Tuesday, October 30, 2018

MIAA Football: An Updated Look At Our Player of the Year Candidates

Duxbury's John Roberts has been nothing short of sensational this season (Photo by Todd Maddock/Duxbury Clipper)

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Three weeks ago, SuiteSports unveiled its initial 2018 MIAA Football Player of the Year Candidates. Now, we are ready to add an eighth and ninth name to the list.

Two seasons ago, Duxbury's Bobby Maimaron took home the honor, while last season King Philip's Shane Frommer won the award in a runaway.

We began with five candidates, but players have had the opportunity to add their name to the list on a weekly basis.

This week, we have added a pair of players from the Patriot League Keenan. One is someone hoping to follow in the footsteps of Maimaron in Duxbury quarterback John Roberts. The second, meanwhile, is Hingham's two-way star Spencer Cassell bringing the list bring our total number of candidates to nine.

We will release our final candidates for the award on the Monday of Super Bowl week.

Here is SuiteSports' updated list of MIAA Football Player of the Year Candidates as selected by our panel of writers, correspondents, and editors.

Mike Sainristil, Sr., WR/DB, Everett

The leader in the clubhouse, Sainristil continues to perform at an exceptionally high level using his speed, athleticism, and big play ability to blow away the competition on a weekly basis.

In Everett's opening round playoff win over Andover, Sainristil had one reception for 46 yards and a touchdown. Once again, however, it was Sainristil's play on the defensive side of the ball that made him standout as he had a pair of interceptions.

For the season, Sainristil has 25 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdown receptions while on the ground, he has rushed for 174 yards and two additional touchdowns.

Defensively, meanwhile, Sainristil continues to show why he is widely considered the top defensive back in the region with six interceptions to his name.

Jake McElroy, Sr., QB, North Andover

North Andover left little doubt about its worthiness as the top seed in Div. 2 North with McElroy leading the charge.

In the Scarlet Knights 49-0 win over Westford, McElroy finished 6-of-9 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown. He also added 41 yards on the ground and two more scores.

Heading into North Andover's sectional semi-final showdown with Woburn McElroy has 1,172 passing yards and 12 touchdowns to go with 257 rushing yards and two more scores.

Mike Masse, Sr., LB/FB, Xaverian

With Masse captaining the defense, Xaverian posted its third consecutive shutout on Friday helping the Hawks capture their 16th consecutive south sectional win.

Over the last 15 quarters, the Hawks have not allowed a single point propelling them to yet another Div. 1 South Sectional Semi-Final appearance. It was on the offensive side of the ball, however, where Masse contributed the most on Friday as his two touchdown runs proved to be the difference in the Hawks 17-0 win over BC High.

Masse is in his second year as a starting linebacker for Xaverian and his impact has never been more valuable. Through seven games, Masse has 46 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles.

Masse has also been used out of the backfield from the fullback position on a number of occasions as the Hawks stick to their ground-and-pound ways. So far, he has 246 rushing yards, 60 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns.

DeVaun Ford, Sr., RB/DB, Mashpee 

For most players, a performance like the one Ford had on Friday would be a special one, but for the Mashpee senior it was just another night at the office.

Ford rushed for a touchdown in Mashpee's 41-14 win over Archbishop Williams setting up a sectional semi-final matchup with Cohasset and giving the Falcons their 27th consecutive victory.

For the season, the Ford now has 19 total touchdowns, five games of 110 yards or more, and six interceptions.

Drew Campanale, Sr., QB, Shrewsbury

The Shrewsbury offense struggled on Friday night in a loss to Nashoba, but Campanale still showed what makes him such a threat under center.

Campanale threw for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns to account for the Colonials two scores on the night.

Campanale finished the regular season with 1,126 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and a 70-percent completion percentage. He is averaging 7.5 yards per rushing attempt, has totaled 316 rushing yards, and has five additional scores on the ground.

Campanale's production led Shrewsbury to a 6-2 record and the fourth seed in Div. 3 Central.

Matt Smith, Sr., TE/WR, Needham

Smith showcased his talents as a blocker in Needham's 14-7 win over Newton North in the first round of the tournament.

While Smith is often known for his abilities as a receiver, Friday night served as nice reminder of why his play as a tight end has him heading to Duke. That said, Smith still hauled in four receptions for 43 yards this past weekend.

Heading into Needham's sectional semi-final showdown with No. 3 Catholic Memorial, Smith has 44 receptions for 803 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Scott Elliot, Sr., OL/DL, Holliston

Elliot appeared for the first time on our list of candidates last week and Friday night only fortified his candidacy.

The Harvard bound two-way lineman helped pave the way for a Holliston rushing attack that overpowered Somerset Berkley in a 42-0 win.

Elliot has been dominant on both sides of the ball, helping to lead the Panthers to a perfect 8-0 regular season record and a TVL Large title. Offensively, he has proven to be a valuable piece both in Holliston's up-tempo spread attack and in the Panthers ability to run the football.

Defensively, meanwhile, his 6-foot-3 inch and 270 pound frame helps him overpower opponents, making him a force as a run stopper and also a consistent threat to get to the quarterback.

John Roberts, Sr., QB, Duxbury

Duxbruy is the odds on favorite in Division 3 and its all centered around the play of superstar quarterback John Roberts.

Roberts has been terrific all season long leading the Dragons to a spotless 9-0 record, another Patriot League Keenan title, and the top seed in Div. 3 South.

His play unmatched by nearly anyone in Eastern Mass., Roberts is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback. As a passer, Roberts is 60-of-110 (55-percent) for 998 yards and nine touchdowns. On the ground, meanwhile, Roberts has 580 rushing yards and 10 more scores.

All told, Roberts has 1,578 total yards and 19 touchdowns.

Spencer Cassell, Sr., TE/DE, Hingham

Entering the season, Cassell was largely regarded as one of the top tight ends in the region but his candidacy has only been bolstered in recent weeks by his play on defense.

In helping to guide Hingham to a berth in the Div. 3 South Sectional-Semi finals, Cassell has wracked up 36 tackles and nine sacks while serving as a defensive end.

Utilized as a more traditional tight end, Cassell has proven invaluable on the offensive side of the ball. He often as he uses his six-foot seven-inch frame to transform into an extra offensive linemen for the Harbormen who heavily rely on their ground game.

When used in the passing game, Cassell's ability to high point the ball has allowed him to dominate over opposing defensive backs. The Harvard commit has six catches for 133 yards and one touchdown.

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