Thursday, October 20, 2016

Friday Five-Pack: 5 HS Football Games to Watch in Massachusetts

Get prepared for a shootout, as Boston College commit E.J. Perry IV leads Andover against high-powered Central Catholic. Photo courtesy of ESPN Boston
By John Sarianides (@xnojoe)

Ed. Note- Our Massachusetts football guru John Sarianides is back with five games to watch during Week 7 of MA high school football. Here are the biggest games of the week.

BC High at Xaverian

The biggest game of the season at any level of high school football is upon us, though some of the starch has been taken out of this game after BC High’s 35-17 loss to St. John’s Prep last week.

That being said, it will still be a great game that will pit one of the top offenses in the state versus the best defense in the state.

B.C High needs to get off to a fast start offensively and play with the lead. The Eagles must score first and take the pressure off of their defense. Xaverian doesn’t necessarily have a high-powered offense, but they have an efficient offense that can run the football and control the clock. BC High won’t get as many possessions as they usually do.

There is no doubt this game will be tight. Experience will be the difference and, on the surface, Xaverian has the edge in that area. That doesn’t mean BC High can’t win this game, but they will need to play a complete, three-phase game in order to win.

Andover at Central Catholic

Spread shootout alert!

Bret Edwards and the Central Catholic Raiders travel to Andover to battle E.J. Perry IV and the Andover Warriors. Keep an eye on the scoreboard, because it could go berserk with all the scoring that will take place.

Both teams need to win this game for playoff seeding purposes. At 3-3, Andover needs to win this game in order to secure at least the seventh seed or possibly even the sixth seed in Division 1 North. The Warriors are currently seventh.

Central Catholic is currently the top seed in Division 1 North. They must win this game in order to stay atop the rankings, because Haverhill is breathing down their necks. Central currently has a power rating of 17.40 while Haverhill has a rating 17.00.

If Andover beats Central Catholic, these two teams could meet again next weekend in the first round of the playoffs. There's a lot at stake in this game, so expect a high-scoring affair that will come down to the wire. The quarterback with the ball in his hands at the end of the game could win the game for their respective team.
St. John's Prep at Bridgewater-Raynham

St. John’s Prep had an impressive win at home over BC High last weekend. Coach Brian St. Pierre’s young team is growing up and they are ready to take the next step heading into the playoffs.

The Eagles will have their hands full with B-R running back Shawn Noel, who has emerged as one of the best backs in the state. St. John’s must match B-R’s physicality otherwise they will be in for a long night.

Both teams like to pound the ball and control the clock. Expect that to be the game plan for both teams as the weather could be an issue. If the weather cooperates, however, it benefits St. John’s Prep, because the Eagles can throw the football.

This game will have a major impact on seeding in both Division 1 North and Division 1A South. Both teams could move up significantly with a win.

Wellesley at Milton 

This game is for the Bay State Herget title. Last season, Milton beat Wellesley in a highly contested 14-7 game. The Raiders will look to get revenge against a Milton team that is well coached on both sides of the ball.

Both teams employ a version of the spread offense. Wellesley likes to run out of their version of the offense. The Raiders employ a pistol option philosophy while the Wildcats like to throw the football every other play.

Games like this usually come down to defense, and Wellesley has a clear advantage on that side of the ball, thanks to linebacker Grant Chryssicas. The 6-foot-1, 210 lb. Chryssicas is one of the most underrated players in the state. He is an impact player on both sides of the ball. This game will also feature Koby Osazee. The running back and defensive back is putting together a terrific season for the Wildcats, and he will make some big plays in this game.

I expect a nip and tuck game that could go either way.

Billerica at Tewksbury

Two of the best coaches in the state in Duane Sigsbury and Brian Aylward will butt heads as Billerica and Tewksbury will play a winner-take-all Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 title game.

Both teams boast high-octane offenses that average over 30 points per game, but it’ll be the defenses that will determine the outcome of this game. Billerica and Tewksbury are physical on offense, so there is no doubt that the physical style of play will take its toll on both defenses.

This is a hard game to figure out. Both teams are 6-0 and have been rolling along up until this point. I am glad I don’t pick winners because if I did, this would be a pick's. It is going to come down to which team can make the necessary big plays and protects the football.

Whichever team does those two things, will win this game.  

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