Friday, September 8, 2017

Your MIAA Football Weekend Primer: Week 1

Coach Peter Columbo and his Brockton Boxers hope the last few years' disappointments have made them stronger.
By Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi)

Brockton has used the past two seasons of heartbreak to build up the experience it needs for this year.

After losing key players in each of the past two seasons, including returning quarterback/receiver Junior Montero last season, the Boxers have endured those losses by giving younger players the playing time to develop.

That experience is going to be needed right from the get-go against Lexington in week one.

“We’ve had tough injuries,” said 15th-year head coach Pete Colombo. “In the past two years we’ve had key guys go down. In high school, when you lose key guys, it’s not like division one college where you go to your number two or number three. It’s more of an impact, but we’ve developed experience.”

All camp long has been a quarterback battle, and while Colombo has settled on his guy, he wouldn’t say who would be starting on Saturday.

What he would say was how dangerous Lexington’s Sal Frelick would be on the other end of the field.

The dual-threat quarterback threw for 31 touchdowns last season as a junior and contributed another 21 on the ground. He’s as dangerous as anyone in the state, but the Boxers believe they are ready for him.

“Everyone knows what they’re about,” said Colombo of Lexington. “Frelick is a special athlete. I’m impressed with him. If he’s allowed to do what he does, we could be in trouble. He’s the best in the state this year.”

Even with that stiff competition to open the year, Brockton has something going for it as well. Due to surviving all these injuries, the Boxers have some players prepared for the wear and tear of a season that otherwise may have not gotten the chance.

One of those players is 6-foot-5 receiver Tyshaun Glenn-Doherty, who joined from the basketball team. Another is sophomore wideout Isaiah LeGuerre, who Colombo says is “beyond his years in progress.”

The Boxers also made some outside additions via transfer, with running back Rosen Pierre from Southeastern, and Dexter Cumberland, a linebacker/running back from Xaverian.

Saturday will be a tough test for the Boxers, looking to rebound from a disappointing 5-6 campaign in 2016. But, if they can stay healthy, the potential is there.

Games to Watch:


No. 10 North Attleboro at No. 8 King Phillip, 7 pm: An early season Hockomock battle between two teams who should be there in the end. Chad Peterson might be tough to stop for the Warriors, as he has continued to improve every season for North Attleboro.

Holliston at No. 21 Millis, 7 pm: It will be a heavyweight fight in the trenches, as Millis uber-recruit Kevin Pynes welcomes Holliston grinder Scott Elliott, but the skill players could end up being the difference. Holliston has gotten the better of Millis in this great small-school rivalry, but with quarterback Bryce Latosek and a bevy of weapons returning, Millis is brimming with confidence.

No. 6 St. John's (Shrewsbury) at Catholic Memorial, 7 pm: St. John's begins 2017 as the prohibitive favorite in D3 Central, but the Pioneers would like nothing more than a season-opening statement win in Eastern Mass. CM will be looking to avenge a two-point loss in Shrewsbury last season, so you know sparks will fly in this one.

No. 5 BC High at No. 14 Andover, 7 pm: BC High's physical offensive line feasted on Andover's defense last season, as running back Danny Abraham broke out for a school-record 385 yards on over 22 yards per carry, netting his first D1 offer from Boston College shortly thereafter. Andover will need to find answers for the Eagle O-line, and a replacement for record-setting quarterback E.J. Perry IV if it hopes to fare better this year. Still, senior receiver Cedric Gillette has been a thorn in BC High's side throughout his career, so don't count the Golden Warriors out.


No. 3 St. John's Prep at Haverhill, 2 pm:
Haverhill has lost a lot since its first round exit last season, and is left with somewhat of a depleted roster. The Hillies still have hopes of contention, and it starts with a sophomore class that includes key defensive end Brandon Grundy. For Prep, losing Wes Rockett for the season is rough, leaving QB Mike Yarin with one less option.

No. 2 Xaverian at No. 1 Everett, 2:30 pm: After a competitive battle in last year’s game, Everett came out on top as a state champion. Both teams return as legitimate contenders with just about the best game anyone could hope for on opening weekend. New Xaverian coach Al Fornaro has his work cut out for him already against a loaded Everett squad.

Players to Watch:

Sal Frelick, Sr. QB, Lexington: One of the most dangerous players in the state will have a chance to shine against a rebounding Brockton team. After combining for 52 total touchdowns last season, the senior now faces a stiff Brockton defense. The Boxer front seven should provide a good early season challenge to see if he can pick up where he left off.

Shane Frommer, Sr. ATH, King Philip: If the Warriors are to make another run, they need Frommer to take the lead. After scoring nine times last season, he seems poised for another breakout campaign. The Hockomock is more competitive, and he can shine in week one against a tough North Attleboro opponent.

Mike Sainristil, Jr. ATH, Everett: The corner and wideout is one of the most important pieces to the Crimson if they are going to make a title run again, and he has a chance to prove himself against Xaverian in week one. Also a kick returner, the junior is one of the fastest players in the state.

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