Tuesday, September 11, 2018

MIAA Football: Top Five Games to Watch in Week Two

Billy Sylvia is hoping to lead Braintree to a 2-0 start (Photo courtesy of Joey Cody: Wamptown)

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Week one featured a loaded slate of high-profile games, with numerous top-25 showdowns.

This weekend also features an exciting list of games, with terrific non-league and cross-divisional meetings. Editor Joe Parello and I will have our picks out tomorrow morning, but before then here are our top five games to watch in week two.

1. No. 1 Everett at No. 3 Mansfield, Friday 7p

For the second week in a row, both of these teams face tough non-league opponents. Additionally, they are both coming off big road wins. Top-ranked Everett got its season started with a 34-21 win over Xaverian in a rematch of the previous two Div. 1 Super Bowls. Mansfield, meanwhile, scored 14 quarter points to emerge with a 21-7 victory of BC High.

This matchup is sure to be electric pitting Everett’s offensive firepower versus the Hornets defensive  experience. Isaac Seide and Mike Sainristil posted the numbers many anticipated in week one for the Crimson Tide taking over with their speed, athleticism, and big-play making ability.

Mansfield has its fair share of playmakers, with quarterback Damani Scott, and Vinnie Holmes, Nick Marciano, and Cincere Gill spearheading the attack.

More than just being an entertaining matchup, this game allows Mansfield to prove that it can play with any team in any division in 2018.

2. Brockton at Natick, Friday 6p

Brockton showed that it is ready for a big turnaround from its 2017 3-8 record with a dominant win over Natick on Friday night.

Derek Williams is looking early on like one of the best running backs in the state and the Boxers posses physicality on both sides of the ball that most programs cannot match.

Natick, on the other hand, is trying to rebound following a tough week one loss to Bay State rival Needham. Its no secret that Josh Atwood is one of the premiere linemen in Massachsuetts.

While the Boxers would undoubtedly love to prove that they are a true state-wide contender, this game means far more to Natick. A second consecutive loss would not only put the Redhawks behind the eight ball in the Div. 2 South standings, but it also would mean they missed out on two opportunities to knock off a Div. 1 opponent and acquire key ratings points.

3. Barnstable at Braintree, Saturday 11a

All of a sudden, this showdown looks awfully intriguing. Braintree had its fair share of excitement surrounding the program coming into the season largely due to the experience on the line and a strong junior campaign from Billy Sylvia. Sylvia picked up right where he left off in 2017 on opening night rushing for three touchdowns in the Wamps win over Quincy.

Barnstable surprised many with a huge victory on Friday over defending Div. 5 Super Bowl champ Dennis-Yarmouth. Senior Matthew Petrecuskie stepped up in the clutch throwing for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

While Mansfield looks like the early-season favorite in Div. 2 this game will go a long way towards determining who the top contender is to knock off the Hornets down the road.

4. Central Catholic at St. John’s Prep, Friday 7p

These two traditional Div. 1 North powers will square off in their annual regular season matchup on Friday night. Central Catholic lost its fair share of talent from last season but opened its season in style with a big win over Dartmouth.

St. John’s Prep, meanwhile, showed just how lethal its offense can be in a 43-14 win over Haverhill. Not only do the Eagles have star power at the skill positions such as Wes Rockett and Aise Pream, they have plenty of size up front.

Look for this matchup to help reveal whether Central Catholic still remains a premiere player as they have been in years past or whether St. John’s Prep may just have the pieces to represent Div. 1 North in the Super Bowl.

5. Algonquin at Marlboro, Friday 7p

There is nothing quite like an old-fashioned Central Mass. rivalry game under those Friday nights and that is exactly what this matchup features. Both Algonquin and Marlboro come into this contest off opening week wins, hoping to get the upper hand in their respect Mid-Watch divisions. 

Algonquin cruised past Worcester North, 32-0, to begin its season largely due to the play of running back Will Johnston. Johnston ran for a pair of scores.

The Panthers defense, meanwhile, was the story in week one with Lou Vigeant and Hunter Reynolds coming through with clutch interceptions to help Marlboro hold on versus Leominster.

If you’re looking for the top Central Massachusetts game this fall, there is no question that this is right up there with the best of them.

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