. Wachusett
4. Anthony Zola, Sr. Tantasqua
5. Malachi Ceely, Sr. Leicester
Wesley Legare, So. Holy Name

Rhakim Williams, Sr. Doherty, Alex Dowd, Sr. Northbridge

Defensive Back

1. Tom Polutchko, Sr. Algonquin
2. MacBrien Nkongchu, Sr. St. John's
3. Kyle Brandao, Jr. Clinton
4. Cooper Bigelow, Sr. St. Bernard's
5. Tony Kennon, Sr. Nashoba
6. Robby Atwood, Sr. Nashoba
7. Sam Dias, Sr. Marlboro
8. Griffin Shoemaker, Jr. Littleton

HM: Zach Merchant, Sr. St. Bernard's; Travis Lanpher, So. Quabbin


1. Jake Benjamin, Sr. Nashoba
2. Jake Wood, Sr. Northbridge
3. Connor Bassett, Sr. Littleton
4. Tavian Vassar, Sr. Doherty
5. Ifeatu Melifonwu, Jr. Grafton

HM: Kyle Jackson, Sr. Leominster; Aaron Adu, Sr. Doherty


1. Geoffrey Reichert, Jr. Northbridge 

HM: Peter Baird, Sr. Wachusett

Offensive Player of the Year: Cole McCubrey, Jr. West Boylston

Any time you can rush for 2,000 yards, it's a big deal, but to do it facing loaded boxes every snap, you have to be a special player. McCubrey, a physical junior that carried West Boylston to the Division 6 Central final, was just that.

Combining Mack Truck-like force with BMW-esque handling, McCubrey ran through, over and around opposing defenders all year, establishing the Lions as a small-school force to be reckoned with.

The scariest thing is that McCubrey isn't done, and his senior campaign should be one for the ages.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tom Polutchko, Sr. Algonquin

The Tomahawks were quietly one of the best stories of 2015 in Central Mass, as Gonk put together it's best season since 1986, going 8-3 with big wins over  powerful Shepherd Hill and Holy Name, plus blowouts of rivals Westboro and Shrewsbury, not to mention close calls against D2 powers Marlboro, Nashoba and Wachusett.

At the heart of Algonquin's surprising season was Polutchko, a hard-hitting strong safety who finished with over 100 tackles and five interceptions, making him the only player in the region to accomplish that feat. The do-it-all senior also starred as a running back on offense, but no player in the region did more defensively to set his squad up for success.

Lineman of the Year: Mike Curtin, Sr. Nashoba

Curtin was an old-school two-way lineman that hit opponents in the mouth in both trenches, and really represented what Nashoba did as a whole team in 2015. Like Curtin, the Chieftains were simply tougher, both mentally and physically, than anybody they faced the past year.

The senior pushed the pile for the Chieftains' powerful ground game, and made sure that nobody found room to work against the Nashoba defensive front. The best offensive line in the region began with Curtin, but he and his linemates were certainly no slouches on defense either.

Breakout Player of the Year: Ifeatu Melifonwu, Jr. Grafton

The Indians turned Melifonwu loose down the stretch of the season, and the long-striding junior speedster answered. Deceptively fast and powerful with the ball in his hands, Grafton began using Melifonwu as a "Wildcat" quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back, all leading to the Indians capturing the Division 4 Central championship.

Grafton was certainly not a one-man team, but when Melifonwu broke out, the Indians became champions.

"Show Time" Award: Kevin Mensah, Jr. Holy Name

This award has been given out every year since 2013 in honor of former Doherty star Isaac "Show Time" Yiadom, who is now a starting cornerback at Boston College. The award annually goes to the one player in the region that was "must-see" every time he touched the ball.

This year's winner is Holy Name junior Kevin Mensah, a future Division 1 football player in his own right, and maybe the most electrifying runner in CMass since Yiadom. A prolific rusher in the Naps' Double Wing, Mensah really found his stride towards the end of the season, leading Holy Name to the playoffs and, eventually, the Division 4 Central final.

He'll be back next year, and college recruiters and fans alike will certainly be paying attention.

Coach of the Year: Jamie Tucker, Nashoba

Following a legend is never easy, but following a legend that happens to be your father… That's darn near impossible. Don't tell Jamie Tucker that. The young coach took over for his legendary dad - Ken Tucker - and won a state championship in just his third year at the helm.

While he may be young, there was nothing "new age" about Tucker's squad, as Nashoba showed throwback toughness and grit, winning close games against Leominster, St. John's and Springfield Central, before controlling the Division 2 state championship game against heavily favored Reading.

With a physical ground game, opportunistic pass offense, and a defense that tightened in critical moments, Tucker pushed all the right buttons, and his team delivered a state title in 2015.

2015 Central Mass Player of the Year: Koby Schofer, Sr. Northbridge

At the end of the day, while plenty of other kids had fantastic seasons, nobody did more for their team in a championship campaign. Schofer was the region's best quarterback, beating opponents with his arm and his legs all year, but he was also one of the region's best safeties.

Even without his heroic state championship performance at Gillette, where he shook off a sprained ankle to throw for a pair of touchdowns, and grabbed the game-sealing interception, Schofer was set to go down as one of the best to ever do it in Central Mass. After all, the do-it-all Schofer had been winning games and putting up huge numbers since his sophomore year.

But with that close to his historic career, Schofer will now join his grandfather, Northbridge coach Ken LaChappelle, as one of the truly legendary figures in the annals of Massachusetts high school football.

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