Monday, November 6, 2017

Your MIAA Football Playoffs Weekend Review: The Sectional Semifinals

Catholic Memorial and BC High played one of the most memorable playoff games in recent memory Friday night, with a controversial call and a Hail Mary lifting the Knights to victory.
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

There is no question that the MIAA playoff system has flaws. Most notable among them are too many teams, too many divisions, and for some, a lack of importance now placed on winning the league.

This past weekend, however, portrayed the system’s outstanding benefits.

Teams playing for a spot in the sectional finals battled it out, with some playing against conference foes, while others faced off against teams for the first time.

Memorable endings, top performances, controversy, and wild finishes engulfed the weekend.

Now it is on to the sectional finals, where some enticing matchups will be played.

We will preview some of those sectional finals later in the week, but before we do that let’s take a look back at what was a wild weekend of sectional semifinals.

Hail Mary Gives New Life to Catholic Memorial

For Catholic Memorial quarterback Nick Goffredo, the final eight seconds of the Knights' contest with No. 1 BC High were a whirlwind.

Trailing 20-14 with less than two minutes to play, Goffredo converted four consecutive pass attempts, including a fourth down and 12, to move the Knights inside the BC High 40 yard line.

On second and 10 from the Eagles’ 37, Goffredo dropped back to pass, but immediately was swarmed by a pair of BC High defenders. Goffredo initially appeared to be sacked, resulting in a BC High win.

“I did not know what was going,” said Goffredo. “They were celebrating like they had won and we were just standing there not sure what had happened.”

The feeling was mutual for eventual hero Jarrett Martin.

“I had to keep everyone together,” recalled Martin. “I saw some of our guys laying on the ground crying and I ran over to them and started screaming at them. I told them to get up. ‘The game’s not over!’”

Upon further consultation among the officials, Goffredo was ruled to have gotten rid of the football prior to being down by contact, but was penalized for intentional grounding. The spot-foul penalty was enforced placing Catholic Memorial back at the Eagles’ 42 with now two seconds remaining.

The Knights seized the new life they were provided.

On the final play of the game, Goffredo rolled left, set his feet, and fired a Hail Mary that Martin went up and corralled for a jaw-dropping last-second touchdown to tie the score.

“I knew I had a couple of inches on their corners and athletically I could make a play,” said Martin. “I did have doubt though. I saw five (BC High) defenders shift to our side, so who could ever think that someone could make a play on four-five different guys.”

Knights’ kicker Will Fay missed the initial point after attempt, but BC High was ruled offside. Fay drilled the re-try to secure Catholic Memorial their first trip to the sectional finals since the new playoff system was instituted.

No. 5 Catholic Memorial will take a trip to No. 3 Xaverian in the Division 1 South Sectional Final. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday at 6pm.

Tewksbury Denies Conversion, Holds off Danvers

Through three-and-a-half quarters on Saturday afternoon, Tewksbury was in a comfortable position. The Redmen entered the final four minutes of play holding a 21-7 lead over the No. 6 Falcons.

Within an instant, Danvers was right back in it.

Tahg Coakley hauled in his second touchdown of the day to get the Falcons back within a score, and a defensive stop gave Danvers the ball back with 2:35 to play.

Starting at their own 29-yard line, the Falcons went 81 yards over 1:22 with Justin Mullaney drilling Matt McCarthy to cut the Tewskbury lead to 21-20.

Rather than tying the score and forcing a potential overtime period, Danvers elected to go for a game winning two-point conversion.

The Redmen broke up the two-point pass, however, and recovered the ensuing onside kick to a clinch a spot in the Div. 3 Sectional Final.

Warriors Pound their Way to Win 22

One of the hallmarks of a long winning streak is the ability to come out victorious in a variety of ways.

Over the course of just two playoff games, King Philip has showed off that unique talent.

The Warriors first outlasted Barnstable in a back-and-forth affair, 35-20, but this past Friday grinded out a 13-11 win over Hockomock Kelly-Rex rival Mansfield to advance to the sectional final for the second consecutive season.

The win is King Philip’s 22nd in a row and marks the fifth straight time the Warriors have defeated Mansfield.

Shane Frommer opened the scoring on the first drive of the game as his five-yard touchdown run gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

After Mansfield went in front, Frommer pushed King Philip back in the lead, 13-8, with his second score of the game.

The Hornets defense kept King Philip at bay for the remainder of the contest picking off a pair of passes and gaining the field position advantage.

Down 13-11 with less than three minutes to play, Mansfield got one more chance to pull out a win.

Warriors’ junior linebacker Jake Webster came through with a key sack, resulting in a loss of five yards. Two plays later, on third and 15 from the 24, Hornets’ quarterback Damani Scott hit Hunter Ferreira for a 14-yard pickup, one yard short of the line to gain.

Initially it seemed as though Scott had gotten closer to the 40-yard line, enough for a first down. After the officials conferred with another, however, they concluded that Scott, by going out of bounds, had gone backwards to the 38 leaving him short of the first.

On fourth down, Mansfield gave it to their premiere sophomore back, Vinnie Holmes, in need of a yard to keep their season alive.

Webster came up big once again, drilling Holmes in the backfield to give King Philip a date with Bridgewater-Raynham in the Division 2 South final.

“Jack Pillar made a great play slicing through the line and making the initial hit,” Webster said. “I had outside contain and I saw him cut back and we collapsed and drove (Holmes) back.”

No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham, who defeated No. 2 Natick, will travel to King Philip Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.

Other Notable Performances from the Weekend

-Jake Willcox completed 14-of-17 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns as No. 3 Everett defeated No. 2 Lexington, 49-21, to advance to the Division 1 North final.

-Bridgewater-Raynham knocked off previously undefeated No. 2 Natick, 41-21, behind 198 yards and three touchdowns on the ground from Devante Greaves.

-Rob Evans rushed for three more touchdowns, while amassing 151 yards, as Dennis-Yarmouth cruised to the Division 5 South final with a 43-7 win over Foxboro.

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