Thursday, September 28, 2017

Your Massachusetts HS Football Weekend Primer: Week 4

Maeblehead continues its quest to get back to Gillette this weekend against Beverly.
By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

Another week means another large slate of high school football games to be played here in Massachusetts. In observance of Yom Kippur on Friday, some communities have moved their games up to Thursday, which leaves a lighter Friday and Saturday assortment than usual.

For some fans, that means the opportunity to check out more games, which is nice since there are plenty of quality matchups statewide on each night.

Here is a look at some of the better matchups.


No. 19 Mansfield at No. 5 King Philip, 7 pm

In the most anticipated Hockomock League matchup of the season, the 3-0 Hornets, led by a strong passing attack from Damani Scott, hope to snap the defending Division 1A champ’s 16-game win streak.

Melrose at Wilmington, 7 pm

Melrose’s (3-0) pass rush and Rey Guity’s running ability should be on display tonight as they try to hand first-year head coach Craig Turner and the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

Westford Academy at No. 20 Lincoln-Sudbury, 7 pm

Lincoln-Sudbury hopes to improve to 4-0, while the Grey Ghosts (1-2) have not been the same this year without star quarterback Connor Degenhardt. This season, Lincoln-Sudbury is averaging over 35 points per game thanks to an offense led by quarterback Braden O’Connell.

Beverly at No. 16 Marblehead, 7 pm

Once again, Marblehead’s defense has been magic this season, allowing just 16 points in three games. The defending Division 2A North champs are 3-0 and led defensively by linebackers Aidan Gillis, Teddy Mayle and Nick Corsini. The Magicians will take on Beverly (1-2), whose offense showed life last week in a 53-13 win over Malden.

Stoughton vs Sharon (at Stonehill College), 7 pm

The Black Knights (2-1) gained notoriety last year for playing a competitive playoff game against Duxbury. This year, they return plenty of starters, including go-to running back Alex Iverson. Sharon is coming off back-to-back losses, but it may be worth noting they played a one-score game against Cardinal Spellman (21-14 loss) earlier in the year.

Shepherd Hill at Algonquin, 7 pm

Shepherd Hill (2-1) may have only returned two varsity starters on defense (defensive ends O’Londo Loggins and Costa Karmanakis), but their defense has allowed just 29 points in three games this season. That should prove beneficial in their road bout against Algonquin (1-2) in Taylor Allen’s first season as the team’s head coach.

No. 25 Nashoba at Marlborough, 7 pm

Nashoba’s defense has shined in the first three games of the season, which is why they are unbeaten. The team has two shutouts already and on the defensive line, they are led by Robert Ryan and Duncan Wilgress-Pipe. Marlborough, hopes to counter that and improve to 4-0 this season with a pair of running backs who nearly eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark last season: Owen Cappadona and Luke Goulet.

Plus, Marlborough’s defense has only let up 31 points in three games this season.


Noble & Greenough at Lawrence Academy, 1:30 pm

Lawrence Academy’s (1-0) enormous linemen--Cam Reddy, Ryan Betro, Finn Dirstine, Cam Walters and Donald Long--all of who weigh over 285 pounds-- hope to make the difference against Nobles (1-0), which is led by former Newton North quarterback John Grady.

Milton Academy at Governor's Academy, 2:30 pm

Milton is coming off a 6-2 season and returning a handful of offensive starters, plus two-way star Kalel Mullings. MA was sharp in its opening win over Books, but Governor’s (1-0) has a pair of standout linebackers in Shane Smith and Patrick Flaherty who will try to stop their attack.

Brooks at Groton, 2:45 pm

In their second game of the year, both Brooks (0-1) and Groton (1-0) hope to gain some early season momentum. Brooks will rely on tight end Pat Freiermuth, a Penn State commit, while Groton uses a host of skill players.

No. 2 BC High vs Brockton (at Harvard Stadium), 7 pm

Brockton and the Catholic Conference never mix well. This is especially true this Friday, since the Eagles knocked the Boxers out of the playoffs last year with a 35-8 win, where the Eagle offensive and defensive lines were dominant. Seeing how Marshfield dominated the Boxers in their final scrimmage of the year, and BC High proved they are better than Marshfield earlier this season, the Eagles should have a clear-cut edge here.

Nauset at No. 8 Marshfield, 7 pm

With Nauset coming off a 50-7 loss to Dennis-Yarmouth and Marshfield coming off a 57-6 win over Falmouth, the biggest takeaway from this game will likely be Dennis-Yarmouth’s true capability--especially if Nauset is able to give Marshfield a decent game.

Catholic Memorial at No. 7 Xaverian, 7 pm

This is one of those rare times where these two schools are going head-to-head and they both have losing records (both 1-2). To be fair, Xaverian’s losses came to Division 1 favorite Everett and Archbishop Stepinac, who Maxpreps ranks as the No. 1 team in all of New York. That said, Xaverian did top Bridgewater-Raynham, 32-7 and CM, who is coached by former New England Patriots defensive end Brennan Williams, beat Brockton 15-10 earlier this season after losing to Stoughton and St. John’s of Shrewsbury.

Both teams have played tough schedules, so it’s weird to think one side will be 1-3 after the game.

No. 22 Mashpee at Cohasset, 7 pm

Matt Triveri’s defending state champions are going for their 10th straight win dating back to last season. With Devaun Ford leading the charge offensively, there is no reason why the Falcons should not be able to put away a 1-2 Skippers team. 

Dennis-Yarmouth at Pembroke, 7 pm

Paul Funk’s Dolphins are averaging 49 points per game in their first three matchups, which should not really surprise anyone, seeing how they excelled in 7-on-7 tournaments over the summer. Jacob McCarthy has excelled under center this season and Rob Evans ran for over 150 yards last week in a 50-7 win over Nauset. The Dolphins are hoping that success will help them neutralize the Titans (2-1), who are coming off an impressive 24-6 win over Scituate, a perennial playoff contender.

Sandwich at No. 21 Falmouth, 7 pm

The 2-0 Blue Knights have allowed one touchdown between two games this season, but now they will be faced with some quality competition as they continue using their new Wing-T offense with dual-threat Cam Lopes under center. For Falmouth, this is an ideal opportunity to bounce back from the 57-6 loss they suffered to Marshfield last week, snapping their 17-game win streak.

No. 23 St. Mary’s (Lynn) at Cardinal Spellman, 7 pm

Don’t overlook this game just because it’s two Central Catholic League schools. Both the Spartans and Cardinals come into this contest at 3-0 and have an opportunity to prove they deserve recognition in statewide polls. Last year’s standout running back for the Spartans, Calvin Johnson, has moved to quarterback and is excelling in a run-heavy scheme. St. Mary's has averaged over 50 points per game in the first three games. In contrast, Cardinal Spellman has also been tough this year, after starting off their season by defeating the defending Division 3 state champion (Hanover).

Lowell at No. 13 Andover, 7 pm

Even though Andover (2-1) no longer has EJ Perry IV under center, this game has shootout potential. Andover is still willing to throw and Lowell’s (3-0) quarterback, Curtis Gentles, threw for 492 yards against Cambridge Rindge and Latin earlier this season.

No. 14 Lynn Classical at Gloucester, 7 pm

One team will be handed their first loss of the year in this bout, as Classical’s stout defense (two touchdowns allowed in three games) matches up with an inexperienced yet successful Gloucester team. This year, Gloucester returned just a handful of offensive contributors, but has scored more than 25 points per game.

West Springfield at East Longmeadow, 7 pm

East Longmeadow’s high-powered offense has a chance to prove itself as at least the second best team in Western Mass this week. They have put up 48 points per game in three games this season and face West Springfield, who is coming off a 44-27 loss to Springfield Central.

No. 3 Central Catholic at Billerica (at Marshall MS), 7 pm

Central Catholic’s high-octane offense, led by running backs Max Faro and Ty Donatio, hopes to lead their team to their fourth win of the season over 2-1 Billerica.

Shrewsbury at Leominster, 7 pm

After losing one of the best athletes in the state, Noah Gray, to graduation this past spring, Leominster (0-3) still seeks its first win. This week may be challenging for them, however, as they face the defending Div. 2 Central Mass champs. When these two teams met in a de facto playoff game at the end of last year, the Colonials came out on top 14-6.

Longmeadow at Holyoke, 7 pm

Holyoke has grinded out three wins in one-score games this season, but they have yet to meet a challenger like Longmeadow. Holyoke will need to stop the Lancers (2-1) diverse run attack to stay competitive in this one.

No. 4 St. John's (Shrewsbury) at Wachusett, 7 pm

St. John’s (3-0) quarterback Steven Bucciaglia has thrown for 11 touchdown passes for an offense that is averaging 43 points per game this season. That leaves a hefty task for the inexperienced but talented Wachusett (3-0) squad’s secondary.


Doherty at St. Peter-Marian, 1:00 pm

Doherty is coming off a pair of dominant wins where they put up a combined 94 points and only surrendered one touchdown per game. However, they now face a quality opponent in 2-1 Worcester rival St. Peter-Marian, who returns double-digit starters, including quarterback Dan Malm.

No. 10 Bridgewater-Raynham at Chelmsford, 3:30 pm

The 2-1 Trojans, led by Navy commit Bryce Shaw, a linebacker and fullback, like to capitalize on playing in a three-team league--and they do so by going out and facing quality non-league competition. This year, Chelmsford is 2-1, and their strong point is their defensive line, spearheaded by Jack Slattery and Chris Bungard. For both teams, this game will be won up front.

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