Thursday, October 5, 2017

Your Massachusetts HS Football Weekend Primer: Week 5

Ranked for the first time this year in our statewide Top 25, Natick will face off with Bay State League rival Walpole on Friday.  Photo by Felipe Bertazzo.
By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

High school football in the Commonwealth is back to normal this week, with a heavy load of league matchups statewide on Friday night, as teams make their pushes for potential league championships and playoff spots.

Here is a look inside all the biggest matchups.


No. 14 Marblehead at Malden, 7 pm

Marblehead’s defense, led by linebackers Aidan Gillis, Teddy Mayle and Nick Corsini, has been sharp once again this season. Last year's Division 2A runner up has only allowed two touchdowns in four games, and hopes to keep its perfect season intact against the winless Golden Tornadoes (0-4).

Nipmuc at St. Bernard's, 7 pm

Undefeated Nipmuc’s (4-0) defense has been excellent this season, only letting up four touchdowns in four games. Keeping that tough defense going will be key for them against a high-flying St. Bernard’s team that is averaging over 30 points per game this season.

Wachusett at Shepherd Hill, 7 pm

Shepherd Hill (3-1) showed life offensively last week in a 61-36 win over Algonquin. For the most part, their defense has been tough all season, especially against the run, and they hope to stop Wachusett’s (3-1) physical offense, which has scored 122 points in four games this season. When these two CMass bruisers get together, it will be strength vs strength.

Algonquin at No. 25 Nashoba, 7 pm

Nashoba’s (4-0) stout defense has only let up four touchdowns in four games, and already has two shutouts. Their sharp defensive line, spearheaded by Robert Ryan and Duncan Wilgress-Pipe, will look to shut down Algonquin’s (1-3) improving offense, which has averaged 24 points per game this season.

No. 9 St. John's Prep at No. 17 Catholic Memorial, 7 pm

Mike Yarin left the Eagles' (2-2) last game with an injury, and will now play wide receiver the rest of the year, but Aise Pream still gives his team a strong run game. While Yarin’s status is questionable for this week, the Eagles have a chance to be the second team named St. John’s to hand CM (2-2) a loss this season.

No. 2 BC High at Malden Catholic, 7 pm

The Eagles (4-0) have been one of the best teams in the states this season witha powerful offensive line, and the backfield combination of Will Bowen and Danny Abraham running over every team they face. This week, the Eagles have a chance to keep their perfect season going against Malden Catholic (1-3), who is coming off a 35-0 loss to St. John’s Prep.

No. 10 Duxbury at Silver Lake, 7 pm

Junior quarterback John Roberts has thrown for 657 yards and run for 312 more for the Dragons (3-1), who are seeking a Patriot League Keenan Division title. In order to do so, they will need to stop Lakers (3-1) running back Phil Lashley, who has run for over 100 yards every game this season.

No. 12 Xaverian at Brockton, 7 pm

It may come as a surprise, but one of these teams is going to go home 1-4 and the other will leave 2-3.

Despite adding Southeastern transfer Rosen Pierre at running back and having a few varsity caliber quarterbacks on their roster, the Boxers have not been able to beat either Catholic Conference school they have faced (Catholic Memorial and BC High). Since Xaverian and Brockton both played highly-competitive games against Catholic Memorial (15-10 loss for Brockton, 13-12 loss for Xaverian), this would seem like an evenly matched bout. After all, it is a must-win game for both sides.

Medfield at Holliston, 7 pm

One of these MetroWest teams has a chance to leave this game 4-1 and in order to do so, both will rely on their strong offenses. Medfield’s offense led by dual-threat quarterback Mitchell Gonser and workhorse running back Mason Giunta, is averaging 48 points per game this season. In contrast, Holliston, whose lone blemish came in a bout with a much larger school (Lincoln-Sudbury), has put up nearly 30 points per game, as quarterback Ryan Benco proves himself as a worthy successor to Jack Barrett.

Lowell at No. 1 Everett, 7 pm

Lowell (4-0) legitimized itself with a 51-48 shootout win over Andover last Friday night. Curtis Gentles has thrown for more than 1,000 yards in four games this season, so if he is able to piece together another big game, the Red Raiders could threaten the Crimson Tide’s (3-0) top ranking. On that same hand, Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Wilcox has potential to tear apart a Lowell defense that has allowed 142 points in four games.

No. 13 Lynn Classical at Danvers, 7 pm

Neither team here has lost a game, and both of their defenses have been excellent to date. Thus far, Danvers has only let up one touchdown in four games, while Lynn Classical has only let up eight points per contest. It is hard to imagine either side doing much offensively here, but the victor will establish themselves as one of the top public schools on the North Shore.

Billerica at No. 16 North Andover, 7 pm

Wide receiver Gabe DeSouza, who played for Everett last season, has been a major addition for the Scarlet Knights (4-0) this season. Their defense has also been sharp, shutting out two of the four opponents they have faced. If the Scarlet Knights want to keep their perfect season going, they will need a win over Billerica (2-2), who hopes to rebound from a 44-14 loss to Central Catholic.

No. 24 Natick at Walpole, 7 pm

The undefeated Redhawks (4-0) have already run for over 1,000 yards this season, and primarily rely on running backs Amir Wells and Malik Williams, plus quarterback Christian D'Antonio to move them downfield on the ground. In Bay State League action, they will face the Rebels (2-2), whose defense has only surrendered two touchdowns in the last three games. The Redhawk secondary will need to come prepared for Rebel quarterback Brett Lavanchy and Walpole's willingness to throw.

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

It might be early in the season, but St. John’s (4-0) quarterback Steven Bucciaglia has thrown for 15 touchdown passes. That puts the senior on pace to break the statewide single season touchdown passing record, if his team can stay unbeaten, but there is still a long season ahead. This Friday, St. John’s will be met with a strong competitor in the form of cross-town rival Shrewsbury (4-0), who is coming off back-to-back shutout wins.

Doherty at Leominster, 7:00 pm

Doherty’s (3-1) defense has been sharp, especially the play of defensive backs Paul Yiadom and Jon Forson. It also helps that, last week, freshman quarterback Noah Callery proved he could handle the varsity level while filling in for junior Chris Schoen. Meanwhile, Leominster (0-4) really misses Noah Gray, and finds itself in the midst of a rebuilding season.

No. 9 Bridgewater-Raynham at Dartmouth, 7 pm

Devante Greaves could potentially be in the backfield this week to lift the Trojans' offense even higher, while their defense has pitched back-to-back shutouts in the previous two weeks. They could start their march to an Old Colony League title this week if they can handle Dartmouth (2-2), who has been respectable against a brutal early slate.

No. 21 Falmouth at Dennis-Yarmouth, 7 pm

The Dolphins (4-0) have one more game before what should end up being an Atlantic Coast League Championship bout against Marshfield. This Friday, however, the Dolphin offense, which has averaged over 40 points per game, hopes to keep their win streak going against the 3-1 Clippers.


Arlington at No. 6 Lexington, 2 pm

With one of the top quarterbacks in the state (Sal Frelick), Lexington (4-0) has put up at least 40 points in three of their four games this season. They are matched up with 3-1 Arlington, who has scored about 24 points per game this season.

Lawrence Academy at Governor’s Academy, 3:30 pm

Both ISL schools have played sharp defense this season, and are looking to hand each other their first loss. Lawrence Academy will lean on their explosive passing game, led by quarterback Brady Martin and tight end Joseph Luchetti, while Governor’s will rely on their four senior captains on offense- Quarterback Jared Dupere, tight end Shane Smith, plus running backs Zach Ludd and Patrick Flaherty.

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