Monday, October 30, 2017

Your MIAA Football Playoffs Weekend Review: The Sectional Quarterfinals

Catholic Memoria quarterback Nick Goffredo did it all for the Knights this past weekend, and now turns his sights to rival BC High in the D1 South semis.
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

In Eastern Mass. week one of postseason play is in the books and, while there were no overwhelming upsets, the results set the stage for what should be an exciting week two.

The top seeds held serve in all 16 Eastern Mass. sections despite a couple of scares.

Everett showed no signs of slowing down in their opening round contest versus No. 6 St. John’s Prep, cruising to a 46-16 win to set up a date with No. 3 Lexington in the Division 1 North Sectional Semifinals. The win was John DiBiaso’s 300th career victory. He is just the fourth coach in Massachusetts’ high school football history to reach that plateau.

The stage is set in Division 2 South for one of the more exciting “final fours” in recent memory. No. 1 King Philip held off No. 8 Barnstable, 35-20, behind 190 yards on the ground from Shane Frommer. No. 4 Mansfield, meanwhile, turned in their best defensive performance of the season against No. 5 Marshfield to set up a rematch with the Warriors.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Natick will face off against No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham.

North Attleboro was pushed by Walpole only to come out victorious 28-14, while BC High, Central Catholic, Lincoln-Sudbury, Dennis-Yarmouth, Mashpee, Lynnfield, Hamilton-Wenham, St. Mary’s (Lynn), and Lynn Tech all cruised to victory.

In Division 4 North, No. 1 Melrose held off an upset minded Dracut team, 14-0, to advance to take on No. 4 North Reading in the Sectional Semifinals.

Week two of the postseason for Eastern Massachusetts is sure to be exciting, with a couple of the best matchups of the season on the slate. Before we get there, however, let’s take a look back at some of the top story lines from the MIAA Football Playoffs' opening round.

Mansfield’s Defense Rises to the Challenge Against Marshfield

On paper, No. 5 Marshfield and No. 4 Mansfield looked like the top matchup of the weekend, with the Rams a rare road favorite.

No. 4 Mansfield had other ideas, shutting down the Rams offense from the opening snap en route to a 34-14 victory.

It was the fourth consecutive postseason that the two sides had met, but just the first time during that stretch that it was Mansfield who held on to advance.

Early on in the contest, Marshfield mounted an impressive 18-play drive where it converted three fourth downs. The Rams, however, came up empty as on fourth and goal from the eight-yard line when Jackson Phinney’s pass was broken up by Vinnie Holmes to turn possession over to Mansfield.

Mansfield held a 14-7 lead at the intermission, but the key play came on Marshfield’s first drive in the second half. Hornets’ sophomore linebacker Nick Marciano intercepted Phinney’s pass and took it the other way for a 69-yard touchdown to give Mansfield a 20-7 lead.

Following the interception, Marshfield mustered just 16 total yards of offense over their next three drives.

Early on in the fourth quarter Holmes iced the game with a 13-yard touchdown run to increase the Hornet lead to 20.

The win gives the Hornets an opportunity to avenge a week four loss to King Philip. Mansfield led that game 10-0, only to see a Shane Frommer 96-yard pick six change the complexion of that one.

King Philip increased their statewide leading winning streak to 21 games on Friday night with their win over Barnstable.

Peterson’s Big Night Saves North Attleboro

For a good portion of the night it looked like No. 8 Walpole may come up with the biggest upset of the opening round, as they matched No. 1 North Attleboro play-for-play through the first three quarters.

Red Rocketeers’ senior standout quarterback Chad Peterson made sure, however, that the top seed in Division 3 South got through unscathed. The Amherst commit finished with four total touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground, to lead North Attleboro to a 28-14 win.

Peterson’s first touchdown of the contest came on the Red Rocketeers’ second drive of the game as, after converting a fourth and 10, he found Nolan Buckley for an eight-yard touchdown.

Walpole responded with a score to cut North Attleboro’s lead to just one, 7-6, but right before the half Peterson struck again.

Starting at midfield with less than a minute to play, Peterson led the Red Rocketeers’ right down the field, capping off a five-play drive with a 26 yard touchdown pass to Devin Slaney.

“We came out looking to run the ball early but Walpole did a job stopping that so we went to the pass and it worked well early on,” Peterson said.

Peterson gave North Attleboro some separation to open the second half, this time using his legs to keep the Rebels’ defense off balance. The steward of the offense scampered in from 16 yards out to push the Red Rocketeers’ lead to 21-6.

Midway through the fourth quarter Peterson sealed the win with a six-yard quarterback keeper that resulted in a touchdown.

With the win North Attleboro will take on league rival and No. 4 Stoughton in the Division 3 South Sectional Semifinals.

Catholic Memorial Earns Meeting with Catholic Conference Foe

One of the top performances of the weekend came from Catholic Memorial senior quarterback Nick Goffredo in the No. 5 Knights dominating 35-6 win over No. 4 Newton North.

Goffredo went 12-for-15, compiling 237 total yards and four touchdowns in a nearly perfect outing.

The first year starter made his presence known on the Knights’ opening drive, picking up 41 yards on the ground before crossing the goal line from a yard out.

Later in the contest Goffredo showed off the wheels once again, slicing through the Tigers’ front seven before finding the end zone for a 29-yard rushing score to put Catholic Memorial in firm control up 28-0.

Goffredo’s final touchdown of the day came through the air a,s on the first play of the fourth quarter, he hit Matt Kettlewall on a post route for a 20-yard touchdown.

Catholic Memorial coach Bret Williams praised Goffredo’s steady progression as the year has gone on.

“Nick (Goffredo) has a unique ability to make plays both with his arms and his legs,” Williams said. “We knew early on he was a kid we had to be patient with. He has not had a lot of reps on the field, and I think our offensive coaching staff has done a great job lifting him up and getting him to where we need him to be.”

Now, the Knights will turn their attention to this Friday night when they will take on Thanksgiving Day opponent and rival No. 1 BC High. After a 12-year stretch in which Catholic Memorial failed to knock off the Eagles, the Knights have found success in recent years.

The last two times the Knights have visited Viola Stadium they have put on an offensive clinic, first in the opening round of the Division 1 South playoffs back in 2015 (34-12 win), and then again last year on Thanksgiving (41-27 win).

Host BC High is undoubtedly the favorite heading into this Sectional Semifinal matchup, but if Goffredo can replicate the performance he had on Saturday, the Knights may be in store for another monster offensive performance on Morrissey Boulevard.

Other Notable Performances From the Weekend

-Sal Frelick put on an incredible show once again, throwing for 242 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 136 yards in No. 2 Lexington’s 52-33 win over No. 7 Andover.

-With time winding down, Alex D’Ambrosio drilled a game-winning 18-yard field goal to push No. 4 North Reading past No. 5 Wayland, 17-14.

-Stoneham sophomore star Tre Pignone rushed for 195 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns to lead Stoneham to a 36-14 win over Ipswich.

-Millis quarterback Bryce Latosek made it look easy, completing 17-of-18 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns in the Mohawks’ 49-20 win over West Bridgewater.

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